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Manori and Uttan

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Manori is located in Mumbai (easily accessed from Malad West) It is known for its Beach and Creek. Manori can be accessed either by a ferry from Marve or road from Bhayander. Uttan on the other hand can be easily accessed from Manori and Bhyander. It falls in Thane District. Both are fishing villages around Mumbai
I had planned to head for Madh Fort and Mandapeshwar Caves on Sunday and so I had put up my plan with an open invitation to my group on my Facebook page, Merwynsrucksack. Unfortunately, there were no takers for the trip. Only Hithakshi, a colleague of mine who had accompanied me to Chinchoti Waterfalls, agreed to accompany me.
So as discussed we met at Malad Railway Station at 7 am from where we were to board BEST bus no 272 to Marve beach. Since we planned to go to Madh Fort and Mandapeshwar Caves on the very same day, we decided to buy BEST’s Rs 25 travel-all-you-can-in-a-day ticket.
To my misfortune, we found that the Rs 25 ticket had been discontinued by the BEST management. Apparently many people misuse the ticket. They buy the ticket in the morning, use it all day. When they finish their journey, they strike a deal with one of the commuters waiting at the bus stop and sell the ticket at a low price, resulting in losses for the BEST. And a loss to us for we were deprived of this service for no fault of ours.
Now our tummies were empty as we had not had breakfast before leaving home. Most of the food outlets near the station were closed. Our tummies growled even louder at the sight of the downed shutters. We tried our best to control our hunger pangs, in the hope of finding something to eat at Madh Fort.
We alighted at Marve with the sea right in front of us. As the tide was low, the waves were gently hitting against the surface.
Hithakshi and Me

The view from here was amazing. Manori Island could be seen in the distance on one side and the Global Vipassana Pagoda on the other. As the top part of the Pagoda is golden, the soft rays of the sun landing on them made it a beautiful sight to see. 
At the shore there were some fishing trawlers parked. These were multi colored and greatly enhanced the look of the place. 
The beach is a very quiet place with many people making it a track for their morning walks. As we clicked pictures, we found people staring at us, wondering what we were shooting. Maybe they didn’t see anything there that was interesting enough to shoot. But we did. So we came, we saw and we captured.
We saw that a ferry was leaving Manori Island and heading towards us. I tried to locate a jetty where the ferry could land. I could see one at Manori, but nowhere at Marve.
So Hithakshi and I debated on whether we should go to Manori or Madh Fort. I finally gave in, and we decided to board the ferry. Both of us were clueless as to where the ferry would pick us up.
To my surprise, it stopped right near where we were standing. As the ferry was parked near the shore in the absence of a jetty, two plywood planks were lowered down from the ferry to enable us to climb aboard the ferry.
Fishing Trawlers
 I told Hithakshi that when I had gone to see Arnala fort, the ferry had stopped a few meters  away from the shore. What’s worse, it was not even a ferry. It was actually a small boat with a motor fitted at one end. And we had to walk through thigh-deep water to board it. Worse, two of us had to board it from the two sides of the boat to prevent it from overturning.

To view writeup on Arnala Fort click here

This one was better. Thank God for small mercies! 
The ferry was full of people who were out on mini-getaways. The ferry even accommodates two-wheelers.
Within a few minutes of getting into the ferry, we were on the jetty. The ferry charge was Rs 7 per person and Rs 10 for two-wheelers. There were many colorful fishing trawlers parked on the island. I took some good pictures there.
After walking out of the jetty, I saw a BEST bus standing on the island. I was confused about how the bus had managed to land on the island. The ferry which we had boarded to get here only carried humans and two-wheelers. Then how could one explain the presence of this bus on the island? Hithakshi informed me that there was another way to reach this place and that was via Bhayander. The mystery was resolved.
Pagoda in a distance
On the shore, we saw some fishing nets which had been brought by the fishermen. One of them was drying fish (Bombay Ducks). These were huge in size, maybe 12 inches long.

Hithakshi claimed, "I have been here a thousand times." This was a getaway for her so I was under the impression that she knew this place inside out. So we decided to talk it out to Manori Village, in the hope of getting some food. Dear reader, you may have forgotten that we were hungry. But our stomachs did not let us forget.
The walk was amazing. We saw dried fish laid out to dry on the roads or on wooden hangers with not a guard in sight. Many questions came to my mind. "How come there is not a soul here to guard the dried fish?" "How come the crows are not taking away the fish" "Have these people forgotten that they have laid out fish to dry?" Sadly this time, none of my questions were answered. :(
The tar roads leading to the village were very narrow. Only one big vehicle could pass at one time. We did not see much traffic on the road, but maybe that was because it was too early in the day.
 It took us 30 minutes to reach the village. At the village, I got amazing photographs of flowers. My regular readers will remember that I am not good with plant names. So I cannot tell you exactly which flowers I saw.
At the village, there was a small pond, infested with algae. There were many flamingos having a ball of a time there and to my surprise a group of women were washing their clothes in the water. "How can these women wash their clothes in this algae infested water?" "Will their clothes ever become clean?" There were some of the questions that popped up in my head. Again there were no answers. So I headed to the beach.
Colorful Cart
Manori is a small fishing village. I could see crosses erected at every nook and corner. For a minute, I thought that I was in Goa. This place is a popular weekend getaway for the people of Mumbai. There are many resorts here. My tour guide, Hithakshi, informed me that rooms are easily available and cheap but food and liquor are overpriced.

We headed out to check the seaside. A light-blue colored boat in the middle of the sea caught my eye. I don’t know whether it was the color or the silent sea around it, but it was a beautiful sight to see.
The beach was still quite deserted. It was 10 am. We sat on the shore, continuing with our photography sessions, and watched the silent sea in the distance. There were gola carts (gola is the Hindi word for slush) everywhere. The carts with their bottles of colored flavourings added to the color on the beach.
We then headed back to the road. Our tummies were growling louder than before. Hithakshi's legs were aching and so we waited for a bus to take us to Manori Jetty.
Please don’t be under the impression that Hithakshi had tired herself out by walking on the beach. The truth was that she had been working on her calves and hamstrings the previous night. Now which sane person would do a leg work out in the evening and go trekking the next morning? This girl is too much.
We saw a few beautifully colored bullock carts on the way. Again food for my camera.
Fishing Trawler 
Finally Hithakshi saw the shutters of a stall opening. Yippee! Food in the making! We immediately rushed there to have our breakfast. Our breakfast was overcharged. We ended up paying Rs 55 for a double omelette with three loaves of bread. 

After having our fill, we talked about whether we should go to Malad or Bhayander. As Hithakshi's legs were steadily refusing to support her, she argued in favour of the latter as she resides in Bhayander.
I gave in the second time and we boarded the bus to Bhayander. ST buses and rickshaws are the two public modes of transport here. For a change, the bus driver was not living out his F1 dream. The bus tickets were quite reasonable but the rickshaws don’t work via the meter and charge a fixed sum. You either take it or leave it.
The bus journey was amazing. The view was beautiful on both sides. I felt like asking the bus driver to halt so that I could click pictures.
We alighted at Uttangaon to take a rickshaw to Pali Village. Uttangaon is a marketplace. From here we had to board either a bus or rickshaw to take us to the topmost part of Uttan from where the entire village could be seen.
We hired a rickshaw at Rs 40. The driver took us very close to the topmost part. From there we walked on and took photos of trawlers in the middle of the sea. Though it was very hot, the photos were amazing.
 I had made the mistake of telling Hithakshi not to carry any bag. Had I not done so, we would have had food and water for the journey.
Drying Fish
Point to be remembered: For any journey, no matter how big or small, one should always carry a bottle of water, some food and a notepad. You never know when these items will come in handy. 
After having a cold drink at a small stall and inquiring with the locals, we finally boarded a bus to Bhayander.
Uttan is also a fishing village like Manori, populated by Catholics as one can see crosses erected all over the place. I couldn’t locate many resorts and hotels here. Later, we boarded a bus to Bhayander.
Fishing Trawlers, Nets and Dried Fish
One thing I really liked about bus drivers here, in comparison with the ones in Mumbai, is that even if the bus stops for 5 minutes the engines are immediately turned off. If this is not done, then we are wasting our precious resources. I encountered the same tendency on my trek to the fort of Kelva in Palghar.  
Finally we reached Bhayander in 45 minutes thanks to the traffic on the narrow roads.
I know it is hard to say but I would like to thank Hithakshi for accompanying me on this trek. I bet she would make a good tour manager. If she can handle me with care then she can handle anyone.

Map of Manori

View Larger Map

Map to Uttan

View Larger Map

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PRANNAV 555 said...

Very useful and interesting information Merwyn. And very well wrote with good snaps. thanks.

Anand Dalvi (आनंद दळवी) said...

Nice documentary and gr8 photos-Anand.


Thanks Guys

Jason Dsouza said...

Very good pics, like the way you have described your journey through the village. Worth seeing the place and of course visiting your blog takes the reader directly to the place..... Cheers:)

Ajay Chandreja said...

Very important information in details along with pictures.


Thanks Ajay


very useful & interesting information mr. mervin & very well wrote with strong photographs thanks.Please send more information & guidance,I am waiting for next topic/photos.


Thanks Ganesh, have many more writeups for weekend holidays to offer on my blog

sweetna said...

Happy to hear some many good things about my village and it's unique ness .cause people prefer coming here only for finding rooms , nothing else.thankyou once again

sweetna said...

Happy to hear some many good things about my village and it's unique ness .cause people prefer coming here only for finding rooms , nothing else.thankyou once again

Anonymous said...

i live in this village n its awesome but its not just a fishing village most ppl get that impression due to d visibitity of fishing boats n dried fish on d roads due to which v hav a lot of accidents as d fish is slippery when wet a lot of twowheelers n cyclelists take a tumble mostly n plus these fishermen occupy half of d road for thier personal use b coz a lot of nuisance, u hav mentioned a lot of good stuff bout my village n i appriciate it, i guess u did not c manori beach hence there is no mention of it, i hav a request to make if ur a jurnalist n can do something in order to stop ppl from occupying d collectors land n d fish on d roads n also d use of public property for personal use, if u wish to contact me [9820992033]

Unknown said...

Good Job Merwyn
You write Good!!
Long way to go!!"


Thanks Prashant B

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