Thursday 12 June 2014

Glimpses from India: A Couple of Days in Konkan

Temple at Marcela, Goa

Konkan on the West coast of Maharastra with sea on one side, lined with greenery, fields, coconut palm trees and sandy beaches on the other one can view the nature's beauty, is a tourist’s paradise. Monsoon brings to life the whole region -  the  freshness, greenery and magic of naturel can be truly experienced in Konkan.

Just returned from a short and quick trip to Konkan – Sawantwadi, Vengrula, Shiroda and then onwards to Goa – Marcela, a place renowned for temples. Then onwards to Panjim and Keri. The rains are yet to arrive in full force. The climate is hot and humid. However it was an enjoyable trip, a well deserved change from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Sawantwadi is known for the Central Jail, beautiful lakes and wooden handicrafts. A little further is the town’s market area where you can find fresh vegetables, fish, fruits, cashew nuts and flowers which are brought here from nearby areas. And close by, line of old shops and a shopping arcade are busy catering to customers, locals and outsiders. Shirodkar’s pickles are worth tasting; and am sure you be compelled to carry a few packed bottles. And I did carry a few mango pickle bottles.

Nearby is a small joint with a big heart – Balkrishna Cold drink House , serving cold drinks and a wide range of icecreams with tasty flavours to cool in the hot summer. It was established in 1965 and the icecream flavours were introduced by Smt Vijaylaxmi Narayan Nevagi. Presently it is managed by her son, Shashikant Nevagi. The colourful items on the menu are a list of icecreams, very popular among the locals and others who visit this town. 

Cocktail, Faluda and Mastani besides the different popular flavours of icecream are available. They also have branches in Kudal and Kankavli in Konkan. If you are in Sawantwadi, do not miss it at Jaiprakash Chowk. Your Konkan trip would be incomplete if you haven’t tasted the icecream here. The towns folk and students from nearby school and college come here to cool with the icecreams. Couples too come here to spend some quiet moments and love to share it with icecream.

About 24km from Sawantwadi is Shiroda, a quiet town with trees, greenery, beach, temples and old houses with Mangalore tile roofs. Some are over 200 to 300 years old. Here in the Kamat ancestral home, the annual utsav in memory of a saintly man known as Bappu Mama is held every year around May end or early June as per the auspicious date in the Hindu calendar. It is a big event here with puja, rituals followed by. a feast for the villagers 

Near the market area is an old temple overlooking the town
Mauli temple
– Mauli temple, standing majestically with a deepstambh, where the regular devotees and tourists come to pray. This old temple exhibit the old Indian temple architecture practiced in the olden days. It shows the skill of the masons and craftsmen of that era. It has a very calm and spiritual feeling.

A little further away in Aravalli is the popular Vethoba temple revered by  the locals and attracts  tourists from all over Maharasthra and outside. An impressive idol stands tall. And few meters further down 

Vethoba temple
the road is Satheri temple where a regular flow of devotees come to seek blessing. Here it is said, if you visit Vethoba temple, you must also follow it with a visit to Satheri temple. You are then truly blessed. The whole area gives you different feeling. Here the old traditions are still kept alive.

 Satheri temple 
After a quick breakfast of tasty Misal pav and hot tea near the temple precincts, we left for Goa. Here the first destination was Marcela, a place dotted with temples which gives one a spiritual atmosphere. 

Shanta Durga temple
There we visited the Shanta Durga temple to seek her blessings. After tea and a brief chat with the temple priest, proceeded to Panjim, 

Goa’s capital, buzzing with activity and with plenty of local and foreign tourists, enjoying their holidays on the many beaches, resorts, shacks and holiday homes.

Then proceeded to Mandre and onwards to Keri for our dinner appointment with a family relative whom we had promised to visit.

Rawalnath temple, Keri
Nearby is the old Rawalnath temple with traditional architecture reminding one and all of its glorious past. Had a sumptuous Goan meal and halted for the night. A well deserved rest to relax the tired body.

Next morning, after a traditional breakfast, bid goodbye to our relative and Goa, travelled to Mumbai and back to the every-day routine. The Konkan and Goa trip in a way recharged us, though it was hot and humid, refreshed us. The rains are expected soon. Come rains and it brings about a magical change in the nature bringing out its best in Konkan and Goa. Monsoon travel is much more fun.


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