Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A Simple Road Trip to the Western Coast – Enlivening!

Scores of interesting accounts about Gokarna and Goa in particular - and the western coast beaches in general have been told and heard. It took solid number of years for me to get an opportunity to visit this part of the western coast and to be honest this trip touched my heart, especially the moments I admired the sun slowly dipping inside the sea, gazing at the twinkling stars packed sky, feeling chillness of wind in the night and the most touching part was sitting peacefully on the rocks to witness the waves pound on rocks and break the silence in the air. Consciously I surrendered to peace and silence. 

The Ride from Chennai to Honnavar:

The crowded city roads, unending national highways, bumpy interior roads and the peaceful ghat roads all headed to Honnavar for us. It was about 800+ kms drive on a single night with few pit stops. However, the drive was relaxing since it gave a good break to unwind ourselves from many tedious chores we were doing in city life. Dinner at the night dhaba, tea at the road side shops, breakfast at a remote village, power nap inside the car, experiencing the fresh wind on my skin and the unending natural sceneries all made the car ride to Honnavar a remarkable journey.

Amazed at the Gigantic Jog Falls:
Our first destination was the mighty and gigantic 253 mts tall jog waterfalls. It is a marvellous piece of creation by nature and to witness water dropping from this height into a gorge with a thunderous thud sent chill waves into my nerves. While sitting on the cliff of the opposite side and admiring the waterfalls, I wish I had the feathers of a bird to dive inside that beautiful gorge. The breath taking views were tempting at the same time it was extremely peaceful and serene to watch a beautiful natural poetry unfolding in front of my eyes. I should confess that this is one of the breath taking views of a waterfall I have hitherto witnessed in my life.

On the Refreshing Sands of Honnavar, OM and Kadal Beaches:

This stretch of the Indian western coast is comparatively very calm, less crowded and peaceful in nature. It is incredible to evidence the mountains dipping into the sea which is abnormal to evidence in the eastern coast. Energised by the beautiful landscapes and the refreshing beaches, for some time I slept on the sand, for some time I swam on the sea, for some time I climbed the mountains. Beyond all, I was in complete love with this stretch of the beach.

Camping on top of the Gokarna Mountain on a Star lit sky:

I don’t remember a place where I have admired the sea as I stood on top of this Gokarna Mountain and admired. As long as my eyes could penetrate, it was serene and calm, with thin moonlight igniting the waters; the waves leisurely dancing on the rocks of this mountain. We camped on this mountain watching the sun set into the sea, and the bright half moon taking over the sky. All these impeccable beauties conspired together and took me to a new ‘high’, a ‘high’ I have never ever experienced before and a ‘high’ which will remain in my heart forever. I woke up early morning to sit on top of the rocks for the first time in my life to witness dolphins jumping in the beach. A wonderful early morning sighting that will be cherished for a life time. 

Dandeli and Refreshing Kali River dip:

From the refreshing beach sands we rolled into the neighbouring Dandeli reserved forests to take a rejuvenating dip in the beautiful Kali River. Dandeli is a natural habitat for black panthers and we went on the hope to spot at least one. Unfortunately, the safari bookings were closed and we re-routed our drive to Cintheri rocks only to be stunned at the view of the 300 feet humongous piece of rock. Further, we drove into the Anshi national park and enjoying the peaceful ghat roads. Before, I could move out of this forests I decided to come back and explore Dandeli. Hold on, my beautiful Dandeli until I come, you are at present living in my dreams!

Night Party at Palolem beach and Morning Drive inside Cotigao Wildlife Sanctuary:

For a conservative Chennai city folk who has not seen the ‘entire beach partying’ on the eastern coast, it was very interesting to witness the entire Palolem beach partying hard on Saturday night. Foreigners were more in number compared to the Indian counter parts. There were few guys singing songs aloud and many dancing on the beaches, walking on the sands, playing in the sea waters and completely having thorough fun. We walked from one end of the beach to the other end of the beach watching all the craziness unfolding the entire night. After the fall of mid night we happily slept inside our sleeping bags underneath the star lit open sky on a cold night. 

Next day morning I bided a good bye to Palolem beach for showing me a different world, and from here we headed straight inside the Cotigao wildlife sanctuary located in the southern tip of Goa. The early morning drive inside the sanctuary and peaceful atmosphere inside the forests provoked my running legs for a short trail run that was short lived until we saw a leopard crossing in front of our vehicle. After a short stint inside the sanctuary we rolled our car on the interior roads of Karnataka and hit the National highway and reached Chennai safely in 14 hours – I was just wondering how google maps could be dot accurate in predicting our travel time. 

With four days of wonderful traveling with close friends to some pristine locations coming to an end with heavy downpour in Chennai city, it was a not just a simple trip for me but it was starting point for many outdoor events to the western coast. Until then I will be dreaming of my dear sea, forest and wilderness.

Happy Traveling,

Durai Murugan

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