It is difficult to describe the beauty of Konkan. The world is full of different people: some pray for sea-shores & beaches, some for green forests while some like me wish for mountains. It seems that God wished to annihilate that divide so here’s what was done: Mountains, hills, forests with an endless variety of trees, rivers, coasts, ridges were put in a pot, mixed thoroughly and thus was born the Konkan region.
I mean, throughout my ride, I was startled by the sheer richness of the region: ups and downs on the road meant that I could never figure out whether what I see in the horizon is the sky or the sea!! It has stuff that you don’t find on the map, talk or even sight. You have to experience it yourself.
The Mumbai-Goa highway is quite an interesting ride. Nothing spectacular: a decently tarred surface which is a two lane throughout. The picturesque surroundings more than make up for the couple of rough patches.
The road meanders along beautiful rivers. The numerous ghats challenge your concentration and driving skills. The beauty of the surroundings has the potential to convert the village idiot into a poet.
The Goa highway had given me as much pleasure as it could, now I yearned for the sea. This means that I will have to leave this highway and head towards the Indian ocean and get on the coastal highway. At Ratnagiri, I asked a couple of people and everyone advised me against it. Fed up with the mismatch between the practical and romantic camps, I chose to play the romantic. I took a right on the next obscure road, leaving the highway for a semi-paved road that didn’t declare where it was heading to . With a map, I selected a couple of villages that should get me to the coast and started asking the rare passerbys for directions. The drive was slow, thrilling and philosophically enchanting. Villages and people who live at their own pace, kids considering me a peculiar species on a weird spaceship. They have time to stop, help you and strike a conversation.
Strange: You can feel lonely in a city of 30 million, but in this nowhere-land which is home for perhaps a dozen people; I never felt insecure or uneasy.
Today was a fine ride. I had driven hard on ghats, straights but had slowed down whenever I found the surrounding enchanting. I believe that if you hurry with something you like, it is an indicator that you are no longer interested in it and want to get over with it. That’s the beauty of a bike. In a car, I feel like I am watching television. On the motorcycle, I am actually in nature’s lap. The varying scent of trees, vegetation, the changes in temperature, the sights and sounds are actually remembered forever. Some say I’m crazy to head out alone on a motorcycle this way and am perhaps over-hyping the whole experience. However, this is the only content and true experience I have with my inner self. Rest of the time I’m just feigning sense in that everyday routine just like the rest of the world.
However, having reached Devgad fort at 5:30 pm, this poetic experience had to make way for security and practicality. The sun was going down fast and I was some 50 kms from my destination. I determinedly headed south. However, after a while the sun disappeared and I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with absolutely no clue of the direction (as I said: my old guide sun was no longer telling me where west is). When I say middle of nowhere, I actually mean middle of nowhere. After driving on a narrow road for around half an hour, I was surprised not to have found a single soul all this while. As I stopped on a hilltop, I could only see absolutely same landscape on all four sides. Moderate vegetation, no sight of the sea and hills as far your sight goes.
|In the middle of nowhere...|
At moments like these, you get into survival mode and get philosophical about the purpose of your life, or whatever little is left of it. However, A messiah appeared out of nowhere and I flagged down the human. Two seemed to be a minority in this endless forest and after exchanging a few words, the fellow suggested that I follow him. And then we sped up. 40 minutes of gruelling riding and I was in habitation once again. I thanked my guide and started the search of a hotel.
I realized that this town has a pace very different from what we are used to. The home stay owners were greatly inconvenienced due to the fact that some crazy customer was at their door at an obscenely late hour: i.e. 8:00 pm.
I surveyed almost all hotels and finally settled down in Gajanan resort (I don’t think you’ll find better value!)
Trip Log: (To & fro with coastal detours, visit to Kudal & GanpatiPule)
Odo: 1262 Km