>Travel Pictures



We decided to seek out a 'close to Mumbai' option for a 3-day weekend, and settled on the town of Murud. Now, according to the information we had, this was a quick (1-hour) trip downtown, an hour by ferry, and then a short rickshaw ride away. Unfortunately, we found out that the downtown and ferry information was correct, but after we landed we had a 45 minute bus ride to the city of Alibag, and then another 50 kilometers to our hotel! Naturally, we were not too excited about climbing back into a rattling local bus for that trip, so instead we all clambered into a rattling rickshaw!
Once we got to our hotel, however, things calmed down a little for us. Granted, the all-inclusive meals were well-liked only by Dave (as they were seafood and Indian fare), but we managed to find a playground area that gave the kids the chance to work off some of their extra energy. They also chased the resident goose family around the complex, getting them all worked up and honking (the geese, not the kids).

We were able to enjoy a huge stretch of nearly-deserted beach right outside our hotel. Our first evening was dedicated to watching the sun slip beneath the waves. The water was comfortable, shallow, and very relaxing.

We spent our next evening creating a hermit crab zoo. The black sand yielded crabs with virtually every handful, and Alea, Breck, and Dad gave a bunch of them a new home. The only problem was that the tide was coming in, and so we had to build a protective wall around them to keep them in. Alas, the water finally won, but we had a great time getting muddy and wet!
Besides hermit crabs and geese, we had some other interesting animal friends. The trees outside the hotel were filled with fruit bats, the same kind that inhabit the trees outside our house in April. They were squabbling and fussing all day and all night - we could hear them far down the beach above the crashing waves! The other unusual sight was horse-drawn carriages splashing up and down the sand. We've not seen anything like this elsewhere - and were a little worried as the horse did not have a fecal waste depositation container anywhere. Yuck.

The biggest draw in Murud is an old fort located out in the bay. To get there, we grabbed a rick that took us straight through the town and the Sunday fish market. We were hopping and bopping over the bouncy roads, but did manage to get a few pictures as the women displayed their wares.

The pictures don't, of course, give credit to the incredible aroma of hundreds of fresh sea creatures sweltering in the 90 degree heat. Yummy.

Janjira is the name of the fort off the coast of the town. The first building set up on the site was in the 1400s to protect locals from pirates and thieves. The local ruler took it over and rebuilt it in the mid 1500s, but the current building apparently dates from the late 1600s (conflicting sources of info here, here, and here). The big claim to fame is that it was never conquered - either by internal leaders or foreign invaders - and still stands today.

To get out to the fort, one has to stand in a long, snaking "down the dock and up the stairs" line full of people waiting to take the ride. Everybody else except for us was Indian, as this seemed to be a big place to escape from Mumbai. 

As we waited, there were a couple of coconut milk stands to help people stay hydrated in the heat. The thing that caught my eye was the enterprising goat who helped himself to the empty coconuts!!

We clambered into the sailboat and made out way across the bay to the hulking fort. It was HOT out, and the logjam of people loading and unloading at the only entrance dictated that we had to wait to get in. Susan was rolling her eyes at the babies who were all dressed up in knit outfits, sweating up a storm.
But we finally made it in and started hiking around the remains. Of course the most popular first stop was on the cannons! Everyone likes riding those!

The barracks were all crumbled and had trees growing in them, prompting a quick science lesson on erosion.
Looking down from the walls, the gathered boats made for an interesting pattern on the water, while the fort itself (with an enormous, algae-filled rain water well) peers threateningly at the coastline.
It was fun to see the Indian tourists enjoying themselves out and about, and we certainly had fun exploring the tunnels and buildings.
And the price was right: total price for a two way trip and entrance to the fort - ticket price: $1.30.
For the entire family..

The perfect place to enjoy a lazy afternoon, and an Indian cradle!
Of course, the next day we faced the same journey back to Mumbai, giving Susan another chance to experience an "India Travel Moment"

but at least we'd had our beach weekend!

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