Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weekend short trip to Jivdani and Arnala Fort - Virar

In this adventure trip of mine, I added religious flavour to it as for long I was planning to go to one beautiful temple on hillock JIVDANI and also visit less know and not so frequented beach and island of ARNALA located not far from the last station on western front of Mumbai local suburban train VIRAR.

This was in month of Feb when winters in Mumbai were beginning to loose battle against rising summer sun.
Sam and I decided to explore new place as we were getting bored with weekend walkathon. I suggested that we go to JIVDANI temple (Epic tale about JIVDANI temple in wikipedia is really interesting reading) and then explore nearby beach and fort ARNALA.

Sunday morning Sam and I met at Borivali station at 7am and we caught a slow local to Virar. Not so crowded as we were travelling in opposite direction of office goers. We had been to Jivdani quite few time but this time it was after a gap of almost 4 years for both of us. 

The temple is atop a hill and there are more than 1300 steps to climb. Not easy task as steps are uneven, steep and also in circular route, again its quite narrow so people while climbing get tired they generally stand and come in your way which breaks your momentum but nevertheless they also have same religious sentiments as I do, so no complaints.

Sam and I started our climb and within no time we were huffing and puffing !!!! phew what a start and journey had just started. They also have trolley which takes you upto temple but we followed the path taken by majority. Huffing and puffing we finally managed to climb all footsteps which took more than an hour but once you reach the temple sanctum sanctorum, peaceful atmosphere with blowing cool breeze, mind gets diverted from tiredness and you gain your lost strength back in no time.

They say that goddess JIVDANI  has answered prayers of women without child, bringing joy in their life and family so people come either in hope of getting their wish fulfilled or come back after wish is fulfilled to offer their offerings.  May goddess shower her blessing on everyone !!!!!

After offering prayers to holy goddess we just stood there on open deck feeling the freshness in the air, view of entire virar town and forest is amazing. We checked the other temples close by and started our journey back. Climbing down is not a tough job, in fact its a cake walk as compared to the climb.

So now it was time for another interesting visit. Sam had never been to Arnala beach and fort while I have faint memory of coming with my uncle when I was 5years old, so it was like lonng time no see types.
We caught state transport bus to Arnala from Virar station, journey was interesting as it passes through quite a few villages which has not yet been touched by urbanisation and rural feeling sets in.

We reached beach of Arnala which is quite dirty but there are quite few resorts where people frequent with families and friends. But we decided to go to island and found that last boat is at 12.30 in afternoon and return boat in evening starts at 3.30pm. Beach on mainland is lined with fishermen drying their catch and boat to reach on the island is also primitive boat as traffic is only from commoners from the island and not much of tourist.
APATHY and TARDINESS of our state government not developing a beach whereas landlocked states die for a beach and don't get it !!!!

We reached the island and were enquiring about places to visit on the island. One islander whom we spoke with said there was one fort built by Portuguese in 14th century and goddess KALIKA temple were only places apart from peaceful beach. Sam being dead hungry only could think of asking where is a restaurant and answer by the islander was no hotels and restaurants on the island as its a sleepy and quite primitive fisherman folk village. We had just reached island on last boat in afternoon and no way to go back for next 3hours unless we had strength to swim all the way back.

 I could not control my laughter as I had my breakfast in morning and on station while Sam said he got up late so didn't have anything much.

Islander sensing the situation of poor SAM invited us for lunch at his place. After much of yes and no, Islander said he can ask his wife to make some chicken dish and some rice but for a charge. SAM delighted at these words asked for menu !!!!! HAHAHA,

I made SAM understand "beta jo mile woh tere liye bhagwan ka prasad so cant say no" 

So decided on lunch at fishermen cum farmers house whose wife promised to keep lunch ready in one hour we decided to visit ARNALA fort.

Fort is not so massive but nevertheless big and meticulously planned with a separate watch towers to keep eye in all direction. We saw some reconstruction and restoration work being done which was good at least its not being neglected. We decided to walk on periphery wall of the fort which was a long walk but gave a panoramic view of Arabian sea and fishy village down below. Fort had a square shape with small temples built inside the fort. Took around 45minutes for us to complete as we also captured it in our lens.


Now back to our fisherman uncles house, we were served gavthi chicken, with home grown rice and home grown vegetable salad. wow !!!! not only it tasted good but simplicity with which it was made, enhanced our hunger. Thanking our newly made uncle and aunt, xchanging our contact details we bid good bye to them.

It will always be memorable lunch ever for SAM and me. We decided to go back home as nothing much was there to explore and overhead sun had almost dehydrated us. We took boat ride back to mainland and walked our way to bus station from where we took our bus journey back to Virar and train ride back home.
On the way to Virar station we also saw a huge Jain temple at AGASHI village which later I came to know from my Jain neighbours that its oldest Jain temple to be built in Mumbai.

Our trip was memorable in more than one sense, we had amazing and unexpected lunch at equally unexpected place, Also it took me in flashback memory when I had visited the place with my uncle who has long left for heavenly abode.

So friends here I am again finishing one more of my travel adventure trip. Merci et Au revoir





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