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Old 9th June 2022, 20:02   #1
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The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms-7309a6f0501843d190d594f57da41b7e.jpeg

The Land2Coast Drive


The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms-85048a4eccf34c378033de8de7d1490c.jpeg

LIFE BEGINS WHERE THE ROAD ENDS


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As the title suggests, we the TharStory team did a 2800 Kms drive from Ahmedabad to Goa through the Coastal route via Konkan.

Quick Information about Tharstory:

We are a bunch of Road Trip Lovers who are Corporate breadwinners by profession but Travel Enthusiasts by Passion. Our Passion has broadened limitless after we got ourselves 4X4 vehicles, which has helped us to travel back and blue to the places beyond the horizon.It started off with weekend strolling to offbeat unexplored places followed with a few road trips and off-road excursions which includes families as well as toddlers. What seems to be an occasional sustenance for many, is a regular routine for us now and thus TharStory came into existence.

TharStory is all about enjoying your lifestyle with a 4X4 vehicle and how it enhances road tripping & weekend outings
experiences. The aim is to influence, and motivate more and more people to break free from the monotonous life style and
experience the beauty of the natural surroundings.[/b]

These experiences are shared through a YouTube Channel and an Instagram profile, it includes information related to
using of 4X4 vehicles in off road conditions, road tripping experiences, places to travel, recommendations with a personal
touch to influence peopleís behavior and choice.

Prologue:

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Our last road trip was in August-2021, where we had embarked on a 3 days trip to Nashik and Western ghats during the monsoon. Since, then we had been itching to do a 7+ days trip driving along the road. The biggest question about planning a road trip is to finalize the destination, should we drive north, Far East, into the jungles or down south. Itís always a time taking affair to finalize the destination, after discussions for weeks, we zeroed in on exploring the Mumbai-Goa coastal route.

A road trip through the coastal route had always been on the bucket list and this was the ideal time to do so, furthermore, since we would driving in Thars i.e. 4X4s it would be more fun to explore the sights like never before. People enjoy the sight from the roads, we drive straight into the heart of the sight.

Iternary and Route Planning:

Once the destination is finalized, the biggest brain storming activity is to finalize the route and the places to visit. Especially when you are traveling in a big group, we needed to finalize the route and day wise plan in such a way that every member remains equally excited, is less tired and remains fresh during the trip.

The first priority was clear that we will take the coastal route from Alibag to reach Goa, while returning back we shall come back using the regular Goa-Belgaum-Pune-Mumbai route. Below is the final plan which was executed:

Day-1: Ahmedabad to Manor - 459 Kms- 8 hours
Day-2: Manor to Alibag- 170 Kms- 6 hours
Day-3: Alibag to Murud- 140 Kms- 8 hours

Ferry crossings:

a) Agardanda to Dighi
b) Bagmandla to Vesavi

Day-4: Murud to Malvan- 278 Kms- 14 hours

Ferry crossings:

a) Dabhol to Dhopave
b) Tawsal to Jaigad

Day-5: Malvan to Goa- 130 Kms- 4 hours
Day-6: Goa- Cabo de rama, Agonda, Butterfly beach
Day-7: Goa- Galgibaga beach, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Palolem backwaters
Day-8: Goa to Satara- 375 Kms- 8 hours
Day-9: Satara to Silvasa- 405 Kms- 8 hours
Day-10: Silvasa to Ahmedabad- 390 Kms- 7 hours

Things we carried:

1.Tyre Inflator
2.puncture kit
3.engine oil
4.coolant
5.coolant pipe
6.first aid kit
7.Mosquito repellent
8.Basic meds
9. Sunscreen
10. Raincoat/ umbrella
11. Garbage bags
12. Toilet tent
12.Jump Starter
13. Headlight bulbs
14. Car RC and insurance, in case owner is not present authorization letter in name of the driver

Accommodation:

Since we were traveling in a big group comprising of small kids, we had pre-booked all our stays so as to avoid any last minute hassle. Below are the details:

1) Manor: Janani Villa- Airbnb
2) Alibag: Varsoli cottage- Airbnb
3) Murud: Neelkrupa Resort- MakeMyTrip
4) Malvan: Hotel Pride- MakeMyTrip
5) Goa: Club Palolem- Direct booking at the resort
6) Satara: Hotel Manasi Royal- MakeMyTrip
7) Silvassa: Hotel tha Windtree- MakeMyTrip

While the stay options upto Goa were booked as soon as the dates were finalized, the last two nights at Satara and Silvassa were not booked since we were not sure about the return journey, hence, these were booked while we were in Goa only.

The Team:

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Drive: Thar 700 CRDe

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Drive: Thar 2020, Diesel MT

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Drive: Thar 2020, Diesel MT

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Drive: Co-Travellers

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Drive: Thar 2020, Diesel MT

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Drive: Thar 2020, Diesel AT

Bhpians:

1) abhikb - Abhik Banerjee
2) AnishD - Anish Das
3) Ritesh_7770 - Ritesh Udasi
4) Resurrectedvss- Vishwajeet Shekawat
5) goni23us- Abhinav Sharma
6) dr.dhara- Dr. Dhara Sharma

Last edited by abhikb : 12th July 2022 at 11:19.
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Old 13th June 2022, 19:40   #2
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

The Journey

The first day of any trip will keep you on the toes and make you feel restless, not because the pre-trip stress but because of the excitement of the journey that is about to start. Before starting of the trip, all of us met a few times to finalize on the stuff to carry, fine tuning the final plan, etc. We had planned to start on Friday, 27th May, the stay was booked accordingly, we knew that crossing Mumbai will easily consume 2-3 hours hence it was best that we don’t rush it in a single day from Ahmedabad.

However, as luck would have a last minute work exigency came up which meant I had to attend office on the day we were about to start, similar scenario arised with bhpian Resurrectedvss, all of us met couple of days before the trip to discuss on how to take things forward. Finally, it was decided that 3 Cars will move to Manor as planned, while me and Vishwajeet (Team bhp handle Resurrectedvss) will start in the evening and reach Manor late in the night.

Here came another twist, a thought popped into my mind as I was calculating the driving time and how we can start in the evening to make it to manor in such a way that we even get time to rest. Normally, it’s a 7-8 hours drive depending upon the traffic conditions, however, 6-8pm are the busiest hour and not a good time to start your trip from Ahmedabad, with the delays due to traffic we could figure it out that we won’t be able to make it to Manor before 4 in the morning which means starting after a tired day at work and then driving full night, with toddlers it would have been bit too much. Me and Vishwajeet spoke a few times on this and finally we decided that we will start the next day i.e. Day-2 and drive straight to Alibag.


Day-1, Ahmedabad to Manor- 459 Kms, 8 hours



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The first team of 3 Thars started in the morning at 8am for Manor, the driving time was estimated to be around 8-9 hours including breaks. There were frequent updates coming down in the WhatsApp group which also helped everyone keeping a tap on the journey.

The journey started around 8am with 3 Thars assembling at Ahmedabad-Vadodara expressway, the morning hours are generally not that much busy so the team didn’t had any issue catching up at the expressway junction. Upto Manor it’s the usual easy laid back cruising on the NH48, the breakfast stop was at Hotel legend near Vadodara followed with a lunch break at Sugar & Spice- Surat.

Upto lunch time, the journey was pretty laid back and slow since there were multiple stops being taken also being the first day with less distance to be covered for the day. There wasn’t nothing much ado on the first day post lunch it was just a plain drive upto the place of stay for the night.

The team made it to Janani Villa by 5-5:30 PM, there was traffic enroute but not something which was not manageable.

Day-2, Team-1: Manor to Alibag- 170 Kms, 6 hours



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It was a lazy morning for Team-1 since the distance to be covered was less, only bottleneck was crossing Ghodbunder and then Thane-Navi Mumbai hence, the plan was to start the day at ease. Earlier it was concluded that the team shall around 12pm or post lunch but since the property was already booked the next day, we had to move out as per the checkout time.

Accordingly, the team had their breakfast and loaded the luggage to move out by 11am, both the teams were in constant touch updating about the distance to do and possible meet up point. Once, on the main highway, the journey upto Ghodbunder approach is a breeze it barely takes a hour or so to cover that distance. Ghodbunder is a junction point for which one needs to cross the Vasai creek and then either go straight for Old mumbai or turn left for Thane- Navi Mumbai.

The major challenge is crossing the traffic which assembles before the Vasai creek and stays upto Ghodbunder cross road. So once the team was near the Vasai Creek unwillingly they had to get entangled in the traffic jam, it took a good 1 hour to cross the traffic jam at snail’s pace. By the time then3 Thars entered Thane, It was already past 3pm and the team was due for lunch. One of the famous restaurants in Thane, Fountain Restaurants was picked as the spot to have lunch. By 4:30 PM, all of the members hoped back again to start their final leg of the journey towards Alibag. One more challenge that poised ahead of everyone was none of the members had been on this stretch earlier, following GPS on the Thane-Belapur road is quite confusing. Our team also had a tough time negotiating the Navi Mumbai roads, anyhow before sunset the team had crossed Panvel and was cruising on its way to Alibag, it would be around 7:30 PM when the first thar touched the Airbnb we had booked there followed by the rest of the two Thars within 30 minutes span.

Team-2: Ahmedabad to Alibag- 621 Kms, 14 hours

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While Team-1 comprising of 3 Thars was already on its way to Alibag, the remaining two, mine and Vishwajeet’s had started our journey till Alibag. We took the Ahmedabad-Vadodara expressway instead of the NH48 (our regular one) hoping for some respite, however, it turned out to be a bad decision since the expressway was overcrowded with trucks and busses. It took us a good 1+ hour to cross the expressway itself, post that we pulled through the NH48 without any breaks till Palsana, Surat. We met bhpian Abbas at Palsana who had come down to handover the walkie talkies To us which proved to be a boon (you will know why later). Abbas bhai runs a Motorsport company called TT Motorsports and drives a white Pajero SFX (what a beauty it is). Anyhow after exchanging greetings and chitchatting for 10-15 minutes we continued our journey.

Near about Valsad, I spotted a Red Pajero SFx which belonged to Mandeep Khalsy (bhpian epicenter rulz), again had to stop by for 5 minutes to exchange greetings. Anyways we cruised on our journey for Alibag, It took us about 7.5 hours to touch Manor, but by then Team-1 had already progressed into the Mumbai-Alibag highway. It was evening time when we entered the Vasai creek-Ghodbunder stretch and as usual it was heavily jammed, after crawling a bit, we decided to make use of the kaccha road beside wherever possible, we would simply drive down from the tarmac and then catch on whenever possible on the tarmac, this helped us save some time as we were out on the Thane-Belapur road within 40 minutes.

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I have been on this stretch multiple times hence was aware about the best possible route to take, we drove through the Thane-Belapur road towards Airoli, Rabale and finally reached Panvel, from Panvel took the right turn towards Alibag and stopped for a quick refreshment.

Post this the further stretch till Alibag was pretty boring to drive especially the last 30 odd Kms, any how following the coordinates on GPS we reached our Airbnb stay and were greeted by other team mates. We quickly freshened up and assembled for dinner, what followed was a typical late night adda session till everyone retired to their respective rooms. Someone asked what is the time, the clock ticked 3am, but who cares when you are there to enjoy and a few hours here and there doesn’t matter.

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Last edited by abhikb : 12th July 2022 at 11:20.
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Old 15th June 2022, 16:45   #3
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Day-3: Alibag to Murud- 140 Kms- 8 hours

Ferry crossings:

a) Agardanda to Dighi
b) Bagmandla to Vesavi




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Our initial plan was start our day at 9am, however due to the previous night engagements everyone woke up easily. All these things delayed our departure by sometime and we could hit the roads by 10:30am only.

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The youngest of the lot

The plan for the day was to drive till Murud near Dapoli, this is not to be confused with Murud Janjira fort. The plan for leaving 9am was finalized with the intent to complete the ferry crossings before lunch so that we can lazily reach to our place of stay by sunset. Anyhow, we were already running late by 1.5 hours, as soon as we left Alibag and had barely driven for 20-30 Kms we noticed a beautiful location along the sea coast. We pulled over to soak in the view after a while noticed that there is a small trail leading straight to sea shore, it seemed pretty much manageable for our Thars hence, moved towards the view point.

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Spent some 15-20 minutes and then decided to move towards Agardanda which was still another 30 kms away, also this was where our first ferry crossing was supposed to happen. The ferry would take us to Dighi in 10-15 minutes span. When we reached jetty, one ferry was loading the cars, since we were moving in group, we decided to sail when all the 5 Thars can do it together. We had to wait for about 30 minutes for the next ferry to arrive, the time was already 1:30pm, but there were a couple of fruit corners on the jetty from where we got some fruits and juices for the little ones.

The ferry costed around Rs. 1200 including 5 Thars, 12 adults and 5 kids. Quite reasonable. It arrived around 2pm, we had to drive in reverse from the Jetty to board the ferry, this is done to facilitate the un-boarding of the cars once the ferry has arrived at the coast. It took us about 20 minutes to cross towards Dighi and another 10 minutes to deboard. By this time, the clock ticked close to 3pm and all of us were hungry, so we pulled over the first dhabha we saw for lunch. The non veg lovers amongst us had Surmaiya fish thali whereas the others had veg thali.

By 4:30pm we had done our lunch and were ready to move, our next stop was Bagmandla which was about 50 Kms from Dighi, we were already delayed from our schedule but then who cares, we were enjoying the sights around. Some 8 kms before Bagmandla spotted another good spot called Harihareshwar, hence, decided to take the detour to soak in the sunset on an isolated beach side. We drove in towards Harihareshwar and spotted a few cars parked there, upon asking the locals there they suggested we can take a trail that leads directly to the beach, we were carrying recovery gears hence, decided to drive towards the beach directly. As expected it was a isolated and secluded beach with very less people around. We spent a good 30 minutes there till sunset.

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By 7:30pm we made our way to Bagmandla jetty, again we had to wait for the ferry to arrive since we wanted to travel together, the food was ordered on phone to our resort, they also conveyed that once we cross the river it will take about 1.5-2 hours to reach there.

The ferry arrived and we crossed over to Vesavi in 10 minutes, by 8:30pm we were on our way to the resort in Murud. It was a 40 Kms drive but was through the jungles and ghats, the road was completely isolated with no souls around and we were the only ones to be seen. No mobile networks here and the walkie talkie were very helpful in coordination amongst ourselves. Somehow we missed the good views that we would have got while driving In that area. Anyhow any made our way to the resort negotiating the twist and turns on the ghats at night and checked in at 9:45 pm. The dinner was served to us in a while till the time we freshened up, the kids were already asleep, the ladies also decided to crash to bed after dinner, what followed was a typical boy’s chit chat session along with dinner till midnight.

The next day we were supposed to drive upto Malvan which was around 280 Kms and also had couple of ferry crossings, looking to the current pace it was clear that we would easily take 13-14 hours to reach Malvan. Hence, it was decided that we would ensure that that day is started at 8am.

Day-4, Murud to Malvan, 280 Kms, 14 hours

Ferry Crossings:

(a) Dabhol to Dhopave
(b) Taswal to Jaigarh




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In order to save time, we had ordered our breakfast and had asked them to serve it at 7:30am so that we can move by 8am. One mistake we did the previous day was we didn’t stop for refueling, in the morning time all the 5 Thars were operating in reserve fuel mode and we got to know that diesel supply is sparse in that area since last few days. We went through the Dapoli town since it was not worth taking a chance to move ahead without refueling as the journey ahead was a long haul. Took us sometime to find the fuel bunk where diesel was available, most of the fuel bunks were running dry and hadn’t received diesel supply since last many days. A good one hour time got wasted while searching for fuel and then waiting for our turn at the fuel bunk to refuel.

However this gave us sometime to plan our journey for the day in advance, it was imperative to complete both the ferry crossings before lunch time. Once all the Thars were full with diesel, we started cruising towards Dabhol our first ferry crossing point. The ferry would take us to the other side at Dhopave in less than 10 minutes. The route upto Dabhol was completely scenic as it passed through the lush green ghats with multiple twists and turns along the route. Took us about 45 minutes to reac the Dabhol jetty, once into Dabhol town we got confused a little but we asked the locals for directions which helped us.

Once we reached there, the ferry arrived in another 10-15 minutes, the Thars loaded into it and we were on the other side within sometime. Overall took us about 30 minutes, reaching at jetty to crossing to the other side of the river. Once we reached Dhopave our next destination was Taswal, the drive continued admist the scenic ghats, most of the places had sea coast on one side and Ghats on the other which made it a pretty scenic sight to drive into. We didn’t take any breaks and drove straight to Taswal which was about 40 Kms from Dhopave. We were right on schedule as we made it to Taswal by 12:30pm and also the ferry was about to be decked on the jetty. By 1pm we managed to cross the river towards the other side known as Jaigarh.

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All of us were elated since we hit the first milestone of the day in the required time. The further journey would take time since it was a 200 Kms drive along the coastal route and we are bound to have multiple stops Enroute.

Our further journey was to be continued thriugh Ganpatiphule, Ratnagiri , Vijaydurg and then to halt for the night at Malvan. Once we were off the jetty we decided to take a halt for lunch before moving ahead, however, there was hardly any option available to stop by for food, we enquired with a few locals who said to drive till Ganpatiphule in order to find a suitable place to have lunch. Stayed driving for a while we found a small dhabha and stopped by for lunch just 2 kms before Ganpatiphule, the food was good they had both the options for veg and non veg food. Took us about a hour to order food and wind up so as to start the next leg of the journey.

Ratnagiri was around 50 Kms from the place we had lunch, which meant a good 1.5-2 hours drive, as soon as we headed towards the sea coast, the route and the surrounding changed completely, we had sea on the right and ghats on the left continuously giving us company. Every turn would bring a new beautiful sight and making it hard to believe that these places exist in India. Even though every view was tempting for a much needed stop, we kept driving, after a similar turn we found a sight whereby it was highly inviting for a quick stop.

Bhpian Resurrectedvss spotted a slight climb on the right towards the top of the hillock from where the view would have been more prettier. All the 5 Thars drove to the top of the hillock and parked facing the view of the sea coast. The sight was a pure bliss indeed, while all of the team members were busy clicking photos, we thought of trying to find a way down to the heart of the sight. We went down the road and moved on with the journey hoping to find a way into the sight that we just witnessed.

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After driving for about 5 minutes we noticed a muddy track leading straight upto the sea shore, what best could have happened than what we had been desiring we got to do eventually. The track first needed us to shift to 4H, as we got inside the sand became more slippery it was imperative to shift to 4L. The low ratio transfer case makes very much easier to drive on such slippery surface, while many people make the mistake of throttling too much making the vehicle slip and loose traction, it’s best to let it crawl and use only that much throttle which will not let you loose momentum. Slotting to 4L made it pretty easy to crawl over the sand and we eventually made it to to the sea shore.

This is probably the best part of exploring in a 4x4, while people enjoy the view of the sight, we drive into the heart of the sight

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We resumed our journey after spending a good 30 minutes there, the path taking us out was similar and required a combination of 4H and 4L to drive out. Once on the highway we went full speed ahead upto Ratnagiri, during the evening time right a hour before sunset we crossed Ratnagiri. After driving for some 20-25 kms we pulled over a much needed tea break, our journey ahead was quite long since we had to do around 100 Kms till Malvan.

We started around 7pm which was right around sunset, called up the hotel representative confirming our time of arrival, we got a shocker though that their kitchen is closed and we need to manage our own food there. Anyhow we decided to pull through and then see what happens. The kids had their portion of food during the tea break itself and in all probability the toddlers would fall asleep till the time we would reach. The mobile network in this section was very sparse, so the Walkies were pretty useful during this period, we kept cruising without any breaks, the road was tarred but single lane all the way till Vijaydurg. We covered the distance at night without any fuss, after Vijaydurg things do get little troublesome. The route from here passes through many small villages with broken patches, ghats, jungles etc.

These patch we won’t suggest anyone to take alone, since GPS will not be accurate 100%,sparse mobile network, no soul to find around to ask the right way and pitch dark surrounding. Our estimated time got delayed due to these issues, it was around 11pm when we finally found the board saying Malvan 10 Kms and good patch of roads. Before approaching Malvan town we saw a restaurant on the highway side, 4 of the Thars cruised through to the Hotel, while 1 stayed back to order and pack the dinner for everyone. Once we reached the hotel, we quickly checked in and got freshen up by the time the last Thar made its way with food.

The toddlers were already asleep and snuggled into the bed as soon as we laid them down, we had our dinner and everyone retired to their rooms since it had been a long haul that day.
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Last edited by abhikb : 12th July 2022 at 11:21.
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Old 20th June 2022, 20:23   #4
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Day-5: Malvan to Goa- 130 Kms- 4 hours



We had planned to start our day at usual time, 9am, our plan for the day was to visit Malvan beach and see if we can get our hands on some water sports activities since it’s organized cheaper than Goa. We enquired with hotel guy and a few locals, they conveyed that the water sports activities have been closed down at Malvan beach and there’s nothing else to do there. Since we were supposed to hit Goa today, everyone suggested to move ahead and drive directly there.

The GPS was set for our resort in Palolem, the ETA was around 4 hours from Malvan, we decided to make it to Goa and have lunch there directly. The roads are narrow country side stretch for about 40 Kms which then leads to the 6 lane highway leading straight upto Goa.

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The team was excited to drive on the straight highways after so much time, in no time we entered Goa, this time bhpian AnishD took the lead ahead since he had spent a considerable time staying in Goa during his early years.

Few of the team members wanted to try water sports, but all of the places had already closed down as monsoon as about to set in couple of weeks. Still we managed to found one place in South Goa near Salcete over the back side of Leela hotel, they were operational that day, however once we reached there we got to know that only a few activities are operational such as Jetski, banana boat. We thought it’s better to pass this time and try some other time, by this time the lunch cloak was already on, hence we stopped at a nearby restaurant.

By 2pm we were done with lunch and moves straight to Club Palolem, our place of stay for the next 2 days. While moving out saw a green MM540 parked right with our Thars, probably leading the time from where it all began.

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While going to Palolem we saw a beautiful sight of the back waters on board a bridge, had to stop by to soak in the sight.

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The resort is located just 100 mtrs from Palolem beach, once we checked in, in no time everyone hoped to the beach for some much needed respite from the heat.

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Post sunset, we got back to our resort, got freshened up and then again walked back to Palolem beach for having dinner at a beach side Shack.

The rest of the time was spent at leisure enjoying the night sea breeze and the ambience was just perfect to relax and unwind. We sat till late at the Shack and retired to our rooms after a good adda session.

Day-6: Goa- Cabo de rama, Agonda, Butterfly beach



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Since, this was a explore the off-beat based road trip, we had pre-decided to skip the hustling bustling North Goa and the typical party scenes out there. The intent was to explore the southern part at leisure and try to discover some good off-beat places if possible. We started our day lazily as we didnt had to travel much, the first destination for the day was Cabo de Rama fort which was just 15-20 Kms from the Palolem.

Few details about the place as per Wikipedia is as below:

Quote:
PraÁa do Cabo de Rama is a medieval hillfort on the coast of Canacona, Goa.

In the 1760s, the Portuguese gained control of Cabo de Rama after the Raja of Soonda surrendered his territory to them in return for protection against Hyder Ali of Mysore. Prior to that, the fort had regularly switched hands between Hindu and Muslim monarchs. The present structure with its walls, moats, ramparts turrets, chapel and cannons are remnants of the Portuguese era. The Portuguese equipped it with 21 guns and installed military barracks, a commander's quarter and a chapel.

In 1799, the Fourth Anglo-Mysore War saw the defeat of the King of Mysore, thus bringing an end to the Portuguese's primary rival in the region. Over time, the purpose of the fort shifted from being a defensive structure, to a prison. This fort housed a government prison till 1955.

Today, this fort is in partial ruins, but is a popular tourist attraction of Goa.
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There's a fort, a Chapel which is still in use and a stairway that leads down to the sea coast. The top of the fort overlooks to the beautiful sea shore, however, there's nothing much to do here, a 30 minutes stay over is the most you would require.

Our next destination was Agonda beach, we followed GPS and went down a no tar trail from the main road, there was nothing interesting though, its just a Plateau overlooking the beach and sea and those who wish to get down can do so using the rocky stairway. We decided to reverse back from here while bumping into a young lad, we just stopped by to enquire with him on how to reach Butterfly beach from here.

Seeing the convoy of Thars, he said they are part of a off-roading group in Goa called Xtreme Off-roaders Goa and if we are free post lunch they can take us on a proper 4X4 off-road trail into the jungle which leads directly to the butterfly beach. For a normal course one needs to walk and trek for about 3-4 Kms to reach there. We quickly exchanged phone numbers and decided on the meeting point post lunch from where the trail will be undertaken. Our lunch spot was at a resort which we located on the main road and just off the Agonda beach, they served us delicious curry and rice while a good 1 hour was spent filling up.

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Agonda beach and backwaters as can be seen from Treehouse Teva

The meeting point was about 2 Kms from the place we were having lunch, from the main road we had to turn towards a small muddy trail at first, there we met the Xtreme Off-roader group people, they told us to follow them as we then entered into the jungle for some 4X4 fun. It was a narrow trail with continuous incline and decline movements, the surface was completely rocky with big sized to medium sized boulders. Initially we started off in 2WD but then the frequent clutch and brake movements meant over-heating of the clutch as it was going to be a good 2 hours off road drive. Quickly, switched to 4L and then let the Thar crawl in 1st & 2nd gear as and when required, this helped in minimal use of the ABC pedal while the Thars crawled over the obstacles like anything.

We crossed a few typical 4X4 obstacles as well enroute, the first stopping point was a open plain after we are through from the jungle, but then we located one more rocky patch a bit downhill but doable in a 4X4 which would lead us to about 50 mtrs. from the beach. We parked the Thars and thanked the Goan group for helping us explore this side of Goa as well, it was 50 mtrs walk from this place to the butterfly beach, the clock was ticking at 6pm already. The place was beautiful and you can spend hours here soaking in the beauty of the nature here.

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We started our walk back to the Thars just before sunset, once everyone settled in we started our journey to the mainland, however, since it was already sunset it meant our drive through the jungle would be in the dark.

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Anyhow, we followed the tyre marks which were made while we were coming to this location, from here it was altogether a different experience, for those who have jungles in the dark will know, after its dark it becomes a totally different surrounding. All of us sticked together, no mobile networks, only the Walkies were in use to communicate with each other. We did loose the way at a few places and ended up either on the wrong path which was non-motorable or at a dead-end. Anyhow, tackling such situation becomes very easy when you are with the right set of people, all of us kept guiding each other as the Thars kept crawling in 4L over the rocks and undulation under. By 8:30pm we were out finally on the main road and then cruised straight to our resort at Palolem.

So, Goa is thought of all about beaches and parties, what we experienced was totally different and something which cant be penned here. We are in process uploading a day-wise vlog of this trip which will give more idea about the experience.

Day-7: Goa- Galgibaga beach, Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary, Palolem backwaters




We started our day at leisure as it was barely going to be a 50 Kms drive in the whole day, the first destination for the day was Galgibaga beach which was a 10 Kms drive from Palolem. This place is one of the cleanest and calm beach you would ever find, as per the authorities it is also the nesting ground for Olive Ridley Turtles. Cars are not allowed to be taken near the beach since there are has been cases of people driving on the beach and thereby disturbing the natural habitat in which the turtles come down for nesting. One needs to park at the Main highway under the flyover, from there its a 2 minutes walk to the beach.

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Galgibaga Beach

Once inside there was hardly a handful of people inside which made it even better to spend some quality time strolling around the beach and gazing at the calmness of the sea. We were looking for other places we can explore nearby, we got to know about Cupa Sea Caves which was hardly 5-7 minutes drive, however, upon reaching we had to return back empty handed as the entry was closed due to approaching monsoon. Anyways, our one of the team members located a spot named Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary some 25-30 Kms away, we had the entire day at our disposal hence decided to drive there.

Initially we were driving on 4 Lane Highway followed with a right turn towards the Wildlife Sanctuary, once you turn towards it the road scenario changed totally, its lush green all around with narrow road comprising of twists and turns leading to one gate after another inside the jungle. We drove till the checkpost upto which vehicles were allowed, after that there are many walking trails made inside the jungle with easy guidance on the map, we took one such 2 Kms trail which led us inside to a View point of the forest. It was hot and humid but then Jungles are always a different fun to explore altogether.

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From top of Treehouse

All of us then started our walk back to the Thars since it was already lunch time and with the afternoon heat, the surrounding was getting a little humid, mind you mobile networks are not available here, we were carrying walkies which helped immensely but then one must plan properly to avoid any exigency. Our next plan was to do the backwaters boating at Palolem, hence, we drove till the Palolem beach and then stopped by for lunch. The clock would be around 4pm when we were done with the food and then had to walk a bit to reach the boating point. By this time it had started drizzle a bit also, this sight was completely different than what we normally see.

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Palolem Beach backwaters approach

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Mangroves in the backwaters, a rare sight to see at a place which is famous for beaches and parties

We hired two boats for the journey, they took us inside the backwaters which is surrounded by hills and has mangroves along the route. One can get a view of multiple sights at the very same location. They took us further inside the mangroves which is also known as eagle hunting grounds, in this case the boat owners through raw meat into the water which is then fetched by the eagles for food, there lot many eagles in this area which continuously flock in this area for food. Even though its a delightful sight for the visitors on the flip side the eagles will slowly loose or detoriate their hunting abilities as its an easy prey and they do not need to work hard for food.

All of these activities will easily consume a good 2 hours time while the boat owners will take you back to the coast. Both the side of the Palolem beach hold a different sight altogether. One must spend time exploring these natural beauties in Goa, its more than worth spending time clubbing and pubbing (Subjective opinion).

Anyways, the evening time was spent roaming around the marketplace for some local shopping experience and followed with dinner at the shack on Palolem beach.

Last edited by abhikb : 12th July 2022 at 11:22.
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Old 21st June 2022, 23:02   #5
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Day-8: Goa to Satara- 375 Kms- 8 hours



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The initial plan was to start on Day-9 from Goa and cover Goa-Ahmedabad in two days time, but that would mean we would not have any reserve day to take care of any exigency. All of us brainstormed a bit and finally decided to do Goa-Ahmedabad in 3 days time, if time permits we shall pull through to Ahmedabad after crossing else will stay back at Vapi or Silvassa.

The plan was to start at 9am as usual and drive till Satara, it didn’t make any sense to enter Pune or Mumbai during the evening time, since it would only eat up the time and ultimately we won’t be able to cover much distance. Satara seemed a better option, we used our Instagram profile to ask for recommendations in Satara, few of the guys suggested suitable properties and one of them was picked for the night stay.

Our start was as per schedule, we took the Mollem-Khanapur route to move out of Goa, the road till Mollem is narrow country side from there onwards upto Khanapur it’s a complete ghat section where you would encounter multiple Hair pin bends and continuous turns. We stopped for lunch at small restaurant once we crossed the Goa-Karnataka border. The road from the border check-post till Khanapur is completely broken with large sized potholes and passes through the forest reserve, the distance was barely 40 kms but it took us almost 1.5 hours to cover this stretch.

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Right before 20 Kms from belgaum, got a call from one of the team member that his thar is stuck on the roadside and needs assistance, we were a Km ahead from it. Turned around and also informed others to turn back in case some recovery arrangement is required. It turned out that a miscalculated cross-over a piece of rock busted the diesel tank of the thar and the fuel was leaking completely. This incident gathered a lot of attention from the locals hence, we decided to tow the vehicle a little ahead so as to figure out the further needful action needed.

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The damaged fuel tank

A few phone calls here and there later we got in touch Mahindra’s RM from Karnataka who put us in touch with the nearest ASC i.e. Belgaum. They suggested to register a call with RSA which we did and the expected ETA was showing around 2 hours. Meanwhile, Abhinav bhai suggested a way out by applying adhesive over the broken portion and then fix the leakage, once done it needs to be kept in the same position for couple of hours. Anyhow we had to wait till the RSA arrived, all this while Mahindra team was in continuous touch with us. Since we were traveling with family, we decided that 3 Thars will move ahead with the ladies and the kids and 2 Thars including the damaged one will be left behind, worst case RSA would take it to Belgaum and the people staying back would stop over at night. Anyways it was a permutation, combination type situation, we drove through Belgaum city and finally merged on the main highway leading to Mumbai.

The kids were hungry so we decided to stop by for dinner, while we were in continuous touch with the other team over phone, it seemed that the fix done on the tank was holding up well, the RSA team was also there by now and they also inspected the matter. Even after 2 hours of doing the fix there was not sign of leakage, we took a conscious call of driving upto belgaum slowly and then observe for any leakages. If all goes well we shall drive till Satara and then decide the further course of action. Informed Mahindra team about the matter and also requested them to put us in touch with their MH team incase of any assistance required.

The time was around 8pm when all of the 5 Thars assembled right after crossing Belgaum city on the Main NH, we started moving together, Satara was still about 220 Kms from here, considering the 6 lane NH it would be a good 3.5-4 Hours drive, we decided not to stop anywhere and pull through directly upto our stay location for the night. The traffic was dense during the evening time but then we made it to our destination within designated time. The time would be around 11:45pm when we checked-in to our hotel. In the meantime got a call from Mahindra's Regional Manager from MH for an update on the situation so as to align the nearest possible ASC in Satara, Pune and Mumbai in case of any exigency.

The ladies and the kids retired to the rooms while we guys went down to fetch the luggage and to decide on the plan for the next day. Based on the time required to cross Pune and Mumbai, we could pick our stop over for the night either at Manor (Same place where we stayed while coming), Vapi, Daman and Silvassa. Since, the next night was going to be the last night of the trip, a proper closure was needed where we could sit together, enjoy, dance, sing whatever we want to. While searching we found a decent hotel in Silvassa within our budget, also this being a U.T. it would be lighter on the pocket on many aspect, hence, the hotel was booked, it would be a 400 Kms drive to Silvassa next day and around 10 hours of travel time needed including breaks.

Day-9: Satara to Silvasa- 405 Kms- 8 hours


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The first thing to do was to check for any leakages in the diesel tank of one of the Thars, thankfully not a single droplet was found even after remaining parked for the entire night. The next thing we did was call up Mahindra's Regional Manager-MH and updated him about the situation, we conveyed that we shall start our drive as planned. The RM was kind enough to put us in touch with ASC at Pune and Mumbai, our first intent was to see if we can get the diesel tank replaced, but then none had it in stock, so a handful team of people was kept on standby at the ASC in case of any adversaries.

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This one in the group is a Stage 2 tuned diesel manual

The distance from Satara to Pune was about 160 Kms and a time of 3 hours required approximately, the roads are butter smooth and easy to cruise. It didn't take us much time, however, diesel was not available at most of the fuel bunks and we had to keep driving till Pune. Once in Pune, we again inspected the diesel tank and it was good to go ahead, informed Mahindra Team about our decision and got in touch with the Mumbai ASC. We took the external bypass road (notsure of the name) to bypass Pune city and hop onto Mumbai-Pune Expressway. There is speed limit at multiple places on the expressway right from 90 Kmph to 50 Kmph at few places, though the locals cars kept cruising at high speeds, we sticked to the speed limit to avoid any challans at a later date.

Needless to say, a convoy of 5 thars with stickers of Land2Coast drive was garnering a lot of attention on the road wherever we were passing by, we crossed Panvel and Kamothe and stopped by for lunch at 3pm. The most difficult part lied in crossing Mumbai and then the dreaded Ghodbunder crossing, anyways we were back on the road by 4:30p, set the GPS for Silvassa and then start driving. Point to note here is, even though you follow GPS, you will get confused in Mumbai since till the last moment its difficult to judge whether you need to take the flyover above or the road below. If you miss one turn or crossing your 30 minutes time easily wasted, this was the sole reason we decided all 5 Thars will stick together no matter what.

We kept clearing areas after areas and were finally approaching Ghodbunder crossing, what we were apprehensive of took us by a sheer surprise, there was hardly a waiting time of 1 or 2 minutes at the crossing which normally consumed 1 hour or more. It was a sheer sight of delight for us as we didnt waste a single moment to cross Ghodbunder and get on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad NH. In all it took us about 1hr 20 minutes from Kamothe to crossing Ghodbunder. Once, we crossed Vasai we stopped over for some tea and refreshments, turns out that we hardly have a couple of hours drive left for the day. We started our final leg of the day around 6:30pm and covered the distance till Silvassa without any issues, it would be around 9pm when we entered Silvassa, our place of stay was located on the main road itself hence, it didn’t take us much time to locate it.

Since, this was the last gathering of the trip, the night dinner and adda session continued till 4 in the morning, might sound a bit unreasonable but then it was the last night of the trip and we hardly had about 7-8 hours journey to be covered on the last day.

Last edited by abhikb : 12th July 2022 at 11:24.
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Old 22nd June 2022, 21:50   #6
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Day-10: Silvasa to Ahmedabad- 390 Kms- 7 hours



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Well this was the last day of our Land2Coast drive,as excited a person would be on Day-1 of a trip, he/she will be equally saddened with the last day. All of us woke up very lazily that day, had breakfast and we could start our return journey at 11:00am, made our way to the Ahmedabad-Mumbai expressway in a matter of few minutes and were cruising along.

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Toddlers enjoyed the most in the trip

We stopped for lunch at Palsana, Surat, this was probably the only time of the trip when we stopped for lunch at 1pm, all the other days we were having late lunch. The final leg of the road trip needed about 280 Kms to be covered and a travel time of 4-5 hours, post lunch we started off and drove non-stop to Ahmedabad with just one break to buy some chocolates for home at Schimetten factory. As a exigency measure in case the tank would have leaked again had informed Bhpian SJM1214 about our movement as he resides in Anand and would have been of help.

We took the NH48 instead of the NE-1 from Vadodara, touched Ahmedabad around 7pm onto the SP ring road. We stopped for couple of minutes and bid adieu to each other, it was eventful 2800 Kms drive whereby we made loads of memories and moments to cherish for the lifetime.

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The usual engagement on the NH48

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Last pic of the team after completing the drive

Special thanks to Team Mahindra:

The diesel tank issue was handled pretty well by Mahindra team, we first got in touch with Karnataka team, who were in continuous touch till late night, once we crossed the border they handed over the case to Maharashtra team who again ensured in each cities we were passing by an ASC was kept informed, finally once we entered Gujarat the respective team got in touch.

Their tagline of WithYouHamesha holds true here as they were in touch with us completely and were ready to help whenever needed even if it’s late in the night. Without their support it would have been difficult to continue the journeys.

Kudos to Team Mahindra !!!!

Last edited by abhikb : 12th July 2022 at 11:24.
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Old 28th June 2022, 13:49   #7
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms-a4590f2e43324d32b27123c051d82b3d.jpeg
This has been our motivation for the trip, Engage the 4x4 of your life to explore like never before

Few learnings, tips and tricks:

1) Respect each otherís opinion and desires.
2) Every member will have his/her expertise in different aspects of planning a trip, donít poke your nose into it, we let the route planner do his job, same for food and stay planner, local sight seeing etc.
3) Start your day early so that you are able to cover more during daylight.
4) A little deviation from the schedule is ok, letís not miss having fun.
5) Carry sufficient food for the toddlers, best is to make them have early breakfast, followed with a little brunch so that even if the lunch is late they donít starve.
6) Walkies are a boon when driving in a convoy, let one person handle the charging and storage responsibilities when not driving.
7) Do not tail on the ghats.
8) Pre planning of halts for food, loo etc. helps in saving time.
9) When traveling in such a big group order food at one go, the more you add things the more time it will consume.
10) Do not venture out alone in remote places, being in group has its own advantage.
11) Keep a contact of OEM people with you in case of any issues.
12) If you wish to enjoy the coastal route better to do it in a group, since venturing out alone, no mobile networks, traveling through some remote places during the night can prove to be a troublesome experience.
13) Act responsibly towards nature, we didn't take our Thars to places where vehicle entry was prohibited even though few people did otherwise.
14) Local Goan people are little rude towards Tourist, cant blame them either as tourist these days create quite a ruckus.

So that's all for our Land2Coast Drive experience, ever since we have started venturing with 4x4s, our main emphasis has always been to explore the path less taken, Goa is a destination for the young to have fun and for the retired to find solace, we the Team Tharstory, broke this monotonous way of travelling and covered some of the beautiful and unexplored places in this side of the country.

Having a 4x4 and a like-minded team of travelers always helped during the trip, as I mentioned earlier, its all about enjoying something which is often ignored by many.

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A sign off pic, until we hit the coast next time

Last edited by abhikb : 29th June 2022 at 19:09.
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Old 12th July 2022, 17:48   #8
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Old 13th July 2022, 08:33   #9
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Thanks Abhik for an amazing crisp write up.
The memories came alive.
Lets do it again soon brother.
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Old 13th July 2022, 09:06   #10
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Relived those 9 days again, such was the elaboration in your write up. You are solely responsible for getting me addicted to Road trips.
Can't wait for the next trip.
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Old 13th July 2022, 10:35   #11
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Taking a road trip in 4x4s allows you to get off the beaten path and experience nature in its closest form. Wandering through the countryside is a great way to relax and find out what it's really like to live in a particular area. We are fortunate to be roas tripping in India, the diversity which no other country provides.
Very well penned down, enjoyed every bit. Happy Jeeping. Cheers
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Old 13th July 2022, 11:13   #12
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Excellent writing, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
As it is always said that other cars can go faster but a proper 4x4 can go anywhere...
A Group of people with the same taste would enrich the journey as well.
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Old 13th July 2022, 14:44   #13
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Quote:
Originally Posted by abhikb View Post
A sign off pic, until we hit the coast next time
Brilliant write up, Abhik! And some great pictures as well. After seeing the pictures and reading about the Konkan route, now I'm itching to do another trip to Goa through this route. I'm sure the ferry ride would have been another experience altogether!

Do you have any pictures of the Thars boarding / de-boarding the ferries? Apologies if they are captured in the videos. Yet to go through the video library.

Drive Safe,
R-Six
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Old 13th July 2022, 18:04   #14
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gypsian View Post
Taking a road trip in 4x4s allows you to get off the beaten path and experience nature in its closest form. Wandering through the countryside is a great way to relax and find out what it's really like to live in a particular area. We are fortunate to be roas tripping in India, the diversity which no other country provides.
Very well penned down, enjoyed every bit. Happy Jeeping. Cheers
Hi, couldnít agree more with you. Our country has got so much diversity when it comes to visiting places. Having a 4x4 is a boon for road trip lovers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goni23us View Post
Relived those 9 days again, such was the elaboration in your write up. You are solely responsible for getting me addicted to Road trips.
Can't wait for the next trip.
THE MOUNTAINS ARE CALLING !!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnishD View Post
Thanks Abhik for an amazing crisp write up.
The memories came alive.
Lets do it again soon brother.
Yes, thatís the best part of road trips, itís highly addictive, letís plan the next one either up north or at Far East across the Himalayas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pd_scorpio View Post
Excellent writing, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
As it is always said that other cars can go faster but a proper 4x4 can go anywhere...
A Group of people with the same taste would enrich the journey as well.
A 4x4 can literally take you to places like never before, the more you explore the more you want to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R-Six View Post
Brilliant write up, Abhik! And some great pictures as well. After seeing the pictures and reading about the Konkan route, now I'm itching to do another trip to Goa through this route. I'm sure the ferry ride would have been another experience altogether!

Do you have any pictures of the Thars boarding / de-boarding the ferries? Apologies if they are captured in the videos. Yet to go through the video library.

Drive Safe,
R-Six
Hi Binoy, we have captured the ferry crossings in the YouTube videos as well, it was a different experience altogether. Unfortunately donít have any specific photographs for the same.
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Old 13th July 2022, 21:21   #15
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Re: The Land2Coast Drive- 5 Thars, 3 States, 2800 Kms

Great travelogue/photologue, Abhikb - and I feel even better that we went in for the new Thar (LX, hardtop, petrol, manual) after our faithful Scorpio was set out to grass after 14+ years of wonderful touring. Our favourite destination was Naukuchiatal in the Kumaon hills, which we thought of as a home from home. Our travelogue (Naukuchiatal - far from the madding crowd) tries to capture the experience of our fascination for the place.

Thanks once again for a great read!
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