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Posts Tagged ‘Sea forts’

Konkan bike trip: A Travelogue

Posted by itrekz on June 3, 2008

The prelude…
Standing on the edge of the bastion I was embracing the cool winds flowing offshore on one of those coastal forts in a serene village of Konkan, as my visions were filled with the seamless blending of the emerald green of the Arabian Sea and the Sapphire blue of the clear skies. The gushing sound of the water seemed to dissolve the golden sands on the shores of Suvarnadurga isle as the green frothed into effervescent white and the gold quietly surrendering to the might of the invading sea waves. Such was the magnificence of the beauty that nature bestowed us with in these two memorable days.

Two days, 570 kilometers, six forts and three tranquil villages is the concise material description of what we experienced on the just passed weekend. However, the real essence of those moments is just beyond vocabulary to express.

We all started out on the night of 30th May 2008 on our Konkan biking trail, which was supposed to cover six forts and nearby places of interest in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra. It was a long drive that we chose to embark on those dark nights on the Mumbai-Goa highway. Of course not many would recommend it, especially with the blaring lights in your eyes that the heavy vehicles throw and rush perilously close to the lining two wheelers. Unless you have the endurance to bear and keep your sights steady against those blinding headlights and endure through the sleepless night, please do not undertake such long night drives on two wheelers. We supposedly possessed these qualities and with a sane head on our shoulders decided to embark on the same tourney.

Embarking from Kalyan…
We started from Kalyan at 11.00 PM on Friday, 30th May night. It was me with my 125cc Honda Shine and Shailendra with his 125 cc Bajaj Discover starting from here. Raj was pillion to me and carrying a heavy backpack on his shoulders. We started out with cognizant minds of the long drive that the dark night had in store for us through those secluded roads. After a drive through traffic filled Shil phata-Panvel road, we reached Panvel at around 12.00 in the midnight. It was at Panvel that we were joined by Nilesh and Rohan Karande, the remaining two riders on the trail. Nilesh was pillion to Shailendra, while Rohan Karande was the lone rider.

So here was the complete team that grouped up and adjusted their backpacks and bikes and was ready to go. Shailendra with a patient head was supposed to stay in front and me in the rear, while Rohan Karande, the lone rider in between us. The pack quietly moved out of the Panvel city and that is when they began to feel the thinning density of road traffic and growing seclusion and darkness. Once they treaded along the Goa highway after bifurcation from the Mumbai-Pune road, it was a cool and calm ambience greeting us with in between glares of the opposing vehicular traffic. As planned earlier, we quickly saw Pen being left behind and approached Wadkhal Naka. We decided to have a break at Wadkhal Naka and helped ourselves with simmering hot cup of tea to stay alert and awake, not really J!

Reaching Mandangad…
After a brief session break at Wadkhal, we started on our journey further. Our next destination for the scheduled halt was supposed to be Mangaon. The metalled road of the highway quickly slipped under the tyres of three motor bikes as we breezed past Nagothane and Kolad. Moving across the lonely roads at a brisk pace and enjoying the cool winds under the twinkling stars was a treat, yet caution was of utmost importance. In a few while we reached Mangaon for our second round of tea. So did we, after nice filler with Omlette Paav we cherished the hot tea and geared up for further journey. Our next destination was direct halt at Sade village, approximately 11 Kms from Mandangad. Sade village was our base for the entire two day trip and more importantly it is the native village of Rajendra.

We reached Lonere and breezed past it and in a few while reached Veer Dasgaon. From Veer, we had to take a right turn and so did we. After few quite kilometers over a bit rough patch, we reached a bifurcation which indicated us a left turn to reach Mandangad via Mhapral village. A road was not the best we had seen so far, but surely was a lot better than the one we had in our stores for the next day.

We moved past Mhapral village and at a point, which indicates Mandangad as 11 Kms away, known as Shinale we had to leave the road towards Mandangad and take a left turn towards Sade village. After a bumpy ride of about 7 kms, we reached Sade, the native village home of Rajendra. It was 5.00 AM dawn and the village was up and awake. We were eagerly awaited and welcomed at Rajendra’s home by the neighbours. We dropped our sacks, stretched our stiffened backs and immediately went flat on the floor. It was a 180 Kms long drive on the dark boulevards and the last stretch being quite bumpy.

Rest awaited us and a much deserved one!

Reaching Dapoli…
We tried to sleep, but forget it. It was 7.00AM in the morning and we quickly woke up towards freshening up for a long day ahead: Consumed by biking.. fort visits… villages.. and much more!

Our next target was Dapoli via Mandangad. After a nice Tandulachi Bhakri with delicious Khobra-Mirchi cha thecha, we moved out on our bikes. We visited the Gaondevi mandir in the village and started towards Mandangad. One way towards Mandangad, one comes across Dapoli Phata to the left indicating a distance of 42 kms for Dapoli. We followed this route and it was bliss. The road was decently even with occasional bumps, but the lush green on either side of the road made it a perfect boulevard to ride on. The green and the intermittent cool breeze made it a pleasant experience.

After winding turns and ups and downs, 42 kms were rolled by and we reached Dapoli. Dapoli is quite a developed township and caters good facilities for tourists. We had a quick tea break and further moved on towards Harnai port, which was 13 kms further away from Dapoli. Actually, when we left the tea stall not many were actually impressed by the thought of further biking! Few kms more and we reached Harnai port.

Witnessing the Grandeur of Suvarnadurga…
We reached Harnai and for a bargain of 400 Rs in exchange for boating us to Suvarnadurga and back we hired a boat. Suvarnadurga looks magnificently secluded with its imposing tall fort walls and structures. It is not much far away from the shore and merely takes a 15 minutes boat sail to reach the shores of Suvarnadurga isle. As one steps on the golden sands of Suvarnadurga, one is amazed by the grandiosity of its architecture. The Mahadarwaja is nicely hidden and the fortifications quite intact. The landscape was perfect and the view just surreal. To know more about Suvarnadurga fort, click here…

https://itrekz.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/anjarle-suvarnadurga-kanakdurga-goa-and-fattegad/

After being mesmerized by the marvel of Suvarnadurga fort, one really wonders why this fort could not gain as much popularity like Janjira and Kulaba and such.

We sailed back towards Harnai port constantly turning back to see the imposing architecture of Suvarnadurga.

Kanakdurga, Fattegad and Goa fort…
The Sun was blazing harsh on us by now and it was nearing mid-day. The sweltering heat saw s perspiring profusely, but we made sure that we had adequate intake of fluids as well. After being charmed by Suvarnadurga, we quickly wrapped up the trio of Kanakdurga, Fattegad and Goa fort. Nothing much is to be seen and said about these three forts, other than that they must have served as mere watch towers and protection for Suvarnadurga. Kanakdurga is devoid of any ruins and now houses a Light house and few quarters for the staff manning the light house. Fattegad is completely non-existent and is now a densely populated Koli hutment. Goa fort does offer some nice views and has a Balekilla, which offers a topographic view of the fort as well as Kanakdurga and Suvarnadurga. Some ruins and a magnificent Mahadarwaja are all that is remaining on Goa fort.

We visited these three fort sand moved towards Anjarle village.

More about these forts at
https://itrekz.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/anjarle-suvarnadurga-kanakdurga-goa-and-fattegad/

Anjarle cha Kadya varcha Ganpati…
Anjarle is a small village nestled in the lush green Konkan belt of Maharashtra famous for its Kadya Varcha Ganpati Mandir. Just 4 kms away from Harnai port, we reached there in a jiffy. Later it was renovated during 1768 to 1780.

The temple at Anjarle is considered to be Jagrut devasthan and has one of those rare Ganesh idols with his trunk curved towards the right side (Ujvya sondecha Ganpati). The cliff offers a fabulous view of the landscape including the Suvarnadurg Fort. Beside the Ganesh temple there is a small but beautiful temple of Lord Shiva and a nearby pond with turtles and number if species of fishes. After quick visit to the temple we had a pure Konkan delight with simple poli-Bhaji-Chatni and Amti Bhat served in our dish. The Kairi-Khobra chatni was a treat. We had no less than a mini feast out there and at an amazingly economic price of Rs 40 per plate, and that too unlimited. The Kokam sarbat to top it was delight as well. After a heavy mid day meal, a 30 minute nap time saw all others except me and Shailya sleeping!

Reaching Bankot…
It was 3.30 Pm when we decided to have a move on. The road from Anjarle to Bankot was one of thw worst we had experience so far on this ride. We were surprised to know that it was actually a mud road with Tar craters in between. It was pathetically rough and able enough to loosen our stiffened bodies. An hour and half over these bumps saw us to Bankot village. A steep ascent riding on increased fuel consumption saw us near Bankot fort.

One hour was enough to have a good look at Bankot. The chor Darwaja, Mahadarwaja and all the ruins besides interesting history associated with Bankot saw us refreshed for a good Sun-set at Velas. We moved on towards Velas village.

Velas…
From Bankot village, proceed towards Velas village along the road which runs parallel to the coastline. Velas, the birth place of very diplomatic Nana Phadnis of the Peshwa is a very tranquil village merely two km from Bankot. The residence of Nana Phadnis, even though now in ruins, still bears testimony to the great person that Nana was. Calm beach and the perfect village setting make it surely worth a visit.

There is an old temple of Shri Bhairi-Rameshwar and in this temple all twelve months water is made available taking the benefit of favorable geographical conditions. A statue of Nana Phadnis is present outside his house. In Velas Mahalakshmi temple and Nana Phadnis house are the places to visit.

The Sun set through the Pine trees on the horizons of Arabian Sea was a treat to our eyes.

We retraced our way back to the comforts of our base at Sade village by 8.00 Pm and after a nice dinner of plain Varan bhaat with chatni, we retired for a good nights sleep.

To know more about Bankot fort and Velas click here
https://itrekz.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/bankot-for-and-velas-village/

Sunday morning wake up call…
Early morning rise up at 7.00 AM seemed a bit too early after a long previous day. We quickly had the morning freshener with black tea to liven up the spirits. We set of towards Mandangad fort. With a mud road now trailing right up to the summit of Mandangad, we were quite ready to do it in a jiffy in spite of the previous two hectic days. We quickly moved out of Sade village and reached Mandangad, where a nice Misal Pav helped us to fill our tummies. After a quick breakfast we moved towards the steep grind of the winding mud road that took us to the top of Mandangad fort. The fort now is in ruins and except for a Ganesh temple a Thorla Talav next to it, there is nothing much atop except a few ruins. A ride up and down the mud trail was no less than dirt track driving and carefully negotiating the pebble strewn path was a fun to be experienced.

To know more about Mandangad visit https://itrekz.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/mandangad-fort/

After visiting the fort we moved back to the well trodden metalled road and started on our return journey with halts at Mangaon and Wadkhal respectively. The luncheon at Wadkhal was too heavy with nice Punjabi dishes on the platter. We bid farewell to each other at the end of a wonderful biking tourney and visits to some of the most wonderful forts on the Konkan coastline waiting for its due share of recognition and to be thronged by the tourists.

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