Monday, 8 October 2012

Road Trip from Nasik to Wellington- I

                                                                                       




    We have been on many road trips, an inevitable part of being married to an Olive Green. With a shoe-string budget,it was our good old Maruti 800 and accomodations at Army Guest Rooms that made it possilble. Every trip had its own charm but the one that has to be shared, is the trip from Nasik to DSSC (Defence Services Staff College) in Wellington, Nilgiri hills. I still go ga-ga over it for two reasons. One, the men were back after six months at the border after the Parliament attack alert. Two, the  troad trip was a dream stretch along the Western Ghats and the coastal areas.

  We started with two suitcases wedged between the front and the back seat, a bucket and a mug (you never know what you maybe up against during halts), a potty (our daughter was a year and a half ), a bagful of footwear, odd ends and bits that couldn't go in the truck but had to reach DSSC. And Oh! a folded cotton mattress was thrown in that covered the back seat and the suitcases to make a bed for Pahi, our daughter.
 
    And so we started, a convoy of three families ,off to the salubrious Nilgiris. Our first halt was at NDA Pune after almost four hours drive. We spent our time going through the campus and gaped at normal routines like a cadet carrying his cycle over his head. Another was standing at attention under a tree as he isn't supposed to move alone unless he is in a squad of four.We were shown the hostels and rooms of our husbands, proudly with sheepish grins( probably they went back to their 'antics' and 'punishments'). Then there was the huge dining hall that fed hot sumptuous meals to around 1500  ravenous cadets in one sitting, without any noise and chaos!
Singhgarh
                                                                  (Courtesy wikimedia)

     I was taken in by a nearby verdant hillock "Singhgarh" and expressed my desire to explore it. However, the men didn't seem  keen on it. They had too many painful memories of that lovely place...of running cross-country with heavy backpacks to the top and back, as punishments. After  two days in Pune gorging on the farsans and sizzlers, we continued our journey through the vast rolling greenery of Western Maharashtra skirting many quaint towns like Kolhapur. Well! We just had to buy the famed Kolhapuri chappals and also picked up a tiny pair for the rear-view mirror! Here I've to mention that monsoon IS the time to explore the Western Ghats! What lush vegetation with the grey sky stooping low showering with the rains! After a long drive of  335 kms we reached Belgaum in the evening for a night halt. We were excited in the  morning since our next stop was  Goa...

 We were just not prepared for what was ahead...As we climbed the last of the Ghats, suddenly  a wall of thick mist stoically greeted us...with a board beside it that hazily said "Welcome to Amboli". Visibility was barely 1metre! We slowly rolled into the  mist, awed by its beauty. Objects on the roadside were  hazy outlines. There was a thunderous roar that kept getting closer. It was a waterfall closeby...Although I badly wanted to stop and savour each moment, we continued. We had a schedule to adhere to.  Amboli is the last hill station as the Ghats meet the coastal plains.  The mist released us gently, on our way down the slope. As we reached the plains the sun sparkled unveiling stretches of green fields. Amboli has remained an enigma for me to this day.
                                              
   With the Ghats behind, we drove down the coastal plains eagerly into the much sought after Goa like a bunch of teenagers on an escapade. With the beaches just within reach, our convoy zipped over a bridge that heralded our arrival. Barely did we get in, we found a couple of Goa policemen eagerly waiting for us at the other end of the bridge. We had over stepped the pedal way beyond the speed limit! Even being admonished like truant juvenile  and the fine paid, did not dampen our spirits. Now I can say, "been there, done that". It was beaches, Bom church, beaches, cruise on Mandovi, beaches and beaches...Here I shall not indulge in the details, for much has been said about the place.

   Then it was time to move ahead. After all we had more to discover in the journey that would take us to Mangalore, Kannanur and finally Coonoor in the Nilgiris. But more of that in the next post. Someone rightly said, it is the journey that matters not the destination...






Some More Posts:

Summer Camps At Grandmother's Home                                              Hidden Treasure


22 comments:

  1. It is only part of the jouney and I am already hooked! I have also experienced thick blankets of fog jusr as you describe having run into near Amboli. It can be eerie and thrilling but it is a nightmare to the driver!

    Beuatiful narration and images.

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  2. Love road trips!! Thank you for taking us along yours! Been fun!!

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  3. Great narration and pics, Ilakshi! Thank you:)

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  4. During our family trip to Ooty when I was a kid, our jeep got enveloped in a thick blanket of fog near the Thottabetta peak point....One slip and we would have all landed into some God-knows-what-depths...My dad had to take reverse in that fog which he did with great dexterity...Thanks for bringing back lovely memories..." The mist released us gently, on our way down the slope" That line was so poetic!

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  5. @Umashankar You are right fog is a nightmare for the driver. Mu husband was all hunched up on the wheel trying to see where he was headed :)


    @

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  6. @Magiceye Road trips have an element of surprise at every turn. Thank you coming along!

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  7. @ Amit Aag Thank you for your words:)

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  8. @ Jaish Fog is a very decieving element for the driver. I am sure it must have been thrilling for you and a nightmare for your father :)I have some lovely memories of Ooty too! Maybe we can catch up on them sometime :) Your appreciation of the line makes me really happy!!

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  9. @ desitraveler.com Thank you for your kind words. Do visit again :)

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  10. A very interesting account of the journey including enroute stops at NDA, and other places:)

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  11. Nice narration.

    http://www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.in

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  12. Absolutely beautiful... written with the true spirit of a traveler who loves the many twists and turns of the unknown path ...yet carrying that subtle hint of humor ...I really loved this piece...kudos :)

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  13. Agree that the journey is more beautiful than the destination but as a reader, I would say, the narration was the catch for me. You made me visualize it. :)

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  14. @ Sridevi I am glad you enjoyed the journey with me. Your words are very encouraging!

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  15. @ Saru I still couldn't manage to capture the beauty of the journey. But if I could give you a glimpse of it, its my day!

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  16. Wow- that was quite a journey. hmmh your daughter's name is Mahi!! Sounds nice. what is its literal meaning- It sounds like it would have one..

    And wow once more... I can imagine the bliss of natural abundance that must have confronted you in your trip.. Many cheers to that. :)

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  17. Thank you Ruchi for stopping by

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  18. Good to hear from you again Muthu! And yes that was one of the most exciting journeys of ours.I was drunk with verdant beauty of Western Ghats! My daughter's name "Pahi" means 'petal' in Assamese.

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Your words keep me going :)