IT all began over a cup of CHAI. The mandatory daily cup of chai is a ritual for us, as the sun begins to set. Smiles turned to laughter as we settled in our chairs. Hot chai was accompanied by crisp cookies and delectable snacks. Discussion topics kept popping out like an army of ants, that is exactly when suddenly, boredom got the better of us – at least one of us. “It is time to take a roadtrip” said one. Congregated nods in affirmation from all sides just confirmed that the event got passed by virtue of unanimous voting, err nodding. “Goa it is !!” echoed a voice, just like any other boys trip discussion would have begun shaping up. Then it all began.
Although Goa is one of the most loved weekend destination because of its beaches, food and hangouts, this time we were not inclined to head out to Goa. Options began to flow, destination after destination, one thing was sure – it had to be by the beach. References were called, opinions were sought, plans were made, scrapped and then remade again till we finally stumbled on ‘Velneshwar’. The trifling town of Velneshwar is 280 kms from Pune. The roads leading to Velneshwar wind through picturesque landscapes passing through numerous crossroads dotted with hamlets of variegated size and ethnicity. The divinity in driving on these roads leads to a bliss that cannot be defined in any other way. That was all that we wanted. Bags packed, camera kits loaded, playlists updated – we were set.
We began our journey from Bhor, a small town by the river Nira, at 6 am. The evening before was well spent at a cozy farmhouse with a rustic feel with patio that opened up facing the river.
At 5:30 am , a friend poured hot chai as the sun began to rise casting magical spells of colors on the river and trees alongside. Mesmerized with the view and the taste of the chai we reluctantly packed and left for the onward journey. Pretty quickly we began descending from the highlands of Maharashtra towards the coastal plains of the Maharashtra Konkan belt. We passed golden paddy fields and beautiful backwaters of a dam. The sun shining down on the water made it sparkle. Mountains cast magical shadows of brown and grey. We took a stop at one such magical place from where the entire Sahyadri range of mountains was visible.
A quick photo-op and we were back on our way. Descent was smooth (almost), the curves and spine-snapping pot holes on the road made the drive, well, worth remembering. Very soon the winding roads opened up to a beautiful national highway.
We hurried towards our destination to be welcomed by some stunning views of the coastline. The sea always seems to leave me spellbound the moment I see it. This time was no different. Foamy white waves of Emerald blue waters, thrashing the already worn out rocks at the edge of a golden beige shore. It appeared as magnanimous mountain ranges strongly bearing the brunt of an occasionally angry sea had infinite stories to tell that.
“Unwind” is the default trigger that all senses send to the brain as soon as the beach is in vicinity. The feeling of being at the shore with harmonious ebbing of the tide kept singularly disconnecting us from the reality of the world we had left behind. It was time to pull out our cameras and step to explore but not before we had opened a few well earned beers.
Shooting at the beach is tricky. Understanding light is vital. Light can make or break a shot. To understand light and its effects do read our T&P Tip# 4
Frisbees flying against the wind, sun mellowing its effect on the sand and the sea murmuring sweet nothings made the entire experience worth the travel we made to get here.
Had it not been for the occasional pit stops for a cooler, getting here would have been a daunting task. As evening turned to dusk and dusk turned to early night, we knew it was that time of the day when phones were off (network was patchy anyway), our choice of drink was on the table and delicious seafood was being served right on the beach as we sipped on the whisky listening to waves crashing on the shore. Just one word to describe the atmosphere – ‘celestial‘.
The story continues with more pictures and details on the cuisine and places to see apart from the sea.
Coming up :
Glimpses of the beach; picturesque drives; aboard the ferry; Local cuisines in Chiplun
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