Continuing my experiences from Konkani Diaries 1.
After an adventurous overnight journey we finally reached Kudaal (the nearest bus station for Parule) early morning and got off at the bus stop on the highway. Here we met with Bapat Bhaiya – our host, guide and driver for the entire Konkan trip. Bapat Bhaiya loaded all our stuff in the car and gave us a quick introduction to the area during the car journey. We drove through the town of Kudaal that looked like any tier-two town in India with random concrete buildings everywhere and a big market. But once we were out of Kudaal the scenery changed dramatically. Sitting in the back of the car I had my ears tuned to Bapat Bhaiya’s stories but my eyes were trying to soak in all the elements of the world outside my window. This entire area was extremely scenic with a very Kerala and Goa like look and feel. It was green everywhere with small red brick houses and sloping roofs, long winding roads, mango, palm, coconut and cashew tress all around creating nice canopies, lush green fields (majorly paddy) and red soil, characteristic of this region, making a nice contrast with all the green. In many places the road was at a height and the village cozily nestled amongst palm and coconut trees below.
During the drive and amongst many other insightful stories, Bapat Bhaiya told us an interesting fact. All the trees on the roads in this area have been allocated to owners living in houses behind them; but there is a process for this. All the trees in a locality are counted and then divided equally amongst people residing in that area. These people are then responsible for maintaining them and harvesting the fruits. They are also owners of these fruits.
Driving along we finally entered Parule through an interesting doorway – the picturesque Pat Lake on one side and a statue of Lord Shiva on the other. We stopped here for a couple of minutes to stretch our feet (we were really stiff from that long bus ride) and to enjoy the beautiful lotus flowers all around. Construction of a promenade and seating space around the lake is underway and soon people will be able to sit comfortably and enjoy the simple beauty of this place. After a quick break we resumed our journey through the small villages of Parule and finally arrived at our homestay – Aditya eco-resort. And whatever doubts we had about the place (when we booked it) vanished the instant we saw the place and met the hosts – and we fell in love with it!
To give you a quick sense, this homestay is atop a hill in-between a forest and its inhabitants i.e. the numerous birds with nothing else around it. It is built as an eco-resort so all buildings and the interiors have been made with bamboo logs and the local red bricks. There are only six cabins and a common area for meals. But the best part of this homestay is the unobstructed sea view and its amazing hosts. Each cabin has a view of the Karli river and the Arabian sea beyond it stretching all the way till eternity. There was even a hammock on the porch for us to lounge and endlessly soak in the view and calm all around. The other best part of our stay here were our hosts, Samant Uncle and Bapat Bhaiya, who ensured that we had a good stay, went out of the way to take care of us and found many unique activities for our entertainment. I’ll write a detailed review on this homestay and our stay experience in a separate blog post.
Since we were tired and hungry we first ate a hearty breakfast of a Malvani dosa called ghavan served with freshly made coconut chutney and then just relaxed and slept off for a bit. Post our mid-morning siesta we woke up for lunch which was a delicious spread of a two local vegetables, churma salad, pickle, the famous soul kadhi (kokam kadhi), kheer for desert and freshly pressed sugar cane juice for drinks. At that point in time life felt like such a bliss with the major agenda items for the day being when to sleep and when to eat. Sigh!!!! I so wish for those days right now….
Anyways after eating two full meals and not having moved an inch provoked the guilty conscience in us and we then decided to venture out and explore a bit of the area. We started our Konkan exploration with a visit to the Kille Nivati Fort. This fort was constructed by Shivaji Maharaj as part of his naval base and watch. Though today it’s an old dilapidated structure, it’s not hard to imagine that at some point in time it must have been a majestic imposing structure and a strong deterrent to anyone wishing to conquer it. But more than the fort today what really steals the show, are the gorgeous views from each side. From one side of the fort we saw stunning views of the Kille Nevati beach, from the other side we saw the Bhogwe beach and then from the third side we caught glorious views of the steep drop of the rocks into the sea, rocks jagging out of the sea and a glorious sunshine bursting over the water. We spent a good hour just walking around capturing these gorgeous views and then sitting around and gazing at them (at one point we even had a langur for company who was enjoying his own “alone time”).
After a while we decided to see the beaches and came down to the Kille Nevati beach. This was a small stretch of white sandy beach with clean clear water, only the local crabs for company and a dog acting as the guide for the beach. There was literally no one around here and we spent some time playing in the waters and collecting some beautiful sea shells. There was also a small hillock that we climbed up to for some stunning images of the sun setting into the sea with rocks making a nice background. We then climbed down and captured some last shots of the sunset from the beach.
We then decided to grab a quick bite and went to small local store at the Bhogwe beach for bhel puri and tea. By the time we were through with all the tea and food it was nightfall and the beach seemed enticing in the moonlight. So we decided to sit for a bit on the rocks and just listen to the waves in the moonlight. This has been my favorite past time since my childhood. I love sitting by the water in the night when every other element of the landscape has been blotted out by darkness and it’s just you, the sounds of the sea and the reflections of moonlight dancing over water. I don’t know how long we sat there but sometime later someone decided that we should return and it was getting quite late.
So we returned to our homestay and had a simple but delicious dinner over some interesting conversations with Mr. Samant about the history of the place, the local plants, wildlife. We also finalized our plans for the next day and then called it an early night.
Tips for the trip –
1. If you are traveling by bus and are someone has to pick you up then be sure to check with the bus and confirm where will they drop you. There are actually two bus stops here – one a proper bus stop where all state buses go and the other is on the highway near Sanman Hotel where all the buses heading to Goa stop.
2. Being a vegetarian is tough in this area and it might not hurt to carry some snacks with you. Also the locals add coconut in everything; so be prepared for the taste.