Last minute trips are always fun they say. This road trip proved the same. A bored person like me had been waiting the entire monsoon for an outing . unfortunately non happened until sunday. Just one day of prior intimation and invitation for a road trip down south and I wouldn’t want to miss it, even if it meant travelling alone with 3 gentlemen…..Mr A, Mr B and Mr C.
So off we were the next day, I as usual over prepared with overpacked bags ( I am sure it looked like I was leaving home for good 🙂 ). A little delay but finally the long drive started. My mind was at peace and relaxed in the back seat of Mr A’s sedan.
Mr A drove through the Ghats passing through the beautiful Goan villages. Nature as usual was at her best …exhibiting various shades of green. And people were in their festive mood celebrating Ganesh chaturti. We crossed the border ,left sweet Goa behind and reached Karwar town ……our first halt.
Karwar is surely a beautiful town and the sealine just enhances it’s beauty. We walked to the shore and I decide to walk back to the car and get my selfie stick. But alas!….. I accidentally cut through a freshly layed cowdung cake. What a shame…..that too in front of the men. I pretend to be unperturbed and walked to the car. I got my slippers cleaned and returned with the selfie stick. Finally after almost a year the stick was being used for what it was meant for. A couple of selfies clicked……me as usual with some stupid expressions, and we made a move.
Our next halt was a few kilometers away from Karwar town. Suggestion was made my Mr B who located the Nagarmadi waterfall somewhere close to the route we were taking on the GPS. A little help from the locals and we started our short trek to the waterfall. Isolated , peaceful and pristine was the route to the waterfall. A short climb over some rocks and walking over slippery boulders led us finally to the main spot. The site was beautiful. A big boulder was dangerously perched over some rocks,and a rivulet was flowing underneath. Just below the big boulder I guess the depth of the water was high , because of which the water appeared blue. I was surprised to see a whole lot of people already at the site….swimming and enjoying themselves no doubt. A few more pics around the place, a struggle back over the slippery rocks and we were back to the car to continue the journey.
Next stop was directly at Gokarn …..Om beach (named after the crescent shaped bay that appears like an om formation). We arrived at the Paradise hotel where we would be putting up. Paradise hotel was some kind of a Paradise in the jungle. They showed us the rooms. The men would be putting up in the stone cottage and the lady was to be in the Hut……very close to nature. The ambience in the Hut …well nice, built using natural materials….but full of fungus and quite damp, a little dark too. I used the washroom and later realise that I had a big snail to give me company. But later the hotel people agreed to accommodate me in a stone structure by late evening.
So we kept our bags and walked down to Om Beach to have lunch at Namaste Cafe……the only restaurant on the beach. Namaste Cafe appeared to me as less of a restaurant and more of a smoking lounge. There were young college going kids (boys and girls)royally smoking their lungs out. And my poor lungs breathing in the smoke …..but after getting filtered through the hand towel fixed on my face. A sorry sight it was but nevertheless we had lunch there. After the meal a few more pics on the beach and we were all ready to walk along the beach and observe the om formation. Mr A and Mr B were tired and having already explored the beach earlier they were not keen on walking the beach again. So they decide to walk up the hotel for some rest and me and Mr C decided to walk and explore the beach. Mr C has a lot of interest and knowledge about nature. We walked along talking about nature , mangrove trees etc. Finally we reached a spot where 2 bays were meeting …..creating an om formation. Captured the formation in a panaroma click and we decided to turn back because it was too hot.
We walked back slowly and up the hill stopped a while to click pics of some wild but exotic flowers.
Finally we reached the hotel and Mr C joined the other 2 men. I found myself a place to sit in the outside restaurant just to while away my time. About an hour later Mr A assisted me in shifting my bags to the stone cottage. There was a sudden change in plan……we would be visiting Murdeshwar today instead of the next day. Mr B was woken up from his slumber and within no time we were on our way to Murdeshwar, the temple town.
The drive to Murdeshwar was almost of 2 hours. On the way there were healthy discussions of religion and faith…..each one explaining their perspective. soon the sun began to set and by the time we reached Murdeshwar it was dark. But nevertheless the place was lite up and Ganesh festivities were in progress. We witnessed a unique display of religious festivities…… Lord Ganesha’s idols were being paraded in front of the temple ……but there was a difference. Decent worshippers were replaced by what seemed to me as drunken revelers and bhajans were replaced by some hip hop Bollywood music. Religion nowadays has really got modernised. We passed by the revelry and reached the main temple. The Murdeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. It is an enchanting structure with its 20 storey gopura (monumental tower). At its entrance stood 2 concrete elephants. Behind the temple and above a hillock lay the statue of Lord Shiva. It is regarded as the second largest statue of Shiva in the world. Although it was dark ….the statue was well lite up and appeared very imposing. On the sides were some other statues depicting the various events of the legend behind the place. The legend is that Ravana obtained the atma linga as a boon to immortality. But he was tricked into losing the same, thanks to Lord Ganesha and Lord Vishnu. The view of the sea behind the statue was a little scary because the statue casts an enormous shadow onto the sea which gives an appearance of spirits rising from the sea.A few more clicks around the statue and we walked down for dinner.
The closest place in view was hotel naveen…..the hotel built almost in the sea. I had heard a lot of the hotel and now I was finally there. We decided to have some Chinese food so we moved up to the first floor. I was excited to sit near the corner table facing the sea…..but the men didn’t seem keen. So we sat on another table away from the corner. Mr C and Mr A ordered some baby corn and me and Mr B ordered some noodles. Till the food arrived there were discussions of how coca cola can be used to clean toilets.Finally the food arrived and we began eating. The taste was nothing great but I was hungry. But my hunger wasn’t to get sufficed so soon . The climax was yet to come 🙂 . Little did we start our meal and all of a sudden there was a downpour with strong winds and a sudden drop in temperature. I initially tried to save my food but there was no place in sight. The entire floor was getting wet. And me…….I can bear heat , not cold. My teeth were chattering in the cold. I tried to protect myself behind a pillar but it was of no use. Finally Mr A advised me to go downstairs and he accompanied me too. I was still in a cold shock :). It took me a while to warm up. Mr B and Mr C remained upstairs waiting for the rain to subside. Meanwhile downstairs I was hoping that my food was saved by the waiters and they would get it down. Time passed, and the rain and the wind gave a spectacular display of patterns around the hotel. There was no sign of any food coming down….but there were signs that are bill was done. One of the waiter approached me asking to pay the bill……that’s when the drama started…why should we pay for something we have not eaten?. A discussion in multiple languages with the manager and waiter,that finally worked out in our favour. We didn’t have to pay for the food that we didn’t eat. We lost the food but atleast won the case.
We waited for the rain to subside and began the drive back to Gokarn. Mr B was driving now . it’s always difficult to drive in the night with high beams blinding your vision and darkness putting a cover on landmarks which are helpful for directions. We missed the way and reached a little ahead ….but thanks to Mr A we realised the same , took a turn and returned to the route leading to Paradise hotel.
It was almost 12 when we reached back to the hotel. We moved on to our respective stone rooms. I took a quick shower and got ready for bed. But sleep wouldn’t come so soon. But I had a live radio with 3 RJs …….Mr A, B and C to keep me entertained. (I really wonder whether they really didn’t think I could listen). I didn’t want to eavesdrop, but I couldn’t help it. And finally I fell asleep.
At 5 in the morning one of the Mr’s phone alarm rang. I got up but I was still sleepy. And just when I decided to sleep some more, a creepy crawly creature walked on my hand. That was enough to get me out of the bed. A small spider it was.
A small walk , a short talk with Mr A ,payment of the bills and we checked out from hotel Paradise. Our next destination ……..Jog falls.
After driving through the winding roads of Gokarn and moving on to the straight highway ,Mr A handed over the car to me. Hmm …I was happy , but Mr B was surely scared and as for Mr C,he considered me to be a confident driver. Unfortunately I don’t think I am.I was driving under adult expert supervision of Mr A. Driving our way down we reached Honavar where we stopped for breakfast. After the previous night’s eventful dinner we were hoping for a better breakfast. The breakfast was good enough and so was the service………specially the cleaner uncle. Sometimes you find admirers in a foreign land :). With breakfast done we were on our way to Jog falls. Mr A drove all the way through the beautiful Ghats. The weather was cool, the air fresh and the sites around beautifully green with different types of wild flora. One of the site where the hills were cutting through the clouds was breath taking. We halted at a place where a structure is built to view the valley below. The view of the valley………….wow!. The river with its green waters was peacefully meandering through the lush green hills. I wish I remembered to use my binoculars then. We clicked a few pics. But believe me the pics can never capture the beauty you see with your naked eyes.
So back we were on our way to Jog. On the way there were many boards indicating the presence of the Lion tailed macaque. Unfortunately we were not lucky to spot any. I am sure the macaques spotted us tough :). After almost a 2hour drive we were finally there. All of us mentally preparing ourselves to climb down the 1000+ steps. I packed my sling bag with water , apples and whatever possible……. Over prepared as usual. Mr A and Mr B smeared some sunscreen to their face to face the mighty sun and Mr C ….he was always prepared. We reached the spot and sighted the streams of the water fall. The flow didn’t look enormous as I expected. We walked down a few steps and alas!…..a dead end. Oh! we were on the other side of the valley. We spotted the tiny stairs and the main entrance on the other side of the valley. We returned back to the car. Mr C bought some Torange at a reasonable rate. The other entrance was about 3 kms away. Finally we reached there and I was all set to climb down the steps. For me it was some kind of a treasure hunt.The view from this side of the valley was equally beautiful. As we began climbing down Mr C became apprehensive of the impending clouds. I tried to convince him that it shouldn’t be an issue getting wet because anyways we were almost at the end of the trip. But no, he didn’t want to get wet. Meanwhile Mr A and B were busy clicking pics …….they are both heroes no doubt. Finally they joined us. but just after alighting a few steps, down came the rain. The 3 men ran up to a small shade . I decided to wait under the canopy of a tree hoping the rain would subside and we could continue the walk down. But the rain played a spoilsport, it somehow washed the spirits of Mr A and B too. I joined the men in the shade and realised that none of them were anymore interested in getting down to the valley. And the majority always wins……..that’s the rule. So that was it ……we walked up, clicked a few more pics and we were back on the last lap of our journey.
Mr A was again driving through the winding roads of the Ghats. The beauty of Ghats, the cool wind on my face, the latest song “closer” playing and the comfort of the back seat of the sedan (not the rover :))….I couldn’t have asked for more in life. Finally after a long drive we were back to Honavar. We had lunch at the same place that we had breakfast earlier in the day.I was happy to see my admirer …..but he didn’t seem interested anymore. Anyways life’s like that :). We had a quick lite lunch of chapatis and we were ready to get home. To my surprise inspite of my poor performance earlier in the day, Mr A asked me to drive the car. Shamelessly I accepted the offer. I said my usual prayers and off we were. For the next more than one hour I was under constant supervision of Mr A…… “Put in 5th gho, 4th, slow slow, you don’t have to accelerate to change to 5th”. I felt like my poor driving skills were totally exposed. What a shame. I just wanted to help but it seemed like it backfired….Mr A had to be extra alert, Mr B was surely scared although it seemed like he was busy on the net and Mr C….well he is a man of faith, so I guess he was fine.
I was somehow not getting a hang on the 1st gear of the car and as a result the car stopped on many occasions. Finally on one occasion when it stopped, I decided to quit. The target was to reach Karwar town but I quit couple of kilometers ahead and passed on the control to Mr B. Mr B is also an experienced driver but unfortunately due to an injured shoulder couldn’t drive for too long. He drove through Karwar town ,across the border and somewhere after canacona Mr A took over. There was not much talk in the return journey, i guess each one was lost in their own toughts. Finally we reached margao where my dear mother was already waiting. The trip had officially ended.
At the beginning of a trip I am always anxious and at the end of it I am always sad. If only we could stop time and be on a long drive forever. But all good things must come to an end. And they surely end with some sweet memories that will linger in the mind for a long time.
This trip wasn’t all about the sight seeing and long drives , for me on a personal level it was a challenge to prove to myself that I could be fine alone on my own. I am not a hero but atleast there is hope that I can survive my fears.
I couldn’t say this personally to the 3 misters but someday if they read this….here’s my vote of thanks. Thank you Mr A firstly for allowing me to join you’ll on this trip and secondly for allowing me to drive your car and risk everybodies lives (including your car) . Thank you Mr B for not making it obvious even if you were not comfortable with my presence and sorry for scaring you along the drive. You dont have to be extra courteous with me too.Thank you Mr C for coming for the trip, you made me feel comfortable and safe. And thank you God for such wonderful men and a supporting mother. Thank you mother for trusting me and giving me so much freedom.
And finally to end…..
Finally I’ll end here…..I didn’t want to write so much. But couldn’t help it.next time I’ll try to keep it short 🙂