goa (and surrounding states of Maharashtra and Karnataka) are amazing , the fun and adventures you can have and places you can see on a bike are just unreal if you wanna lose that sunbed . the more you research , the more you find – its endless . so just back from a 2 day tour into Maharashtra . the things we did , and places , animals and people we saw where out of this world . so many monkeys we [almost] got bored of taking pictures , and at one point we had several baby monkeys fighting at our feet on the road lol . waterfalls , men bathing bison , boat rides , lost temples , mosques , royal palaces and ruins , bats , squirrels , cats cows n dogs , homeless people in a village of tents , 20rps for corn , or how about these aloo things / portion of bhagi / tea / coffee / and a portion of pakora all for 100rps and served half a mile up on a mountain top . waterfalls , lakes , clean and quiet , and not another white face for days . on occasions we could struggle even asking for water as we knew no Indian language . in our hotel we asked if visitors came to stay from EU etc , he said 3 Russians visited once haha . one village almost came to half a standstill when we arrived we even had villagers seeing us off when we left , I think it was more a blonde girl was there to be honest . there is just so much to do here . amazing India …..
enjoy the journey , heres what happened ….
first destination was a place called sawantwadi [via siolim pernem and then up the mh17 highway etc] . its a fairly large town similar to mapusa , and is a bit of a stop off and trading point on the main road between mumbai and southern india . its was a 2 hour journey getting there and was one of a few things we had mapped out for the next 2 days . we originally intended that morning as we set off for it to be a 1 day adventure but we soon realised there was lots more to see so just made our plans on the fly and got a hotel when we arrived . we had plenty of cash , sunglasses , gps , and a bike full of petrol but nothing else , not even a toothbrush haha . as soon as you get to the town it opens up to a wide open water dominated landscape – the place is literally built around a huge lake divided into two parts via a walkway with a royal palace on one side .
so upon arrival we where starving after a big journey on our moped , so first it was lunch time and made a decision to eat at the ‘lake view’ restaurant right on the corner of the lake .
it looked clean and modern and the food turned out to be excellent . we ordered a few indian dishes like soups dhals lassis etc , and its cheaper than goa too as you can see from the menus . even the waiter spoke some english , bonus cos i struggled even asking for water in maharashtra in previous years as my indian is zilch . its a restaurant on the ground floor , and upper levels are slowly being geared towards being a hotel over the next couple of years
the views are really nice up there too from the half finished upper levels , although there are missing walls and doors everywhere to keep an eye on . lake view was a great name for the place 😉
WIDESCREEN PANORAMIC SHOT
after lunch we had a scout round a few hotels and decided on ‘hotel renuka palace’ which cost 1650 with tax , as opposed to “mango hotel” which was 2500 + taxes hotels are signposted on lots of advertising as you near the town , and in the town itself . we got a widescreen tv , cable , air con , comfy bed , decent bathroom , blacked curtains …. it is actually better than our goan hotel i think haha . the head of desk spoke ok english and on check in we had an issue as we had no id or passports so had to get our goan hotel owner to email over which was nice of her . they asked if they could take our luggage up , and looked mystified when we said we had nothing 😉 we solved the toothbrush issue at the shop over the road thankfully . dont know whos those red flip flops are in the picture , bizarre ? hmmm
we had a few main things we wanted to accomplish on the trip , but in the mean time our first port of call was up to “amboli hill station” . its basically a mountain , with the peak half a mile up in the sky . so high infact you are in the clouds . its a good hour minimum to scale to the summit so we juiced up and went for it . we had extra hoodies in the bike boot just incase it was cold up there .
the road really is a drivers dream that twisted and turned back on itself with lots of amazing sets of hairpin bends . almost want that imprezza or gti round here WRC style never mind a moped . you are warned of “mountain landslides” and “safe tea” at home !
as you near the top you start seeing lots of monkeys , they are everywhere . some of them have horrific injuries , chunks of faces missing , one arm , chewed off noses , real hard arsed ghetto monkeys that would rob you of your food or possessions in a blink of an eye ha . look at this one with half its face torn off and it has healed hanging down its face , the side of its head is a huge scar and its a miracle it could survive such an injury .
tell me this isnt a dirty look from this one , pure attitude , definitely one from the wrong side of the tracks . ghetto monkeys .
the views are breathtaking , you can see for miles only obscured by clouds , and are prevented from leaving the road only by a 12″ high concrete wall
the first main thing you reach of note is the waterfall , one of about 60 [?] in this region . this was taken in first week of january , but in the monsoon this thing comes crashing down , even flowing down the stairs . thousands of domestic tourists come here in the monsoon periods, but its very quiet now .
and monkeys all over the place by the waterfall , and so friendly too . the ones in goa leg it , but these come up and sit with you totally unfazed
back onto the bike , climb more still till you reach a small turn off where a viewing point is . they have constructed a huge landscaped platform with seats and railings to chill on . nice
there are some food and drink sellers , more monkeys , a temple , some dodgy elecs …. and those views
then back onto the bike and climb some more till you get to an unmarked secret road that leads off the main mountain climb road , youll have to get this one shown to you or have it mapped out in advance or you wouldnt know about it . go a couple of miles along this gravelly random dirt track that seemingly goes nowhere till you get to another viewing platforms steps down
just gets better !
AMAZING WIDESCREEN PANORAMIC SHOT
it then extends round the mountain side to other platforms
with more views
other distant trails are evident too , but mrs robster doesnt like heights and it was a miracle i got her this far , so i never got to go out onto these trails which i presume led to that distant point .
the paths have solar powered lights but sadly they where mostly smashed up – just WHY ?
and back onto the bike , passing what is similar to tambdi surlas black granite temple
towards what is called “Shri Hiranyakeshwar Temple” . this is a temple that is built at the birth point of the river you see that eventually crashes down the mountains . you go thru small villages over the mountain top to reach it and turn off right into the unknown along a single file tarmac road suprisingly till you arrive at this point .
cross the river/bridge
walk this path thru fields and along the river
and it takes you to the temple
its set on a water feature/birth of river and has these worshipped items plus a small cave . its so peaceful here . you have to take your shoes off when approaching the area . i wanted to ring the bell but wasnt sure if that was taking the piss so swerved that so as not to offend the gods !
it was getting late in the day at this point so we left the final view point for another visit in 2000 and whenever as i didnt want to do the mountain descent in the dark . so back onto the bike , thru the villages towards the way we arrived from , not before we stopped at the mountain top food sellers and got amazing eats . we had six of these aloo things + portion of bhagis + tea & coffee + and a portion of pakoras all for 100rps WTF ? then a couple of corn on the cobs for 20rps each [40 or 50 in goa]
and ate our delicious food and watched the traffic go past, trucks , buses , tuk tuks , and random sellers on bikes haha . they will sell anythng from the back of a bike
afterwards making our way back down the mountain side road , and all the amazing monkeys . at one point we had several baby monkeys all playing by our feet as the sun started dipping behind trees .
one spot we passed on the way we agreed we could easily spend an afternoon here on the river , something about it was magic
sun set as we twisted back down the mountains towards the village on the lake sawantwadi . its also the famous home of the wooden toy makers .
you dont find tons of rubbish dumped , i mean this place is cleaner than goa and with better roads – goa , what is goa’ing so wrong ? clean it up guys jeez …
that night we we even found a bar which I didn’t think would happen around here , and grabebd a cat to hang out with . probably flea ridden but we didnt care , he was a really friendly thing too . apparently there are 2 bars , this one was on the edge of the lake not far from the palace
while in the bar a huge air raid siren went off at 9pm from the opposite side of the lake . what an incredible day !