Episode 1 : Western India
Ep. 1 Part 1. All alone if need be..
The apartment is in a mess, I am not sure what to carry with me for the road trip apart from the Camera gear. As usual the camera bag is ready to go but nothing else is. So its time to hasten up and pack the usual suspects i.e. clothes, toothpaste, brush, toiletries. By 2am after lot of deliberations, packing and unpacking, everything seem to be ready, probably have packed the kitchen sink too :).. Time to hit the bed, according to plan the start time is 8am but when there is a long trip ahead, can a restless mind sleep? After fighting hard with the thoughts and excitement for the time lying ahead I got lost into the dream world very late.
11.30am next day, the mighty Scorpio roars to life. "Welcome to Scorpio. Please fasten your seatbelt for a safe ride", yeah, why not, safety first. The car is loaded to the brim, fuel tank is full and a wide road ahead. So the journey starts for our friends. First destination is Pune, where I would pick up Sid the kid from his home. Sid is the other nutcase who also have left his job and probably also doing some soul searching after an era of corporate of madness. Anyhow, now is the time to drive a long 900kms journey for me, all alone to Pune from Bangalore.
NH4 has been my playing ground for many similar road trips and there were nothing much to worry about except for the driving alone for the first time. Initially I was bit worried about how would I cope up with driving all alone on the Highway on a long journey. But soon the groove sets in and the Scorpio was munching miles fast. A quick but slightly heavy breakfast at Kamath Upachar, Tumkur ensured that I'm stuffed for some time. The road is pretty good as usual and uneventful. But while crossing Belgam, saw one of the most amazing sunsets ever. There were different hues of color painting the sky, as if to let me know that the journey is going to very colorful indeed.
Stopped for a moment to capture the play of light near Belgaum,
The Sky had a very strange and different color, a very hue of light blue,
And just in half an hour or so, it turned out be a riot of colors around the time of Sunset. I really felt blessed,
Even the opposite was bathed with the crimson color,
by Kaushik Saikia, on Flickr
The lovely sunset really lifted up my mood and I felt super refreshed. Soon darkness fall upon and I started mincing miles. Now is the time to reach Pune by midnight. Sid called me up few times and in fact have suggested me to stay over at Kolhapur and make the rest of the next day. But I was pretty much determined to reach Pune that day itself and in fact I was not at all feeling tired. I did thought about stopping at Satara, we stayed in a nice hotel during our Kaas valley trip a year before [need to write a log about that trip too, may be next :p]. But later decided to move on as I was pretty sure of reaching Pune before 12.30am. Dinner time was at Kolhapur but I did a mistake of having food at McDonald's instead of trying the local cuisine somewhere. May be it's because I was driving alone and I was missing a navigator. But fret not, a navigator and a co-driver and more importantly a good travel companion is just few hours away and would not miss any such things for the rest of the trip. As I calculated before, I've reached Pune around 12.30 at night and welcomed by a sleepy Siddhartha. Now time for me to take a good night's sleep and a rest day as Sid has few chores to finish before we can start our trip.
We had one rest day at Pune as Sid has to finish few of his household chores and also we wanted to do some shopping for nick-knacks for the road. By evening Sid decided to take me around Pune in his two wheeler. Have to say, for me, not being on the driver seat was a hair-raising experience :p :p. Sorry, no pics of Pune as I didn't carry my camera during the ride :p..
Pune - Nani Daman
I always wondered how the Mumbai-Pune Expressway would be and was very excited to drive on this road. It surely was an awesome road to drive on, pretty fast and as smooth as it can get. Sid was pretty much aware of my intentions and warned me that if I drive anything more than normal then he would cut short the trip :p. Yeah, right, let's see who maintains the speed limit. I was very much tempted to try my luck but I was able to refrain myself from trying anything stupid. We have a long road ahead and we are going no where by driving like crazy. Instead we decided to soak in to the road and the surrounding. We did stop midway for breakfast + lunch. And as we were on Pune Mumbai route how can't I not buy some yummy chikkis. They were just awesome and I have bought some to take home too ;)
Our next challenge was to cross Mumbai without getting stuck or scratches. Thanks to HVKumar and gang's awesome guidance and Google maps, we were able to cross Mumbai in no time. Wish we could meet HVK but couldn't as we couldn't make out a plan for Mumbai. May be sometime in the future we will. Our plan for the day was to reach Daman and we had absolutely no idea what Daman has to offer us.
Somewhere after crossing Mumbai,
The roads were pretty impressive and we minced miles pretty fast and soon were at Daman. Our target was Devka Beach as we wanted to take some sunset photos. Initially when I saw a black colored shoreline I was kinda got sad thinking it to be a dirty beach. But how wrong I was as the next moment realized that it's the color of the rocks and not a dirty beach. We were delighted one the prospects of being able to take some nice long exposure photos of the beach.
Next question in mind came was about the staying option. As usual went for the good looking hotels and and was surprised at the high price rates there. Why wouldn't they, all of them have regular customers from the nearby state which have prohibition on anything alcoholic for a long time. So we've decided to check in some not so impressive looking ones and found a very decent budget hotel just next to the beach road. And they had ample parking space too. Checked in fast and then went out to find a location for shoot.
By the time we could find a location to shoot it was already about to be the time for sunset. In my hurry I learnt the lesson of not to be in hurry while in a rocky seashore. I did slipped a few times on the rocks but luckily no injury to me or my gear. Thanks to the lucky stars. I was careful after that and settled downed in a nice place to capture the moment of beauty ie Sunset over Devka beach. And instead of my poor writing let the pics talk,
The rocky beach of Nani Daman,
Panoramic view of another lovely sunset,
After Daman our plan was to visit Gujarat. But we wanted to visit the Kutch region specifically and was wondering if we could change some plans and visit few more places too. We were not sure what to expect for the Kutch regions and these were completely uncharted territories for us. Our original plan was to visit Kutch (both LRK/GRK) and then to move on to Rajasthan and visit Udaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Jaipur and then to Delhi. But fate seemed to have something else planned for us.