Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My first Goa trip

My first Goa trip

This is my first travelogue in Tbhp. I have made numerous coastal Karnataka trips but never had the patience to write a travelogue. By coincidence, while i was travelling to Goa another bhpian Melvyn Misquita was travelling to Mysore. After going through his travelogue decided to write my own travelogue.

Here it goes...

Since quite a long time me and my wife were planning to visit Goa. This year we had visited costal Karnataka numerous times and had gone upto Gokarna. As such we had covered most of coastal Karnataka and now wanted to explore Goa

In May 2011 while browsing through T-Bhp came across queries from a certain t-bhpian on Mysore(little did I know that this bhpian Melvyn Misquita would be our virtual guide in Goa). At this moment a thought came across my mind to use T-BHP as a rich source of information and plan my travel. This was the trigger for this trip.

Next, we were on the look out for suitable holidays in the range of 7 days. Me being in the IT industry knew that work would be less during year end and also wifey will be having Dasara vacation in Oct. So, Oct last week it had to be.

Still there were numerous hurdles and we were not sure whether we will be able to make the trip. Hence I decided that we'll do as little planning as required and then plan rest of it as the trip progresses. Having got in touch with Melvyn, knew that we would be able to get whatever information required.

Fast forward to Oct 3rd week, having finally decided to go ahead with the trip, there was one obstacle remaining. A week back I participated in a Shuttle tournament and now was through to the semi finals. The semi finals and finals were on Oct 23rd . So had to reschedule the trip to start on Oct 23rd.

Being a quick plan, we just packed the necessities, the previous night and were ready to start by 10 am on Sunday. Tanked up my Esteem at Shell and had general check up at Mandovi motors the previous day.

In the morning went for the match, lost in the semi finals. So having this out of my mind next was the drive to Jog which I was looking forward to.

The onward plan was to leave Mysore by 10:30 am and drive to Shimoga/Sagar halt for the day and then drive to Goa the next day.

Day 1: Mysore – Arsikere – Shimoga – Sagar (320 KMS, 6 hrs)

Started from Mysore at 11:30 AM and reached outskirts of Arsikere around 1:30 PM. We had packed lunch from home. Parked under a big banyan tree and had sumptuous rice pulav.

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Having lunch

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Roads just before Arsikere

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After lunch moved on towards Arsikere, as we entered Kadur town there was a big crowd who had gathered on the NH. We were wondering why this was then came face to face with Kannada film actor Darshan, who was brand building excerise for his film "Sarathy" after his recent personal life debacle.

After this encounter of the filmy kind we reached Shimoga by 4 pm, decided to drive on to Sagar and look for accommodation there as it was nearer to Jog and we can start early the next day to Goa.

Reached Sagar by 5:30 pm and drove into Hotel Vardashree. Here, all the rooms were booked and we had only Non AC Suite costing Rs 680/-. We took it and retired for the night.

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Vardashree Hotel rooms

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another shot

Day 2: Sagar – Jog Falls – Unchalli Falls – Mirjan – Palolem – Panajim (323 KMs)

In the days before the trip had learned from TBHP that the stretch between Jog and Honnavar is very bad. Checked with TBHPian Ravi Bhat who suggested an alternative route via Siddapur – Unchalli Falls – Devimane Ghat to NH 17.
Many thanks to Ravi Bhat for checking the road conditions and then messaging me the route. So, with these route points, I was able to plot a route on Mobile. (I have a GPS mobile with Nokia Maps and Mapmyindia installed)

Started by 7:30 am from Sagar and reached Jog by 8:00 am. I guess we were the first tourists on that day. Checked out the falls which was very thin and did not think of doing any other adventures as our plan was to reach Goa.

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The bridge which needs to be crossed to Jog Falls

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Jog Falls

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Jog Falls Parking lot

Reached Siddapur by 9:30 am and had breakfast at Hotel Anuradha (don't remember the name correctly) and then moved towards Unchalli Falls following Ravi Bhat's directions.

On the way to the falls encountered two reptile inhabitants of the forest. Was able to take snap of only one. Guess this should be a Cobra (not King Cobra) and other was a Green Snake probably a non venomous.

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Road to Unchalli Falls

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Cobra crossing

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We then reached Unchalli falls after a short trek of 500 mts. We were pleasantly surprised by the view and amount of water here. It was definitely better than Jog.

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Trek route to Unchalli falls

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The falls

Our next destination was Palolem, Goa where we had to meet Bernard Fernandez (a relative for Melvyn). From Unchalli falls we reached the Kumta Siddapur SH at Ammenahalli and took left towards Kumta.

I guess it was in this stretch we met another bhpian VSH, but did not realize it until after the trip.

Had lunch at Ankola and entered Goa. Few things that come to our mind as we entered Goa:
Firstly we were surprised by how the quality of roads improved as soon as we entered Goa.
Secondly there lot of Bars in Goa. We can say that Bars are common to Goa as there are petty shops in Mysore/Bangalore
Thirdly, there are very few petrol pumps in Goa. (atleast that's what I felt when compared to Karnataka)
Finally petrol is cheap, it was about Rs 66.68/-. This is about 9 Re less than Karnataka.
After my initial tank up at Mysore, I had filled about Rs 500/- worth at Siddapur. So first thing I did was search for petrol pump and tank up.
Then we reached Palolem and drove straight to the beach. This beach was full of foreigners and everything was dealt at dollar rates. We checked with Bernard and he gave us few hotel names. My wife said a big NO for this place. Even the beach was not that clean. So we decided to drive on and reach Panjim and then stay at Sandpebble Holiday home. We had booked here from Oct 25, called up the owner and she said the rooms are ready. So we drove Panjim and crossed over to Candolim and then reached Sand pebble Holiday home.
We first checked the rooms and did not like it. So dialed Melvyn and asked him if there is any good accommodation around. He said he will check and let us know. While we were waiting, the owner showed us another room and told us he had shown the wrong room initially. This was better and we took it. Called up Melvyn and told him we got the room. He had infact asked a friend to search for accommodation in Goa. Finally we checked in, had dinner at one of the nearby hotels and retired for the night. The rooms cost us Rs 500/- a day. Quite cheap I think.

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Toilet (Paris :))

Next day it was Beaches, Churches and Cathedrals
To be continued...

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