Thursday, 25 October 2012

New members in my Travel kit

In year 2012, I purchased two things for my travel kit. One is Coleman Sun Dome Tent for 3 people in green color and second is Speedo’s snorkeling gear.

Coleman Sun Dome Tent for 3 people:-
           The Sun dome 3 Tent features a new Ground Vent for improved airflow; a privacy vent window offers more ventilation; and you can control airflow with Coleman’s Airflow adjustable ventilation. A convenient electrical-access port lets you run a cord from your device in the tent to a power supply outside. An interior gear pocket helps keep your things organized. Setting up this 2-pole dome tent is a breeze—it sets up in 10 - 15 minutes. The durable carry bag includes separate storage sacks for tent, poles and stakes. I purchased this tent from Dubai but now it is also widely available in India. This tent for camping is very roomy and if we figured in the size of the air mattress, we still had plenty of room to store our bags off to the sides. Proper instructions are available to build this tent.
Setup is easy and packing it up was also really easy. The pouches inside are very convenient and the fly’s and zippers all worked well.

Coleman Sun Dome Tent

Features:
  • 3 person, 7x7-Feet layout, 4-Feet and 4-Inch center height and 2-pole dome design
  • Color-coded and continuous pole sleeves with exclusive pin and ring design and InstaClip attachments
  • Proprietary Weather Tec System with series of inter-working features keep you dry and comfortable
  • 75-denier polyester taffeta fly,68-denier polyester mesh inner tent, 8.5-millimeter fiberglass poles
Now I’m waiting for more trips and camps to use this tent. Favorite camping nights are sleeping in the rain though... nothing beats the sound of raindrops on the tent!

My purchased price (Dec 2011) was INR 3800/- (cost in India at that time was around INR 4250/-)

Speedo’s snorkeling gear:-
          I love to watch underwater marine life from my childhood. After my trip to Andaman, we (Me and Renuka) decided to buy set of snorkeling gear so we can enjoy marine life with our own gear.
The 2 piece mask Snorkel Set is the perfect entry level equipment for the beach. It comes with a deluxe carry bag to keep the set together during transit or in storage. We use this gear during our Malvan trip and looking forward more trips to enjoy the underwater beauty.



Features:
  • Comfort fit silicone skirt for leak-proof wear
  • Speed fit easy head strap for quick adjustment and anti-fog coating for clear viewing
  • Splash top snorkel with silicone mouthpiece to prevent water from entering while surface swimming
  • Fin features adjustable heel strap and soft TPR foot pocket
  • Size: Medium
  • Color: Blue
  • Brand: Speedo
  • Model: 7530361-004- Medium
Speedo snorkeling gear set

 Purchased price (May 2012) was around INR 1200-1300/- per set from Pune’s Champions sports shop.

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.
 Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Karde-Murud-Harne-Anjarle-Dabhol Trip

Our plan was to start exploring some Konkan costal line after monsoon. We were looking for long weekend so we decided to visit this place from 29 September to 2 October. Our destination for costal line trip was Dapoli, Karde-Murud, Harne (also known as Harnai) and surrounding area. Traveler for this trip was me and my wife Renuka. Initially we were confused to decide about our stay. After some suggestion we decided on Karde and then we explored nearby area.

Anjarle Beach
Anjarle Beach view

About Dapoli and surrounding places:
         Dapoli is a small town in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra in India. It is the city which gave birth to many historic idols including Lokmanya Tilak, Sane Guruji, Maharshi Dhondo Keshav Karve, and Wrangler Paranjape. Dapoli is acts as the main town (Taluka Headquarters) for several other small surrounding villages such as Anjarle, Bhopan, Harnai, Dabhol, Navse (Bharti Ship Yard), Unhavare, Gimhavane, Asud, Vanand, Kherdi, Karde, Murud, Kothari and many more. There are many famous tourist spot nearby Dapoli.
         Karde / Murud are small villages on sea coast. One of the primary attractions here is dolphin watching. A number of local tour operators arrange dolphin watching trips in boats. It is becoming very famous spot to relax on weekends.
         Harne port is famous for fish market which is assumed to be one of the largest suppliers of fish to Maharashtra and also Export. Fish auction carried on daily basis on the beach is must visit place. Those who loves history, they can visit Suvarnadurg which is sea fort.
Apart from this Anjarle beach, Kothari beaches are very famous. You can visit to Dabhol jetty which is one of the old jetty from west Indian costal line.
         The routes to reach at Dapoli / Karde is Pune - Chadani Chowk – Paud Road Toll – Pirangut – Mulshi – Tamhini Ghat – Nijampur – Mangoan – NH-17 – Take right after Veer railway station (There is a Dapoli board on turn/Phata) – Ambet – Mandangad – Take left turn before khed for shortcut (again Sign boards are available to guide you)
          While return journey we chose different road as road condition before Tamhini Ghat is horrible. We came via Pali – Khopoli and then Expressway to reach to Pune. It is around 60-65km long cut route.
           Because of monsoon, weather was simply amazing and we saw different shades of green color everywhere.

29nd September, 2012 Pune - Karde via Tamhini: (Total Distance traveled: 216 km):
          We started our journey at 7 AM in morning. We wanted to reach at Karde as soon as possible. Road condition till Tamhini ghat was actually horrible and it killed our journey time. Weather was clear and felt little bit cold. There was beautiful greenery everywhere and lot of flowers along the road side making this journey more charming. It was difficult for me to go ahead without taking smalls breaks for photography.         

Tahmini Ghat
Tahmini Ghat

Tahmini Road
Tahmini Road in mist

          We took a pit stop at Raigad Inn hotel for coffee and breakfast. Hotel was very small but food was tasty. After this hotel you enter in the Raigad district and road conditions were a pleasant surprise. Because of smooth and wide road we were able to move faster to reach to our destination. We took our second and last break at Mangoan before reaching to Karde. After beautiful drive in Konkan region we reached at Dapoli by 12.30 pm and then after 20-30 min drive, finally reached at Karde. We hadn’t booked any hotel or cottage so our search mission for stay begins. As it was an off season so lots of options were available for us. As per our budget and liking we decided to have Homestay at New Swapna Sagar Nivas. The room was very clean and it was sea facing. Hotel owner Subodh Jadhav and his staff are very helpful people. Within 3 days we became so close with each other that we were freely moving in their house and kitchen area.
         Karde offers you many hotels from budget to high end. Your lunch/dinner only gets confirm after your order. This is the practice followed by all the Hotels in the area hence you cannot just walk in and expect to be served. The meal order has to be placed at least a couple of hours in advance. We took some rest and then decided to visit Murud beach in the evening.
          Distance between Karde and Murud is hardly 6km. Both villages share same costal line so you can take a long walk on beach towards Murud. It is located on long, scenic stretch of a beach with swaying palms and a beautiful, ancient Durga Devi temple are its primary attractions. It is a nice temple with typical rural interiors and a big hall. Murud is also birthplace of Bharatratna (India’s highest civilian award) Maharishi Karve with his memorials. He established the first Indian University for women (SNDT) and social reformer in India in the field of women's welfare. Murud has a lot of beach restaurants which serves veg food and delicious fresh seafood on order. Karde doesn’t have any restaurant on beach. Beach is safe to swim and you can see white and brown sand patches on the beach. We had some fun on beach with Dirt biking. In Peak season, there are lot of water sports activity like parceling, water rides and many more.

Durga Devi Temple

Bharatratna Maharishi Karve
Bharatratna Maharishi Karve

Ganesh Visarjan
Ganesh Visarjan
          Today was the Ganesh Visarjan day (Last day of Ganapati Festival, It is the Hindu festival celebrated on the birthday (re-birth) of Lord Ganesh. It is believed that Lord Ganesh bestows his presence on earth for all his devotees during this festival) so we saw 2-3 Visarjan miravnuk. (The statue is taken through the streets in a procession accompanied with dancing, singing, and fanfare to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailas. It is celebrated on large scale in Pune and Mumbai). In 1893, Lokmanya Tilak transformed the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organized public event in Pune and now it is celebrated in many locations across the world. For more detail visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganesh_Chaturthi
            After spending time on beach we returned to our hotel and had nice homemade Konkani cuisine. We ended our day 1 after long walk on beach at night.

Vegetarian Meal
Vegetarian Thali (Meal)

  • Car Petrol: INR 3200/- (approx. 42 Lit @ INR 75/- i.e. Car average was 16.5km per lit)
  • Toll at Paud-Pirangut Road: INR 20/- (One way toll)
  • Breakfast in Tamhini: INR 60-70/- for 2 person (Vada-Pav + Coffee)
  • Karde Entry fee: INR 20/-
  • Hotel stay: INR 2250/- for 3 nights (INR 750/- per Night)
  • Lunch at Karde: INR 225/- for 2 person (À la carte Vegetarian)
  • Dirt Bike ride: INR 100/- per person for 1 ride.
  • Dinner at Karde: INR 180/- for 2 person (Vegetarian Meal)
30th September, 2012 Karde – Harne – Anjarle – Kelshi: (Total Distance traveled: 80 to 90 km):
         
Dolphin Ride
Dolphin Ride
We woke up early morning by 7 AM. We decided to go on the beach for swimming. After spending 30-40 min in the sea waves, we saw 1 medium size boat at sea shore and boatman asking something to the tourist. As a curiosity we approached there and then we got to know it’s a dolphin ride in sea. Today was their first day of this season. I was aware that you can see more Dolphins during winter time so I was not ready to go with them. He (boatman) assured me that if we not able to spot any dolphin then he will give me my money back. We thought its fair deal and we board the boat. We were the 1st member to board the boat. Slowly they convinced others and boat left for dolphin show with 10-11 tourists. Later we got to know from them that they were doing this business from last 6-7 years so they know about Dolphins activity. After sailing in the boat for 15-20 min, we saw 12 to 15 Dolphins close to our boat. He switched off boat machine and we were busy to watch their activity. I have seen dolphin closely 2 years back and still I was enjoying their Jumps and display. It was my wife’s first experience and she enjoyed this boat ride fully.

Karde Beach
At Karde Beach

Karde beach
Karde Beach


Kanakdurg fort
Kanakdurg fort
           We came back on hotel and had our breakfast. After getting ready, we left Karde for day sightseeing. Our first destination was Harne port. It is just 7-8km from Karde. After reaching Harne jetty, I started searching for boat which can drop us at Suvarnadurg fort. As it was an off season, none of the fishermen were ready to take us there. I offered them extra money but they refused. One fisherman was ready to sail his boat but he was not ready to drop us at Fort but he offered us a round trip to fort. Finally I was ready for boat ride around fort. It took around 30-40 min to complete journey. When I asked him why all denied my offer then he told me that due to monsoon there is heavy grass on fort with lot of snakes. Also sea is quite rough and it can damage their ships during anchoring at fort. Best time to visit sea fort is between Nov to march. 
            About Suvarnadurg:  Kanakdurga is the land fort and Suvarnadurg is the sea fort. The forts were originally built by the Adil Shahi dynasty and later captured and fortified by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja in 1660. Once there was a tunnel connecting both the forts but now the only way to get to Suvarnadurg is by boat. The literal meaning of Suvarnadurg is "Golden Fort" as it was considered as the pride or the "feather in the golden cap of Marathas”. For more detail visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suvarnadurg 


Suvarnadurg
Suvarnadurg Fort


Harne Port
Harne Port

          After boat ride, we started walking towards the light-house. It was in absolute ruins and had become a roosting place for crows. Lighthouse is also part of Fort Kanakdurg. Famous Fish beach market carried on daily basis in morning & in evening so we left this place. Our next stop was at Anjarle beach. While driving towards Anjarle, there is one spot which is must visit. There are 2 ways to reach Anjarle. One from Harne port and other is bypass road (Ghat section).  After climbing Ghat section by car, drive 2 km and then keep watch on your left side. There is a point from where you can see entire village name Pajpandhari which is located very close to sea. Typically Konkani village located very close to sea, Suvarnadurg fort and Anjarle beach on right side – it gives you breathtaking view. I can spend hours and hours at this point.


Pajpandhari Village
Pajpandhari Village


Pajpandhari Village view point

          We started our journey further for Anjarle beach. Road was very smooth and curvy. Entire road patch towards Anjarle was parallel to costal line. Main attraction in Anjarle is Kadyavaracha Ganapati (कड्यावरचा गणपती) temple. It’s Very clean and beautiful Ganesh temple. Load Ganapati idol from this temple is very old. There is small manmade lake in front of temple and you can see large number of turtles in the lake. Overall atmosphere in the temple was very pleasant. After temple we went in Anjarle village for lunch but we reached late and all the restaurants were closed. We spend some time on lovely beach and soon moved ahead for Kelshi village.


Anjarle Beach during high tide

Anjarle Beach during low tide

          Now we were too hungry and are looking for some restaurant and any homemade food facility. Finally we stopped at one place in Kelshi village and had beautiful homemade lunch.
            Kelshi is a small sea-side village, Famous for its Mahalaxmi Temple, Sand hillocks and Yakub baba's dargah (7th Guru of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaja), built during the Peshwa era.  Yakub baba's dargah is a great example of Hindu Muslim unity in India. He had given advice to Shivaji Maharaja during attack on Dabhol. Later on Shivaji Maharaja – The King of Hindu Empire expressed his wish to build a Dargah & awarded land measuring 653 acres. Every year people celebrate Urus on 6th December. The tradition to begin this Urus by Hindu people is practiced even today. We were so tired that I forgot my camera in car so unable to take photograph of it. Next location of Kelshi was Sand hillocks. Naturally formed Sand Hill is at the northern part of Kelshi. As per the historical records and evidences the said Sand Dune is actually a result of Tsunami hit which was formed around the time of Vasco da Gama's visit to India somewhere in 15th century. May be due to Monsoon season we were not able to view sand view properly and return back with some disappointed.


At Anjarle beach


Road to Kelshi from Anjarle

           We reached at Harne port by 5.15 PM. I was very excited to watch fish auction and market. I decided to purchase fish for dinner. It is great place for fish lovers and after some bargaining, I purchased Prawns and Pomplet fish. You can have huge verity of fishes which are fresh and brought directly from sea. After my favorite fish shopping, we came back home at Karde. After some rest, I had lovey delicious Fish meal and Renuka had veg meal.


Fresh fish from sea


Fish market


HammerHead Shark for sell


Fish Market

           After dinner, we went for night fishing with 1 local person. During high tide, sea water gets accumulate in small creek and you can enjoy fishing. It was fun but I was unable to catch any fish. Entire day was pack with full of fun.


Pomplet & Prawn Meal

  • Dolphin Ride: INR 300/- For 2 person
  • Breakfast in Hotel: INR 80-90/- For  2 person (Egg Item + coffee)
  • Suvarnadurg Fort ride: INR 400/- for boat. (Average boat charges INR 400-600/-)
  • Lunch at Kelshi: INR 160/- For 2 person (Vegetarian Meal)
  • Fish at Harne Port: INR 300/- (2 large Pomplet & Prawns. Due to off season rate was high)
  • Fish Cooking charges at Karde: INR 100/- (rate depends upon hotel)
  • Vegetarian Dinner at Karde: INR 90/- for 1 person
  • Solkadi: INR 10/- per glass (In Karde, it is not a part of any meal)

1st October, 2012 Karde – Ladghar – Kolthare – Dabhol: (Total Distance traveled: around 120 km):
          We woke up bit late and went on beach for enjoyment. After spending 1-2 hours we came back on room for breakfast and left for sightseeing.
          Our today’s locations were Ladghar (Also known as Tamastirth), Kolthare, Chandika devi temple and Dabhol port. To reach Ladghar, you have to take left turn at Police check point at Dapoli. It is just 10-11 km away from Dapoli. Ladghar is famous for rocky beach and one very old temple. We saw old temple but I found beach full of trash and we soon left the Ladghar beach.


Old Temple


On the way to Kolthare

          Next destination was village Kolthare. It is a very small village and not use to for any tourist. We found only 1 resort in the village which was “Garva beach resort”. Their house was typically Konkani style house with lot of greenery and with huge farm of different trees (Wadi in Marathi) like Coconuts, Alphonso, jackfruit and many more. They have built few rooms very close to beach in Wadi. We placed lunch order here and went on beach. Kolthare beach is very small beach which gives you a feel like an own private beach. White sand all over the beach and it was very neat and clean. Water was too clear that we were unable to stop ourselves from going into the water. We liked this place and it the one of the cleanest beach in Konkan. I added this resort in my must visit places and definitely will like to stay here for a night. Overall atmosphere of resort and beach really refreshed us. We had tasty Konkani cuisine and fresh coconut water from there Wadi. Wow! What an unexpected surprise. I fell in love with this place.


Garva beach Resort


Kolthare Beach





Veg Meal


Chandika Temple
Goddess Chandika Temple
           After Lunch, we left for our next destination i.e. Chandika Devi temple near Dabhol. It is believed to be from the Pandav era. The idol of Goddess Chandika here, believed to be have formed naturally on its own (Swayambhu) and the temple is underground in a natural cave. To reach the deity, you have to pass through a low darkened passage. No light is allowed inside except that of oil lamp. There is a live spring of fresh water nearby which water all around the year has. This temple is very ancient and used to be frequently visited by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaja. Photography was not allowed inside cave.


Cave

           While moving ahead to Dabhol, suddenly 1 Wolf came in front of our car. It was a very close call and I applied brake very hard. That was surprise visit by wolf but still I managed to click photo of it and he ran away in the forest.
          Last destination was Dabhol port. It is a historical port from Western Indian costal line. We reached Dabhol in the evening and straight went to ferry. We just wanted to have return ride for fun from Dabhol to Dhopave jetty (other side of creek) and back to Dabhol. It took hardly 25 min for return ride. Dabhol was of great importance in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries. It used to be the principal port of South Konkan region, carrying on trade with ports in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. During 13th to 15th centuries this port was ruled by the Bahamani dynasty and was known as Mustafabad. Later on it was Hamjabad and then it was Dabhol. You can find many religious places of Hindus and Muslims. There is a fine mosque called Shahi Masjid with dome and minarets standing close to the port which was built in Adilshah’s Regime. It is said that Adilshah’s Begum spent around 1.5 million rupees in Indian currency for the construction of this mosque. Shahi Masjid is an excellent example of Muslim architecture. Dabhol was previously very famous, but of late much ruined by the Wars, and decreased in trade.


Dabhol Jetty

          We came back to Karde by 7.30 PM after purchasing some fishes for my diner from Harne port. This was our last night in Karde area. I had fish meal again for dinner. Overall we had great trip

Pomplet & Prawns...!!!

  • Breakfast: INR 60-70/- for 2 person (Poha + Coffee)
  • Lunch at Garva beach resort, Kolthare: INR 110/- per person.
  • Coconut water: INR 20/- per piece (Large size coconuts are available at resort)
  • Dabhol-Dhopave Jetty ride: INR 20/- per person (Return charges)
  • Fish at Harne Port: INR 320/- (3 large Pomplet & Prawns)
  • Fish Cooking charges at Karde: INR 100/- (rate depends upon hotel)

2nd October, 2012 Karde – Dapoli – Pali – Pune: (Total Distance traveled: 282 km):
          We woke up bit late and went on beach before we left Karde. After breakfast we left Karde village by 10.30 AM. We have to go to Renuka’s relative at Dapoli. They invited us for lunch so we went there and spent time with them till 2.30 PM.
         For return journey, we decided to take long route i.e. via Pali – Khopoli and express highway.
Journey was bit boring and somehow we reach at Pali temple by 7 PM. It was raining very hard and we were unable to drive car neatly. After Pali, weather was quite pleasant. Driving on Pune – Mumbai express highway during monsoon is always refreshing to me. Please follow proper rules while driving on express way to avoid accidents. We reached home safely by 9.30 PM.

  • Car Parking at Pali (Ganesh Temple): INR 20/-
  • Khopoli-Pune Toll (Express highway): INR 99/- (One Way)

Places which we miss due to lack of Time/weather:

1. Bankot: Himmatgad Fort (also known as Victoria Fort)
           Bankot fort has an interesting connection with Sir Arthur Mallet of the Arthur seat point fame at Mahabaleshwar. On a marine expedition that he undertook from Mumbai to Mahabaleshwar via Bankot in His wife Ms. Sophia and his young daughter Elena drowned in the Savitri river creek near Bankot. Their graves, marked by a platform and vertical pillars with marble inscriptions are near this fort and can be seen just as one exits the bastion. Sir Arthur Mallet would often spend his time recollecting the memories of his wife and daughter sitting at the edge of the Savitri river valley atop Mahabaleshwar. This point gradually became famous and is now known as Arthur’s seat point.
2. Unhavare - Hot Water Springs.
          There are natural hot water springs at Unhavare Village, which is 35 km from Dapoli.
3. Panhalekaji Caves
          Caves are from many periods from the 3rd century to the 14th century
4. Chikhali village (Known as Chikhalgaon)
          Keshav Gangadhar Tilak was born at Chummakachu Lane (Ranjani Aaleea) in Chikhali/Chikhalgaon village.He was an Indian nationalist, journalist, teacher, social reformer, lawyer and independence fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement.


Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.
 Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune.