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Old 23rd May 2010, 19:47   #1
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Default Konkan in May

A trip into the Konkan region in sweltering May seemed like a bad idea. But with all other summer holiday options ‘crowded’ out of contention, we decided to visit the land of our forefathers. But we decided to keep it short, as we had to fit in a visit to Pune on the way back.
When I asked around for a good itinerary, I realized everybody has a different take on it and they all involve intensive temple hopping. We decided to make our own plan with limited temple visits, day time driving, checking into hotels in important towns rather than resorts (more dependable?). We decided to drive down directly to Ratnagiri on the first day and make our way back to Chiplun via Guhaghar and then go to Pune via Koyna Nagar.

We started out from Mumbai in my new Indica Vista Aura ABS on a Monday morning @ 6.15 A.M., took the NH-17 and stopped for breakfast at Vadkhal Naka @ 8 A.M.. Hotel “Amantran” at Vadkhal is a decent joint. The traditional Maharashtrian breakfast dish - ‘Pohe’ was yummy. Tip – don’t order south Indian stuff here – they fry it in some strange oil; the ‘Medu Vada’ tasted yucky.After a very leisurely breakfast, we continued on NH-17 via Nagothane, Pen, Mahad, Khed, Chiplun and on to Ratnagiri. The road conditions are excellent but the traffic is quite heavy. The route is littered with accident stricken vehicles – mostly cars. I reckon they were from the lot scrambling back to Mumbai on Sunday evening. We stopped at ‘Hotel Shraddha’ for lunch (about 60 Km short of Ratnagiri). Tip – the place is avoidable. The drive, however, was enjoyable. The Vista QJD handled like a dream, gobbling up the ghats easily. Still working on getting the gear selection just right – this is my first diesel car, somewhat different from my previous petrol experiences. The A/C was very effective and the ride very comfortable. Kept the RPM below 2000 as much as possible. But due to the heavy traffic, the average speed was quite slow till Mahad and picked up later as the traffic thinned out. It’s difficult to ignore the beautiful scenery around as you weave up and down the ghats. We took a small break atop the Poladpur ghat to take in the view and snap a few pictures. We stopped again atop the Parshuram ghat near Chiplun to gawk at the beautiful sight of the Vasishti river meandering its way amidst the coastal hills.
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Old 23rd May 2010, 22:48   #2
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let it come. I miss my konkan trips. Brings back good memories.
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Old 24th May 2010, 09:54   #3
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M_G, I am hooked to this thread. Nice start, those tips will be helpful. Waiting for more details and pics.
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Old 24th May 2010, 10:21   #4
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Great start Mountain.Goat, put on more pics esp your Vista..
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Old 24th May 2010, 19:48   #5
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Default Ratnagiri

After the Poladpur ghat, the terrain turns distinctly lush green. We’re into the Konkan – well and truly. This must be one of the few regions in the country which remain lush green through the summer. After the forgettable meal at ‘Shraddha’, we reached Ratnagiri @ 3.00 P.M. Checked into ‘Hotel Vivek’ on the main road – Ratnagiri. We had booked a suite in advance. The regular A/C and Deluxe A/C rooms were full. At @3000 per day, including tax and extra charges for the third person – my daughter – the room seemed overpriced. It was decent accommodation though- quite spacious, neat and clean.
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Old 24th May 2010, 22:06   #6
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Default Soal Kadhi at Pawas

After resting for an hour or so, we were off to visit relatives at Pawas which is @ 20 Km from Ratnagiri. We were received with great warmth typical of rural India. We were treated to a typical Konkanastha Brahmin veggie meal with authentic and very tasty ‘Soal Kadhi’( a pink liquid concoction made from the Kokam fruit – botanical name ‘Garcinia Indica’ – and coconut milk plus spices – the ‘Kadhi’ part is misleading), Alphonso Aamras etc. I’ll remember the meal for a long time. But the problem is – the ‘Soal Kadhi’ in the hotel doesn’t taste as good anymore – the bar has been raised. After a long chat and catching up on the old times, we returned to the hotel at night, but not before being admonished for choosing to stay in a hotel.
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Old 25th May 2010, 00:03   #7
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The train snaking around near Vashishti as viewed from Parshuram ghat almost goes unnoticed! I drove this route from Ratnagiri to Chiplun to Mahad (on NH17) and Raigad ft in the dead of the night. Couldn't appreciate the real beauty. Now this is going to be exciting.
Bring on the photos!
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Old 25th May 2010, 06:32   #8
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The Konkan line from Mumbai to Mangalore is a traveler's delight.
Amazing to go. The train snap looks a good catch!
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Old 25th May 2010, 09:57   #9
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Default Around Ratnagiri

On the way to Pawas, we passed by Bhatye beach. They’ve ruined it by cutting down the casuarinas and erecting ugly tourist huts amidst what is left of the trees. What a tragedy. I remember being impressed with the beach last year; now it’s a scar.
Next morning we had the ‘complimentary’ breakfast at the hotel and set out for some local sightseeing. First stop, the Ratnadurg fort which is within Ratnagiri town. This one was a surprise package. I’ve seen practically no reviews of the fantastic sights you can see from this fort. Not much to see of the small fort, but what you can see FROM the fort is breathtaking. So I’m posting a few snaps taken there – let them do the talking. There is also a nice temple of goddess Bhagwati atop the fort.
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Old 25th May 2010, 11:29   #10
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Default Lokmanya Tilak Birthplace and Thibaw Palace

Every Indian is familiar with the famous quote “ Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it” and would also know something about the great man who uttered these famous words, ‘Lokmanya’ Bal Gangadhar Tilak. The ‘Lokmanya’ was born in Ratnagiri and we went to see the house where he was born. It is situated in the main bazaar and is fairly well maintained but practically deserted. Not surprising, given the projection of the current ruling family as the saviors of the nation. After paying our respects to the great son of the motherland, we went to see the Thibaw Palace, which is also within Ratnagiri town. The deposed king of Burma was imprisoned here. ‘Palace’ is a misnomer for the place. It’s more like a medium sized Haveli. Nothing much to see there but for a few artifacts and boards describing the history of the Burmese king and his incarceration in Ratnagiri by the British.
Time for Lunch. We headed out to ‘Vyankatesh’ on main road of Ratnagiri. I’d eaten there earlier on an official visit, went veggie that time. Tried the fish and chicken this time. The Surmai fry was good…….but yes, my aunt’s ‘Soal Kadhi’ was way better than this one…but if you don’t have an aunt here, you can try the ‘Soal Kadhi’ at ‘Vyankatesh’, it’s … passable.
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Old 25th May 2010, 12:35   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain.Goat View Post
After paying our respects to the great son of the motherland, we went to see the Thibaw Palace, which is also within Ratnagiri town.
More pictures of the palace and driving directions please?
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Old 25th May 2010, 13:13   #12
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Default Getting around Ratnagiri

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More pictures of the palace and driving directions please?
Ratnadurg fort, Lokmanya Tilak's birthplace and the Thibaw palace are practically on the same road - within a 2-3 Kilometres stretch. You won't need to search for directions.
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Old 25th May 2010, 13:41   #13
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Default Ratnagiri to Ganapatipule

Got back to the hotel after lunch for a short siesta. We all concurred we’d seen enough of Ratnagiri. We decided to pack up and move to Guhaghar via Ganapatipule. There are two routes to Ganapatipule from Ratnagiri, the older route Nivli (about 50 Km) and the newer one - the Aare-Vaare route (about 30Km). We decided to take the Aare-Vaare route. The decision was fortuitous. The road condition is good and route hugs the coastline, with breathtaking views of the sea. I’ll let the photos do the talking again.
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Old 25th May 2010, 13:47   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mountain.Goat View Post
We decided to take the Aare-Vaare route. The decision was fortuitous. The road condition is good and route hugs the coastline, with breathtaking views of the sea.
the coastal route is scenic.

is the road between bhandarpule and ganapatipule repaired?
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Old 25th May 2010, 14:03   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
the coastal route is scenic.

is the road between bhandarpule and ganapatipule repaired?
The road was still being repaired in January, when I was there. But it was driveble!
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