as we woke outside our window two squirrels where having a turf war over a tree . comical . there where lots of them all over the trees . quite disinct twin stripes down there back , not as big as uk squirrels
breakfast was indian style next to the lake at ‘lake view restaurant’ . good food again
while we ate the gas man did his rounds . suprisingly not from a bike or cart lol
one thing they have which i love is a huge air raid siren which we heard last night . we heard it again at 6am this morning , after asking people apprarently it sounds at 6am , 12 noon and 9pm . I thought it might sound prayer time , but we found out it was just something traditional they do to help people keep time ! they must value time , alongside the lake there is a clock tower which has different numbers , some like 1,2 and 3 where normal looking , but others where indian numerics . so our mission today was visit the royal palace , and look for a lost temple and stepped pond . the royal palace was easy , it is located on the edge of the lake with stunning views across . there is a grand gated entrance and it costs 200r per person for a guided tour in english .
inside the gated entrance is the main building , with a few cannons for protection ! the arched features remind me of hampi’s royal elephant stables
this was our guide . the palace is about 350 years old .
once inside there is a collection of artifacts such as the sole rare cat they found and killed which was grim , the original throne , and tons of history on the building with so many old family photographs .
we where shown how they still make traditional game cards [which you can buy lol]
various other parts and wings of the building , in and out of levels and rooms
past the gun the idiots maybe used to kill that cat , a wooden chandelier which was cool
had a meeting with the queen mother herself who became quite shy when i asked if i could take her picture which she was more than happy to oblige
and back out past the semi circular tiered grounds which probbaly hosted gatherings overlooking the lake
and out of the palace back to the main road adjoining the lake
we left sawantwadi to head to find a lost temple in a random off the grid village . thought it would be easier to find but when roads end without a reason , and where people dont speak english [or rather we dont speak indian] , it can be a challenge especially in mid afternoon heat to say the least . we parked up knowing we where fairly close to our indian jones style temple mission as the road ended at water . to be honest we had a right result – it was a small river , lower than it would be in monsoon , but full of life . a man was just arriving with his herd of buffalo to give them their bath !
a small river boat runs accross the river for the locals
i know he is a MH funded local service , but we still gave him some extra pocket money to take us over . to be gliding over the water with all the buffalo surrounding us was a moment , total peace and tranquility . couldve grabbed some beers and sat in his boat for the whole day . maybe next time . the guy is really friendly too , his names is santos . got a lot of time for these type of non tourist orientated locals , there is no agenda apart from inquisitive friendship .
once over the river there was a harsh reminder of how lucky we forget we are in life . one thing they do have is a priceless smile . so wished we had some xmas presents left for the kids here , they have so much less than the goan kids we ave them all too .
we walked past the tent village of homeless people towards the tiny town centre where even the locals shelter from this blistering heat , there is little cool breeze not being on the coast .
and had to stop for a drink . bonus , stumbled over a tiny shop where this woman beckoned us in for food too . these things where pretty much all she made so we got some , absolutely gorgeous and 8rps each , plus 2 extra each for the soft just made fresh bun . 10 rps total , would have payed more quite easily . i guess they are called ‘aloo ___ ‘ something or other mmmmm . a newspaper was the plate on the table , and drinks and food was ordered thru sign language mostly 😉
after sweating off the lbs and eating it was onwards past the beauty parlour lol , and what i think was a school house
and asked about 20 people trying to find and english speaker to get a point towards the temple . bikes and people went past , shouted or stopped and u-turned to take another look ! each person we asked vaguely pointed in a new direction , nobody had a clue what we wanted haha , but we eventually arrived … however it was this new temple we had got to , not the old one .
after another sweating session , more pics, more drinks , i spotted a young kid who i thought might speak english , he called a few of his mates over , and between several of us they pieced together what i was looking for , the lost temple . then we got talking to a guy in a blue top who offered to take us there . he was amazed we where there really and wanted to know our story . we struck lucky – what a top bloke he turned out to be , his name was hasan and he became our guide for the next hour or two taking us past wells , goats , mosques and colourful houses [his sisters] to our lost temple .
happy days – found it ! it was where i had orig pinpointed it , but after being guided all round the houses via the new temple we eventually got to it . clearly people do not ever visit here for the old place
in the main door led to a pitch black room with a ceiling full of bats – previously seen in the abandoned seema hotel in agonda jungle and also the abandoned hotel hidden on vagator hill [both previously documented in my blog use the search box at top of page] . its amazing the picture of the domed room , it looks like an eye !
LISTEN TO BATS : short clip
had a good look round , learned lots from hasan who spoke superb english , one of the only people in the village . we got so lucky here , thanks hasan . when i asked about the walls he said horses used to go in the vaulted parts , i presumed they would be used to pray in ? they seemd to small to fit a horse so i presume it was to eat perhaps . the temple was really being reclaimed by the jungle and swallowed back up . makes you wonder why they arent looking to preserve something like this , as adventurous tourists and backpackers would come to visit if they even knew about something like this .
the last thing on our agenda was the stepped tank , and hasan took us here too when we asked about it , it was quite close . awesome awesome awesome ! suggested to hasan if he ever got bored he should put what we came for into a guided package trip around his town , we had a great afternoon .
we learned much , including how the river has an ancient underground water link that replenishes this tank , and so the height of the water is dependent on the river height . also they would go into the lake to clean themselves of their sins then pray in the small enclosed rooms .
this is hasan …. *THANKS MATE* – you made our day even more special 😉
this is a panoramic widescreen shot
if anyone is interested in making this visit i have hasans details so can maybe put you in touch . at end of our mission we had to get more drinks , but he refused any money point blank , he said “i wanted to show you our town and our hospitality , i dont want money” . i asked him a few more times , almost forced him to take something for his time , but the only thing he took was a ice cold coke as we where leaving and dripping in sweat , what a genuine cool guy . on the way to the temple all the villagers kept shouting over and asked who we where , why we where there and what was going on . the adventure had been all that and more , not another white face for days .
and so we trecked back , past the mosque ,
thru town ,
past the dried fish and the chickens on death row
and arrived back to the river to get santos boat back to our bike . when we arrived more action was happening , bison bathing , kids washing their dog , a bloke doing his washing , a guy taking a bath , kingfishers on our boat , fish , other birds and wildlife – the river was alive and everything interacted in harmony … men – dog – bison craps in water – fish eat crap – kingfisher eats fish ….
this village almost came to half a standstill when we arrived , we even had villagers seeing us off when we left on the river , I think it was more a blonde girl was there to be honest . special times , great people .
eventually left maharashtra and arrived back into the state of goa . the day had been so perfect we didnt want anything to spoil it and so played it dead safe and went to one of our favs for dinner – Jamie’s in baga . had chicken wings and tomato soup for starters , and steak and spinach ricotta lasagna for mains . mrs robster said the soup was as good as she makes at home , and she makes a mean soup lol
couple of things , sakana is still the best steak ive had in goa , and jamies STUNK tonite [the smell not the dining!] . there was this absolutely minging raw sewage smell coming from the opposite side fo the street . ive seen a few others mention this so clearly they have some local issue going on that needs sorting asap , it almost made us leave it was that bad . urghh ! thankfully the food and service where as good as usual . clean toilets and towels too which is nice 😉
and after there did a u-turn back to anjuna and went to cafe lilleput on anjuna beach for drinks . was pretty busy with a loud party happening , the 500 a night charge had stopped now Xmas/NY over and we drank lots and got wasted eventually back in at 3am but barely remember much . very happy at a perfect successful well planned trip into maharashtra . love it .