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Old 14th June 2012, 17:42   #1
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Default Konkan Konkured

It was March 2012 and we were in the middle of a discussion (read argument) - wife wanted to go to our native (Kerala) during the summers and I wanted to go to anywhere but Kerala for a vacation. Thus after rounds of discussions and deliberations we decided on a mid way - Goa. Though May is not an ideal time to hit Goa, it was the only place that satisfied both our requirements.

The Konkan route always enticed me and I very much wanted to drive thru NH 17 and experience the splendor of the Western Ghats. Thus started my 'research' on the Konkan route.

My search through T-BHP drewn up many posts on Goa but not much on NH17 through the Konkan route. Whoever went to Goa from Mumbai side, seldom took this route. So not much detailed info was available on this route unlike the NH4 route. That added to my excitement and I waited eagerly for the trip. Finally it was time to start.

As lot has been written on Goa and its places, I will rather focus this travelogue on the route. Hopefully this will be useful for others who might want to venture on this route.

We started from home on the night of 11th May and reached Mumbai the next day were we spent the day at a friends place. Next morning, our plan was to start by 4.00 am so that we could reach Mahad comfortably by 8-8.30 am and visit the Raigad fort. But after calling in late, we could not get up in time and by the time we started from Mumbai it was 6.15 am - well 2 hours behind our schedule.

From Mumbai (Goregaon), we took the Sakinaka, Ghatkopar route, crossed the Vashi bridge and took the Panvel bypass to touch the Goa highway. Now the road becomes a narrow 2-lane road with plenty of traffic, thanks to Sunday. We stopped at the Vithal Kamat restaurant near Karnala Bird sanctuary and had hot idli, dosa with sambar and chutney. It was fun watching my 3 yr old son gorge into his idli sans the sambar and chutney. Finally with 'tummy bhi khush, mummy bhi khush', we proceeded on our journey.

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About 20 Km from Karnala, we reached Vadkal naka from where we had to turn left for Goa. The straigh road goes to Alibag. Unfortunately, we missed the sign board (it had almost rubbed off with time) and drove straight towards Alibag. By the time, I realised the mistake and turned around, we had lost a good 30 km and about 40 min.

From Vadkal, we turned on to the right way and proceeded towards Goa. It was heartening to see that road widening activities was on between Pen and Mangaon though it has just started. Once done, it would be much more faster to drive on this stretch.

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By the time we reached Mahad, it was well afternoon and there was no way we could visit the Raigad fort. The sun was blazzing hot and also we were well behind schedule. So wiht a heavy heart, we drove on.
Now we were well in the ghat area and the road was full of twists and turns, ups and down.

Surprisingly, the road was in excellent condition. The traffic too was relatively thinner in the ghats. So it was a pleasure driving though speeding up was not an option. There are no hotels / eateries in the ghat areas. So it would be advisable to plan your food breaks or stock them up in your car. We also saw few Tata Nanos doing the ghats. Given the impression that these are small fragile cars not meant for the highways, it was quite amusing to see them navigate thru the hairpin bends and climb the steep slopes.

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The scenic beauty all along the route was indeed very captivating. If the landscape could look so beautiful on a summer afternoon, wonder how it would be in the monsoon!!!One thing that I wished for was proper marking indicating which ghat is it. That would have made it easier for travellers to identify them.

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Initially I had planned to stop for lunch at Vithal Kamat in Mahad but wife wanted to try someother place so we skipped it. Later, I had a brilliant idea - cooking lunch on a chulla along the highway!!! Wife laughed at the idea but agreed that it would be interesting. I had a small vessel in the car and we bought 2 packs of Maggie from a shop. I stopped under a huge tree to setup my temporary kitchen, light up the choolah and cook some 'home made' lunch of Maggie. God, it was so exciting. For once, I forgot the disappointment of having had to skip the Raigad fort. But lighting up a choolah was not easy. After few failed attempts, I finally got a good fire burning and soon our Maggie was on the boil. For the first time in life it took me almost 2 hours to prepare Maggie and eat it. But in the end, it was a great experience.

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We crossed Chiplun at 4.10 pm and Ratnagiri Junction at 5.30 pm. By now the major ghat sections were over and the road was flatter. But speeding was still not possible due to the heavy traffic. The traffic was mainly of smaller vehicles from the many villages around. We stopped at a road side restaurant for some cold drinks and leg stretching. We were still about 200 km away from our destination and I was hopeing to cover it by around 9.00 pm. Though the ghats were over, the road still had plenty of turns and was pretty zig zag.

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We were somewhere near Sawantwadi (by then wife was pretty exhausted and in no mood to log our journey) and it happened - a road block. There was this narrow bridge and the road had a sharp turn on either side of the bridge. A huge trailor and a luxury bus were standing face to face with many other vehicles thrust in every available space leaving no space for any body to either move forward or backward. After almost an hour and a half and with the help of volunteers, the block finally started to move slowly and ultimately the road opened up. Luckily that was the last hurdle for the rest of the journey. Since it was so late and wife and son were totally exhausted, we decided not to stop for dinner and drive to our hotel as fast as possible. We had some fruits and buscuits that my son had and then he fell asleep on the back seat.

Finally we entered Goa and drove upto Mapusa from where we turned right, reached Mapusa bus stop took the Calangute road and drove down to Candolim to our hotel Santana Beach Resort. It was 11.50 pm when I steped out of the car after parking it. It took us 17 hours 35 min to cover the 603 km from Goregaon to Candolim!!!
As soon as we were in the room, we just crashed into bed.

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Next 3 days was full of fun and masti in Goa. We covered Calangute beach, Candolim beach, Anjuna beach, Chappora fort, Aguada fort, Old Goa, Panjim, Colva beach. Amongst all the beaches we hit, Candolim was our favorite - less crowded, very neat and clean and very clear water. Calangute was a happening place as expected. Somehow Colva was a big disappointment. Contrary to all that I had heard about it, I found the beach very filthy, water very dirty (it was all brown muddy water) and crowded. Old Goa, with its majestic churches, was very serene and poised reflecting a bygone era. Did local shopping and enjoyed Goanese fish curry and rice. Hmmm just the thought of it makes my mouth water.

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The Santana Beach Resort where we were put up is an excellent place to be and I would surely recommend it. Though not lavish, it was very cossy and welcoming. The rooms were big and airy and there was lot of space to move around even with a king size bed, wardrobe, table, chair, tv unit. Each room has a small kitchen and a balcony. Most importantly, the resort is bang on the Candolim beach and there is a pathway through the resort garden that takes you to the beach. So after you enjoy yourself in the water, you can just walk back straight in to the resort and go to your room to change. There is also a fresh water shower at the beach entrance gate.

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Even before we realised it, our 3 days in Goa came to an end and it was time to pack up. With a promise to come back once again, wife n son boarded the train to Kerala and I went back to the hotel to prepare for my return drive the next morning.

Considering the time it took us to reach Goa, I was mentally prepared for another long drive upto Mumbai were I was to stay overnight. But what a pleasant surprise. I started from Goa at 5.45 am and was at Panvel at 5.55 pm - just about 12 hours as against 17 hours. Crossed Sawantwadi at 7.40 am, Kudal at 8.15 am (had a cup of tea at Vithal Kamat, Kudal), Kankavali at 8.55 am, Chiplun at 12.27 pm, Mahad at 2.20 pm. I was infact driving quite leisurely. From Panvel it took me about 2 hours to reach Powai, but that was expected given the evening Mumbai city traffic.
I then realised that we took more time on our way to Goa because it was a sunday and so more traffic on the road. Also the road block too added to the delay.

After spending the night in Powai, I started at 8.00 am from Mumbai and reach home in Ahmedabad by 4.00 pm.

The much awaited drive through the Konkan ghats was done and it made me feel good. Yes, the route is quite stressful and not one for those who are looking at a leisurely smooth and easy drive. But then it has its own charm, thrill and excitement. Those of us who enjoy adventure will surely enjoy this route.
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Old 14th June 2012, 19:14   #2
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Default Re: Konkan Konkured

Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

Last edited by GTO : 5th October 2012 at 12:58.
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Old 14th June 2012, 20:09   #3
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Default Re: Konkan Konkured

Cooking under the tree was a fantastic idea. I need to try that sometimes, provided my wifey allows it.

I had purchased a portable stove which uses some chemical substance to burn and provide heat. This is the same substance used by the caterers to keep food hot in a buffet party. It can fit into a side pocket of your bag. Such an item would be priceless if you are inclined to cook or heat water or something en route.
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Old 15th June 2012, 07:45   #4
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Default Re: Konkan Konkured

Thanks... it was a wonderful experience. Cooking is something I enjoy (do it on weekends) but this was the first time I tried in the open. Getting the fire was quite a task

Quote:
Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
Cooking under the tree was a fantastic idea. I need to try that sometimes, provided my wifey allows it.

I had purchased a portable stove which uses some chemical substance to burn and provide heat. This is the same substance used by the caterers to keep food hot in a buffet party. It can fit into a side pocket of your bag. Such an item would be priceless if you are inclined to cook or heat water or something en route.
As I understand, this chemical helps keep food warm but not sure if it will give enough heat to actually 'cook'.

Anyways, I will prefer cooking in the ancient style of puting up 3 stones, piling up dry sticks and lighting up the fire... more fun and exciting when on the highway

Last edited by GTO : 5th October 2012 at 12:59. Reason: Quoted post deleted
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Old 11th January 2013, 07:25   #5
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Default Re: Konkan Konkured

Excellent post. I was searching for konkan travel since I am planning a trip from Ahmedabad (where I am based) in the first week of Feb. Though my initial plan was to visit few places in Konkan upto Tarkali, your post makes me think it can be good drive if I can go all the way up to Goa. Basically this is going to be a holiday trip and I have more than a week to spend. I would be travelling with my wife and 2 yr old kid and would most likely self drive my etios. Any suggestions to help me plan better?
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Old 12th January 2013, 21:45   #6
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Default Re: Konkan Konkured

Quote:
Originally Posted by automachine View Post
Excellent post. I was searching for konkan travel since I am planning a trip from Ahmedabad (where I am based) in the first week of Feb. Though my initial plan was to visit few places in Konkan upto Tarkali, your post makes me think it can be good drive if I can go all the way up to Goa. Basically this is going to be a holiday trip and I have more than a week to spend. I would be travelling with my wife and 2 yr old kid and would most likely self drive my etios. Any suggestions to help me plan better?
1st week of Feb will be a good time to drive thru konkan. Trust me, you will enjoy every bit of it if you love driving thru hilly terrains. It will surely be worth it to extend your trip upto Goa.
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