Location: Jayka, Vallonia Corner, Bavdhan- The daily chay adda..
Participants: The usual Suspects-Pranav, Nishant ,Suneet and myself.
Discussion: ‘Chalo yaar kahin chalte hain….’ ‘ Haan re sach mein’…. ‘Kabhi?’ ‘Weekend?’ ‘Konkan better hai to go for a overnight road trip and stay?’… Perfect…’Chalo Lock kiya jaaye’
And that was about how it was decided. The place was decided to be Velneshwar , near Guhagar ,Konkan. Approximately 5 to 6 hrs of driving time. I had already been to Velneshwar a few times for a bike ride and also it happens to be the KULDAIVAT place for Gadgils. I shared the number of a hotel called Kinara Beach resort ,where I had stayed earlier. The location of this place is the USP. It’s right on the beach.
The plan started out with us leaving really early on Saturday morning and coming back Sunday late evening…But considering two factors : 1. It seemed to b a really short trip and 2. A late lateef among us who might not be able to ‘aworofy’ early Saturday morning , made us rethink the plan. So finally it was decide that we leave around 4 pm on Friday , halt in Bhor (thanks to my in laws that they have a nice place in Bhor by the backwaters )head for Velneshwar at a comfortable time from Bhor and head back to Pune by Sunday evening.
Nishant and Pranav were constantly coordinating with Mr.Thakur, owner of Kinara for booking confirmation 10 days prior to the trip but keeping the Konkan business minded tradition intact ,the response was pretty laid back and unprofessional!!! Finally we could get the bank account details and advance payment was transferred thus confirming our stay for a summer weekend!!
Finally after loads of discussions on Whatsapp and over the daily cups of chay at Jayka..’the Friday’ finally arrived. Everyone although was in their office on Friday morning was totally looking forward to leaving for the trip… Constant discussions on Whatsapp just kept adding up to the excitement….. Bags packed, booze packed, Frisbees packed and cameras charged… we were ready to leave… A special mention needs here..Mr.Always Late was the first one to be ready by the car. I guess such was the excitement after all!!!! But one chay at where it all started was a must so we left for Bhor after having the daily cup of Chay at Jayka…….
The gupshup started as soon as the car reached the highway exit from Vallonia. Jokes(double meaning, sarcastic remarks and leg pulling) some serious topics, some bitching(actually lots!!!) songs being played on the car’s music system ….and we had reached the ‘necklace point’ enroute to Bhor. Nishant had to stop to take some great shots of the setting sun against the Nira
…. Meanwhile the three of us started taking some ‘selfies’, which is a mandate nowadays…. I wanted to reach the Bhor house before sundown and we just made it time after a short top for some essential supplies like soda, cold water bottles etc.
After making everyone comfortable in the Bhor house, we shifted base to the best place in the house or rather out of the house, that is the verandah… The English language doesn’t really do justice to the experience in the verandah…Amhi verandahyat ‘baslo’ hyat ji majja aahe ti we sat in the verandah madhe nahi!!!! So after a relaxed session of constant chatter we headed out for a comparatively early dinner to a dhaba nearby . Post dinner we had a early good night so that we could wake up on time the next day and head out to Velneshwar.
Everyone woke up on the decided early hour of the morning…I started making the morning starter, the tea I mean,
Nishant went off to capture the sunrise..the other two started to awarofy…. We were ready real soon and sayin bye bye to Bhor till next time(which I am sure will be soon) left for Veleneshwar via Veranda…the Ghat not the Bhor Verandah!!!!
Stopping by for some Photo ops on the way in Varanda ,near the Nira Devghar Dam we halted for breakfast of chay bhajji at Wagjai, one of the most scenic spots any one can come across on the way to Konkan.
Finally after a long drive, approx. 5 hours with all the necessary stops we finally arrived at Kinara. Had already asked for the lunch to be prepared. Picked up few welcome beers to beat the konkan afternoon heat.
A fish thali followed by a quick afternoon siesta…..we were on the beach at 5 pm…. A super Frisbee session followed by some photos (again) we were back in the room to freshen up…. The sea really evokes some great feelings inside… happiness being definitely one of them. Everyone was having fun but at an individual level everyone was trying to soak up the sea breeze, the mesmerizing sunset, the feel of the beach sand, the noise of the waves and wind, watching the ocean surf….
A dinner table was set up by the beach…The much awaited Glen Livet was opened with much honours…. And again like true Konkani Business acumen we were denied good service by the hotel staff.. just to cite an example the green salad ordered did not have anything green nor red,,,it just had onions since all other stuff was finished!!! Seeing the MH 12 number plate the hotel staff assumed that we were once in a while seafood eaters and advised us not to have prawns, etc etc…. But nevertheless when you are in the company of great friends, along the seashore with one of the top class alcohol with some good Kishore kumar songs playing in the background…these services can be given a second preference..(as if we had a choice!!!) Again a dinner of fish thali and we hit our beds.
Sunday dawned and we again stepped out for a stroll on the beach to capture some morning pictures…and we weren’t disappointed…Everyone was trying their best to capture some photos of the innumerable beach crabs scurrying around, the sea gulls fling around, locals fishing in the early hours, the sunrise from behind the palm trees on the eastern side…..
After having a quick breakfast of pohe and omelettes we checked out pretty early and visited the Velneswar temple. It’s a lovely temple , peaceful and serene. We headed towards Guhagar. Another quick darshan at the Guhagar temple, some mandatory shopping of fanaspoli and ambapolis ,we headed towards the ferry. Instead of travelling back the same route we decided to try a different route. Again after some stops for some amazing scapes of Konkan,
we boarded the ferry ( for those who haven’t tried this, it’s a must experience. There are short ferries where in people and vehicles are boarded and you cross two shores)
We reached Dabhol and headed towards Dapoli… An impromptu stop for buying mangoes was the highlight of Sunday. We just happened to pass by a mango orchard and the plan of buying a ‘peti’ of mangoes in the 4 of us soon turned into buying individual ‘petis’ and ordering some for people back home!!!A short stop at the Parshuram bhumi and we stopped in Dapoli to have the most awesome lunch of the trip. Fish, chicken and Kulfi for dessert…… Most of us denied to drive the car further as we were stuffed and it was mid noon. Nishant did the honours of taking up the responsibility and with us snoring and Pu. La deshpande talking ,on the cars music system took us through dapoli till Mahad where GPS didn’t really help us…but somehow we found our way to the Mumbai Goa Highway. A small traffic jam from Mangaon till the Tamhini turn exhausted Nishant and we had to stop for chay. After this stop we rushed through Tamhini since it was already sunset and made back home in decent time. Everyone was back home for dinner time at individual homes with some amazing memories and a fantastic Road trip. Plans are already being made for the next such trip…….