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Old 10th November 2009, 14:41   #1
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Default Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy

We drove back yesterday after a great ten day holiday. Many thanks to all of you whose inputs were of great help, and the net of course is a wonderful resource these days to plan and to book stays.
We left Pune on Oct 31st early, at 5 am, to reach Velneshwar by the afternoon. The early morning drive from Pune to Umbraj on NH4 was as uneventful as it always is these days, which speaks of how good this road is now. We turned off the highway and took the road down to Chiplun on the coast, and the first look of the Kumbharli ghat was welcome by around 9 am.
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0001.jpg
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0005.jpg
The road is decent, but broken tarmac for quite long stretches until the ghat descent actually starts, when it becomes a pretty good surface all the way to Chiplun where we crossed NH17 by around 10 30 am. Motoring straight through is the road to Guhagar on the coast, another good road. There is a turn off to Velneshwar and Hedvi to the left some kms before Guhagar, when the roads become narrow, still very scenic. It took us some questions at cross roads to find our way to Hedvi and its beach. All the Jogalekars in the world hail from Hedvi, I believe. While all the Gokhales hail from Velneshwar. Given that these are very common surnames in Maharashtra, fascinating!
Lunch at Suruchi corner at Hedvi beach was decent, but not as spectacular as the rest of the eating on the ten day trip.
The beach temple at Hedvi and the Gypsy by the seaside - at Suruchi corner, the lunch break at Hedvi.
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0016.jpg
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0018.jpg
Extracting ourselves out of Hedvi, we drove to Velneshwar. We were staying at Mangalya, the home of one of the Gokhale families there, close to the temple, and another 100 metres down, to the beach. As home stays go, this was as good as one could get in the area, I imagine. Dinner was pure vegetarian, but served with affection, cooked exceedingly well, and with plenty to eat.
As the pictures show, the beach at Velneshwar is very clean and the sunset was very showy.
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0028.jpg
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0036.jpg
All in all, a very good start to the holiday. The village as it looks early in the morning, at the start of Day 2.
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0045.jpg
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Old 10th November 2009, 14:46   #2
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Nice pictures Sawyer, keep them coming!
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Old 10th November 2009, 15:03   #3
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Default Day 2

Initially, I had planned to go to Malvan directly on day 1, but I thought it might be a long first distance for those that are not used to long drives in a Gypsy - hence the thought of driving to Velneshwar for a nights stay. As it turned out, the drive from Velneshwar to Malvan turned out to be a long one too, we started at 7 in the morning and reached Malvan by late afternoon. The coast roads are scenic, but are not best surfaced and tend to meander.
Breakfast at the Gokhales was just as good as dinner - simple kande pohe - but very well made, fluffy, which makes all the difference.
The plan was to drive to Ratnagiri by the coast roads, via Ganapatipule, and I had hoped to get to G'pule by 8 30 am before the Sunday crowds were out in full force.
The Gokhales gave us good insructions to get across the Bhatgaon Rai bridge that gets on the G Pule side of the Shastri river. But there are so many turns on the way, that we still had to do a couple of back tracks and stop to get lots of assistance enroute - which I must say was always willingly, and, more importantly, accurately given. But it did take us a long time to get to the bridge, closer to 9 am, I guess. But the Konkan early morning drive was a great one...
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Old 10th November 2009, 17:42   #4
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By the time we reached Ganapatipule, it was already past 10 and it was full of people, and after cruising around looking for a place to park, we decided to give it a miss and push on to Ratnagiri via the coast road that takes one first to Bhandarpule. Which looks to be a very good beach and a place to stay, with a pretty looking resort at it, I forget the name. The road then wends its way to Ratnagiri, and pictures follow of G'pule seen from the south, and the road itself.
Attached Thumbnails
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Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0067.jpg  

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Old 10th November 2009, 18:09   #5
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Nice pics Sawyer, looks like a great trip

Btw it seems you came back just in time. It has started raining here & with that Soft top it could have been a problem.
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:11   #6
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The road to Ratnagiri narrowed and at the entry into the city, I thought it best to get back to NH 17 via Hathkhambe and then south on it till the right hand side exit to Malvan. The sun was strong, the Gypsy is only naturally ventilated and this was the most tiring part of the entire drive - the return journey, non stop from Goa was made easy by the recent rain/cloud cover in W Maharashtra.
On NH 17, we lunched just before Kharepatan at a fancy looking hotel on the left. I did not register the name, but my usual experience of such places is that the interiors are usually a big let down. This one was a pleasant surprise and we were given a decent lunch. Not quite to Malvan standards, but the solkadi was still pretty good!
Driving down south with the sun overhead, I realized after a while that the Gypsy was reflecting sunlight bigtime on to oncoming traffic. I realized this when I was behind another vehicle, when at times its reflectors were lighting up. I wasnt sure of just what it was that was doing this and I only realized what it was the next day at Malvan when the flash happened to catch the front number plate that is made of reflective backing - as can be seen in one of the pictures below. Not sure if this is something I need to address...
Because I had gotten fed up of NH 17 and I was anxious to get to Malvan, I made the mistake of taking the first turn off marked to Malvan after Kankavli that got me there by a roundabout, bad road. A little further, the turn off at Kasal would have been the direct and better road to take.
At any rate, around 4.30 pm we reached Malvan and found our way to our home stay with the family of Prof Prasannakumar Mayekar at Chivala Beach. His house is right on the beach as can be seen in the last picture attached.
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0074.jpg
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0076.jpg
As we reached, and unloaded our bags, the step out and reach it beach beckoned. Chivala is a quiet beach, north facing, and north of Malvan beach that is a commercial fishing beach. But there is some fishing that happens in a small scale and a net cast out in hauled in manually by two teams of people on the beach a couple of hundred yards apart. The catch brought in that evenining happened to be a large stingray, that ended up being the tourist attraction of the evening.

Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0077.jpg

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Last edited by Technocrat : 10th November 2009 at 19:07. Reason: Merged Images post in the original post.
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:20   #7
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10 days in Goa, I really envy you Sawyer ! Lovely pics and write up, reading about trips to Goa always brings back fond memories of my annual vacations there ! BTW, how come you did'nt take your new i20 ?

Last edited by kannan666 : 10th November 2009 at 18:23.
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:29   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Nice pics Sawyer, looks like a great trip

Btw it seems you came back just in time. It has started raining here & with that Soft top it could have been a problem.
The cloud cover was actually a blessing on the long drive back yesterday, and yes it was a memorable trip!

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Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
10 days in Goa, I really envy you Sawyer ! Lovely pics and write up, reading about trips to Goa always brings back fond memories of my annual vacations there ! BTW, how come you did'nt take your new i20 ?
That's because the Gypsy is newer!
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:33   #9
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Incredible! Great pics! An awesome travelogue. More pics please!
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:36   #10
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Dear Sawyer,
Brilliant pictures and a nice travelogue.
Do share some information on how the Gypsy fared through the trip.
And please keep the pictures rolling.
Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:37   #11
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Originally Posted by //M View Post
Incredible! Great pics! An awesome travelogue. More pics please!
Thanks - lots of pics to follow and I will post more tonight. The trip was just fantastic, but no picture can capture the great food and hospitality we experienced. From no frill homestays to a world class resort at the top of Chorla Ghat on the Goa border, it was all excellent.
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Old 10th November 2009, 18:37   #12
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Saw yer pics, Sawyer. Good ones.

Had heard of stingrays but it's only now that I know what they look like.

Haven't been to this part of Maharashtra but it's been on my list for some time.
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Old 10th November 2009, 20:53   #13
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Default Day 3

We had two days to chill out in Malvan and check out just how good the cuisine is, and it is wonderful indeed!
And Chivala beach is the perfect place to stay, a twenty minute walk from the market and yet a quiet beach, clean, and very safe to swim in with a shallow sea bed for a long way.
With the coastal protection laws no new construction is allowed close to the beach, but trust our politicos to make an exception for themselves. The large house on the southern end belongs to Narayan Rane.
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0100.jpg
The evening we arrived, I was not in the mood to drive again, or walk too long, and we dined at atithi bamboo, right around the corner. Very good Malvani thalis, but this just set the stage for the meals on the second day!
The day was spent walking around Malvan soaking the feel of the place and the picture of what was on sale will give a sense of the spices on sale. My wife bought one or more of almost everthing on sale!
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0104.jpg
More chilling out on the beach and another great sunset. On the beach every shell strewn around in the wave washed sand seemed to have an occupant.
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It also happened to be a full moon the time we were there.
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At night we were treated to a home cooked meal by our hosts, whose service was exemplary, as was the standard of the room. At my request we were given a plateful of modaks to eat with the dinner and they were as good as they are reputed to be in the konkan. And after every meal, the solkadi to help settle things eaten and for just the taste of it alone as well!
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Old 10th November 2009, 21:16   #14
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Default Day 4

Every day from 7 30 am the catch of the preceding 18 hours is brought to Malvan beach, south of Malvan jetty, and sold in a busy auction. Across the jetty lies Sindhudurg fort.
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From the beach the catch finds its way to various homes and restaurants and special mention must be made of Chaitanya restaurant, where we lunched on two days. It is a busy place, but the AC section is a little less frenetic. But the same excellent food, to be ordered from a well presented menu. Fish of course, but very well made mutton and chicken as well, while the vegetarian thali was also just as satisfying for that preference. Eating the frozen stuff, one just does not realize the flavor and sweetness that fresh seafood has, and it is not a surprise that it is referred to as the fruit of the sea.
And then the walk back home, via the access road by the sea.
Back from a ten day break in konkan/goa in the Gypsy-img_0163.jpg
The two boats that are operated by a fisherman that stays in a hut by the side of the house. The man works immensely hard, going to sea at all hours, hauling in the boat with just his wife to help, and working on his net at other times.
Evening dinner at home again, another fine meal. Simple food, very well cooked, served by the sea side under a full moon...heaven!
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by Sawyer : 10th November 2009 at 21:18.
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Old 10th November 2009, 21:32   #15
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Dear Sawyer,
Brilliant pictures and a nice travelogue.
Do share some information on how the Gypsy fared through the trip.
And please keep the pictures rolling.
Cheers,
Deepak
The Gypsy did around 1400 kms @ 13km/litre, and worked flawlessly through out, nary a hiccup of any kind. The thread sealant tape fix for the coolant tank has fixed that problem well. The Yokohama tyres work very well on tarmac and on dirt tracks - they were not asked to cope with any other terrain. And all the attention the car needed was filling fuel, no other replenishment was needed.
But the suspension requires a hardy back to cope with its kick - the up down absorption is pretty good actually, it is the being thrown forward that stresses the back. And the lack of AC can drain ones energy, so I would not make this drive in it after March till the rains have fully set in. Other impressions - it always attracts a lot of attention, because of its associations, and one usually is given way in a way that a private car may not command!
One other trait I noticed coming from a diesel SUV is its lack of low down torque, that allows the diesel cars to crawl comfortably, over obstacles or otherwise.
On the highways, it held speeds of 90/100 comfortably, which is the limit of SUV driving for my competency, so no issues there.
Have I missed anything?
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