Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Ditch the Highway, Take the Local Route – Goa Gokarna Travelogue, Day 1














This ten-day trip to Devgad, Goa, and Gokarna was in talks since a long time. It was not a typical trip where you take a public transport and reach the destination while playing Antaksharee and eating Lay's along. This trip was more of exploring and spontaneously going to places.

The most challenging part was the stay. We had booked a hotel for the first night, which according to the plan, was in Devgad. Apart from that, all other stays were either spontaneously looked up for or booked a day prior. 

We finalized on taking the local route, which went through the interiors. I believe this was one of the best decisions we made. 
On the morning of 1st September, at around 7:15 am, we started our first-of-its-kind journey. We had decided of going via Panvel passing through the old Mumbai Pune highway.

TIP: Always take the local route; explore the interiors; talk to the locals, go past the sometimes-bumpy, sometimes-scenic route. 



























The local route might be time-consuming, but the beautiful panoramas, the little kids playing around, and the cups of steaming tea would be worth it. If you're travelling with people who enjoy nature, taking the local route would double your experience. 

We halted at Lonavla for breakfast. The weather was pleasant, the landscape beautiful, and the homemade cheese sandwiches summed up for a comforting break. After dipping chocolaty Oreos in tea to mark the end of our rest, we renewed our journey.

Within no time we had crossed Pune and then finally, after a non-stop ride, we halted at Satara for lunch. We were exhausted and the weather was hot and sticky; the only feasible solution was hydrating internally and externally as well.

In spite of the sucky weather, we still had guts to order a plate of Schezwan Hakka Noodles with Manchurian Balls. The dish tasted ordinarily good – there was nothing too heavenly about it and nothing too bland, likewise. We crossed Karad and went towards Shahuwadi.














The journey from Karad to Devgad was enchanting – blue skies, cottony white clouds, cows grazing around, passersby looking at us, neon green fields, and a pleasantly perfect weather. This sort of route is romantically scenic and my personal favourite. I would stay in this quietness over the hustle of the city any day (and I'm assuming who wouldn't).

According to our itinerary, we were to reach our hotel in Devgad at 8:00 pm at the latest. But, I recollect, we were still at Rajapur at that time. After it got darkened, the previously picturesque view had turned into a horror movie scene – the green plants now looked scary and the fright of our tyres puncturing was constantly troubling our peace. When we were passing through the spooky route, we realised we needed petrol.

I am thankful for the humble villages and their dwellers, because of them, we had some sort of moral support after every 500 metres or so. We asked a local about petrol pump and there was none nearby. He, however, recommended a shop where they sold petrol for a higher price. 

TIP: 1. The route before reaching Rajapur does not have petrol stations, so it is suggested that you fill up the tank before taking this route. 
2. You get petrol at a higher price in one of the shops at Rajapur. Just ask the locals around! One litre of petrol is sold at Rs. 90.

After asking many locals, we found this shop and it was like we found treasure. We got a litre of petrol filled, which was sufficient until we reached the petrol station, which was 20 minutes away from Rajapur. 














One of the problems of travelling via local routes is the weak network. My Airtel sim could not catch network throughout this patch. The route continued nevertheless, and we finally reached Devgad at 10:00 pm. We started looking for our hotel and there it was! Appeared like a home for a bunch of tired travellers. 

Source: Hoteldiamonddevgad.com













Source: Hoteldiamonddevgad.com













Hotel Diamond at Devgad is a luxuriously pleasing lodge. We had booked it beforehand and it turned out to be surprisingly good. There was just one sweet person taking care of the hotel and he was efficient at his work. We hurried to our bedrooms and changed into nightwear. At last! We were on land after a journey of 15 hours. 

This hotel has its own restaurant so we thought of dining right at it. We were hoping for a scrumptious meal but were disappointed after having butter roti, veg handi, and rice. For me, sabzi-roti is a go-to menu. While we were dining, we spontaneously thought of altering our itinerary.

We were to leave for Goa the next morning, but instead, thought of spending another day followed by another night at Devgad to explore the places around. This change in plan seemed wise as we were tired from a 15 hours journey and travelling immediately for 6 hours the next day seemed ridiculous. While we were still dining, we searched for things to do around Devgad. 

We decided on visiting the Vijaydurg fort. This historic beauty is around 45 minutes away from Devgad so there hardly was any travelling to do. We then extended our stay at this hotel for another night and slept off peacefully; there was no travelling to do the next day...

Travel route: Mumbai – Panvel – Lonavla – Pune – Satara – Karad – Shahuwadi – Vijaydurg – Devgad

















EXPENSES SPLIT UP – per person

Hotel Room - Rs. 400 (non AC)
Petrol - Rs. 895
Lunch - Rs. 110
Dinner - Rs. 130