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Old 2nd December 2009, 18:41   #1
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Default Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy

We were able to make another trip to the Konkan beaches in the Gypsy, just a three dayer this time, and to beaches closer to Pune that the last drive to Malvan and Goa. And I have to say right at the start of this travelogue that the beaches we saw this time around are some of the best I have ever seen, anywhere in the world. I was able to take a lot of pictures and over the next 24 hours I should be able to put them up for forum members to get a glimpse of what Konkan has to offer to travelers willing to put up with the occassional bad roads - for the real thing, one has to be there, and this is the best time of the year to do so! Maharashtra Unlimited is the state government tagline to promote the state as a tourist destination, but one could say that of just the Konkan region of the state.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 19:47   #2
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Way to go buddy. I can see whats going to come up.
How about some teasers for now
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Old 2nd December 2009, 20:05   #3
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Default Monkeying around!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossi View Post
Way to go buddy. I can see whats going to come up.
How about some teasers for now
I need to resize the pictures...in the meantime how is this one I picked up at random from the lot!
Attached Thumbnails
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0041.jpg  


Last edited by Sawyer : 2nd December 2009 at 20:06.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 06:34   #4
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Default Enroute to Varandha

Our destination was Dapoli and the beaches in the area, that were highly recommended by forum members and others I had spoken to. Getting down to there from Pune affords a choice of three routes across the Western Ghats - Tamhini, Varandha and Ambenali further on from Mahabaleshwar. I chose to use the Bhor Varandha road going down, thinking I will come up via Poladpur Mahabaleshwar on the way back.
We were again able to leave Pune reasonably early, by 5 30 am and that allowed us to get past Bhor, and a lousy stretch of road from there for about ten kms, until the point from where I found places worth photographing. It was a little later than I would have preferred, but the Sun wasn't high enough to kill all the features in the hills. On the left, there is a huge and new dam - I haven't seen the resultant backwaters that extend a long way, on any map, and neither have I been able to find out the name of the dam. Once the dam is past on the left, the road is decent all the way to the mountain crossing down into the Konkan. And the road till getting to the mountains, before the crossing, is a delight in the early morning, with the backwaters making for some very pretty country.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0003.jpg
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The first picture is of the dam as it appears on the left, and the Gypsy in the early morning light, by the road that runs past it towards Varandha.
Some time after leaving the backwaters behind the road crosses the saddle of the mountain as it does in all the ghats in the region, and the first Konkan view unfurls. The first view of the Varandha ghat, and the white line running across the mountain on the left is the road, with the chai shops which is the well frequented stop for a break in the journey. We got there by about 8 30 am of relaxed driving.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0026.jpg
The great thing about Pune is that in just an hour's drive from home you are in the hills, away from the big city noise, smells and pollution. The new Dehu to Katraj bypass is a great boon - I wonder why there is no toll there?!

Last edited by Sawyer : 3rd December 2009 at 06:36.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 07:06   #5
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Default Tea break in Varandha and more monkeys!

Coming down to the tea - and more important - excellent bhaji and vada pav break.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0046.jpg
For all these many years I had heard nightmare stories about how difficult a road the Varandha ghat was and that had kept me away for it till a little over a year ago. Either the road has improved, or cars have gotten better, or people love to exaggerate - but the road is nowhere as difficult as it has been made out to be. Probably a combination of all the three reasons. And as one tends to have in such places, I have my favorite watering place, the stall that is the last on the left. I must have been there all of just the four times in the last two years, the last time being on Jan 1 of this year. And counting the Gypsy this time around, in three different cars. The owner either has a remarkable memory, or we are memorable people, for he commented on the change of car, quoting the make of the last one! The former reason, I am sure is what it is, however much I would like to think it the latter.
A huge number of monkeys live on the cliff face and are all over the road for the food they get here. As monkeys go, these are pretty docile...
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0029.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0034.jpg
Gypsy by the stall.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0048.jpg
The "infamous" couple of sharp turns in the ghat.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0051.jpg
After getting down, we came across NH 17, and turned left towards Goa, enroute to the turn off to Dapoli at Khed.
And after a fuel tank top up at Bharne naka, we left NH 17, turning right towards Khed, and from there, to Dapoli, about 30 kms towards the sea.
From Dapoli, one has a choice of beaches to head to, and since this was a recce trip as much as a short break, the idea was to explore all the ones in the area, starting with Ladghar, for which one takes a left, just as Dapoli is about to end.
I had heard about a hotel by the name Sagar Sawali to be one of the best places by the sea, and original smaller hotel is in Ladghar, which is where we checked in. We were not there for long, so there are just these two pictures of the place, at Ladghar, which is a smallish beach, separated by a headland from the stretch of beaches to the north, starting with Karde beach.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0058.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0060.jpg

Last edited by Technocrat : 18th December 2009 at 18:19. Reason: Removed unnecessary content
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Old 3rd December 2009, 07:50   #6
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Default Harnai bunder and bullock carts

One of the problems perhaps in kicking off a Konkan exploration from Malvan is that it ends up in being a benchmark for the quality and the taste of the food, and that in other places struggles to come up to those high levels of excellence. Unsuccessfully, at least as far as our three day experience in the Dapoli area was concerned!
We had lunch at Sagar Sawali and discovered that a non vegetarian meal means fish, prawns, chappati and rice and nothing else. It was good as far as it goes, but nothing to rave over. If someone knows any other places in the area that excel in food, I am all ears!
After a short rest, the next venue to visit was the Harnai bunder fish auction that I had heard was an evening one, from 4 pm.
A road from Ladghar to Karde is under construction - for now, one needs to go all the way back to Dapoli, and then back to the sea for going to Karde, Murud or Harnai.
We reached Harnai bunder at just the right time, to see something I have never seen before, bullock carts being driven into the sea to unload the fish and bring it to the beach where the auction happens. Anyone that wants to see this needs to be aware of the time, because things seem to happen to a well set and precise schedule, every day.
The carts start their work at around 4 pm, while the auction on the beach starts at exactly 4 30.
One of the features of the beaches in the area is that the sea shelf extends out for a long way from the land, and the sea is very shallow for a long way out. In addition, near the bunder, there is very little wave formation, so the sea is flat as well. That allows for the bullock carts to go into the water a long way, but it is unnerving to see the bullock carts going as much as 100 metres into the sea, for someone that sees it the first time! And as shallow as the sea may be, I thought one of them was in some trouble because the bullocks had reached sea water up to their necks - before turning around to come at the sea side of one of the boats to take on a load of the fish. Obviously, the man knew what he was up to - can bullocks swim?! Even if they can, I can't see them do that tethered to a cart...
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0061.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0062.jpg
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Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0079.jpg
Preview of the fish - the carts wait for it to be 4 30 before the fish is unloaded on to the beach and the auction to start.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0068.jpg
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Old 3rd December 2009, 08:16   #7
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Default Fish!

No words needed!
When I heard the sounds of the fish auction/market a sudden memory floated up from the recesses of my mind to a school teacher shouting at the class - is this a fish market or a classroom??? Having never really seen a fish market, the comparison was wasted on me then!
Attached Thumbnails
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0070.jpg  

Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0072.jpg  

Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0073.jpg  

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Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0095.jpg  

Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0101.jpg  

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Old 3rd December 2009, 08:22   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawyer View Post
Coming down to the tea - and more important - excellent bhaji and vada pav break.
For all these many years I had heard nightmare stories about how difficult a road the Varandha ghat was and that had kept me away for it till a little over a year ago. Either the road has improved, or cars have gotten better, or people love to exaggerate - but the road is nowhere as difficult as it has been made out to be. Probably a combination of all the three reasons.
Excellent travelogue Sawyer. Very nice pictures. Thanks for sharing. I just pray almighty that these places remain this way! Btw, you felt the road on Varandha ghat better.. Could it be because you were on a Gypsy this time?
Please keep the thread rolling..
Cheers,
Deepak
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Old 3rd December 2009, 08:34   #9
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Thanks for sharing all those pictures especially of the fish market. I mean I have never been to a fish market by the sea or rather a fish market at all as I can't stand the smell. But I do see NatGeo and Discovery to make out the types of fish / squid / eels. Also in your pictures the first time I am seeing a bullock cart venturing into the sea. I mean it is indeed a very unique photograph. Hope to have many more of these. Please keep them coming !!!
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Old 3rd December 2009, 08:42   #10
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Default Back to Karde Ladghar Karde!

Once the auction was over I thought it would be good to also check out the newer Sagar Sawali at Karde, so we back tracked some way from Harnai and took a right after Asud pul, a road that took us all the way to the Murud part of the seafront, that is very similar in scale to the one at Goa, from Aguada at one end to Baga at the other. Black sands at Murud and other parts of the beaches to some extent too, on account of the fact that the hills/rocks are very close to the sea. I asked a vendor on the beach if I could drive the Gypsy on the beach to Karde - he said yes, but was pretty sure that I would have trouble getting it off the beach onto the road and recommended using the road that goes to Karde, parallel to the beach.
Before getting to the beach at Murud, there was a huge board/map on the left that I missed, that would have told me that I need to turn left there by the board. And that would take us straight on to the worst of the roads we experienced in the three days, where most cars would have to be careful on. No issues with Gypsy of course, except for hanging on to the steering wheel and getting on with it! Going down that road we had the sea on the right, and hills on the immediate left and some hotels along the way, including the well spoken of Kinara hotel.
One of the things that puzzled me is the way the hotels in Karde seem to have been built in a manner that seems to contravene the sea front construction norms that are applicable nationally, I would think. Granted that they afford fantastic views to their guests, but enough of them are painted in outlandish colors that stick out like sore thumbs. In another ten years, I doubt I will want to go to Karde, so, fellow readers, the time to go there is now!! While it has decent hotels to stay in, and is also unspoilt and virginal...but more of that later.
Close the end of the beach fronting part of the road, we found Sagar Sawali on the left, with a very hospitable owner, Mangesh More, making us feel very welcome. A cup of tea went down very well, and there was just enough time to take in the sunset and a glimpse of the beach, with the wreckage left from the recent cyclone that passed by, still uncleared.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0104.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0110.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0113.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0114.jpg
One look at the rooms was enough to convince us to shift out of Ladghar to Karde - since both hotels belong to the same owner the only issue about doing that was a 45 minute drive on poor roads at night to Ladghar to fetch our bags, and then the same drive back to Karde. Again, the Gypsy proved very handy, since I did not have to worry about what the roads would do to the car, if our backs could take it, the car surely could!
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Old 3rd December 2009, 08:55   #11
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Originally Posted by starter View Post
I just pray almighty that these places remain this way! Btw, you felt the road on Varandha ghat better.. Could it be because you were on a Gypsy this time?
Please keep the thread rolling..
Cheers,
Deepak
Its no use praying, as more people discover these places, they will go down the tubes as tends to happen in India. So don't wait too long, the time to go to Karde is now!! Re the Gypsy, I can't quite say that, the last drive was in a Pajero - but I changed it for a Gypsy for very specific reasons, and I am glad I did. And yes, as I have written already, the car performed very well indeed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambivalent_98 View Post
Thanks for sharing all those pictures especially of the fish market. I mean I have never been to a fish market by the sea or rather a fish market at all as I can't stand the smell. But I do see NatGeo and Discovery to make out the types of fish / squid / eels. Also in your pictures the first time I am seeing a bullock cart venturing into the sea. I mean it is indeed a very unique photograph. Hope to have many more of these. Please keep them coming !!!
The next time you get a chance to go to a fish market that is on the beach, don't miss the chance. There is zero smell, because the fish is fresh off the fishing boats. The smell starts in a few hours of course, but in the auctions, you will smell the people but not the fish!
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Old 3rd December 2009, 09:35   #12
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Default Karde - Beach Unlimited!

On day 2, all we did was hotel room to beach to hotel room to beach to hotel room to beach to hotel room!
That's one visit from before sunrise, one at midmorning, and one evening walk all the way to Murud beach and back.
Karde beach is magnificent and I am sure that the pictures give some sense of it. But capturing its scale needs a better photographer that I, and even more, one has to be there to just luxuriate in the sheer beachiness of the place!
If you like beaches that are clean, immense in length and width, with hills within shouting distance, warm shallow waters that are knee deep for a long way into the sea go to Karde the first chance you get.
If you want to be on a beach where the mornings and evenings are very pleasant, even a little chilly, go to Karde in this time of the year, December/January.
If you want to be on a beach with just the sea gulls for company, go to Karde in the middle of a working week.
Above all, go to Karde before the rest of the world discovers this beach heaven on earth! And unlike Murud, there is very little of the black sand at Karde.

I hope the pictures do the beach some justice – it is one of the best beaches that I have seen. Here goes:
Attached Thumbnails
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Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0153.jpg  

Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0154.jpg  


Last edited by Sawyer : 3rd December 2009 at 09:36.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 09:58   #13
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Default More of Karde

More pictures of the beach:
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0155.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0156.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0159.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0160.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0170.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0171.jpg
Kinara hotel, great views, but only a few rooms have the attached balconies visible, you need to specify while booking, these rooms get sold out very quickly.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0172.jpg
Setting out to see the dolphins in the morning, we have reserved this experience for our next visit, there was very little time this time around!
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0142.jpg
Sagar Sawali, Karde beach
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0166.jpg
Looking out from our room on to the sea, and from the side, the hills and fields.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0144.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0163.jpg
One of the sore thumbs!
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0146.jpg
ST buses, the lifeline of the Konkan, going boldly where no man has gone before ( apologies to Star Trek fans )!!
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0165.jpg
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Old 3rd December 2009, 10:36   #14
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Default Evening at Karde

One of the things that happen to city dwellers is that one loses touch with nature and an example of that is that it took a long time for me to figure out the locational implications ( in the skies ) of the fact that the moon is a dead world that only reflects the light of the sun. Of course, that is not to say that it is just city living and not my lack of clear thinking that is to blame for this failure to put two and two together!
Outdoors this is very apparent - as the sun was setting in the west over the sea, the moon was rising directly opposite to it in the east, and since it was a full moon, and one could look back and forth and see the setting the sun and the rising moon, it was very easy to see it mirroring back the light of the sun. And as the moon rose in the sky, it was easy to understand that it was reflecting the light of the sun that was no longer visible, the earth having rotated on it.
Sunset at Karde:
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0167.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0176.jpg
In the evening, patterns of sand excavated by crabs:
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0168_1.jpg
Full moon rising over the hills at Karde:
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0180.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0181.jpg

Last edited by Sawyer : 3rd December 2009 at 10:38.
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Old 3rd December 2009, 11:37   #15
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Default Seaside to hill station in three hours!

When I woke, it was still dark out and from the balcony of the room, the moon was hanging low over the ocean and begging to be photographed! We threw on some clothes and were at the beach and in real life it was brilliant - I have a pic, and I was still sleep fuzzy, so the picture really is just a stab at keeping a memory of the great view.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0187.jpg
We drove out the hotel by 7 15 and the plan was to take the Anjarle bypass and see how the drive to the bridge is, having seen some very good pictures of the place. And then backtrack to Dapoli, enroute to Mahabaleshwar for lunch and strawberries before heading home.
The big board at the fork to Karde that is a list of all the hotels, and a you are here circle on it - leads me to suspect, unhappily, that this place is like a flower currently in full bloom, but fated to be killed pretty soon by "development". As Ganapatipule and Guhagar have been.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0196.jpg
The Anjarle bypass is a steep climb on the right of the road to Harnai, a couple of kilometres before the town, and is a well surfaced road that climbs steeply before straightening out with some spectacular sea and beach views from the hill it runs on.
Here is one of Harnai bunder, and the beach where the auction takes place, with Suvarnadurg in the sea in the background.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0219.jpg
And then, after a few kilometres, the views open out, first of Anjarle village:
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0214.jpg
And finally, a fitting climax, of the beaches north of Anjarle, and it all looks a lot like Ganapatipule seen from the south. Again the pictures do not convey the sense of the place at 8 in the morning, with a fresh breeze carrying the sounds of the trawler engine over the water, and no one on the road but an occassional car. Or the sounds of temple songs wafting up from the village. One could sit there for hours...
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0205.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0206.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0208.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0210.jpg
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0213.jpg
The Gypsy at an observation point, with Suvarnadurg in the sea on the left.
Another Konkan drive in the Gypsy-img_0216.jpg
One good thing about photos is that one can choose not to show the trash that we Indians love to leave behind where ever we go when we picnic in the outdoors. Trash such as:
1. Antiquity whisky cardboard boxes/bottles - in one place it was Black label, so it is all categories that do this sick thing
2. Plastic water bottles
3. Lays/other brand potato chip packets
4. Gutka packs
AHHHH......
When will we learn...and the less well to do are actually better in many respects, their trash tends to be bio degradable!!
Running short of time we did not go on to the other side, leaving that for another time.
By the time we left it was close to 9 am and after an uneventful drive past Poladpur, with some surface damaged roads in the ghats till Pratapgarh, we were in Mahabaleshwar by noon for the last leg of the drive.
It was my first time in Kashedi ghat though, on the way to Poladpur on NH 17, and that is another lovely road to drive on in the kind of weather we were fortunate to enjoy.
And of course a top class road from Dapoli to Khed, before that.

Last edited by Sawyer : 3rd December 2009 at 11:41.
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