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Old 9th February 2012, 01:09   #61
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

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Originally Posted by mazda4life View Post
built here in Phoenix by the Puthige Seer (Home)
Mazda4life, Thank you for sharing the link.

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Originally Posted by mazda4life View Post
all the more important as my wife is a direct descendant of the lineage of the great saint Vysaraja...
In august company !!



Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
The name of the 8th guru is Sudheendra theertha and not Susheendra theertha.
I apologise. Thank you for pointing out the error MX6. I do not know how I slipped - not once but twice ! Thanks to the moderators - it has since been corrected.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
goddess to make Manjolai village now known as Mantralayam
Is Manchala also known as Manjolai in any language ?

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Post the 9th guru, the Mata was split in to 8 matas (Ashta Mata) and the Pontification process has been celebrated as the Paryaya festival.
Thank you for sharing info on the advent of paryaya system. Yes, Paryaya on 18th Jan was more grander this year. Sodhe mutt is at the helm now.

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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
I used to stay in Udupi over 8 paryayas back in Sudheendra Teertha Marg!
Aah Kunjibettu ! Have been to Sharada Temple and the adjoining kalyana mantap. Centre, yet secluded. The concrete road / 4 laning has done a world of good to the area. Remember, we used to have traffic jams on the old kalsanka ! - even in early 80s !




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The last time we had been to Murudeshwara in 2008, the huge gopura was still under construction. But frankly, late 80s and early 90s was much fun - a small temple, a quiet beach and the dangerous rocks !! Except for pilgrims, virtually unknown.
Today, we are here just for a stopover and look for an opportunity to ascend the gopura to get a bird's view, but a long queue for the lift makes us drive back to the highway.....


.....and head out to a small restaurant which we had bookmarked after Rocky and Mayur had raved about its tuppa ( ghee ) dosa in one of their shows.


We reach Gunavanthe village after cruising through Manki mavinakatte, the entrance arch to Idagunji MahaGanapati temple and Yakshagana superstar Keremane Shambhu Hedge's village. A couple of trucks are parked in front of a small shack - Sri Devi Prasad or was it Guru Prasad ? - welcomes us with a board - Tuppa dosa.


No families around - nor any women ! Why have these people come here ? is the kind of look the truck drivers give us.

Should we go in ? my wife asks, visibly reluctant.

Remember HOMP ? we'll go in and taste, what's the harm ?

we walk in...Tuppa dosae unta ?

Untu. Kudla va ? ( from Mangalore ? )

illa, kundapura.


He makes us settle on a small wooden school bench and serves water. The entire neighbourhood barges in to have a look at us and chota bheem ! Look, who's come ! Do they expect another celebrity visit ? My wife is right - we feel strange. Tens of truck drivers stare at us, children whisper among themselves and giggle at Gudiya and Titli, boys peep inside the car. To make it worse - smoke from the kitchen fills in, and then, a cat jumps from nowhere onto our table. My wife is fuming. Each of us gobble up two dosas in no time - as if there in no tomorrow ! Waiting to run back to the car, my wife gets up first, almost pushing me out of the bench.

Check, please ! A lone lungi clad man is the dosa maker, bearer and cashier ! Rs.48 !!

Back in the car, we make haste to turn around the next corner and get out of sight - tens of eyes still following us. I do not look at my wife - lucky to not get a whack from her handbag !

Later, we admit, the dosas were excellent - soft, crusty and crisp - full of ghee. Top it up with a glass of cold ragi malt - our dose of coolant for the day.

Will i go back ? Yes. as a truck driver !! The coordinates from wikimapia - 14.2232654N 74.4661206E




A km further, I defuse the scene inside the car - ok, where do we watch sunset ? Its 430pm now, our stop for the day - Palolem is 130 kms away - can try, but not worth rushing on the curvy roads after Karwar. So, ruled out.

Gudiya proposes Apsara konda beach, my wife wants to see the sun set on Om beach while I propose Tagore beach at Karwar.

We analyse all.

Apsara konda is just round the corner from here - a beautiful stretch of beach with a towering rocky hill, and a waterfall ! - ideal place to spend some leisure moments. But its too early to be there in the next ten minutes and spend time till sunset. Next.

Honnavar and Kumta beaches ? No, nothing special.

I still feel we can make it to Tagore beach ( named after Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore ) much before sunset. But, it would be crowded. So, a lot is drawn. Om beach wins.




Sharavathi Bridge at Honnavar

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most 'power' ful river of Karnataka. Upstream, these waters are diverted from a once glorious Jog falls to a hydel power station that to this day generates almost 50% of the state's power. Actually, word 'Joga' here means a waterfall. we have Keppa joga, burude joga, magodu joga.....so the local name for Jog falls is Gerusoppa joga.



Uttara Kannada or North Kanara district. With 80% evergreen forest coverage, this district is the least populated in Karnataka. With Western ghats, it is only natural to find hundreds of cascading rivers, waterfalls, three wildlife national parks, rock formations, the only aboriginal tribes of karnataka, hydel power dams, river rafting clubs, paper mills, large timber auction markets.. its all here. Now, a atomic power plant and a naval sea base. A profile to envy ! A perennial beauty contest - forests versus beaches !





The diversion to Jog falls from Honnavar. The erstwhile SH 68 ( now NH 206 ) or simply BH road ( Bangalore Honnavar road ). One of the most scenic roads to ascend the ghats. Views of Sharavathi Valley on this road are breathtaking !

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We speed past Kumta.

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Two roads from here provide access to the upper reaches of the district. Devimane or Ammenalli ghat to Sirsi ( with diversion at Katgal to the famous Yana ) and Bilgi ghat to Siddapura ( trekking diversions to Unchalli / Lushington falls and Burude falls ). A trekker's paradise !





20 kms from Kumta, we divert from NH17 and drive through the salt pans towards Gokarna and again divert 6kms to Om beach

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3 kms to Om beach ! On a steep and narrow ghat road, Kudle beach shows up in all its beauty

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We're at Om beach ! A double crescent making it look like OM in devanagari lipi.

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We climb down, stepping on slippery rocks and walk to the far end of the second crescent. The beach is magical and blissful - like the name itself !

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A large family of dogs join us on the beach. Fun time ! Come on mates, lets head out to the beach !

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Gudiya and Titli are busy naming each one of them !

This is uncle Veera

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He's had a late lunch and likes to cool off watching the sunset. And, overlooking the zestful younger ones play in the beach.


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He has seen life ! A full one ! A cow has attained salvation here by chanting Om and is walking towards the sunset ! Later, we'll know where she is headed to ! Full of wisdom, uncle Veera closes his eyes at the sight and humms - Samjhauta ghamon se karlo..

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Moti waits for his valentine. Where's the red rose ? Intehaan ho gayi intezaar ki.....

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Hi, I'm Derek, Bo Derek ! sorry, Boww Derek !

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Heera and Soni are newly weds. He dares Soni to get into the water and shows how to frolic. Soni is adamant ! like my wife !







We walk back to Namaste cafe and enjoy a cool drink. A different family here - Cats brush past our feet while the younger ones nibble on our shoes !

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Climbing the rocks on our way back....we see the cow again. What is she contemplating ? Dil aisaa kisine mera thodaa...

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Deciding not to drive the isolated 6 km stretch to Gokarna after dusk, we leave soon after sunset, have a quickie darshan of Sri Mahabaleshwara at Gokarna and continue our drive on NH17.


We're late, else we would have loved to revisit Sri Lakshminarayana Mahamaya temple in Ankola. We love the serenity of the temple. We also decide to skip a hot cup of coffee at Kamat Upachar and head towards Karwar


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The lights of the Naval sea base is only visible through some gaps on the long wall all along the highway. Lucky are those, who had been to Anjediva island in the past. I explain how the island 'shields' the naval base now.

730pm, we do not stop at Karwar. Yes, Tagore beach is still crowded - its summer ! There used to be a toy train on the beach in the 80s - whatever happened ? Chota bheem too likes this beach after his visit here in 2009. He's parked himself in my avatar here !


We're excited as we cross the Kali river at Sadashivgad and soon enter GOA !!!



32 kms away, our beds for tonight wait for us at Palolem Beach Resort, Canacona, a 4 bedded cottage for Rs.1100.
0832 2643054. Mr. Shaik - 09423055217. www.palolembeachresort.co.in

.
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Old 9th February 2012, 01:32   #62
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

This should be a ONCE IN A LIFE TIME trip!! Congrats and the initial set of pics are soooooooooooooooper!! I have rated this thread 5 stars and am gonna come back & start reading it!! I was so excited by the first post that I wanted to write this feedback!!
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Old 9th February 2012, 09:55   #63
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Om Beach, near Gokarna - how "development" changes the facade of popular places:


roamingrao's photo in 2011:


My photo in 2005:

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Old 9th February 2012, 10:23   #64
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Roaming-Man-the pictures have hypnotized me-they are calling out-"why don't you see the sights, first hand, that Roaming has so artfully captured" -gave the thread a 5* in my first read. Its your wonderful "two" that inspires you to take these dream runs. Just itching to get back behind the wheel and hit the roads again. This has to wait as there is something lined up in May -so our drives will start after the monsoons. Waiting with abated breath -the rest of the log-do not keep us waiting!!!
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Old 9th February 2012, 10:24   #65
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Saar, at Kumta, did you get a chance to buy awesome chikkis and banana halwa at the Sahyadri Nutfood stores ( hope I got the name right).
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Old 9th February 2012, 13:51   #66
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Manchala is absolutely right. The legend has it that goddess herself was "trapped" in a forest fire in Manchala village and Raghavendra prayed to Varuna for rain and rescued her.
When Raghavendra realised that it's one of Goddesses leela, he was immensely touched. The goddess asked him to construct a temple there and continue staying in the same village.
The goddess is called Manchalamma. Raghavendra attained samadhi there with the name of the place being called as Mantralayam.

The credit of Manchala becoming Manjolai should go to the Tamils! Manjolai also means mangroves! Over the time, the name Manchala is also existing only on government records. Everyone refers to that place as Mantralayam!

And yes, need to also mention about Sir Munro. I've mentioned about Sir Munro earlier in another log as well. That would push things OT. Hence, just a mere mention.

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Old 10th February 2012, 17:41   #67
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Hi Roaming Rao,
I wait for more details with bated breath. I had done the Mumbai-Vaikom stretch in 2005, but it was not a leisurely drive like yours. I got to karwar on night 1 and Vaikom on night 2, with a wrong turn somewhere that took us a 100 km off track, so it was pretty much driving non-stop.

Your journey is amazing and inspiring, and you are very lucky to have a wife and kids who also seem to enjoy this as much as you do. I hope to do one such drive next year, when my younger is a year plus old.
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Old 10th February 2012, 18:17   #68
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Dont know how i missed this. Waiting for next update. rated 5*
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Old 15th February 2012, 02:08   #69
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Quote:
Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
This should be a ONCE IN A LIFE TIME trip!! Congrats
Thank you swiftnfurious. That's an overwhelming appreciation !! We hope you continue to enjoy reading the travelogue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Om Beach, near Gokarna - how "development" changes the facade of popular places: My photo in 2005:
wow ! this photo of 2005 is an eye opener on how virgin the beach was then. Gives enough room to imagine how this beach would have been in the 70s when it was a hippy stronghold.
Sir, thank you for sharing !


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Originally Posted by Judemayne View Post
pictures have hypnotized me-they are calling out-"why don't you see the sights, first hand,

Just itching to get back behind the wheel and hit the roads again.
Colonel, your unabashed praising continues to humble us !

Thank you for the rating and all the kind words. We only hope your dreams come true - hit the roads and see the sights 'first hand' !!


Quote:
Originally Posted by mazda4life View Post
banana halwa at the Sahyadri Nutfood stores ( hope I got the name right)
Yes, that's right - Sahyadri nutfoods - opposite Kamats. But we were looking to buy 'appi midi' pickle. The 'godhi' ( bombay halwa ) and nendra banana halwa - not sure if it is famous here, which we did buy at Parijatha, Kundapura.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
And yes, need to also mention about Sir Munro.
Thanks for sharing this info MX6. Yes, Sir Thomas Munroe was a blessed soul. We may even recall his sighting of 'Bangaru thoranam' at Gandi Kshetram, near Cuddapah, AP - which is also recorded in the Madras gazetteer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by karthik_rao View Post
I had done the Mumbai-Vaikom stretch in 2005, pretty much driving non-stop. and you are very lucky to have a wife and kids who also seem to enjoy this as much as you do. I hope to do one such drive next year, when my younger is a year plus old.
Karthik Rao, That was quite a drive ! Non stop at that !
Thank you for your words of appreciation. Feels really good that this inspires you to embark on a similar drive ! Our best wishes.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rajesh1868 View Post
Dont know how i missed this. Waiting for next update. rated 5*
Not missed much, rajesh1868. Thank you for the kind rating. much appreciated.



------




Palolem beach has been our home as an annual summer retreat for many years now - just a day or two of laidback relaxation. Summer months are not 'happening' types here - the shacks and shops are closed, not much crowd, the streets are empty, spas do not operate. Just the fishermen and us ( and the dogs - here too ! ). In a way, seclusion - as we like it. The beach also is very friendly - crescent shaped, shallow waters, very gentle waves and a great view of the surrounding rocks and hills.


The Palolem beach resort is a feather in the cap - to put it in a 'family' way. Spread out amidst gardens, coconut trees, clean / well maintained cottages and a good restaurant - bang in middle of the beach. Not fancy or opulent by any means - it just serves our purpose for a budget holiday.

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Tent accommodation at the resort





So content we are that we have never gone to any north Goan beaches to see what 'happens' there ! - fearing something not favourable to us may spoil Goa's reputation as a holiday destination !

This year, we're excited no bounds that this place comes in direct path of our driving quest. Call it luck or bad planning - this day, this month and a need for a day's relaxation fits us like a Tee


We spend an entire day here.


Chota Bheem cools his soles in a secured parking next to the security quarters.
Last night, he had asked for a helmet, pointing to the tender coconuts directly above his head. Ok, baba, you're right. I placed him away.
Now, sleep !




We're on the beach before sunrise

Good Morning !

No answer. The waves are still sleepy.

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This one make his presence felt. Good Morning ! You're the first one to wish us today ! Have a great day ! Yes wavey, thank you.

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The Canacona island, also dubbed as monkey island here, stands guard - as if to protect the serenity of the beach !
Further north, a secluded Butterfly beach seperates Palolem from Agonda beach.





Panning southwards, a rocky sunset point - home to Bhakti kutir - a holistic resort. Beyond that, Patnem beach

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The eastern glow brightens, silhouetting the tall palms.....swaying to welcome the day !

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A 'large' wave acknowledges the same...

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Boats get ready to chase the dolphins

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Unfulfilled dreams...

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These beach benches are luring, isn't it ? I feel like stretching out, mug in hand, watch the gentle waves and....

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have my dear hot cup of........... coffee !!!

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Dolphin rides begin at 830am - a 45 minute round trip around the Monkey island and also to 'spot' Butterfly beach.

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The waves continue their meek surrender to the sands..

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A small fishing community make a living from the beach

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After a late breakfast at Dhruv's kitchen at the resort, we wander on the streets of Palolem - curios, tees, musical instruments, idol makers...

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At the topiwala..

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Gudiya says she is enacting a scene from 'Golmaal 3' ... where's the glue ?

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Lunch ? Fried rice at Cafe del mar or Pizzas at Little Italy ?

A tug of rope follows, only me on one side !

Threesome wins !

While they are jubilant and walk towards Little Italy, i mention that i had no grip on the rope !

4 seasons cheese pizza was a revelation.




Now, who else can describe this beach, the resort and the restaurants here better than our Chevy_lover ?

A travelogue worth drooling over and over..

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...rient-goa.html (An incredible road trip to the “Pearl of the Orient” – Goa)




We are back on the beach just before sunset and, neck deep in the waters, frolic till the last light falls on the magical waves. We treasure the moments we spend together. Its only these moments, at this place, that makes us visit this beach year after year. We love this place.



We retire for the day with Gudiya and Titli counting the number of beaches we have been to in this trip.

13 so far.

I quip - we have 11 more to go !

open mouthed, What ?

What else do we do on a coastal drive ??


.

Last edited by roamingrao : 15th February 2012 at 02:28.
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Old 17th February 2012, 02:19   #70
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Day 8

Palolem beach - Margao - Panaji - Fort Aguada - Calangute and Baga beaches - Mapusa - Querim - ferry - Terekhol - Vengurla, 196 kms




Chota bheem has had a head bath and had spent an entire day sleeping away to glory. A deserving one at that ! He's up again, on a single crank and raring to go.

We ride on him, out of Palolem, up and down on the curvy Karmali ghat towards Margao. Annoyed, he challenges the din from the crickets on Gulmohar trees on the highway. For us, its sweet music of summer !

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At 9am, the busy and winding roads through Margao are seen through quickly, lest we get caught in rush hour traffic. A commercial city. 'Mumbai' of Goa !

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Far end of the city, we spot a Kamat restaurant. Could we afford to miss this and drive on ? No way. We turn around, find parking close to the Holy Spirit church, walk back to the small restaurant and hog on Buns. Yes, hot Mangalore buns ( a coastal karnataka delicacy )

Chota bheem too has his share - at a lofty HPCL station near Verna. Nagoa.






Varca beach calls us. Sorry Varca, next time. But haven't we been to your twin sister's place - Varkala ? Console yourself.

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Bridge over the mighty Zuari river. I point out to the Mormugao port and explain how unique this place is - a sea port, a major railway station and an airport - all in the same headland !

Found else where ?

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As kids, we had been to the Bogmalo beach. Russians ! It was an Oberoi property then.






Mumbai sighted ! Wait madam, you're 610 kms away, we'll be there in three days.

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We would like to see Dona Paula sea front. Instead of heading straight to Panaji, we divert from the highway, drive through the sprawling Goa University campus, stop for a moment in front of 'Cidade de Goa' main gate to tease the security guard and then.... don't know where we took a wrong turn - land up in front of Raj Bhavan !


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We ask the security if we can go in and see the very old Portuguese Bungalow ( Cabo Raj Niwas ) from outside. No sir, permission required.
We peep in - cannot see the bhavan from the gates - too wooded.

In portuguese, Cabo means Cape

Cabo Raj Bhavan stands at a very vantage point - jutting out to see who meets the sea first, Zuari or the Mandovi ?




As we walk back, we wonder who has a more panoramic view of the sea and the surroundings, the Governor here or the one at Walkeshwar ?

As if i'm a Governor ? Gudiya quips. Make me one, i'll let you know !

But, the Governor in Mumbai is definitely rich - he has the Queen's necklace !!! every night ! onnly !





Caranzalem beach, as seen from the gates of Raj Bhavan

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Back at the Dona Paula roundabout, we pause, its almost noon, do we need to visit the sea front ?
No ! In unison !
We turn towards the city of Panaji.





A sneak peek of Miramar beach

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A shaded avenue ! For a moment, I feel we are driving in yesteryear Bangalore !

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A rebuilt Yusuf Adil Shah Palace. Now, a government building. or a museum ?

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Till the Portuguese invaded, the Bijapur Sultans ruled here.

Sultan, how did you come here ? on NH 4A or NH 63 ?

You were lucky ! There were no mining trucks then !







The bridge on the river Kw......sorry, Mandovi ! Here too, quite a story on the bridge ! until a new one was built. Now, two bridges !

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Sunset cruises

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Fishing trawlers at Betim dock

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A sharp left U turn after the bridge, we drive through Betim and ask for directions to Fort Aguada. We did follow as he said, only to end up in front of a dilapidated jail ! Central Jail Aguada - the arch shaped board reads.

Appa, you've brought us to a jail ? Why ?

I'm still confused, there is nobody to ask, but soon cover up. Ok, don't go in, look at the sea ! Look how scenic it is here !


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We drive back. This time, we find that sharp turn that leads to the fort.




Fort Aguada. The information boards mentions this 17th century fort as a reference for incoming Portuguese ships and a huge underground water
storage facility.

Nothing much to see except the views from the ramparts.

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The old lighthouse and the underground cells for water storage

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Look appa, the Raj Bhavan is visible from here. Wow, what a view he must have at sunset !

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Parsi Baron Jamshed Gazder's mediterranean style palace.
Far away, Panaji skyline.

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Chasing the dolphins...

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Back in Sinquerim, we sneak into a small road next to Kingfisher Villa and Lo ! Taj Fort Aguada !

Adjacent to the fort, Taj Holiday Village resort.

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to our right, Sinquerim beach and further ahead, Candolim beach.
The 'Princess' is being stripped. In broad daylight !

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Later, we drive to a crowded Calangute beach, which turns us away.
Now, where else do we have lunch ?

"Where else" ?

That's the answer !!

Where else ?

.

Last edited by roamingrao : 17th February 2012 at 02:29.
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Old 17th February 2012, 07:31   #71
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
Day 8

Palolem beach - Margao - Panaji - Fort Aguada - Calangute and Baga beaches - Mapusa - Querim - ferry - Terekhol - Vengurla, 196 kms

Bridge over the mighty Zuari river. I point out to the Mormugao port and explain how unique this place is - a sea port, a major railway station and an airport - all in the same headland !

Found else where ?
Cochin, of course. It had the Cochin Harbour (rail) Terminus (CHT), the Cochin Harbour/Port & the old Cochin Airport (till the new one was built, it was the regular civil airport, now it is back to being a naval airport).


Quote:
In portuguese, Cabo means Cape

Cabo Raj Bhavan stands at a very vantage point - jutting out to see who meets the sea first, Zuari or the Mandovi ?

As we walk back, we wonder who has a more panoramic view of the sea and the surroundings, the Governor here or the one at Walkeshwar ?
You missed Cabo Rama, slightly north of Palolem! That would have given you a fab view of the cliffs falling down into the sea.

Quote:
The bridge on the river Kw......sorry, Mandovi ! Here too, quite a story on the bridge ! until a new one was built. Now, two bridges !
A tale of 2 bridges! Has it fallen down once - or twice? I remember using the car ferry when the bridge had fallen down many years ago!


Quote:
A sharp left U turn after the bridge, we drive through Betim and ask for directions to Fort Aguada. We did follow as he said, only to end up in front of a dilapidated jail ! Central Jail Aguada - the arch shaped board reads.
One of the nice drives through the villages of Goa, not the usual touristy road.
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Old 26th February 2012, 01:59   #72
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Back on the main road from Sinquerim beach, we head north, eager to drive on one of the most 'vibrant' roads in Goa - the road to Calangute beach. Be it the inviting beach resorts, brightly coloured bar and restaurants, European boutiques, shops selling Tees and colourful handbags, Kashmiri handicraft shops, tatoo shops, a football stadium, an old chapel.... a treat to the eyes !

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It is past noon, but it doesn't stop tourists and beach bathers coming in hordes to the crowded Calangute beach. Yes, it's festive ! Festive enough for us not to join the bathers on the vast beach !

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We wonder how this beach would behave in the evening.

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After a small stroll on the beach, we wish to have lunch in any of the tens of shacks and restaurants lining the beach, but monster crabs and prawns ask us to drive to Baga beach and its famous restaurant, which welcomes us with "where else" ?! The Tito's Courtyard

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To our surprise, the a la carte has vegan and jain food options also !

Super soft tandoor rotis and softer marinated paneer is downed in no time before we stroll on the beach.






Baga beach is less crowded than Calangute - atleast at this time, and much more scenic with the Anjuna hill providing a perfect backdrop.

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Cafe Mambo. The drums beats sleep for now, but we can imagine the glitz as dusk falls here ! with our summer travel attire, we would be 'aliens' here.

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Tito's Pastry shop

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Tito's and Baga, Goodbye. Thank you for a memorable lunch.

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After Calangute and Baga, we skip the turning to Anjuna and Vagator beaches. Today is wednesday, the flea market day in Anjuna. We could have spent hours wandering through the market and shopping for souvenirs.
Do we really need to keep them at home ?
No !
I sincerely thank the lady seated beside me and girls behind me !






Instead, we drive towards Mapusa..

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...and meander through the confusing one-ways of the town, asking our way to the highway

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Back on the highway, and after our one day rendezvous with the glamorous parts of Goa, we still wish to visit the northern most beaches....Morjim, Ashwem, Mandrem, Arambol and Querim beaches. On the coast, Chapora river bifurcates this region with the rest of Goa. These beaches are relatively 'far' from the pomp and pageantry that the other beaches of Goa exhibit, yet clean and unspoilt.

Do we have time to peek into all these beaches ? maybe not.

We do a quick workback of time, and realize that we have time for only one !

Querim Beach calls us.





We turn left from the highway at Pernem, through the village, drive on the banks of Terekhol river before the road turns south - secluded village roads.

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Querim Sea front

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The northern most beach of Goa

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Terekhol river says Hi to the sea.

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An old fort on the other side of the river







waiting for the ferry

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Watching the ferry unload, Chota bheem is full of josh - its going to be his first ride on a ferry !

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Climbing up the ramp, he feels secure after the ramp lifts behind him. And when the ticket collector comes, he hands over Rs.10 from his pocket for the ride. We have a free ride !

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He is sad that this ferry is soon to be a thing of past when the bridge across the Terekhol is complete.





On the other bank, he quickly reverses on to the narrow road, up the hill and after cruising through Terekhol village, stops in front of Tata Metallics factory at Redi, and revvs up in joy - We are in Maharashtra !!

We pat him with appreciation. Thank you Chota bheem !

Now, unable to control his pride, and with high standing collars, points us to the map - on his drive through four states so far.

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Wait, he exclaims, we still have a long way to go !


Chota bheem has not shown the map without any reason. Notice the map.

All along so far, the NH47 till Kochi and from thereon NH17 ensured that we drove along the coast - not far from the sea. Here onwards, NH17 shies away and moves inland, handing over the baton to a lesser known state highway - Maharashtra State Highway 4, in short MSH4.

We will not be surprised if UNESCO names this road as the most scenic coastal road in India.

We had a taste of MSH4 in 2009 when we drove from Ganapatipule to Rajapur via Ratnagiri, Pawas and Ganeshgule. Today, we have come back for more !! We start from the base - Redi and have two full days to reach Mumbai.

Will we do it ?


.
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Old 26th February 2012, 15:34   #73
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

This is a wonderful, wonderful travelogue written with much passion. I can only sense the excitement of the travel that you folks underwent.

Coastal Maharashtra has been on my radar far too long now - waiting for the next part of your travelogue to unfold.

Rated five stars.


Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingrao View Post
I point out to the Mormugao port and explain how unique this place is - a sea port, a major railway station and an airport - all in the same headland !

Found else where ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Cochin, of course. It had the Cochin Harbour (rail) Terminus (CHT), the Cochin Harbour/Port & the old Cochin Airport (till the new one was built, it was the regular civil airport, now it is back to being a naval airport).
Doesn't Vishakhapatnam also fit the bill? It's not a headland like Cochin or Murmagao, but all of these three are found within a close radius of each other.

Attaching a map illustrating the same, if you don't mind.
Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !-vizag_map.png

Last edited by aryasanyal : 26th February 2012 at 15:54.
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Old 2nd March 2012, 03:03   #74
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Default Re: Our Incredible India drive - Saagar se Shikhar tak !

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Cochin, of course. It had the Cochin Harbour (rail) Terminus (CHT), the Cochin Harbour/Port & the old Cochin Airport (till the new one was built, it was the regular civil airport, now it is back to being a naval airport).
Quote:
Originally Posted by aryasanyal View Post
Doesn't Vishakhapatnam also fit the bill? It's not a headland like Cochin or Murmagao, but all of these three are found within a close radius of each other.
Cochin and Vizag ! yes, great examples. Infact, both are busier than Murmagao. Thank you sirs !


Quote:
Originally Posted by aryasanyal View Post
This is a wonderful, wonderful travelogue written with much passion. I can only sense the excitement of the travel that you folks underwent.
Thank you aryasanyal for the rating and kind words of appreciation. It's a humbling experience ! Thank you.



---------



Our drive from Terekhol to Malvan

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MSH4 follows an interesting pattern - a flat, straight road on a rocky plateau and as it approaches a river, goes down on a narrow, curvy, heavily wooded steep mode, crosses the river and upward again to continue on a plateau till it encounters the next river in the same way. Driving on this road is thrilling - atleast the wait to see the next river ! The bridge crossing throws up the view of the river meeting the sea. Meeting its nemesis..... but that's what it was born for ! and bound too !




We leave Goa behind and cruise on MSH4 through the salt pans, mining trenches and narrow village roads. All through, envying Mango orchards !

This Maruti Omni, who was with us on the ferry, explains that the road crossing ahead is confusing, leads us to Shiroda and shows us the way towards Malvan.

I ask them if we can make it to Malvan before dusk, not revealing that we have plans to attack Sindhudurg fort at dawn.
Yes, you can try, he says, two hour drive from here. If not, you can stay at Vengurla, its a nice place !

As we realize later, he's so true !

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The curves near Ubhadanda headland. We stand on the culvert to see if we can see the beach....No.

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Malvan 59 kms is fine, but 744 kms to where ? We could not find the answer.

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Sunset is one hour away as we approach Vengurla. We give up plans to drive to Malvan and start looking for a place to stay along the casuarina lined road.
Apprehensive, whether we could find a hotel here with parking space, though short lived.

Further ahead, we sight this board

MTDC Hotels and resorts

Wow ! there's an MTDC resort here !

We turn left to drive on a narrow sandy path leading to a parking area. Chota bheem is not allowed further - sands. A ten minute trudging on the sands brings us here.

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Wow, this is fantastic. A pristine beach, an isolated resort, konkani huts...what else do we need ? food ? Come on Gudiya, its a resort, must have a good restaurant. Good. Ok, where's the office ? As we walk to the office, the mind is racing..... once dark, this place promises to be magical ! white sands, great views and whispering casuarinas. wow !

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Sir, we would like to see inside a Konkan hut. The manager slides open the door of a hut and lets us in. We frown.

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A rustic, dirty and stinking room ! Large gaps on the wooden floor - anything can creep in ! Our hyped excitement falls like ninepins.

Hiding my disappointment, I ask, what's the tariff ?

Sir, Rs.1400 plus tax

WHAT ? That's almost Rs.1600 for this dilapidated hut ???

and, where's the restaurant ? Sir, there is no restaurant, Maharashtrian thali is packed from the roadside tea stall and served here.

Enough !! We trudge back to the car. And on the way, have a quick darshan of Lord Sagareshwar and the beautiful beach.






Inside the charming town, Hotel Loukik is full, Hotel Tripti is full. Sir, holidays hain naa !

There's something to this town that attracts you. Immensely. Old tiled houses, clean roads, an old british market ( is it crawford market ? ), trees standing on junctions as 'circles', small and pretty temples, extremely friendly people... seems like the town has not changed its ways for decades ! An aura hard to miss and love ! Yes, we are beginning to love this place.

A bystander asks us to go to Bunder road. Further, the road clears as we drive along the bay and park in front of a small hotel. Hotel Gajali. Directly overlooking the bay !
Sir, welcome, we have four rooms, one is vacant. Three beds. Suits us. Tariff ? Sir, the best in town !

The boys unload the bags and help us to the room. The owner comes behind us. Sir, not much time left, walk to the jetty and climb the steps to the Saagar Bangla on the light house hill - you'll get a good view of the sunset.

We are thrilled ! A never ending smile sets on us.

A good evening breeze from the sea is what we relish as we walk past the jetty. Hey man, this place is awesome !



A small fish market on the road. Silent ! Not stinking as it should ! A group of smart fisherwomen sitting on plastic crates inviting and teasing us to have a look at their haul. What makes me divert from my path and walk towards them ? I do not understand. I could never imagine myself walking towards a fish market !

These 'moushies' are really smart ! - looking 'after bath' fresh with a tightly draped nine yard saree ( nauvari sadi ), heavily oiled hair tightly bound to a knot ( khopa ) and a small garland of flowers arched on the knot ( called veni ). I keep staring at her while she picks up a prawn and a long fish and offers - le na baba ! She's perplexed that i do not respond ! The fact is - I'm lost. Where am i ?

Outside, my actions are bound to face repercussions.

Before I could take out the camera, iam tugged violently by ..... who else ? What are your appreciating ?? The Koli women or the sunset ? A missed chance, else Sateri Bai would have found her way into the photo gallery of this forum !

Now, who said Koli women blurt out only profanities ? come to Vengurla !





Atop the hill, views from the Saagar Bangla ( an old bungalow probably built during the dutch days )

To the east, people enjoying the evening on the jetty. Far end of the bay, Sagareshwar beach and the MTDC resort.

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To the north, a beautiful, shallow, Vengurla bunder beach

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Vengurla rocks ! literally !

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Viewing our 8th sunset - in as many days !

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We spend some time on the terrace of Saagar bangla and after sunset, climb the light house hill. The Vengurla rock islands, also called Burnt island, barely visible in the fast fading light.






These rocks could have inspired our little master to face bouncers ! Yes, Sunil Gavaskar hails from here.









Next morning, Day 9, we are back on the road at sunrise. We thank Vengurla for playing the perfect host and promise to come back.

Perfect for a laid back, non commercial holiday and of course, blend with the locals and the fishing folks ! Vengurlekars never make you feel an outsider.

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Hotel Gajali, Bunder road, Vengurla. Mr. Shailesh Shirsat 02366 262615, 2+1 bed Rs.1000. parking on the road, security assured. Its the feel here - safe !

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Vengurla Port office and the fishing jetty

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As MSH4 climbs over the next hill, a look back at the still sleepy town.

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The valley plateau game continues on MSH4...

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Mhapan village wakes up late in the day. But we want our dose of coffee

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Mr. Vada Pav is ready before the branded instant coffee ! So, a hot Vada pav for breakfast. It turns out to be a vada pav day - for lunch and dinner too !

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Diversion to the Bhogawe headland from Mhapan. South of Bhogawe, the famous Dabholi beach.

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Further ahead..

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We're almost there ! Karli river in all its pristinity

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Houseboat backwater cruises on this river from Devbagh are promoted as 'Kerala of Maharashtra'

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We cannot wait to have a glimpse of the icon in the sea. Malvan, here we come !

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At Malvan jetty. Pan this photograph to the right and be astounded while i buy the tickets for the ferry. I'll be back in a jiffy !

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Jiffy ?? No, I'm not joking. Shivaji Maharaj does not wait. But he does love it when someone comes here all the way from Bangalore ! Guess why ?


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We board a boat at Malvan jetty which takes 15 minutes to traverse the kilometre long rough cruise to Sindhudurg fort. Rough, because it passes through the rocky outcrops of the fallen Padmadurg fort. Padmadurg fort was built to shield Sindhudurg fort and also acted as a ship building place for Shivaji's mighty navy.

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Sindhudurg fort looks small as we approach it from the east - almost hiding the vast 50 acre fortified island behind it

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Can you spot the entrance to the fort ? Hidden between the two tall bastions - to deceive the invader.

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The entrance itself is a curved path - lest the invader rams the main door with long wooden logs !

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A flight of steps and then, the fort opens up to a vast, rocky land - old buildings, ponds, wells, bastions and temples.

We step into Sri Shivrajeshwar temple, a shrine dedicated to the Maharaj himself. Camera is not allowed inside the sanctum - an idol of Shivaji Maharaj and a long sword. A priest explains that Shivaji's son Rajaram built this shrine and later extended into a hall by his son, Chattrapati Shahu

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Inside the shrine

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Inside the glass case - a Ganpati idol made of sand !

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The entire fort is visible when we stand on a high bastion at the western edge of the fort, the Nishan burj.

Views of the entire stretch of the fort wall that faces west : against the onslaught of the invading forces and of course, the mighty sea.


These western walls are fortified twice, one more in parallel - to stand against monsoon winds and waves

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At one time, Shivaji's Maratha empire had more than 360 forts under their control - most of them in the western ghats and one, as far as near Chennai ! Of the 14 major forts on the coast of Maharashtra, Shivaji had his flag on seven of them - all strategically placed between the ones controlled by the Portuguese, the British and enemy within - Khem Sawant.

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While most of the other forts were 'acquired' or won, this fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj from scratch - built against all odds - the British keeping vigil at sea, Bijapur rulers from the land and Siddis of Janjira again from the sea. Stones and boulders used here were brought by boats only at night ! It is said the Maharaj himself supervised the construction of this fort.

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A tiny beach for the queen. named Ranichi vela

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Maa Bhavani provided divine intervention to Shivaji Maharaj at tough times !

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Staring at a long stretch of white sandy beach, unaware that we would be there in the next one hour !

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We are back at the entrance, well within the stipulated one hour given to us to explore the fort. The return trip is spent just by staring at the fort - unable to take our eyes off this coastal icon. No wonder the Maharaj fills the kids textbooks with stories of his patriotism and valour !


Back in Malvan, its still 930am. The sun has left us battered !
We ask our way to a resort, looking to resort to a large cool drink, but get to eat a hot but delayed poha ! Where else ?




MTDC, Tarkarli beach

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A sharp, distinct contrast from the fort

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A boat shaped reception centre welcomes us and guides us to the restaurant.

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Cottages on the way. We can hear the waves on the beach.

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Casuarinas competing with the waves - who sounds more gentle ?

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One glimpse of the beach, and.......

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we forrrget everything !






Gudiya and Titli run to the beach - who says we're thirsty ?? The restaurant can wait !!

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White sands and water, lake like !! Venture thigh deep into the sea - can still see your feet !!!

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A mesmerising beach ! The sun is high up now. Early mornings and sunsets would be magical here.

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Sindhudurg fort as seen from one the the best beaches of India

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After an hour of frolicking, Gudiya and Titli had to be pulled out and dragged to the restaurant - it's now or no breakfast !

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As we have our breakfast, i hear talks of shifting our annual retreat from Palolem to here. Shifting loyalties ? I ask. They go blank !!

Tarkarli is sure a headturner !






Private resorts lining the entire stretch of 6 kms to Malvan

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A setback to our desire to continue on MSH4 ? Yes.

We stop at the Malvan police station to enquire if we could cross the Jaitapur area on our way to Ratnagiri. He advises us against going.

Jaitapur and its surroundings have been seeing agitations for the past one month against the proposed nuclear power plant. In April, the situation had turned ugly with police firing and related deaths.
We thought it would be wise to enquire and then proceed. Looks like our MSH4 dream may take some more time. Hota hai !!

Dejected, we drive towards Kudal... to rejoin NH17

This time Titli pulls me up - see appa, what i've brought, and spills an entire handbag of sea shells inside the car - Tarkarli will come with us to Bangalore !

I could only squeeze the steering wheel in frustration. Poor Chota bheem.


.

Last edited by roamingrao : 4th March 2012 at 03:52.
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