Who says you need to get out of Mumbai and escape to Goa to unwind from the city stress when you can just spend a day at Madh Island? All you need is a ferry, football and comfy shoes to explore this tiny island, five minutes away from Versova Jetty. Here’s our guide to Madh Island and what all it offers apart from the private bungalows and farm houses that are used for shoots.

The Church On The Beach

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The best way to get Madh Island is to get the ferry from Versova jetty. There they have regular ferries plowing – one being the regular one {INR three one way} and a speed boat {INR 10 one way}. From there, catch an auto directly outside the jetty {it’ll cost you approximately INR 80} to Erangal beach.

Erangal village is a colourful and picturesque quaint town by the blue Arabia sea. It’s a close-knit community- and the houses have been done up beautifully. Cross the village to come to the Erangal beach – and you’ll find St Bonaventure Church. It’s a small church which has been there since 1940. Since the renovation is going on we were asked to go via the back door. It’s a quintessential village church – which hosts mass every Tuesday 7pm onwards.

We did not find too many visitors and were by ourselves in the church for quite a while. Its USP is that it’s bang opposite the beach with a pretty neat sea-view though the beach is mainly for fishermen to dry their fishes.

#LBBTip: We found green parrots fluttering around the high-rise windows of the church.

Timings: 8am to 1pm, 4pm to 8pm

Wine And Dine At Bollywood Stars

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Bollywood Stars is a slightly bizarre one: a family-run restaurant that opened up in Madh Island just three months back. We decided to go and check it out after the locals recommended this place to us.

It’s a multi-cuisine restaurant with a unique feature – it’s an open-air space with huts that patrons can sit in and eat. Complete with a bamboo structure and framed photographs of almost every Bollywood star we found mainly tourists gorging on the tandoori dishes and sipping on the beers. Their menu is pretty basic with an extensive amount of tandoor dishes like kebabs and tikkas – we liked the paneer tikkas.

#LBBTip: The owner tells us once Irrfan Khan stopped by with his wife, or so he claims. Going by the lack of restaurants in Madh, we’d like to buy into this story {just this once}.

Rent A Football Turf

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On the same road as Bollywood stars is the Passion United Astro Fields – a football turf that has its other branch on Kandivali. The football pitch is super new, well maintained and doesn’t even get that crowded so you can literally book it up for as many hours as you want. So looking something beyond beach football? Go the Astro way – and get your friends on board to form a team. You need to book the field in advance and it’s charged on hourly basis.

Timings: All days, 6am to 2am

Price: INR 1,200 per hour {weekdays}, INR 1,500 {weekend} for 10 players.

Contact: Rachna +919820087029

Gorge On Bombil For INR 30

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If you love seafood, then Prabha’s tiny stall at the Versova jetty is one you should stop by. Prabha sits there from 4pm to 11pm and offers three types of deep-fried fishes – bombil {INR 30 per piece}, saundale {INR 20} and rawas fish {INR 15}. Eat this with bhakrey made from freshly kneaded dough that she makes there and then. Our photographer decided to try out the three fishes served with hot bhakrey and it just cost him INR 75 – yes bombil for a mere cost of INR 30. The fishes were soft, succulent and fried well – though do ask her to heat it up for you if you like your food pipping hot.

Timings: 4pm to 11pm

Contact: +91 8082331570

#LBBTip: We recommend planning your day until 7pm as post that getting hold of autos or buses gets tough, especially if you’re coming by the ferry. For solo travellers, please keep in mind Madh Island is isolated and isn’t as touristy a place and we’d strongly advise against going by yourself. So get a gang of your friends and make a lovely one-day trip to Madh.

Photos: Athul Prasad/LBB