Posts Tagged ‘Dapoli’

The day (May 23) we checked in to our hotel in Karde near Dapoli, the cook fled. Trust me we had nothing to do with it …but I can’t imagine a hotel without a cook!
When we left Dandeli for Kolhapur on the last leg of our holiday, we had hoped that the drive would be as much fun as the one till then and we weren’t disappointed. The drive to Belgaum and from there to Kolhapur was smooth. The roads were good except for one patch just after we left Dandeli. Once we touched NH 4 from Belgaum driving was a pleasure. We stopped at Hotel Tourist in Kolhapur for the night and left the next morning for Dapoli.
Just before we did the Kumbharli Ghat stretch we stopped for breakfast at Valley View Hotel. The pohe was good, but the view of the valley in the morning mist, from the hotel was spectacular (see picture). Two and a half hours later we were in Dapoli and in trouble!
When we checked in to the hotel just before noon we decided to order lunch, from Room Service. No one responded. Then we called up reception and they sent a kid to take our order. So there we were, looking at the rather packed menu card and deciding on our lunch, when the kid blurted out, “don’t look at the Menu, you won’t get anything on it.” And out came the unpalatable truth. Now a hotel without a cook was okay for some people who were surviving on a liquid diet, but since none of us were, it presented us with a piquant situation. I don’t know who they brought in as replacement, but if the quality of the food served was any indication, the just-departed cook must have been a master chef! We ate out after that.
The hotel itself was awful. It resembled one of those lodges you see around the Pune railway station. A group of inebriated youths, which included some young women made a lot of honeymooners and families uncomfortable by playing their car stereo at ear-splitting volumes and dancing in the open parking lot at various times of the day/night/ early morning, in various stages of dress and undress.
Strangely, the manager, a doddering old guy, who seemed to have a perennial hangover, never thought it necessary to caution them. Since we had paid for the room in advance, we had to make the best of it or till our patience ran out- which it did.
It was a lousy start to the last leg of our holiday. But it improved from there – or at least we decided to do something to improve it. After lunch we crashed and in the evening went to the beach. I wasn’t too impressed because I had seen better on our drive last year from Karwar to Kanyakumari and Chennai. And then, the tide brought ashore a dead dolphin that made the beach near our hotel stink. (More)


But we did go dolphin spotting the next day, and also visited the Kadyavarcha Ganpati temple which was on top of a hill at Anjarle. The drive to the temple and back was amazing and nerve-wracking, because of the very narrow roads and the steep inclines. But the dolphin spotting the next day was quite a farce. The boatmen would shout ‘udhar dekho’ and by the time all of us trained our eyes in that direction, the so called dolphin was gone! We didn’t see a single one. Then we decided to do our own sightseeing.
Around 10 am, after breakfast, we drove down to the fishing village in Harnai to visit the Suvarnadurg fort. As we set sail for the fort, in the Arabian Sea, the waters were pretty choppy. When we reached the rear of the fort the boatman cut the engine. That’s when we saw the dolphins…1…2…3…4 – there were so many leaping out of the sea that we went crazy trying to count them! Some were as close as five metres from the boat. The marauding tourists hadn’t reached yet, and there were no discarded packets of Lays and kurkure floating in the sea for the dolphins to choke on. So they seemed happy to frolic in the water.
The fort was a no-show because of the choppy seas. The boatman told us that on a normal day the boat would have reached the foot of the fort and one would just have to step on to terra firma. But now we would have to wade to the shore. Since, none of us have a great relationship with the water – except when we are in the shower (and some, not even then) – we weren’t too keen on wading.
Back in the hotel, after the temple visit and lunch, we decided we had had enough of Dapoli. I think the heat and the hotel got to us! Also, I think we just got a little homesick. In less than 30 minutes, we had packed, loaded our bags in the car and were on way to another great drive through the hills on our way back to Pune. Oh, and don’t attempt the Poladpur-Mahabaleshwar stretch, especially in the rains, unless you are the kind who drives around a lot. The entire stretch is a steep climb and in terrible condition. We realized it too late. But the Dandeli-Dapoli and the Dapoli-Pune drives were still the most interesting we did during the entire trip.
It was uphill and downhill most of the way, till we crossed Wai and reached NH 4 from where we turned left for Pune. Once we reached NH 4, it was like driving on a busy city road in the evenings. When we reached home, ourSwift had done 1588 kms over 8 days. Our holiday was over!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my travelogues as much as I enjoyed writing them.
Till the next time…Cheers!

1st Leg, May 16: Pune-Islampur-Sangli-Athni-Bijapur

2nd Leg: May 17: Bijapur-Hampi

3rd Leg: May 18: Hampi-Hubli (night halt)

4th Leg: May 19: Hubli-Dandeli

5th Leg: May 22: Dandeli-Kolhapur (night halt)

6th Leg: May 23: Kolhapur-Chiplun-Dapoli

7th Leg: May 24: Dapoli-Polladpur-Pune

Just playing with the headline from an old school joke, that’s all! We called it FRCS then…

This trip was much shorter than the one we did last year around the same time. That time we had travelled from Pune to Karwar and then drove down NH 17 to Kanyakumari. From KK we drove up to Chennai, then Bangalore and back to Pune over 21 days. But considering the fact that this summer is hotter than the last one, we knew it was going to be a tiring journey.

We left Pune (Katraj bypass) at 7.10 am. Having heard the horror stories about the Solapur Highway, we thought taking the Mumbai-Bangalore Highway (NH 4) would be a better idea, even if only till Islampur. In hindsight, I think it was a correct decision. The Swift had clocked 33769 kms at that point.

Like always, rather than stop at some eatery along the highway, we munched on sandwiches in the car itself. Since driving on NH 4 is always a pleasure so early in the morning, munching at a sandwich is an easy task! If you’ve had the misfortune of driving on NH 4 while returning to Pune on a Sunday evening (a bit like driving on a busy city road at 7 pm) from an outing, you’ll know why I said ‘pleasure’!

After driving on NH-4 till Islampur we took a left off NH-4 for Sangli town, where we encountered a pot-holed, bumpy stretch all the way from Islampur into Sangli town.

But I guess the scenic beauty of the countryside made up for the bumpy roads. The long green stretches of sugarcane fields were so soothing that I drove off the road, parked near one of the fields, opened the cars doors and let the breeze in! And there’s nothing like a cup of tea to add to that moment. We were off and away 15 minutes later.

The roads in Sangli town were equally bad and we were glad to get out of the place and head towards Miraj. Once we left Miraj behind, and went past Arag, we were on our way to Athni in Karnataka. It was only after we crossed into Karnataka that the roads improved dramatically.

This was one feature of the State Highways in Karnataka – all in pretty good shape, except when one reached a village, where we slammed into multiple speed humps. We barrelled over quite a few inadvertently and I was a bit worried about the tubeless tyres. Fortunately, it was nothing serious. 

Unlike State Highway 12, once we entered Bijapur town, the roads were an even bigger mess than the ones in Sangli. To add to the usual traffic snarls, were the potholed roads and confusing road signs. Even the auto guys gave us conflicting directions to Station Road, where we were told all the hotels were situated.

We reached Hotel Pearl on Station Road at 1.10 pm. It was a nondescript place where the rent was also not too steep. It was also just a km away from NH 13, which we would have to take the next day for our onward journey to Hampi. We had driven 371 kms (34140) in 4:45 hours (15-minute tea break not included).

After lunch and a quick nap, we set out for the Gol Gumbaz, which is the mausoleum of Mohammed Adil Shah. Fortunately, it was walking distance from the hotel. Apart from the size and height of the dome, the acoustics and air conditioning inside the Gol Gumbaz, would put most of our electronics and AC companies, respectively, to shame! Not for one moment did we perspire inside the mausoleum even after climbing the 200 odd steps to reach the dome, because there was a cool breeze that wafted through the monument.

When our guide whispered something from across the hall inside the mausoleum we heard it in stereophonic sound, loud and clear where we were, almost 90 feet away! Trust me, narrating it, isn’t half as exciting as it was experiencing it.

With the benefit of technology and hindsight we call ourselves an advanced and superior race. But exploring what’s left behind of this dynasty and later the one at Hampi, one realised that they had very little to work with and yet developed infrastructure that was very advanced, which not only withstood the test of time, but the elements as well. Would we say the same about the water pipelines that run under our city even 20 years later?

Next: visiting the awesome Hampi

Returning to insanity!

Posted: May 29, 2009 in Travelogues
Tags: , ,

It’s been a crazy ten odd days – driving from Pune to Bijapur to Hampi to Dandeli to Dapoli and back to Pune. And in that madness was bliss! It was an experience driving through the jungles and the ghats in Karnataka, once inhabited by the infamous Veerappan and lots of wild animals. The first is now dead and second is on its way to becoming extinct.

The story is that the bandit, is himself responsible for the paucity of the endangered species for whom the forests were home. A real pity because watching a tiger, leopard or an elephant in their natural surroundings would have been much more exciting than seeing them in cages. But we did spot a few other wild animals. The resort staff also caught a long and rather dangerous looking reptile, some distance away from our tent. The staff released in the wild. Not a very pleasant thought, if like me you shudder everytime you see something that slithers.

Spending three days in jungle resorts situated in the Dandeli forests was fun — if you like roughing it out. You have the company of mosquitoes, an assorted variety of insects, an occasional snake, jungle squirrel, peacock and lots of monkeys. The view was fantastic, the food was edible and the staff was friendly and always eager to please. The night we reached it poured. There was lightning, thunder and a strong gale threatened to rip the roof off our hut.

The rains followed us everywhere, except to Dapoli, where we needed it the most. Had it rained there, we might have been tempted to stay on for a few more days and sight a few more dolphins.

I’m preparing the travelogue. Hopefully, over the weekend we should have them ready, along with the pictures.