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Old 17th February 2015, 22:24   #1
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Default A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

Goa ! The name that conjures up images of sun, sand and party...but another travelogue? "Aww, not again" - You must be thinking this after going through many Goa t'logs here in TBhp with beautiful images and interesting details. Let me add here that my attempt is not something epic, nor am I an ace photographer. This log does not even have any off beat destinations. My attempt is only to record regular destinations and people through my lens and keyboard.

So, if you have the patience and the appetite to endure my ramblings for couple of pages, then sit back, enjoy and if not popcorn, take some roasted mumfali (ground nuts) to pass the time...

Preliminary Plan: Goa holds a special charm for people and so much so for me that even after 5 earlier visits, when a chance for a 6th arose, I grabbed it with both hands. I had some personal work in Bangalore in the last week of December 2014 and when a free window appeared within that time frame, I decided that it'd be Goa for the new year.

Plan was to fly down to Bangalore from Guwahati, finish off the works at Bangalore and then drive over to Goa. Since, I always book a Zoomcar when in Bangalore, the drive to Goa was already taken care of.

Few days prior to the trip had me praying for oil prices to go down further and hoping that a certain Ajay Singh is able to convince the ministry for a bailout package. Now, hold on ! Before you think that my brains have been washed out by the Arabian sea back at Goa to talk such things, let me clarify. As some of you have rightly guessed, my booking was in Spice Jet who were cancelling flights everyday in December and the airline was expected to go belly up anyday. Thankfully my flight was not cancelled, but the doubt remained till the time the flight actually took off.

D' Day: Guwahati - Bangalore:

"Sorry to inform you, Sir, but your booking has been cancelled due to the Bandh". This is how the cab company greeted me on the day I was expected to fly. There was a bandh called by some local organisations on that day and all other cab services also cancelled their services. Now, how do we reach the airport even if my Spice Jet is ready to fly? After frantic calls and visits, somehow manged to get a private cab at inflated rates who agreed for the airport drop.

OOff !! Now, I just hope that the flight takes off, which it eventually did.

2 days after reaching Bangalore, I realised that my work will be over one day in advance than planned & not one to waste a day in Bangalore doing nothing, I immediately started planning if something could be squeezed in between Bangalore and Goa. I had the Dandeli forests in mind and after checking this forum on the route condition, booked the Kali Wilderness Camp from the KTDC website.

So then, there goes all my scheduled routes, way-points, food stops etc planned for Bangalore - Goa. The new plan was to pre-pone the drive from Bangalore by one day, go to Dandeli, stay the night and then next afternoon drive down to Goa.

D1 - Bangalore - Dandeli:

"Sorry to inform you, Sir, but your car is not yet ready & we are arranging a backup vehicle". As is now the norm in this trip, another last minute "skip a heart beat" moment cropped up from the above words of the Zoomcar rep. The drive is expected to get delayed due to vehicle unavailability and as a result, I might have to miss the evening safari if I don't reach Dandeli on time.

I reached the Zoomcar site at Novotel Hotel, Bellandur thinking all these and thankfully the executive arrived there after not too long a delay with a dirty and battered looking City. Though the car had clocked only 33K on the odo, it was bruised all over with broken bumpers and left ORVM. It was clear that the car was not even cleaned after the previous trip. Though the executive had offered to clean up the car, I did not wait as I was already behind my planned departure.

By the time I had taken the car and reached the Silk Board crossing, it was already 9-00 am and I was staring at missing the evening safari at Dandeli.Determined to make up the lost time, I had planned on to step on the gas, but it seemed that on that Sunday the whole of Bangalore had decided to take the same road and hence I encountered traffic almost till Tumkur.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02027.jpg
On the NH4

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02032.jpg
Windmills welcoming you to Chitradurga

I'd gathered from the discussion here in TBHP that the easy way to reach Dandeli is to take NH4 till Hubli bypass and then take the unmarked exit from the bypass to the Haliyal - Dandeli road. This exit is at 21 kms from the toll booth at the start of the Hubli bypass. Just keep your eyes peeled out for a dirt exit on your right with an iron barrier to keep out larger vehicles. Do not worry, the bad dirt section is only 200 meters and from there taking a right will take you towards Dandeli on the freshly laid road.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02963.jpg
The unmarked exit is
on the right just before this bridge

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02964.jpg
This is the dirt exit for the Dandeli Road
(Photo taken from the opposite side, so while going from Bangalore this barrier would be on your right)

Here, I'd like to add some small details regarding the navigation apps that I used. I had Gmaps running on one phone and Navimaps Pro with MapmyIndia maps on the other. While Gmaps showed the default route to Dandeli via Tadas - Kalaghatgi, Navimaps default route was through Dharwad city - Haliyal - Dandeli. I did not take either and used the unmarked exit onto the Haliyal-Dandeli Road. While Gmaps rerouted itself correctly vis a vis my current location, MMI was at a loss for a long time and after it finally got the rerouting done, it showed the route correctly upto Haliyal, but from there instead of going straight to Dandeli, it rerouted back towards Hubli - NH4- Haveri - U turn at Haveri - Hubli - Dharwad - Haliyal - Dandeli. It was funny seeing such weird rerouting here, but had I been in an unfamiliar territory, things would have been different. So, chucked the MMI maps and stayed on with Gmaps for the rest of the trip. (This is not to say that Gmap is the only solution available, it also has its fair share of quirks, but it is mostly correct).

Anyways, coming back to the trip, due to the late start from Bangalore and a couple of stops, it was almost 4-00 pm when I entered Dandeli. Gave a call to the resort to say that we'll be reaching at 4-00 pm for the safari.

-"Sorry to inform you Sir, but the jeeps have already left for today's safari".

-"What? But I was told at the time of booking that Safari starts at 4-00 pm and its not yet 4-00."

-"Yes, Sir, but to reach the safari gate at 4-00, the jeeps at 3-30 pm".

Anyways, dejectedly reached the resort and checked into the river view tent that I had booked. A word of advice to future travelers - the river front tents offer no special view to command the premium over the other tents. The peak season rate at almost Rs 10K per night for 2 persons is a bit steep but includes the safari and a short coracle ride.

The resort itself is good, but not really into the wilderness as I had expected. It is just by Dandeli town and the road on the other side of the river has the houses of people and has traffic movement even at night. So, you don't get that really wild, middle of nowhere feel if that is what you are looking for.

After we had freshened up and had our lunch at tea time, I asked the resort manager how to go about the rest of our stay. He told that he'll accommodate us in the next morning's safari since we missed the days safari and we can meanwhile take the coracle ride that day. So, off we went to the river and went for a ride on those unique boats hoping to view some crocs.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02035.jpg
The tents at Kali Wilderness Camp

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02036.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02039.jpg
Coracle waiting for riders
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02040.jpg

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02041.jpg
Knock, knock...there's a croc

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02042.jpg
It was a bit difficult to fix the focus on the camera due to the bobbing boat and also because the croc was lying among the thick grass. The boatman put his finger to his lips and rowed the boat as near as we dared and I somehow managed to stand on the coracle and snap these images.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02044.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02045.jpg
Croc island in River Kali ...this is the island where we saw one croc.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02047.jpg
Fish? Where...where? Look harder, Mr Kingfisher

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02049.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02051.jpg
Brahminy Kite
... the images are slightly grainy as these were taken in low light from a bobbing coracle.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02088.jpg
Now thats what I call relaxing...croc style. This guy was lying like this for a long long time.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02066.jpg
The Bridge over River Kali

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02058.jpg
Setting sun setting the stage for the evening

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02114.jpg
Katti...

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02133.jpg
Welcome to the world...oh lord!!!

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02120.jpg
Bonfire and tandoori chicken to end the day

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 21st February 2015 at 23:28.
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Old 21st February 2015, 16:59   #2
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Default re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

D2 - Anshi Dandeli Tiger Reserve - Goa

The alarm went off at 5-00 am and I thought it was midnight. Dragged myself from bed somehow and went for the jeep safari. The resort is at quite some distance from the forest entry gate and it takes almost 30 minutes to reach in those modified M&M pick up where seats have been fitted on the loading bay with a tarp cover over the top.

I have to say that these are not the best possible safari vehicles what with their noisy engine notes resounding through the forest in the early morning stillness.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02156.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02157.jpg
I am not amused, man.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02159.jpg
Knock, knock...anybody hole?

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02174.jpg
There is this view point inside the forest which was originally a coal mine, abandoned now. Classic example of man destroying pristine nature. Even now, inside the forest I could smell the acrid exhaust fumes from the paper mill located at Dandeli. Imagine the animals breathing that day in and day out which is something that is totally alien to them.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02183.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02184.jpg
Breakfast time, Spotty?

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02201.jpg
Giant Malabar Squirrel...this guy was jumping all over the place without giving me the perfect pose.

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02205.jpg
Serpent Eagle bathing in the sun

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02214.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02216.jpg

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02222.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02239.jpg
This Flame backed Wood pecker was jumping all over the trees and knocking around, may be trying to find the perfect home... I mean hole.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02261.jpg
The Malabar Pied Hornbill. Lots of them around the trees on the river bank.

After coming back from the safari at around 8-00 am had our breakfast and then just relaxed around the resort. I asked around about the best route to Goa from there and the resort jeep drivers suggested that I drive though the reserve forest to reach Sadashivgad near Karwar and then drive into Goa. As my destination was Calangute in North Goa, I told them that I'd go though Ramnagar- Mollem- Ponda. They were vehemently against this route and one of them looked at the Honda City and said to me, "you'll remember me forever if you take that route as the route is so bad that it'll swallow the car and you'll neither forget it nor me".

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02268.jpg
The roads were mostly good, though narrow.

This made me think over my decision but eventually I was petrified more of enduring the crowded Goa roads from South to North for 3 hours than driving through 30 kms of bad roads and so I ended up taking the Ramnagar-Mollem road. The road is bad for almost 30 kms between Ramnagar and Mollem, but is nothing that can not be navigated with some careful driving. Once you enter Goa, roads are fantastic as usual.

Stopped at Mollem RTO point to pay the RTO tax of Rs 200 for being a non-private vehicle.

-"Sorry to inform you Sir, but you have to pay Rs 200 extra for another entry permit". Again the all too familiar last minute "Sorry Sir" surprise and I was bored of this as much as you are now reading this.

-"But why?", I asked incredulously at this apparent deliberate obstacle.

It turns out that Goa RTO issues permits for a quarter and since the quarter was ending on 31st December and as I'll be returning only in January, I was required to pay for the January - March period as well. So after becoming poorer by Rs 650/- (including the ridiculous Rs 250/- Goa entry fee) just to enter Goa, reached the GTDC, Calangute Residency at around 4-00 pm after multiple stops enroute.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02269.jpg
Nice Goa roads after KA border

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02273.jpg
Twisties and hills make up the drive

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02276.jpg


After freshening up, went out to the beach for sunset and later on dinner at one of the shacks. The food was awful and the bill exorbitant, but then that's Goa for you during the new year.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02280.jpg
Sun going down over the Arabian Sea after a hot days work

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02283.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02295.jpg
Heart on fire

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 21st February 2015 at 22:28.
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Old 21st February 2015, 17:35   #3
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Default re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

D3 - Calangute - Baga

Calangute - Baga - Candolim stretch is the hub for the water sport activities in Goa with all those family boat rides, bumper rides, banana rides, water scooter, combo rides etc. We are not interested in these. Then come those temporary tattoos, trinkets and Goa t-shirts. We are not interested in them either. Then you have every right to ask why the hell did we stay in the crowded Calangute - Baga beaches.

Well, after visiting Goa multiple times and covering both North and the South beaches, I somehow find the North more entertaining.
"Entertaining - you say...you don't do the touristy staff and yet you say entertaining?" This must be your query. Let me clarify. If you like watching people and their behaviour and find the funny elements therein, there is no place like the North Goa beaches particularly because of the antics of our fellow countrymen.

Sample this - "Ae, ganjewaale bhai saab, do baar bol diya, baat nehin maante ho to kal ghar mein ronewaale line lagayenge. Seedhe seedhe paani se nikal aao". (Translation - Hey, baldie, if you don't listen even after 2 warnings, there would be a line of people mourning at your home tomorrow. Come out of the water right away).

This is how the life guard was warning over the megaphone to the errant "baldie" who were going into deep water or into the surf. The lifeguards do a stupendous job there of keeping thousands of our ilk safe and its like running a huge kindergarten with thousands of naughty kids. And to top it all, as told to me by one of the lifeguards, behind all the bravado or aggression, most of our people do not even know how to swim properly, let alone understanding waves and currents. It's simply being "yeda" and the "beoda" crowd is sometimes a headache, were his words.

You want some more of such dialogues? Hear this - "Oh hero, laal chaddi, kaalaa chashma paani le jaayega, nanga nikal ne se achcha hain abhi nikal aao, baad mein mat bol na warning nehin diya."

I'll leave the translation of this line to the viewers own imaginations.

Suffice is to say, the whole stretch is full of such organised chaos. Our brothers behave funny, high on the relatively cheap booze and thinking that every foreigner is to be gawked at shamelessly and if possible "gheraoed" for a group photograph.

To enjoy the fun from the sidelines, you need to move away from the water sport booking counters, where the day trip crowd is normally concentrated, get on sunbeds in the shacks and from the distance watch our brethren make fools out of themselves.

However, people are not the only thing that brings me to Baga- Calangute. The soft, white sand feels good to bare foot and the evening energy is something that needs to be experienced. Even a walk down the lanes is full of the spirit that is Goa.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02305.jpg
I can fly, well, almost.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02307.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02312.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02313.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02315.jpg
Splash and dash

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02326.jpg
Ready to run the waves

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02334.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02347.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02357.jpg
The soft white sand of this stretch feels really good under the bare feet

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02373.jpg

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02359.jpg
Boat racing the Thar?

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02416.jpg
Sea on Sand, of colours...

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02422.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02425.jpg
Kingfisher...flying the flag high, not the Airline

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02427.jpg
Scooter taking a Banana ride?

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02435.jpg
Parachute race, anyone?

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02442.jpg
Yeah, yeah, step by step to a new year...

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02453.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02462.jpg

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02468.jpg
Made by me, twin bladed chopper

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02476.jpg

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02493.jpg
The red Thar broke down, the white Thar came to the rescue and together they got stuck in the soft, cottony sand.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02503.jpg
Bow, wow...I can swim too, and without swimwear

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02505.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02507.jpg
These fishes were supposed to be dinner. I selected the Baby Hammer Head, a crab and a lobster. I mean they told me that the pieces of the Hammer Head came from that one. I didn't like it a bit, the crab was undercooked. Only the lobster somehow managed to save the day.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02336.jpg
All play and no work

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02510.jpg
GTDC Calangute Residency at night

Next up - Chapora fort, Arambol, Anjuna etc.

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 22nd February 2015 at 08:21.
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Old 23rd February 2015, 10:49   #4
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th February 2015, 10:28   #5
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

Quote:
Originally Posted by wanderer4x4 View Post
D3 - Calangute - Baga



Next up - Chapora fort, Arambol, Anjuna etc.
A nice and simple write-up! Goa is always a beautiful place to be. Liked the simple detailing! The next write-up pls....!
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Old 24th February 2015, 16:47   #6
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

No matter how many times, the very feel of traveling and entering into Goa, the first sight of water is something you will never get bored of. You are right about north Goa and the energy in Baga stretch, a must spend evening to late night.
Hope you got lots more coming from you trip.
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Old 24th February 2015, 23:30   #7
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

D4 - Relaxing at Baga - New Years Eve

"Sorry to inform you, Sir, but there is a charge for the use of the sunbeds...." as soon as these words were spelt out by the guy from one of the shacks, poor me was very angry and was already really pissed off by all the people being sorry about something or the other and giving last minute twists. After a "you too, Brutus" glare from me, the guy hastily added that he had not yet completed the sentence and though they plan to charge for sunbeds that day being new year’s eve, I need not pay as was a “regular” customer. (Though that was my first visit to them)

Evening being the New Year ’s Eve, brought out the true colours of Goa that it is famous for. This is my third new year in Goa and yet everytime the energy feels new and fresh. The whole long stretch of Baga – Calangute – Candolim is lit up with the shacks decorated in colourful lighting. The locals arrive with food and family and sit around in groups enjoying an impromptu picnic dinner by the sea. Only fly in the ointment are the rowdy travelers who in their cheap booze fueled madness create a ruckus. But, I must also say that while most of these people keep the madness amongst themselves, some of them do go overboard and create problems for others and themselves. This time I saw a drunk guy getting thrashed for misbehaving with a family and frankly speaking I didn’t feel a bit bad for him. Only if our brethren could have behaved themselves, the whole experience would be more pleasant for everyone.

After the fireworks were burst and New Year was ringed in with much fanfare, we walked back to the resort which is right by the beach to retire for the night or should I say first morning of the New Year.
Now, let’s enjoy some of photographs for that day.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02510.jpg
Calangute Residency at night

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02519.jpg
People and people, party everywhere...

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02610.jpg
Sea watching the revelry from a distance...
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Old 25th February 2015, 00:07   #8
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

D5 – Chapora Fort - Arambol – Kalacha – Anjuna etc.

The plan on this day was to visit the Northern beaches of Arambol, Kalacha, Anjuna and visit Chapora Fort and Vagator beach on the way. I had visited Arambol Beach earlier, but had only heard of the Kalacha beach and the sweetwater lake. So, with these plans, off we went after breakfast.

Chapora fort (more famously known as the Dil Chahta Hain fort) is situated on top of a hillock overlooking the sea. Except the surrounding walls, nothing inside the fort survives the vagaries of time. It was more of a defensive troop position than a habitable fort with civilian population. The vast flat expanse within the fort walls does not have anything now a days apart from some rocks and the visitor would be hard pressed to find any sign of earlier human settlement. But the views offered by the fort is awesome and more so when one climbs up the fort walls.
Vagator beach is situated south of the Chapora Fort and can be accessed by climbing down the hillock from the fort. Lazy me did not feel like climbing all the way down and so it was just a few clicks from the side and then we moved off to Arambol Beach.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02619.jpg
North ward bound

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02622.jpg
The road climbing on towards Chapora fort. The open spaces on the left and right of this road are used as parking place. A word of caution here - the shoulder of the road is too low and it needs almost SUV like stance to park the car without scraping the bottom. I had hard time maneuvering the City to park without hitting the underbody. The climb is though rocks and loose soil and any carelessness might result in a fall.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02635.jpg
View of the sea

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02640.jpg
Chapora Beach from the fort walls

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02659.jpg
Vagator Beach

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Enemy in your sights, gunners?

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02662.jpg
2 more guys in Dil Chahta Hain

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02666.jpg
Winner stands alone

The entry to Arambol beach is through a market selling typical touristy staff like various trinkets, kurtas, bags etc. I’m not interested in buying a “Goa” keychain that is Made in China that is available everywhere at 1/3rd the price that it is in Goa. But, still the nicely arranged items look nice in all their glory and the whole area feels like the hippie hangouts of the yore with these cheap huts and shops all around with foreigners moving around in “Hare Rama, Hare Krishna” printed kurtas.
Parking the car is easy thanks to the huge parking area which one can access by paying Rs 50. On this day, it was very crowded though with all the tour buses and vans offloading their cargo.
In contrast to the soft, white sands of the Baga/ Calangute, Arambol has dark, compact sand that is flattened by the tide. The beach offers a wide, flat view unlike the other beaches that have undulating sand or rocks. A long walk towards the north from here takes one through to the Kalacha beach and the sweetwater lake. The beach is small and would have been one of the most beautiful beaches around but for the so called resorts putting up those ugly huts haphazardly all around the surrounding terrain. I also did not find the sweetwater lake to be something to be “Ooh – aah’d” about. It had floating debris and looked dirty and had a sign saying that private property. I did not even take a photo of the lake in the end.Frankly speaking, I found the experience underwhelming and if someone is hard pressed for time, can avoid going all the way north just to visit this.
After walking a long distance over the rocky pathway to and fro, we were thirsty and hungry. The pathway that is only about 5 feet wide is lined with small shops selling various trinkets and the effect is like walking through a tunnel. It also has many small restaurants lined alongside and into one of which we went to have our lunch. The first lunch of the new year was to a platter of grilled Red Snapper, rice and boiled vegetables.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02689.jpg
Arambol Beach

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Someone tried a wheelie?

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02701.jpg
Can you see the lion at the gates of Kalacha Beach?

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02702.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02705.jpg
The rocky beach is a nice laid back place

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Reflections

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02716.jpg
Arambol Beach from a distance

After lunch resumed our cross country run through Goa to go to Anjuna and then to Fort Aguada to watch the sunset. But, by the time we reached Anjuna, it was almost time for sunset. Anjuna was the original hippie hotspot and it still retains some of that aura. The dead coral formations give it an interesting look and though the expanse of the beach is not as wide as the other well-known beaches, it still has its own fan following and is one of the most visited beach in Goa.

Anjuna is famous for the flea market as well but frankly speaking I did not find it to be anything special in my earlier visits and this time skipped it altogether even though I was in Goa on a Wednesday. To the uninitiated who may go with high expectations, let me inform that the flea market is nothing but stalls selling all those small mementos, clothing, bags, artificial jewellery etc and offers nothing unique that is not available elsewhere. The foreigners enjoy the haat like feel but for people like us the feel is no different than Janpath in Delhi or Fashion street or Colaba market in Mumbai.

After enjoying the sun going down, it was a race against time to reach Fort Aguada before it was completely dark. But, the traffic on the narrow roads ensured that by the time we reached the fort, it was already dark and gate inside the fort wall was closed. Took a couple of photos just for the sake of it and went back to the resort for some rest. As usual the evening was spent wandering around the crowded lanes and having dinner by the beach.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02730.jpg
Hippie hangout Anjuna

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02748.jpg

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02754.jpg
Old year, old bottle

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Sizzling sea

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02734.jpg
Arrows of light

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02760.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02765.jpg

Next up - Baga, Candolim etc.

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 25th February 2015 at 00:13.
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Old 25th February 2015, 01:00   #9
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

Goa is always special and your post has surely set me on fire to take a drive to Goa ASAP. Very good pictures of the trip wanderer
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Old 25th February 2015, 14:22   #10
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

GTDC Calangute - stayed there ages back, when we went to Goa for the VERY FIRST time. Those days, air travel was not as affordable as it is now and one had to travel to "Bombay" from "Calcutta" and then to Goa.

Based in Pune now and Goa is just a drive away. Have been there a number of times and in all seasons (infact cannot remember a month apart from Dec when I have not visited Goa, in different years though), but never stayed in GTDC.

Your post has suddenly aroused the curiosity to see how much GTDC hasd changed since then.

Thank you friend, for rekindling those memories !
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Old 25th February 2015, 16:40   #11
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandip View Post
Your post has suddenly aroused the curiosity to see how much GTDC hasd changed since then.

Thank you friend, for rekindling those memories !
This is my 2nd stay in GTDC Calangute Reseidency. Last time they were undergoing major renovations and the whole place felt like the typical sarkari hotel that it is. But, this time around the renovations have been completed and the running of the resort has been handed over to private parties. So, things are good with everything like furnitures, fixtures, TV, AC being new. However, at the peak season rate of almost Rs 7000 per night for a deluxe room, one can get better resorts in Goa. But, I prefer it because of the proximity to both Baga and Calangute beaches and also because of the huge parking area that it has. Also, the whole place feels quite safe.
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Old 25th February 2015, 22:13   #12
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Default Re: A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa

D6 – Baga, Calangute, Candolim etc.

Whenever I am in Goa, I try to stay in one or two beaches and spend the time there not doing much. But, this is not what most of the tourists crowding the beaches do. They move from beach to beach shepherded by the tour agencies in an attempt to cover all the beaches, forts and markets in a day. This result in some chaotic scenes around the water sport areas as everyone is in a terrible hurry. Perches on sunbed which are normally placed quite far from the water’s edge, one can get a ringside view of all the action. So, on this day instead of going anywhere distant, I just walked along the long stretch of sand that is Baga - Calangute - Candolim.

The Goan beaches are full of Russian tourists now a days. A testimony to this is the menu and signages that are in Russian all over Goa. However, this year I found the Russian crowd a bit less than the previous years during the same period, may due to their domestic turmoil.

“Khoteli by vy imet’ nekotoryye frukty?” I was reclining when heard someone speak these Russian words right over my head meaning “like to have some fruits?” (Well, you must be getting envious of my multilingual abilities, but don’t fret. I did not understand a head or tail of that either, its only now that Google translate has come in handy.)
I opened my eyes to see the good, old fruit seller women directing these words at the three girls sitting next to us. The girls looked at her uncomprehendingly and said “only English” and the linguistic transformation in the women was instant and her language changed from Russian to perfectly accented mainland British English. I have seen street vendors in Goa speak Russian and English, but this is the first time I have heard someone speak such perfect English with British accent and I imagine her Russian must have been equally good considering the way she was speaking it fluently. This is a clear example of how important the tourism industry is in Goa for everyone to put in such efforts right from the small time street vendor.

Photos are taken randomly on this day on the three beaches.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02780.jpg
Anchored firm and secure

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02809.jpg
Contemplating

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Mamma, hold tight, I'm about to fall

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Thanks for the "Cappy" compliment

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Thar hitching a boat ride

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Interesting horns, peep peep...

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Sun, Sunbed, Sleep....

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A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02870.jpg

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Angry eyes

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Beauty and the... while I was taking this shot of the sunrays through the clouds in the low light, I suddenly saw in my camera viewfinder that the lady had appeared from somewhere (actually she was swimming in the water) and as I was waiting for her to move out so that I could take the shot, I realized that she posed there for me to take the photo. Well, the result was this silhouette shot. After that she came near me to check out the photo and said that she's from Russia and she liked the Indian Ocean at Goa very much. I did not correct her that its not the Indian Ocean rather its the Arabian sea.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02951.jpg
A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02952.jpg
After spending the day at leisure, the gradually diminishing sunlight also brought in the sad realization in me that like all good things, this trip is also coming to an end the next day.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02955.jpg
The lanterns kept us company during dinner...the last one in Goa in this trip

D7 – Back to Bangalore:

Almost a week has passed now in leisure and doing nothing. This day it was going to change. The agenda was not breakfast, seafood, sea and sand, but was to drive the long road back to Bangalore and then fly onwards back home.

Got up at around 5-30 am and left for Bangalore at 6-30 am sharp. The route taken was the usual Ramnagar – Hubli – NH4. The ride was uneventful and we reached Bangalore at around 4-30 pm after multiple stops en-route.

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02961.jpg
Nice toll road after Ramnagar

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02987.jpg
Bangalore, here I come

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02990.jpg
Sun and clouds playing hide and seek

A Junglee prelude to a Sunny New Year - Dandeli & Goa-dsc02996.jpg

Last edited by wanderer4x4 : 25th February 2015 at 22:17.
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