Bike Ride to Usgaon Lake

By Rutuja Bhagwat - March 05, 2018

Looking around the lake...

Whenever Holi comes round the corner, I have a blend of feelings: I love this festival and contrary to that, people from my social circle are thoroughly boring. Every year I ask my friends about their Holi plans and I end up throwing colours on people from my society or act dead while playing with the kids as they spray water using their ultra-cool water guns. It's enjoyable for some time but I wished I played Holi with someone I love. This year, not a single drop of water was seen in my society––thanks to the kids having their board exams and a bunch of overly enthusiastic members escaping to a destination with family and friends to play Holi. One member of my society clique was on her period and the remaining one was as annoyed as I was. This was my Holi plan, until midnight, when my friend Anurag came to the rescue. 

We were not planning to play Holi but had a plan to flee away from the city to a lake near Vasai. His eldest uncle had passed away a few weeks back so according to Hindu customs, he is refrained to celebrate any festival for a year. I did not mind not playing Holi since a getaway from the city always equalled to fun, fantastic shots, and a vlog. 

The plan was finalised at 1:00 am and I woke up at 5:30. This four and half hours of sleep was worth it, despite the trouble. After washing hair and getting dressed, I left the house. I walked to a bus stop when I realized there was no one on the road. It was 6:30 am and the streets were quiet. I was wondering what was it about––were people burning Holi till late night last night or were they sleeping till late because it was a holiday? I knew not.

On the Titanic, waiting for my Jack

I spotted the bus stop and after waiting for about 10 minutes at it, I boarded a bus that was not even taking me to the stop I wanted to alight. The bus dropped me off at a location little inside than the planned one. I asked Anurag to meet me at the revised spot. When I got off, he was already there, with his Royal Enfield and a white helmet. All I could see through it was his smile, his snub nose, and his thin-as-a-line eyes. He smiled at me and off we started our journey at 7:15 am.

We encountered roads sans vehicles and witnessed joggers struggling to put another foot ahead. It was a lovely morning and surprisingly, I sensed chilliness as the winds fiercely touched me. We reached Shirsad phata, from where we had to take a diversion to right. Enticed by the aroma of boiling tea from an eatery at the phata, we halted for breakfast. I'd had an apple on the bus but Anurag was starving. We had wada pav and a cup of steaming tea. Luckily, we had a delectable breakfast, especially because I was a little doubtful of the eatery.

The path from Shirsad phata to Usgaon village was brimming with fog. It was indeed one of the best roads I've travelled on to (and the fact that it was summer yet nature impressed me makes me delighted significantly more). After about 15 minutes of the cemented road, we reached a narrower route and saw men gathered on a ground that was attached to the road. Few of them were dressed in a white uniform that had UPL written on the back. We were confused but then realized UPL stands for Usgaon Premier League and that we were visiting the village during a cricket tournament. We found it funny and rode further.

The first look of the Usgaon Lake

We passed the crowd and reached a beautiful landscape; we had arrived at the lakeside! The view was brilliant, though the sun was out by then and we experienced a difficulty to keep our eyes open. Nevertheless, the weather was pleasant and gay.

Before venturing out to any new place, I generally seek through Instagram or watch a video to learn about where I am heading to. The challenge with exploring offbeat places lies here. You are clueless regarding the locals, the flora, the fauna, and other crucial details. But when you go through previously shot photographs and videos, you have a slight idea of how the location would be.
Similarly, I had done my research for the Usgaon Lake too but the place looked much different than it did in one of the vlogs I had watched.

We thought of digging out the entire region. Towards our far left, we saw women bathing in the lake. Since I had a boy with me, we thought it would be indecent to go to that side of the water. Hence we took a right, and there, we found the trail from the vlog! We came across a picturesque location with an abandoned boat that looked breathtaking. We shot some pictures and then furthered to an emplacement that had the lake on one side and a wastewater well on the other. Moreover, the edges of the well were not exceptionally broad––sufficient for a person to sit––but one slight slip and you would either fall into the filthy well or hit the stones along the lakeside. But, we still managed to get good shots here.

Sitting atop the edges of the well that had wastewater on one side and the lake on the other

We were to advance to yet another location that looked beautiful and more exotic from where we were standing. We went there but saw a group of men saturated with colours, drinking alcohol, and having a merry time. We wanted to play safe so retreated without even getting down once before they looked at us.

On our way back, we were stopped by two village girls. They had held a long bamboo in their hand and had blocked the road. I was stunned to see this as I'd never encountered such scene before. Anurag offered them chocolates and happily, we rode ahead. Right before the village ended, we were stopped again! This time it was a bunch of notorious kids who were delighted to see the outlanders; they knew they were earning some cash contrary to the fellow villagers who were shooing them away.

The boys asked for Rs. 10 but Anurag gave a 20-rupee note. They were ecstatic and even helped me by playing a role in my vlog. Such a lovely way to play Holi: amidst nature and a bunch of cute kids!

USGAON LAKE DETAILS

Distance from Mumbai (Vasai)
29.6 km

Parking Facility
Available

Duration
1/4 Day

Beautifully captured: A girl longing for something she truly loves

Best Season
Monsoon, Winter

How to reach
Via rail by getting down at Vasai station and then hiring a bus/auto. I prefer taking a car or bike

Water and Food Source
Available at Shirsad Phata

What can you expect
Lush greenery in monsoon, open land,  lesser crowd, large lake, boat rides (hopefully, on asking the locals)

Pet-Friendly
Yes

Additional flora/fauna information
Spotted a snake in the lake

Watch my vlog:


  • Share:

You Might Also Like

0 comments