Friday, December 26, 2014

Virar - विरार - ویرار

Destination : Virar
Location : Virar
Coordinates:   19°27'18"N   72°48'43"E
Distance from Mumbai  : 65.0 kms*
Duration : 12 Hrs*
Estimated cost : Rs.400*
Time to visit : Winter
Activities : Trekking, hill climbing, sightseeing, fort, nature trail, village tour, scenic point
Places of visit : Tunga Parvat and Arnala fort
Nearby Areas: Virar, Vasai (वसई), Vasai-Virar                          (वसई-विरार)


Mid-way view from Tunga Parvat
In the lap of nature, far from the madding crowd and pollution of the cities, a place where you can escape for a while with your buddies is all you need to rejuvenate yourself.

If you enjoy the beauty of nature, this is the blog you need to read.

Jivdani entrance gate no. 2 and
way to Tunga Parvat
It was not really a sudden plan but there were a lot of last minute changes. We woke up early, packed our bags, gathered and took a train to Virar and reached the station around 9 a.m. You need to get down on the east, catch an auto there to the base of the hill. Autos are easily available and the fare would be around 10 per person and if you are ready to adjust, 4 to 5 people are allowed in one autorickshaw. You will reach the base in around 15 – 20 minutes and then start climbing. Beware of the cheats, the rickshaw wala's might cheat you by charging you higher as the autos do not run on meter.

Scenic view from Tunga Parvat 
Get down on Jivdani Mata Mandir gate number 2 and start walking in the narrow lane. If you've been on hikes before or if you're looking forward to it, do visit this temple on the top of the hill. Climbing the steps and watching the amazing view from above will undoubtedly be a memorable experience.

On your way, as you near the top you will find eateries. Climbing so many steps is a tiring job, so you can pause at intervals, have lemonade and refresh yourselves. You should definitely take breaks to capture the breathtaking view you as you climb.

Shops outside temple selling
puja offerings
As you near the temple, you will find shops selling flowers and other puja offerings. Before entering the temple, you need to keep your shoes and other items like cameras, bags (if any) outside. There are shops for this purpose, but on a safer side someone can wait outside the temple with the belongings and go for darshan after others are back. The temple is huge and well maintained and visited by tourists frequently. There is also a ropeway atop the hill!

View of Tunga Parvat & Jivdani
mandir from Virar station
Photography is strictly prohibited in the temple premises and if you get caught clicking photos with your cell phone camera you will land into trouble. The temple was quite huge, didn't count the number of flours though, but there might be 4 - 5 stories. There is heavy checking on the entrance of the temple. As you enter, you will have to go through marble paths which lead you to the Jivdani Temple. the two stories above are made for people to sit in the temple to pray. above that there is an open space terrace type temple of maa kaali. There are eateries also available on the rooftop. one can sit, eat and enjoy the scenic view of the city. Climbing more up on a higher level of the rooftop there was a hanuman mandir and a temple for cow. There were also many threads of wishes tied by the devotees over there. You get the tasty prasad on the way back to the first level of the temple.


Viren Nawani (left)
Rashneet Sachdeva (center)
Nidhi Shetty (right)
Photography by - Parth Parikh
The descent was not so tiring, we paused again many times on our downward route to click more pictures of the beautiful view from the hill and taking our own pictures. We had our snacks which we got from home and tried the Nimbu paani over there which was not bad for 10 bucks. At some places the stairs were not built and the mud was slippery, one has to be careful while descending the hill. We then took an auto to a restaurant "Viva"which is on the west opening of the virar station. The food was quite good and i would recommend one to have lunch over there. After having the our nice break with lunch we began for the next part of our trip which was Arnala fort which was 10 kms from there.

One can end his/her/their journey over here if  you are planning for a half day trek.

Ferries at Arnala
We took an auto to the Arnala beach where we need to take a ferry to the island where the fort is situated.  The auto fare is around  25 per head  for the 10 km distance to the jetty.
Well, the ferry ride was quite an experience with the localites crowding the small boat. Since you would prefer shoes for climbing the hill, you need to take an extra pair of slippers with you for the beach. Don’t forget to carry your cap and other necessary items.

Getting drenched while getting
onto the boat
The ferry stops a little away from the shore so we need to walk in the water as to get aboard. One thing to admit, the water is not as clean as you may expect it to be because Arnala is a fisherman’s area and fishes are what you'd find all around. Don't be surprised if climbing onto to the boat is an uneasy task and you may get drenched till your thighs, so keep all your necessary items like cell phones inside your bags and hold it in your hand safely.

Arnala fort
Once you reach the island which is like 10 minutes away , you may get drenched again while getting out of the boat, so better come prepared. This was hell of an adventure though. You need to start walking straight through the small line of the fishing village . There are local shops available there if you need to buy anything to eat or drink for the fort. After walking for 5 minutes or less we found the fort.

Dried shrimps
The fort was not as huge as we expected it to be ,all that you can do is walk around the four walls of the fort enjoy the peace of the place and click photographs of the natural scenes. It was fascinating to think how old this fort was, with it’s secret staircases, though they lead nowhere.There was not much to explore but the most surprising thing was the dried shrimps laid all around on the fort, there was no foul smell of them at all but yet it was creepy to walk over them at some place.

Inside the fort
The greenery in & around the fort and the view of the sea from up there was quite worth all the trouble from the ferry. We started walking and clicking pictures everywhere we stopped. It is one of the idle locations for a good photo shoot. The view from all the sides of the fort was fantastic. An idle place for one who loves greenery, sea & peace.

Banyan tree swings
You can explore the centre of the fort, which gives you the island vibes.You will spot a pond, a temple , a mosque and a well with the local people busy washing clothes . There is a huge Banyan tree near the temple, with it’s vines entangled and crafted like a swing; a complete village experience. After spending quite some time there, we prepared ourselves for the return journey.You have to take the ferry again, which honestly is not so frequent.We headed back to the station around 5 p.m.


Viren Nawani (left)
Nidhi Shetty (center)
Rashneet Sachdeva (right)
Photography by - Parth Parikh
We thoroughly enjoyed our visit, and  did not forget to take our DSLR with us to capture beautiful and natural scenes, events and memorable moments.
These photographs will help us to keep our joy and memories of this trip fresh and new!
This was our experience in brief, hope it was satisfactory.


Plan your own trip Now !

How to reach : 

  1. Virar (65 kms)
    • By road : via NH3 or NH8
    • By train : via mumbai local train
  2. Tunga Parvat from Virar Station (2.3 kms)
    • By walk : 30 mins 
    • By auto : 10 mins (Rs/-10 per person)
    • By bus : N/A
  3. Arnala from Virar Station (9.2 kms)
    • By auto : 25 mins (Rs/-25 per person)
    • By bus : N/A
  4. Fort from Arnala
    • Ferry : 10 mins (Rs 12/- per person)
    • Walk : 05 mins

The Itinerary :
  1. 08 : 30 - Assemble at Virar station
  2. 08 : 45 - Take Rickshaw for Tunga Parvat
  3. 09 : 00 - Reach the base & Start climbing the hill
  4. 10 : 30 - Reach hill top
  5. 11 : 30 - Start descending the hill
  6. 12 : 00 - Reach back to the base
  7. 12 : 30 - Lunch
  8. 01 : 30 - Take Rickshaw for Arnala
  9. 02 : 00 - Board ferry for the fort
  10. 02 : 15 - Reach the fort & start exploring
  11. 04 : 45 - Leave from the fort
  12. 05 : 30 - Depart home from Virar station

Food :
  1. Tunga Parvat - Small shops selling eateries like Nimbu paani, etc are available on the way to hill
  2. Lunch - Most of the restaurants are available around the station only. Recommended - Viva pure veg restaurant on the west opening of the virar station.
  3. Arnala - No food eateries are available except for genral stores on the way to Arnala. No food eateries are available near the fort fort.

Bag Packing :
  1. Pair of slippers
  2. Cap & Aviators
  3. Small rope
  4. Lighter / matchbox
  5. Pen Knife
  6. 2 litres of drinking water
  7. Food : Dry vegetable rolls, sandwich, cake, biscuit or fruits.
  8. First Aid : Band aid, Cotton, Savlon, Soframycin, crocin odomos, Eno or Electral powder

Dressing :
  1. T-shirt & tracks
  2. Winter Jacket
  3. Good pair of shoes

Cell Phone :
  1. Battery charged
  2. Power backups
  3. Image files of local area map
  4. 2g/3g enabled
  5. Working flashlight
  6. Updated google maps & saved offline maps
  7. Phone number of the group members

Do not Take :
  • Canned food/drinks.
  • Say no to meat/chicken while trekking.
  • Bagged such as chips & other junk
  • Avoid all fat & starch items as much as you can as they contain complex carbohydrates and take longer to digest.

Coordinates :
  1. Virar : 19°27'18"N   72°48'43"E
  2. Tunga Parvat : 19°27'58"N   72°49'37"E
  3. Arnala fort : 19°27'57"N   72°43'57"E

The Team

Viren Nawani
Trek Planning & Organising
Nidhi Shetty
Blog writer & Editor

 Parth Parikh
Rashneet Sachdeva
Trek Financer

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