If you had a bike and two days to spare, where would you head?
Distance: The trip to Dahanu is about 140 to 150 km.
How to reach: Take the beautiful NH 8 that leads to Gujarat and the states ahead. Once you reach the Charoti toll plaza, there is a left just a couple of minutes ahead that leads to Dahanu. Not crowded at all, it is a 27 km ride from here. The NH 8 doesn’t have a lot of bumps, and it has wide, open roads that you can zip through.
Dahanu’s beach offers solace under the casuarina tree cover. Pic courtesy/Ruel Rebello
Why Dahanu? A biker will love the final stretch as there is no chaos, a relief after Mumbai roads. The time you take to reach from town to the suburbs during peak hours is the time you will take to reach Dahanu on a beautiful morning. There are picturesque mountains on the way, some old houses, temples, and several resorts.
An aerial view of Dahanu. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Pit stop: We usually ride to Hotel Ahura at Charoti, approx 5 to 10 km on your left hand side after the Charoti Toll Plaza. You get amazing breakfast dishes here. It is a popular spot. On weekends, it can be a task to get a table as it offers simple and inexpensive food. You can have a good meal for `100. You can even make a stop at Manor, around 90 km from Mumbai. On the highway, there is a Cafe Coffee Day outlet and dhabas for breakfast options.
What to do: Near Dahanu, is the Dahanu Beach, Bordi Beach and Tarapur Fort that make for beautiful sights. All the places are along the coastline The weather in Dahanu is comparatively better than Mumbai.
Budget: Owning an Rs 15, I usually spend around `500 for my fuel and approximately Rs 200-300 for a good breakfast. This is, if it’s a morning ride with a plan to come back by noon. If you have 200 or higher CC motorcycle or a car, you will have spend a bit more for fuel. Hotels cost around Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per night. There are many hotels on the way to Dahanu from Charoti, and many dot the coastal road near the beaches. Most are well maintained.
— Ruel Rebello, a student at Wilson College, is a freelance photographer who loves capturing automobiles and weddings. He explores weekend destinations such as Bhandhardara, Malshej and Kasara.
Reach him at www.fac ebook.com/RuelRPhotography
The Hadshi camping site. Pic courtesy/Makarand Narkar
Distance: The trip to Hadshi is about 130 km.
How to reach: Take the old Mumbai Pune highway, exit at Lonavala, from Lonavala take the internal road to Paud via Pawana dam.
Why Hadshi? Hadshi is a small village on the Lonavala Paud Road and is relatively devoid of commercialisation. We ride to run away from the city and this place offers calm and tranquility. The weather is perfect for camping right now. For bikers, the route offers beautiful curves and a small patch of off-roading. The road is not used by passenger vehicles and hence is relatively empty. It passes through small villages and farms, and offers a rustic view.
Pit stop: A major pit stop is Lonavala. One can also stop at Pawana dam and partake in watersports. It’s huge man-made lake where you can try paddle or speed boating. Forts such as Lohagad and Tikona fall on the way.
What to do: There are not many commercial stay options on this route but villagers lease there land to pitch tents. Camp out, go star watching or barbeque with your friends.
Budget: Approximately Rs 2,200
— Sharmishta Chakravorty, along with Nishan Chandran runs The Musafirs (Mumbai Musafirs and Pune Musafirs), a platform for motorcycling enthusiasts to meet, bond and ride together. The group is open for paid biking trips for owners of any bike. You can reach them at www.facebook.com/mumbaimusafirsbiking
A member of the Warli community plays a gourd instrument. Pic/Dhara Vora
Distance: 160 km
How to reach: Take the Wada Road from Thane, take a cut on the right side of Jawhar Dahanu Road.
Why Jawhar? Jawhar is known as the Mahabaleshwar of Thane, and is famous for Warli art. The temperatures can drop quite a bit, enough to make you feel far away from Mumbai.
Pit stop: There are various small hotels where one can stop over for a quick bite on the way.
What to do: Dabhosa waterfall is active during rains only. It’s a 300 feet fall and is located at about 20 km from Jawhar on the Jawhar– Talasari-Silvasa Road. You could visit Jaivilas Palace built by Raje Yashwant Rao Maukne. The Hanuman Point (Sunrise Point) is a beautiful spot from where one can see the sunrise; it is surrounded by a beautiful valley, hills and the palace. There is also Sunset Point, nearly 0.5 km away, west from the heart of the city. The shape of the valley is like bow (Dhanush), and was known as Dhanukamal.
Budget: Approximately Rs 2,500
— Sharmishta Chakravorty of The Musafirs
>> Wear protective gear. Knee protectors and riding boots are necessary. Carry a bottle of water, these trips are long. Many truck drivers switch lanes without notifying. Slow down and honk at such points.
>> Don’t speed as animals use the road too. Keep an eye for dividers.
>> Be it any ride — enjoy the ride responsibly.
>> Maintain a ‘no-litter’ policy, leave only memories behind not litter.
>> Don’t buy a helmet just to avoid cops.
>> Carry cash as these places may not have ATMs.
>> Do not drink and ride.
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