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Old 22nd October 2009, 20:58   #1
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
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Default Long drawn out road trip to Goa

We made a trip from Mhow, M.P. to Goa and back, passing through Maharashtra. Having being brought up in Bombay, Iím partial to Maharashtra, so excuse the bias. We buzzed through Aurangabad, Ellora, Pune, Kolhapur, Goa, Chiplun and Bombay before finally getting back to Mhow. This was in 2006 Dec. The trip was hectic but fun, as the roads were pretty good, they didn't add to the fatigue. For a start here are a few pictures, arranged in a chronological order.

Guess where this was taken.
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Well it was Aurangabad. Bibi ka Maqbara.

Aurangabad was a revelation. The town and its surroundings teem with sites and structures of historical importance. For starters, this is where the emperor Aurangzeb based himself in his campaigns against the Marathas and the Deccani sultans. His mausoleum too is in a nearby village. Around 30-40 kms from here are the Ajanta caves, with the splendorous cave paintings. Also nearby are the Ellora cave temples and Buddhist shrines. Both are World Heritage Sites and a must-see. On the way to Ellora is Daultabad (erstwhile Devagiri) -Tughlak's folly - which is where he shifted his capital all the way from Delhi causing a large proportion of the migrants their life. The shortage of water caused him to relocate back to Delhi. Otherwise, an impressive and impregnable fortress, which will awe you with its sheer size and scale. Unfortunately was not able to visit Ajanta, as the caves were closed on the day we arrived. What a let-down.

This one and the next were taken at Daulatabad - Emperor Tughlak's folly
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This cannon lies in the open and has still not rusted, despite the passage of centuries. Another marvel of ancient Indian ingenuity & skill

Now on to Ellora. Wonderful craftsmanship, architecture and engineering. Makes one wonder as to the creativity and resourcefulness of the builders. You stare in sheer amazement, as to how the designers and architects managed the feats that they have. The accuracy and impeccable engineering will leave one speechless Ė even a blabbermouth like me.

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This statue is in the main cave, which is absolutely the most brilliant.

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This here is the series of caves which are there at Ellora.

If you plan a peepĖvisit, then youíll be missing out on a lot. For a history or sculpture buff, this is heaven.

Our next stop-over was at Pune. The city of the Peshwas. Explore the old city, not much of which is left. A growing urban sprawl may well dissuade you from coming here. But is an ideal base for exploration. You can go trekking in the Sahyadris, visit Shivajiís forts, go to pristine beaches in the Konkan (sampling the divine Konkani cuisine), paragliding, sailing, rafting (seasonal), shopping and what not here. Also Pune has a unique cuisine which one should savour.

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This serene lake is at CME, Kirkee where we were put up.
A sanctuary for birds and a haven for bird-lovers.

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Sugarcane fields near Satara, on our way from Pune to Kolhapur.

Do try the sugarcane juice. And donít worry too much about jaundice. Ask him not to use water.

A lovely city, the capital of the erstwhile Kolhapur kingdom. Famous for its Kolhapuri chappals, extremely comfortable once broken in. Donít shy away from trying out the Kolhapuri Misal or the chicken or the soups (forget what they are called). Be forewarned, these are for the brave-hearted or those with a taste for spice Ė a lot of it. Try the thali for an amazing experience. Donít say I didnít warn you.

Confused by the Kolhapuris on display.
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Sunset over Rankal lake at Kolhapur.

I just love seeing the rising/ setting sun over water. Since I rarely get to see the rising sun (lazy me), most of my pics are of Dusk.

Will you believe me if I say that this is not Goa.
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This is lake in the ghats near Wai, south of Kolhapur.

Wouldn't believe it if you see the waves lashing the shore. The breeze is pretty strong. You would ordinarily not travel on this road, the one less taken, as we travelled over the Ghats and hit the Bombay-Go highway much later on, recommended by another anti-social element to me.

Well we finally got to Goa. Try and go there in the off-season - Post-Jan to pre-Oct. less crowded & more enjoyable. It's great during the monsoons. Especially the hills, though not go this time, had been there years before and loved it. I anyway love Goa, so am biased. Also south Goa is more pleasant than North Goa, though the latter has got more of the crowd. Exactly the reason to avoid it or spend less time her, unless you are there for the topless beaches. And if you are a beach bum, like me, you would want the whole beach to yourself. Lie down anywhere below the coconut palms, dip in the water, walk along the beach without being accosted by hawkers peddling their goods, masseuses, restaurant waiters beckoning you, and waters sports guys out to tempt you.

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This is one of the lovely churches in Old Goa. I think the 'Bascillica de Bom Jesu'.
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An absolutely imperative visit. Will give you a feel for the religious fervor of the Portuguese. Are you aware the Inquisition was also conducted in Goa?

The lovely Azulejo Tiles.
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Try to get them if you go to Goa. I did/ could not get my hands on them. But Iím sure if you try hard enough, you will manage to do so.
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