We did just that and are still basking in the happiness of the discovery. Ours is a running group of about 20 active members. We run in a group at least twice a week, with Saturday being earmarked for longer distances. Last evening, we decided to run in Aarey Colony. And set off this morning with water bottles, energy drinks and nuts in a couple of cars (we were 12 of us, you see). A 15-minute drive got us into the lap of nature, amidst unthinkable greenery in a concrete city like Mumbai.
We ran to see the rising sun, the moon progressing towards the western horizon, to the chirping of birds, to the melodious Koyel, to the buzzing of insects in the bare trees, to the storks in the marshes, to the flower strewn paths, to the wild flowers in the bushes, to the city silhouettes in the distant horizon, to the peaceful tolling of bells in a Mandir nearby, to the everyday life of shepherds near the cattle sheds..
Enticed? Enough to vow to drive down to the Colony for your next morning run? Well, that was the intention!! Here are some information that you’d find handy if you really make up your mind to run in Aarey Colony:
- Where is Aarey Colony in Mumbai? In Goregaon East. If going from Powai, take a right turn from the L&T Junction and keep driving straight. Those from other parts of Mumbai, take the Western Express Highway and drive up to Goregaon. Ask anybody or your GPRS, and you will know which turn to take for Aarey.
- Where in Aarey Colony can you run? We advise you to avoid the main Aarey Road, although you will find a handful of joggers here as well. Suggest you drive up to the New Zealand Hostel (ask the locals). That’s where you can park your car and run peacefully in the vicinity – allows a good 10 km stretch on both sides. Being away from the main road, it doesn’t have too much traffic, and there are many other joggers too. Cuts the fear of security.
- Is the Aarey stretch good for running? The terrain is certainly good in case you want to train for marathons for it has slopes here and there. The roads aren’t very well-maintained though. Need to keep an eye so that you don’t sprain your ankel or trip and fall. But note, it isn’t all that bad.
- Is it safe for women? Yes, if you are in a group. DO NOT run alone in the dark.
- What is the ideal time to run @Aarey Colony? With the sun rising early these days, try to start running by 5.30 am. Humidity levels are high, and despite the shade of the trees, you may find it difficult to run beyond 2 hours.
- Carry enough water and energy drinks. In case you are planning a long haul, carry some fruits too. Let me mention though that you will find hawkers selling tender coconuts. Plus there are many dairies in the vicinity that sell bottled Lassi and Basundi. Awesome for a post-run drink! J
- Are there toilets/emergency services at Aarey Colony? No. That’s why, stay close to one another in the group so that anything unexpected can be addressed at once.
Unbelievable green stretch. Not sure I’d want to run anywhere else any more 🙂