Planned weeks prior, our excited employees of ESG finally found themselves on a journey to our latest corporate ‘offsite’. Murud was our destination, a beautiful coastal village, difficult enough to get to so that it's not overloaded with tourists but near enough for a weekend jaunt from Mumbai. A short drive to Colaba, we showed our tickets to the boat owner and chatted between ourselves about the majestic Taj Mahal Hotel and the Gateway of India, right next to us, overlooking the Arabian sea facing towards the southern tip of the Gulf states. The Gateway of India, a massive structure was created to commemorate the landing of King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder.
The ferry ride resembling a mini cruise had its own charm as we sat on the upper deck and heard the waves splash. It took us away from the hum-drums of the city and transported us to the tranquility of Alibaug, a small town filled with pristine beaches. We then took a minidor, named 'Tumtum autos' by the locals to reach Revdanda, a village famous for its beach camping's. After which,we boarded a bus that took us to Mururd. An hour later, we reached our destination and settled into our wooden chalet. There was a menagerie of cats and dogs present at the front porch. We took a quick dip in the river and clicked tons of selfies. The boundless forests in the nearby area were fascinating and seemed to be a perfect get-away. Verdant greenery after the last pour of the year, turned the place fresh and emerald green. After lunch, we strolled through the neighborhood and noticed a few hippie travelers with their mandatory dreadlocks and their faces burnt and bodies withered from unfamiliar spices. Later that night we collected a few wooden twigs and lit bonfires for cocktails and dinner; cooked steaming hot food on a barbeque and talked for hours, staring at the lights that blazed in the dusking sky.
Next day we woke up to the bright sunlight, zephyr and a beautiful landscape view along with a bad hangover. After some breakfast, we took a quick trip to an idyllic Janjira Beach and the nearby Janjira Fort, which belongs to a dynasty of Siddhis, who are believed to have their origins in Abyssinia, in far North Africa. 'Siddhi Imad Khanzada', our general manager belongs to the same clan. The trip to the fort took us 40-45 mins, as the sailboat navigates on the mercy of the wind. We enjoyed the slow, relaxing ride by singing songs and playing antakshari. On exploring the massive fort, we learned that it has been independent and has 3 natural fresh water lakes although surrounded by saltwater on all sides. We also witnessed the huge canons and found out that it took 22 years for this fort to be constructed. On our way back, we caught a glimpse of the enormous Nawab Palace a.k.a. Ahmedganj Palace, from the beach.
We did a few adventure activities on the beach such as parasailing, quad bike riding, beach football, banana rides and horse riding. Additionally, we attended the colorful dolphin and turtle festival hosted by MTDC wherein we engaged ourselves in activities such as dolphin spotting and turtle hatching.Not to forget, "Hakaki" the traditional carnival that includes a Bullock cart race, stage shows and dance performances. Natives from nearby villages look forward to this 3-day celebration every year and participate in the competition to win prizes worth Rs. 1500-2000.
On our way back, a strange sight was in front of us as we observed a cow sticking his head through the window and coming out with a roti resembling a drive-in restaurant. We stopped by Nour's residence, director of our company;and made ourselves comfortable in the quirky yet vintage bungalow with old hookahs,teapots, metal glasses and rusty paintings, a treat for nature lovers with spacious rooms nestled in a locale having fantastic views of the water bodies and hillocks around. There also was a plantation of organic vegetables in the front yard. For the journey back home, we hired a car and paid a quick visit to Kashind beach as it touches the road. After a luscious dinner on the beach shack, we drove back and were whacked yet delighted for this was the most memorable trip ever.