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|21st October 2010, 19:05||#1|
Konkan in rain
After a lot of planning for Ladakh, we were disappointed and sorry for what happened there. It was time to re-plan for a new place. Suggestions – Rajasthan, Konkan, Kerala etc. People who have lived in Konkan wouldn’t stop raving about the rain in Konkan. So that was it. Kerala will have to wait.
Details will follow but first the introduction to the characters and highlights.
Bunty and Babli .
Our machine on duty.
Amit, your's truely and Nitin. Photographer : Ketaki
|21st October 2010, 19:07||#2|
We had planned way too much for the Ladakh trip. After the re-plan we only had to remove some items from our to-carry list. The trip was on purpose designed to be dynamic with no hotel reservations and only an Eicher India map. Pune and Vapi were the only places we were sure of.
20th August. It was decided that we leave for Pune by 4.30 am, strictly. Why 4.30? I like the number 4 and 3. I have made starts at 4, 5 and 6 on previous occassions. This time it had to be different, again. At 4 Nitin calls ‘Amit is not answering’. We arrive at Diamond District at 4.30. ‘We are on time’ I thought, but Amit Is still not responding. Nitin takes charge while we try to arrange the luggage. After lot of door banging, somebody opens the door. Amit is still sleeping. After 14 miss calls and lot of door banging we finally leave at 5.15. Soon we reach Hosur road and then Nice road. Prevoiusly, lot of time was lost in various diversions along the route. This time things were better. Less diversions.
There is nothing much to write for this day. We reach Pune by 8 PM. The road is good, the Chitradurga – Haveri stretch has also improved. The Reliance petrol bunk in Ranebennur is functional again and they are now selling petrol too. The A1 plaza is now Kamat.
900 kms, 52.5 liters of petrol. FE of 17.14 with load. Never crossed 110 km/hr. Stuck to 90-100 km/hr on open stretch.
Break the fast.
The chap at counter comments lal t-shirt wala Sudeep jaisa dikta hai
I am not a movie buff but I think I understand the reference. We are amused .
Typical GQ, 4 lanes.
McD at Kolhapur.
Retiring for the day after 15 hours of driving.
|21st October 2010, 19:08||#3|
22nd August: Nothing special for this day too. Start early for Vapi and meet relatives in Panvel. We reach Vapi for lunch. The NH 8 outside Mumbai is in a pathetic state. It improves as we near Vapi.
Over-eating continues. You can’t avoid it if you are visiting relatives. Can you? While others feared of weight gain, I made merry as if the food will cease to exist.
The blood circulation to the stomach increases, and it decreases from the brain. There is nothing I can do now. So I take a nap. What a day!
In the evening we head for the Daman beach. It is dark by the time we reach. It is a low tide again and water has receded by a mile, atleast.
Amit is happy. He is always happy. Nitin is happy to see the moon. I am still sleepy.
Nitin is still happy to see the moon, but it is behind him .
|21st October 2010, 19:11||#4|
Vapi is a place of Wonders. No more arguments .
I ‘ll list out the wonders as we had encountered them.
1)The Highway – life line of Vapi.
3)A small over-bridge on way to Daman beach. Any one who can cross it at more than 10kmph with all wheels intact gets a prize.
Read on for more wonders.
23rd August: After lunch we decide to go to Silvassa. But not before over-eating. I get a feeling that if I continue like this, very soon I’ll have upset stomach. Anyhow we leave for Slivassa.
Very soon we encounter our next wonder – The Vapi-Silvassa road. The competition is still on but be warned, it is a busy highway and you can spot potholes till as far as you can see. It runs into miles. Additionally, you also need to protect the underbelly of your darling. I was driving in first gear for most part. NHAI guys understand us very well. They know that we Indians like driving after a full stomach and so this is their way of helping us digest our food.
After much struggle we reach the Silvassa deer park. This is my personal favorite, but since it is closed due to rain, more on this later. I wanted to include it in our list of wonders. Since other members of the committee didn’t get a chance to review it, the request was thrown out of the window.
So now we head for the Dudhni Dam. I am not impressed by the idea and have always given it a miss in favor of the deer park. What do we expect there? Water, boating and litter – not my idea of adventure.
Litter – we make it point to carry all our waste bottle, wrappers etc back in the car to be disposed properly later. Everyone is in harmony with this.
Anyhow the road has improved and my mood lightens up. We are passing through some dense forestation now. Suddenly we see a small partially tar road going down. Down? Oh we are in ghats – I guess it is the northern part of the Western Ghats. If it is not, excuse my geography.
We stop. Nitin and Amit get down to analyze the road. Then we decide to go down.
The road going down. Tha Fabia after 1150 kms and no wash.
We spot a water body. Notice the small hill. It has a story.
|21st October 2010, 19:13||#6|
Nitin and Amit get down to analyze the road but they seem more interested in the water.
I slowly take the car to the point from where it is not possible to procede further. The road is submerged in water.
Amit and Nitin explore the place.
|21st October 2010, 19:32||#8|
The water body is actually Madhuban reservoir (as per google map). We know it better as back water of Dudhni Dam. As we reach the end of the road, we wonder what happened to the rest of the road.
Nitin – road yahein tak banayi gayi hogi. Strange.
Story of the Hill: It is an island of some sort. There is a village and a school as well. Before the dam was built there were many villages. People were relocated and most of the villages are submerged now. The mysterious road once passed through those villages. Dwellers of the hill however held on and still live there. There is electricity connection as well. But the only way to get to the other side of the water is by using the boat. It is like straight from a story book.
We all want to see the village. But it is not a regular tourist spot and all we see is fishermen with their boats. We ask one young lad. He is not sure how much to charge. We offer Rs 200/-. He agrees and we are off. According to the fisherman, the boat can easily handdle upto 10 people. We are only 5+2 but we still show extreme caution. After 25 mins of rowing we reach the other side. But it is late evening and the fisherman warns us of increasing wind speed. The water has starting becoming wavy now.
We don’t spend much time and head back to the original bank. We are impressed and hand over 300 bucks instead of the 200 that we had decided upon.
Will we do it again? Oh hell why not!
The bank. It's clean.
We pose. The sun is bothering me. I need my Maui Jim.
Water, mysterious road and my car
Boat and the fishermen cum story teller.
|21st October 2010, 19:35||#9|
It is still not dark so we pay a customary visit to the actual tourist spot. It is a mere 10 kms away. With wafer thin traffic we reach there in quick time. There is a ferry waiting to take travellers and vechicles to the other side of the water. We don’t waste much time there and head back for home.
Driving in the ghat sections in light can be tricky. Esp. if the bends are not properly marked. Soon I catch up with a truck doing good speed. Following the truck is the strategy. Seeing my loyality towards the truck for long starts to annoy my mother-in-law, who is used to a more schumacher-ish style of driving . Of-course I present my logic, but it’s of no use as we are getting late for dinner. And so – much to my dislike I have to ditch the truck.
1) The truck ahead is protecting me from the glare of the headlights of the oncoming traffic.
2) The tail light of the truck is guiding me through the bends, speed breakers and pothole.
3) Most importantly, the oncoming traffic respects big wheels. So I don’t have to go off road everytime.
To the truck – may we meet again .
P.S : We use this strategy atleast once more in the trip. It will follow.
|21st October 2010, 19:40||#11|
24 August: It is Rakhi today. The day is reserved mostly for Rakhi business. We leave around 11 AM for Mumbai with memories of the wonders of Vapi. Of-course our adventure of yesterday in the reservoir climbs up the ladder of wonders.
It soon starts raining as we move away form Vapi. The new sea-link is impressive, although a bit short for the Rs 50/- toll. We have lunch at Amit’s house in Mumbai. I don’t remember the list of items prepared. Although it was meant for other serious guests, we punters binged on it .
By evening we reach Panvel to meet Ketaki’s brother. It was not a straight forward affair. We drove round and round quite a bit.
It is time a leave and it is almost dark. We decide to halt at Karnala, just 15 kms from Panvel on NH 17. The directions given by Ketaki’s bro was crisp. No more driving in circles. Good Job!
Karnala is famous for bird sanctuary. So that’s our next day’s plan. We check a few hotels and settle for Panaroma View (or something similarly named). We settled for the so called row houses. You will find it strange to see the tin cabins in the pics below. But there is nothing to complain as the interior is clean and there is AC also . Rs 2200 per night. It is off season.
Interior of the room.
Exterior, Tin boxes .
Last edited by fi.robin : 21st October 2010 at 19:41.
|21st October 2010, 19:46||#12|
For dinner we have the packed Parantha’s from home. We order some more rice and curd. We spend some more time watching TV and playing cards. TV – Takeshi’s castle and Big Bang Theory. The character Sheldon in the later – the geekiest – starts playing in peoples mind. At least in some peoples mind. The effect of which is best observed the next day.
The plan for next day is to go bird watching. The sanctuary opens at 9 AM. But before that we have to go back to Panvel to finish an incomplete business.
It is 11 PM and still raining.
26th August: By 8.30 AM we are back from Panvel. But it is still raining. The plan to visit the bird sanctuary goes out of the window. We leave by 11 and head towards Alibaug.
According to our map we have to leave NH 17 at some point for Alibaug. We ask a lady for direction – take a right at the junction – comes the reply. Right? There is no right. But Amit is quick to point – she meant right relative to the road going left so go straight – first sign of Sheldon. Ladies are not good at directions and distances – comes from behind. Ketaki is quick to defend – she was taking two kids to school, we confused her. Sheldon is hard to get rid off now. What follows is an experiment – statistical. The female species is already 1 down.
The road off NH 17 has very little traffic. The surrounding is lush green in the rain. Time to take our first Vada Pav break.
Our own drama company.
Vada Pav stall.
|21st October 2010, 20:45||#13|
Soon we reach Alibaug. It is still drizzling. There is fort at some distance in the sea. But it is high tide and the sea is wild. No activity here. We just stop for a few minutes. It is already 1 o’clock so we decide to have lunch first.
As I understand, on a low tide one can walk upto the fort.
A beaky Nitin.
|21st October 2010, 20:47||#14|
Even though we started late today. The day is far from over. When we look back, it turns out to be the one of the most adventurous day of the trip. This is the actual starting point of our Konkan trip. Read on.
After lunch we procede towards Nagaon. Amit tinkers with his memory and suggests to take the inner roads instead of going back to NH 17.
According to him, quite often we should be driving along the sea. I have my share of worries. Monsoon = bad roads + trafiic congestion. What do we get? Monsoon = greenery, yet good roads and no traffic. WOW! We reach Nagaon pretty quickly.
It's a weird palm tree.
Some more pics from Nagaon beach.
Last edited by fi.robin : 21st October 2010 at 20:48.
|21st October 2010, 20:50||#15|
After spending some good time at the beach we decide to leave. That is when I realize the sticky mud/sand on my feet, refusing to go. The feet is oily too. I guess it is the after effect of the oil slick in Mumbai. Amit decides on no fish for the trip.
The pedals are wet. I can’t drive bare feet. I can’t drive in sleepers too. Arrgh!
Wipes..wipes..wipes. Finally I give up and put on my socks.
While the cotton socks is doing its job, the road brings the smile back.
View of the sea along the road.
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