August 25, 2016

Wandering alone in Karnataka - Part 4: Hampi-Dudhsagar-Margao-Murdeswar

Hi Guys,

To read Part 1, click here (The Start)
To read Part 2, click here (Exploring Hampi)
To read Part 3, click here (Reminiscence of Vijayanagar Kingdom)

Day 5 – Aug 3, 2016
I had kept a couple of alarms around 5 am so that I donot miss the train. But I woke up 15 minutes before the planned time, thanks to the Power Cut. The auto driver, Rama Li had come by 5.10 am much earlier than the scheduled time. I started around 5.30 am from Hampi to Hosapete Railway station and took a train at 6.20 am to Madgaon (commonly referred as Margao) The train was filled with Party mood with lot of people heading to Goa. The main objective of this trip was to experience the journey via Braganza Ghats (a section of Western Ghats) which is a 26 km rail route connecting Goa to the hinterlands. It is considered as the most complicated construction of Indian Railways. This route is most famous for Dudhsagar Falls which can be accessed only by train.

As the train headed towards Hubli it started raining heavily. After reaching Dharwad at 11.30 am, the train entered the dense cover of Western Ghats and was moving at a snail’s pace. So, the train was chugging amidst rains, forests and mountains. The excitement started building up as the train moved closer to Dudhsagar falls through tunnels and streams. From Castle rock station, it took almost 30 minutes to reach the place and it was marvelous with water flowing in full force thanks to the monsoons. Dudhsagar means 'Sea of Milk' and there is no exaggeration in the name. The falls is viewed better when the train takes the next turn and you face straight at the falls. At this point, you can view the falls in its entirety whereas in the first turn the train is so close to the falls and all you see is water gushing. After slowing down for 3 hours, the train was back at a good pace and reached Margao at 3 pm which was a delay of little more than an hour.
Dudhsagar Falls (Image from Wikicommons) - You get this view when the train takes a turn
Here came my next surprise. I had booked retiring room for overnight stay at the Railway station. The caretaker said no rooms are available. I said I had made online booking. He took me to the room. The room was turned upside down. They were treating it for Bed Bugs! Then the booking authorities had no clue of how to cancel the reservation and I wasted one hour. Then finally I managed to cancel it with some special reason and headed to a nearby Hotel based on Google reviews.

In the evening, I took a bus nearby and went to Colva beach which is one of the key beaches in South Goa and is 6 km away from the station. The city is filled with old buildings and green trees. I fell in love with the city. The beach in itself was beautiful with lot of people, both Locals and tourists. A group of fishermen were taking out fishes and crabs from the fishing nets and lot of dogs and crows surrounded them looking for some feast.
Colva Beach

A fresh catch

Little kids trying their Luck!
Again with cloud cover, I missed out on Sunset. After exploring the city market for some time, purchasing some cashews I went to a restaurant at around 7.55 pm and the server told me, ‘Sir, you are late. We run out of things by 8’. Then I don’t know what he thought, he went inside and brought me a Masala Dosa. After munching, I went back and crashed for the day.

Day 6 – Aug 4, 2016
The day started at 8.30 am as I headed back to Madgaon station. As I started walking, a guy came on a Motor Bike and asked me, ’30 Rs, OK?’. I was blinking for a minute before realizing these are bike taxis of Goa. Then he asked me how much I can give. I agreed for 20 Rs and he dropped me at the station. Despite being a walkable distance, the huge rucksack I had made me go for the ride.

After having breakfast at the Railway station’s restaurant (which was pretty good unlike the usual stuff we get in Railway stations), I waited for my Train which was from Bikaner to Kochuveli. Supposed to arrive at 9.20 am, the train arrived at 10.20 am. Half the train got down at Margao and I was wondering why I booked 3AC in the train when Sleeper would have done for the three hour trip to Murdeswar. In entirety, there were 10-15 people in the coach.

Hence started my journey through the Konkan Railways with tunnels, bridges and mountains. Naturally, the train was an hour late at Murdeswar too and I got down at around 1.30 pm. There were no Autos in the Railway station and I walked around 300 meters to the entrance of Murdeswar and got an Auto for Rs. 30 to the temple (for about two kms).

As the auto dropped me, I was looking at the mammoth temple tower and the statue of Lord Siva. But the sea was more mesmerizing with rough waves and cloud cover in the backdrop. I headed into Naveen seaview restaurant which was covered by Sea on all sides and ordered a Meal. And it started pouring outside. I had the lunch amidst breezy rains, amazing views and splashing water. The lunch was not great, but good enough and economical at 70 bucks. I waited for the rain to subside and then went straight up to the Shiva statue. Both the temple and statue are constructed by a business man known as R.N. Shetty. He owns nearly half the properties in the small town and I am not sure if this temple is a dedication to Lord Shiva or just another business with his own guest houses and restaurants built. The temple and statue are free to visit and to that extent what he has done good work not commercializing the entire area. The temple is huge with 18 towers, but I found it plain with nothing so aesthetic about it.
A breathtaking view of the temple
The majestic statue of Lord Siva
At 3pm, the temple doors opened and I visited the temple which is also neatly constructed. I was surprised to see patches of artificial grasses inside the temple. With the huge rucksack I abandoned my desire to go the 18th floor and have a view (at a charge of Rs.10, a lift takes you all the way to the top). Coming out I sat by the sea and started admiring the sea for quite some time.
Inside of the temple
Naveen Beach Restaurant with nice Sea view and decent food
A view from the other side of the temple
At around 4 pm, I started back to the station (Rs. 40 Auto Charge) and waited for train Karwar-Bangalore express. The station is pretty picturesque with mountains on either sides. The sky opened again for a short span of rain. The train as usual came 40 minutes late and the compartments were fairly empty. A young boy studying 6th standard started chatting with me on what I was reading on (he was curious about Kindle) and where I’m heading to. The train reached Udupi at 6.45 pm – 30 minutes late than destined. As I got into an auto and headed to my booked hotel (Hotel Shambhavi), it started pouring again.

To be continued...

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. Very good travel blog Karthick!!! It makes me wish we had done something similar during our bachelor days in Chennai.


Thanks for visiting and spending time with my blog! Hope you had a nice time in my blog!

Please let your comments here. Your comments add fuel to my writings.