Monday, January 16, 2017

Weekend getaway | Roadtrip to Amboli Ghat

The ghats have been one place I've been frequently visiting since the last couple of years - probably due it it's close proximity to wherever I live - may it be Goa, Mangalore or Mumbai. This trip was different though - it wasn't in the monsoon or immediately post monsoons, which is considered the ideal time of the year to take a trip into the ghats!

My latest visit was to Ramnagar, through the Anmod Ghat on the Goa-Karnataka border. The best one this year was in July through Khandala Ghats in Maharashtra on my Mumbai-Pune road trip through Lonavala. The iconic ones last year sure were the Bisle Ghat trip (Sakleshpur) and Agumbe Ghats - both of which are in Karnataka. (Read all about these roadtrips by clicking on the hyperlinks)
Roadtrippin' with 'em buds
This trip however, was in January - a rather dry month, but cool nonetheless. It's mid winter, the weather is pleasant too. Before I begin the travelogue let me tell you some perks. Many assume that the ghats during winters/summers aren't worth a visit. I totally agree! Monsoons through the ghats are all about rivulets and waterfalls everywhere. The streams and waterfalls were really small. The rivulets almost dried. BUT, we were greeted by the best views and amazing weather.

No lashing rains against the window pane, no slippery pathways, no gloomy clouds covering the sun, no fog obstructing the view! What could be better? The sky was clear - the valley was misty early in the morning, but cleared by 11 am offering us a clear unobstructed view of the picturesque valley.
First stop for the day
So we began our trip from Mapusa at 7 am. The time we decided was 5 am, so that we could catch sunrise in the ghats. So seven of us bundled ourselves in two Alto cars and set on our journey. We stopped by for breakfast at 8.30 am. Somewhere in between the winding roads, there's this lane of chai tapris and dhabas - right opposite a waterfall.
Hello, friend
Even though the waterfall was almost dried up, with just a little stream flowing down, we had a hearty meal accompanied by cute monkeys. The stalls have so much food, served fresh straight from the pan. We could get a whiff of maggi cooking too.
Breakfast time!
But we opted for pakoras (potato and onion pakoras) served with chutney and sauce, vada-pav served with green chilly and chutney, omlette-bread, burji and filter coffee.
Yumm breakfast on the way to Amboli
We then headed towards the viewpoint called Kavleshet Point. You reach there once you take a detour from the main road and drive through fields and forests. The mesmerising view at the valley is amazing. During the rains, the spot offers a terrific view with several waterfalls in the vicinity. However, the view is obstructed since it's really foggy and windy, and the waterfall reverses with the wind pressure.
We chilled at Kavleshet Point for a bit and decided to skip the other viewpoints - Shirgaonkar Point, Mahadev Gad and Sunset Point (since it was morning anyways). 
Hiranyakeshi Temple
Our next stop for the day was the Hiranyakeshi Temple. We reached there by taking a detour from the main road and driving through a village to get here. The temple is where the Hiranyakeshi river originates. The temple is built within a cave from where water flows down to form the river. There's a short 10 minute walk to reach the temple. 
Hiranyakeshi River
We drove back through breathtaking views of the valleys towards Sawantwadi - a story for another time! You may check it out here: Exploring Sawantwadi

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