It’s another Sunday, and it’s time for another Sunday morning ride!
Today I was off to Jogeshwari, as I had been extremely intrigued by Ashutosh Bijoors blog about his visit to Jogeshwari caves.
Just imagine! A 2000 year old rock cut cave in the middle of Mumbai’s suburban area, and no one seems to have heard about it! I had to check this out. It was just under 50 KM round trip, and would be a nice ride in the rains.
I hit the road by 6 AM, and cycled across the Eastern express highway and then hit the Jogeshwari Vikhroli link road, and then asked my way to the caves.
And when I found the caves, my jaw really dropped!
What an awesome cave temple complex! It was huge – one large central hall, where there is a temple of Jogeshwari devi, one large outside chamber where there are some excellent friezes of Shiva Parvati, and several interconnected passages where there are temples of Ganesha, Maruti etc.
The ASI has done an excellent job of cleaning up the place and removing encroachments – as can be testified by the broken remains of the illegal buildings around it. Its a nice clean and safe place to go to, and since it is a live temple, there are always people around.
Continuing my Mumbai exploration and Sunday morning ride, I was on my way to my longest ride yet – Ghodbunder fort – on the outskirts of Mumbai. It was about 85 Km return trip and would be the longest ride so far.
Ghodbunder fort was fascinating to me, because it is such an important fort – controlling the Vasai creek, and overlooking one of the oldest harbours in the Mumbai area – and is reasonably close to the city...but no one seems to know about it. People who have lived in Thane or Borivili their whole lives, spitting distance away from the fort, have no idea that such a thing exists.
I myself had no idea either – and I am a history and travel buff – until I read about it on Ashutosh Bijoor’s blog when I was searching for forts and historical places around Mumbai.
I had the runs all day on Friday and Saturday, probably Mohammed Ali’s revenge from eating the iftaar street food, and was thinking sadly that this puts paid to my Sunday morning ride. I actually settled down to watch the Euro cup match on Saturday night, when I suddenly realised that I had not been to the pot pilgrimage for some time now! Maybe I would be Ok for the ride. So I put the alarm on for 5 AM and went to sleep.
The wife cursed at me when the alarm went off in the darkness, and would probably have strangled me there and then if I had not smartly jumped out of bed and muted the alarm. Shaking at my near escape, I fumbled for my clothes in the dark, as I did not dare to put on the light.
All geared up, I hit the road at first light and started on the journey. I normally like to listen to podcasts when I ride, but in the pouring rain it was obviously not possible, so I did the ride in silence with only the voices in my head for company. The Eastern express freeway is a pretty good place to ride your cycle – the roads are broad, and mostly in good condition, there is a service road where the slow vehicles can go, and on the actual highway there is enough room for the fast vehicles to give you a wide berth. You can maintain a good cadence and speed without having to jam on the brakes all the time.
Good speed is a relative concept of course – I was swiftly overtaken by multiple cyclists - but I did not try to race or catch up. It was a long journey and it was important to pace myself.
I passed the Airoli bridge turnoff, where I had gone to see the wetlands around the pumping station, and then was very happy to reach my first waypoint – the Thane toll naka! It was the first time I would be going out of Mumbai, and it was a sort of halfway point for the ride.
I blog about my travels - and the thoughts they set off! Sometimes the simplest destinations can be the most thought-provoking!