Idea for this trip started bursting in my mind when we were zooming past on bikes from Anjarle to Harnai beach in Konkan Coast. It was such a splendid view, that my mind just couldn’t take it out. Eventually, I had to take it out and discuss with my friend about possibility of exploring whole Konkan coast on bikes, as taking a four-wheeler would have turned out to be a liability at places where ferries had to be opted. So, plan was chalked out, of course with the help of Google map, trying to find out each and every minute, road-detail of the coast.
Plan was kept simple, only bikes, few like-minded people, explore whatever interesting comes by, halt wherever night drops-in and lastly as much as possible only roads lined by beach to be taken. Initially, our idea was to night-halt at beach, open up tents and sleep under beautiful open sky with peaceful sound of waves chiming on the background. But, we had few ladies in the group and for our comfort and sanitation; we decided to halt in homely economical accommodations that are offered in every beach by the generous and helpful villagers. So, with all details and required papers (map), we gathered at Panvel at 10.30 p.m. on Thursday, 05th April, 2012. 6th being Public holiday it was an advantage for office-goers like us, since we can avail a long leave for weekend. Till last moment, there was uncertainty about who will join and drop out at last moment, still, we managed five bikers with 5 pillions and saddle bags mounted on bikes.
We started our venture by 12.30 a.m. We zoomed past Pen & Vadhkal Naka to reach Alibaug. We halted at Vadhkal naka for midnight-tea, like always. On the way, we stopped by to view the beautiful full moon and its reflection that was adorned in the sea. We had to reach Murud Janjira by 4.00 a.m. Instead, we landed up in some mahua Bagh village which was almost 18 kms away from Murud. We halted for some sleep, since next day was going to be very hectic. We found a supposed –to-be grampanchayat office veranda to put up our belongings and all dozed off in unexpectedly chilling summer night.
All of us, who assumed that it would be very hot, were in for surprise with cool weather and wished for jackets. By 5.30 a.m. Deepak was up, nudging all to get up, as per the information by a localite, the first ferry was around 7.00 a.m. On the way to Murud we got magnanimous view of Murud Janjira Fort. After a round of photo session, we continued towards Rajapuri. From here, we had to take boat to Dighi. Being a small boat, only bikes could be transported, it was a sight to view, as how the locals were actually lifting the bikes and dropping them in the boat. We had two bullets, one Avenger, one R15 & one FZ. Last one, had a painful pillion seat which was experienced by Bhaskaran. By 7.30 a.m. after loading of bikes, ferry started and in 10 minutes, we arrived at Dighi port. Here onwards, we thought of opting for Diveagar via Sarle (coast route) instead we were informed by villagers that road was closed down for repairs, hence we took the mainland route which also seemed kind of coastal. Way to Sonyacha Ganpati Temple was closed (because of some political turmoil resulting after stealing of Golden statue), hence we moved towards beach. There was usual crowd and some folks were trying parasailing. We took a short detour and jumped back on the coastal track heading towards Shriwardhan. After crossing Shriwardhan beach, we skipped Harihareshwar, because we have there umpteen number of times, we went straight to Baghmandla, from here we had to take a ferry to Vesvi. This ferry is used for transporting buses, cars, jeeps alike. We loaded our bikes and headed towards Bankot. This was a very familiar route for all of us. We are ‘regulars’ at Velas, where annually Sea Turtle Festival is conducted. So, this year it was second round for most of us. We reached Vesvi in another 10 minutes. Offloaded our bikes and headed towards Bankot. This particular patch was most terrible for bikes as it was a steep and muddy potholed-road. We reached Velas via bankot by 1.00 p.m. We halted at Velas at Mr. Joshi’s place, last time when we came, we fell in love with their chutney, hence one week prior we had told them regarding our visit, so they kept it ready. Thereafter, before biding adieu we enquired regarding the supposed ferry from Velas to Kelshi. We were saddened by the fact that now bridge construction is going on hence we have to opt for main land road via Kelshi Phata, which according to me, was a very boring and long one. It added more than 30 kms to the route. Being sunny afternoon, we halted at Kelshi Phata in one lone shop. We rested for some 30 minutes, when Darshana came banging on all of us to get up. She came up with news that being Hanuman Jayanti there would be crowd on the way to Kelshi village. We all got up hurriedly and after hydrating ourselves completely, we passed Kelshi. We could see people flocking in colourful attires for the festival. We were relieved to cross the village before the gathering, grew in number thus blocking the entire path.
On the way to Anjarle Beach, we saw Seagulls in huge number, flocked together. It was a jaw-dropping moment for me as I tried to capture each and every moment, when suddenly all of them took flight in one direction and swayed for sometimes and landed again at the same place. We halted at cliff-like place with the spectacular view of Anjarle Beach one side and Suvarnadurg on other side. We passed time by indulging in some memorable photography. Our next halt was for lunch, it was already 3.00 p.m. and being in a famed fishing village of Harnai, it was imperative for all of us to have a fish-meal. But due to time constraint, we thought of skipping it. I remember, how exhausted and with ‘hungry for years’ look, Karthik went up to the restaurant owner to ask for Fish thali, which was initially denied to us because of queue. Watching karthik’s haggard condition, the guy agreed to serve him first. Watching Karthik relish the fish, we all pounced on his thali, we all sat down for proper meal, since we had enough time to reach the next ferry, as the schedule of the ferry was informed by the restaurant owner on enquiry. Winding up lunch, we headed for Dabhol ferry. It was quite a long route. We had to pass through procession (Hanuman Jayanti) that had jam-packed the road on the way to Dabhol. We had to make it in time because the next day schedule would depend on how much we can cover before night. We reached Dabhol jetty, and we got news that Nikhil’s bike Tyre has punctured at approximately 13 kms afar from jetty and needs to be replaced. Deepak stayed back with him and informed Karthik, who had reached jetty, to get a tube for the bike from Dabhol. So instead of leaving by 7.30, all of us left by 9.00 p.m. ferry. We reached Dhopve jetty in next 10 minutes. In the meantime, accommodation and dinner was arranged at Guhagar. We reached Guhaghar in next one and half hour. After dropping our sacks, we had our dinner by 11.30 p.m. and dozed off by 12.00 midnight. Since it was a hectic yesterday, we lazily got up by 7.00 a.m. Although, I started hovering around all of them by 6.30 a.m. Guys being guys always take time to get up. By, 9.00 a.m. after breakfast, we were ready to explore another day in Konkan. We had the target to reach Tarkarli by midnight. Vyadeshwar temple was a short visit. Road to Velneshwar was very bumpy, new road was being set up, so maybe in next one year, we may have a fine road to speed. But for now, it was pathetically terrible, both for bikes and us.
We reached Velneshwar by 10.30 a.m. after continuously hopping and jumping on the road. We explored around temple and beach before heading for Hedvi. There is a peculiar ‘water column formation’ at Hedvi Bamangal shore. It was a unique nature’s creation. We photographed this phenomenon and watched the splashing water in awe. Due to shortage of time, we rushed back to Rohile Bandar Jetty. We had to catch ferry for Jaigad port. This ferry route was longer than all other ferries, took almost 20 minutes to reach, with beautiful scenery & playful dolphins splashing around.
We reached Jaigad port by 12.30 p.m. We had been to Jaigad Fort earlier. So we had a short to and fro visit and continued further to Ganpatipule. The spectacular view of pristine beaches from Jaigad to Ganpatipule was strikingly so exquisite that it dazzled our eyes. We reached Ganpatipule at 2.30 p.m. Being Saturday, it was less crowded, after darshan, we had light lunch and headed off to Vijaydurg. It was quite a long route. We were supposed to take ferry from Jaitapur to Vijaydurg. But it was not available to common people due to security reasons, hence we took mainland road for same. There was a patch of 4-5 kms of super-smooth, long, empty road. Everyone took out their urge to speed on this patch, after being continuously on alternate rocky, muddy, potholed roads. We reached Vijaydurg just on time i.e. at sunset. My lens captured the Vijaydurg-sunset.
After a brief halt, we headed to our ultimate destination of Tarkarli. We had booked out accommodation and dinner there itself. So, anyhow we had to reach there. We had to skip Kunkeshwar, as it would have been futile to explore Kunkeshwar at night. We left for Tarkarli via Malvan. On the way, some problem developed in Bullet, which took almost an hour for a solution, By 12.30 midnight, we were at Tarkarli. Next day, it was again a lazy morning, we hanged out at beach, did some photo-ops, and then decided to go for Scuba Diving at Malvan.
Malvan is at the short distance of 7 kms from Tarkarli, we left our riding gears back. Karthik and Akhsay exchanged their Bullet & Avenger respectively with each other. Don’t know whether the decision was right or wrong, but repercussion was painful. At one distinct turn, Avenger skidded and we fell off. Luckily, we escaped with some bruises, which pained like hell & further went numb when we actually dived into sea water for Scuba diving. Scuba diving took almost 4-5 hours. We came back by 2.00 p.m., had sumptuous Malvani lunch. All were set to leave. I had taken some painkiller, hoping to remain active for remaining journey but instead dozed off.
All decided to rest for some time with a short power nap. But instead, it stretched for long, and we ended up waking up at 5.00 p.m. We left malvan and reached Kankavli by 6.30 p.m. Here on, I, Poonam & Bhaskaran who was pillion to Harsh’s FZ decided to board bus to reach Mumbai. On 'false' insistence of Karthik and gang, I & Poonam opted to continue the bike trip. Bhaskaran who already was in much pain because of uncomfortable seat, left for Mumbai at Kankavli.
We had option of driving through dangerous twist and turns ghat regions of NH17 or travel 80 kms till Kolhapur to catch NH4, which is way too straight for riders. Being a night journey, guys opted for NH4. But the road till Kolhapur was like hell.
We halted at Kolhapur for midnight dinner. After riding for sometimes, riders as well as pillions were dozing off on bikes. Better sense prevailed and we halted for some good night sleep outside a shop. Got up at 5.30 a.m., sipped tea and headed towards Lonavala. After a hearty breakfast, we reached Mumbai in the afternoon. I had to skip office on Monday, for which I had to sacrifice my ears for mouthful of taunts on Tuesday by my bosses. With my usual casual attitude, matter died down faster than expected.
Notwithstanding, this trip was worth everything. To achieve this feat in 3 Days and Four nights and limited budget was what we planned for and it was a grand achievement to begin with!