Thursday, September 29, 2016

Travel: Explore the picturesque Konkan coast on a bicycle

Traverse almost-secluded roads and admire the scenic views en route
Traverse almost-secluded roads and admire the scenic views en route

You're pedalling along a road that hugs palm-fringed beaches, their buttery sands and frothy waves calling out to you. As you ride, the salty breeze licks your skin and makes your hair do somersaults. If this scenario has your interest piqued, sign up for a two-day cycling expedition along the beautiful Konkan coast this weekend.

Konkan coast route

Organised by Life Away From Life, this cycling trip begins at Mandwa Jetty and ends at Shrivardhan, around 100km away. The route will take you past picturesque creeks, candy-striped lighthouses, crumbling forts and charming fishing villages in Maharashtra.

A basket of dried fishA basket of dried fish

“This trip is meant to encourage the use of non-polluting modes of transport,” says Prateek Deo Gupta, CEO of Life Away From Life. He shares that the route is perfect for beginners. “We will only be cycling about 50km a day, and that too at a leisurely pace. There will be stops to have meals and relax. Moreover, there are only a couple of spots with gentle ascents; otherwise, it’s fairly flat terrain,” he adds.

Janjira Fort, Murud
Janjira Fort, Murud

Those travelling from Mumbai can get to Mandwa Jetty using a ferry from the Gateway of India. These ferries accommodate bicycles, and are your quickest mode of transport. On day one, you’ll start cycling from Mandwa, passing through Kihim, Alibaug and Kashid, and stopping to visit the beach and temple in Nandgaon.

“We’ll be halting in Murud, a few kilometres away, for the night, where everyone will be put up in a homestay. The idea is to get people acquainted with the local cuisine and culture,” says Gupta.

On day two, at the crack of dawn, start cycling further south, going to Rajapuri or lower down to Agardanda, and taking yet another ferry from either of these spots to Dighi. From here, you’ll move on to Shrivardhan, which — apart from a pretty beach — is home to the Jeevaneshwar Temple, which features intricately carved wooden pillars.

At the end of the trip, the cycles will be loaded into a carrier truck and you will return to Mumbai aboard the support vehicle that accompanies the group on the expedition.

Tempted to sign up but don’t have a cycle? You don’t need to worry. The organisers will put you in touch with bicycle rentals, from where you can get your own wheels for the trip.

On: October 1 and 2 (two more trips planned in October)
Meeting Point: Mandwa Jetty
Cost: 4,950 + 3.75% tax (includes accommodation in non-AC rooms [twin sharing], all vegetarian meals, standard repair kit, ferry charges, LAFL coordinator, back-up vehicle)
Call: 7718058351

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