Motorbike tour of Maharashtra - A journey to seeing the unseen of Maharashtra..!!

Tripoto
8th Jan 2019

Mumbai is not the only place here, just so you know ...!!

Maharashtra is not all about Mumbai & Pune, there is more to offer you which are untouched and unknown... it's also called land of dream, land of opportunity, land of Lord Ganesha, land forts of Shivaji Maharaj, land of unsullied beaches, land of Alphonso mango, land of beautiful sunset, land of Vada Pav & land of Koli fisherman...!!!

Maharashtra are one of the prefect amalgamations of sun,sand and surf over long coastine with Arabian sea.... calm, still and untouched by the maddening crowd.

Photo of Motorbike tour of Maharashtra - A journey to seeing the unseen of Maharashtra..!! 1/2 by Vivek Rauthan

Charles Metcalfe, one of the ablest of the British officials in India & later acting Governor-General said "India contains no more than two powers, British & Mahratta, and every other state acknowledges the influence of one or the other. Every inch that we recede will be occupied by them".

Maharashtra occupies the western and central part of the country and has a long coastline stretching 720 Kms along the Arabian Sea. One of the more prominent physical features of Maharashtra is the Deccan plateau, which is separated from the Konkan coastline by 'Ghats'.The Ghats are a succession of steep hills, periodically bisected by narrow roads. Most of the famous hill stations of the state are at the Ghats. Maharashtra is the third largest state by area in India.The Western Ghats better known as Sahyadri, are a hilly range running parallel to the coast, at an average elevation of 1,200 metres (4,000 ft). Kalsubai, a peak in the Sahyadris, near Nashik city is the highest elevated point in Maharashtra. To the west of these hills lie the Konkan coastal plains, 50–80 kilometres in width. To the east of the ghats lies the flat Deccan plateau.

Here is the journey to seeing the unseen of Maharashtra..!!

08 Jan: Arr. Mumbai

Was excited to land in Mumbai as it always fascinates us for it's bindass living and bindass (cool) language..Apun aa rela ha bhai!!.. Zakas ...!!

Off to my hotel by ola taxi which is best economical means to travel for budgeted travellers.

After unpacked, changing clothes, freshening up, we were on our way to take the rented bike.. before you get your rented bike you need to full fill the formalities like need to given them your passport, security amount of INR 10000 (which they will refund to you once you finished the tour and handed over the bike to them) & picture and a copy of contract duly signed.

After finishing all the formalities .. we were ready to conquer Maharashtra by our heavy metal chariot..!!.. Jai Maharashtra ....

Photo of Motorbike tour of Maharashtra - A journey to seeing the unseen of Maharashtra..!! 2/2 by Vivek Rauthan

Later we went for a test drive to see the dream city by our royal enfield bull.. so she can understand us and we understand her :) as we are companion for coming weeks (sukh-dukh ke sathi - companion for the moments of sadness & happiness ) .. went to Juhu beach and enjoy the sunset with maddening crowd. back to base, packed the stuff to next day enthralling expedition .... !!

Slept with a dream in a dream city !!

09 Jan: Mumbai to Lonavala (115 kms / 04 hrs approx.)

Day 2

Next day, we woke-up with excitement of thrill. With some sprinkles of doubts, we started our tour early as we want to avoid traffic jam. As our hotel was situated in Vila parle area hence we took nearest route to hit Panvel and then to NH 4, Old Mumbai-Pune highway (Two wheeler are not allowed on Mumbai-Pune expressway) for Lonavala. Routing was Vila Parle to Sahara road (towards International airport) then to airport road, it will hit to Sir Mathuradas Vasanji road, take right and headed till Sakinaka junction, from there you take left Saki vihar road, go straight till you will hit by JVLR (jogeshwari-vikhroli link road), take right and off to Eastern expressway, hop-up on eastern expressway till you will hit by Mulund-airoli road, take right and straight till you meet Thane-Belapur road, hop-up on this route and will connect to Mumbai-Pune highway and head on to Sion Panvel highway - keep on driving, you will hit NH4 at the panvel naka. After you reach here, head for the McDonald's in panvel and be sure to avoid the flyover which takes you to the mouth of the expressway....

One thing I forgot to mentioned, that Mumbaiker are really nice and sensitive.. whenever and whomever i have asked the route they were went out of their way to assist us and make sure we will go on right way... thumbs up for them !!

Old Mumbai-Pune highway it happens to be a biker’s delight. This route is definitely longer but on the plus side, it is devoid of heavy vehicles and cars who, understandably, prefer the expressway.

Taking rest on the way to Lonavala

Photo of Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

On the way to Lonavala

Photo of Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

In afternoon, we were in famous and popular hill station of Mumbaiker and the land of crunchy chikki - Lonavala ..!!

After typical bargaining (India style) we got our hotel and checked-in.

Later after having lunch at hotel we were off to visit of Karla caves - It's located on the old Pune-Mumbai highway from Lonavala. Around 8 kms, you will come to a junction where right turn will take you to Karla caves. Few kms from this junction, you will climb up a small hill and come to the official parking of Karla caves. The place is deadly combination of piety and pav bhaiji with dozens of shops lined all through the way up to the cave.It's a moderate climb for around 20 mins and you wouldn't realize the climb as there are dozens of shops on the way for a good drink break.. especially hand made lemon juice adding special spice.. it's mind booster.. !!

Karla caves are among the oldest Buddhist cave shrines in India. carved almost 2000 yrs ago around the 2nd century BC to the 5th century AD.

Photo of Motorbike tour of Maharashtra - A journey to seeing the unseen of Maharashtra..!! by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Motorbike tour of Maharashtra - A journey to seeing the unseen of Maharashtra..!! by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Motorbike tour of Maharashtra - A journey to seeing the unseen of Maharashtra..!! by Vivek Rauthan

View of Karla cave, Lonavala

Photo of Karla Caves, एकवीरा देवी रोड, Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Back to base. Enjoyed crunchy chikki (candy made of peanuts and jaggery- prefect replacement of chocolate)!!

On first day of successful riding we had dinner with kingfisher beers ..oops without models of king fisher calendar ;) .. it's a just a way to express our thanks to god of taking care of us during tour ..!!

Off you bed and had a great sleep.

(If someone is interested in rock climbing then they can do at Tailbaila rock climbing in Pali)

10 Jan: Lonavala / Mahabaleshwar (178 kms / 06 hrs approx.)

We left from hotel at about 07h00, luckily we didn't have hangover of last night beer.. we have to catch same route which we took to go Karla caves, Old Pune -Mumbai highway.

Photo of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Today we were on our way to "Queen of Sahyadri Hills"

Just going further about 16 km on our left side we touched Kamshet village - home to small villages. Kamshet is better known as the"Paraglider's paradise" The season for paragliding is generally from Oct to end of May. Several paragliding schools are located in or around Kamshet and offer training or tandem flights. The picturesque Kamshet is surrounded by paddy and sunflower fields and bounded by hills and serene lakes. It's a beautiful gateway from the hustle & bustle of the urban life. Unfortunately, we doesn't knew about this place hence we were not able to do the visit of Kamshet village... (didn't done our homework properly before going to this tour) !!!

Our routing was, from Lonavala take old Pune-Mumbai highway NH4- Kamshet - Naygaon - Vadgaon - Dehu Road - Sasewadi - Sarola - Shirwal - Dhangarwadi - Wele - Surur (go under the bridge to the right)- Wai - Sherbaug- Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar.

The drive from Lonavala to Dehu road is awesomely prefect trip for bikers and casual travellers alike. We had our first stop at Shivam fast food after crossing Somatane Toll Plaza and before 03 kms from Dehu road.There is huge idol of lord Ganapati on hillock. The Ganapati idol is huge and one cannot miss it when you are on the NH4 as you reach the Somatane Toll Plaza.There is a parking place just before the entrance gate. You have to climb around 179 steps to reach the top. Though the number 179 looks a lot, the climb isn’t anything to worry about, as you don’t even feel it.

Birla Ganpati Temple at Somathane toll plaza.

Photo of Somatane Toll Booth, Old Mumbai - Pune Highway, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

From here, it is a few kms drive across the expressway (through an underpass) to Shirgaon Sai Baba temple. This temple was built as a replica of the Shirdi Sai Baba temple. The architecture is meant to resemble the original temple at Shirdi.

After having a light snacks in shivam fast food we proceed further with a dream to taste the delicious Mahabaleshwar's version of a strawberry shake!!

Photo of Dehu Road, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Around 3 km, you will come in a junction and took right turn on Dehu road - Keep on driving!! You will by-pass Pune city from out side and line-up by medical, engineering etc colleges on the way. After around an hour, you will come across a mountain cutting across the highway leaving you wondering on how to cross it. This is the Khambatki Ghat. The best part about this Ghat section is that it is one-way leaving you freely to overtake slow vehicles even on a blind curve. The ascent on this ghat is wonderful and if you can, do stop for some beautiful photo opportunities. No, don’t plan for a photo session on the way back, as the way back doesn’t have a ghat section, but a long tunnel! Once you cross this Ghat, you will see signboards for Wai/Mahabaleshwar (go under the bridge to the right). This is a nice single lane road with lot of banyan trees for company. On the way, you can see a cluster of windmills on far left.

After around 8-9 kilometres, you are in Wai town. Wai is a small town and has interesting spots. There is the Maha Ganapti mandir and some nice small temples/bridges to photograph! But, the real reason why many visit Wai is a further 3 kms away, in a place called Menavali Ghat (or Menavli). Menavali Ghat, is the same temple which has appeared in Shah Rukh Khan’s Swades.

Oops! we forgot to mentioned that road was as smooth as butter from Lonavala to Surur village.

From Wai town, we want straight on to the road of Panchgani/Mahabaleshwar. The road started to wind up and the nature started to unfold itself in front of us. We parked our motorbike once and had some photo sessions there. This should be considered as the first view point on the tour!!

We proceeded towards Mahabaleshwar through the Pune-Mahabaleshwar Road. On the way we made a stop at the Mapro Garden. This is the factory of the famous Jam/Squash brand 'Mapro'. The garden itself is small but the main attractions are the Mapro products. You can taste the Jams/Squashes/Crushes/Sweets, anything you want for free. We did try some strawberry crushes with milk and found it so amazing!!!

View from Panchgani

Photo of Panchgani, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

En route visited the Venna Lake. After a min. of drive, we were in one of the most preferred summer gateways ....Mahabaleswar!!!..and we were ready to taste strawberry cream.

We checked in to our hotel, later we roamed around the city and market which is quite big and lengthy . We had our "Strawberry with cream" _ glass was loaded with strawberry flavoured whipped cream, huge chunks of fresh fruit, milk and creamy scope of vanilla ice cream and topped with delicious Mapro strawberry crush!! .. It was just yummy ..

Back to hotel and said good night to each other, off to bed.

11 Jan: Mahabaleshwar

Initially, we thought that we would stay only 01 night in Mahabaleshwar as we wondered that it would be a normal hill station or weekend gateway for urban life...!!! once we were there and saw the list of visits .. we instantly agreed to stay 01 more night and it was really a good decision for us otherwise we would have missed lots of things that cherish our tour for life time.

So the day was for Mahabaleshwar..!!

Mahabaleshwar is beautiful to drive around. Our first step was to see Old Mahabaleshwar and visited Mahabaleshwar temple & Panch Ganga Temple and then drive to see the "points", Mahabaleshwar has a number of "points" from where you can see the view of hills. Not all the points are worth spending a lot of time at. However, a drive to these points and walk around them is quite beautiful usually.

Photo of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

We had heard about Pratapgad fort hence we decided to visit it. The fort was built by Shivaji and like all Maratha fort, required you to climb lots of stairs. The fort is popular for in the history of India as kinght of Bijapur Afzalkhan was Killed by Shivaji at Pratapgad. It is one of the better maintained Shivaji forts, possibly due to still being a private property. It is an interesting piece of architecture as the walls are built in a way that gates of neither the upper fort nor the lower fort can be seen unless you are very close, it was a strategic move to mislead the enemy forces.

Photo of Pratapgad__Fort, Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Pratapgad__Fort, Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Pratapgad__Fort, Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

View from Points, Mahabaleshwar

Photo of Pratapgad__Fort, Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

No visitor should missed the stunning sunrise and sunset in Mahabaleshwar. One of the best places to witness the incredible spectacle in Arthur's seat (Sunrise) & in Bombay point (Sunset).

Back to hotel, enjoy evening roaming around the market and drinking strawberry shake.

12 Jan: Mahabaleshwar / Satara / Kolhapur (178 kms / 05 hrs approx.)

Day was started with good breakfast and after my bull was fueled, we were off to Satara and then to Mahabaleshwar. The drive was just awesome !! Road was clean, no traffic, over the ridge.. you will have some most beautiful points which will forced you to stop and parked your motorbike, & have photo session. ...something which you never want to miss it in your life..hold you until too late !!

Descending road passing through one of the many local villages, surrounded by agriculture landscape & followed by mountain ridges. During driving every folds will give a a great view and will amazed you to stop there..!!

After a drive of 36 kms, we were in a small town - Sahyadrii village. We took slight right turn on unmetalled road and were on the edge of Kanher lake (Near to Kanher dam).

Left our bike in muddy land near Kanher lake

Photo of Kanher Dam Backwater, Satara, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

View of Kanher lake

Photo of Kanher Dam Backwater, Satara, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Day 4

Off to Satara, roughly after 22 kms, we were in Satara - The name Satara was given at ancient times due to the 7 hills that surrounded the city. Unfortunately, time doesn't allowed us hence we didn't able to do the visit of Satara.. but it's on my list for my next trip..there is so much for us to offer... Kaas plateau (Mini Valley of flower) - The plateau is full of wild flowers during the months of August & September, Sajjangad fort and Ajinkyatara fort.

We headed towards Kolhapur on Bangalore-Mumbai highway. The drive was cool and delightful. About 50 kms from Satara lies the small town of Karad. Karad is important because it lies at the confluence of Koyna & Krishna rivers. The eating joints between Satara & Karad are awesome and this is one highway stretch where you will see a lot of mutton & bhakri (Maharashtrian chapati) joints. Please out to these joints for sure !!

About 75 kms from Karad lies the sugar capital of India - Kolhapur!! Kolhapur has a great history attached to it as it said Mahalakshmi killed Kolhasur - the demon on whom the city is named. Set in the banks of the Panchgangaa river, Kolhapur is the home to the famous Mahalakshmi Temple..!!

Kolhapur is also known for it's chappals, lavangi mirchi and spicy cuisine. Check-in at hotel Kohinoor square.

When you are in Kolhapur, do not miss the Chatrapati Shahu Maharaj Museum - a palace converted in to a museum, a historical site displaying the rich heritage of Shahuji Maharaj, and his dynasty. The visiting time (Tues to Sun) is 09h30 to 13h00 & 14h30 to 18h00, Monday is closed.

View of Kohlapur railway station

Photo of Kolhapur Railway Station (C. Shahu Maharaj Terminus), Shahupuri, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Evening enjoy the city ride and visited local market on Mahadwar road in front of Ambabai temple, famous for street shopping.

13 Jan: Kolhapur / Ratnagiri / Ganpatipule (158 kms / 05 hrs approx.)

Day 5

Early morning we went to Mahalakshmi temple, Kolhapur's most visited site for hundred's of years and even today it's brings most tourists to the city. Our tour would be completely incomplete without spending sometime at the iconic Mahalakshmi temple.... "Home of Peace and incarnation of new life"

Photo of Mahalaxmi Temple, Mahadwar Road, B Ward, C Ward, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Inside of Mahalakshmi Temple

Photo of Mahalaxmi Temple, Mahadwar Road, B Ward, C Ward, Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Back to hotel and after breakfast we were ready for new experience on the way to Ganpatipule via Ratnagiri. While, we were crossing across the old bridge at end of city, we suddenly saw a beautiful scenic on our left side, an ancient temple on the banks and a small jetty. It was Panchaganga ghat, one of the oldest spots of Kolhapur. The civilization of kolhapur began on the banks of river Panchaganga. The beautiful scenic look at the river from jetty though shivaji bridge is worth a snap at anytime.

About roundly 11 Km, we were in Kerli village crossing, where the right turn will take you to Jyotiba temple - Jyotiba temple is located in north-west of Kolhapur in the Panhala range, attitude of 3124 ft above the sea level. The temple is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas and it's also called Kedarnath and wadi Ratnagiri. Mythology says, Jotiba helped Mahalaskhmi in her fight with the demons and he founded his kingdom on this mountain.

We kept visit of Jyotiba temple on our list for next trip, so we proceed straight to Ratnagiri.

After going straight about 11 km, there is slight right turn from main road for Panhala fort. While moving further on this route we saw remnants of the huge forts in top of the hill, it was Panhala fort - one of the most historically significant fort in Maharashtra. It once acted as the capital of the Karveer Sansthan (Kolhapur). It's known for the historic escape of Shivaji Maharaj from this fort to Vishalgad fort, when Siddhi Jouhar surrounded the fort.

On the way back from Panhala fort to catch the main road (where we took slight right turn from main road) someone told me to take another way which goes through local village and meet on the others side of the main road (Kolhapur - Ratnagiri road). We took right decision,otherwise we would unaware of this unseen beauty!! .. it was a descending narrow unpaved route passing inside the local village.. and you can feel the local life passing by you and you are one of them .it was just awesome to be there!!

(If someone is interested in trekking then they can do 02 nights / 01 day trekking from Pawangad fort to Panhala fort).

After running 50 kms, we were on Amba ghat. Had a treat of our life riding through this wonderful stretch of Amba Ghat. A small S-Curve between two cut sections of a mountain and as they're over my eyes were left wide open. It was something like being shot out of a canon right into space.

Amba Ghat is situated on the Western Ghats at the height of 3100 feet. Amba is actually a reserve forest area which falls in the buffer zone of the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve and Dajipur Bison Sanctuary. Today, Amba Ghat is a a beautiful hill Station in Maharashtra, unlike other hill stations it has limited tourist traffic and was recently awarded the world heritage status. Amba's serene and natural surroundings make it a complete de-stress zone and one can spend hours staring at the silent valleys below. Amba ghat is blessed with a rich variety of flora and fauna and being amidst of the Dajipur Bison sanctuary, it is a bird watcher's paradise offering a wide variety of wildlife.

Ratnagiri is hardly 60 kms from Amba ghat. Roughly about 01h30 min of driving, we started feeling the humidity in the air and understood that we are in Ratnagiri - Home of Alphonso mango, birth place of Lokmanaya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, prime leader of India's freedom movement, a port city on the Arabian sea coast, untouched & beautiful beaches & Konkani cuisie!!

Situated in pretty surrounding, Ratnagiri is blessed with hills, sea shores, creeks, beautiful rivers, hot water springs, forests and waterfalls and offers a rejuvenating experience to travelers.

Our quest for ocean was full filled once we saw it from Ratnadurg fort. It look like that it was a endless journey of ocean to meet the sky and at the end there is clean, flat line where the earth seems to meet the sky..!!

While going from Ratnagiri to Ganpatipule on main highway, you need to take left turn, follow the road beside the jetty and pass through a small deserted road into the hillock to arrive at the Ratnadurg fort.

Ratnadurg Fort located on a hill-top in Ratnagiri surrounded by Arabian Sea on three sides. This fort was built during the Bahamani rule. In 1670, Shivaji conquered the fort from Bijapur ruler Adil Shah. In 1790, one Dhondu Bhaskar Pratinidhi rebuilt the fort, and strengthened its ramparts. The fort has the shape of a horseshoe, with a length of 1,300 meters and a width of 1,000 meters. It is also popularly known as Bhagwati mandir as there is a Bhagwati mata temple in the fort premises. The fort was used as a watch point for keeping a vigil on the pirates.

View from Ratnadurg fort

Photo of Ratnadurg Fort, Bhagwati Fort And Light House, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Making fishing Vessel boat near Ratnadurg fort

Photo of Ratnadurg Fort, Bhagwati Fort And Light House, Ratnagiri, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

The distance from Ratnagiri to Ganapatipule is around 20 km (follow the coastal road), but for us, it felt like it’s the heaven, and you don’t want to be out of heaven, so we never wanted that road to end. it was pure coastal road, with land at high place. The view of the sea was so beautiful, the best road I have ever been. We see all those beautiful sceneries ..!!

Upon arrival, check-in at hotel.

Soon after getting into the room, we decide to have a bath and then sometime in to the beach to see awesome sunset. There is saying by Kristen Butler "Sunsets are the proof that no matter what happens, everyday can end beautiful".

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Untouched beach on the way to Ganpatipule

Photo of Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Ganpatipule is a town on the Konkan Coast of western India. It’s known for its beaches, such as Ganpatipule Beach and nearby Aare Ware Beach. Untouched by commercialism Ganapatipule makes for a great destination for peace-seekers, beach lovers and pilgrim alike.On Ganpatipule Beach, the centuries-old Swayambhu Ganpati Temple is a pilgrimage site and houses a large orange statue of Ganesh. Confluence of beach with river could be witnessed along with a hill shaped like Ganpati, the Hindu God of worship. The village of Ganapatipule is famous for its 400-year-old Ganesha temple. The idol is said to be a self-created monolith of Lord Ganesha, allegedly discovered 1600 years ago.

Today we were bit tired hence went to bed early after having dinner.

14 Jan: Ganpatipule

We woke-up early to see Ganpati temple (Ganpati Bappa Mourya) on sunrise. It is a neat temple having carvings of Astha VinayakGanpati on it's outer walls along with other Goddesses. There is a huge mouse at the entrance of the way to the temple. The temple has a shining 'kalash and 'Trishul' on its top. The temple is overlooked by the mountains behind it and the shining clean beach and the sea in front. We were lucky enough to be present as the aarti started. You feel like "You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea".

Day 6

Later we want to the sea, it is a very clean & scenic stretch of silver sand. You can only appreciate a sea or ocean when you are watching it's waves sitting on it's wet sandy beach. The silver sands of Ganpatipule will beckon you over and over again.

Ganpati Temple in Ganpatipule

Photo of Ganpatipule Mandir, Ganpati Pule Road, Rajwadi, Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Later after breakfast we visited open air museum called Prachin Konkan. It show cases the traditional way of life of the region through life size models. Its a unique display, spread across 3 acres over hillside.

We went back to beach again in Ganpatipule, for the call of running waves and challenging them. We were forming human patterns on the sand and the coming waves were dragging it away. We had great time taking bath & jumping on a salty ocean waves.. you can feel each waves taking out the sand from your foots while its going back..!!! we were tried and so hungry, hence we went to local restaurant for incredible Konkani cuisine.. Konkan cruisine - with its incredible colors, tastes & textures - so irresistible, you want to indulge till your senses are completely satisfied.

Again, gone back to beach to see the sunset - each dropping sunshine telling us "life is good".Had again Konkani cuisine and back to hotel, had great sleep.

15 Jan: Ganpatipule / Harihareshwar (210 kms / 08 hrs approx.)

Photo of Prachin Konkan, Rajwadi, Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Prachin Konkan meseum

Photo of Prachin Konkan, Rajwadi, Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Enjoying Konkani cuisine in Ganpatipule

Photo of Prachin Konkan, Rajwadi, Ganpati Pule, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Day 7

Today we proceed early as it was a long drive to Harihareshwar. It was quite a good coastal ride of 20 kms from Ganpatipule to Jaigad. On the way, we stopped at Malgund beach for a while. The secluded beach of Malgund are worth viewing. Malgund beach is one of most underrated beaches we had ever seen. If you are someone who feels that nature gives you peace, or you wants to stay away from crowded places than this is your best gateway!!! Malgund is also the birth place of well known Marathi poet - Keshavsoot.

With in min. of driving from Malgund, we were in Jaigad, from where we will take our first ferry to Tavsal. As we have time, so we decided to do the visit of Jaigad fort. Jaigad fort is quite nearby from the place, against at a high hill. There was no entry fees, and there is nothing much to see, but the view of the sea was awesome, with the main reason being, the fort was located at a hill with one side completely covered with sea. There is a light house and a Ganesh temple in the premises of Jaigad fort.

Oh yeah!! while driving from Malgund to Jaigad, you will drive-pass through Jindal power plant & beautiful Jindal Jay Vinayak Temple.

The ferry boat services from Jaigad to Tavsal, carries light vehicles along with passengers across the creek. Jaigad creek is actually meeting of the Shashtri river and Arabian sea. Jaigad creek is lined with beautiful palm & coconut trees along its course. For protecting Jaigad creek, two forts were build - Jaigad fort to the south & Vijaygad fort to the north. While sailing on ferry boat, you might experience Indian dolphins.

Jay Vinayak Temple at Jaigad

Photo of Jai Vinayak Temple, Kachare, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

View from Jaigad fort

Photo of Jaigad Fort, Jaigad, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Front gate of Jaigad fort

Photo of Jaigad Fort, Jaigad, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

15 km road patch from Tavsal to Velneshwar was very bad and congested. There was quite lots of uphills and downhills driving. On the way we drive-pass Hedvi village (5 km before Velneshwar). Hedvi is known for the temple of Dashbhuja (Ten armed) Ganesha. On the outskirts of Hedvi is a place called as Baman Ghal, which is a gorge from which sea water gushes out during high tide making a fountain about 20 ft high. The drive form Hedvi to Velneshwar was through the winding & bumpy road full of greenery is worth the effort. Soon we were in Velneshwar temple, it was located at the bottom of hill, at the seashore only. We parked our bike in front of the temple, under a peepal tree. Velneshwar Shiva temple is famous and thronged by many devotees throughout the year. There are other temples such of Lord Ganesha, Lord Vishnu & a Nandi bull within the premises.

Velneshwar is a small village, largely populated by the fisherman community. Here there is not much to do except for relaxing, swimming in the sea, watching Dolphins and enjoying the delicious Konkani cuisine. Velneshwar gets its name from the temple of Lord Shiva.

Velneshwar Shiva temple in Velneshwar

Photo of Velaneshwar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

After having a pleasant cum spiritual time in Velneshwar, we drive towards next destination, Guhagar, which was roughly 18 km from here. The road condition was still remain same, very bad and its something like before making the concrete road, pave the road with stone. However while driving on the road, you will feel the musky smell in the air, this is the season for the Alphonso mango trees to bloom. We reached Guhagar - A white sand beach. It was a quaint little village, primarily dominated by the Brahmin community engaged in the trade of mango and betel nut. At the centre of Guhagar lay the Vyadeshwar Shiva temple, a deity of many Brahmin families. Guhagar has long & wide golden sand beach, unspoiled & serene. The beach is sparkling clean. There are benches placed at the tree shades, and also some arrangements for children to play. Quite a good place to time pass, and also with the string wind from the sea, it was a good experience. After having a pleasant time in beach we proceed Anjanvel , roughly 13 km. From here at Dhopave jetty we took second ferry boat to cross Vashishti river and hop-off at Dabhol jetty.

The ruins of Gopalgad fort is situated in Anjanvel. The fort is located on prominent and commanding point for guarding the trade route along the Vashishti river.

We started journey from Dabhol jetty to Dapoli (roughly 27 km), this is a coastal route with amazing scenes around. Dapoli has one of the longest stretch of beach in the entire Konkan stretch. The beaches starting from Dabhol, stretches through Ladghar and Karde right uptil Kelshi. Most of these beaches are connected but for a few creeks in between and the adventurous can try a bike ride over the rocky stretches to reach the adjacent beach. Dapoli is also called as camp Dapoli as British set their camps in Dapoli. Many high rank British officer's graves are in this town. Dapoli also has an old abandoned church from British time.

As it was a long drive to Harihareshwar hence we were just driving-by and feeling that we need to come again especially to explore this region.... which have one of the best untouched and unexplored beaches..We just drive pass from Ladghar, Karde, Murud, Palande & Harnai beaches.

If you planing for longer stay you can include Fish market of Harnai - is a interesting place to visit especially during the auction with which happen everyday. The twin sea forts of Suvarnadurg & Kanakdurg in Harnai (Kanakadurga is the land fort & Suvarnadurg is the sea fort) is another attraction that could be made part of program. There are many noteworthy temples also in Dapoli. The Keshavraj & Vyaghreshwar temple are also worth visiting. You can also include Budhist cave of Panhalekaji & Unhavare hot sulphur springs near Dapoli.

Inside of Dev Vyadeshwar temple, Guhagar

Photo of Guhagar, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

From Harnai, we took the road towards Khem. After 15 min drive we were in the bridge over Anjarle creek. After crossing the bridge we were in Anjarle. Anjarle is 26 km from Dapoli and it's a small port located near the mouth of Jog river. Anjarle is famous for the Ganpati temple, situated on a hilltop overlooking the beach. Ganpati temple is known as "Kadyavarcha temple". You can get a magnificent view of the thick plantation of coconut trees, betel nut trees, Suvarnadurg fort,blue sea and surrounding hills from the top.

Later we proceed to Ade which was only minute of driving from Anjarle. Ade is famous of ancient Shree bhargavram temple. Ade is one of the places in Konkan which houses a Lord Parshuram temple, the other one is in Chiplun. The road to Ade beach is a pleasant one passing through coconut & betel nut trees. Beach is clean and unexplored. After having a pleasant time in the beach we proceed to Kelshi which is hardly 5 kms from here. Its famous for Swayambhiu Mahalakshmi temple - located at the base of the Utambar hill, enclosed in a stone wall fortification. It was build during peshwa regime. One of the main attraction of Kelshi is a naturally formed sand dune on the south side of bharja river. The famous Yaqub Baba Darga is located in Kelshi at a distance of about 01 km from the Mahalakshmi temple. Back from the temple, we drove to Bankot, from there we need to take ferry for Bagmandla and then off to Harihareshwar, which was hardly 5 km away.

It was same coastal ride through Velas beach - Velas is a small Eco-village, which is famous for the Olive Ridley turtle population that visits the Velas beach every year and lays their eggs. In Velas, turtle conservation movement is undertaken by the local villagers. in Velas, you can also visit Bankot fort or himmatgad fort.

We took ferry boat from Bankot to Bagmandle (took 8 to 10 min sail us to other side). We were extremely tired that day, hence after coming out from the ferry, without wasting anytime, eagerly rushing to Harihardeshwar. After a minutes of driving, we reached our destination. Rushed to the room and off to shower !!! We postponed the plan next day morning to visit the temple. After having konkani food, jump to the bed without staying good night..!

16 Jan: Harihareshwar / Alibagh (110 kms / 05 hrs approx.)

Day 8

Next day morning we took our own time to woke-up, had decent breakfast at local restaurant and walked to Harihareshwar temple, it was just a walking distance from our hotel.

Harihareshwar - A land believed to be blessed by Lord Vishnu and proclaimed as "Devghar" "house of god"& Harihareshwar temple is of foremost importance religiously. Promulgated as the "Dakshin Kashi" (Kashi of south India) Harihareshwar with its temple complex deities of Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma along with the temple of Kalbhairav & Yogeshwari is an important pilgrim centre. Harihareshwar is surrounded by four holy hills Harihar, Harshinachal, Bramhadri & Pushpadri. Harihareshwar is a region in Konkan which is amazingly beautiful with hills playing the prefect foil for long stretch of pristine beach.

Behind The Kalbhairav mandapa, a sign read "Pradakshina Marg" and pointed to a flight of stone steps that climbed into the adjoining hill. Please check with anyone around the temple about the conditions of the tide as its quite dangerous to go on this terrain during the high tide. The trail starts off with around 60 steps - 60 long steps & then you have to climb down round 140 narrow steps between a beautiful cut in the cliffs down to the sea. As you go around the cliffs, you see lot of interesting sea caves. The waves were quite strong and the splashing of the waves against the rocks was wonderful to look at.

The Harihareshwar beach is itself not recommended for swimming as there are strong currents close to the coast and the general public are advised against swimming.

After a blessed visit of temple, we were off to Alibag. Our first stop was Shrivardhan within 30 min drive and 20 kms from Harihareshwar. Shrivardhan is a small town and is famous for its beaches & Shri Laxminarayan temple. Its also famous as the "Town of the Peshwas" - the first Peshwa, Balaji Vishwanath hailed from here. Shrivardhan is blessed with majestic white sand beaches and clear sea. The town has been of historical & religious importance. Its believe Pandava warrior Arjun visited the town during his pilgrimage.

After having sometime on the beach we started driving to another famous beach Diveagar. A wonderful drive on the coastal road for around 30 min.This isolated road runs parallel to the sea with the cliff on one side and the sea, just off the cliff, as far as you can see, on the other side.The road stretches for a good 30 kms affording views of virgin beaches, fishing villages, natural rock formations etc. You will drive by some of the virgin beaches like Aaravi beach & Kondvil beach. If you are a fan of seafood, then the fish market of Bharadkhol is for you..!! you can make a quick stop in Bharadkhol fish market while going to Diveagar. Every morning about 8, the fisher boat ported near this village. from here Diveagar is just 7 km ..!!

Diveagar shot up in popularity after a serendipitous discovery of a golden mask of the elephant god Ganesha. Diveagar has long stretch of black sand beach and village is full of beetle nuts, jack fruits and banana plantains. The access to the beach is covered with "Belu" plants and looks like a fence of the beach. Lord Suvarnaganesha temple is the main attraction of tourist visit. We were unfortunate that, couldn't able to visit the temple. However, we kept it for our next trip..!!

After spending sometime in beach, we were on our route to Dighi (15 kms) to board on the ferry to other side at Agardanda jetty. From here Rajapuri village is hardly 4 km, with in a minute of drive we were in Rajapuri to visit Murud-Janjira fort. Janjira is a local name for a fort situated on an island just off the coastal village of murud. Janjira fort is situated on an oval-shaped rock off the Arabian sea coast near the port town of Murud. Janjira is considered one of the strongest marine forts in India. The fort is approached by sailboats from Rajapuri village.

The visit of Janjira fort was cancelled, hence we sat at local restaurant, New sea rock at port,offer some amazing views of the impregnable Janjira fort. After having our lunch on open area restaurant we off to our next destination.

The journey from Rajapuri jetty to Kashid is about 40-55 min and the views are some of the best. After a point of time, you are driving on the road with ocean on one side and the hills on the other. en route you can also visit Padmadurg fort.

Padmadurg fort- Padmadurg fort also known as Kasa Fort (Marine fort).It was constructed by the incredible Maratha ruler King Shivaji to the northwest of the fort Janjira. It was built mainly to conquer the fort Janjira. Its located further head in the sea and can be visited with the help of local boatmen. Padmadurg doesn't have a proper place to dock the boat and one should be careful while getting on and off the fort.

View of Janjira fort from by new sea rock restaurant

Photo of Murud-Janjira Fort, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

On route you can also can stop for a while at Nandgaon beach - a very silent and secret beach. The coconuts trees planted on the side of beach really adds the beauty to the beach.

With in a minute we were on Kashid beach, just stop for a while and enjoy the charm of beach, refreshed and drive towards Alibag. Kashid is popular mainly because of its white sand, curvey beach shape, mountain behind beach and beautiful sea.

Now onward you will find all crowded beaches till Mumbai as they are famous weekend gateway for mumbaiker..!!

Alibag is hardly 40 km from Kashid. The drive was same through coastal line, driving by Korlai fort, Revdanda, Nagaon.

Korlai fort, surrounded by sea on three side and eastern side by creek, in name of "Kundallike".The fort is situated at the mouth of the creek. Korlai fort is situated betwen two villages, Marathi fisher-folks on one side and other side, the residents of the fishing village speak a dialect of the Portuguese. Both sides of the villages are straddled by the sea. The Korlai fort built by the Portuguese in 16th century.

Nagaon is nearly 7 km from Alibag. The Nagaon beach lies between Alibag & Revdanda. Its lined with Suru plant (Casurina plant) and clean & white sand beach.

Revdanda beach is a very isolated beach and is situated near the fort. The sand is black in color. Revdanda fort is an ancient Protuguese fort, located at the mouth of the Kundalika river. The periphery of the fort is around 5 km. the entire fortification has two main doors one from north & the other from south.

We finally reached Alibag, our hotel was right on the beach of Alibag. After quick power nap, we were on the beach with full energy. Overlooking the beach right in front of us in the middle of the sea was a grand castle " the Kolaba fort" . The Kolaba fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj on 1652. Its located 2 kms into the sea at Alibag's beach.

We were on the beach at late afteroon, which was a good time because it was low tide. One can walk to the fort during low tide in less than ankle-deep water. Instead of walking in the water we chose to go by horse-cart.. its worth going by horse-cart and you will surely enjoy the ride...!! while riding we could see pattern left by the water as it had receded. Though it must have been a grand fort at one time, built to keep an eye on the naval activities of the British, Portuguese and Siddhis, the fort lies in ruins now, except the temple in the centre, which is fairly well maintained. Its still possible to walk on some portions of the fort walls, and the view from there is breathtaking!!

After coming back from fort. We decided to walk on wet sand and enjoy the sunset.. its was absolutely fabulous!!

Photo of Kolaba Fort, Kolab, Fort, Alibag, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Enjoying low tide from Kolaba fort, Alibag

Photo of Kolaba Fort, Kolab, Fort, Alibag, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Horse-cart standing outside Kolaba fort during low tide

Photo of Kolaba Fort, Kolab, Fort, Alibag, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Sunset view from Kolaba fort, Alibag

Photo of Kolaba Fort, Kolab, Fort, Alibag, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

After sunset, we went back to hotel and had a satisfied dinner and went for a tight sleep.

17 Jan: Alibagh / Rewas / Mumbai

Woke-up at our own pace. After had a decent breakfast, drive to Rewas jetty which was 22 km from here. It was normally highway drive and in 30 min we were in Rewas jetty. There is two points, to go to Mumbai by ferry from Alibag. One is Mandwa jetty & another is Rewas jetty. From Mandwa, you will catch the ferry to Gateway of India but you can't carry your vehicle, its not allowed on it. But from, Rewas jetty you can take your vehicle (only motorbike or bicycle) but the ferry will goes to Bhaucha dakka.

Sunset at Alibag

Photo of Alibaug Beach, Alibag Beach Road, Main Beach, Koliwada, Alibag, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Day 9

The ferry operates every 1 hrs (roughly) from Rewas, so we need to wait there for a while and enjoyed vada pav in local restaurant..!!!

The ferry took around 1 hrs to reach Bhaucha dakka. We sat on the lower deck of the ferry. It was different experience sailing in the Arabian sea. We were passed by many huge ships, cruises and yacht. Seeing coal loading activity from ship into small boat using big crane from few feet distance was a great experience.

Local waiting at Revas port

Photo of Revas, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Candy & jelly vendor at Revas port

Photo of Revas, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

Waiting for ferry at Revas port

Photo of Revas, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan
Photo of Revas, Maharashtra, India by Vivek Rauthan

After reaching at Bhaucha dekka, we drive to our hotel which is located near to the airport through our google map..!!

We said thanks to our bike, which take care of us in whole tour :) Handover the bike to the rented company. In night, we celebrated our successful conquered of Maharashtra by chill beer (we always say child instead of chill).. and said thanks to god for taking care of us and making it successful. off to the bed.

18 Jan: Flight back :)

Took the taxi for airport to fly back to our respect destinations.

This was a magnificent and memorable tour. We felt more closer, proud & respect for our culture & traditions ...... indeed India is 'Incredible' with vibrant colors ..!!

We finished our tour by this quotation : "He who returns from the journey is not the same as he who left"

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