The gate of an old Parsi house in Bordi
The gate of an old Parsi house in Bordi

Weekend Vacations: In search of serenity

'Chikoos', 'aamras', Parsi food and empty beachesBordi offers a restful break from the city rush

When you’re driving in Mumbai, you never get to speed, or even feel the wind in your hair. Road trips can change that. They may begin with a slow crawl out of the city but then, at some point, like a door swinging wide open, you leave everything—worries, work and traffic—behind.

The Mumbai to Bordi route provides one such escape.

The husband and I set out early on a Friday, caught the Western Express Highway, which slowly morphs into National Highway (NH) 8 and runs to New Delhi via Ahmedabad. Once on the highway, I rolled down the windows and let the roar of the wind drown out the music. Hills flowed into each other on either side, the air felt crisp.

Just about 25km after the Virar toll booth, we turned into a parking lot crowded with other ravenous travellers and joined the queue at Vithal Kamats. Their chai could give kheer a complex, the sambhar tasted like sweetened dal, but the misal pav had steam coming out of my ears. Satiated, we headed back to the highway. At Kasa junction, we took the left turn on to Dahanu Road, taking the coastal highway till Bordi. The sea, with tall trees lined up on the beachfront, gleamed to our left. On the right, chikoo orchards zipped by.

There aren’t many attractions—barring the 16th century Vasai Fort, also called Bassein Fort—so we planned our trip around the sea and sand. On the beach, dark, mildly sticky sand welcomed us. A signboard proclaimed that locals weren’t allowed to use the beach for daily ablutions, yet I walked cautiously till the gentle warm waters of the Arabian Sea swept me up, inviting me to venture further.

The next day, after an unhealthy helping of akuri, Parsi-style masala scrambled eggs, we set out to explore Bordi. The Saturday village haat had taken over the main street, an assortment of stalls selling everything from vessels and groceries to lingerie. Down the road, a Parsi bawa, standing at a window of his bungalow in white pyjamas and short kurta, invited us in. The chance to see an old Parsi home should never be passed up. It was like a walk down memory lane—poster beds, old tiled mosaic flooring and wooden window shutters. “We are all cousins, between 60-70 years, who live here," he told us. His breath was laced with alcohol, but we were all ears thanks to his stories and his generosity.

Bidding him adieu, we headed to Aswali Dam, a 15-minute drive away, to watch the day dissolve into dusk. The dam wall divides the two sides—the large lake hemmed in by hills, and endless stretches of green fields.

A wall with a Warli drawing
A wall with a Warli drawing

Back in Mumbai, as I gulp down yet another cold chikoo shake, my mind wanders back to Bordi. I dream about running a heritage home-stay in an old bungalow, walking down the quaint lanes and letting life unravel by the water…

Every fortnight, Weekend Vacations will offer suggestions on getaways that allow for short breaks from metros.

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