Bachelor's outing to Dapoli

TravelDada

Member
Prologue:


A team of IT professionals in Pune decided to take a break from corporate and family lives, return to bachelorhood for a while, to unleash the boys within them... They take out their vehicles, hit the roads

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and head for a beach..


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That's us, the team or the gang for this weekend.

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Vijay, the explorer :
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Mitrajit, the fun maker:
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Syed the beauty in our gang:
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Shrinivas, our interface to outside world folks and jugad man:
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Arnav, the hulk
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And
Satya, the only sane person, photographer and accountant for the trip.

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"Designing" the trip

It’s hard to take an engineer out of a human. We are trained to gather requirements, design a solution to meet all of them within budget and deliver.
So when we thought of going for an outing, that’s what we did !!We sat in a conference room and jotted down our requirements:
  1. It has to be place by a beach - There’s plenty of them around.
  2. It should be comfortably covered within 2 days – So we narrow down to Raigad and northern part of Ratnagiri District.
  3. The beach should not be too crowded – That wiped out Alibaug, Kashid, Dive Agar, Harihareshwar, Murud-Janjira etc.
  4. We want to have a hotel on the beach, sea view from the room – Few places around Dapoli still remain
  5. We needed a stag group friendly hotel, flexible to allows us to do certain activities and AC rooms – We zeroed on Beach Croft resort on Palande Beach near Dapoli.

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Search for the hotel was of course done by a lot of Goggling. We found Beach Croft on www.hotelsinkokan.com.

Once the place and stay was sorted out, we set about planning the journey, timings, pit stops etc. We did not even need Google Maps for the route, most of us are frequent travellers on this route and can visualise it seating right in the office at Hinjawadi.

We also made a list of things to carry with us apart from personal ones like playing cards, barbeque kit, coal, booze, snacks. Like every meetings actions were assigned to individuals - written on whiteboard, a snapshot of which was later circulated as MOM.

After rounds of multiple reviews , debates and corrections the design for the trip was finally ready and signed off.

Here we Go ..

Day1:
We were supposed to meet at Blue Ridge, Hinjawadi Phase 1 at 7 AM on Saturday. Myself, Mitrajit and Shrinivas reached Arnav's building at BlueRidge gate between 7 to 7:15 and Arnav quickly came down.

Syed was missing so we called him. He was tying his shoe lace at 7:30 which he had started at 6:40

We asked him to come directly to Megapolis at Phase 3 where we would pick up Satya.
We reached Megapolis in another 10 mins where Satya met us at the gate. We called Syed again and this time he was at Shell petrol pump waiting in a long queue.

We went to a small snacks centre near Megapolis circle for tea and light south Indian snacks. While we were enjoying snacks, Syed arrived and we had another round of tea.

Finally we left from Megapolis at 8:30, an hour later than planned.

Six of us were divided in 2 cars, myself driving Creta and Syed driving WagonR. The route was Megapolis(Hinjawadi phase 2) => Pirangut => Mulshi => Tamhini => Mangaon => Lonere junction (take a right here) => Dapoli => Palande.

Since I was familiar with the road, Syed was tailing behind me. Thankfully both of us are sedate drivers so we did not go much out of sync.

As soon as we left Megapolis, the real trip had started. We shed our facades of professionalism, sophistication, good manners and transformed into wild boys that we are at core.

Loud music started to play, words otherwise unheard of were being uttered freely.

Soon Mulshi backwater came in picture and we could resist temptation to stop and enjoy the views.

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We also tried throwing rocks into the water, it was a bit far from the road and only Shrinivas could hit the target.

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We quickly resumed the journey and driving through beautiful countryside passed villages of Dongri, Tamhini . A little before Tamhini Ghat starts, we crossed into Raigad district and decided to take another breakfast break at a place called Picnic Point. It was 10:20 AM.


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Some of us tried a stunt

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Relaxed after a heavy breakfast

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Breakfast was good overall. Misal was very good, Poha and Omlet were average. We left by 10:50 and reached Mangaon by 11:30, took a short halt again for buying some sports gear to be used on the beach. From Mangaon, we got onto Mumbai-Goa highway and took a left towards Goa.

Shortly after Mangaon, we say a convoy of auto-rickshaws being driven and occupied by foreigners, they were driving from Jaisalmer to Cochin. Quite an adventure, especially for foreigners in auto-rickshaw !

In another 10 KM, we came to Lonere junction where we left the highway and took right turn. This road goes to Shrivardhan / Dive Agar, but after a short distance, there is a detour which goes to Purar-Ambet. We took that detour and bypassed the towns of Purar and Ambet and the road continued towards Dapoli. Somewhere in the way, in no man's land we saw this and stopped:

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A colony of honeybees. Can you count the hives?

After taking snaps of this, we quickly started driving gain but both the drivers were feeling a bit sleepy, so we stopped again for tea.

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This is my favourite pitstop on Dapoli trips. It's located near Mhapral at suitable distance for break, there is a river on the opposite side of the road where dredging is always going on.

It was 1:45PM by the time we reached Dapoli. One more stop to buy fruits and cold drinks.

From Dapoli, one road goes towards Dabhol, another one goes towards Ladghar and the last one towards Harnai. We took the last one, passed Karde and Murud and reached Palande which is 2-3 KM before Harnai.

The hotel care-taker Mr. Suryakant was waiting for us on the road.

We had to park the cars by the road side as the approach road to hotel was through a narrow alley barely enough to walk. There were no check-in formalities, Mr. Suryakant simply handed over the keys to us and we asked him to serve the lunch in 10 mins.

We had 2 AC rooms on first floor, a common balcony connecting the rooms and offering views of the hotel premises and sea a bit farther away.

Hotel premises were reasonably cool despite hot weather outside, thanks to several bog trees spread around.

Lunch was arranged in the veranda of the small house next to the hotel building. The care taker stayed in the same house with his family, it also had a storage room and accommodation for drivers.

Arnav is a vegetarian, so he opted for the veg lunch, Satya opted for chicken and rest of chose fish thali consisting of fried Pomfret, Prawns curry, chapattis and rice. Food was home cooked style and tasted great.

In such places, you have to place the order for dinner at noon and lunch order the evening earlier so they could buy fresh dish from the market.

After lunch we went to beach for a short walk. With afternoon sun blazing in the sky, we did not spend much time on the beach. So we went back to hotel with plans to come back in the evening.

We lingered in the hotel premises for a while, Arnav even climbed up a coconut tree. Then we went to our rooms to relax. We played Teen Patti with Uno cards as money. Hat it been real many, I and Satya would be millionaires today.

Plan was to leave hotel by 4:30 and go to Harnai beach. Harnai is famous for the big fish auction. Everyday around 4:30 a hundred boats come loaded with fresh stalk of day's catch and from boats the fish are loaded in bullock carts and finally brought to the beach where auction takes place.

Auction is attended by several hotels and retailers not just from nearby area but from cities as far as Pune. I was told the auction is an awesome experience especially for sea food lovers. So we had every intention to participate in auction and buy some fish for the dinner.

We left hotel a little late, around 5 and took around 20 minutes to reach Harnai due to narrow roads and traffic jams.

To our hard luck, that they there very fewer boats than usual and so auction had finished by the time we reached there. All was not lost though. The retail market next to the auction place was operating in full swing and moving around the market was also a great experience.

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There were a variety of fish - Pomfret, King Fish (Surmai), Halwa, different types of Prawns and some other fish we could not recognise.

We started shopping for fish in the market. We were told by Mr. Suryakant to bargain hard as we would be instantly recognised as city folks and non-regulars and price would be almost doubled.

Shrinivas was very good at bargaining and we managed to buy Surmai and Prawns at almost half the price of what was quoted. Pomfret was too expensive and we had it in the lunch so gave it a skip.

We returned to the hotel a little after 6 and handed over the Surmail and Prawns to Mr. Suryakant to marinate.

It was time for some beach sports now. We were carrying football - cum - volleyball and a cricket ball. A make-shift bat was found with a wooden plank and off we went to the beach.

Cool evening breeze helped the ball swing and we could experience English playing conditions. Shrinivas hit some big shots that made us run all around the beach.

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We also tried volleyball for a while, but once dropped the ball would keep moving on the beach endlessly as if in vacuum.

Mitrajit had to once give such a long chase that he almost ran till Murud beach. So it was decided to play it in the water next morning rather than exhausting ourselves beyond our limits.

As it started getting dark, we could not more see the ball and we finally stopped thoroughly tired and sweating. Few cups of tea seating in the open space of hotel with cool breeze was enough to bring back our spirits in full form.

We went back to room decided to play Uno.

That's when we remembered we could not keep our cars outside on the road, somehow we had to find a safe parking place.

Mr. Suryakanta told us we could bring the cars in the hotel campus but we would have to go to the beach and drive through the sand. That was not a good option but then we decided it was better than keeping them out on the road overnight.

So I and Syed went out with Mr. Suryakant, took our cars and started driving towards the beach. Driving down to the beach from the road was the first challenge as it was a small but steep and uneven slope with large rocks protruding out.

With some courage and resolve we drove down without scrapping the underbelly of our cars. The next task was even more daunting.

We had to drive over a small heap of dry sand then continue on dry sand for some distance, then through wet sand finally enter the hotel from the gate on beach side.

There were chances of getting stuck in dry stand and if that happened, it would be a real trouble to get out. It was pitch dark except for our headlights which didn't make things any easier. We were trying to follow tyre marks left by other vehicles.

Driving on sand, once started rolling we could not to stop no matter what so we mostly maintained 1st and 2nd gear.

Finally we managed to get into the parking space without getting stuck and were relived to come out of the little adventure. Once in the room we both got refreshed with freshly cut watermelon with chat masala sprinkled on it and some dry snacks while other finished Uno.

It was now time for one of the most exciting part of the trip - the barbeque. Shrinivas had borrowed a barbeque set from his friend. Arnav had brought coal for burning.

There was a gazebo nestled among the palm trees, it had enough area for us do light the barbeque and seat all of us comfortably with our plates. It also offered sea views and we could hear the roaring waves.

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We carried all the barbeque gear and the marinated fish to the gazebo. The barbeque kit was set on the floor, coal was put in and the gang took on the task of setting the fire. It took a bit of efforts and time to lit the fire and maintain it to required level.

Paper rolls were used as blowers, coconut straws were added to the coal. After inhaling some black smoke, burnt eyes the fire was ready.


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We put the grill on and started putting the fish on the grill.

Mitrajit had brought high quality Bluetooth speakers. Mobiles were quickly connected to the speakers and some dance numbers started playing. Those who were not attending to the barbeque started dancing.

Shortly, first batch of fish was ready from barbeque

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It tasted awesome, we can't get such fresh fish in Pune so we enjoyed this rare treat. As the night got darker, we sat there munching on the fish, chatting and cracking all sorts of jokes.

Slowly, the night grew darker, the breeze became cooler and the roaring of the waves became louder. We could not resist going to the beach once again to listen to the roaring up-close, soak in the damp and salty air and walk through the cool white sand.

While we were enjoying the night time beach, a small incident took place back at the gazebo. We had left behind the fish, drinks and some other stuff at the gazebo trusting no one here would touch anything. We were proven wrong.

There was another group of boys in the hotel who were also roaming around. Amongst the stuff we had left behind was a bottle of whisky. When we returned back from beach to the gazebo, we found the bottle had disappeared.

We had seen the other group passing by the gazebo while walking back so we strongly suspected them of taking the bottle. We were deciding on whether to confront that group directly when Mr. Suryakant appeared.

When we told him the situation, he volunteered to mediate as he thought direct confrontation between the two groups might lead to undesirable consequences. He went to that group and our suspicion proved to be correct.

Fortunately they returned the bottle without any fuss (without any apology also) and they hadn't consumed anything from it yet.

Mr. Suryakant quickly came to us and handed over the bottle and was repeatedly requesting us not to confront the other group and we promised not to start any fight unprovoked. We kept our promise and did not get any more provocation.

Dinner came soon after that. We feasted on the prawns and remaining fish while the Arnav and Satya ate special kind of Keralite cuisine Syed had prepared. After dinner we once again went to beach.

We sat there for a long time, discussed lots of interesting things, we sang , we shouted and We sat there for a long time , discussed lots of interesting things, we sang , we shouted and scared poor stray dogs running around.

When we finally came back to room, it was well past midnight. After playing another round of cards, we went to sleep around 2 AM.

Day 2:

I woke up around 7:30 and soon Mitrajir and Shrinivas woke up too. From balcony, we peeped into the adjoining room to see other sleeping peacefully. How could we let them sleep when we were wide awake? A novel plan was quickly formed and executed.

We connected one of the mobiles to Bluetooth speakers, quietly slipped into their room through the balcony and hid the speakers under a mattress. Shrinivas then played a song with full volume. Our friends woke up and tried to locate the speakers.

After some time they found them and turned them off but our purpose was served.

Everyone quickly got ready and went to beach, this time we would play volleyball in water. We went in knee-deep water and started doing catch practice with cricket ball. Each one of us dived a few time and fell into the water and got sunk completely for a few seconds.


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It was thrilling and refreshing at same time. Chasing the ball that was being thrown away by waves also was a lot of fun. After some time we played volleyball forming a circle. Again we fell in water a few times.

After more than two hours of playing in water and riding the waves we finally came out and headed to hotel for tea and breakfast. After sumptuous breakfast of Poha, Omelettes and last night's leftover fish we went to our rooms, washed and got ready to leave.

I and Syed had to repeat yesterday night's adventure of driving on the beach , drive through the heap of dry sand and this time we had to climb the slope to get on to the road. Again Mr. Suryakant accompanied us and I also took Mitrajit for moral support.

This time with one time experience and bright daylight, it proved much easier and we could reach the road without any issues.

It was past 11AM by the time we left hotel, we would drive to the Anjarley side which offers stunning views of beachside from high ground. The road was narrow, winding and uphill with hairpin turns on slopes but surface was very good so we enjoyed driving.

As we climbed up higher, the views became more and more beautiful. We could see the road we had driven all the way down, beyond that was Anjarley village with typical Konkani houses, a temple and a mosque spread through coconut and palm trees , the Arabian sea by one side and the Suvarnadurga fort far away in the middle of the sea.

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We stopped at multiple points to enjoy the views and to take photos.

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After a couple of hours driving along the scenic root and numerous photo shoots, we started our return journey. We were taking halts for something or other every 10 kilometres.

Since we had a heavy breakfast and were having tea, cold drinks or ice cream every half an hour, we decided to skip lunch. Around 5PM we stopped for snacks at NIjampur.

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We were enjoying Dosas, Misal and few other things when Satya found an insect in his plate. He isn't a fan of Chinese food so did not appreciate the complementary item. He complained to the manager who did not apologise but said you don’t pay for that dish.

While paying the bill, Satya being a meticulous accountant for this trip noticed that there was no CST/BST or any tax identifiers on the bill. When he pointed this out to the manager, he got angry and decided to also vent out his anger for having to give one plate free. He started shouting at Satya.
When I tried to intervene demanding him to behave, his screaming got even more louder as if we had stolen something from him. I was wondering whether we should drag him on the street and assault him, but decided against it and came out abruptly ignoring the arrogant man.

It got dark as we reached Tamhini Ghat. There wasn't much traffic there. We reached Pirangut by 8PM. As we had come near Pune we remembered our duties towards family and did some vegetables and grocery shopping.

We took turn towards Hinjawdi, dropped Satya at Megapolis and other at Blue Ridge. Our 2 day freedom and exciting sojourn ended here with thoughts of Monday's work already starting to come in.


Epilogue:

2 days after the trip.
Time: Around 4pm

Place: Food Court in our company campus

All of us from the trip were sipping tea after hours of boring calls.

Shrinivas: "Vijay, the trip was awesome and we all enjoyed all right. But wasn't the beach about 50 meter away from our hotel."

Me: "Yeah it was. What's your point?"

Shrinivas: "I want a place where first step out of the hotel should be one the beach"

Me: "Your wish shall be granted. Let this hot season pass, let the monsoon start. I know just the right place"

Keep watching my posts for next travelogue ..
 
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