2 comments / Posted on by Gautham Nalasingu

...(continued from SKATE IND EXP - CHAPTER 2 - GOA & PUNE)
Our first visit after reaching Mumbai was BKC park, which is a park (not a skate park), with a round platform with stairs, and ledges around it.
BKC © Gautham Nalasingu
This park was packed with an entirely different level of energy. As we entered the park, we could see freestyle footballers, skateboarders and BMX freestylers sharing the same ground, doing what they do! This is something we do not get to see everywhere in India! In all the places that we visited so far in the expedition, we were blessed with such a sight only in Mumbai! It is truly  amazing to see something so different.
   BKC © Gautham Nalasingu
This park is home ground to a bunch of skaters and BMX freestylers like Nikhil, Akash, Harshad, Azhar, Sagar, Anul and a few more lads, who go by the name – ‘ Meteoric Crew’. Even with limited access to skate parks, the skaters have done a remarkable job at learning tough tricks like late shoves and stuff down stairs! We met some sick skaters and really good people in this park. I am really glad that I bumped into these guys!

 

BKC © Gautham Nalasingu
We also came across a 5 year old BMX freestyler, Ali, who trains here on his little ride! We spent a couple of days at the BKC spot, as this seemed like the most active zone in terms of skating happening in Mumbai, where skating is happening pretty much every day like it would at a skate park.
  NRI Bowl © Gautham Nalasingu
Next we visited the Mascot BMX shop, owned and run by Sanjay of Mascot BMX (sick rider). It was good to catch up with the BMX freestylers, feels like our scenes have already mixed, Dhroov (another rider of Mascot) tagged along with us skaters, sketching our bikes on his BMX as we headed to NRI complex (an apartment complex which has a concrete bowl inside).
 NRI Bowl © Gautham Nalasingu
There are a few kids in there who have picked up a liking towards skateboarding and skate regularly. Getting into that place is a bit tricky, you might face some difficulties if you want to enter that place as a skater visiting that spot, but rather entering there as a guest of the house of one the skaters in there will be a better option (info of this will be available with the Meteoric Crew).
 
© Gautham Nalasingu
We hit a street spot as well, with some very smooth marble ledges, and an amazing evening light, making it very footage friendly. The Mumbai skaters who revel in street spots were displaying some finesse. Nikhil pulling out a 50 - 50 grind to a kick flip out & Happy ventured out into street skating as well. Soon after that, we got kicked out of that place by security (due to complaints from passers by who were walking, not sure why they had a problem though! Guess they haven't heard of the concept- Live and Let Live).
 
 Khar Social © Gautham Nalasingu
Then of course a visit to Khar Social, which has a mini ramp set up in a pub, and that place can be skated till evening.  Azhar came out with a massive boneless on that small ramp. Ali was there as well with his tiny BMX, riding around in the mini ramp.

 Khar Social © Gautham Nalasingu
Being Happy's favourite thing to skate, he sure was on fire on the mini-ramp and the tricks kept coming out. A couple of DIY bean bags put into place and that mini ramp turns into a pretty cool chill spot to hang out with friends in the evenings. Its a good gathering place, as not many places you get to see a skate ramp in a very social setting. Feels good to see some skating in place like that, very different.
 
 © Gautham Nalasingu
Since Mumbai and Pune are quite close by, skaters from both places keep travelling between the cities getting together and hitting skate spots. Expecting to see some fast growth in terms of skateboarding from this part of the country. Both cities the skaters are more street oriented, due to the lack of skateparks, but that doesn't matter, cause they are killing it at street tricks. Some of the best street skaters would be coming from this part. Good going Nick Smith , these boys all adore you. It just left me with a very happy feeling, life as we know it before skateboarding seems like a very distant past. Not everyday would feel this special.
 
© Gautham Nalasingu
After about a 10 day stay in Mumbai, we started out early on our 2 day ride to Panna (about 1200 kms away), catching a beautiful sunrise.
It was an amazing ride, the landscape kept changing, and for the first time we were exploring. We found some ancient caves on our way which contained 3 tombs of legendary people who are said to have lived for 2,000 years.
One thing to watch out for on the roads of Madhya pradesh are the other vehicles on the road, they can be pretty rough, quite sketchy sometimes.
 
 BKC © Gautham Nalasingu
Panna is a small town, you might find some people on bikes casually carrying a rifle. It's common in weddings for people to be carrying guns, and sometimes even firing them in the air in times of celebrations.
 The very next morning we were greeted by Ulrike (the person who took initiative and grew Janwaar Castle to what it is today), then we headed to Janwaar Castle, which just a few kms. away from Panna).

skate india expedition

© Gautham Nalasingu
The village we were passing while going to the skate park looked just the way it does in the movies! Shortly, the skate park came into view , and its a sight to see. How surreal!
Janwaar Castle © Gautham Nalasingu
It takes a while before the feeling of being in such a beautiful place sinks in. And before you know it, you see these kids zipping around on skateboards, most of them barefoot. They are fast and doing things in their own style. They don't seem too afraid of falling and there are so many of them! They have their own small community in the skate park.
It is undoubtedly the most surreal skate spot I have been to in all of India so far! It felt like a different dimension of time where past and future merged.  And the kids there are experiencing this beautiful way of life every single day, with many of them having travelled around to different parts of the country and the world and seen places outside of their village.

Janwaar Castle © Gautham Nalasingu
The kids there love to skate, and flooded us with questions. They have so many questions, about everything. This was a spot visited by Nyjah Huston, but none of the kids were impressed by him, they were quite ticked off.  "He mostly kept to himself, didn't talk to us or teach us anything. I want to learn to skate and beat Nyjah" said one of the kids from Janwaar.

 Janwaar Castle © Gautham Nalasingu
Ramkesh, one of the kids skating there stood out! He was simply shredding that place on an entirely different level. He was skating barefoot even though he has shoes (which he saving for his Delhi trip which was coming up soon). He presented some insanely original fly outs which were super fast. No fear whatsoever.

 Janwaar Castle © Gautham Nalasingu
There were regular teaching sessions by Happy, who just loves teaching kids! They were fast learners and super gnarly, which made the process all the more fun. One day was set aside for a skate video session. Biscuits and skate videos in the shelter next to the park was a memorable day, for the kids and for us too.

© Gautham Nalasingu
There were a couple of off- road exploring rides we did, one of which ended up with us doing a shoot at sunset in the middle of nowhere and about 10 kids tagged along with us from the neighbouring houses in the distance, all of them wanting a spin on the bike! Obviously, Happy ended up giving bikes rides to about 4 to 5 kids at a time.

© Gautham Nalasingu
To all skaters out there, if you visit Janwaar, you will be stoked. The energy these kids bring is amazing. Something I have never felt in such huge amounts! And the park of course, is brilliant- big ups to all the people who built it. It's one of the best skate parks in the country right now.

skate india expedition

Smile and Wave © Gautham Nalasingu
Skating with the kids there was a fantastic experience. This skatepark is dedicated to the betterment of the lives of the kids there through skateboarding. If you are lucky enough to meet them, share your knowledge with them, inspire them as they inspire you. They are an important part of our growing skate community. So lets keep spreading the stoke and love to the kids of Panna . They truly are shredders. 

skate india expedition

  Janwaar Castle © Gautham Nalasingu
Our stay in Panna was about 12 days long. Happy managed to injure his foot in just a few days of reaching there! The team looking after Janwaar is doing some really good work! Hopefully, more skateparks like Janwaar will come up in Madhya Pradesh in the distant future, which would mean a lot for the kids in all those places, as it would for the skateboarding scene in India. 

Skaters and Their Family © Gautham Nalasingu
...(continued in Chapter 4, releasing soon)

 

2 comments

  • Posted on by Tiku

    Nice to see the skate vibe in mumbai :D

  • Posted on by Roy

    i want to visit panna, nice skating kids.

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