It was the beginning of the monsoon. I was sitting on my balcony, watching the rain and sipping on chai, and wondering where I could go for a magical monsoon adventure.
So many different places came to my mind, but Sindhudurg in Konkan Maharashtra had been calling me for quite some time.
I love spontaneous travel plans, so without further delay, I called the retreat I had been working with in Sindhudurg, booked myself a room for 2 nights and started packing – a backpack with 2 pairs of clothes, a raincoat, a journal and my camera.
The next morning, I began my monsoon journey. The only thing I knew was that it was raining torrentially all over Maharashtra, the highways were absolutely beautiful and I had to cover a distance of 380 kms from Pune to get to Sindhudurg. Little did I know of all the beauty and adventure awaiting me along the way.
The drive began on NH-4 from Pune to Kohlapur, from where I was supposed to join the Mumbai-Goa Highway. One wrong turn and I was lost, but thanks to the helpful people of Kohlapur, I figured an alternative route. The drive on this unplanned and definitely destined route was amazing. Winding ghats jeweled with numerous waterfalls, pristine lakes, lustrous greenery and empty roads cutting through Dajipur Forest Reserve…I was happily lost in an enchanted land.
8 hours and 380 kilometers later, I reached my destination – Sindhudurg. Arriving there was as exciting as the beautiful journey. Once I reached my abode, all I could see was a deep forest, a soft river that I had to cross and a faint visual of one cottage peeping through the lush beetle nut plantation. “When did I get to the Amazon Rainforest?’ is the thought that crossed my mind as I stood there.
I followed my hosts to unravel the beauty that awaited me on the other side of the river – An eco-retreat nestled in a beetle nut and coconut plantation, endowed with abundant natural beauty and charm. 4 eco-friendly cottages built with immense attention to detail, leaving you no aspect to complain about.
The hosts guided me to my cottage and it was love at first sight. I could not believe my eyes, I could not believe that something so beautiful existed just a few hours away from home. Huge glass windows overlooking the plantation, an excellently designed bathroom, comfortable beds and a private sit out- The room was an experience in itself.
The rain welcomed me with open arms in Konkan Maharashtra. Whether it was up in the mountains of Sindhudurg or by the beach in Tarkarli, the rain-drenched greenery was mesmerizing. About a 30 minute drive from Sindhudurg is Tarkarli beach, known for its pristine waters, spectacular beach road, and the ‘Devbagh Sangam’ – The mystical point where the sea and backwaters come together.
I didn’t get a chance to walk along the beach road as I was stuck in a massive storm in Tarkarli…but since I was already there, I couldn’t have chickened out…I had to experience the ‘Sangam’. I decided to drive till the end of the beach road, put on my raincoat, and got out in the storm. The winds were howling, the sky was dark and heavily clouded, the trees swayed with immense tenacity and the sea roared…I could feel the vibrations of the storm around me.
In the distance I saw a group of men swimming in the sea and wondered what had gotten into them to be in the water in the middle of a storm. I walked ahead to check it out and realized that a boat had gone offshore. The men linked themselves to make a chain and with their combined efforts were able to bring the boat back. It was amazing to see how in the middle of a storm, they swam to the boat, dragged it back to shore and anchored it. I had to congratulate them on their strength and courage so I walked ahead to talk to them.
All of them were shocked to see me on that beach. They bombarded me with questions..Where are you from? Are you Indian? How come you are traveling alone? No man with you! After our conversation, we were all left amazed at each other’s courage. I complimented them on their strength and they in return complimented me on mine…They could still not fathom that I was traveling alone.
I bid adieu to the beach boys and headed out to my next adventure – meeting Mr. Daji, a local potter in Sindhudurg. He didn’t speak much Hindi and I don’t speak any Marathi so communicating over the phone for directions was a challenge! But somehow I managed to make my way to his humble abode. He was waiting for me on the street and welcomed me with a huge smile and some ‘Fanas’ (Jackfruit) Everyone in his family came to say hi and to escort me to the house…I felt a part of them at once. Despite the language barrier, we ended up talking for quite some time.
Daji who is 30 years old did not want to be a farmer like the rest of his family. He wanted to do something creative, and although he believed that farming was an art, he didn’t feel connected to it. Despite his family’s disapproval about him leaving the farmland, Daji decided to teach himself pottery. Now after 10 years, he is making perfectly shaped terracotta pots and supplying them to hotels and restaurants as dishes to cook and serve food in. He provides for his family and boasts about the new television that he has recently bought for his wife and mother. ‘I didn’t want to follow my fathers or my brothers path. I knew I had to do something different for my life, something more meaningful’ Daji said, reminding me of my own decision to follow my path and create The Wanderbug.
So many fulfilling experiences in just two days…all this made me think about something that I truly believe in – There is beauty all around us. But to find it we must wander with an open mind and inquisitive eyes, ready to embrace any experience that comes along in our journey.
How to get to Sindhudurg -
Nearest Airport: Dabolim, 120km
Nearest Railway Station: Kudal, 20km
By road: If you are up for a road trip, then I highly recommend the drive from Mumbai and Pune to Sindhudurg. The drive from Mumbai and Pune is 8 and 6 hours respectively. You will drive through some of the most scenic paths, including a drive through Dajipur Forest Reserve.
State run buses are available from Mumbai, Panaji, Pune, Kolhapur and Ratnagiri.
Where to stay -
Definitely stay at the eco-friendly cottages.
Cost: Rs. 4,400 per cottage including breakfast, lunch and dinner
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