yellow periscope mumbai malvan road trip travel blog

Mumbai to Malvan Roadtrip: Step-by-Step

What is it about roadtrips that makes them become movies, songs, videos and novels? After having done a few, our answer is – go find out for yourself. Whether you end up enjoying or not, it will still be a tick mark on your things-to-do list! And could just make you see the world in a way you never did before.

Lao Tzu said ‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’, so it seemed apt to write about our roadtrip experience step-by-step 🙂

 


Step 1: Groundwork

Another popular quote says, ‘The journey is more important than the destination’. We want to add another dimension to this saying, ‘The planning for the journey is more exciting than everything else put together!’ If done well, it makes the journey and its destination, highly rewarding. So, our first word of advice – don’t miss this step.

For our Malvan roadtrip, the excitement of this step was highest for Mahesh – our chief navigator. As captain and the lone driver, he did research on routes and destinations, road conditions and weather. Sapna looked for places to stay and we ultimately chose something that is not a hotel but a farmstay. The idea behind this trip was to not do what we usually do and getaway to a completely different world.

Read more about our farmstay experience here:  Konkan farm stay- Meet the real life with nature

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“The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to your door…”
 

– The Beatles,  Album: Let It Be, 1970

 

While we were thrilled by the roadtrip idea, basic things had to be taken care of. Mumbai to Malvan is a long drive and this time it was just three of us. The non-stop driving was going to tire Mahesh out. So, the solution? Get music that keeps him pepped up throughout and the adrenaline flowing. We started getting our roadie playlists together from a week before. It was a countdown to adventure. Dhruv invented a few games that we played between stops. It helped break the monotony. Music and conversation – they were two defining elements of this trip. Towards the end some Red Bull helped too.


Step 2: Get on the highway

Mumbai  to Malvan on NH4,

yellow periscope road trip maachli konkan malvan farmstay google map
The Goodle maps snapshot of our route. Not to be missed are picturesque drives through the ghats (mountain passes) at Lonavla and Amboli and driving through India’s sugar bowl, the sugarcane fields lining Satara- Kolhapur highway. We took highway stops at Pune for brunch, Kolhapur for snack and Nipani for early dinner.

 

 

Definition of a Road trip:

(noun) a person or people moving across a great distance, in an automobile. Consists dreamy and unproven ideas about it being journey to self-discovery and/or transformation.

 

yellow periscope roadtrip konkan malvan villages


Step 3: Make food a part of the journey

On the road, food is a parallel map to chart out. Research is crucial here too, so that you savour the best. This made us find more about places we were driving by, their specialities and culture.

We soon plotted best places to stop for nira at Mumbai-Pune expressway, vada at Lonavla, sugarcane juice at Satara-Sangli highway and the local sea food thali at Sawantwadi. We were rewarded with generous helpings of authentic poha and sabudana khichdi on highway stops.

We are blessed to be in a country where food, culture and language changes every 100 kms! There is so much to explore and experience. On every journey the food we had at dhabhas, local restaurants or khanawal’s has given us a bank of memories that we fondly look back on.

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Best way to advertise गन्ने का रस ? Set up juicer in front of sugarcane field. No explanation needed. We spotted this cart on the roadside, just outside the sugarcane fields between Satara- Sangli on National highway 48.

 

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This locally made machine is used for making fresh cold-pressed sugarcane juice across India.

 

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At Sawantwadi, Bhalekar’s famous fish thali that is prepared in Malvani style, is a treat for seafood lovers. Not only tourists but it is cherished by the locals too.

 

yellow periscope farmstay maachli roadtrip konkan india
Jackfruit is the state fruit of the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu! Tempted by its strong fruity-sweet aroma, we bought it often on the roadside as a hearty snack between drives. We discovered how flavourful the seeds are, when we tasted them in different Malvani vegetarian preparations.

 

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Kokum can be seen and smelled in abundance all over Malvan. It is also known for its medicinal properties.

 

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‘Garcinia indica’ is indigenous to the western ghats in India and is the magical ingredient in Malvani fish curries. We spotted kokum laid out for drying on many streets, during this trip.

 


Step 4: Discover local culture

The easiest things to do in a new place is be a tourist and go sightseeing. Roadtrips are an opportunity to go beyond that. Having the means to chart and plan a journey by yourself turns you into an explorer, if not Christopher Columbus. In Malvan we were soon visiting pristine beaches, scenic countryside and a beautiful town with its distinct cultural history.

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This stunning lake view should convince you to visit Sawantwadi. Once a princely state, it is a tranquil town near the Malvan coast. The story goes that it was called sundarwadi before the Sawant’s took over as rulers and changed it to Sawantwadi.

 

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This beautiful building in Sawantwadi is the palace of its erstwhile rulers. The royal family continues to stay in a section of the palace and part of it has been converted into a museum. The town continues to nurture its famous arts of wooden toys and hand painted ganjifa cards.

 

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Darbar hall at the Sawantwadi palace museum. The museum presents the history of its rulers and local art & crafts.

 

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Ganjifa, originated in Persia and arrived in India during the 16th century. By the middle of 20th century the craft had almost died out before being revived at the workshops in Sawantwadi palace. These playing cards are hand painted by artisans and each of them is an art piece.

 

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Vetoba temple at Parule village. Almost every village or taluka in Malvan has a local deity to whom these ancient temples were dedicated. They continue to be worshiped to date with the same faith and zeal.

 

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The historical Rameshwar Temple, in Achara village, Malvan. Built in Mangalore style architecture, its historical reference dates back to even before 1684 AD. Inscriptions also reveal that commencement of construction happened in 1684 AD.

 


Step 5: Plan for the unplanned. Create room for exploration

The broad plan in Malvan was to explore towns and villages around our farmstay. This led our wanderings to princely Sawantwadi, the temple in Parule village, a scenic port, a defunct fort, the lake at Kudal, untouched beaches and scenic drives.

 

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Kille Nivati, a now defunct fort, was built by none other than Shivaji, to safeguard the coastal routes

 

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Not surprisingly, Kille Nivati offered stunning views of the sea from its vantage points. This spectacular view is of Bhogwe Beach down below

 

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Another reason to hike up early to Kille Nivati. At the second vantage point, we were pleasantly surprised by a view of these unusual orange rocks near Nivati beach.

 

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On our evening drive back from Sawantwadi a wrong turn led us to Vengurla town and its beautiful old Port! Vengurla in known for its great beach which is popular with tourists.

 

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As soon as we reached Vengurla Bandar, monsoon clouds began to appear. This picture was taken minutes before it started pouring. We had to rush to get back to our farmstay.

 

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It was early June and the first big showers of monsoon decided to welcome us. We drove back from the port to our farmstay taking a scenic road along the seaside called Sagari Mahamarg.

 


Step 6: Window seat

Based on where you go, with whom and what purpose, there is something dreamlike about watching the world go by through a moving window. That is the reason most of us insist on the window seat when traveling by train or flights. Of all the steps mentioned earlier, the last step is when one truly discovers that the trip itself was more important than the destination. Despite each having its different and unique elements, road trip constitutes a separate category of travel all by itself.  And that, if not anything else, should convince you to undertake one.

 

ज़िन्दगी एक सफ़र है सुहाना
यहाँ कल क्या हो किसने जाना….

हँसते गाते जहाँ से गुज़र
दुनिया की तू परवाह ना कर
मुस्कुराते हुए दिन बिताना
यहाँ कल क्या हो किसने जाना

Singer: Kishor Kumar. Music: Shankar Jaikishan. Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri. Year: 1971

 

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Roads were made for journeys not destinations

– Confucius


 

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