>>> Manori beach Malad West
When I was a little girl, happiness was Juhu Beach. Despite being afflicted by terrible travel sickness I would happily wait for the 374 Ltd bus to take the most winding route from Chembur, through Dharavi, Kalina and every lane and bylane possible till I was green around the gills.
Yet the joy was the beach, the sea water, playing endlessly in the swaying water and a picnic spread by my mother and aunt that rivaled all the picnic spreads in any Enid Blyton book. I still love Juhu beach but when I say the name I’m met with toxic looks and the editor politely demurs.
But it’s summer and we have to do the beach. So we travel to Malad, to the sands and the water of Manori. We take the road — the long drive being a part of the picnic — but the smarter, faster way would be to take a train and then the ferry. You’ll find fishing trawlers on your way and acres of salt pans. If you can, stop by and show the kids how salt is made. Children find it unbelievable and its fun to see small hills of salt that you can touch and taste.
Manori, Gorai and a few beaches that are on the outskirts of Mumbai are doted with resorts where you can stay over or rent for a day. We do the renting-for-the-day option at Manori. A popular destination with Mumbaikars, the resort is packed with people who want to make the most of the sparking clean beach. Slightly off Malad (W), Manori retains a Goa-like vibe. Small homes with jackfruit and mango trees line the undulating lanes.
Every kindergarten or pre-primary school will have two things as a part of their curriculum — water play and sand play. The reason of this is that water, as well as sand, have the proven power of calming people, especially children.
We head for the beach. After the rocky shelves and the mangroves we find a clean beach with white sand. The water is warm and inviting.
Spider crabs dot the shoreline
We sit by the shade while the kids watch delicately translucent Sand Bubbler Crabs scuttle out of their homes in the sand, leaving intricately-beautiful patterns of sand balls around.
Sea water has a calming effect on children
The Golden Pagoda
When it’s cooler, it’s time for the kids to dance with the waves. And, when they get tired, it’s time to create sand structures. We end it with loads and myriad combinations of golas.
Where: Manori is off Malad (W)
How to get there: Malad is on the Western Railway line. Get off Malad (W) and take an auto to the ferry headed to Manori Island. The other way to travel by road is via Mira Road.
Timings: None, open at all times
Charges: If you have bags and want a place to keep it safe for a day, there are resorts with assorted budgets. They serve food and tea with the room.
Food: Carry food if possible. There are plenty of restaurants and hotels.
Restroom facilities: Yes, if you pay day charges at any of the resorts or visit for a meal.
What’s good: The beach!
What’s not good: Too many strays
>> Global Vipassana Pagoda that contains the bone relics of the Buddha
>> EsselWorld is a stone’s throw away (Both places will need an entire day)