Day 7 – 2 Sept 2017
After my dehydration debacle en-route to Srivardhan, I decide to take it easy today. I had planned to be in Harnai today, but given my dehydrated state I decided that Harihareshwar was far enough. Just outside Harihareshwar, I am stopped by a curious guy on a motorcycle who turns out to be the manager for Bank Of India (BOI). He recommends Nandanvan close to his bank as the best budget hotel in town. My room at Nandanvan has fresh sheets, a clean toilet and good coffee. Today I am happy to just sit back and spend the evening exploring this sleepy town famous for its Shiva temple.
Harihareshwar temple with the main deities as Brahma Vishnu and Shiva is believed to be from the 16th century. Kuladaivat or the family deity of the Peshwas, Harihareshwar temple complex was renovated by them in 1723. The steps of the pradakshina marg around the temple were built by Chandrarao More. Harihareshwar Temple complex has two adjacent temples. The smaller Kalbhairav temple is expected to be visited first, before entering the main Harihareshwar temple housing an ancient Shiva Linga. A pradakshina route goes around the temple, along with the seashore. It is not advisable to go this route during high tide.
Day 8 – 3 Sept 2017
This is a long day. The first order of the day is a ferry crossing at Bagmandla that brings me to Vesavi. The road from Vesavi is a road only in name, yet the scenery is beautiful. Lush green forests and then on to lovely sylvan beaches at Savane and Anjarle. Every time I think I’ve seen the prettiest beach on the #100BeachRide, a new one comes up to enthrall me with its virgin sand and beautiful breakers. In hindsight, the overnight stay at Harihareshwar was a good idea as I am energetic and fresh despite the near 100% humidity. By 1500 I’ve checked into Bhavani Residency at Harnai. My lucky streak is on – it’s another clean room on a budget. After a quick shower, I am off to explore Harnai’s beach and fish market.
Close to 1600 hours, Harnai beach is a virtual fair with food & drink carts, rickshaws hurtling loads of fish and a huge gaggle of fisherwomen. At 1630 on the dot, the action starts. One by one the fisherwomen unveil their fare and the bidding starts. I grab myself a fresh corn on a cob and watch the fish auction unfold. Fisherwomen in bright sarees and dollops of gold ornaments dominate this auction. Woe betide any man who tries to browbeat them into a bargain. Although I can’t understand the dialect, I can make out the stunned “deer in headlight” look and ears that turn a shade of crimson for men who try and haggle. I reckon they have met more than their match in the fiery fisherwoman tongue.
My dinner is a pomfret infused with every spice found on the Konkan coast. For someone who usually survives on bland food, this spicy diet needs a lot of getting used to. Thankfully I have gallons of Sol Kadi to wash it down with.
That evening everyone from my hotel owner to the restaurant waiter consul me avoid the road along the coast that leads on to Ladghar, as it has been washed away by the monsoon. Instead they recommend that I head inland to Dapoli and then on to Dabhol.
Day 9 – 4 Sept 2017
Trusting local advice I start early today. The road to Dabhol via Dapoli is longer and involves a fair bit of ghat (hill) climbing. I make a good time to Dapoli and find a small shack that was willing to serve me my favourite bhurji pao if I waited for another 15 minutes. By that time, a team of doctors drops by on way to their morning route and stop over to admire the bicycle and have a chat. In the next half hour, my chai and breakfast are paid for and I am given a fresh set of directions to Dabhol. The route from Dapoli to Dabhol is a roller coaster with 4 major ghat climbs. By the time I got to Dabhol at 1400 I am pooped. The Dabhol-Veldur ferry had just left and I have another hour to sate my hunger. By then I get a phone call from Bhavani Residency, Harnai. I’ve left the charging cable for my GoPro behind. We discussed the conundrum and the owner asked me to wait in Guhagar while he would have it shipped by courier. Little did I know then that this seemingly warm gesture would cost me 3 days in Guhagar. But more on that later…