11 Nov 2008

Budget travel on the Mumbai-Pune stretch

Taking RestLast weekend, I was in Mumbai on a visit. During the returning leg, I planned to deviate from the standard travel route (i.e Route A - The Mumbai-Pune expressway) which has become usual boredom for me. So I decided to switch to route B, which goes more like

 A]  A.1] Mumbai to Karjat via the crowded Mumbai Local train.
     A.2] Karjat to Khopoli via a less crowded Local train.
     A.3] Stopover at Khopoli to catch up with old buddies.
 B] Khopoli to Lonavala via HitchHiking techniques.
 C] Lonavala to Pune via the comparatively peaceful Pune Local train

Someone who is a Mumbai-Pune frequent traveler might express disdain at this poorly charted travel plan. However not me - I've always enjoyed this route. What better way to spend a sleepy Sunday than enjoy the pleasures of traveling on a shoestring budget. Just look at the economic comparison of both routes

Route A - Around Rs 200/- by MSRTC Volvo service
      Around Rs 110/- by MSRTC buses (Red ones).

Route B - 24 + 12 + 14 = Rs 50 /-
      Even after Rickshaw expenses it still hovers around Rs 75 /-

Btw, my preference for the Karjat-Khopoli route is not motivated by economics. It is motivated by component A.3, which allows me to catch up with old buddies over the weekend. Also I like to enjoy the light breeze on the Karjat-Khopoli stretch while I stand beside the train doorway reminiscing about days spent in Khopoli.

The only hitch a traveler may face is in component B. You need to either stand on the old NH4 highway near Khopoli corporation bus-stand or else reach Shilphata in Khopoli via a Rickshaw. Then you can either ask for a lift from numerous vehicles (trucks, cabs, tempos etc) en-route to Lonavala and beyond or you can hop into an MSRTC red bus and then get down at Lonavala bus-stand.

So the next time you wanna do a Mumbai-Pune sojourn and have all the time in the world - do give this route a try.


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