Treasure hunts add a dash of fun to Mumbai

Written By Unknown on Kamis, 25 September 2014 | 22.23

Two Sundays ago, a bunch of people came together at one of the most prominent landmarks — Oval Maidan — armed with a love for food. No, there was no cookout, but the event still had everything to do with cuisine. It was South Mumbai's first food treasure hunt, part of the new trend of such fun-filled activity that has been happening in the city. Earlier, Mumbai's natural history society organised a hunt for kids at another place, event planners have also conjured up mini hunts for the bride and groom-to-be as part of the wedding run-up fun and there's another 'Mumbai curiosity' hunt coming up on September 28. Ready to take on this new weekend challenge?

Hunting for food

The recent food hunt came about as a spin-off to the one that took place at Bandra last month, which saw quite a turnout. For this one too, by 11 am, around 41 participants arrived at Oval, the flag off point. They were to form groups of three and go to eight checkpoints in total, solving clues given at each point, and moving to the next level. Says curator Sameer Malkani, "It was a whole lot of fun and there was a two-pronged aim to this. One, to get people out on a Sunday to take part in a meaningful activity and second, to increase awareness about food." While earlier participants at the Bandra food hunt enlisted here too, there were a bunch of newcomers as well, which he found heartening. "To those new to the city, such an event is a great way to engage with others," he adds. The clues were interesting; one read, 'Twice A Country', while the other said, 'Namak Paani'.

After cracking a clue and reaching the checkpoint (restaurant), each team had to cook a small dish, like a pasta or kaukswe there, and post a picture of it online, tagging that restaurant. Only then did the 'culinary police' hand out the next clue. The three-hour hunt ended with a prize-distribution.

Malkani hopes to involve more city folk as food can be a huge binding factor and build bonhomie. There are plans to make it a monthly event in Mumbai, with the next one planned either at Versova or Ghatkopar. "We also want to take it to Pune as a monthly feature and then to Bangalore in December," he informs.

Another hunt based on your curiosity

There is a hunt coming up this Sunday at Cross Maidan, which aims to make the traveller in you decode clues and race to finish tasks. "The city-based hunt plans to get people to learn lesser known aspects of famous places, get new experiences and convert the plain old Sunday into a fun-filled one, Very often, if you just look at your own city with curious eyes, you will find a different world than you ever thought existed. Hunts like these can help you do that," says organiser Ritika Saraf.

What to take with you

You must dress comfortably, preferably in running gear.

Wear a sunscreen.

Carry cash along as you can take cabs and autos as you go along solving clues.

Take a smartphone as you may have to click a picture.

Go with an open mind. You will be making friends and meeting new people, so it's a great way to socialise, too.

Popular treasure hunts in cities across the globe

1) Architecture theme: Basel

Here, participants form groups and visit the most outstanding buildings about which they must decipher clues. Teams get a map and camera.

2) Da Vinci hunt: New York

New York has quite a few scavenger hunts. One of them, the Da Vinci adventure, offers authentic paraphernalia, from handmade maps to encrypted clues. It's a search staged in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and teams race to crack clues that will solve the Cryptex Code.

3) City hunt: San Francisco
The city offers an adventure to the sleuth-minded where folks have to crack a set of puzzles, even 20 clues sometimes, in teams. The hunts last for a few hours and lead to off-the-beaten-track areas.

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