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Old 12th September 2010, 16:53   #1
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Default Good Heavens!!What a Location (Kundalika River, Kolad, Maharashtra)

The deliberations for our annual group mini vacation took us from almost all countries within a 4 hour flight radius to various places in India

Finally the choice was down to 4 days of fun and frolic (and shopping) in Bangkok or 3 days of nature and adventure at Kolad

So we took a vote and the majority of the 9 of us voted Kolad (believe it or not)

Our group of nine unfortunately whittled down to a small group of 4 for a variety of Mumbai reasons (the plastic surgeon had some emergency cases..., the banker had to go abroad...etc etc)

But we said lets go anyway:

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Old 12th September 2010, 17:09   #2
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Default The Route and Destination!!

After examining a variety of stay options in the Kolad area, we narrowed our choices to 2 places. Both on the Kundalika river. The Kundalika river flows down via the Mulshi dam. As they open the dam gates almost every day, you get an artificially created grade III rapid at many places along the river.

The main attraction of all these camps on and around the river is the rafting experience. Earlier you had to go up north to the Himalayas to do rafting. Now you can do it 3 hours (more on this later) from Mumbai almost all year round.

Rafting expeditions are organised by 2 teams with facilities nearby. Both were originally coming to Kolad during the off season in Hrishikesh i.e the monsoons here and they would pack up and go back at the end of september

Now as its getting more and more popular they have set up permanently here

Our choice of accomodation was narrowed down to a camp which is built and operated by the Nature Trails people (welcome to Naturetrails.in) and a private homestay called Good Heavens, hence the punny title of the thread

The NT camp on the river is almost brand new and consists exclusively of tents with attached loos. Since it is the latest of the lot it is also the best in terms of quality of accomodation (so we were given to understand by a friend who organises outdoor programs for corporates)

We ultimately decided on Good Heavens as it was more child friendly and we had with us 2 energetic kids aged 5 and 6, as you will see in the pics:

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Old 12th September 2010, 17:21   #3
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The route to the homestay is pretty straight forward:

Bandra-Sion-Chembur-Palaspa Phata-NH17 Mumbai Goa Road-Karnala-Pen-Wadkal-Kolad-Off NH17-Durtoli-Kamath-Good Heaven!!

A total distance of 128kms from Bandra to the house

We calculated 40km average speed and to get there to do rafting a 9am, we figured to leave at 5am and get to GH by 8 for breakfast and then ahead to the start point of rafting trip

We did not factor in this:

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Since we were leaving Friday 10th September, a day before Ganesh Chaturti, we did not factor in a whole load of people going back home to their home towns on the Konkan on this friday morning

Our 3 hour journey, max 4 hours took us a good 6 hours with traffic jams extending for miles on end until the cops came and opened up the traffic where it had been clogged by undisciplined motorised who break lanes and try to go ahead on the other side of the road

Kudos to the cops. They had anticipated this madness and were out in force!!

They did a splendid job under the circumstances!!
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Old 12th September 2010, 17:43   #4
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Default Road Conditions!!

In 1 word:

PATHETIC!!

This road is the gateway to the entire Konkan. Rains or no rains. The road of NH17 is just not acceptable. No way!!

Anyone going to Goa. Ditch this beautifully scenic and winding road and take the super slab to Belgaum and then to Goa via Khanapur and Anmod

All the taxes we pay to keep our cars on the road, new car taxes, cess, income tax are all obviously going to line the pockets of the corrupt and not the roads that we pay these taxes we drive on!!
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Old 12th September 2010, 20:23   #5
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Oh man. What an amazing place you chose. I'm waiting for some great photos. Loved your signature! Excellent stuff there. Guess you utilised the jam to full effect to sit on the bonnet and pose for candid photos! Just a small query. How is the absense of bucket seats on the back on such long drives on winding, pot-hole ridden roads?
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Old 12th September 2010, 22:02   #6
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The last time I heard of Kolad, was also my first time! Wanting to know more.
Both through words and snaps!
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Old 12th September 2010, 23:04   #7
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Default Good Heavens!!

That's the name of Shyam and Sarita Nihalani's homestay on the river. Theirs is a unique and courageous story. From city rats to country kids. Story goes that 5 years ago they decided to leave the city. So they left. Literally. With no land or house in their name, they came to Kolad, rented a small village house at Sutarwadi and started searching for land to build a house. It took them a year to find the land and Shyam designed and built this house all on his own:

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The house is basic but comfortable. All exposed masonary, high roofs and natural. Only the floors and the bathrooms are tiled

They have a pretty laid back attitude about they run the show. That coupled with a severe lack of domestic help means that its not spic and span. But when its in the middle of the forest, not a soul around and views like this...:

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....all these minor issues are easily overlooked!!

Last edited by 53BHP : 12th September 2010 at 23:07.
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Old 12th September 2010, 23:15   #8
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So we get there at 11.30am due to the traffic jams and its too late to raft. So after a quick breakfast/snack off we go here:

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Its a little brook at the back of the house. Lovely. One of the highlights of this trip

Dont miss the fish pedicure for free (You pay a bomb for the same in Thailand). Dont know if they are the same variety of fish, but quite cool. If you be still for long enough you will have at least 15 to 20 of them latch on to you. Awesome
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Old 12th September 2010, 23:23   #9
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Default Introduction

So its nice to know everyone. Here is a little introduction:

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Seated are Steiger, Blandin and Shane
Steiger is my buddy and runs a garage in Mumbai. He is an independent Mercedes specialist and a lover of all things mechanical (He sat and fixed Shyam's brand new lpg generator which would not start up!!). He is also an avid road traveller. Between the 2 of us we have 3 Jeeps, including a pristine Classic with 39xxx original kms on the odo and all original down to the foot pedal rubbers

Standing to the left are Vinutha, Saachi and Rohit (Me)

Top right are our homestay hosts Sarita and Shyam
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Old 12th September 2010, 23:32   #10
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Default What we liked and what could have been better!!

Sarita and Shyam ensured that there was definitely no dull moment (if you so desired) They will make sure you will always have some activity to do. Rafting, river crossing, boating on the river backwater in front of the house, the little brook at the back, picking flowers and veggies from the garden (for the kids)

They will also whole heartedly participate in the merriment (as you can see in the snaps)

The food was home cooked and outstanding. For a hard core carnivore like me to say i enjoyed the veggies is really something

Their house is a study in slow and laid back development. They still need to landscape the foreground, put in a lawn that kids can run about on, safely. They certainly need to fix their staffing issues and take the hygeine levels up a notch. That would make the place close to perfect

I am sure they will get there. They have good vision and all the plans to make this place as close to heaven as the name they have given it!!
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Old 12th September 2010, 23:36   #11
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Default The Next Day!!

The early morning greeted me with this vista:

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This place is truly blessed with everything. Hills, meadows, islands, brooks, back waters and a nice nice river!!
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Old 12th September 2010, 23:41   #12
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You guys had a real blast. That almost looks like a private pool!
Also can you point the place on a google map?
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Old 12th September 2010, 23:42   #13
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Default The Tamhini waterfalls

I will just let the pictures do the talking here. We drove 30 kms further on the same road in, the SH60 that goes all the way to Pune via Tamhini, Mulshi, Paud:

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Last edited by 53BHP : 12th September 2010 at 23:48.
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Old 13th September 2010, 00:01   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
You guys had a real blast. That almost looks like a private pool!
Also can you point the place on a google map?
Yes we sure did. I am trying to locate the exact spot on Google Earth. Will post as soon as I get a fix on it. It is indeed like a private pool, except that your eyes dont burn and your hair doesnt go like coir, as there is no chlorine or other chemicals in the water


Quote:
Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Oh man. What an amazing place you chose. I'm waiting for some great photos. Loved your signature! Excellent stuff there. Guess you utilised the jam to full effect to sit on the bonnet and pose for candid photos! Just a small query. How is the absense of bucket seats on the back on such long drives on winding, pot-hole ridden roads?
The bench seats are practical as we both travel with a kid each. But the lack of headrests make them a bit uncomfortable on the neck and upper back. Since my 540 is a slow rebuild and as close to stock as possible, i am making changes very slowly and after a lot of deliberation. After this trip the front bench is def. in for a change. I will go in for a Qualis or Bolero bench with headrests

Also planned is an aircon system. While i had decided against it when i start the build (actually up unto this trip) i have changed my mind now. Road conditions, diesel fumes, heat, dust and noise make for a less than ideal ride, especially back home. What use is a holiday when the wife and kid need another day of rest on getting back. So tomorrow it is off to Israr for a new air con
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Old 13th September 2010, 00:07   #15
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Default Some random pics

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