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North Konkan Trip

North Konkan Trip

Having given up the idea of going to Pachmarhi and Pench forest we zeroed onto Konkan trip.I looked up on the internet for accommodation reservation a few names propped up Suruchi hotel at Guhagar and also at Hedvi owned by Damle and Bhatkar respectively. Vijay booked them by online payment in each of their accounts.The reference to Hedvi was given by some north Indian traveler who had found the place very original .I emailed him and he gave me the cell number. The original plan was to go to Hedvi on 26th Jan and then to Guhagar but this was rescheduled as there is a Utsav at Hedvi Ganesh Mandeer on 26th and there would lots of rush hence the idea was to go to Guhagar on 26th.

We started of leisurely at 9 am as the other party was to come from Nasik and we were to have a Randez vouz at Kshanbahar Vishranthi opposite karnala.Pevious day I had done a comprehensive servicing of my Baleno and now the vehicle was in condition. We took the driver so that at least one way I would be spared of driving.

It was 26th Jan and as usual I gave a slip to Republic day flag hoisting in the Society. Not that I was invited .In fact no one is invited as it is naturally expected of members to attend. With Globalization in full swing any meaningful context of Indian Nation has been lost and very few city dwellers have maintained their patriotic inclination .Being a tolerant city dweller and paying taxes is itself indicative of graceful citizenship and any false prop of a formal display gets obnoxious .So unless you are officially required to participate everyone gives it a slip.

The roads were deserted as it was a public holiday and our driver well versed with Goa route .We topped up the fuel at Karnala and  reached the pre-decided spot at 10 .15 am very early as compared to the expected time. Waiting for the other party we relished raw carrots and methi parathas .After an hour the others arrived in their Tavera.Now one of them shifted in my Baleno.The issue was whether to take the driver or to leave him at Karnala.Then we decided to take Chandrakant.The drive was now long and tiresome especially that we had wasted an hour at Karnala .We decided to take lunch at around 3 pm and somewhere near Mahad and before Chiplun we found this Restaurant Open umbrella .This was a garden restaurant serving Daivadnya Thali and fish items with Sol kadhi.Daivadnay are basically goldsmith by caste .As I got down from Baleno I realized that the pain along my left leg was unbearable .I knew that it was due to slip disc but it has to be confirmed I thought to myself especially before I renew my Gym membership..A terrible slip on way to Bhimashankar in Monsoon and Shoulder press at the Gym were the culprit factors.

We settled for machi Thali with Surmai and Bangada.The fish was fresh and tasty.Well we had come on this tour for this very reason to savor fish .We fisnished the course leisurely and then again cruised towards Chiplun. I was witnessing Mahad after a long time and was happy for its rapid development but sad for loss of its native culture.A huge river swelled up by water flowed beautifully to the right .I think it was Savitri .Then came the Parshuram Ghat ,I missed the landmark of the Temple of Parshuram  flanked  by  the idols of Kaam and Kaal in black stone.I had written about my earlier visit to the shrine  Konkan in a letter to my sister for the sake of record but I have misplaced the file .The party in Tavera went into chiplun whereas we took the road to right through Farshi where we had Jalebis and Tea.The road is very good and this was due to the Enron Project. At a small suburb village before Guhagar ,I relieved the driver who was supposed to go back to Mumbai.Now I was at the wheel and my wife as usual kept giving me lessons in safe driving .We entered Guhagar and turned right and found ourselves just at the doorstep of Hotel suruchi.The restaurant was packed with very fair people mostly Chitpawans from Pune.I volunteered to hoist my own luggage as the bell boy was tardy. On second floor we were ushered into spacious and well kept self contained rooms .I took the room facing the sea  thought the view was completely blocked by Palm trees and Areca nut trees. We refreshed ourselves and later very soon was the call for party time .Doctor was magnanimous with his Glenfiddich 12 years old and we partied gregariously .At around 10 pm the ladies settled for the vegan restaurant while we went to Annapurna restaurant close by .The fish was fleshy and tangy. It was pomfret and prawns this time. Sol kadhi was there to water the stuff down .We then walked to our hotel rooms and retired in its cozy ambience..

Next Morning was very pleasant after ablutions we came down checked out and first went to Vyadeshwar mandir which is lord shiva .This sanctimonious place is the family deity of many Brahmins from Konkan .We prayed and offered gifts .I clicked pictures.Later  we  had sumptuous breakfast at hotel suruchi consisting Thalipeeth. We took a stroll by the sea and then I decided to make a social visit to my distant relatives  who had settled at Guhagar  relocating from Burumbad my native village.I enquired with shri Damle the owner of suruchi and pat came the reply and instructions .I was supposed to take a road uphill from Urfata Ganpati over the Court. I was hurriedly and came to a very humple clean house of Keshav .His young wife shruti was at home. We chatted for a while and then she gave me  Kevada perfume and Rajgira laddus.Keshav was away .He is a priest by profession .I gave gifts for their only daughter who had gone to school. I felt very inclusive with the visit which acted like soul curry.

Now we were on way to Hedvi  beach.It was a drive of around 40 minutes .The approach road was tortuous and untidy , a bit scary too. But we reached the beach side hotel Suruchi of Bhatkar at around 12 noon. The shacks were small and basic. We were in two minds for this seemed to be for honeymoon couples but then decided against it. We asked the table to be spread in open air and ordered for beer .Mr Bhatkar was cooperative .We had ordered food in advance and at around 3 pm food arrived. The spread was impressive we enjoyed it thoroughly and retired to the shacks 2 were bamboo and two wooden .At 4 pm there was a clear call from Vijay I was dozing .Then I got up and took my swim gear and walked to the beach .Vijay and Ravi were in waters playing with the waves. I was thrilled ,yes it had been a long while that I had got into the sea after Andaman’s and Harihareshwar where I had lost my gold chain 4 years back. I was  Diving  onto the roaring waves ad swimming parallel to the beach .In fact we had ventured quite far into the sea and being a swimmer was well aware of the hazards .Thanks wifey was not around or else she would have put a stiff resistance to our pranks. After 2 hours of swim on the sparse beach which was a private affair we got out of the clear sea water. This beach is safe and gradual and Vijay knew about it in advance .he had opted for Hedvi for this very reason.

We came back had a fresh water shower and then sipped hot tea .it was nearing 7 pm and again time for MacDowell premium. This we made it short.Mr Bhatkar joined us for a chat. He told how difficult it is to maintain this resort .There were dormitories for college students who came for bird watching.he had put a fortune to create embankment and a grove of casuarinas trees which were affected badly during the storm Fiyan which came in last year displacing huge stones used for the embankment. It was a property developed by his father and there was a move by some big tycoon to purchase it off but which he had resisted as it came in CRZ rules. At 10 pm we went up to sea side dining station and had dinner of Chicken and rice rotis.Then we retired.

Next morning we  got ready by 10 am settled the bill, had snacks and clicked pictures and went straight to Hedvi Ganesh mandeer  .Previous day  had been  a  special annual day festivities at the mandeer and we could see  the decorations. A Shehnai was being played on the megaphone .I identified the tune  as Raag lalit by Bismillah khan whose disc we had nearly 45 years ago.I offered fresh flowers plucked off  a ficus tree .Then we set off to Velneshwar not far off .This  shrine of Shiva  on the sea belongs to Koli fishermen who offer coconuts  to the sea god  here and then set out into the sea in the fishing season. We offered our respects and then there were lots of discussions about spending the 3rd day.I opted for Dapoli ,Vijay for Kolthre.There were frantic phone calls. I suggested to get to Dapoli via dhopave ferry.Vijay was suggesting Khed.But I assured the party that we will cut of time and land at Kolthare before sundown. So we drove up and then down to Dhopave.This is ang on opposite side of Dabhol very close to enron .On way we saw huge scaffolding of power lines emanating from Enron as well as the Enron hospital which is run marginally. The road to the jetty is bad and we were there waiting for some time .We took tickets and got our vehicles on to the ferry.It was tricky because the road clearance of Baleno  is minimal and getting off the ferry  required skill and patience .There were too many guides to direct me while at the wheel but I managed to heed only to my experience and judgement and managed to get onto the road.We drove past the main Masjid standing on the port ,I remembered  Rupesh who had taken atop this abandoned heritage spot years back when I fell in love with Konkan.Then rapidly we were driving towards Kolthare and I was excited because I had seen Ladhghar,Murud Harnai ,Paaz and Karde but Kolthare was a novelty.

On way Dr Ramesh suggested Chandika Mandir but it would have got dark so we took the road to Kolthare to left after chandika Mandir .It was far off the road was bad and narrow we finally arrived at Kolthare and came to the recommended Resort We ordered for tea a smart lady treated us well but there was no accommodation and she was trying tell us on cell but there was no signal and hence the miscommunication. Now I was pitching for Dapolii as I knew 2 or three places where we would be able to halt without much problem. May be Aryavarta,or top in Town or LIC guest house of Hotel Pathik. We left Kolthare dejected but hopeful of Dapoli.On way we saw Beautiful Ladghar from top of the hill and Sagar Sawali of Mores where the accommodation is booked 3 months in advance.Dr Ramesh declared that this place is also called Tamas Tirth but I was not sure . We waited to clik pictures  then we came to the newly erected statue of Sage Parshuram and then onto Burondi and ultimately Dapoli through the Agriculture college Road that was Gimhavane and we turned left .My sister saw the Tavera turn left too but I was fast because I had to find accommodation  swiftly at Hotel Pathik.All cell phones were useless due to signal failure .I drove up to hotel Pathik quickly got down and requested Dr Ramesh to look for the rooms as I ran down to the road to prevent the Tavera from whizzing past us and getting lost.I stood on road for 10 long minutes yet there was no sign of Tavera.Now my tension mounted as I franticly fought back thought of losing the other party.

Meanwhile Dr Ramesh had dealt with the management, I was trying to connect  to someone in Tavera .Just then the Tavera came up as I waved and   pulled up besides me. Angry arguments followed .I assured them that we had seen them turn and were expecting them anytime while Ravi went on saying that if I had not stood on the road We would be lost to each other. Tempers were then calmed and we  checked in 4 rooms on 2nd floor.Our room was the best .Pathik is on a hill and down we could see the fields and school boys playing cricket.It was getting dark and  tiny lights came up in houses in this town with serenity .We had a wash and then the party time arrived. It went on till 11 pm and then we were told of Hotel Surali towards Harnai .We sat in the vehicles in high spirits and drove to this prominently lighted  joint .The tables were occupied by trendy and classy crowds from Pune Mumbai .We felt elated that the ambience was set to our mood. It was chilly and we were ushered to the table in a shamiana.Then we ordered exclusive items specialized chicken probably Raada . The way the food arrived I could sense that it was managed by some well trained chefs from star hotels. We did full justice to the exacting order and left with gratitude.Back at Pathik we called it a day.

Next morning we hurriedly packed  after we witnessed beautiful sunrise  and with just tea we drove to Dapoli.I topped the fuel and then we set off onto Mandangad Road rather than Anjarlay as suggested by Vijay because although it would e a scenic drive we would really be delayed. W drove fast and really swift without respite till we arrived at Open umbrella .We settled for south Indian vegetarian brunch and then bade farewell to the other party as they would take another road at Wadkhal. At 4.30 roads in Mumbai on Sunday were clear and we reached home safely and surely.



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