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Old 9th January 2013, 17:02   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
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Default Bangalore to Bangalore via Goa, Kokan, Mahabaleshwar and Baramati


After a long time, I got an opportunity to enjoy a long vacation. It was from 22nd December 2012 till 1st January 2013 i.e. full 10 days of holiday! Needed a break from DTH, BB, FB, games and New Year parties.
As usual, long drive was the best thing I could think about. Family was ready for the same. Since we had been to most of the famous destinations in and around Bangalore, big question, where to head for? Looking at the holiday rush and no prior bookings, all the major destinations were ruled out. I was feeling little nervous as I was not interested in wasting such a good vacation.

After thinking for a while, we decided to visit our relatives staying in North Karnataka, North Goa and Kokan (Maharashtra) side and then head to native place to spend good time with parents. Prepared list of places to visit. Checked Google Maps and prepared the route map. We planned for Bangalore --> Dharwad --> Dandeli --> Halasi --> Khanapur --> Mollem (Goa) --> Panval (near Banda/Sawantvadi) --> Walaval (near Kudal) --> Tarkarli --> Amboli Ghat --> Gargoti --> Kolhapur --> Baramati. Vehicle (Maruti-800, June-2001) was serviced 1-2 months back and did not have any issue/long drive after that.

Before leaving, got the oil levels, lights, tyres and breaks checked at Maruti Service center filled the tank and left for the trip at around 5:00pm. Drive till IISC road was fine and then needed to take the left turn and pass through the new underpass to reach Tumkur road. Reached the Neelmanagala toll booth at around 6:00pm and after that the drive was on NH4. I was expecting traffic due to long holiday, but fortunately, there was no much of problem. Reached Ranebennur at 9:30pm. Took break for dinner at Kamat Upachar and filled the tank again at the adjacent petrol pump. Started the drive at 10:30pm. NOTE- before Haveri, there is one cross on NH4 which has a huge speed (vehicle?) breaker without any signs! Hence be careful about it while driving towards Haveri. Reached Dharwad at 12:00am. Visited one of the cousin's home. Stayed there for the night. On Friday, 21st December we did around 440 KMs.

After having nice sleep, proper rest and good amount of breakfast in the morning, started at 9:00am for Dandeli. Drove through Haliyal. NOTE- Road repair works are going on and you cannot expect quality roads like NH4. Drive slowly. No major problems apart from some pot holes (we need to live with those and it helps in understanding strength of your vehicle!). On the way saw a truck met with an accident. The front axle was bent and the wheels were broken. Local people informed that it was a head-on collision. Looking at the truck's condition, I could imagine the situation of the other vehicle and its occupants. Reached Dandeli at 10:00am. This is around 60KMs. Dandeli is famous for Jungle Lodges, Kali river, paper mill, nearby places like Syntheri Rock, Anshi and Dandeli wild life sanctuaries. As these places were to be avoided, visited two relatives. Had refreshment.

Left Dandeli at 11:30am and reached Halasi at 1:00pm via Haliyal, Bidi route. This is around 70KMs. Visited the famous temple of Narsimha and Bhuvarah Swami. Had lunch at wife's aunt home. By 2:00pm I started feeling anxious about further travel and to reach Goa. Before starting the journey, I confirmed the route with cousin. He suggested to take the Halasi --> Jamboti --> Chorla Ghat --> Mollem, Goa road. Since I was driving on that route for the first time, called up the relatives at Mollem and they advised to take the Halasi --> Khanapur --> Anmod Ghat --> Mollem road! Got into bad situation for the first time. Anxiety and lack of route knowledge caused some confusion. So I thought for a while and opted for the Anmod Ghat route. That's all; it was end of a good drive! The road from Khanapur till Goa entry point was so bad that no vehicle could drive beyond 30-40KMPH for few minutes. There were pot holes, pot holes and pot holes on the route and could barely find any road. The drive of around 50KMs took more than 80-90 minutes. It was getting late and the fuel tank was also getting empty. NOTE- After crossing Khanapur, I did not see any fuel pump till Goa boundary. Ensure sufficient fuel is in the car tank.

On this route you can see the entry to Dudhsagar Resort and Bhagavan Mahaveer Sanctuary. Reached Goa boundary and enquired with the guard at check post for further directions to our destination. The places we were supposed to visit were Guleli/Padeli in Mollem. We reached the area at 4:30pm. Since it was an isolated area, we could barely see anybody on the road to ask for directions/route. We spent almost an hour on road and searching the destination. To add to the misery, there was no network for Airtel mobiles. Somehow reached Shironda village and asked for telephone booth. Not sure, why, but the answer came no! I was not sure, what to do? Again drove towards Guleli/Padeli. It was getting late. We could see one person on the road. Enquired with him for directions and his answer was, Maka maahit nasa (I do not know)! Came back on Vapoi road and found one person who was looking for a ride. Fortunately he was heading for Honda. He guided us correctly till Honda. After reaching Honda, found that the mobiles are working fine. It was almost 6:30pm. Called up those relatives and informed about the fiasco. They offered to wait for half an hour more in Honda so that someone can take us to Guleli. Already exhausted with drive on bad road, no mobile network and Maka maahit nasa kind of answer, I turned down their offer. Felt bad, but, I had no option also I was scheduled to reach Panval that evening for stay.

Left for Mapusa. Since the tank was getting dry, filled petrol on the way. To my delight, the petrol rate was 55.65 Rs/Ltr! I filled the tank and took the Goa-Mumbai highway. NOTE- Even though the road is smooth, this is a single lane highway. New bees, mind your vehicle speed and avoid risky overtaking. Reached Panval near Banda at 9:00pm. Got freshen up. Had dinner at the relative's place. Stayed for the night. On Saturday, 22nd December we did around 220 KMs.

On Sunday, 23rd December visited the farm. It had beetle nut, black pepper, cinnamon, mango, coconut trees. Had water from 3-4 tender coconuts. Enjoyed it like never before. The taste was good and water was really cool. Had walk around the entire farm. It was a good walk of around 4-5 KMs. Came back and had authentic sol-kadhi and modaks for the lunch. After having heavy food, took some rest.
At around 4:00pm we left for the next destination Walaval near Kudal. Plan was to reach Walaval, go to Tarkarli beach, enjoy the sunset and come back. We took the Sawantvadi --> Pingurli --> Walaval route. This is a good way to avoid traffic through Kudal town and MIDC area. Some portion of the drive was on "Sagari Mahamarg". Most of the route was through remote areas of Kokan. Reached relative's place by 5:30pm. To reach their house, it is needed to walk through some hills and steep slopes. It was almost 200-300mtrs away from the place we parked our car. Looking at the road condition, we decided to visit the beach first. I expressed my desire to visit Tarkarli beach. It was informed that I can do it next day only. But it was offered to take us to Bhogave beach instead. I was misinformed that the beach is just 6KMs away from Walaval. We left with much enthusiasm. I was keeping an eye on the odometer. Even after crossing 9KMs, there was no sign of sea or beach. The drive was through a dense forest. The road was very small. Could barely accommodate two small cars at a time. At Parule Bazaar we saw the sign for Bhogave beach. It was showing the distance as 6KMs! My relative apologized for the wrong information. But looking at the earlier fiasco in Goa, this was not a big deal as someone from local area was with us as well as we were eager to go to the beach. After driving 3-4 KMs, you will find a 'Y' junction. Take the right hand fork and you can reach Bhogave village. After 1-2KMs, you will start seeing the Arabian Sea. There is a post office in that village. We parked the vehicle in a private parking slot. Charges were, Full Day/Night parking- Rs. 50/- and short term parking Rs. 10/-. NOTE- Road widening work, access to beach is going on. Not advisable to park the car on road side as there is movement of construction vehicles/equipments.

Went to the beach. Even after being weekend, there hardly any visitors on the beach. At the most 40-50 travelers were there. Had a good walk on the quiet beach. Sometime you may feel little only on this beach. As it is not yet spoiled like Goa or other Kokan beaches, it still has its own charm. Also there are no stalls, vendors; hence overall it gives a very good experience. Captured some moments of the sunset. For young couples, it would be advisable to avoid lonely ends of the beaches after sunset. This is just a friendly advice and not heard any wrong news yet.
Drove back to the relative’s place. Parked car and walked through hills and the steep slope to reach to the home. It was almost 8:30pm and started feeling hungry. Had dinner and set out for a walk in the moon light. As full moon night was few days ahead, there was good amount of light available. On Sunday, 23rd December we did around 120 KMs.

On Monday, 24th December went through the cashew nut and jackfruit farm. There was lot of monkeys. During the season of March to April, when all the fruits like mango, cashew, jackfruits are available, monkeys come in huge group and destroy lot of crop. It causes lot of trouble to the laborers in the farm. Again had a good walk around the hills, slopes and lunch in the afternoon. Visited the famous temple of Lakhminarayana and nearby lake in Walaval. There is another temple known as "Mauli Temple". It is known for devotee's belief that it gives whatever you ask for. Because of this many people offer wooden replicas of house, car, bus etc. It was a different experience.

As per the plan, we were supposed to leave for Gargoti via Amboli ghat, Gadhinglaj way. But the relative from Gargoti suggested taking the Kankavali --> Fonda ghat --> Radhanagari --> Mudaltitta --> Gargoti route. We left Walaval at 3:00pm. Drive through Mumbai highway was good. Even the route through Fonda ghat --> Radhanagari was beautiful. Had little bit of pot holes on the road. But altogether had a very good drive. Reached Gargoti by 6:30pm. Got freshen up. Around 7:00pm left for a place called Bhatiwade. It's a village with lot of mobile phones! No land line phone is in working condition. Even people contact the grampanchayat officers on their mobiles. Someone informed that the BSNL cable was cut during some road repair work and for months it has not been restored as nobody is caring about the land lines. Spent some time with my grand-mother-in-law (wife's grandmother). Joy on her face had no comparison when she saw her great-grand-son. It was reflecting in her good mood. Returned back at around 9:30pm. Had dinner with the relative's family. On Monday, 24th December we did around 180 KMs.

On Tuesday, 25th December after having breakfast at 8:00am left for Kolhapur. Reached Mahalakshmi temple by 9:30am. As it was Tuesday and holiday season, it took around one and half hour to complete the queue. After standing in such a long queue, devotees won't even get half a minute for proper darshan. Administration is also helpless as they need to cater for huge number of devotees during holiday season. NOTE- For visitors who are not interested in performing any of the pujas, offerings, there is seperate platform available in front of the Lakshmi temple. You can offer your praying and take darshan very peacefully from this platform. No need to stand in the main temple/darshan queue.

Left Kolhapur at 12:30pm and plan was to head for Baramati. On the way, we remembered that there is a place called Palicha Khandoba on Pune highway. During last visit, as we reached little late in the evening we could not enter the temple. It was closed. Decided to visit that place too. At this place too, the queue was long and was moving slowly. Had a darshan and saw the elephant in the temple. Had food at Hotel Nisarga after Karad. The black lentil dal was awesome. It was almost 2:30pm. While paying the bill at the counter I saw jelly based toffees, the one which are manufactured in Mahabaleshwar. At that moment I remembered my trip to Wai-Panchgani I had almost 10-12 years back. During that trip we had fresh strawberries in the farm. I asked my son if he would be interested in visiting those strawberry farms. For him anything and everything is good which is "on the way"! I could read wife's reaction. She could easily guess my next destination!

Took NH4 --> Satara --> Medha road --> Mahabaleshwar to reach to the newly introduced destination on our route map. NOTE- There is huge road hump before village Reetkavale. Go slow! Enjoyed couple of points like elephant's head and Bombay/Sunset point. Looking at the rush at the sunset point, we headed for the market instead. Enjoyed good amount of raspberry and strawberries. Packed a kilo of strawberries for the home. While returning took the Mahabaleshwar --> Panchgani --> Wai --> Wathar route. On the way, before Adarki, had dinner at Fauji's Dhaba. Went through Adarki ghat --> Phaltan to reach Baramati at 11:30pm. NOTE- Road widening/4-lane work is in progress on Phaltan --> Baramati route. There are diversions. On Tuesday, 25th December we did around 370 KMs.

Fortunately, few of my schoolmates were in town because of long holidays. Most of us are having occupations in different fields and different places. It becomes very difficult to manage holidays simultaneously and meet all friends. Even though we are in contact through FB/mobile, some of us were going to see each other after a gap of 4-5 years. Hence this was a golden opportunity for us. We decided to meet on Saturday, 29th December at 4:00pm in Hotel CityInn. By the time everybody gathered, it was 4:30pm. As this was friend’s meet, there was no agenda for the meeting! One of our friend thought of going to Mahabaleshwar, have dinner and come back. Idea was to spend some good time, have a friend’s only chat on the way and come back in the night. Most of us were little surprised but as there was no other plan, no one refused to join. Vehicle was Innova and we were 7! We could have managed with having one more person/driver with us. Friend asked his driver to take off for that evening and offered to take us to Mahabaleshwar. And we were ready to go!

While on the way, everyone informed their families about the trip. Looking at the ongoing road work on Phaltan route, it was thought of taking Nira route. Based on my recent drive, I had an idea about the condition of the road. Suggested to go for Phaltan route. In Phaltan, we visited another schoolmate. She was surprised to see the gang at her doorstep. Had tea and some talk about this unplanned visit.
Reached Mahabaleshwar at around 8:00pm. We parked the vehicle at a parking area near market. Being weekend, the area was crowdie and the main market road was full of visitors. We strolled for some time and enjoyed Strawberry with cream. I heard this is famous in Mahabaleshwar. By 9:00, everyone started feeling hungry and was looking for some good place for dinner. We left for hotel Surya on Panchgani road. Had sumptuous food and left for Baramati. During the entire trip, all of us contributed to the jokes, school and college memories. We reached Baramati at 1:30am. However short was the drive, it was definitely a memorable for us.

The return journey from Baramati was planned on Monday, 31st December. After having lunch, we left at around 2:30pm. Filled the fuel tank and opt for the Phaltan --> Vadha --> NH4 route. As it was a known route, could successfully manage to reach Satara by 4:30pm. Took a short break at Karad for tea. Then left for Dharwad. Reached Dharwad at 8:30pm. Even though it was month of December, weather was humid and feeling like summer in Dharwad. Quickly checked for Kamat Yatrinivas, but, rooms were not available. Before getting into city, saw Hotel Ankitha Residency. It was offering good deal on AC and non-AC rooms. Due to weather condition, opted for an AC room. The room was decent and staff was good. Visited nearby hotel for the dinner. It was a good place for vegetarian food. On Tuesday, 1st January left hotel at 9:00am. Filled the fuel tank. Visited Hotel Kamat available after Hubli bypass for breakfast. Took lunch at recently launched hotel. Meanwhile, wife took chance to drive on the highway. Reached Bangalore at 4:30pm.

The odometer was showing reading of 84420. That means we did 84420 – 81810 = 2610 KMs. This is being an old vehicle and as the drive was not on equal quality of roads, I did not bother for keeping track of mileage. Overall spent around 8,000 rupees on petrol and around 500-600 rupees on toll. This was a much awaited long drive for me!

Thank you for time and wish you a very happy new year!

Moderator note: Adding paragraph breaks, to help with readability. Thanks
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Last edited by Jaggu : 9th January 2013 at 18:45. Reason: Adding paragraph breaks, to help with readability. Thanks
nravindra77 is offline   (2) Thanks Reply With Quote
Old 9th January 2013, 23:21   #2
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Pune
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bangalore via Goa, Kokan, Mahabaleshwar and Baramati

The "modaks" and "strawberry cream" are very mouth watering. Short and crisp travelogue. The pictures are fantastic.
athanedar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th January 2013, 13:40   #3
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Pune
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Default Re: Bangalore to Bangalore via Goa, Kokan, Mahabaleshwar and Baramati

Nice travelogue, you seem to have explored country side mostly even though visited Goa, Konkan! You have relatives everywhere
naren_gs1 is offline   Reply With Quote

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