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Goa - Dona Paula

Saturday, January 31, 2015

On Tuesday morning when I woke up, I told Namrata, lets do Dona Paula today. to this she asked me, "What's there?" I told her that the jetty offers a beautiful view of the sea and the land in a distance.
Statue of Dona Paula perched on the rocks
told her that we would also do Reis Magos Fort and Fort Aguada as they are located close by.

So we got ourselves a bike at Margao City Garden and headed off to Dona Paula. Dona Paula is located very close to Panjim. 
Dona Paula jetty
On our way we saw police constables posted on either side of the road at a distance of 50 meters from each other. Not sure why they were there in the middle of nowhere.
View from thebike on the way to Dona Paula
We were then stopped by the Traffic Police, he checked our licenses, "aha, Mumbai License" not sure why he checked both our licenses. As one was driving and the other pillion. Then he asked, "Are you guys from Mumbai?" to which Namrata replied, "Ye, that's why the license." He then let us go. Out of curiosity I asked him, why are there so many police men on either side of the road, to this replied, "Modi is coming today, so.."
People getting lashed by waves at Dona Paula jetty
We then headed off to see Dona Paula, like always we asked around and managed to find out way to Donna Paula. The ride offered a fantastic view of the colorful row houses in the middle of nowhere and then the sea at a distance. Though the road was rough we still rode on.

A little bit of history about Donna Paula. This place was named after Paula Amaral Antonio de Souto Maior, the daughter of the Portuguese Viceroy of Jaffnapatnam, in Sri Lanka. Their family arrived in Goa in 1644. Dona Paula did a lot of charity while she was here which benefited the villagers dearly and so after her death in December 1682 , they named the village as Dona Paula.  The village was initially called Oddavell. 
Rough Sea
Now it was a rough day at sea, we were nearing the the jetty,  people were there watching the sea and taking selfies of themselves when all or a sudden a huge wave rose from the sea and lashed on to them. People were taken by surprise and they all receded from the portions of jetty close to the sea. But some people na, never learn.
Another view of waves lashing onto the rocks
One of the attractions is a white colored statue high up on the rocks. This statue was sculptured by Baroness Yrse Von Leistner in the year 1969. Not sure the significance of this statue. But I overheard a local guide telling a bunch of tourists from down south that they were two lovers who jumped in the sea because their parents opposed their marriage. Rich Girl and Poor Boy, like our typical hindi movie love story. LOL.

We then climbed up the podium to get a better view of the sea and land in a distance. The sea was rough and we could see the waves lash against the rocks in a distance. The weather was dull and the sky was dark, windy but no sign of the rain. I love this kind of weather. loved the sea flavored wind then we decided to visit Reis Magos Fort
View of the jetty from the podium
On seeing the place Namrata immediately said that Singham was shot here, where Ajay Devgn chases the bad guys. Nice :)

Bandra Graffiti 1

Friday, January 30, 2015

The walls of the houses of the East Indian folk at Bandra have a different story to tell.

Mike and I walked along the narrow lanes of the East Indian Village to see the amazing work of art (Graffiti) created by unknown people.

These tiny and narrow lanes crowded with people and vehicles are located very close to Hill Road.

Mike and Me

Vegetable stew

Vegetable Stew

Kohoj fort in Palghar

Thursday, January 29, 2015

This was my third attempt at conquering Kohoj   I was unsuccessful in the past as we had got lost on the hills, due to no proper directions.  
Kohoj Fort
On the day I was visiting Durgadi Fort, I decided to ask Manohar, Dominic and Nayan if they were free to accompany me to Kohoj fort. 

Nayan had plans so it was just the three of us here. 
Reflection of Kohoj Fort in the waters

Now I had not informed Manohar and Dominic that I had tried climbing this fort, twice earlier but had failed.
Arrow signs on the rocks
We decided to meet on the Western Express Highway. At the intersection of the Metro line, Jog Flyover and the Highway. The same place we met while we traveled to Jawahar. We were traveling in the car.
Manohar, Dominic and Me

We met at 7:45 AM and headed off on the highway to see Kohoj Fort. As it was early in the morning there was not much traffic on the road. P.S. after Virar there is a bottle neck due to road maintenance.
The  Western Express Highway aka NH8.  We braked for breakfast at Hotel Kamat's. As said by Manohar many a times on treks, a good breakfast is always necessary while on treks and we did just that.
Shoe soles
There are three toll naka's on the way.

We then headed off the Manor Wada Road to reach village Vaghote. The base village to Kohoj Fort. Please refer to google maps for navigation. It is accurate. We were at the base at 10:05 AM.
Dominic with snake skin
Picked up our bagpacks and we headed off to conquer Kohoj.

Now there are signs in the form of arrows on the rocks, so that you don't get lost. This time we decided to follow the signs, unlike last time when we got lost up the hills.
Ants mating
If you follow the signs, you will first cross, a water body cut in the rock, fields and later the heart shaped dam. 

If unsure then ask the villagers around, they too will guide you. Near the dam we were not able to locate the signs so we asked a Shepard and she guided us. Her dialect was a bit difficult to understand but we still managed to be on the right track.

Once you cross the dam section, the trek starts, now there are proper signs placed on rocks, that one does not get lost. A big Thank You to the trekking group who has done this.

We followed the signs and in a matter of 2 1/2 hours we were atop the fort. Now remember the climb is a bit difficult. The path is full of loose soil, and stones and rocks. It is a rollercoaster ride up and down the hill. Now we were not climbing Kohoj, but the hills before it to reach Kohoj. The topmost stretch is very steep and to top it, has loose soil. So be careful.
Graffiti on the walls of a tank cutout from rock
Nothing much to see atop the fort. It has a couple of temples here. Now the fortification was missing. How can it be called a fort with no fortification. I asked myself.

Ideal spot for camping atop Kohoj Fort
We had lunch in the form of sandwiches, cakes, thepla and then proceeded to climb the highest point of the fort. 
On our way to the topmost point of the fort
Not much is known about the history of this fort.

Now we were not alone on the fort, there were villagers too who were there to celebrate. They had bought along with them live chicken, rice and masalas and utensils to prepare lunch. Plus they got beer too. How can they drink hot beer? I asked myself. Strange 
That's Me
Finally on the topmost point of the fort we saw the fortification. The walls, but just a small part of it. I believe the rest of it might have collapsed over the years. This is all that remains of it. 
Took a couple of videos along with photos atop the fort. Now this as the tallest point amongst the hill ranges around. I was happy about the fact that I as on the tallest point and that like the previous two attempts I didn't get lost on the hills.
Another Temple
Took a couple of lessons in regards to ascending and descending hills from Manohar, which would benefit me in the long run. 

There are a couple of water bodies, cut in the rock which are used to store water. As we stopped to fuel our water bottles we noticed the villagers taking beer bottles out of the water. It then occured to us that the beer bottles were getting chilled in the cold water. Aha now it makes sense to drink beer on the hilltop.
Highest point on the fort
We also saw them cooking up the hill.

There were a couple of them who had come there to hunt for rabbits. They had laid nets all over the place for them. I couldn't locate any rabbits up the hill.
Manohar and me with our sticks
We then decided to descend the hill. The time was around 03:45 PM on my watch. As we are still in the winter season nightfall happens around 05:30 PM. So we had to be down before that and to top it we could not afford to get lost.
Another reflection of Kohoj fort in the waters
As I mentioned the initial stretch is difficult as it is a 75 degree climb over loose soil, so it took time to descend, then as I mentioned it was a roller coaster ride downhill. 
Manohar, Dominic and Me at the topmost point of the fort
Finally at 05:10 PM we were near the heart shaped lake. Refreshed ourselves in the waters and then headed off to the car to head back home. We kickstarted our journey at 06:40 PM to reach our start point at Andheri at 09:10 PM. It took us time due to the bottlenecks and traffic around. 
Heart Shaped Lake
The good thing about this trek, is that after two failed attempts, I was finally able to conquer it. Sadly nothing much remains atop the fort, a few temples, water tanks and fortification. The second good thing is , it is the highest point in that hill range and so offers a very good view of the hills, valleys, farms, houses and roads below. Maybe was not a fort but a watchtower to watch over the land below. 

The marriage bus aka KDMT bus

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

KDMT: Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Transport buses ply in Kalyan. Apart from being a medium of public transport it also doubles up as a private bus for marriage purposes.
KDMT bus

Crawford Market aka Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Market

Monday, January 26, 2015

Crawford Market was named after Arthur Crawford the first Municipal Commissioner of the city. It was later named as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule. 

Crawford Market is located very close to Metro Cinemas and JJ flyover and St. Xavier's High School.

The closest Railway stations being Marine Lines on Western Railway and Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) formerly known as Victoria Terminus (VT)

Crawford Market houses vendors selling fruits, vegetables, imported food items and cosmetics.

The market was designed by British architect William Emerson. The entrance of the market has a sculpture depicting Indian farmers.

Crawford Market

Mahatma Jyotiba Phule

Crawford Market

Durgadi Fort in Kalyan

Just a day in advance, we decided to visit the Durgadi Fort in Kalyan.
Medu Vada at a local eatery

Masala Dosa at a local eatery
 Shilpa who had accompanied me to Ankai and Tankai forts   joined me in exploring Durgadi Fort.   

We decided on Thane station on the Central Line as our meeting point. Reason being, I stay on the Western Line and she stays on the Harbour Line. 
Statue of Shivaji

We met at 10:45 AM at Thane station and then boarded a Badlapur bound train at 10:48 AM to alight at Kalyan station at 11:07 AM.  

Now Kalyan is a busy station like Dadar because of two reasons.  All the outstation trains stop here and secondly it connects the Karjat and Kasara line on Central Railway. 
Entrance to Durgadi Fort
We had breakfast in the form of Medu Wada and Masala Dosa at one of the eateries outside the station and then asked for instructions to visit the Durgadi Fort. The hotel owner gave detailed instructions. He informed us to board a rickshaw or State Transport bus to take us to Lal Chowki. The fort is located at a walkable distance from here. Alternatively one can also walk to this fort, it is hardly 30 minutes away. Check google maps for more 
Bastion and Temple on fort premises
 The roads were packed with people and vehicles. Share rickshaw are also available. Not sure about the cost per head. We inquired with a rickshaw driver and he took us to Lal Chowki at a cost of Rs.50. Alternatively the bus fare is Rs.12 for two. But the bus seats are usually dirty. Now the question you have in your head is, How do we know? because on our way back we were travelled by bus as we couldn't get a rickshaw.
View of Ulhas River from Durgadi Fort bastion
A statue of Shivaji is located very near to the fort. 

The fort is located near Ulhas River. But by the looks of it, it appeared more like a creek to me than a river.

The fort is extremely small in size. The fort takes a minute or two to see. Some portions of the fort are still old while others are renovated.
Dargah and Durgadi Temple on Durgadi Fort
The fort houses a Temple (Durgadi Temple) and a Dargah. Though by the looks of the it, the Dargah appears to be very old. Maybe the Temple was renovated.  

Outside the fort premises there was a Police Bus and the policemen were posted over there. I was curious to know, why?
I spoke to one of the policeman on duty there, he advised me not to take photos of the Dargah. I asked him why so much police protection, to which he pointed out to the Temple and the Dargah. Sometimes signs speak louder than words. I didn't click too many photos here, but we did sit in the shade of the ashoka trees, as confirmed to me by Shilpa, I was under the impression it was a mango tree. It offered handsome shade from the sun and also the cool breeze. 
Durgadi Fort
Felt at peace here, though we were very near to the busy roads, the sound of the honking of the motor vehicles was replaced by the chirping sounds of the birds. It was soothing to our ears.


History states that Shivaji had built this fort near the Ulhas river,which looks more like a creek to dock ships. We did see a couple of ships docked here. Wealth was found during the excavation of the fort, the fort was named Durgadi after Goddess Durga. The fort has changed hands many a times after it was built Shivaji.   

We then decided to head back to Kalyan station to head back home as I had to visit Kohoj fort the next day.  

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