Long weekend ride to Konkan – Day 3

Day 3: 04th Oct 2009

We started rolling at 9am, after having a simple breakfast at the hotel. Asked the owner about directions, bid them goodbye (the landlady said kindly “ride slowly brother”, really liked the treatment we got there). First stop was Murud.

Murud is some 3-4 kms from Harnai, famous for it’s Mahalaxmi temple and a beach nearby. Asking people about directions, we were in front of the temple in no time. Requested a hotel owner to keep an eye on the tankbag, and went in. There is a very heavy bell brought here by the marathaas when they won some battle (sorry, my history knowledge sucks). The temple is very colorful, reminded me of eastern temples.

The beach is just a km from here. This beach is much more commercial than Harnai, with bullock cart rides, games and what not. I even spotted few hotels which were facing right on the beach.

Murud beach

After this, we headed towards Vyaghreshwar and Keshavraj temple. Both the temples are very old. While going to dapoli from Murud, you come across a left turn for Vyaghreshwar, again with usual steep roads and small bridges. Due to yesterday’s rains, the water level was increased.

A random bridge on road to Vyagreshwar

I was so involved in taking the steep roads, that I missed the temple which suddenly pops up at right! A villager shouted to us that ‘temple is here!’, but I was already on a steep incline, so had to complete that incline and then take U turn to come back to the temple.

There is no parking or anything near the temple. You park on the 2 meter road and hope for the best. The temple is just a few steps below at right. First is Zolaai devi temple, and just adjacent is Vyaghreshwar. Me and wife took turn to visit the temples, so that we could keep an eye on the bike and tank bag. While I was waiting, an old lady was coming there. When I asked her about Keshavraj and told her we are from Pune, she was happy like anything! Had fun chatting with the excited grandma.

Inside the temple

That time a group of villegers arrived there, and parked their bike at the same area as mine. All of them circled the bike very curiously, the tankbag and the map with marks of places to visit, notes about which turns to take etc held their curiosity. That’s when I spotted their bike, and I was like :eek:. It was Green Caliber 115, same as my previous steed. Clicked this photo

As if the bike was telling me “it’s not like you need large capacity bike for touring large distance. I was capable, you were not 😦 ”

Left Vyaghreshwar and joined the main road again. Next stop was Keshavraj, which was very easy to find due to markings. On a ghat, it is at left hand side where a kachcha road goes in. I took my bike as far as was possible, and stopped when the steps started. There was a fork, one way leading to Keshavraj temple and other to Ganpati temple. Parked my bike in the temple and kept the bags as well as the gear in the house in front of the temple, and started walking towards Keshavraj.

Walking to Keshavraj is a great experience. You feel as if you are in dream, with greenery all around, huge trees blocking the sun and small streams of water running here and there. Whole way is marked properly, so no chances of getting lost. We decended for some time, then crossed a river by a bridge hardly 1 meter in width, and then ascended for some 10-15 mins. It was tiring, but totally worth it. I loved every minute spent there.

The temple itself is very clean and simple. There is a Gomukh (cow mouth) from where for all 12 months there is a water stream. As this was monsoon, the water was flowing in full flow.

Go-mukh

Stream powering the gomukh

After spending some time there inhaling the pure air, we decended down to our bike. Thanked the house owner for letting us keep our things there, and headed to Panhalekaji caves.

At Keskar Naka, some rikshawalas suggested us to take right turn for Panhalekaji, and after 10-12 kms, take left. We had a quick lunch at the naka, and headed in the told way. We had to ask a few people before actually landing on the right road. But sometimes after we entered the final road which would lead us to Panhalekaji, there was hardly any soul in sight. The nature was in full form, with grass on both sides of the sand road. But it was easy to scare anyone, as there was absolutely no way to tell where you are and where the fork in the road leads to. After riding for a while, finally we found some people, who told us we were in right direction.

On way, we came across a board “Welcome to Panhalekaji Durg!” Took the bike up there. Surprisingly there was a big temple of Zolaidevi and Siddheshwar but nobody was there and the whole temple was open!

Clicked a few snaps and again joined our way.

Finally we arrived at Panhalekaji caves. The caves are similar to other Buddhist caves elsewhere, only difference is they are situated parallel to the river, and not on hill top.

Here also, took the bike as inside as was possible, and then walked when bike said no further!

Road leading to next stop

Just before rolling on the above way towards Pune, we spotted a long snake happily crossing the road. Suddenly a Sumo came in speed and passed by him. The snake looked terrified, he took a sharp turn and speeded towards us! He disappered in the grass next to the road, but this much adventure was enough for all 3 of us, and we marched at speed towards the last spot, Unhavare – hot water ponds.

After riding on bad to worse roads that keep slowing the pace down, we came to know at a fork, that at left was our way to Pune and straight was Unhavare, still around 8 kms ahead. The time was 3pm already, and I had to cross the ghaat before sundown. So we decided to skip Unhavare and head to Pune. The roads were quite bad, but the bumps were not as frequent as the road holes. I kept on worrying whether the rear tyre is puncture or low on air till Dapoli, where a quick check at a pump revealed the pressure was alright, but the bumpy roads made the suspension work optimally!

Then it was the long ride to Bhor ghat, with the rains thoroughly pouring for one hour on us. Varandha and bhor ghat were looking so absolutely stunning, and the imagination of Shivthar falls after 2-3 nights of heavy rains was continuously prompting me to again visit the Shivthar Ghal just for the falls. But responsibility did not allow me this luxury 😦

I couldn’t click any photo while coming back (in retrospect I should have taken care of waterproofing the camera and clicked the photos, coz the visibility was great and nature was stunning.). We came to Pune Satara highway at around 6.30-7, stopped at ‘Rohit Garden’ for evening snacks cum dinner. Don’t eat here, the food is not upto quality at all. Rather go to other hotel where you get Pithla bhakri rice unlimited plate for 60 bucks, which is just ahead. After filling ourselves, it was a fast ride towards home, and we were at our door at 8.30pm

Total distance travelled: 605 kms
Mileage given by bike: 50kmpl

Some notes:
1. Non Marathi persons will find it quite difficult in Konkan, because all the sign boards are in Marathi. The locals are very helpful though.
2. In inner Konkan, there are hardly any signboards or anything. Rely on people you see on roads and gods you pray to, for guiding you to right path.
3. After 12pm, have food whenever you see a hotel and don’t wait till you get hungry. Otherwise you may have to wait a long time before spotting a place to eat.
4. Don’t take the first turn towards the place you want to visit. Almost always there will be another road ahead, which will be much more easier than the first one.
5. Click a lot of pics! And waterproof the damn camera beforehand.
6. If you are pure veg person, there are very few hotels in any village where you will get pure veg food. Usually your food will be cooked in the same vessle where a fish is roasted! (as is the case in any veg-nonveg hotel).
7. If you are non veg eating person, you are in luck!

Thanks for reading this trip log. Hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it! Keep riding!

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