Trip to Varandha Ghat

There is a saying ” When there is a will, there is a way”

 We completely follow this wherever we go and we make plans which generally are not standard trips as per people around us are concerned.

Me and my better half love to explore and every year on monsoons we go on and explore western Ghats again. Since we have explored most of the places, this time we zeroed on “ Varandha Ghat”.

We took the only road which connects Mahad and Pune from Mahad side. This road goes parallelly with Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road.

We started from Navi Mumbai early and took Khopoli road to reach Mahad. The roads are all broken and pathetic. It took us more than 4 hours to reach Mahad which is just 144 kms from Navi Mumbai. It’s getting repaired and getting concrete now so people will have better experience in 2019 onwards.

Its better if valley is entered from Pune side. Atleast the roads are good but the best views are in Mahad side which no one should miss.

We reached Mahad around 2 pm, had lunch in Mahad and started our Varandha ghat journey. There is a left turn which is not so visible after crossing Mahad in NH66. Google maps are recommended here.

Initial journey is through small 2 lane road which crosses many villages but when you start ascending in to mountains, adventure starts.

In monsoon season the valley is full of waterfalls. I mean literally there are waterfalls in each and every turn of the road. Feeling is amazing and you are suddenly in green heaven.

We crossed Kal river at the start of the road and it went with us for quite some time. River went to different direction after some distance and we started climbing Ghat section. At one point the ascend is quite steep and I realized I have a 1200 cc small car and is very good for this type of climb.

 Just look at the pictures below and you will understand the beauty this place possess. We started clicking pictures as if we will not see this kind of beauty again.

There is a spot at the top (Centre of Mahad-Pune road) where there are options of refreshments (Chai, Pakode and other eatables). The rates are normal and service is great. Usually crowdy on weekends but the owners here manages it very well.  This place is completely foggy in monsoon season. Headlight and fog light are must at this stretch.

After we crossed this point, we continued getting waterfalls each with unique characteristics and sizes. Moreover Nira-Deoghar dam starts and it went along with road for a long-long time. When we thought the beauty ends at top and we started hurrying for destination but we were in for a huge surprise when we saw the dam alongside road. The dam has both mountain and water views.

 Its Unbelievable sight with amazing landscapes.

 There is endpoint which is called BHOR after which you can take right and go Panchgani or else continue straight for Satara/Pune.

 This place is hidden gem of western Ghats and usually less crowded. Road conditions are just about ok but you cannot drive fast due to single road and sharp turns.

 Take ample time for photography and you will not regret it !!

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Goa : Hot and Happening

We had heard a lot about Goa and its beaches all my life. I always wanted to visit the place with my girlfriend but she never showed interest. Never had a chance to go there with my college friends even after staying so close to the place. One day myself and my better half were chatting casually about a destination for the holidays coming up and finalized Goa in an instant. It was a quick decision and in no time we were on a flight to Mumbai from Kolkata. It’s like far-east to far-west of India. We took a bus from Mumbai in the evening after spending whole day with my brother in law.

So finally we were on the journey to Goa.

Its located in the west coast of India with an area of 3702 square kilometers. It is divided in to two parts i.e. North Goa and South Goa. The sea line is of Arabian sea and considered to be one of the most beautiful sea line in the world. It has 105 kms of Konkan coast stretching across the state of Goa providing a wide range of choice in beaches to suit everybody’s needs. When it comes to beaches, the visitor is spoilt for choice. North Goa has Sinquerim, Candolim, Calangute, Baga, Anjuna, Vagator, Morjim and Arambol beaches. South Goa has Velsao, Majorda, Betalbatim, Colva, Benaulim, Varca, Cavelossim, Mobor and Betul beaches. The other place you can see in Goa are Arvalem Caves, Rock Cut Caves of Khandepar, Arvalem Waterfalls, Kesarval Spring, Mayem Lake, Rock Art Museum, Aguada Fort, Cabo De Rama Fort, Chapora Fort, Rachol Fort, Reis Magos, Terekhol Fort, Cabo Raj Niwas (Raj Bhavan), Corjuem Fort and the ruins of the Fortress of Colvale.

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It was a 12 hour journey from Mumbai. The bus was a piece of Luxury. We were comfortable after sometime and extremely excited, made some videos of us together in the bus going on a second honeymoon, discussing each other’s experiences as well as expectations. We were provided black polythene in case we like to throw out due to the mountainous road ahead.

We reached around 8 am in the morning at Panjim, Goa. Panjim is the capital city of the Goa State. This part comes under north Goa. It has all facilities there for tourists like us. We choose a place in the center of the city. The reason is ridiculous but simple. We wanted to be among good food joints of the city as we are vegetarians and in Goa it’s difficult to find good vegetarian food near beaches. The non-veg is awesome according to people there.

I mean who does not prefer a hotel near or in the beautiful beaches of Goa and live in the concrete jungle, it was us… we the foodies. Myself and my wife both love Indian food. In fact you can say we live for food not we eat to live. We can sacrifice anything except food. See food came in this and I got emotional and wrote so many lines.

Anyway we had couple bath and we started our day with 2 beaches for the day. One was Donna Paula and the other a beach in South Goa called Kolva. We rented a scooter which is easily available and searched for a good vegetarian joint and found a nice place.

The place was filled with people at 11 am (opening time) and had a great ambiance with exceptional food. We loved it and it was in our itinerary every late morning for the next 4 days. We went to Donna Paula beach and fell in love with the sea. It was a long time for us to be so close to the sea, first time together. The beaches are rocky here and filled with small, colorful shops. Did some shopping and went ahead for clicks. The place had a bad history according to locals. People say that an English Lady committed suicide in the rocks after she failed in love.

We had our lunch there in the sea view hotel but I started my day with beer at 1:30 pm. Took on the streets and went for Kolva Beach. This was a 50 km trip one way and had great landscapes in between. In fact this trip from North Goa to South Goa gave us a lot about Goa and its culture. You will find lots of tourists from all over the world in Goa and due to this the place is more of a cosmopolitan state. My better half was sitting close to me tightly on the back seat and we thought we were in love again. Went on and on and never looked back. Goa is considered to be one of the safest places in India. The roads were good and people were cooperative and helpful for directions. We reached Kolva Beach and were awestruck with the beautiful pristine beach, white sands and peaceful ambiance  We were not in a mood to take a splash as it was four in the evening but did go in to sea for some fun. While returning back I noticed Goa is clean, green and has very low population. There were beautiful colorful homes but no people in the streets. We were lost at some point of time but were unable to find a single person for directions at few places. Somehow we reached our hotel by seven and crashed after some physical exercises.

Second day again we started our day late with good brunch and headed for Kalanghute and Baga beach while covering a Goan fort, old Goa churches and some small beaches. Kalanghute was ok. Spotted a quiet place in at the outskirts of the beach, kept our clothes aside and had lots of masti in the sea. Baga beach was our pick of the beaches as it had great food, beautiful beach with one side a mountain and the other side a sea. In between there is a small river flowing in to the sea. We had sun bath, beer and massage for hours as a result, didn’t wanted to get back to our hotel. Left the place after sunset, completely wet. In the mean time the rain gods went crazy and showered their blessings on us which was an added advantage when you are with your partner. Somehow the mood becomes romantic.

The next day we were clear, we wanted to go to Baga only while covering Vagator and after lunch we reached Baga beach, had a great day there for the rest of the day. We were lost in each others arms and pretty much in love. It was rainy evening and we were few meters inside the sea, remembered our love timelines, ups n downs, and special events. Later got emotional, had a nice evening at a local pub and cafe with rains setting the mood and at last took the best decision of our lives.

We wanted to be parents !!

That night was one of the best night of our lives and most importantly be remembered for various reasons which cannot be written here.

More importantly, we had a great second honeymoon and an awesome trip to be remembered for the rest of our lives. In the bus while returning back we got emotional to each other and talked about how we have made it this far, from childhood friendship to this married life. Things have definitely changed which she always complains after marriage but one thing is sure we are still mad about each other.

Now we want to take our son there as soon as he is ready to explore the nature’s one of the best gift to mankind… the sea and its beautiful beaches…