Holidaying Within Bombay – Unbelievable!

“…Holidaaayy, if we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate… Just one day of our lives …it would be so nice …” Madonna

Felt like taking her up on her words. But planning a holiday, would mean traveling and that would be stealing from the getaway time we had allotted ourselves in the mad rush on a weekend.

Going into Marve & Madh is a drive into a green paradise that’s hard to resist. Once you are out of Malad it’s a different world, the air is rarefied, the greens are lush, the traffic is non-existent & the smell of the sea is in your hair! 45 mins from Bandra and you are there. Infact one can report to work & still drive back to the islands to continue with the getaway!

The brilliance here is you are still inside the polluted climes of Bombay & yet in another world! Going away for a weekend, with almost no travel time, no adjusting to different pace of life & yet the fresh sea air, the ambience of the Malvani villages dotting the seascape, the churches here are nearly as old as the island itself…(The Church of Our lady of the Sea!) made me return to the various hotels, motels, shacks that dot this seaside getaway. Soon the atmosphere seeps into you, cleaning your pores choked with Mumbai’s pollution, dust & grime.

Straddling the two ends of the island of Marve is a host of bungalows & cottages, starting with the Aksa Beach, which also houses the INS Hamla, (The INS Hamla has an Internet café called DOLPHIN. Quaint! )a couple of hospital quarters, quasi-govt. residential buildings and then silence. Nothing but paddy fields & narrow winding roads with huge coconut palms, a soothing ease settles into your pace. It is the only getaway hamlet set in the midst of the crazy hubbub of a frenzied city like Bombay. The oldest surviving private house here is the Lalvani cottage…dating back to early 1930’s.

The places open to picnickers & holidayers have names that evoke a twinge of aura. These places have built around the 1950’s. Since most of the men have left to try their fortunes elsewhere, the properties have been turned into picnic cottages.

You have the Picnic-Cell, The Samara, Marcella’s, Sagarika Wadi, Vyas Wadi…

The Gazebo Resort (8813255) comes first, followed by Aksa Cottages, Hotel Blue Ballerina (83989) on the Erangel Beach which also has a restaurant called Dana-Pani, open to picnickers not wanting to lodge up with them. Then there is the Jewel of Ruksons( 8822516 only lodging available. A/C 1500 for a couple)…its bar-cum-restaurant is Sundowner!

Then there are the Beach Resort Bungalows that are apartments for sale. Sanjay Sutar Lodging /Boarding has rooms that they give out to picnickers till sundown only(8811318…600/- non A/C & 900/- for an A/C room) Almeida’s Picnic Cottages( 8893988) give out the rooms only to families, no couples’s allowed.(no sinful people wanted here says Peter Almeida pontifically!) 500-800 per day & 140/- extra per head for 3 meals thrown in. Bungalow Seashell gives out the whole floor at 2500/ for a 2-bedroom/hall/-kitchen deal per day( 8813531). And then there is The Retreat and The Resort with their 5 star paraphernalia.