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  1. What if I give you a package comprise of – Hills, sea, lakes, pristine beaches, seafood, nice resort , good roads and panoramic view - all for a very economical pricing and you cover all of these without any rush in just three days? Don’t turn your face away! As you keep reading this travelogue below, you can experience the beauty of the trip –so vast and versatile, no dispute –Konkan coast is one of the best road trips to do! The long weekend of 15th August was the reason enough to go and explore Konkan coast. This is one trip I shall always cherish for its simplicity and havoc journey through hills and lakes and coastal lines. The month was the busiest for me and I was drained out by the time I was set to fly to Pune for this journey. Continuous travelling for three weeks just made me run out of energy to pack my bag and fly to Pune for Konkan coast drive. However just after half an hour drive from Pune, the magic wheels flushed out all the toxins in my thoughts – “I am Tired!” Infact – I was on the road that changed my mood and became passport to one of the most memorable trips of 2017. Saturday Morning – I had a flight from Hyderabad Airport to Pune. My friend for Donkey years got his Nissan Terrano ready at the airport. We started the journey at 7 AM. He is very particular with his car! He would not let anyone touch the car . That was more like a pre independence celebration of my hands and legs before 15th August. Only things I kept myself engaged were - mouth to speak, eyes to see the scenic beauty and mobile phone for quick GPS guidance. However this trip would not have been successful without Nikhil Patel from India Drive. His guidance was simply Fantastic. Target destination was Devbagh, Tarkarli and Malvan Beach. We had no bookings for accommodations. We decided to go to Kholapur and take our first break. However once we stepped out of Pune, we had our first halt for a short tea break just below Khandala. The saga of hills, ghat roads can be seen from this spot. Your mind gets unloaded with the fresh air and highway speed as you keep climbing the ghat road! The road to Kholapur from Pune is pretty decent. It’s a four lane road. You definitely enjoy the beauty on both sides, can spot small mountains, breeze and light shower of the monsoon and seasonal flowers all over. Once we touched Kholapur, we decided to have lunch. We decided to have lunch at Dehati. This is one of the must try restaurants! The restaurant is very decent, have awesome dishes and try out the Kholapuri Thali! They serve in copper crockeries and utensils. The chaas is awesome and come in Kokkam mix and the mutton keema will activate your taste buds like a bomb! The food is so delicious, I could not imagine anything better can be offered for the lunch. They served each item one by one. This keep your food warm and just from the oven!. After Happy eating, was the time for real driving! We headed towards Radhanagri Road! One has to be really insensitive to ignore the beauty of this journey! The road takes you up to the mountain with Ghats on right side, seasonal water falls at every curve, forest and wild flowers, plants and greenery, fog and mist and farming land far away in some village as if painted by Dali of Maharashtra! . Incase you want to visit the dam /reservoir, you can take a look at the dam and do photography! Radhanagri has another beautiful feature. The quick changing weather can bring a lot of mist and fog on your way followed by canopy of trees, lush plantations, sneak peek of dears and monkeys. The beauty of the place is ornamented with seasonal waterfalls and then suddenly you realized you have reached the plateau which opens up to a super beautiful pristine lake. The lake is so huge and beautiful, you don’t mind stopping for sometimes and ideally enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings. No matter where you halt your car, you can either hear cricket, birds chirping or waterfalls! It is not recommended to go away without enjoying these scenic beauty and sound of nature. It is advised - lower down the window panes and step out of the recycled air in your car! We halted almost at every corner and clicked pictures of the seasonal waterfalls, plants, flowers and the greenery. The kingdom of clouds float all around the ghat road and bring plenty of peace. While standing at the edge of the lake, you do spot a temple on the other side of the lake. You cannot see any mankind but you know for sure, you are not alone in this mystic world of silence and nature. Without further delay, we headed towards Malvan. Another must worth mentioning part of the trip was– every tea stall you stop the car, you get fresh tea brewed in front of you! They use herbs, tea leaves and masala to brew your drink! What a taste…. Sometimes it does surpass elderflower essence So, to my surprise. This experience was very uniform throughout my journey for next three days. Kudos to all Aai who prepared tea on our way. It was towards the dusk, we reached Tarkarli beach. The beach road has plenty of houses for homestay. We decided to go and look for Maharashtra government lodge. I heard they are usually located at good spots and maintained well. It was quite big resort just on the shore. However the receptionist was more like he owns Hyatt and was rude enough on your face. He was upfront - take any room you want but tomorrow we might ask you to leave if we have people coming in. Without a second thought, I ticked off the spot off my list! However I did pay a quick visit to the cottages. I was happy I decided to quit. The charges were INR 3000 plus for a bed which has two blanket and a roof made of thatch! The light settings was like we are just taking off inside the flight . It was little frustrating to find a decent resort after we left the government resort. Since August is monsoon and off season, almost all the resorts were off and were closed. However you will find people are pretty helpful sending you to other resorts for accommodation. All come his way – he who waits – we finally reached a resort which was very decent and run by a local family. The cost of the room was INR 2000 which is very clean, well maintained, slim furniture – making enough space for two people, clean washroom with geyser, air conditioner and television. It had a big window facing the sea and a big balcony with two easy chairs for you to sit and enjoy the breeze. The property is in expanding mode. It has garden, plenty of space for further development. It opens up on Tarkarli beach. Once we dumped our luggage, we went straight to the beach. The neatness was quite high and unspoiled by mankind- the footfall is less in off season. It was quite interesting to see when fishermen return from fishing, you get van come to get the fishes directly from the boat to the van and go for trading at markets. This is indeed a great strategy to keep the beach clean. We did spend quite a long hour on the beach, letting the sound of the waves evaporate our tiredness for good. We did order sea foods. Almost all listed in the menu card were available for order. We didn’t hesitate to order promphet, prawns and chicken for the night! The cold breeze and beautiful night was enough for us to call it a day! Day 2 This day was for exploring Devbhag beach, Malvan Beach . We started our journey with Devbagh beach. Devbagh beach is known for water sports. Once you reach the beach, it has back water on the left and sea on the right. The point where the sea and the lake meets is really beautiful. You have plenty of people conducting water sports and sea trips. We negotiated for INR 500 and got to visit Dolphin point, Tsunami Island, Meeting point of Devgarh beach and lake. I was lucky to spot few dolphins in the morning otherwise it’s not so easy to spot one. The meeting point was very rough though for the boatman he said –“ no danger!” Tsunami Island is said to have formed in 2004 after Tsunami. This island get vanished during high tide, usually in the evening and again get visible next day morning! The best part is the sea walk. Once you reach close to the island, you need to get off the boat and walk to the island over the sea. One might think, you would drown soon, you realize the fun only when you land on the water. The guide told us, they can do snorkeling during peak season starting from October and the island get visitors like crazy during the day. It turns into a commercial spot during business season. After the water sports, you can take a leisure walk on the beach! Its quiet and peaceful surrounding! You can just walk and take a place of your own to enjoy the view of the waves. For Lunch we headed to atithi . It is a well-known place for Lunch and dinner. You get variety of fish and Konkani dishes. It’s been told the place is so popular that in peak season, you need to wait at least for 45 minutes to get a seat. After lunch, we had few more beaches to cover! We did cover the Rock Garden beach! The garden is very small but once you step towards the shore, you can see water blows which is a classic! The designed rocks on the edge and the natural beds of rocks are both -simply awesome and beautiful. If you want to get drenched, you can simply sit on a rock bed and enjoy the splash all over! Otherwise just enjoy the breeze and see the locals fishing using small baits for pleasure and fun! Take a drive further down to Malvan beach , visit the Sindhudurg fort , enjoy the sunet! We decided to take a lovely walk in our own resort beach! It was so quiet and peaceful, we went on walking for almost two hours one side and chit chat with few fisher men on the shore! Their journey for the day was over and they just were getting ready to march towards home! The sunset was beautiful, leaving a flavor for such pristine beach and tranquility in mind. Day Three Next day we wanted to start early and cover few beaches on our way! The locals informed us that Vengurla can be a nice spot for a trip and also thelight house. As we started around 8 am in the morning, to our surprise it was another beautiful road journey through forest, villages, ghats and waterfalls! The fresh air and the clouds over the sky was perfect to feel the cool breeze and smell of the earth! It takes you back from where we all come from! The surprise waterfalls and sudden ghats only leaves you packed with energy for the rest of the journey! Vengurla Light house was just a surprise for us. It has two ways . Road 1 – By walking and Road 2 - taking the vehicle directly to the light house on the top of the mountain. It was a wise thing to take the car all the way up to the lighthouse! The moment you start going up in the mountain, you start seeing a different topography! The road is lush with green plants and flowers, sneak peak of beach on the left, direction to more than five beaches on the right! As we approached towards the light house gate, we stared spotting peacocks, grazing goats and butterflies! It was just a mystery that such a hidden treasure was hiding on the top of the mountain. At times you are not fortunate to get everything! Light house gates were chained and closed. We tried ringing the number found on the gate for checking if someone responds. It went unanswered as well. However when He takes a thing away, He gives you back something better! After getting disappointed, we just decided to walk and follow the butterflies for some photography! Little did we know we were marching towards a zone from where you can have the entire view of the Vengurla beach , crazy waves on the rocky side of the shore, azure blue sky lined below with sky blue water of the ocean! . We didn’t bother to repent on driving up to a closed light house! We did silently sit on the edge and enjoy the heaven for at least 30 minutes. On our way to Sawantwadi, we did spend sometimes in three more beaches! Its interesting one stretch can have so many beaches hidden on the way! All of them are lovely and can be accessed easily! Though most of the beaches are secluded and have very less footfalls, use your discretion before going and the time of the day you are going to these beaches. We have spotted few people though, still a recommendation for your own safety. The beauty of the beaches are awesome. You have clean sand all over! As we keep driving towards Sawantwadi, we continued exploring the nature and its beauty! Some places are just stretched with palm trees, some stretch are full with coconut trees, some have lakes and some have mountains around both sides of the road. For lunch we halted at Sawantwadi. The restaurant is one of the most traditional dhaba with Konkani, Marathi dishes! I promise you won’t be disappointed in trying either fish or chicken or mutton! Just have patience… because almost every other car stops and crowd have lunch and move out. As we bid bye bye to the city, we were entering the zone of waterfalls! The monsoon and the weather just made Sawantwadi ghat so so beautiful. With every turn and curve, you see you are just one turn closer to the waterfalls and away from the sea level. Sawantwadi is no more the charming place it used to be before! Wherever there is mankind, there is destruction of nature! All I could hear, noise, scream and honking. Instead of fresh air, it was smell of cooked food, snacks and crackers. Instead of flowers and greenery, we can see plastic bottles and leftovers around! There was no point of seeing this damage and we drove further almost three kilometers ahead for our next stop. In a minute we were free from the nuisance and just parked our car next to a place where it was just covered with floating clouds! Right after Sawantwadi ghat, we left towards Pune. It was an extraordinary feeling when you see beauty of nature in so many different flavours! Just at the turn towards kholapur highway and not even 2 kms, we found a spot that will jaw drop you! This was again a lake with beauty unparalleled... The place is known as Ajra. You can simply park your car down and climb up a small mountain like structure and enjoy the nature and breeze for free! How beautiful life is when its simple and free. Only thing left in this journey was to go back to Pune! The holidays were over, the dates went to the books of history, phone was untouched almost two days except for photographs! As we started driving towards Satara, sipped fresh brew tea at stalls, enjoyed the sunset and evening breeze, only thing was on mind ..... In September .. I have my next destination on card... so lets get ready again!!!
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