A trip to Amboli and Goa

Monsoon makes everything lush green all around us. Sahyadri mountains especially turn into beautiful vista all over. Armatures outgoers, and professionals trekkers alike look forward to venture out in the mountains and forests of Sahyadri. This time the rains are very good and we also had planned our rainy weekend trip. We had that to Amboli and to short visit to Goa couple of weeks back. But the sad news of bridge collapse on Mumbai Goa highway dampened our spirits a bit. But nonetheless, we stayed on our plan. Our first stop was Amboli where we reached via Kolhapur traveling from Pune early morning. Amboli is a tiny hill station, situated rooftop of Sahyadris.

I had visited Amboli almost decade back with a nature lovers’ group called Foliage. Amboli was not used to be so crowded until few years back. Folks at Foliage, nature expert who they are, were able to give glimpse to jungles of Amboli and surrounding area, with trails inside, talking of interesting flora and fauna unique to this place. We of course, visited the usual tourist spots which included Kavalesad Point, Mahadev Point, Hiranyakeshi Temple, couple of waterfalls etc.We also had a slide show by Anuj Khare on reptiles.

This time, though, it was us, who wanted to venture into rains and enjoy it, enjoy waterfalls in Amboli than anything else. And we did that, by hitting largest waterfall in Amboli, which is by the road towards Sawantwadi. It is majestic, and this time it was with full gush of water, due to heave downpour happening since last few days. We stayed in MTDC resort Green Valley which is nice. Amboli was all in clouds, and winds and rains, which we enjoyed beyond doubt. We also visited Hiranyakeshi Temple as well, which had certainly changed with renewed construction of the temple.

We were off, next morning, to Goa, via Banda. This was not my first time to Goa. I had visited it several times in the past. Couple of times with my earlier employers, one of them was to 5 star luxury hotel Leela Beach having their own private beach. It is also called as The Leela Goa. I also had an opportunity to join trekking group trekking the beautiful border region of Goa(along with Maharashtra and Karnataka). I have written about that experience here.

The moment we landed in Goa, the weather turned dry. It was very nice, lush green environs, nice and wide roads, and nice light sun on the top, as we reached to our stop at Calangute Beach. We halted at GTDC hotel called Calangute Residency, which was virtually on the beach, and we could literally land on the beach as we walked out. The bad part was that sea was rough and they weren’t allowing anyone to enter. We also visited Fort Aguada which is nearby. On the way we had a glimpse of Kingfisher Villa which is under siege by SBI and got some amusement. The Fort Aguada has a huge light house, along with a various areas constructed in red colored laterite stone. Fort Aguada happens to be one of 40 odd forts, most of which are dotted on the coastline of Goa, built and rebuilt by Portuguese ruler in 15/16th century. Calangute beach houses old restaurant named Souza Lobo, which is there since 1932, and has that old timer look and feel. We went there for lunch. And we had our dinner on Baga beach at one of those colorful shacks(Athens Shack) which has recently sprung up there. But our experience was horrible, in terms of food being served there. Luckily we had ordered starters, were to order main course. We later on went to nearby shack called Bistro, which is decent place.

We returned back via Amboli and Kolhapur again on the way back to Pune again on Sunday. And not to our surprise, there was huge crowd at Amboli. It was Sunday. As we reached Kolhapur, we stopped by legendary Khasbag(also spelled as Khasbaug) Misal which is having tradition of 75 years. This is off ground meant for wrestlers’ practice and also matches. Having hot and red misal at Kolhapur was something I was looking for so many days. Last month visit found myself at another famous misal sport called Fadtare Misal, which also was good.

All in all, it was fantastic time in the rains, near the nature. It was bad that we could not spend more time, otherwise there is so much to see and enjoy.

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