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Old 15th October 2009, 17:50   #1
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Default Gandhi Jayanti Weekend ride to Konkan

Day 1: 2nd Oct 09.

The plan was to reach Harihareshwar mathh in evening, visiting Khed Shivapur, Bhatghar Dam and Shivtar ghal on way. We left at 8.45, bit late because we didn't want us to be first visitors to the Darga at Khed Shivapur. This darga is famous for its stone, which is impossible to lift by single person, but 11 people with just their one figer touched to the rock can easily lift it. That's why we left late.

We took the Katraj ghat route while going. This ghat is very scenic, with flowers all around. I spotted some lodges just at the enterance of the ghaat. Still wonder who will go to stay there, except maybe goondas n lover couples!

We were soon riding on the golden quadrilateral. After around 50 kms riding, I started getting hungry, and curious where Khed Shivapur was, as it was supposed to be at around 22 kms only. Had breakfast at Amruta garden hotel, just earlier to Bhor turn. There we realized we have come far, and missed Khed Shivapur behind! Damn!

We continued to Bhor, took a small U turn for Bhatghar dam. But could view it only from far. We were not permitted on the wall :(

The Bhor ghat is an absolute beauty. Never have I enjoyed so much riding on ghaats. This may surpass the beauty of even Mahabaleshwar poladpur ghaat (tamhini ghaat doesn't even come close to this).

Whole road is scenic. the road is passed through 5 hills, and the 3 middle ones are used only for connection, with no village on them! Overall a good experience.

After crossing the ghaat, we saw the sign welcoming us to Shivthar ghar to the right. The road started to get bad. Few mins ahead, got to a fork, one going to 'Sunebhau' and other to 'Shivthar Ghal'. That road to Shivthar ghal is recommended only if you are damn sure about your and your bike's health. Steep decline, with only stones as roads, made me start wondering whether I am on right way or not, as I clearly remembered there was some good way to the ghal. After about 2-4 kms of such decline, we finally joined the road which went to Shivthar!

One thing to keep in mind for travellers, don't take the first right where it is written 'Welcome to Shivtharghal' etc, when the ghat just ends and bad roads start. Don't even think of taking that road. Ride bit ahead, you will get a proper right turn with good roads for going there. KMs may increase, but the road condition is not worth saving those few kms.

At Shivthar Ghal

The waterfall was small now. The idols of Ramadas Swami and Kalyan

Had lunch 'zunka bhakri' at the hotel in front of the gate. Saw rain clouds gathering at Konkan, so geared up, and started riding towards the mathh at 4.15.

Soon the rains catched us. Unfortunately, I forgot my jacket waterproof liner at home, so I was wet to the bones. It was scary riding at speed in the falling rain, but I had decided to reach before sundown. After some spirited riding for continuous 2 hours, we finally reached mathh, and after just 5 mins, the rains started falling in full glory, thoroughly scaring the pants off everyone.

The day ended at mathh, where we were stationed for a religious function. Tomorrow we were to leave for Kelshi, and seeing the places enroute, stay at Dapoli. But that was not to happen.....
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Old 15th October 2009, 19:59   #2
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Nice pics there !! Varandha ghat is no doubt the most scenic of the lot.
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Old 15th October 2009, 20:06   #3
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Wow seems like you had a great ride! nice pictures.
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Old 16th October 2009, 09:49   #4
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Day 2: 03rd Oct 2009

After finishing the work at mathh, we left at around 11.30am to catch the ferry from Bagmandla. The road is the same one that goes to Harihareshwar, except at one intersection, one has to take left, rather than to take right and end up in Harihareshwar. This left road is small, but very beautiful. While riding, a small but loooong mongoose crossed the road checking us out!

The ferry's timings were not clear to us, as some told us that they were 30 mins apart, one hour apart and someone even told that they go when the boat is full! Anyway, we were there in time to catch the 12.30pm ferry. Cost was 3rs per person and 15/20rs for bike (forgot the last part).

Getting on the ferry

View from ferry

It lasts only for some 10-15 mins, but saves a great amount of road travel. After alighting on the other side, we headed left, and too a very small right turn that comes up after about 10-12 kms, just after the MSEB work sight. This turn is very easy to miss. This small scenic road takes us to Kelshi.

Kelshi is a small Konkani village nested away in farming. Never before have I seen (in Maharashtra) so much kheti of rice, and such beautifully placed houses right in the fields to keep watch. Riding to Kelshi is a very peaceful and enlightening experience every biker should have!

We reached Kelshi, and after asking for directions, went to Mahalaxmi temple there. Nice temple, but no photography allowed. We later headed to a Darga there, where Shivaji Maharaj had also visited. The road to Darga is steep and in poor condition.

The masjeed at Darga

The Darga, which had a great view of sea

Word of advise for Konkan riders. Even if you see that gates of a temple/darga are closed, don't worry, it will usually be without locks. You are supposed to open the doors yourself, take darshan, and close the door on your way out. The system operates on trust!

While in Kelshi, we didn't see the sand dunes formed by some ancient tsunami, because we didn't know what to ask for directions. Later I found out it is called 'VaaLucha Dongar'. So anyone planning to visit can go there.

After the Darga, we headed to Asud bridge. Now the small birds and animals in our stomaches were beginning to rise and ask for food. But there was no hotel in sight. Rains started to catch up with us near Asud bridge, so we geared up for rain, and marched ahead.

Crossing Asud bridge

View from bridge

We headed to Dapoli through Harnai. The road is a seaside one, and is very good for lazy cruising. Even the sea side road from Dive agar to Shrivardhan doesn't come close to this one in terms of beauty.

While we were still riding through Asud, we found a left turn "Kadyavarcha Ganpati" meaning Ganesh on a cliff. Knowing it was a very old temple, we headed there. The road slowly went from slightly slanted to steep to holy cow steep. I think the last few turns were 45 degrees!

My GS has a habbit of inserting a neutral gear between 2nd and 1st. This hasn't bothered me at all, as this just means one more slap of the toe to the gear lever. But near Kadyavarcha Ganpati, this could prove fatal. While negotiating the last 45 degree steep road, I put the gear from 2nd to first, it fell as neutral. The bike stopped then and there, and started rolling backwards With bike's 150kg + 15L fuel + 2 riders + luggage, the front brake was not able to stop the rolling 300kg weight. I couldnt' engage the rear brake, as was putting both the feet on ground to be uprignt. Suddenly while rolling backwards, i spotted the gear indicator that showed '1', and noted I had the clutch pressed. Released the clutch and gave good accelerator, the bike vrooomed and came to a stop, and then slowly came up to level ground! That was the scariest experience of this ride.

There is a good amount of parking at Kadyavarcha Ganpati temple, with small shops selling puja thalis and refreshments.

There is even a small footprint of Ganpati, just 2-3 mins of walk ahead!

View from Ganpati footprint

I could spot a durg from there, maybe Suvarnadurga.

Overall the place was calm and quite. Good to visit.

Again came down to main road, and headed to Harnai, with both eyes open for hotel. We passed through a Koliwada, and a market place. Later we came to know one could buy very good quality of fish here, at good rates. Just ahead of Harnai, we finally spotted a hotel named 'Sagar Kinara'. Had our lunch with kingfish at 4.30pm!

While having lunch, we enquired whether there was any beach at Dapoli. After realizing Dapoli is just a commercial town, we though it would be better to stay in Harnai only, as Dapoli is just 10 kms ahead. Started searching for a budget hotel, and finally settled in 'Ruchi Sanskriti', a hotel with great service. The lady there was so nice, I was feeling as if I am staying at my sister's house, and not just in any hotel.

Just as we checked in, rain gods showed up, and washed up Vesta and other things thoroughly. After the rain subsided a bit, we visited the Harnai beach, which was fully deserted at around 6.30pm.

Had Pompret and mandeli gravy for dinner, and crashed in early. This was Kojagiri night, and we planned to be awake. But we were tired as hell, and monsoon was so much that even the other clubs who had dance programs etc had to shut down! In fact at around 4am, I woke up by the heaviest sound of rain I ever heard in life, and was thoroughly scared thinking how would I ride back home if this rain continues!

to be continued....
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Old 18th October 2009, 12:19   #5
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Nice pics & good travelogue. can you let me know whats the ferry pick point known as [ any village name ] to travel to bhagmandala. I'm interested in using this ferry which seems to transport even car & travel further towards Dapoli.

Another query is to reach this ferry point we need to travel on Mahad to harihareshwar road?
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Old 18th October 2009, 22:27   #6
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Nice travelogue. Great photos. And what a fantastic looking bike: love the colour!
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Old 19th October 2009, 02:54   #7
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@udaygk77: The ferry route is from Bagmandla to Bankot. Bankot is near Anjarle/kelshi village. For reaching to Bagmandla, you can travel from Mangaon-Mhasala-Bagmandla (almost same as Harihareshwar, it's a left turn where you get Harihareshwar at right turn). From Bagmandla, you get this ferry to go to other side and ride/drive towards Dapoli.

Third day update:

Day 3: 04th Oct 2009

We started rolling at 9am, after having a simple breakfast at the hotel. Asked the owner about directions, bid them goodbye (the landlady said kindly "ride slowly brother", really liked the treatment we got there). First stop was Murud.

Murud is some 3-4 kms from Harnai, famous for it's Mahalaxmi temple and a beach nearby. Asking people about directions, we were in front of the temple in no time. Requested a hotel owner to keep an eye on the tankbag, and went in. There is a very heavy bell brought here by the marathaas when they won some battle (sorry, my history knowledge sucks). The temple is very colorful, reminded me of eastern temples.

The beach is just a km from here. This beach is much more commercial than Harnai, with bullock cart rides, games and what not. I even spotted few hotels which were facing right on the beach.

Murud beach

After this, we headed towards Vyaghreshwar and Keshavraj temple. Both the temples are very old. While going to dapoli from Murud, you come across a left turn for Vyaghreshwar, again with usual steep roads and small bridges. Due to yesterday's rains, the water level was increased.

A random bridge on road to Vyagreshwar

I was so involved in taking the steep roads, that I missed the temple which suddenly pops up at right! A villager shouted to us that 'temple is here!', but I was already on a steep incline, so had to complete that incline and then take U turn to come back to the temple.

There is no parking or anything near the temple. You park on the 2 meter road and hope for the best. The temple is just a few steps below at right. First is Zolaai devi temple, and just adjacent is Vyaghreshwar. Me and wife took turn to visit the temples, so that we could keep an eye on the bike and tank bag. While I was waiting, an old lady was coming there. When I asked her about Keshavraj and told her we are from Pune, she was happy like anything! Had fun chatting with the excited grandma.

Inside the temple

That time a group of villegers arrived there, and parked their bike at the same area as mine. All of them circled the bike very curiously, the tankbag and the map with marks of places to visit, notes about which turns to take etc held their curiosity. That's when I spotted their bike, and I was like . It was Green Caliber 115, same as my previous steed. Clicked this photo

As if the bike was telling me "it's not like you need large capacity bike for touring large distance. I was capable, you were not :( "

Left Vyaghreshwar and joined the main road again. Next stop was Keshavraj, which was very easy to find due to markings. On a ghat, it is at left hand side where a kachcha road goes in. I took my bike as far as was possible, and stopped when the steps started. There was a fork, one way leading to Keshavraj temple and other to Ganpati temple. Parked my bike in the temple and kept the bags as well as the gear in the house in front of the temple, and started walking towards Keshavraj.

Walking to Keshavraj is a great experience. You feel as if you are in dream, with greenery all around, huge trees blocking the sun and small streams of water running here and there. Whole way is marked properly, so no chances of getting lost. We decended for some time, then crossed a river by a bridge hardly 1 meter in width, and then ascended for some 10-15 mins. It was tiring, but totally worth it. I loved every minute spent there.

The temple itself is very clean and simple. There is a Gomukh (cow mouth) from where for all 12 months there is a water stream. As this was monsoon, the water was flowing in full flow.


Stream powering the gomukh

After spending some time there inhaling the pure air, we decended down to our bike. Thanked the house owner for letting us keep our things there, and headed to Panhalekaji caves.

At Keskar Naka, some rikshawalas suggested us to take right turn for Panhalekaji, and after 10-12 kms, take left. We had a quick lunch at the naka, and headed in the told way. We had to ask a few people before actually landing on the right road. But sometimes after we entered the final road which would lead us to Panhalekaji, there was hardly any soul in sight. The nature was in full form, with grass on both sides of the sand road. But it was easy to scare anyone, as there was absolutely no way to tell where you are and where the fork in the road leads to. After riding for a while, finally we found some people, who told us we were in right direction.

On way, we came across a board "Welcome to Panhalekaji Durg!" Took the bike up there. Surprisingly there was a big temple of Zolaidevi and siddheshwar but nobody was there and the whole temple was open!

Clicked a few snaps and again joined our way.

Finally we arrived at Panhalekaji caves. The caves are similar to other Buddhist caves elsewhere, only difference is they are situated parallel to the river, and not on hill top.

Here also, took the bike as inside as was possible, and then walked when bike said no further!

Road leading to next stop

Just before rolling on the above way towards Pune, we spotted a long snake happily crossing the road. Suddenly a Sumo came in speed and passed by him. The snake looked terrified, he took a sharp turn and speeded towards us! He disappered in the grass next to the road, but this much adventure was enough for all 3 of us, and we marched at speed towards the last spot, Unhavare - hot water ponds.

After riding on bad to worse roads that keep slowing the pace down, we came to know at a fork, that at left was our way to Pune and straight was Unhavare, still around 8 kms ahead. The time was 3pm already, and I had to cross the ghaat before sundown. So we decided to skip Unhavare and head to Pune. The roads were quite bad, but the bumps were not as frequent as the road holes. I kept on worrying whether the rear tyre is puncture or low on air till Dapoli, where a quick check at a pump revealed the pressure was alright, but the bumpy roads made the suspension work optimally!

Then it was the long ride to Bhor ghat, with the rains thoroughly pouring for one hour on us. Varandha and bhor ghat were looking so absolutely stunning, and the imagination of Shivthar falls after 2-3 nights of heavy rains was continuously prompting me to again visit the Shivthar Ghal just for the falls. But responsibility did not allow me this luxury :(

I couldn't click any photo while coming back (in retrospect I should have taken care of waterproofing the camera and clicked the photos, coz the visibility was great and nature was stunning.). We came to Pune Satara highway at around 6.30-7, stopped at 'Rohit Garden' for evening snacks cum dinner. Don't eat here, the food is not upto quality at all. Rather go to other hotel where you get Pithla bhakri rice unlimited plate for 60 bucks, which is just ahead. After filling ourselves, it was a fast ride towards home, and we were at our door at 8.30pm

Total distance travelled: 605 kms
Mileage given by bike: 50kmpl

Some notes:
1. Non Marathi persons will find it quite difficult in Konkan, because all the sign boards are in Marathi. The locals are very helpful though.
2. In inner Konkan, there are hardly any signboards or anything. Rely on people you see on roads and gods you pray to, for guiding you to right path.
3. After 12pm, have food whenever you see a hotel and don't wait till you get hungry. Otherwise you may have to wait a long time before spotting a place to eat.
4. Don't take the first turn towards the place you want to visit. Almost always there will be another road ahead, which will be much more easier than the first one.
5. Click a lot of pics! And waterproof the damn camera beforehand.
6. If you are pure veg person, there are very few hotels in any village where you will get pure veg food. Usually your food will be cooked in the same vessle where a fish is roasted! (as is the case in any veg-nonveg hotel).
7. If you are non veg eating person, you are in luck!

Thanks for reading this trip log. Hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it! Keep riding!
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Old 13th September 2011, 15:49   #8
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Default Re: Gandhi Jayanti Weekend ride to Konkan

Fabulous account again Aniruddha! I will certainly use these details when I finally implement my plans later this year. Based on your feedback though (and teh massive rains this year), it seems I will have to take my bike along.

Thanks again for the great pictures and detailed narration
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