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Meet me - know me - read my posts and try to figure me! Well I am someone who is always thirsty for adventure, someone who simply hates playing sheep(u know the types - follow the herd!). An enthusiastic trekker, who loves to travel and ever ready for one of those wierd new found sports- luv to make new friends and njoy being my family's pet :)!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Konkan Bike Trail (Day 4 of 5)

Day 4
The day started pretty loose, with us catching the start of day at roughly 8am or so. Slowly we lazed off the slumber and were chatting at the corridor, here we befriended our neighbors. They too were on a "Coastal Ride" by their car North-South, so that sure did instill a lot of respect for our new-found friends, also helped them with all sorts of directions and cautions they need to take on their "drive" down. Cleaning up the bikes and hogging on amazing pohe, sheera and tea later we took a shower and decided to hike upto sunset point (we did want to see this Bandya's much hyped sunset point!).

So by ~9:45 we were on our our way to the temple. The road and the mandir alley was full of devotees, tourists and shopkeepers alike. Soon we waded our path through the crowd and eventually were on our way up a fleet of steps. A small path later we were climbing up a small footpath through thick bushes leading to to the top of a hill. Once up, we were blessed with an amazing sight. Water on all three sides and just enough ground for say some 5 people. Here we perched ourselves on a rock and sunk in the portrait that nature drew for us. From here we could see some people walking on the rocky beach far below, we were very fortunate to spot many dolphins!

Some snaps, lots of talk and enough silence to take in the calm later we backtracked our way down the hill, then steps off the mandir and seated ourselves at a little tea store for a cup of hot tea and wada paav :).
It was roughly 10:30am (832.6 kms) when we were astride our steeds thumping off the quint village of Harihareshwar. The roads from here took us over familiar terrain with the untouched beaches our left and wild road besides it. The road would go over twisting over and away from the hills at regular intervals giving us some spectacular sights of the distant beaches. I would not call the roads good- they were 30kmph or less roads. Soon we passed through Sriwardhan, but decided to give it a pass. Enroute we passed by many fishing colonies and could spot hoards of fishing boats and 'kolis' in the distance, the stench of fish was unbearable at certain points of the ride- we did get used to it. Soon at one point Nachiket stopped so did I- Bandya was missing. The last I'd seen him wa s taking some pictures of the distant fishing settlements.

Nachi decided to backtrack and hunt for Bandya as I stay put taking pictures of some playful langoors (11:30am, 866.7kms). In less than say 10mins or more both came thumping in- we were in no mood to know why Bandya was delayed and gave his smile a pass :). Soon we rode to Diveagar and followed Bandya's lead to take a right towards Borli (We really did not want to do that, since we thought of riding straight onto Dighi). But still we went on Borli and halted for te a yet again missing Bandya, who soon teamed in for tea. The hotel owner was probably a popular figure as he seemed to know everyone who visited his shop, also he was a helpful chap- gave us good directions to get to Dighi and also said that the decision to ride via Borli was good since the direct link through Diveagar was a very bad patch of road (kudos Bandya). Here we learnt that Bandya had bought a 'Halwa' fish from the kolhi's and a bargaining session for the right price had made me wait with the langoors :).

So Dighi (a boat ride to Agardanda/Rajapuri) was our next destination which was some 15kms away. The road went through the city center of Borli, so thick traffic and soon we were on smooth tarmac. The speeds obviously took a needle up. The road for the most part had some dry farms on both sides separated by bush fencing. We did stop for our routine leak, and when we left Bandy a sped off and his priced fish dropped off his saddle bag. Nachi and me tucked in the parcel and decided to trick Bandya over the "loss" of his fish. Now we had some fun to look forward to. Soon the roads got smoother and got amazing as it started to twist and twine through the hills. The road was just too good, it started taking a descent from the hills and went down straight to the distant town of Dighi. We could see the creek and the landmass on the other side from this distance.

Dighi was like any other coastal town, just that it was too crowded with tourists and school children (on a picnic) who were here either to take a boat or just got off it. A few inquiries got us winding through the very narrow streets and we eventually got to the jetty only to learn that the next earliest boat was at 2pm. (12:25pm, 884.9kms). Dejected- yes we were. The sun was beating down on us and skipping the boat meant we had to ride around the creek via Mahasala (truly coastal though, haha...) to Agardanda/Rajapuri which would add ~40-50kms. Decision was made- took a few snaps and off we were.

Retraced the road via the hill and smooth tarmac. This is when "lady luck" danced her way off our back. We were at ~80kmph, I was trailing Bandya and he had just narrowly missed a truck in the opposite direction, Nachi was trailing us way back at 'sane' speeds. At a bend to the right a motorcyclist was headed straight for me on the wrong side, nothing could be done to avert an accident (we banged along along our sides). I stopped within 20 meters of the crash and could still see plastic fragments flying and bouncing off the road, the other guy scared to his guts zipped away as I ran after him yelling. A quick inspection revealed nothing had broken off my vehicle, all plastic was his :). Cleaned the road of the plastic mess as the 3 of us regrouped. My foot peg had taken a bad hit and the guard rail and side fibre were bent. Nothing serious. Caution advices from Nachi -later we rode on.

The ghat road came to an end and we saw the Mahasala board asking us to take a left. So off were were to our next new destination- Mahsala. Mahsala is sort of a central town, for access to the coastal destination on the Murud and Diveagar sides of the creek, when riding down from NH-17. We were expecting crowds there. The roads were pretty much the same with fields and distant hills to the right and fields ending up to the water bodies in the distance to the left. The road did get narrow and wide at regular intervals and took a mood of of its own as it got flavors of bad and g ood in patches. Passing through various little towns and hills we were at Mahsala (1pm 911.1kms). The town was bustling with life- vehicles, humans ,cattle, dogs etc. all seemed to have emerged off nowhere.

From Mahasala we took an acute left (almost a 'U') and went on straight aiming for Agardanda. The roads were no w in a consistent bad shape- very bumpy- bad-on-ass roads. The sights were no different just that the roads seemed to be longer. The roads went up and down over the non-rhythmic bumps mandating Bandya and me to stand at regular intervals like rockstars on a performance- Nachi was undeterred and sat like a zombie bumping a consistent slow speeds. His ass had had enough, and by now he was complaining - which meant it was BAD. We had no option but to carry on. Soon we rode past Mandad, quick directions stated we go still ahead on the bumpy roads. Many an occasion I would speed off ahead and wait for the bullets to make an appearence- Bandya decided to ride slow with Nachi.

Soon we rode by Agardanda and now were nearing Murud riding past vast barren fields and horticulture ponds. Finally the familiar si ghts of island fort of Janjira made its grand appearance as wer e we rode over the hill that presented us with some amazing sights of the ocean. The roads had gotten worse by now. Soon we took a left and got down via Rajapuri and eventually though the thin Kolhi settlements and again up via the hill side then zig zagging down the turns down-hill and eventually though the bazaar to Murud.

The famous "Patil Jevanalay" was our destination for lunch - this place was packed with tourists. (2:30pm, 956.9kms) All tables were full and many tourists were lazing around in the compound and many other were feasting over nit-bits from the cart vendors. The wait here did let us relax and freshen us up. The crowds showed no signs of retreat, we decided to pick on some other hotel. Quick inquiries led us to a nearby "Hotel Vinayak". Here we relaxed and leisurely munche d over our plates, the location of this hotel was good -bang along the beach. Food was pretty ok- nothing great -simple. The traffic snarls with the weekend crowds were a sight not to be missed. Post lunch Nachi decided to change over to shorts and ride the remaining distance in shorts- The rashes were very bad and the lack of airflow through denim only made matters worse. We did wait a long time in Murud, and also took some anti-rash treatment advise from the hotel owner.

By 4pm we were ready to leave- 2 attired as riders and 1 as a weekender in shorts. The road from Murud to Alibaugh is very good and we knew the bumps were to be a thing of the past. We were correct. The road went straight on, later twisting up hill and eventually down consistently keeping the ocean to our left. At one spot we took a halt for some pictures, the sights were simply too good. The road had its own share of jeeps stuffed with weekenders. Eventually we rode down the bridge near Revdanda, past which we were under the thick canopy of trees as the smooth roads led via the town of Revdanda, very soon we were at Chaul. At Chaul naka, Nachi decided to visit a temple there (his village temple) as Bandya and me took a break at a local tea store near Chaul-naka. (5:05pm, 991.6kms). In roughly 20mins Nachi joined us and shared an incident of some local garland sellers where one of them saved him from a jinx-curse :D. Here we made up our minds to check out for rooms at Nagaon itself (Nachi's village ..haha).

Riding though the thin road we soon arrived at a 'T' junction from where we took a left to get to the Nagaon village. The road was long and was lined with all sorts of hotels and shops. We decided to get till the end of the road and start hunting for hotels bottom up.
The road ended at the beach as the orange ball was settin g behind a canopy of palm trees. The place was full of parked vehicles (5:50pm, 1000.9kms). Hotel-man went about his mission to get us a room, while two of us relished on some gola and a local juice at a cart. We had to wait for long as we could see Bandya go from place to place and disappear. Soon he came in and said there were 2 options 1. A 'Wadi' (traditional house with a room and external toilet) and 2. Expensive hotel. We decided to check option 1. As we rode behind Bandya, he gave some elderly guy a lift. The path went through a backyard sorts and though very dense well planted trees and bang we were next to a 'Wadi'.

The old man's name was Mr. Nandu Apte and he was a very jovial and a friendly person. He showed us our room and it did have an attached toilet. Here we learnt that this was some other 'Wadi' we were at (Bandya gave us a detailed explanation later), but nonetheless it was excellent. We had our customary cups of tea. The room was neat - A double bed and and extra thick mattress. The huge quadrangle outside the room had a typical traditional homely setting complete with a swing. Here the 'Halwa' fish secet came to play as Bandya got totally dejected when he learnt- the fish went missing.(This we played with him before we reached Murud). So when our host asked us about dinner and Nachi said "what if we gave our own fish to cook", Bandya's eyes lit up and LO we revealed the black ice stuffed packet to him. Here we all had a hearty laugh. Bandya played like a kid, insane, with the fish. Soon he and Mr. Apte rode down to the cook's house who was to prepare dinner for us.

A quick freshen up later the 3 of us decided to walk down to the beach but be back by 9pm (dinner time). In shorts and under the stars we walked down the path though the over grown grass towards the shacks and carts near the beach. The drunks decided to get some bottles, so we took a hike along the road and get some from the 'special' store. A bit of decision making later we bought the brew and walked down to the beach. Soon we got through the pine trees and onto the beach. A bit of hunting later, we found ourselves a quiet and open spot where put ourselves to rest. Talking all sorts of things and admiring the distant constellations and the beautiful reflection of Venus over the ocean we started wading our discussion though our last 4 days. We recollected all sorts of memories - the one common thing we liked and shared was the extremely hospitable nature of the konkan village people. It was simply a different experience interacting with the locals; soft and every ready to lend a helping hand right from the family at Vengurla who let us a room to the locals who lent an unconditional hand of help for loading the bikes onto the boat to the smiling face of Mr. Apte. So many people to mention and words dont do justice.

Well that's how we got philosophical. Soon we spotted a bunch of high intensity torch lights in a distance and they were coming towards us. Fearing they might be the law, we quickly stuffed the bottles and snacks into the packets only to discover they were a bunch of local kids hunting for abondened bottles. All of us had a hearty laugh over the incident, the kids were in splits especially one who kept repeating "Kaka ghabarle... Police ale tar ghabarayeche nahi ..sarrr zada maghe paloon zayeche... Pan kaka ghabarle haaha" ("Uncle got scared... if the cops come then don't fear simply run behind the trees... but uncle got scared"). This unsettled Nachi and he snapped "ok guyz go away and shut those darn torches, these scared uncles will give you the bottles once they are empty". And then they left and we got back to where were ... wandering thoughts from one place to another. It was nearing 9pm and the bottles were empty so we took the track back off the sands to our 'Wadi'.

On the way back, handed over the bottles to the kids :) and the drunk went back to the shop to get more brew. Me and drunk2 returned and set our dining table outside the room in the spacious surroundings. Our host too liked the idea and presented the grand dinner to us before. Nachi arrived with another set of bottles as we got down much on the food. The dinner was amazing- I really cannot comment about the 'Halwa' fish(me a Veggy) but Bandya,Nachi did say it was delicious so did a cat who enjoyed the served fish haha. The lights went off partway for sometime and our host instantly came out to present us a lantern. The sight was amazing, the star ceiling was something we had not seen in a long time. Soon dinner was done and we tidied back everything into the room, as the lights came back.

We spent some time seated in the cold outside (the coolest in 4 days- our teeth were rattling). Had a lot of fun mimicking 'dakkus' 'puhpa bhabhi' 'batman' etc with a blanket each and pulling each others leg. Eventually we retired to our beds still playing like crazy .. slowly the day ended, maybe after 1am.

For next day too we decided to leave late as our destination was to be Mandwa and later return to Pune via Pen. It was hard to imagine our ride was coming to an end, none of us wanted it to end- but good things too have an ending and tomorrow was the day for the same.

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