20th August to 21st August, 2016.
We started from Goa one day later than expected. That was a much needed day off, to clean the car and re-organise our luggage. So, instead of doing the above said urgent work, we spent the day sleeping. We also needed some maintenance down time.
The drive from Goa to Satara was through the picturesque Chorla Ghat, till we reached Belagavi (Belgaum). From Belagavi we took the Asian Highway AH 47 to Satara. The road conditions were near perfect, and we could maintain an average of about 80 to 90 km/h without much effort.
For the first time, we reached our destination with a few hours to spare. Our hosts, Vijay and Smita, suggested that we catch a late sunset at one of his favorite destinations, a mere 10 Km from his home. The catchment area of Kanher dam on Venna river turned out to be a serene place, without a single soul in sight.
The next morning began with a little bit of disappointment. We were really hoping to go and see Kaas valley. However, it being a Sunday, Vijay and Smita explained that the road would be blocked due to heavy traffic. As we had just one day in Satara, we canceled our Kaas plans and left it to Vijay to take us somewhere interesting. We started rather late with no fixed agenda or aim in mind. In retrospect, having no destination in mind is what made this day incredibly special. After the previous evening, we had full faith in Vijay ‘s ability to identify something worthy. We were not mistaken.
We drove through a very green ghat road to find flowers, waterfalls, and a good number of wind farms along the way. After a while, we stopped at Thoseghar waterfall. Though rather commercialised, the waterfall still has its own charm.
Somewhere en route, we took a random turn to find ourselves in front of an old and mostly abandoned Shiva temple. The beautiful stone structures with intricate carvings were a sight to behold. As we wanted to explore as much of the ghats as possible, we left the temple and continued on.
We then drove through the winding road with no idea of where it will lead. The road eventually took us to Urmodi dam and it’s catchment area. We were surrounded by every shade of green imaginable. Further down the road, we found a clearing and decided to stop. Exploring that unknown place is by far the most rewarding experience of this trip. With no expectations, we were free to explore the banks of the catchment area. The bright yellow Sonki flowers and violet balsam blossoms lined the banks while gigantic mango trees provided shelter when the sun occasionally shone through the clouds.
Here are the pictures from our one hour there.
A small pond on the side of the road caught our eye. It was deep and clear, surrounded by wild flowers, fed by a tiny stream. It was the kind of place you dream about, perfect for a moment of solitude.
We came back home, calm and happy, all because of an abandoned temple and a nameless spot on the banks of a dam. Today, like in our tag line, we did indeed drive, tour and explore.