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DIU Road trip, Bus journey to Diu (Union Territory in India)

Monday, February 27, 2017

Diu is a Union territory located not very close to Mumbai. Total travel time is around 18 hours away, no matter which mode of transport you take. 

Bus to Diu

When people say Daman and Diu it gives one the understanding that they are close to each other but in reality they are around 9 hours away from each other. One of the reasons why people use the two of them together is because the official govt offices are in Daman. 

There are three ways of reaching Diu. Either travel by road, which is tagged on google maps. Or travel by train to Verangal and from there travel by bus. Or the last is by a flight to Diu airport. The air travel is the shortest, the other two modes of transport take more or less the same amount of time. 

After researching all our options we decided to travel by bus. That too a sleeper bus to Diu. 

Remember Fathima, she had accompained me to Chinchoti waterfall near Tungareshwar, joined me on my trip to Diu. We booked bus tickets to Diu, just a week in advance. We booked bus tickets from OP Travels, which is located on the Western Express Highway near Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SNGP). Buses to major towns in and around Maharashtra are available here. We got the tickets at a cost of Rs. 700 each for a non ac sleeper bus. Please note, that ac buses don't ply on this route. 

I boarded the bus at 1:30 PM at Andheri near the intersection of the metro line and the western express highway. Thanks to the traffic jam, we reached Vasai around 4 PM. The bus was full and travelled by the Mumbai Ahmedabad highway. 

As the journey is long, you can do two things, either sleep all the way to Diu or play around on your phones. If you choose the later then do carry a power bank along for charge. One more thing, one can read a book too.

Day turned to Night and the weather changed, it started growing cooler in the bus too. Had to close the windows so that we don't feel the cool breeze. But the very next morning it became hot again.
The bus will take sufficient breaks at hotels for eating and refreshment purposes.

We stopped for breakfast the next morning and all I got to eat was this Fafda Jalebi. Jalebi I enjoyed as it is one of my favorite sweets but not Fafda. Hot tea to gulp it all down. 
Fafda and Jalebi

The road passes through fields. The color brown was all over the place. The roads were in good condition, which made the journey a pleasant one. 

The roads are tagged on google maps. 

Our bus broke down somewhere near the outskirts of Diu, hence we travelled by a auto rickshaw to reach Diu. This is the first time I have travelled by this mode of transport and it was fun. 

Though it is slow it will still get you to your destination.
First glimpse of Diu and it is a beautiful. Beautifully constructed roads which are totally deserted. The view of the sea in a distance was also amazing. 

We were dropped near the Diu Bus stand, from here buses ply to many towns in Gujarat. Buses ply to Mumbai too from here.
We got our self a place to stay near the bus stand premises. We got ourselves rooms at Hotel Galaxy. It cost us around 1200 bucks plus taxes each for non ac rooms. The ac ones cost around 1500 bucks plus taxes.  Which is pretty expensive. I guess it is the location that commands the money. It has a eatery in its premises, where food and liquor is available. Remember Diu is a Union Territory.
We freshened up in the room, had lunch and off course beer and then headed out to see Diu. 

As you go away from the Diu Bus Stand, the hotel prices drop. But then commuting to the Bus Stand, again will be a task. 

Diu has a lot of historical sites one can visit. I had made a note of the places I wanted to visit on the trip. I had St Paul's Church, Diu fort, Fortress of Panikota, Gangeshwar  Temple, Maida Caves, Diu Museum, Shell Museum, Church of St Francis d Assisi, INS Khukhri.

I didn't have the beaches on my list, as they don't amuse me much. It is just the names and the color of the sand of the beach that changes.
Our mode of transport to Diu from where the bus brokedown

Auto Rickshaw are available outside the Diu Bus stand on hire. One has to negotiate the rates with them depending upon the places one wants to cover. The rates differ from place to place 

We negotiated and got a rickshaw at a cost of Rs. 500 to see the places mentioned above.

The time was now 3 PM on my watch. We had to hurry if we wanted to cover all the places. 

The rickshaw driver first took us to Diu Fort.

Dahanu Fort in Dahanu near Bordi in Maharashtra

Monday, February 20, 2017

Dahanu Fort is located in Dahanu, it can be reached both by rail and road transport. One has to alight at Dahanu Railway station and from there board a shared rickshaw to reach the fort, or you travel by a private mode of transport. 
Entrance to Dahanu Fort 

Dahanu Fort is very small in size and can be done in 10 minutes time.The big bastion with a banyan tree growing on it was beautiful. There are two ways of entering the fort premises. 

We traveled to Dahanu Fort from Aswali Dam. 

Currently the fort houses government offices, but one can freely roam the fort premises. Thanks to the government offices, they have made us of the houses in the fort premises. It was another busy day for the government officials there. 
Banyan tree on the bastion of Dahanu Fort
I was informed by one of the ladies on the fort, that CID has got their office there. ACP Pradyuman from the famous tele-series, CID flashed in my mind. BTW if you wish to see it, it features on Sony TV. It is a hilarious series, I should say. 
The other entrance ot Dahanu Fort

There is a Maruti temple in the fort premises. Orange..
Handprint on the fort walls of Dahanu Fort
Maruti temple in Dahanu Fort premises
Across the fort I saw, hand prints in orange. Not sure what they meant or resemble. 
Hansel and Me at Dahanu Fort 
Beautiful waterbody
After exploring the fort, we headed via the Jawahar Dahanu Road to reach the Mumbai Ahmedabad highway. 
Banyan Tree
En route we stopped near Ashgad, there is a temple and dargah here. Saw a couple of boys somersaulting near the river bed. Took pics of this extraordinary tree and banyan tree. We then headed to Hotel Mini's to have lunch.
That me near the tree
Lunch at Hotel Mini's
Traveled by the Jawahar Dahanu Road, till we reached Mumbai Ahmedabad highway, then we raced on the highway. There was no traffic so we managed to reach Andheri by 5 PM. I was happy that we were not stuck in traffic near Hotel Fountain, like we did on the Gujarat Trip. 
Boys somersaulting in the waters
Bike journeys have always been tiring for me, luckily my back was not in pain. Not sure if my body is getting used to it or was the travel time on the bike which was lesser than the other bike trips.
Keeping the bike travel aside, I did have a good time on the trip. As this place is not very far from Mumbai, it can be done in a day's time. You should try...

Coastal bike trip from Gholvad to Dahanu (Maharashtra Gujarat Border) India

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

After exploring Aswali Dam, we travelled on the Bordi Aswali Road, to reach Bordi. We travelled on the narrow roads, again the road was very picturesque. Banyan trees, Tody trees, on either side of the roads, we even saw chickoo plantations. I knew we were near Gholvad, as the chickoo plantations are there. We noticed a Ganpati painted on the bark of a tree, it looked nice an it was very innovative. 
En route to Gholvad

Finally we reached Bordi. Not sure if it was the Bordi market, or a Saturday market. Shops on either side of the road. Shops selling all kinds of things, ranging from clothes, under garments, fruits and vegetables, toys and many more.  The streets had turned colorful. The roads were filled with people. 

We then visited the Bordi beach stretch located a few minutes away from the market place. 

Rail crossing
The tide was low and hence the water had receded. The school children had taken full advantage of the situation and decided to play cricket at the beach. Have you played cricket at the beach, do let me know. 

It was a black sand beach. In a distance I could see the mangroves, they looked beautiful, but if we walk it out, it wold take us around an hour's time to reach. So we skipped it.

Ganpati painted on a Banyan Tree
We then decided to travel all the way to Dahanu, the road though narrow and winding was in good condition, to ride on and close to the beach. Even at 12 noon, we were not able to feel the heat thanks to the cool breeze from the sea. 

Bordi Beach
We braked a couple of times and watched the silent water in a distance. The tide was low but not a soul on the beach. How will there be anyone, as there is no one staying close by. The beach stretch was clean. 

Hansel and Me
As we approached Dahanu Beach, we saw a couple of fishing boats anchored in the waters. At last civilization, I said to myself. The water was clear here and no sign of dirt on the beach. I was sure that the closer we get to the beach, the dirtier the beach would be. We gave it a skip.
En route to Gholvad
We met up with Gautam, near Narpad. He was a local, who stays in Dahanu and works in Andheri in Mumbai city.  I felt so jealous, as he is having the best of both worlds. though commuting , cost him around 5 hours a day, but he still lives a good life here. 
That's Me
Coastal road to Dahani
I think I should buy a vacation home here, but who has got the time to travel so far. Gautam told us about a couple of good eating joints around Dahanu as hunger had striked our stomachs. Out of all I remember Hotel Mini's near a bridge on a river. 

Dahanu Beach
Hansel and Me with Gautam
En route, we noticed a signboard that read Dahanu Fort. Fort that rang bells in my head, though I have been to Dahanu Fort a long time ago, I still decided to pay it a visit to refresh my memory. Hansel to had a new fort to explore on the bike trip.

Aswali Dam in Aswali near Bordi near the Maharashtra Gujarat Border (India)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Aswali Dam is located near Bordi. It is around 151 KM away from Amboli in Andheri west. 
Aswali Dam

Hansel, who had accompanied me to Shiv Kalin Vihir in Badlapur, joined me on this trip. 
Sunrise on the way to Aswali Dam
We met at Amboli, near my house at 5:20 AM. We immediately headed to our destination, Aswali Dam.
Hansel and Me
As it was early morning, the roads were empty, so Hansel managed to pickup speed. We crossed the Fountain junction without any traffic, which was good.
Can you spot the aeroplane in the sky
We rode on the Mumbai Ahmedabad highway, as the bike gained momentum, it started growing colder. We were wearing warm clothes, but our hands were numb due to the cold. Hansel added that due to the near water bodies and trees, the temperature will always be lower than elsewhere. He was right.

Every time we braked to stretch, it grew cooler.
Tody trees on the way to Aswali Dam

The directions to Aswali Dam are tagged on google maps, follow the map and you will not get lost. We did the same. 

We exited the Mumbai Ahmedabad highway at Talasari, and traveled by a narrow village road to Aswali Dam The roads are in good condition. The journey was picturesque. We passed by Toddy trees, Banyan Trees and water bodies. Life here was so laid back. Everyone has relaxing. How I miss this kind of life in the city.
Toddy wine, created from the Sap of the toddy tree is a alcoholic beverage. We saw sap being collected from the Toddy trees while travelling to Aswali Dam. Some one is going to have a party tonight. 
Sap from the Tody tree
We travelled in and out of Maharashtra into Gujarat a couple of times to reach our destination. How we know, there were police check post. 

Finally around 9 AM, we reached the school, located very close to the Aswali Dam. I quickly asked one of the school teacher for directions to the dam. He immediately showed me the rocky trail that leads to the dam. I inquired about the whereabouts of Bahrot Caves located nearby. He told me that those caves exist, though he has never been up them. He told me that it would take us around 2 to 3 hours to reach the caves from the dam. The dam, we would reach in 30 minutes. He also advised us to take a local with us , if we planned to visit it. As the trek is through a jungle and there is a possibility of us getting lost as the directions are not marked.
Hansel and I decided to skip the caves for the time being, visit the dam and do the caves later. 
The school near Aswali Dam
We walked on the rocky road that leads to the dam. As the road was not motor able, we parked the bike under the shade of a tree and walked it out.

En route, Hansel, heard a couple of ducks, we immediately located them, took a couple of photos and then headed back to the dam.
Finally we reached the dam premises. The view of the dam was just beautiful. The green waters was surrounded by hills covered with thick forests on three sides. It reminded me of my trip to Pelhar Dam near Vasai. Equally beautiful. 
Ducks on the way to the Aswali Dam
There is only one control mechanism for the entire dam. Access to it is denied. We walked on the small muddy path. There were school kids here, I guess they had bunked school to spend sometime at the dam. 
View from Aswali Dam

There was a tiny hole in the dam wall, from where the water was oozing out. like a mini waterfall post the rains. 
Aswali Dam
We parked ourselves in the shade of the trees and had some mouth watering sandwiches prepared by Hansel's wife. 
That's me
Miniature waterfall
I noticed something very unusual here, I noticed a cow, swim or should I say walk in the water with its head held high so that it can breathe. It walked for around 20 minutes in the water to reach land.
Watching the calm waters, greenery around us, was so soothing to my eyes. I wouldn't mind suspending a hammock between two trees and sipping on some ice cold beer. 
Aswali Dam
Aswali Dam
Now that we have visited Aswali Dam, what do we do next, is the question I had in my mind. I started to research on google. But due to the poor internet connectivity we were not getting any signals. We decided to go back to the village located near the school to try our luck there. 
Aswali Dam
Aswali Dam
Near the school we got better connectivity, as compared to the dam, we then decided to do the coastal road-trip starting at Bordi beach and terminating at Dahanu Beach.

Bibi ki masjid in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh

Bibi ki Masjid is located in Monin Pura in Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh.
Closed entrance to Bibi ki masjid in Burhanpur

Directions to it are tagged on Google maps.

The Masjid is currently closed and not accessible to public. We were disappointed once again. The first time at Kundi Bhandara,and the second at this place.
Another photo of Bibi ki masjid in Burhanpur
By the look of it, from the outside was quite a old structure.
Begum Ruquiyawife of King Azam Humayum built the first Jama Masjid in Itwara Burhanpur , it was also called as Bibi ki Masjid.

We then asked a couple of locals who informed us that certain portions of the Masjid are in need of repairs and hence it is kept closed. Repair work is being conducted inside. Also the local Muslims have asked for the Masjid to be kept open so that they can offer prayers. As this monument is under the ASI, they have been advised to offer prayers in Kali or Jama Masjid located close by.

The walls of Bibi ki masjid in Burhanpur
There are a couple of shops around so one can find food and water. Though we didn't go searching as we had our provisions.

We then headed off to see the tombs or Nadir shah and his brother Adil Shah of the Farooqi Dynasty, located a couple of KM away.

Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary in Dadra and Nagar Haveli (India)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary is located in Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Union Territory). It is located very near to Silvassa and Khanvel. One has to travel on the Khanvel road to reach it. 
That's us at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary

Indragad was around 35 KM away from here. It took us a little more than an hour's time to reach thanks to the narrow roads. 

Directions to the Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary are tagged in google maps, so follow the instructions.

Entrance to Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary
There was a crowd gathered outside the Sanctuary premises. We got ourselves tickets. It costs us Rs. 100 for four. Outside vehicles are not allowed in the Sanctuary premises. 

This is my first trip to a wild life sanctuary. I have been to zoo and national parks before. So I was very excited. 

Sambar at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary
We waited our turn and finally traveled by the bus to reach the spot where the Deer were. 

This is the closest I have been to the Sambar Deer and Chital or Cheetal aka Spotted Deer with no barring or fencing between us. The experience was just thrilling as I was not sure how the animal would react with us humans all around them.  

Sadly the animals kept walking in the woods thanks to some idiotic animals who got dangerously close to them to shoot selfies. No prizes for guessing who these animals were?
Sambar at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary
There are more of sambar here, in comparison to the spotted deer. To this Raj added, again thanks to the humans, the animals are not getting any privacy, hence they can't mate. Lol.

After spending an hour here. We decided to head  back to Dadra and Nagar Haveli to have some lunch. I hope Raj and Martina had some good time clicking some amazing snaps of spotted deer and sambar. 
More Sambar at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary
We stopped at a local bar to have late lunch and drinks. As Dadra and Nagar Haveli is a Union territory, liquor is cheap here. The quality of liquor is better than the one served in Daman. 
Spotted Deer at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary
Four near bottles of 650ml costed us just Rs. 310. You read it right. We payed a bomb, around Rs. 800 bucks for starters and chinese food. Now that is a expensive deal. 
Lone Sambar at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary
Now it was a long way back to Mumbai. 130 KM to be more precise. That would take us roughly around 3 hours to reach taking into consideration the traffic. 

The journey was smooth wall the way. The moment we were nearing Hotel Fountain the traffic jam started. It was a mad traffic jam. It ate around 30 minutes of our time. 

The woods at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary

Finally at 9 PM, Raj dropped me at Borivali, from there I boarded a train to Andheri.

Spotted Deer at Satmaliya Deer Sanctuary
Long distance travel on the bike is painful. My back and legs were in pretty bad shape. An experience similar to the one I had while travelling to Indurigad near Pune. But then I was happy that I got to explore new places. They bought a smile on my place.
Now you too can read it and go a exploring places over the weekend.

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