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Old 6th November 2013, 21:36   #1
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Smile Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

Disclaimer: This is my first proper travelogue. I used to do the detailed route updates in the Route threads. As a regular practice, the below log also contains Route details, traffic updates and timings also. Not sure whether it can be called a proper travelogue

Goa - Where the greenery meets the sea

I successfully completed the second trip to Goa this year with my friends/college mates, from 22nd to 26th October. Goa was the favourite location to utilize the Club Mahindra’s yearly offer of three days stay without charge. Last time the trip to Goa was in Sep 2010 and we were not able to find accommodation in the Varca Beach property. Although last time the quorum was 5 trip members, this time it was reduced to three, as two friends were not able to join due to personal reasons/onsite assignments. The dates were flexible this time and we chose it in such a way that there was availability in the Varca property

The plans were made as given below, however, there were some changes that happened during the trip.

The Plan:

Oct 22: Start from Bangalore for a night journey
Oct23: Reach Kulem by 7.30 AM. Take a bike/jeep to visit Doodthsagar waterfalls. After that visit the Sanaulim dam which is slightly off the way to the resort. Reach the resort by 2 PM for the check-in.
Oct 24: Beach and pool activities in the resort itself
Oct 25: Goa site seeing.
Oct 26: Check-out from resort and drive to Honavar and stay at Kamat
Oct 27: Visit Jog and drive directly to Bangalore

Participants:
  1. The Ship Builder – He works in a ship building company. An excellent photographer and travel enthusiast. He owns a Punto, but never drives when I am around. Even though he builds such huge machines, he loves the Indian Railways/trains way too much; we call him ‘Railway Encyclopedia’ because of his extensive knowledge about Indian Railways.
  2. The Rocket Scientist – He is into the last step of getting a Phd. in Rocket Propulsion (or something like that). An excellent driver and an expert saxophone player.
  3. The Driver – This refers to me, who lives to drive as our sticker says. My friends say I go for any trip just to drive, which is more or less true.

Our ride:

Ertiga ZDI – 31K on odo and 10 months old
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Old 6th November 2013, 21:55   #2
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Oct 22 (Tuesday) :

For the onward journey we have selected the Alnavar-Ramnagar-Anmod-Ponda route as we need to visit Doodthsagar. The route was : Bangalore-Chitradurga-Davangere-Hubli-Alnavar-Ramnagar-Anmod-Castle Rock-Mollem-Kulem-Kalay-Salaulim Dam-Margao-Colva-Varca (http://goo.gl/maps/UN51k)

Started from home early at 7 PM (Oct 22 Tuesday) as I had to pick up someone from JP Nagar and drop at Bangalore City Railway Station. It was raining in the evening and the traffic was the worst on the ORR. Reached JP Nagar by 8.35 PM. Took the JC Road-Corporation-Mysore Bank to reach Majestic by 9.20 PM. Rest of the two trip mates were waiting for me at the Mantri mall. Reached Mantri by 9.45 PM and met them. Bought some parcel for a late dinner on the way. We drove in two cars (Rocket Scientist’s Czech beauty) to IISc, where Rocket Scientist does the Phd. He parked his car over there and packed the entire luggage into the Ertiga. We hit the NH4 towards Tumkur at 10.30 PM.

NH4 was empty as it was a weekday. Truck traffic was also not too much. We maintained a steady 80-90 kmph and reached Nelamangala at 10.58 PM. Night-bound buses to northern parts of KA and a few trucks were our only company. We reached the Tumkur toll booth at 11.25 PM.

It was very nice drive from there onwards till Hubli. Excellent roads with minimal traffic. We were looking for some place after Tumkur toll with enough light and people around to stop and gobble up the packed food. Saw some petrol bunks, but all of them were either away from the NH or deserted. We stopped at the Long drive restaurant (By VRL) between before Sira. A lot of north-bound buses were stopping here for lunch. We parked the car on the service road in front of the compound and had dinner.

Oct 23(Wednesday):

We hit the road again by 12.10 AM and the Rocket Scientist was at the wheel. From there onwards it was raining continuously till we reach Chitradurga at 1.45 AM. Our scientist was feeling quite sleepy and handed over the wheel to me after Harihar bypass.

We crossed Ranebennur around 2.55 AM. We stopped at the COCO pump with the Ghar Dhaba after Ranebennur bypass for refuelling at 3 AM. Both of others were sleeping tight and did not know I refuelled on the route. In the late morning they asked me how the car can travel this far with the fuel needle still above the ¾ mark. I was expecting around 20 litres for a tank full(360 kms after previous fill). But the gauge stopped at around 17 litres, and I added another 0.6 litres to get the amount to an even Rs.1000. The fuel efficiency calculated was around 20.5 kmpl. This is awesome considering the 35 km city travel in hectic and bumper-to-bumper traffic the previous night. I was really happy after this and continued our sedate cruise on NH4. We reached the Hubli-Dharwad bypass toll at 4.14 AM and paid the toll fare for Alnavar exit.

I was worried about the road conditions after exiting the NH4. I had traveled on the same route two months back in August 2013 in the daytime. I knew there were some bad patches here and there, which could be potentially dangerous in the night. Luckily, the roads were much better compared to my last drive. There were some bad sections where railway over-bridge construction was going on. As of now, 95 % roads are excellent till Ramnagar. The roads in the forest section were very good. The only traffic was a few trucks. I was feeling sleepy as we approached Ramnagar. Reached Ramnagar at 5.40 AM and stopped there for a tea break. The ship builder also woke up and had tea with me. We hit the road back at 5.45 AM.

The NH4A between Ramnagar and Anmod is in a bad state. As per our plan, we had to reach Kulem by 8AM and take a bike/jeep to the falls. We had enough time, so the ship builder was trying to convince me to make a visit to the Castlerock railway station (remember his affinity towards trains) which was 6km away from the main road. So, we took the deviation and it was a worthy decision; the road to Castle rock was awesome and goes through the thick forest with no traffic at all. We reached the railway station at 6.40 AM and spent around 1 hour there. If you are a railway enthusiast, you can spend even more time in the green beauty of railway station. The ship builder was feeling at home as he started his favourite time pass. The scientist and I slept peacefully in the car for a short while. We started back from there towards Kulem at 8.00 AM.

Our first stop for clicking some photos was near a bridge in the Castle rock Wild Life Division which is a part of Dandeli Anashi Tiger Reserve
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-1.jpg
Our ride taking a rest after a long drive
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-2.jpg
NH4A with complete greenery around
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-3.jpg
Castle rock Railway station is just 6kms from the main road. You will not miss this board
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-4.jpg
Castle rock railway station first look
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-5.jpg
We obey the red signal, not like the road users. A goods train waiting for the green signal
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-6.jpg
These additional loco’s are attached to those trains which goes through Braganza ghat section (towards Kulem)
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-7.jpg
Awesome greenery
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-8.jpg
A goods train getting ready to go towards the Ghats
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-9.jpg
Awesome set of shoes
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-10.jpg
A close look
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-11.jpg
Castle Rock railway station
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-12.jpg
Let’s take a break
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-13.jpg
Excellent curvy roads from NH4A towards Castle Rock
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-14.jpg
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-15.jpg
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-16.jpg

The NH4A condition improved as we approached Anmod. The ghat section roads were in a good state. The view to the side of the road was awesome as we neared Goa. We Reached Kulem around 9 AM and enquired with locals and they told us that the water levels were low currently. We have already visited Doodhsagar in Sep 2010, at the peak of a rainy season, by taking a ride on a bike when streams in the forest were flowing full. Moreover, we were tired after night-journey. Plus the 3–hour long drive in Bangalore city before our actual journey took its toll on my energy levels. So we decided to skip Doodhsagar this time. The check-in time for our stay was 2.00 PM, so decided to visit Salaulim dam which was only slightly off the way to the resort. We started from Kulem at 9.10 AM.
We skipped the main roads and took the interior routes to reach the dam from Kulem. The roads were bad for the initial 2-3 kms. Then it became really good. The countryside of Goa looks exactly like the villages in Kerala. We stopped at a roadside pasture to click some photos.

Awesome Goan country roads
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-17.jpg
Stopped near this grassland for a small photoshoot
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-18.jpg
Our ride taking rest
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-19.jpg

We reached Salaulim dam at 10.05 AM. The car was parked at the gate and we walked to the top of the dam. Sadly, no cameras were allowed there. The dam and the reservoir were awesome. The 1.5 kms walk in the hot and humid climate was worth it. This dam had a peculiar type of spillway which is called Duckbill type (Morning Glory type). More details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salaulim_Dam . We started from there at 10.40 AM and drove directly to Colva beach and to find some good place to have a late-breakfast/early-lunch.

I managed to click some photos of the Salaulim Dam in my cell camera
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-21.jpg
The reservoir
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-22.jpg
Another view of the Reservoir
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-23.jpg
The spillway
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-24.jpg
Another view. There were water splashing around the spillway due to the force of water falling
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-25.jpg

We took the Sanguem-Curchorem-Gudi-Margao route to Colva. The roads were good and traffic was normal and we reached Colva at 11.45 AM. We had the first glimpse the Majestic Arabian Sea there and spent some time in the beach and decided to try the seafood restaurant ‘Kentucky’, which was right near the beach. The food was a bit expensive, but was very tasty.We started towards Varca at 1.45 PM to reach Club Mahindra resort at 2.05 PM which was the perfect time for the check-in.

Some photos from Colva beach. Water sports are started after the Monsoon.
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-26.jpg
Taking a break
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-27.jpg
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-28.jpg
Some photos of the cottage in Club Mahindra Property
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-29.jpg
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-30.jpg
Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea-31.jpg

The gps log for onward journey is here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B25...it?usp=sharing

The first leg ends here. As we were expecting we had a nice rest after the check-in. We slept till 5.45 PM. Then, the Scientist woke me up to go watch the sunset while the ship builder slept like a baby. We went to the resort’s private beach and beheld a beautiful sunset. No photos here as our official photographer was missing. Nothing much happened further on that day. Had dinner and hit the sack early.

Note:The description of the next legs of our trip at Varca Beach and Goa sightseeing will come soon in separate posts.
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Old 7th November 2013, 13:53   #3
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Default re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

Note from Mod : Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelouges Section. Thanks for sharing
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Old 7th November 2013, 14:11   #4
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Default re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Nice write up and fantastic pics of Castle Rock and IR. Especially the zoomed-in pic of the goods train changing tracks is a delight to watch.

The spill way is enough to send shivers down anyone's spine!

31k kms in 10 months takes some driving! Great!

I too had done a trip to Goa, albeit on a different route in October this year and the same can be found at http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-trip-goa.html (Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa)

Thanks again for the write up; awaiting more updates!

Last edited by Safety is Param : 7th November 2013 at 14:25.
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Old 7th November 2013, 14:28   #5
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Default re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

30K in 10 months. MAN , do you travel !!!
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Old 7th November 2013, 14:54   #6
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Default re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

Nice work denver85,

I wanted to visit Goa since a long time.
When is the right time to visit?
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Old 7th November 2013, 15:48   #7
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Default re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

I simply loved the Castle Rock station pics. The trains ignite a spark somewhere of old memories, thanks for sharing.

CM Varca is one of the most pristine properties, been there a couple of yrs ago - with a private beach and twin swimming pools, it just rocks big time.

Rating 5 stars in anticipation of a nice t-log.
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Old 7th November 2013, 16:17   #8
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Default re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

Hello Denver. Enjoyed every part of your travelogue. Your writing style is just eye catching. I could move my eyes from the article to the pictures only after reading the whole thing.
I always wanted to see Goa again (I had been to Goa long time back when I was a kid).
Will be waiting for the continuation of this.
Glued to the thread.
Cheers
Carfreak911
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Old 7th November 2013, 16:40   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecosport rules View Post
I wanted to visit Goa since a long time.
When is the right time to visit?
With absolutely no intentions of hijacking Denver's thread, below are my inputs -

Mid October to February end is the best season; however, there are some disadvantages too if you are my type of a traveller -

1) Hotel costs are considerably high compared to peak season.

2) More crowd, more prices for recreational activities, i.e. Para-sailing, Speed Boating, etc.

3) If you travel between Christmas and New Year, you have to shell out compulsory supplements for the so called Gala - Dinners. After all, your stomach can take the same amount of food on Christmas as in June!!

4) Many hotels rent their premises for Wedding, etc., resulting in a deteriorated Customer Service for the in-house guests. I had a first hand experience on this during my stay in Holiday Inn last month.

5) Parking issues; especially applicable to Goa.

The advantages are -

1) Less or no rain.

2) If you are driving, the roads are more likely to be clear of any obstructions, unlike landslides and heavy downpours in off season.

3) Some hotels, with attached beaches, do not allow their guests to venture into the sea between May and October due to high under-currents and the associated fear of being swept away.

Even during my visit, though it was mid October, we encountered intermittent spells of rain.

If you are a family man, with kids, peak season travel is advised. Some of the restaurants near to or on the beach open only during the peak season.

The night-market in Baga too opens only during peak season, and so does the German Bakery in Anjuna.

However, if the purpose of your visit is just to unwind, i.e. Beach attached to the property, swimming pool, nice food within the premises, etc., a visit during the off-season would do no harm as well!

After all, it all depends what you want to do once you are there!
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Old 7th November 2013, 17:10   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safety is Param View Post
With absolutely no intentions of hijacking Denver's thread, below are my inputs -

Mid October to February end is the best season; !
Thanks.How about end of November say around 24 or 25?
Please give me as many details as possible.
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Old 7th November 2013, 17:12   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
30K in 10 months. MAN , do you travel !!!

If I remember correctly, When I met him for the first time back in June '13 while we were going to check the seat covers for his ride and mine at Imperial leathers, he had already done around 18k kms

Nice Travelogue Deepak, Did you get the seat covers done?
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Old 7th November 2013, 17:48   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecosport rules View Post
Please give me as many details as possible.
Hi Ecosport, with due respect to Denver's thread, I am prepared to further carry on the discussion here on my recent Goa Trip thread -

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...ml#post3286978 (Saheb, Biwi, Sun, Sand, Sea...and the Nissan Sunny! Our mesmerizing trip to Goa)

Thanks!
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Old 7th November 2013, 18:36   #13
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Default Re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

What is that depression in that snap of the reservoir?
A real nice long distance account.
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Old 7th November 2013, 18:51   #14
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Default Re: Goa - Where the Greenery meets the Sea

Lovely travelogue Denver with excellent pictures to go with it ! I have stayed at Club Mahindra Varca a couple of times including our honeymoon and the facilities there are simply superb, brings back great memories, thanks for sharing !
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Old 7th November 2013, 20:37   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Safety is Param View Post
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Nice write up and fantastic pics of Castle Rock and IR. Especially the zoomed-in pic of the goods train changing tracks is a delight to watch.
Thanks again for the write up; awaiting more updates!
Thanks for your kind words. I have gone through your travelogue. Great, lot of excellent photos. As per our previous dates were similar to yours, but availability in the resort made the plans shifted to the next week.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BUXX View Post
30K in 10 months. MAN , do you travel !!!
Thanks. I haven't done any long cross country trips. Every trip was around South India only(other than 2 times visiting Goa). I have done numerous trips from Bangalore to my hometown in Kerala also.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ecosport rules View Post
Nice work denver85,
I wanted to visit Goa since a long time.
When is the right time to visit?
Hope Safety is Param has already answered your questions. Adding to his points I love visiting Goa in the Monsoon season also. The greenery will be awesome and water levels will be good in dams and waterfalls. But there will not be any beach activities.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rahul_sinha View Post
I simply loved the Castle Rock station pics. The trains ignite a spark somewhere of old memories, thanks for sharing.
CM Varca is one of the most pristine properties, been there a couple of yrs ago - with a private beach and twin swimming pools, it just rocks big time.
Rating 5 stars in anticipation of a nice t-log.
Thanks for you kind words Rahul.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Car_Freak_911 View Post
Hello Denver. Enjoyed every part of your travelogue. Your writing style is just eye catching. I could move my eyes from the article to the pictures only after reading the whole thing.
I always wanted to see Goa again (I had been to Goa long time back when I was a kid).
Will be waiting for the continuation of this.
Glued to the thread.
Cheers
Carfreak911
Thanks you so much Car_Freak_911.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dass View Post
If I remember correctly, When I met him for the first time back in June '13 while we were going to check the seat covers for his ride and mine at Imperial leathers, he had already done around 18k kms

Nice Travelogue Deepak, Did you get the seat covers done?
Thanks Dass. No, I did not put the seat covers. The stock seat fabric is holding up well, so decided to do it later.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
What is that depression in that snap of the reservoir?
A real nice long distance account.
Thanks Ampere.
That is the Duckbill type reservoir. It looks like a big well on the dam structure. If the water level is above the well walls the it overflows to the spillway. If the water level is less no water will be flowing. This type of spillway does not have any shutters/gates. You can check these links for seeing more photos of the spillway:
http://www.parrikar.com/blog/2009/08...nsoon-glory-5/
http://oheraldo.in/news/Main%20Pictu...uem/39229.html
Quote:
Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
Lovely travelogue Denver with excellent pictures to go with it ! I have stayed at Club Mahindra Varca a couple of times including our honeymoon and the facilities there are simply superb, brings back great memories, thanks for sharing !
Thanks for your kind words Kannan.
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