The third day started of late, and as it was our last day, we spent the some time in lazing around in the pool. At around 3 we visited Calangute beach where we enjoyed a few water sports (snorkling, parasailing etc). They offer great packages but it is very important to negotiate the prices. I personally would recommend water sports at this beach.
Known as the gateway to Karnataka, the picturesque city of Mangalore is famous for its golden beaches, revered temples and delicious coffee. This port city lies nestled between the blue waters of the Arabian Sea and the towering hills of the Western Ghats. The pristine beach of Panambur is a popular tourist destination and also plays host to the colourful kite festival of Mangalore. Adorned with ancient murals, the Kudroli Gorakhnath Temple is frequented by many devotees. The Ullal Beach of Mangalore is a great place to enjoy water sports. Easily comparable to the Marine Drive of Mumbai, the New Mangalore Port is an ideal place to relax and unwind. Mangalore is famous for its Udupi style dishes and staple seafood preparations. The Neer Dosa, Mangalorean fish curry, Cashew Upkari and Rasam are great introductions to this cuisine. Pallkhi, Gajalee, Cochin Bakery and Naivedyam are popular eateries here. There are multiple hotel options for tourists, extending from high-end resorts to budget hotels and even beach resorts. With its easygoing air and calm countenance, Mangalore is the perfect destination to relax and unwind.
Hampi (Hampe) is a village and temple town recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed as the Group of Monuments at Hampi in northern Karnataka, India. It is situated within the ruins of the city of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire. Predating the city of Vijayanagara, Hampi continues to be an important religious centre, housing the Virupaksha Temple and several other monuments belonging to the old city. Hampi is situated on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It is 353 km from Bangalore. The extant monuments of Vijayanagara or Hampi can be divided into Religious, Civil & Military buildings. The Jain temples on Hemakuta hill, the two Devi shrines and some other structures in the Virupaksha temple complex predate the Vijayanagara Empire. Hampi tourism has special importance for the Hanuman devotees, as mythical Kishkinda, the monkey kingdom was located here. You can see plenty of motifs and carvings of Hanuman all around the sites of which some are brilliantly colourful.
Kolhapur, in Maharashtra, is a land of temples and regal palaces. The most revered of them is the Mahalaxmi Temple, which has a simple yet fascinating structure. Other temples here are the Temlabai temple, Jyotiba temple and the Bimkhambi Ganesh temple. The Shri Chhatrapati Shahu Museum, which was once the residence of the first Maharaja of the Maratha Empire, is a vivid display of artefacts representing the ancient history of the city. Take a walk through history at the Panhala Fort, which is an imposing fortification believed to have housed Chhatrapati Shivaji himself. Kolhapur is known for its spicy array of Maharashtrian food. Try some of the local delicacies at Padma Guest House, Waman Guest House and Parakh. Being a bustling tourist destination, Kolhapur has a lot to offer when it comes to lodging for all types of budget travellers. Don't forget to take back the local Kolhapuri Chappals, that make for lovely traditional footwear.
This is a place which was first discovered by the hippies and is situated in the Northern part of Goa. This is a beach known to be one of the most popular in Goa and is surrounded by the Calangute Beach on one side and the Anjuna Beach on the other side. The Baga Beach starts from where the Calangute Beach ends though the place cannot be exactly pin pointed. This is also a shoppers paradise with all sorts of flea markets and the fresh seafood is wow over here. Also, you can enjoy a number of water sports and activities in this beach area such as jet skiing, para sailing, surfing and others. The people around here are always in a festive mood and dance and music are a major part of their culture here. They have carnivals during christmas and New Year too. Also, the people here are very religious and the main religion followed here is Christianity. The lifestyle here is a blend of Indian and Portuguese to a large extent. This is a stunning evidence of the fact that Goa was under the rule of Portuguese colonies till even a decades ago before it was taken over by the Indian Government.
A lovely city in the Konkan region of Maharashtra, Ratnagiri is a port city surrounded by the beautiful Sahyadri Hills. If this is your first time here, you'll be spoilt for choice. Ganapatipule Beach makes for a great visit and is perfect for a leisurely afternoon. There is a Ganesh temple right next to the beach that is also worth a visit. The Ratnadurg or Bhagwati Fort, which is a beautiful structure constructed in a horseshoe shape, surrounded by the Arabian Sea, is also a beautiful place to check out. Thebaw Palace is another lovely touristy spot where the Burma King Thebaw was imprisoned. The palace is built in Pagoda style and is a must see. Bhatyachi Khadi is where the river meets the sea; the village near this place is Bhatye known as Bhatyachi Khadi. If you're here from March to June, do pick up some juicy Alphonso mangoes that the city is famous for. There are a lot of other scenic cities around Ratnagiri and depending on your mood, you can choose any of the cities to spend your vacations.
Another most popular approach is through railway tracks. Most trekkers select the famous route from Castle Rock station, and so did we. Another starting point is from Kulem station. The distance from Castle Rock station to Dudhsagar waterfalls is approximate 14kms (13km till the Dudhsagar station and 1 km from station till the falls) and the distance from Kulem station is 11km. We boarded the Goa Express from Pune. The train starts at 4.30pm. But on the day we left, it was delayed by an hour so we left from Pune station at around 5.30pm. Reached Castle Rock station at 3.30am and started our journey walking on the railway tracks and enjoying the scenic beauty on the way.My Experience This is the longest distance I have walked so far- 14km, but after witnessing the thunderous and the majestic waterfalls, trust me it was worth it. For most of us its was an achievement in itself :) The greenery along the tracks makes it less tiring and more fun. There are around 10 tunnels to cross and the most thrilling experience is when you are inside the tunnel and a train passes you by. Its scary by also a thrill. One does not get to experience this often. In fact we use to wait for the train whenever we found ourselves inside the tunnel. On our way we also met some uncommon species such as the Giant Atlas moth. The apical extension of its fore-wing resembles a snake's head. After 9 hours of walking trail we reached the waterfall at 1pm. Due to recent mishap nobody was allowed to go under the waterfall. After spending for like an hour at the waterfall we headed back to the Dudhsagar railway station. Boarded a train to Kulem station and from there went to Dudhsagar Spa resort. Resort booking was done before hand.Return Journey After a night stay at Dudhsagar Spa Resort, post breakfast we left for Londa station. We hired a bus from near the resort till the Londa Station. From Londa station we boarded the train to Pune. Reached Pune at 4.30am the next day.Note: Train bookings were done almost 2 months before.Dos and Don't s for the trek Be mindful of the sound of the train. When inside the tunnel and a train passes by sit down and face towards the walls of the tunnel During the monsoons you may find leeches on the track. Carry some tobacco with you to keep the leeches at bay. Also carry some salt with you to get rid of the leeches. Salt causes the leech to dehydrate and fall off. Do carry a good pair of shoes or floaters. Carry sufficient food and water/energy drink. You will not find any eatables on the way. Also make sure your backpack is light to sustain while walking for 6-8 hours on tracks. Other things to carry- torch, rain jackets, dry clothes in plastic bags, medicines, cash, toiletries, tent and sleeping bag if you plan to camp near the falls .