A Memorable Trip From Panvel Bhopal via MumbaiPanvel is a very popular place in the state of Maharashtra and is quite close to the capital of the state. Situated in the district of Raigad, Panvel is also the renowned passageway to the Konkan region which covers the long coastal line of Maharashtra. It also a part of the Navi Mumbai region and is only about 37.2 kilometers away from Mumbai. Be it a train or be it a bus, it takes only about 54-70 minutes to reach from Panvel to Mumbai.
There are numerous commutations available from Panvel to Mumbai. The ultimate destination of the entire trip was to get back to Bhopal, to attend a conference. The visit to Panvel was for official purposes and the journey to Mumbai and vice-versa, seemed to be a regular thing for many office goers. A huge number of people traveled from Panvel to Mumbai on a regular basis, which consisted of those who opted for Buses, Cars as well as the local trains.
Until recently, the local trains were the fastest medium to reach Mumbai from Panvel, but with the advent of the new Sion-Panvel expressway, the distance has reduced and so has the travel time. It takes only 58 minutes, to be precise, to reach Mumbai from Panvel on road and the actual distance of 67 kilometers has been reduced to only 37.2 kilometers. So I chose to take the road transport, by hiring a car, to enjoy the infrastructural wonder between the two cities of Maharashtra.
A number of corporate offices have developed in Panvel making it a common and everyday destination for MNC and IT sector employees. As a result a number of star hotels and resorts have also developed in the corporate hub of Navi Mumbai. One of these hotels was my abode for 3 days during which I had to attend the conference.
For those who are unaware of the city, must know that there are two parts of the town, one is referred to as Panvel, while the other is New Panvel. The latter is more developed in terms of industries, official campuses and major real estate projects which include lavish residential apartments and compounds.
As I boarded the car for my journey to Mumbai, I was actually quite excited about seeing the new expressway that joined the two most sought after cities of Mumbai. A lot of people consider Panvel to be a part of the Maharashtra capital itself whereas it is actually a part of the Raigad district. So I couldn’t help but compare the connection between Panvel and Mumbai to that of Gurgaon and Delhi, as I am myself a citizen of the national capital.
During my journey, I realized that though there wasn’t much to see on the way, the journey in itself was a pleasant and relaxing experience. It is an ideal option for those who enjoy long drives with minimal population. Although the expressway was quite busy as I was traveling during office hours, I was sure that at night the roads surely would be deserted, especially post 9.00pm, which marked the end of office hours.
Even though the volume of traffic was quite heavy, the road was quite clear with no blockages or traffic bottlenecks. We only stopped at the traffic signals, which did not halt for more than a minute. The drive was smooth with highly maintained roads with the help of toll taxes incurred from the toll booths situated on the border of the Raigad district and Mumbai.
Once I reached Mumbai, it was time for me to attend a small meeting with the company clients at the renowned hotel Mariott. The meeting lasted for about 2 hours and my train to Bhopal was scheduled at 11.40 at night. The schedule was purposely orchestrated in this way to ensure that there was ample time for me to spend some time in Mumbai.
By the time I had my lunch and moved out of the hotel, it was already 3.00 pm, so I hired a cab, hunted out the Google Map from my phone and first visited the Vancha Shiddhivinayak Ganesh Mandir, wherein I spent a peaceful 30 minutes, roaming around the large temple. Then I proceeded to view the Bandra stand area which housed the residences of a few Bollywood celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan and Rekha. The King Khan’s house was located at the most lavish position of the slope where the land ended and the Arabian Sea began. There was a turn at the end of the road that took me towards the lower parallel road, like on the hills, where the homes of Salman and Rekha stood side by side. A few blocks, the house of the respected veteran actor, Mr. Amitabh Bachhan was also located. I had visited the place with the hope of being able to see at least one of these stars, but that hope surely went down the drain and into the Arabian Sea.
So I decided to proceed to the Gateway of India area, where the famous Taj Hotel stood proud and erect. I took a look at the grand hotel and then at the Gateway of India which was then surrounded by a lot of food vendors and other city noises. I satisfied myself with only a few pictures and the purchase of a tiny model of the great Gateway. I was too tired to visit any other place by then, so I decided to get back to the hotel and get some sleep before boarding my train, as it was already around 7.30 pm. I reached the hotel at around 8.15 pm, took a nice relaxing bath, some evening snacks and went to bed at around 9.00pm.
I set my alarm at 10.00 in the night, as beyond that I would actually end up losing my train. Woke up at 10.00 and checked out of the hotel by 10.30, unlike what I had expected the roads were comparatively empty and I reached the Lokmannya Tilak Terminus by 11.10 pm. The train had not even arrived at the platform by then, so I waited for about 15 minutes, observing the travelers, the station and grabbed some food, in case I got hungry at night.
The train arrived at around 11.25 pm which I boarded immediately. I always prefer to take the lower aisle seat as I can stay awake as I long as I intend to without disturbing anyone or being disturbed by anyone. Once the train left the station, I stayed awake till almost 1.00 pm trying to figure out the stations, had the food that I was carrying. By the time I woke up, it was almost 8.00 am and the tea from the railway pantry had already arrived. I could only see a few lush green farms while the express rushed through the fields. Gradually as it began entering the borders of Bhopal, a few buildings and other high rises came into view.
For me, the journey had ended there itself, as there was nothing more to see or enjoy beyond that. At 11.50 am, the train slowly entered the Bhopal Junction which technically marked the end of my journey. As I glided through the Bhopal junction with my bag pack, one thing was clear to me, that a train journey at night is not fruitful for a true travel enthusiast, while a simple road trip through a boring expressway in the day times, can be a lot more exciting.