The puddles, the slush, the cold and the upturned umbrellas — Mumbai’s monsoon is here. This is a season best experienced outside, so skip the chai and hot pakodas at home and explore the city and its surroundings. Go for a cycling trail in Karjat, discover Parel’s history through a heritage walk or participate in a marathon in Matheran.
“The weather adds a touch of adventure and romance to outdoor activities,” says Nikhil Shah, 45, a software engineer, who will be organising a marathon in Matheran. “This is the best season to stay connected with nature and that’s the experience we hope to give people through our marathon,” he adds
Marketing manager Ronen Chordekar, 26, uses the monsoons as an excuse to participate in outdoor activities — he has gone on treks and cycling trips. “The weather makes these trips really enjoyable and more fun than any summer activity,” he says.
So, put on your rain shoes, get out that umbrella and discover nature at its finest, in and around the city.
Take a road trip
Spend your weekend exploring the untouched hill station of Ambaghat, known for its dense jungles and waterfalls, with travelling community Places Around Pune.
“The two-day trip will be packed with activities – a trek to VishalGadh fort, a jungle safari and sightseeing at Pawankhind valley,” says organiser Jaykumar Anadkat.
Participants will have to arrange their own transport.
The visit includes a visit to the Marleshwar temple of lord Shiva, famous for being home to many snakes. They can be found around the idols but aren’t dangerous; the temple is why Ambaghat is called the Land of Snakes.
“It’s a refreshing experience to get away from the city for a few days and spend them amid nature. I like visiting unexplored places like this,” says Pooja Padiya, 27, a software engineer, who attended last year and will be going this year too.
When: July 16, 17
Where: Starting point is Magarpatta city, Pune
Cost: Rs 2,200
Register: http://bit.ly/296DXRa; last day is July 9
Run a marathon
You’ve participated in many marathons in the city, now try one in the hills. “Matheran is the only hill station in India where vehicles are prohibited so the air is cleaner. This makes running an enjoyable experience,” says Nikhil Shah, the organiser of the marathon.
The Matheran Endurathon is annual event that is open to all age groups. Amateurs can participate in the 5 km family run and 10 km and seasoned runners in the 25 km and 50 km run.
“I participated in the marathon last year. It was a magical experience to run in a place where there are no vehicles on the road and the scenery is lush and green. The marathon route covers tourist sites such as the Khandala point and One Tree Hill viewing points,” says businessman Arvind Bijwe, 41.
Where: Starting point is Hotel Ashok in Matheran
When: July 17, 6 am onwards.
Cost: Rs 750 for 5kms, Rs 950 for 10kms, Rs 1,050 for 25kms and Rs 1,650 for 50 kms
Register: Monsoonmarathon.com; last day is July 7
Walk in the jungle
Get introduced to Matheran’s reptiles and amphibians at a jungle trail organised by travel club Mumbai Travellers. Some species would include the green vine snake, cylon cat snake, Bombay bush frog, Indian toad, yellow legged tarantula. A herpetologist will accompany the group, providing help with identification of species and advice on photographing them.
“The monsoon is the best season to do this activity as this is the breeding season for many reptiles and amphibians - during this time, they display their most beautiful colours and characteristic to attract their mating partners,” says Saurabh Thakejar, 28, the organiser of the event.
“I found the trail amazing. We saw around 15-20 different species of frogs, snakes, and tarantula of which the most interesting ones we found was the typewriter frog,” says Hitendra Manchekar, 40, a librarian, who attended the jungle trail last year.
Where: Starting point is CST
When: July 10, 8.30 am
Cost: Rs 1,500
Register: Email email@example.com; call 86920-86927, 86920-227777, 84220-49888
Go on a talkies trail
Attend a heritage walk that covers the city’s iconic talkies - Capitol, Excelsior, Edward and Liberty.
The walk, organised by Hikaayat, a public relations and marketing company, will share interesting facts about these theatres. For instance, Liberty, founded during Independence, was the first place to exclusively screen Hindi films. The Regal theatre, which was built in the cinema boom of 1930, was the first cinema with air-conditioning and mirror work. And Edward theatre is the only theater which plays old movies which would not be screened in the other parts of the city.
“Today, these places have lost their charm as not too many people know about it. Monsoons bring with it a sense of romance and we want to celebrate the romance of Bollywood through this walk,” says organiser, Paramjit Singh.
The walk, led by film buff and ex-Navy Commander Paranjit Singh Rana, will conclude with a surprise movie screening at Liberty.
Where: Opp. CST Station, Capitol
When: July 9, 16; 11 am
Cost: Rs 999
Did you know that the Queensway road in Parel is filled with monuments dating to the fifth century? Or that Elphinstone bridge was the place where the first well in Mumbai was dug.
You can learn all this and more at the Queensway walk organised by Khaki Tours. “There are places in the city like Gamdevi, Parel and Chowpatty which have a rich heritage that most people know nothing about,” says Bharat Gothoskar, the organiser of the walk.
The two-and-half hour walk will explore monuments like the three-storey government house where the Prince of Wales (Prince Albert Edward) had first stayed, the location of the first tram journey and the shrines of the Tiger Goddess.
“It’s interesting to learn the local history of places we pass by every day without giving them a second glance,” says Chandrashekar Nene, 62, an IT consultant, who has participated for four walks with Khaki Tours.
When: July 3, 4.30 pm
Where: Starting point Parel TT junction
Cost: Rs 512
Cycle in Karjat
Do you love cycling in the rain? Then this trip, organised by Mumbai Travelers, is for you.
The 25-km ride starts at Karjat and ends with a trek to Kondhana. The rock-cut caves have sculptures, stupas and viharas.
“The highlight is the journey — a road surrounded with greenery and with a stream flowing by the side,” says organiser Saurabh Thakejar, 28.
“I went for the trip last year. Cycling usually is related to exercising but this was a different way of exploring a place. I gained a lot of knowledge about Buddhist architectural designs, inscriptions, domes at the caves,” says Ronen Chordekar, 26, a marketing manager.
W hen: July 10, 7.30 am
Where: Starting point is CST
Cost: Rs 1,600, inclusive of cycles, helmets, and a guide
Register: Email firstname.lastname@example.org