Konkan Trip and Mahabaleshwar!

After our Indore trip, we returned back to Mumbai later in the afternoon by air. We had wonderful home cooked meal waiting for us when we arrived home tired and hungry! that is one of the best things about living here in india and being around family.....people awaiting your return and anticipating your needs and attempting to meet it. After 2 days in Mumbai, we left for Konkan area, that is area south of Mumbai. Most of our travelling was into the Sahyaadri mountain range. We had rented a large 4 wheeler for the trip and therefore we were in relate comfort for the whole trip. Bhu's parents, aai and baba, bhu and myself, Girish dada-deepali vahini-nihar (bhu's older brother, wife and child) joined us on this trip. We initially went south to the city of Pali to visit Bhu's father's older sister. She had fresh Panha ready for us, and it was very refreshing! (mango drink). We visited the temple of Ballalleshwar Ganpati, a temple that is very well know in this area for its amazing existance. It is one of 8 temples in the area (ashTavinayak) that hold holy significance and claim that the presence of God was established naturally rather than by a person. It was a beautiful temple and very impressive indeed. Bhu's aunt lives very close to the temple and also lives at the foothill of one of the larger mountains in the area called Pali Sudhagad.

Our next stop was at Dapoli, which is close to the east coast. We stayed at a hotel on the coast called Hotel Kinara, and we were able to have a water facing room. When we reached the hotel, it was later in the evening, and we got a wonderful dinner specifically cooked for our party. We enjoyed the after dinner time chatting in the garden facing the Arabian sea, and swinging on the swing and enjoying the sound of the sea. It was too dark see the beach, but we could smell the water, and see some of the white of the waves as they washed onto the shore. Due to high tide, access to the coast at night was restricted. The next morning, Bhu and I went for a early morning walk on the beach and then a little bit of water play. We returned to the hotel to meet the family, get ready, have breakfast, and we all went to the coast, played in the water, and had a blast! Later that morning we checked out and visited bhu's other aunt (bhu's fathers older sister) who lives in Karajgaon, which is about 30 km from Dapoli. We had lunch at her place, and visited their vast orchard that they farm. It was a impressive sight and very interesting to learn how coconuts, bananas and supari (like nutmeg) are farmed. We also enjoyed batata wadas (patato cutlets) that were specially since bhu was coming. It was interesting to compare farming methods in rural india vs. rural USA. Partaking in family conversations and information sharing was the precipitus of the evening. We shared pictures of our home and life in USA and they shared stories of what happened when bhu was younger and different events that occur in that part of india during different seasons.

Later that afternoon, we left for Khed, where bhu's father grew up. It is considered our home town, and a trip there is always planned when here in india. It was educational for me to see bhu and his cousins crack jokes, and make fun of each other and tease playfully. We spent time with the chidren and discussed their school progress. A lot of changes have occured in the family home, and bhu's father shared where he learned swinging in the backyard well, played with siblings and cousins in the local orchard, climbing trees and stealing unripe mangos from the neighbours and running home to eat it before their mother found out. That well is now dried, the mango trees are now replaced by homes or other trees, but the memories are still strong and influencial! As his father reminised about younger days, bhu also remembered playing in the same yard with his cousins and climbing the same trees. We were at Khed for 2 days. The next day we went to Dhabol by the coast and crossed to the other side of the delta by ferry boat (people and cars). We landed in a town of Dhopave, on to Ghughagar. From there we drove another 50 km to the village of Hedwi, visiting the famous Hedwi Ganpati temple. After making our worship, we pregressed to the coast to the village of Velnashwar. The children and adults played in the sea, enjoying the arabian sea for about 2 hrs and observed the sunset and took tons of pictures. On our way to the coast, we visited Bhamanghal, close to the coast. This location presented a place where the coast water would get trapped in the bolders of the coast and spray water upward to onlookers. It is called a ghal in marathi, not sure what it is called in english.

We left khed the following day, reaching Thane (suburb of Mumbai) where bhu's brother lives. We were there for a day and a half, just enough time to wash clothes and catch on sleep. Deepali vahini made Shezwan rice which was really good.

We left for Mahabaleshwar that following morning. ON our way , we took a detour to pune to visit my cousin, then continued on to the hillstation tourist site of Mahabaleshwar. this drive through the heart of sahyadri mountains, up mountains, and down to the next valley, where the next town/village was located.

The drive was gorgous, but long. Once we got to our hotel, we enjoyed the view and elevation and atmosphere of being 4000 feet above sea level. It was cooler than mumbai, about 10 degree celcius (40-50 degree F.). The sights reminded me of the Smokey mountains and grand canyon combined!!
Enjoying sunrise and sunset and horse riding and family conversations were the highlights of this trip.

On to our next trip.