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Old 2nd January 2012, 11:11   #1
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Default 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan


As per my current company's policy, every employee gets a mandatory holiday between 25-31 Dec every year. What a policy! So we decided to make best use of this policy. We started planning for this trip way early in September. Started calling various resorts/hotels in and around multiple places in Konkan (Coastal Maharashtra). And we soon realized that people are too fast. 90% of the resorts were booked well in advance. Damn! Then we started running here and there to get hold some resort. I told few tourist companies to search for me. No luck! Then I was speaking to one my friends who hails from Ganapatipule, one of the destination we were really interested in. And that did it. He said that his uncle has a huge house near Ganapatipule which he rents out at dirt cheap cost. Then I spoke to the owner of the house ASAP and booked it for 6 adults and 2 kids from 24-28 Dec.

Now transport. I have a Vista which can take 5 adults and 2 kids comfortably, almost. I have even done multiple trips with all 6 adults and 2 kids, but all of those were for short distance (<50 kms). It was impossible to do this Konkan trip with the Vista. So booked a 7 seater Innova with chauffeur with captain seats in the middle row and a luggage rack on top. There was a 'self-driven' option, but I wanted to rest and enjoy the trip rather than being tired of driving all around. So the transport issue is solved. The total cost of hiring the Innova was double the total rent we were going to pay for the Konkani house. Kind of weird, eh.

The route:

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Old 2nd January 2012, 11:59   #2
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan

Day 1: 24-Dec-11

The Innova was supposed to reach our place at 6 AM and the over-punctual driver reached our place at 5:30 AM. We were all ready and packed at 6 AM. We got down with all the luggage and the driver gave a lame excuse of not having a rope to fix all the luggage on the roof rack. This instruction was printed in bold on all receipts and supporting documents when I booked the Innova. Damn! Thankfully, we managed to stuff all our luggage in the so-called-boot space left after using all the 3 rows to their fullest capacity. And we were moving at 6:15 AM.

It was s*** cold. Sub 10 degrees temperature along with slight cold breeze. The heater was turned on and the life was better then. Most excited were the 2 kids, my daughter who is 2.8 years and my bro's son who is 2 years. This was our first ever trip in 4 years and first ever with both kids on board. My daughter was infact super excited since she was going to see/feel/enjoy Sea first time. And she started asking the question that the donkey keeps asking the Shrek "Are we there yet?"

We reached the first toll booth in no time. It was pretty crowded to our surprise at 6:40 AM in the morning. Here's a pic of the crowd at the toll. Sorry for the poor quality. I just cant click good photos in low light condition with my P&S type camera.

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Some random pics taken on the Khambatki ghat.

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This Hyundai Terracan was stuck behind us during climbing up the ghat. But it zoomed past us in less than a second on the straight patch of the road. I still feel sad that such an intimidating monster flopped in India. I think the price tag and lack of competition in the market that time, made this one fall on its knees.

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We stopped at a place called (s)mile stone for breakfast. The place was crowded. The menu was good. All the typical breakfast items such as Idli, Dosa, Uttapa, Upma, Pohe, Wada pav, etc were available fresh and piping hot. In between six of us, we ordered each item atleast once. Reason 1, we were feeling damn hungry and reason 2, we were not going to stop in between after this, till we reach our destination, Ganapatipule. The place was slightly on the expensive side for breakfast items. For instance, the Wada Pav was 15 bucks and the tea was 12 bucks. But the quality was good, so it was ok.

Some pics of the (s)mile stone and around:

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Old 2nd January 2012, 12:54   #3
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan


After a sumptuous breakfast, we started with our onwards journey. Till Karad, we were traveling on the wonderful NH4. The moment we left the NH4 and turned on the SH, the road surface quality deteriorated like hell. Innova's suspension were tested for the time since we started in the morning. I guess the suspensions were good enough so as to not cause too much discomfort to us. The road throughout was similar and there were few 'no-road' patches, due to renovation/restoration projects.

Few clicks on the way:

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The twisties of the Ambe ghat

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Random clicks of the road

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First glimpse of a Konkani house

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Old 2nd January 2012, 15:43   #4
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan


So we reached our destination at 12 PM. Thats almost like 6 hours from the start with 1 hour breakfast time. We immediately parked at a pure veg restaurant called Durvankur and ordered food. This place was recommended by the owner of the place where were going to stay for pure veg food. We were damn hungry and since we were the first one in that restaurant on that day, our food was served in 5 minutes. Typical awesome Konkani food. The thali contained the following items:
1) Olya Kajuchi usal (Cashew nut preparation. Uniqueness about this is that the cashew are extremely soft and moist)
2) Rice Bhakari (My favorite)
3) Cauliflower veg (nothing Konkani about this)
4) Mirgunda (Type of a papad, found mostly in this region)
5) Sol kadhi ( A must in Konkani food)
and the usual stuff.

We immediately headed to our place of stay. This place is called MALGUND, a tiny hamlet about 2-3 kms ahead of Ganapatipule. The whole route from Ganapatipule to Malgund was coverd by thick trees all across. We could not have reached the house ourselves in first attempt. So the owner (lets call him PS for now) PS was waiting for us on the way and then he led us to his house.

What a place it was. The actual house was like 20 feet below the main entrance on a slope. There were about 30-35 steps made out of stone which you need to climb down to reach the house. Our vehicle was parked near the entrance and we walked down the 30 odd steps to reach the house. I will first put some snaps of the house and will write more details about it later.

Pics of the house and surrounding area

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Black pepper climber
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Black pepper fruit
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Chikkus, lots of them
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The steps to the house

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Backyard of the house

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The Hammock and the small, made-for-kids swing were super hit instantaneously.

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Old 2nd January 2012, 16:15   #5
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan



The house is humungous. The total land owned by Mr. PS is about 3.2 acres. The house has about 7 rooms and can accommodate atleast 25 tourists at a time, comfortably. Besides the 7 rooms, there is lot of space to accommodate more people in case of sudden rush. The varanda is big and has a nice and big wooden swing in one corner. The varanda has a door on the farthest left side which leads to the left-side garden of the house. Every room has a door which leads to the outside of the house in some direction. The kitchen of the house is also pretty huge and can also accommodate 5-6 persons easily, in case there is sudden influx of people. BTW, Mr. PS used to sleep in the kitchen, always.

Now the BEACH:

Well, every one who has been to Ganapatilpule knows how dangerous and crowded the actual Ganapatipule beach is. The gradient of the beach is extremely steep and you get around 5-10 feet of flat surface, before the gradient starts. So its highly NOT recommended beach. Surprised!

We realized that our decision of staying at this house in Malgund was so amazingly perfect, after reaching the Malgund beach. A picture perfect beach. Period. There were in all 15 persons on the beach, including 9 of us (9th person is the chauffeur). The beach has virtually no gradient for a long distance and one can go as much into the water as one feels safe. The beach is obviously very clean throughout, thanks to unawareness of tourists about this place. The 2 hours we spent on this beach was the BEST time of the whole trip. My daughter saw a sea for the first time and I could see the change of expressions on her face from entering the water the first time, the first tide that hit her tiny feet, the feeling of getting pulled in when the sand under your feet gets sucked in, then walking in step by step holding our hands, then tapping on the water slowly, then dancing and jumping in the water while still holding our hands, then jumping without holding hands, then running from one end to another, jumping and falling down on the sand without the fear of being hit or injured or someone telling her not to do this and that. Absolutely priceless moments.

Beach photos, not in any particular order
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Old 2nd January 2012, 16:29   #6
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Beach photos continued:
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Old 2nd January 2012, 16:53   #7
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan

Day 1 ended with an absolutely disgusting dinner experience at the MTDC restaurant called Tiranga. Everything from the staff, service, cleanliness, menu, to the food was pathetic. I would kindly request everyone to avoid this place STRICTLY, unless its the only place left in the world.

Day 2 25-Dec-11:

We were all ready at around 9 am after having breakfast served by Mr. PS, which was part of the deal. We left for the 'main' Ganesh temple of Ganapatipule. I remembered my last trip to this temple around 6 years back. The entrance to the temple was from the beach and one could directly go into the gabha(core of the temple) and get a nice darshan of the idol. When we reached the temple, we were shocked. The place is a certified mess now. Typical exploitation of any tourist place. There were thousands of stalls, vehicles parked in a very anti-social way. The entrance to the temple is now from the road side and you have to walk few hundred meters now to reach the old entrance. Then starts a criss-cross kind of queue to the reach the main entrance and then the gabha. All ladies from our family waited in the queue, while we and the kids went on the beach. The ladies took about 1 hour to come out of the damn queue.

The beach was very crowded, compared to our dear Malgund beach. We did not even step into the water. Just took few snaps and good bye.
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Old 2nd January 2012, 17:31   #8
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Day 2 continued...

After the temple darshan, we started to our next place of interest, Ratnagiri. Ratnagiri is a BIG town place and most commercialized of most places in Konkan. Infact, its a miniature city with all the amenities that you would get in a city. More info about Ratnagiri can be found here Ratnagiri - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia . It was about 30 kms from Ganapatipule and about 30 minutes journey.

By the time we reached Ratnagiri, it was 12 PM. As usual, we were very hungry. We were told by Mr. PS about this restaurant called Amantran (means Invitation) for fantastic sea food. And fantastic it was! I ordered a Jumbo Surmai Thali and the fried fish piece served to me was really jumbo in size, size of the feast of Mr Hulk Hogan. The fish curry was THE BEST FISH CURRY I have had in recent times. Definition of authentic. The jumbo thali was for 200 bucks, which was the most expensive dish in the restaurant. The place also had other Konkani favorite and authentic items such as Kombadi Wade, Prawns Biryani, Pomphret fry, etc. Overall, amazing experience. I would rate 9.5 on 10 to this place. All those who ever visit Ratnagiri or any near by place, please have your food at Amantran. Details here Hotel Amantran, Ratnagiri.

From the restaurant, we went straight to Ratna Durga, a fort near the beach. The view from the fort was mind blowing. The fort was surrounded by sea on 3 sides. There is a port at one corner of the beach and you can see all sorts of boats, ships around the port. We saw 2 customs boats in a ready to attack(so to speak) stance.

Fort Ratna Durga and view from it
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Old 2nd January 2012, 18:50   #9
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Day 2 ended with a superb homely dinner at a place called Swad in Malgund. Run by Mr. Mehendale, Swad is a small restaurant which can accommodate about 25-20 patrons at a time. The food was very much homely and very good. The USP of this place is the quintessential "Ukadiche Modak". I can't translate this into English. Those who know it, know it and those who don't, better try them ASAP. The thali was for 70 bucks including 2 modaks each. Totally worth it.

Day 3 26-Dec-11:

Day 3 was just a return journey. To make it a little more interesting, we thought we will do the Jaigadh-Tavsale trip by a a mini ship which can ferry vehicles along with the people. So we packed our luggage and left the beautiful house in Malgund to go to Jaigadh. Jaigadh has 2 famous spots, the Jaigadh Fort and Jaigadh Port. We did not want to visit the fort this time. We reached the port at 9:50 AM and the next ferry was at 10 AM. Lucky we! The ferry runs every hour from 6 AM to 10 PM between Jaigadh on the Ganapatipule side and Tavsale village on the Guhagar side. The distance between Guhagar and Ganapatipule by road is around 150 kms and takes about 2 hours. This ferry takes you from Ganapatipule to Guhagar in 15 mins. Well, technically you don't reach Guhagar exactly on the other side, but you are like 10 kms from Guhagar. So for those who have Ganapatipule to Guhagar plan in their itinerary, then better use this ferry way. The ferry charges 110/- for a vehicle of size of Innova (7-8 seater) and 16/- per person. Totally worth it.

Photos of the place to board into the ferry and surrounding area

The boarding point

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Ferry approaching the boarding point with the ramp

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Scenes from the top of the ferry

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Ferry approaching the other end of the journey, Tavsale village

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Old 2nd January 2012, 18:59   #10
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From the excitement point of view, this was the end of journey. After reaching Guhagar, we hit the Guhgar-Chiplun route to reach Chiplun and then Dervan. Dervan is most famous for the recreation of Shivaji Raje's life from birth to the coronation ceremony in the form sculptures which look 3D and are just amazing. At least one visit is must to this place. Here's the official site Shiv Shrusti in Dervan created by Shree Sadguru Digambardas Maharaj - Photo Album. Since, no one is allowed click any snaps around and inside this place, please refer to the website for more info.

After Dervan, we had lunch at Hotel Abhishek in Chiplun. Food was OKK. Nothing to write about. And then we started our journey back to Pune.

Overall, a fantastic, refreshing and exciting trip. The trip would be remembered most for the house we stayed in, the Malgund beach and the ferry from Jaigadh to Tavsale. And ofcourse, will be remembered most importantly as the first trip to the sea for both the kids at home.

Even though the trip was initially planned for 4 days, we cut it down by 1 day, since it almost would have become an overdose for the kids. There was no financial loss in doing so thankfully.

Hope the travelogue was as exciting as the actual trip. Thanks for reading through.

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Old 2nd January 2012, 23:47   #11
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Moving thread to Travelogues section from Assembly line. Thanks for Sharing!
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Old 3rd January 2012, 07:06   #12
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan

Hey Ajay. Thats a wonderful forced break that you got from the company. Also i guess it must be feeling good once in a while to not drive and relax while someone else does the job.

The house looks pretty good. Better option than a crowded resort?

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 09:33   #13
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^^^ Thanks Amit. Yup, once in a while its really a pleasure to sit and chill on the backseat. But, I could not resist the temptation. I drove the Innova for about 30 odd KMs in Konkan. Its a wonderful vehicle to drive. Gear shifts are makhhan, steering response is good from an EPS unit, driveability is slick. I did not feel like I am driving a huge MPV. I guess the only place where the size will matter is while parking in a tight spot.

And yes, the house option was better. Away from the typical crowd and still very close to the hub.
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Old 3rd January 2012, 10:50   #14
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan

nice travelstory.

Mtdc tiranga hotel is not famous for its service and food,
there is another restaurant near konkani huts in MTDC premises, the food is good.

Apart from malgund beach, there is another nice beach named bhandarpule which is 2-3 km away southside from ganapatipule.

The Malgund house looks interesting.
Had you visited kavi keshavsut smarak at malgund?
I tried to take my alto on malgund beach but lost the way, had to reverse the car for 500 mtr.
Ratnagiri has some interesting spots to visit like thiba palace, bhatye beach and pawas.

The ferry touch the guhagar side near Hedvi which is @ 30 km away from guhagar.
Hedvi is famous for dashbhuja ganapati.
On the way to guhagar from hedvi, one can visit velneshwar.

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Old 3rd January 2012, 11:09   #15
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Default Re: 2011 Year-end trip to Konkan

Thank you Ashish bhai.

Ratnagiri is a 'been there-done that' place for us. This time we did not want to visit too many places and spend all the time in traveling here and there. So we chose a few and spent a good quality time there.

Like you mentioned, Bhandarpule was also on the radar, but since Malgund beach turned out too good to be true, we cancelled few places from the radar.

We did visit the Keshav Sut museum. Infact, this house of ours was at a stone throw distance from the museum. Re Hedvi, Velneshwar, Guhagar, when we touched the Guhagar side by the ferry, we decided to take a short cut to Chiplun instead of going the Hedvi-Velneshwar-Guhagar-Chiplun route. The large map put up at the boarding point of the ferry helped a lot. We have done 2-3 trips to this patch already. The main purpose of this trip was that the kids spend some great time at the beach enjoying the sea, which we successfully managed due to the serene Malgund beach.
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