Now that I had finished the forts project, it was time to find new worlds to conquer!
I wanted to keep up the concept of discovering places in Mumbai which I had not visited yet, and decided to continue with the ancient monuments theme.
So where to go? Suddenly the name ‘Mahakali caves’ popped into my head. I had heard the name of the road ‘Mahakali caves road’ but had no idea about the caves itself. I googled it and saw that it was about 15KM away, which would make it a comfortable 30 -35 KM round trip – I would go from Ghatkoper and return via Powai and see Powai lake as well.
I set out early morning and it was pretty pleasant cycling in the cool weather – it was still dark and the street lights were on. Mumbai never sleeps – so the early morning people were on the road – the newspaper and milk vendors, the vegetables and perishables delivery vans, the trucks wanting to get out of Mumbai before their timing ends, etc. I usually put on a podcast and enjoy listening to an excellent audio program while pedalling – it is more interesting than some pointless music, and safer as well – you can hear the traffic noises.
I took a right at Saki Naka and another left at the JVLR road and it was a long uphill pull to the caves, I was puffing a bit when I got there. Good training for the planned long rides in the future.
But when I got to Mahakali, there were no signs, no indicators that there was anything of historical interest there. Just a long fence on one side, and the normal small time shops on the other. Mystified, I asked the locals where was Mahakali.
‘Right here’ he said.
‘But where are the caves?’
‘Right there’ he pointed at the fence. I looked at the fence – No signage, no information, no welcome board - there was just a forbidding looking gate, which looked like a gate to some sarkari top secret office instead of a tourist location. All that was missing was an armed guard looking as if he would shoot you if you even looked in that direction.
And yeah – the gate was locked.
‘It will open at 8.30 AM. Come back then.’ The local grunted.
Hmm. That’s an hour away. Let’s see what can be done. I went and locked my bike to the fence and started looking around. A guy washing a car caught my eye and nodded at a gap in the fence.
I looked at it puzzled, and saw a guy walking through it with a bottle of water in his hand. It was obviously the shitting zone. But the guy nodded again and so I went through that tiny gap. Wow – I must have really lost some serious weight to be able to go through that gap. Yahoo!
I blog about my travels - and the thoughts they set off! Sometimes the simplest destinations can be the most thought-provoking!