Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Go Goa!!! Ride - November 2017

Goa is synonymous to sun, sea, sand & seafood. Also not to forget, alcohol. Here one can see a nice blend of Indian & Portuguese culture. Number of churches, the structure of houses & lifestyle of people is largely catholic. Goa has always has this aura of something out of Indian; that you won't find elsewhere in India.

Post our awesome Ladakh Ride, we were wanting to take another one. Goa was always in my mind as I had never been there; barring once when I was in school, & that should not be counted at all ;-)

November 1, 2017:

After all basic bike preparations, we kicked-off from Pune at 6.30 in the morning. We had decided to take the NH-4 Highway till Kolhapur and then break away for NH-17 via Amboli ghat.

We were 5 of us with 5 bikes (Avenger, Classic, 2 Thunderbirds and a ST7). We decided a meet-up point near Narhe-Ambegaon and proceeded to our onward journey.

We took a breakfast stop at Hotel Virangula (before Satara). We covered approx. 80 kms in about 1.5 hours time. Thanks to no traffic due to a weekday. We had sumptuous breakfast of Misal-Pav and hot Tea.

After a short break at Karad (80 kms further ahead), we reached Kolhapur; our target for lunch for the day. We had a special Kolhapuri (Tambada-Pandhara) Lunch at Hotel Parakh. With a heavy stomach & much reluctance, we embarked for further ride.

We rode about 40 kms more on the NH-4. Entering Karnataka state, slightly ahead of Nipani there is a right turn towards Amboli, Sawantwadi & Goa. This is called as Goa Phata or the Goa Ves. Even there is a hotel by the name Goa Ves; and another as Kaveri.

This was our end to the Highway drive and what we entered was a rustic village setting and small roads. Again back into Maharashtra, we reached Amboli Ghat, leaving villages behind - Uttur, Ajara.

Amboli Ghat drive was awesome. Considering the rains that lash this area, the road was fairly good. Scenery around was beautiful. As we descended the Ghat, the road twirled through dense forest area. This was another experience ride of the day.

Next big town at the descend of the Ghat is Sawantwadi. Riding along a beautiful lake in the town centre was great. I was not knowing such a beautiful lake exists in between, called Moti Talao, which I came to know later. While riding by its side, I was getting a feeling of Mall Road in Nainital (though in a miniature way).

After Sawantwadi we joined the NH-17 (Mumbai-Goa Highway). We crossed into Goa state at Banda checkpost. Further, we actually should have exited before Pernem towards right for Vagator, which was our destination. We even enquired at that place. But we got wrong info. And we moved ahead till Mhapusa and Shivoli and then reached Vagator.

Actually we reached Goa by 6.30 pm. About 420 kms in 12 hours. But we took another hour or so reach our destination and to search a stay option.

We were able to find an Apartment at very cheap rate; being an off-season ofcourse. Two apartments of two rooms each for two nights - 3000 Rs.

Route: Pune-Satara-Kolhapur-Nipani-Amboli-Sawantwadi-Banda-Vagator (Goa)

November 2, 2017:

Next two days were relaxed one's for us. Today was even better as we had nothing to day. Tomorrow, atleast we had to leave Goa in the afternoon.

After a lazy breakfast at a local restaurant, we visited the Vagator Beach. However, it was just a small beach but was rocky enough. There was nothing much to do. After a brief photo-op, we started for our planned destination of the day - Arambol Beach.
Djembe hanging at the restaurant
North Goa is famous for its beaches. As you go far inside, the beaches of Baga & Calangute are renowned. However, they are are crowded & commercialised. The one's in this part of Goa (towards the entry point, north most side) are more pristine & relaxed. Hence most of the tourists visiting here, come for relaxation. One can find many foreigners here.

Arambol beach is beautiful & serene. It is said to be one of the best beaches of Goa. With shacks on its edge and clean white sand below, this was a great relaxation point for us. Being an off-season, it was not crowded. But whoever we saw here were mostly foreigners. Indians, though very few, started gathering a bit late.
Arambol Beach
The road to the beach goes through the small market in Arambol village. Many shops, mostly of clothes, are lined-up on both sides of road.

On the beach, we had a small stroll, walking over the clean sand cutting through the waves. before relaxing into one of the shacks. These shacks are lined-up at the back provided a seating area facing the sea. There were Beach Beds lined-up in front.

Some amongst us went to the sea for a swim; I however, preferred to just sit and enjoy the place with a pint of beer and snacks. We spent the whole day there, with some add-ons of massage & tattoo in between.

By the time the sun moved towards west, the shack employees started to take back the Beach Beds; maybe they started their preparation for the night life. We found that crowd had also increased. While we left, we saw a person playing a guitar.

This was byfar one of the most relaxed vacations of my life. I "actually" did nothing the whole day.

November 3, 2017:

Today, we had to leave Goa for Tarkarli. However, we had planned to visit Chapora Fort prior. But first we had breakfast, again at the same local restaurant.

The Fort is named on Chapora River to which it overlooks. Currently it is in ruins, however it was once very strategically important to Portuguese because of its location on northern boundary of Goa. These ruins still provide a very good landscape. And not forget the view it provides from top - Chapora River & beaches of Chapora, Anjuna & Vagator can be seen.
Chapora Fort
Vagator Beach - view from Chapora Fort
The current construction of the Fort is of 17th century by Portuguese, however its history goes back to 15th century when they first came to Goa. Marathas under the rule of Chatrapati Sambhaji did conquer the fort for first time in 1684 and then again in 1737.

The Fort shot to fame due to the Hindi movie "Dil Chahata Hai", so much so that it is still known as "Dil Chahata Hai Fort".

Actually, there is nothing much to see on the fort. Runined fortification surrounds a flat land. However, the view this place provides is breath-taking. It would be even fruitful if you visit in the evenings; however the time mentioned here was upto 5:30 pm. In that case sun-set might be missed.

We spent some time here taking pictures and enjoying the view. Then we retreated to our apartment for final check-out.

We started off by 11 am approx. for Tarkarli. This time we took the right route directly reaching between Pernem & Banda on NH-17. We continued till ahead of Chouke; from here there is a left turn to Malvan.

Once in Malvan, we had a good Malvani lunch with Sol-kadhi. We reached Visava Resort at Tarkarli by 4.30 pm.
Malvani Lunch
After a cup of tea we were on the beach to enjoy the sun-set. Beach is near to Visava Resort; seems to be a sort of private beach.
Sun-set on Tarkarli Beach
The view on the beach was surreal - with Sun setting in west while Moon rising from east. It was Tripuri Pornima that day. The Moon was looking fascinating.

Route: Vagator (Goa)-Banda-Kudal-Dhamapur-Chouke-Malvan-Tarkarli

November 4, 2017:

Morning we started off for Scuba Diving. Tarkarli coast is famous for Scuba Diving; one of the few locations in India. Others are in Goa, Andaman, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry, Karnataka.
Fishermen sorting their catch in the nets planted overnight
Scuba Diving here, is done near the coastline of Sindhudurga Fort. They take through boats to the location. These can be available from Malvan or nowadays, they offer pick-up from some hotels & resorts also. We got one such pick-up from out hotel beach.

About half an sailing and we were at the Sindhudurga. One-by-one, people go inside water after wearing all the related kit - weights, jacket & breathing apparatus. A trainer explains the working and gives a trial. Then he takes you down below. At Tarkarli, they take you about 8-10 feet.

Once inside, the environment is phenomenal. It seems as if a whole new world has opened-up. It feels very peaceful. The scene from the film "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" appears in front you; and the dialogue which the Heroine says, "Tumhari zindagi badalne wali hai".

Sunlight crossing through the vast expanse of blue water and colorful corals below of different shapes & sizes; colorful fish coming in between - it seemed as if live Nat Geo experience.

We returned to our hotels, got freshen-up and had lunch. By 3 pm we left Tarkarli for our return journey. We had planned a night halt at Kolhapur (about 160 kms via Gaganbavda). After some Cashew shopping, we made a move.

In between, we took a wrong turn before Kankavli and went on Phonda Ghat route instead of Gaganbawda Ghat. And the road ahead was pathetic. It reminded us our Ladakh ride :-)  ... its a joke...   But the road was bad, it started getting dark, it seemed as if there was forest around, traffic was minimal and the cimate was getting chilly. And over it, one of our riders octopus rope broke; hence we had to drive slowly & carefully. Finally, with all such hurdles, we reached Kolhapur by 9 pm.

Tarkarli-Chouke-Kasal-Phonda Ghat-Radhanagari-Kolhapur

November 5, 2017:

Today again it was a relaxed day. Our final ride back home. But not before Darshan of Ambabai (Mahalaxmi of Kolhapur).

In the morning we went at the temple followed by the Kolhapur Misal-pav.
Phadtare Misal, Udyamnagar, Kolhapur
Now started our return journey. By 4 in the evening, we reached home covering a total riding distance of 1019 kms.

Route: Kolhapur-Karad-Satara-Shirwal-Pune

1 comment: