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Konkan Kinara

After working continuously for last six months I took a break to explore Konkan and the picturesque Western Ghats. The planning started almost 4 months in advance and the group included 10 people from 4 families in the age bracket of a decade to half century. The members’ ethnicity and geographical location was also diverse, from hard core non-vegetarian Bengalis from Kolkata to pure vegetarian Jain from Kachh, Gujarat. So the Rendezvous was decided to be Mumbai at one of the families place.
10 people distributed in two cars. How? No marks for guessing correctly, as they were divided as per the choice of music which was to be played and the group automatically was divided as per the age group with drivers remaining loyal to their cars.
Started at a descent time in morning on 19 Oct and reached Chiplun at lunch time as planned. Enroute just short of Chiplun visited very old temple of Shri Parshuram, which is only of its kind. Shopping attraction here is varieties of homemade Papads, etc. At Chiplun had lunch at Abhishek, which is a regular joint for Marathi film and theatre celebrities. Here Kombadi(Chicken)-Vada, or Kolambi (Prawns) Thali is a must. It’s a real test of Malvani cuisine. Its served with a refreshing bowl of Kokam (a citrus fruit from Konkan) Sar (made from Kokam juice and coconut milk).
After lunch, the caravan continued to Dervan. Here, the attraction is a private studio, where amateur artists have been provided place to display their skills. The place is dedicated to life of Chatrapati Shivaji. Strict dress code (Saree for ladies and trousers for gents) is followed. Photography is not permitted. But every statue made by the artisans is lively and a must visit. It takes not more than 30 min to visit and it is on the way to Goa.
By evening reached to Ganapati Pule in Ratnagiri district leaving the Mumbai –Goa highway and turning right at Hathkhamba. The place is famous for Ganapati temple right on the sea shore. 4-5 Kms short of the place, as the descend begins, one can have a first glimpse of the sea. The temple has a unique 1 kms long Parikrama route which is around a hillock and includes sea shore. Stayed in one of the resorts, booked through internet. Enjoyed the evening sea breeze on the open terrace of the hotel with good food.
Next morning had a long walk on the beach, playing with water. Started journey by 8.00 AM and reached Goa after having breakfast of Misal-Pav enroute. The music played in both the cars was now had signature tunes by Remo Fernandez, and the cars too were dancing to these tunes. For joining the Mumbai-Goa highway, one should not come back to Hathkhamba, but should go to Ratnagiri, via Arre-Ware road which is a coastal road with beautiful beaches. Hotel was booked in advance at Bardez, which is close to Anjuna beach. Checked in and had lunch. Immediately, moved out and after spending some time at Anjuna, reached to Panjim. Spent evening at Miramar beach, having snacks including Shaverma and then moved to the majestic Panjim Church. Some shopping of clothes (read hats), cashews etc was tried by the ladies (Sunday market is closed) and gents moved to the waterhole and ordered the natural drink of Goa, i.e. BEER. Next day morning went to Bagha beach and enjoyed thoroughly. Ladies indulged in leg massage {First by professional masseurs and then by permanently hired one (read husbands)} and the kids in Tattoo painting. Later part of the day was spent in exploring eastern part of Goa, i.e. up to Phonda and returned to Panjim after visiting Shri ShantaDurga, Mangeshi temples and St Xavier’s Church. Now the group was divided into two, one went to the ferry boat on Mandavi river enjoying about 1.30 hrs of ride. Snacks and drinks are available on boat and there is a disco which allows dancing in groups of ladies only or gents only. For people with interest in gambling there are casinos available on other boats. It’s the only place in India where gambling is permitted. The other group again explored the Panjim market. The two groups were united for beer and good food.
Next day, checked out and moved to Tarkarli. To reach Tarkarli, you have to move about 100 kms on Goa-Mumbai highway up to Kudal and then take left turn inside town in front of the post office. There are innumerable resorts available in this otherwise sleepy village. One can book on internet. The place was beautiful and the staff was excellent. The staff arranged for water sports, which are conducted at a place about 10 kms away from Tarkarli and on an island. The ferry to island is chargeable @ Rs 1000/- up to 12 persons. Water scooters, Kayaking, Bumpy Rides, Banana Boats, Para Sailing etc are available at different prices. Now the group was once again united and there was only single age group and that was of 10-19. Nobody crossed their teens. Almost 4 hours were spent in water. Dinner was at the resort, with drinks carried by us and kids arranging to play the ‘Dumb Charades’ in the open artificial sea shore created with soft sand.
Next day, after breakfast, went to Malvan. The place is famous for Sindhu Durg, a fort erected by Shivaji in the sea. A civil engineering marvel. This huge fort was constructed within record time of 3 years and has an underwater tunnel of approx 13 kms. The fort also houses the only temple of Shivaji which was created by his son. The fort is also surrounded by beautiful marine life including the corals. Facilities for Scuba diving and snorkeling are available. The boats take you to the fort as well as for the Scuba and Snorkeling activities. This is only place in India for such activities other than the Andmans. The rates are reasonable and fixed.
After lunch, we moved to Guhaghar via Goa-Mumbai highway. This place is about 40 kms inside towards west from Chiplun. Here we had booked a home stay. The host came to receive us near Guhaghar Bus Station and guided us to his abode on a hill top about 4 kms form the bus stand. The house was a bungalow surrounded by lush green mango orchards, coconut trees, turmeric plantations etc. The host ladies offered us hot tea on arrival and extremely tasty ethnic Malvani food. The real taste of the village life was experienced. We spent a day and two nights there, visiting 400 years old Ganesha temple at Hedvi (30 kms), Guhaghar beach, etc.
The return journey was via Dabhol, which takes you and your car for a ride. Not in the sense you are perceiving, but in literal sense. All have to cross the back waters near Dabhol and Bankot in a ferry including the car. Short of Shrivardhan, take right and join highway for Mumbai but not before capturing some mesmerisingly beautiful virgin beaches of the Konkan Kinara (the sea shores of Konkan).
As we had been to Goa earlier on number of occasions so there was no temptation of staying longer at Goa. If one plans to relax with only Beer & Beaches, Fenny & Fish, Gambling and Good fun then don’t leave Goa early ……stay longer. Those who want to plan a budget trip should avoid Goa in Dec-Jan. Happy journey………..:)



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Abhijeet Sarmandal

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Maharashtra ,  INDIA

I am an engineer from MANIT, Bhopal.

 Happily married, having two kids and lots of friends. I am what I am, is because of people around me. My indulgence include driving, cooking, music and exploring new places. I believe in humanity and thoroughly convinced that all religions are same.

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