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Old 23rd November 2011, 23:10   #1
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Default Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

The last time we did this stretch was here:

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...tures-fun.html (Blr-Pune-Mahabaleshwar-Ganapatipule-Blr (6days, 5 nights, loads of pictures and fun))

This was a reloaded version of the same with a small change in destinations.

This trip was centered around a visit to Shirdi to seek Sai Baba's blessing for our 5 month old baby. Since a quick dash to Shirdi along with the baby was ruled out, we decided to space the entire trip over a period of a week.
My dear friend raj from Delhi decided to join us along with his 8 year old son, but 4 adults with a small boy and our baby in her baby seat meant a real tight squeeze in the Safari.
A phone call to Pavan Kadam solved the problem, he agreed to lend me the third row forward facing seat he had designed for his Safari. So two days before the trip, the seat was installed though it was a compromise on luggage space.

The Itinerary finalised was:

Bangalore - Hubli (1 Night) - Shirdi (1 Night) - Mahabaleshwar (2 nights) - Tarkarli Beach (2 nights) - Bangalore.

Day 1 (13-11-2011)

We left home post lunch and reached Hubli by 8 pm, we had booked ourselves in Clark's Inn (Clarks Inn Hotels India, Hotel, Restaurant Hotel), a very decent business hotel. An early dinner and we hit the sack.

Day 2 (14-11-2011)

This was a full day travel to cover almost 670 kms to Shirdi, after breakfast at Clark's Inn we started at 8.45 am and were in Pune for lunch, almost 2 hours were spent on lunch and negotiating our way out of Pune.
from Pune we took the Sangamner route which turned out to be a mistake, the traffic was bad and road too was not very good after the NH4 we had driven on all day, after a tiring drive we reached Shirdi by 8.30 pm.
In Shirdi, we had booked accomodation and darshan online, we collected our darshan pass from the PRO and checked into Dwarawati guest house, we had booked AC rooms and for 900 bucks per room
they were very good.

Our darshan was the "kakkad arati" which begins at 4.30 am, so we had to report at 3.30 am, again a quick dinner and we went to sleep.

Day 3 (15-11-2011)

We woke up by 2 am and were at the gates of the temple by 3.45 am, we joined about 150 people who had also booked for the kakkad arati, at 4.30 am we were ushered into the sanctum sanctorum and the arati began. A full hour of bhajans in front of Baba and then went around the Samadhi and we were out.
We came back to our rooms rested for an hour and then checked out. We had breakfast at an udupi hotel and left Shirdi. There are no pictures as cameras and mobiles are not allowed and we had not even unpacked the camera.

We took the Ahmednagar route on the way back and it was a very good road all the way to Pune, we were out of Pune by 1 pm and stopped at the McDonald's on the highway for lunch. We refuelled ourselves and the car and we were on our way to Mahabaleshwar.

We reached Mahabaleshwar by 4 pm and checked into the MTDC resort, we took a family suite and again it was very comfortable. We decided to just take it easy as we had all woken up very early and driven the whole day. We had dinner at the MTDC canteen and called it a day.

Day 4 (16-11-2011)

We woke up a bit late and had a leisurely breakfast and ventured out almost close to noon back to Panchgani, a short visit to Table Land and our stomachs were growling.

Black Storm at Table Land
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Now was the time to justify our visit to Panchgani. We parked at Mapro Garden and feasted.

The Yummy Display
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Lip Smacking Pizzas
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Even our 5 month old daughter could not resist the fare.

Where's my share?
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She immensely liked the place and showed her acrobatic skills on the trampoline at Mapro garden.

Wowiee!!
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Then the Strawberries beckoned
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We promised ourselves that we would never buy the packed strawberries at Foodworld ever, after the strawberries at Panchgani.

Post a heavy lunch we retired to Mahabaleshwar for a short nap. At 5 pm we were at Venna lake for some boating on the tranquil waters.

Boating on Venna Lake at Mahabaleshwar
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Back to our rooms and had a nice head massage by the local masseur, his tools of trade was what attracted us to test his skill.

"Champi tools"
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A leisurely dinner at the canteen and we hit the sack ruing that we had already finished 4 days of our week long trip.

A splash of colour at the canteen
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....Contd.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 23:16   #2
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Day 5 (17-11-2011)

We woke up early and checked out by 6.30 am as we were not sure of the road conditions till Tarkarli which was our destination for the day.
Down the winding roads we went towards Poladpur, enroute we passed the Pratapgarh Fort atop a hill.

Pratapgarh Fort
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We hit NH17 at Poladpur and went through some good and some not so good roads till a breakfast halt at Khed. After Khed, again some small bad stretches and we reached our favourite rest halt - Quality Inn a little before Chiplun.
The restaurant manager recognised us though we were visiting only for the second time that too after 2.5 years, he even remembered what we had ordered the last time we were there.

Lush lawns
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View of the River Vasisht from Quality Inn
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From Chiplun we drove on NH17 which was in pretty bad shape near Sangameshwar, but then improved and we stopped at Hathkamba for refuelling.

We were at Kankavali for a late lunch and stopped at a non descript Hotel Ashish but were surprised by the quality of lunch.

Post lunch we drove without stops till Tarkarli. Here again we had booked ourselves in the Boat shaped bamboo cottages at MTDC. These cottages were right on the beach and we soaked our weary bones in the Arabian sea.

Our Cottage at Tarkarli
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Sunset by the Sea
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...contd.

Last edited by Lukeskywalker : 23rd November 2011 at 23:26.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 23:24   #3
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Day 6 (18-11-2011)

This day turned out to be the most memorable day of our trip, We had negotiated on an early morning boat ride and at 7.15am we were boarding a small fibreglass boat with an outboard motor.
We puttered away into the open seas and our daughter was thoroughly enjoying her first sea outing. A few miles into the tranquil sea and suddenly the boatman pointed out fins in the water, DOLPHINS!!

Dolphin Spotting in the Arabian Sea
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We spotted schools of them swimming around us and the experience was amazing.

After the dolphins left, we sailed on past a few touristy landmarks which reminded us of our Langkawi trips.

Early Bird
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Golden Rock
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Then on our request, we were taken to a secluded beach where we played in the amazingly clear waters and pristine sand till hunger knocked.

Our ride
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Setting foot on our own piece of paradise
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Exotic Beach
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....contd.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 23:34   #4
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Back on our boat and we were taken to "Tsunami Bed", a sand bar in the backwaters where shacks were set up for breakfast and some water sports, a sumptous breakfast and it was already close to noon.

Flights of Fancy - Sea Gulls
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Beached
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Fishing Village
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Colour amidst the blue seas
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Kayaks
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Our Daughter's first taste of the Sea- she loved it.
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We returned after a very satisfying 5 hours on the open seas and relaxed in the ac comforts of our cottages.


....Contd.
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Old 23rd November 2011, 23:45   #5
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

We emerged as the sun was setting and were treated to an out of the world experience.

Another evening, another sunset
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Now we knew how the phrase " sunsets worth dying for" was coined.
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End of the day
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A thoroughly satisfying day and regretfully we went to bed post dinner as our holiday had all but ended.

Yours Truly - ready for the return
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Another early morning start and we drove back to Bangalore some 740 kms away.
Breakfast at Sawantwadi, through Amboli into Belgaum and we were at Hubli for lunch, post lunch a fast paced drive made us reach Kyathsandra just after Tumkur for some "Thatte Idlis" which was supper.
We were back home in Bangalore by 8.30 pm after a 14 hour drive.


We travelled approximately 2840 kms on this trip, the Safari as usual brought us back home safely with minimum discomfort.

Our expenses on the trip were:

Hubli Hotel = 5500/- (2 rooms)
Shirdi accommodation = 1800/- (2 rooms)
Mahabaleshwar accommodation = 7140/- (family Suite)
Tarkarli accommodation = approx 20,000/- (2 rooms)

Fuel = about 9300/- (diesel)
Food = 13900/-
Tolls = 1160/-
Misc = 2800/-

I wish to thank HVK for his guidance and suggestions and also Pavan Kadam for the seat which made the journey all the more comfortable.
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Old 24th November 2011, 14:41   #6
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Good crisp narration and great photos....Looks like Tarkarli is a fun place and the sea looks so amazing .....
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Old 24th November 2011, 14:59   #7
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Nice crisp Travel Log. Your daughters pictures are amazing, especially the sea beach one and the one with ice cream in front. God bless.

Tarkarli Looks like a fun place to be, seems to be very close to Goa, further about 100Kms from Goa. Is it worthwhile going to Goa or directly to Tarkarli for the December end holidays?
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Old 24th November 2011, 16:53   #8
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

I have always been a big fan of you 4x4 safari Gx. Infact I have most of the pics you shared of your Safari in this forum . Also the off roading you went with your safari was amazing. and black looks awesome.

This travel to Mahabaleshwar and Tarkarli brings special memories back to my mind. I used to go to Mahabaleshwar (120 kms from Pune) just for those strawberries and nothing else. I might have done like 15 trips to the place just for strawberries in 1 year. They look yummy. Right now I cannot make those trips since I moved to Hyderabad. but thanks for the pics and the travelogue.

At mapro Garden, I love their sandwich.
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Old 24th November 2011, 17:42   #9
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Beautiful photographs. Thanks for the details and especially the cost details. It will help me plan a road trip. Did you try any water sports at "Tsunami Bed"?
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Old 24th November 2011, 18:05   #10
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lukeskywalker View Post
from Pune we took the Sangamner route which turned out to be a mistake, the traffic was bad and road too was not very good after the NH4 we had driven on all day, after a tiring drive we reached Shirdi by 8.30 pm.
I couldn't agree with you more. I have driven on roads that are worse. I have been on highways with more traffic on them. And I have seen highway drivers with worse traffic sense. But the Pune-Nashik highway seems to be a bit of all three which makes it a very stressful stretch.

Wonderful narration Lukeskywalker, and thank you for sharing.
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Old 24th November 2011, 18:08   #11
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@Mayanjha1806
Quote:
Is it worthwhile going to Goa or directly to Tarkarli for the December end holidays?
As a teetotaller, I always prefer these remote beaches to the commercial crowded beaches of Goa, I'm sure new year's eve in Tarkarli will be a wonderful experience.

@Sumeshmani
Quote:
Did you try any water sports at "Tsunami Bed"?
No we did not participate in any of the water sport activities as I am not a big fan of these escorted 15 minute rides on water scooters/kayaks after riding the same independently abroad.

Last edited by Lukeskywalker : 24th November 2011 at 18:16.
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Old 24th November 2011, 21:12   #12
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Your trips to Maharashtra are always trips of discovery of those who live in Maharashtra!!!

The Clark's Inn htel sure is also another interesting find - is it easy to find it in town?

Pity that the roads beyond Sangamaner were bad. Gratifying to know that the Shirdi-Ahmednagar road has been repaired from the terrible state it was a few weeks ago.

Did you find it easy to navigate Pune city? What route will you recommend for newbies going through Pune city - and what is the state of signages?

Nice to know that MTDC Mahabaleswar is looking better now. Does MTDC Tarkarli add boating, etc to the package, or is that charged separately?
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Old 24th November 2011, 21:29   #13
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Quote:
The Clark's Inn htel sure is also another interesting find - is it easy to find it in town?
Yes, it is quite easy to find, it is right there at the beginning of Airport Road in Hubli.

Quote:
Did you find it easy to navigate Pune city? What route will you recommend for newbies going through Pune city - and what is the state of signages?
Well, it was not difficult and the traffic was bad only as were leaving town, just a couple of wrong turns but we made it out of the city. We took the first entry from NH4 into Pune city and followed the road till Swargate, a couple of enquiries at Swargate and we were on the Old Pune-Mumbai highway and there till the Nashik turnoff was a no brainer.

Quote:
Does MTDC Tarkarli add boating, etc to the package, or is that charged separately?
They do not have boating in their package, the guys with boats will come and pester you once you have checked in, so haggle and you get a good deal. One more thing we noticed was that unlike Mahabaleshwar MTDC, the resort at Tarkarli is run by a different agency which MTDC has outsourced, that could be the reason for the higher cost of accommodation. Again, when one books online for MTDC accommodation, the price is all inclusive, but we were charged extra as tax (luxury and service) which they said is not included in the booking amount online, so we had to pay an extra sum of 3345/- over and above the 16k which we had paid online.
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Old 24th November 2011, 21:53   #14
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Default Re: Blr-Hubli-Shirdi-Mahabaleshwar-Tarkarli-Bangalore (6 nights 7 days - A sequel)

Aha! So the log is here.
Just refreshed our memories of the Mahabaleshwar trip a month back.

Time to envy you now
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Old 25th November 2011, 10:41   #15
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Quote:
Is it worthwhile going to Goa or directly to Tarkarli for the December end holidays?
I am booked into MTDC Ganapathipule on Dec 28th/29th and in MTDC Tarkali on 30th/31st. Will share the experiences once I am back... I generally tend to chose the MTDC/APSTDC/KSTDC/**DC for the new year as the private resorts charge a lot of premium around that time.

I believe all the rooms are full by now. The MTDC releases the bookings from Oct1st to Sep30 sometime in Aug/Sep. I saw the the year end bookings got full pretty much in first week itself in these destinations.

I have heard/read that apart from the online bookings, there are few rooms that are released only in the MTDC booking counters. You may want to try it out there as well.
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