Day trip to Manori Beach & Sanjay Gandhi National Park (Mumbai - Maharashtra)

Imagine, finding someone in 'The Great' Dadar Station whom you have met just once earlier. Well, for those who ask, what is Dadar Station - that was the railway station where the famous, “Jai Ho” was shot. That's from the movie Slumdog Millionaire, one of the Indian movies that won the Oscar. What's so 'great' about it? Its one of the most crowded railway stations of Mumbai!
manori beach in Mumbai
It was on the 26th of January, that's the Republic Day of India which means its a public holiday. Severely analyzing the possibilities of making that single holiday fruitful, made me decide on a day-trip to Manori Beach and Sanjay Gandhi National Park. I had asked a friend from Pune to drop in and join me. This is where the Dadar Station comes. I had to find him, whom I had just met only once earlier in life, in 'The Great' Dadar Station. It has simply more than a thousand population at any given point of time. Being at the heart of Mumbai City and an important junction of Mumbai’s Lifeline (The Local Train), the overwhelming head count here is never surprising.
aerial roots of a mangrove tree in the marsh lands at manori beach

manori beach resorts
After about a half hour search, I finally found his head above the rest, thanks to his 180 cm vertical limit. We had a breakfast of VadaPav – The Mumbai Speciality aam aadmi ka burger, which is one of the street-food you must eat in Mumbai. Its the Indian, traditional, vegan version of burger where instead of beef patty, a deep fried lentil dough ball is used! Then we headed to our first destination.

SANJAY GANDHI NATIONAL PARK:
The Sanjay Gandhi National Park / Borivali National Park was our first destination. Beginning of January, to be understood as beginning of heat, the greenery that I had expected was missing. The lake was hungry and land was thirsty and the trees were bald! But still, on a rainy season or winter, this place would be great to hang out. I can assure that. Also, if you're a wildlife enthusiast you should definitely visit this place. The surprising fact about Sanjay Gandhi National Park is that it is India's largest urban habitat of leopards!!! If you get a chance, watch the BBC documentary called 'Leopards: 21st Century Cats', in which Romulus Whitaker, an Indian herpetologist, wildlife conservationist, takes you there in the night with a thermal camera and you get to see how leopards live so close and so in-peace with humans!!! The benches on the sides of the path where we sat as we walked were used by leopards to lay-down & relax in nights! Its so so surprising!!! 
Well, back to our trip - We went just a walk along the road with dried up forest on either sides. After a while my friend got seriously irritated and said “Let’s get back”. I know he meant, “I don’t wanna be here in this dried up place anymore. Not even one more moment. If u say otherwise, I’m simply gonna strangle you”. Fine, I had to proceed to the second destination – Manori island, one of the most beautiful, island beaches and the best kept secrets of Mumbai.
Rocky beach & creeks in Manori beach, Mumbai

Romantic mumbai beach Manori
After a simple VadaPav lunch near Malad Station, we took off to Marve (Ferry point in mainland to reach Manori). It was a very different sort of boating experience. The boating here is not merely for tourists, it is for regular commuters, very much like in Kerala backwaters or Bengal Hugli. And Manori is not an island, as I was told. Its mainland separated by backwaters, an excellent place, though slightly crowded.
Looking at the ferry trip here itself is an ode to the place, with people and cattle and vehicles transported. It’s very much usual for residents of Manori to ferry down to Marve mainland with their vehicles (not just scooty’s, it’s pretty much upto karizma’s and pulsar 220’s) and then travel roadways to their respective colleges and offices. As you ferry up to Manori (believe me, it’s just 5 bucks!), it’s an actually amazing experience of a typically overcrowded public transport, if you have already experienced and loved it.
manori secret beaches of mumbai

manori beach mumbai

MANORI BEACH:
Once we reached Manori, it was again nothing as I expected. It was little village or I could say, it was something between a village and a town. Filled with buildings and little shops to cater to the daily needs of the residents and ofcourse, a few resorts. We started walking the lane, without any idea in mind, as what to expect, when a autowala slowed down beside us with an enquiry filled all over his face – “Any help..???”. I gave him the same look back, and said to myself – “What I do I do now, I thought this was a beautiful, picturesque island. But this is nothing better than a suburban city….!!!!!!!!!”. My dearest friend was looking at me with the ‘killer look’ (quite literally!). I could feel him asking me “Did I come all the way from Pune for THIS.?”. Finally I composed myself and came up with the question, “Can you show us around the place.?” The autowala came for my rescue. He said “ Show around….????? There’s nothing to show around. There is just the best Mumbai beach.” Finally, light at the end of the tunnel. I said, “Great, why are we waiting.? Let’s go”. Ah! That is how you get to Manori beach.
secluded beaches of mumbai manori

sands of manori beach
Amazing. Astonishing. Mind blowing. English language gives very limited words to describe the place to a maximum possible extent. It was so very much great beyond my description. I have never seen such a virgin beach, earlier in my life. Just unspoilt. Its one one of the best-kept-secret beaches of Mumbai. At any given point of time, there were no more than 30 people in the whole expanse of the beach. That 30 would be the maximum number, including the kids who start playing at evening 4’O Clock. Otherwise, hardly 10 people at non-prime time.
A perfect hangout for couples and friends, and even solitude evenings, if the choice is a silent, peaceful, secluded, private day under the sun. Definitely one of the romantic places to visit in Mumbai for couples!
A walk in the beach, can be more relaxing than an expensive spa massage. Sea breeze is in fact medicinal, isn’t it. It’s a great place of pebbles and shells. So, asking what’s in it different from other beaches?
shell beach manori

molluscs in a rock cracks in manori beach

cone snail mollusca in manori beach

lots of cone snails in manori beach
The whole beach is filled with shells, not sand. The ecology  of the beach is splendid with mangrove plants with their aerial roots & gazillion mollusks and more! The sand is beneath several layers of shells. Tiny little shells, these are so delicate to handle. And those lovely alive mollusks are great to keep watching. To see them travelling, tirelessly several meters, it’s a great sight. The pebbly rocks are lovelier, when water splashes on them, and retreats back, and then the water in the cervix slowly streams down. Just to watch the sprawling beach with almost no human interference is fantastic treat to thy tired eyes. There are a few Manori beach resorts, but located a bit away from the beach.
Watching the sunset, I just wanted to sit there forever, when my friend said, I’ve got my bus back to Pune at 8:00 PM. I regained my lost conscious to get back in touch with city life. It was that same lovely ferry ride from Manori to Marve and back to home. Visiting Manori Beach is most definitely the best day-trip from Mumbai , ones of the best beaches near Mumbai and one of the most romantic beaches in Mumbai for couples!

 
TO REACH THERE:
In Mumbai aka Bombay, India 

How to reach Sanjay Gandhi National Park: Main entrance on Google Maps
By Local Train: Western Line (Both Slow and Fast) – Borivali Station
Then take auto to reach there. Mumbai autos run in meter fare.

How to reach Manori Island Beach: On Google Maps
By Local Train: Western Line (Both Slow and Fast) – Malad Station
Then take auto to reach Marve Ferry Point. Then ferry up to Manori Ferry Point. Then local auto to the beach.

Dedicated to Kishore

Bhushavali

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

15 comments:

  1. lovely..........u have got the way of narating tat makes this trip more memorable and ever lasting.....miss 'em all......thanks sue

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  2. Nice. keep posting. Might be i'll explore all these places with ma soulmate :)

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  3. Hey Kish, thanks for accompanying me that day. U made the trip memorable. :)

    Sowmi, sure dear. I'll print all these and bind it and gift u on your wedding. :D

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  4. Kish, tried to upload the videos we took, but as usual its too heavy to upload... :(

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  5. i made it memorable or wat??? definitely not....

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  6. that was real travelogue.. gud work ...

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  7. Kish, of course... :)

    Srini, thanks dear.. :)

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  8. Exquisite photographs. What camera do you use ?

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  9. Thanks Ramakrishnan Sir. It's a Kodak 8 megapixal digi cam.

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  10. Just happened to land on this page while looking for blogs by travelers. Nice piece, equally good photograph. Hope to start out with such blogs on my own some day. Keep it up!

    Regards,
    Bhavresh.

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  11. Hi Bhavresh,
    Thanks for your visit. Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Do drop in often dear...

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  12. Hey this was a cool post, reached here from google this time. I've lived in Malad past 28 years of my life and have been to Manori only once. It's just a 30 mins travel to Marve from my house... well your post really makes me feel invited to Manori again :-)

    - Pixellicious Photos

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  13. Hey Kcalpesh,
    Thanks dear.. So nice to know you've lived near Manori... But sad that you've been thr just once... It's an exquisite beach. The best I've ever seen...

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  14. Nice photos and post again.Even i was searching for info on Manori and Gorai beaches, when i came across your blog.
    Was planning for a similar blog, the thought is alive again!

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  15. @Mehul,
    Am glad that I could re kindle your plans to start up your own travelogue. Looking forward for it.
    Btw, hope you got the info on Manori & Gorai that you were searching for.. :)

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