Finally the much anticipated and hyped "Tarkarli trip" was scheduled on 1st Jan 2010 which lasted for 2 nights and 3 days. The mail threads regarding it had already intruded our life well five months before the trip and served as a reminder to everyone that the trip is inevitable. This was a strategy to make a successful trip as our past attempts for a big trip after the "Goa trip" was unsuccessful. Despite the last moment issue raised by "Chandranath" about his tentativeness in making to the trip because of the manager changes which calls for his mandatory attendance on 1st for Jan, we all made it. So the attendance for the trip included Rajendra, Subrato, Santosh, Chandranath and Anshuman.
Chandranath arranged for Innova Rs8@km the cheapest at his disposal. Due to the non-availability of good hotels on 1st Jan, Amboli hill resort on 1st Jan and malvan resort on 2nd Jan were booked by Subrato and Rajendra. Tarkarli papers were drafted by Subrato, thanks for the painstaking effort out of his daily hectic stint. We all dropped by Indraprastha on the 31st evening to say goodbye to the year 2009 together. We did some shopping for the trip like the chips, biscuits, flying disc, footballs and soft drinks. We went to the bamboo house, our customary dining place on the New Year eve, after convincing the reluctant and the maverick Subrato. At 12:00 we greeted each other and called our respective loved ones before calling off for the day. Chandranath and Rajendra went to their respective home after the dinner while the rest retired at Indraprastha.
We planned to start early for the trip 5:00 am that means some intermittent naps in the Innova itself during the journey to compensate for the complete quota of our sleep. But thanks to the driver who was five hrs late that helped us to complete our 2 days sleep quota :). Chandranath came with the driver and finally we embark our journey at 10:00 am. We picked up Rajendra from his place before hitting the highways. After reaching "Kolhapur" we realized the driver was ill-informed about our destination for 1st Jan which was Amboli hill resort. We started late and then this misinformation added more delay but this served as a wakeup call for the otherwise passive nature and everyone started volunteering for sharing the responsibilities. We finally reached Amboli hill resort at 7:30 pm. So, most of the time on 1st Jan was spent inside the Innova. Moreover Subrato screwed up the CD; he prepared the data CD for the song collection instead of the music CD, unplayable by the music player. The songs collection by me were though huge in number but were outdated and boring too. Even the Linkin park song album was a data CD. Thankfully the driver carried with him handful of latest songs. We all headed for Amboli hill(see our snaps) resort.
Amboli is a tranquil but pleasant hill station on the Western Ghats, surrounded by thick forests and tree canopied hills, in the southern range of Sahyadri hills and 26 km far from Sawantwadi. Beautiful waterfalls can be seen here during the rainy season. Summers at Amboli are extremely pleasant and cool. We checked-in at Amboli resorts at 7:30 pm. The two big rooms of the cottage were linked together. Each room had 2 doors; one opening to the swimming pool while other opening to garden. We retired at chairs and ordered starters (fishes, eggs) followed by dinner and off course soft drinks. We started discussing on sharing the responsibilities and plan for the trip. But majority of our time was spent on listening to Chandranath story and we asked him to forget the past and live the present. We got up early the next morning and visited the garden. The pollution-free atmosphere with slanting rays from the sun hitting the verdant landscape was a sight worth watching. Subrato and Rajendra already started playing football near the swimming pool for some photographs :). Chandranath kept reminding the place deserver the second visit with their better half’s. Santosh was amusing himself by taking the photographs of anything other than what can be described as human being that even dared one of the birds to warn him any further photographs of them will not be greeted well :) Then we moved to the cafeteria and ordered pohe, bread-omlette and tea. Rajendra was so much delighted after eating pohe that he declared it’s the best "pohe" ever eaten which propelled Chandranath to order another couple of plates. It was already 9:00 am when we completed our snacks and we decided to visit few sites in the Amboli neighborhood before leaving for Malvan. We planned to cover at least the "Sindudurg fort" situated at Malvan apart for the Amboli sites on 2nd Jan. Then we headed for the "Sunset point". During the journey we were amusing ourselves by sightseeing; the landscape and the countryside houses with the latest song from 3 idiots added the flavor to the morning toast. When we reached the "Sunset point" we all were flabbergasted. The panoramic view of the valley from the sunset point was awesome. Also we identified that our voices could be echoed back so we spent some time listening to our own echoed voices. All we could see were the greenery and the only noise we coming were coming from us. Then we visited one of the lands where the farmers were cutting the sugarcane stick. Santosh, Subrato and Chandranath approached them and asked few sticks. They also tried to prune some of the sticks themselves and even took snaps with the farmers. The artless and the generous villagers did not ask for money in exchange of the sticks. All the sticks were consumed during the journey. We were running out of time so we decided to visit rest of the Amboli sites from Innova itself.
We headed for Malvan(see our snaps) at 12:00 noon 2nd Jan. Malvan is around 200 km from Amboli hill and takes 2.5 hrs from Innova. We reached Malvan at 3:00 pm and the first things we did was to have our lunch. We tried some of the local cuisines; anshuman and subrato tried the prawns, chandranath and Santosh tried the malvan specific fish and Rajendra tried the veg thali. Everyone, except Rajendra who eats veg on Saturday took plunge in the prawn thali which cost Rs 120 per plate. Prawn was awesome and was the first thing that vanished from our plates. The sea food was not only cheap but tasty too. Chandranath seemed to repent why he didn’t order prawn thali and vowed to have it the next time even though he had half the count served :). After lunch we took the boat ticket to "Sindudurg fort(see our snaps)" at around 4:00 pm. The "Sindudurg fort(see our snaps)" is surrounded by sea and is accessible through boats only. The boat soon took us inside the fort. The fort was destroyed when English used to rule our country and so there was very less left for the tourist interest. We visited sites where Shivaji’s palm and footprints were preserved on dried lime slabs in a tower. The guide helped us exploring the remnants most of them were hyperbole and the facts differ from one guide to the other. The guide explained the fort has been designed to collect the rain water for drinking purpose and one Y shaped tree which have been recently hit by lightening. We returned from the fort in the same boat around 5:30 pm. Then we checked-in the Malvan resort, this time the two rooms were not connected but the bathroom were as big as the Amboli hills. We refreshed ourselves; some took shower while TV addict watched their favorite programs. At evening, we strolled around the in the vicinity to get the feel of the city. The city is only famous for "Sindudurg fort"; the beaches were too dirty and smell of rotten fish made it impossible to take a bath.
In the spur of moment we decided to explore "Tarkarli beach(see our snaps)" in the night. We reached tarkarli beach within half an hour from Malvan. It was a new moon|(without moonlight) and we could only hear sound of the wild waves beating against the shore. We still persisted to spend some in the beach despite the dark surroundings. We used light form the mobile phone to reach some safe in the beach to sit and spend some time together. Suddenly a big crab/spider came out from the sand holes and Rajendra warned me to avoid stepping into it. The moment I saw something moving I cried, jumped and threw all the bottles. Everyone laughed at my animated reaction. Then we decided to leave for Malvan at the earliest. Once we reached the Malvan resort we ordered the starters followed by dinner. Then begun our hot group a discussion on topics such as individualism vs. team work, the good thing was that everyone participated. We all were at our rhetoric best; the dialogue of the evening was "mirror reflects the true image of person" by Santosh who favored individualism. The discussions ended without any conclusion; the two groups continued to differ in their perspective and reluctant to reconcile. We took a walk in the well lighted area of the Malvan beach after our dinner at 12:30am before retiring to bed.
On 3rd Jan, we took quick snacks before hitting the "Tarkarli beach(see our snaps)" at 8:45 am. We went to the MTDC tarkarli resort which was maintaining a small section of the beach. The beach turned out to be as good as expected; pristine water and one can see the sea animal/insects through naked eye. This beach is called as ‘Queen Beach’ of Sindhudurg. We were wondering the reason for such thin crowd on the "Tarkarli Beach" in the first week of the year. We played football, flying disc, volleyball and custom games and before completely exhausting our self. Subrato and Rajendra were the real athletes, while the rest were old men. We then rested our self in MTDC stall; the good thing about MTDC was that even though we didn’t book the cottage at the resort everyone was allowed to in the MTDC managed beach and access to the stalls inside the resort. The quality of the snacks served was also good. The MTDC tarkarli resort was a perfect place for honeymoon couples, the only problem was that the bathroom and the toilet were shared by all the cottages. We could identify one of them who were still in the process of reconciliation and knowing each other. Since the Malvan resort check-out time was 12:00 noon we rushed back to Malvan resort, took quick shower before checking out. We then decided to spend the rest of the time at the MTDC resort so we went back to MTDC tarkarli resort. We quickly ordered lunch at the resort; as usual prawn was the part of everyone dishes. We can see the ocean waves hitting the shore from the stall. The whole trip was a rush as we tried covering as many spots as possible but this time at MTDC resort we unanimously had a different opinion. We wanted to savor each moment here. We all grew maudlin as the time passes by as could be seen our talks were in bits and pieces. We were getting conscious of the trip coming to a close.
At 3:00pm we decided to visit some of tourist place on the way back to pune , so still more sites to be explored. We soon visited Dhamapur Lake(see our snaps) at around 3:30. Dhamapur(see our snaps) situated at Malvan Taluka of SINDHUDURG district, surrounded with amidst rolling hills is clean & coolest lake & most ideal picnic spot in malvan. This lake is surrounded on all four sides by beautiful green hills. We availed the boating facilities provided by MTDC and the boat took us in the middle of the placid lake from which panoramic view of the hills can be seen. We spend another 20-30 minutes boating savoring sightseeing before returning back. This was the last site we visited on our return trip to Tarkarli. We left the lake around 5:00 pm for pune, we took some intermittent halts for snacks and tea before our dinner in some dhaba after the Kolhapur. The thought that we need to return back to our mundane boring life next day made all of us quite for the rest of the trip. Finally we reached pune at 3:00 pm.
The trip was very hectic but I am glad that we made the most of time ; we woke every day 7:00am morning dude and slept at 1:00 am, no one was the spoil sport. We visited various places of tourist interests from amboli hills to malvan and tarkarli beaches to sindudurg fort and finally the placid Dhamapur lake. We tasted different cuisines - the malvan, trakarli and the amboli special; the prawns ruled above everywhere. We discussed plenty of things and most of the time we all differed; not only our perspectives differed from each other but also our interpretation on other’s perspective ; the commonalities between us were our bachelorhood, honesty, respect for each other, caring and willingness of togetherness. The trip was educational to everyone and all contributed in making this trip as huge success.