The Drive To Chiplun:My Konkan Holiday Part 1
The town of Pen comes after Panvel.It is famous for Poha.Here you also find stalls of watermelons and white onions (which come from Alibag and last a year).Between Panvel and Pen one sees several stalls selling Neera which is a sweet and unfermented drink made from palms.
Wadakal Naka,after Pen, has a restaurant called "Shrudha Shanti Bhuvan" where we had stopped years ago for Poha and we did this time around too.It had been garnished with coconut and coriander and made a great breakfast dish.
The NH 17 is a fabulous road provided you are a cautious driver(or have one)...neither of which we had.The problem lies when rash drivers try to overtake.There is no divider and hence there can be a head-on collision if one is not careful.There are many road signs all along the way.Some tug at your heart and some make you smile."This is a highway,not a runway","This is a highway,not a dieway","No mobile while mobile" where some of which I spotted.
We passed Gandhar Pala Buddhist caves near Mahad,which were 26 in number.
We passed fields where cacti were grown around them for protection.
We passed several ghats,some with hairpin bends every few moments.The view from the mountains was beautiful.The Kashedi Ghat was one such.
Cannot tell you how happy I was to find Hotel Abhishek again.My cousin Arun had told us about it.It looked diiferent from the last time.The owner the explained that they have two branches...the other one near the Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand. Hotel Abhishek has been around for 17 years and offers Malvani cuisine.
After we stepped out of the restaurant,I saw a "Tumtum",a kind of a rickshaw,the mode of transport in Chiplun!
Was quite tempted to take one to Ratnagiri,which was an hour and a half away.