Monday, December 11, 2017

 

When you need to take a break from everything; work, city, traffic and pollution and you are looking for some hot bright sun, a beach and murky waters, Guhaghar is the place for you. During a recent long weekend off, me and my friends decided to head there on our bikes and we had to choose from three route options:

  1. a) Mulshi – Tamhini Ghat (road conditions aren’t the best and the distance is the longest)
  2. b) Bhor Ghat (bad roads but the shortest distance)
  3. c) Mahabaleshwar – Ambenali Ghat (road condition is ok and distance is medium)

We took the worst decision by choosing option ‘b’ (of course we didn’t know that till we started riding). We put our bodies and motorcycles to the ultimate test against continuous vibrations and spine-breaking potholes. Our motorcycles were not spared; we had to stop often to tighten loose nuts and bolts.

We started enjoying the ride only after we touched the Mumbai–Goa highway. My joy was cut short when my motorcycle engine started giving problems. The knocking told me it was the floating bush; an Achilles Heel for any proud owner of a Royal Enfield Standard 500. As returning was not an option, we decided to ride on at a much slower pace- 45 to 50 kmph.

We climbed the Poladpur Ghat and took a break. I would like to tell all fellow travelers to be aware of the small dhabas where you may stop for tea or other such beverages. Here is what we experienced; we got four cups of not-very-good-but-still-welcome tea. When we asked for the bill, we were shocked to know the owner had charged us Rs. 15/cup. Highway robbery. Ask for the price before you order.

We reached Guhaghar by nightfall. Some of my friends were already there, so we mingled, mixed a few drinks and ate some fabulous coastal food. We were staying in a resort named Shantai. It is just 3 km short of Guhaghar. Shantai is a massive and beautiful resort, which has a bar and you can also fish if you are interested. There are huge lawns for your children to play on.

The Vyadeshwar temple in the midst of the town is a key attraction. From there, you can always take a quick ride to Hedvi; the beaches are cleaner and there’s a serene Ganesh Temple. You can also ride towards the Dhabol power project. If you pay the fisherman a few hundred rupees, he would happily take you fishing with him and his crew. They will give you a lot of information about the sea and fish, all in local language.

The next day, after a visit to the temple and a quick walk to the beach, we had some fantastic fried fish in “Annapurna”. Their fish thaali is to die for.

After stuffing ourselves we hit the road for our return journey. I suggested we try the Ambenali Ghat-Mahabaleshwar route.

I have done quite a bit of riding; ridden through various weather conditions, light rain, downpour, a storm and even snowfall during my Himalaya rides. We underwent a hailstorm and trust me, I wouldn’t like to ride under those circumstances again. In spite of the helmets, jackets, boots and gloves, what we experienced seemed like something right out of a concentration camp. By the time we reached Mahabaleshwar, we were shivering. After a small tea break (we asked for the price before we ordered), we headed straight for Pune at 45 km/hour.

As I was nearing home, I was looking forward to a warm bath, hot food and the idea of putting up images of my motorcycle on Olix.