Mumbai, the business capital and financial hub of India, is a bustling metropolis teeming with people. Business activities happen round the clock and people here have no time to built relationships or emotional attachments. The sprawling concrete jungle, ever increasing traffic and the massive crowds tend to overwhelm a person by the end of the day.
People like me who reside in Mumbai, eagerly look forward to weekends for a quick weekend getaway. Since packing my backpack and setting out on a long trip was obviously not a feasible option, a short, but memorable night out was what I desired. I got my search shoes on and started looking out for places that would make my stay worth it. I stumbled upon a nearby place called ‘Arnala’ and immediately I made up my mind that this would be my next destination to explore.
Arnala Beach – Image Source: Somnath @ Trekearth
In the extreme northern suburbs of Mumbai, is a place called Virar, which is the last stop for the suburban railways. The tiny town of Arnala lies just seven kilometres west from Virar. For Mumbaikars, reaching Arnala would take not more than one and a half hours time. You can either take a bus or a private vehicle to reach Arnala directly. Another alternative is to simply hop onto the lifeline of Mumbai – the local trains and get down at Virar and reach Arnala by taking a rickshaw. One heart warming feature associated with Arnala is that it is completely managed by localites, which ensures that you experience a homely feeling once you get there!
The major attraction associated with Arnala is of course the Arnala Beach. The Arnala Beach happens to be centrally located and thus you can reach there by just walking down a few quick steps. From the beach, the Arnala fort island is visible at a distance, which was built originally by the Portuguese and then rebuilt by the Marathas. However, you need to get a ferry to reach the fort.
Black Sand Arnala Beach – Image Source: Atanu.maity @ Flickr
As soon as you enter the Arnala Beach, you will be greeted by a number of hawker women, who sell tender coconut water. As you walk further, you will be delighted to see camels who are sitting ready to give you a desert experience by taking you on a ride. Similarly, you can also enjoy horse rides. Furthermore, photographers can capture your every moment at the beach through their instant photographs!
Arnala houses a number of resorts that have established their base near the famous Arnala Beach. These resorts provide a complete package that includes stay as well as food. You can have a comfortable stay and at the same time, munch on a number of traditional delicacies at a reasonable price. In addition, each of these resorts have well-maintained waterparks that come complete with swimming pools, slides as well as rain showers.
Sopara Buddha Stupa – A National Monument – Image: Siddhi Aras
Once you are done viewing the serene magnificence at the Arnala Beach you can check out the other interesting spots in and around Arnala. Arnala is known to house an extremely old, historical temple that possesses idols of an entire pantheon of gods including Lord Ganesha and Lord Shiva. This temple accommodates a large number of pandits, who have dedicated their lives to the almighty.
The Suru Garden, which is known to contain a diverse variety of trees, should be your next destination. For urbanites who have always lived in big cities, it is obvious that they have forgotten the actual meaning of the word, nature. For such people, the garden offers an opportunity to experience the beauty and peace that comes with the nature. If possible, make it a point to visit this place late in the evening. You will definitely have a twinkle in your eye once you see the view.
Last, but not the least, the Buddha Stupa at Nalasopara should be in your list of must-do destinations. The Buddha Stupa is known to be built by Emperor Ashoka, which was eventually discovered during the archaeological surveys in the late 1980s. This destination is known to be of national significance. The serenity of the place filled my mind with peace and calm. I would definitely recommend Arnala for Mumbaikars, who are seek an exciting weekend getaway.
Text – Siddhi Aras