Diwali has always been a Family Afffair.
Far from the maddening crowds of Mumbai and close to Alibaug,which is too commercial is tucked in a small ,sleepy town, called Diveaghar. People looked happy and contented and small fishing village, where time comes to a halt.They were simple oil lit lamps in their homes and no fancy Chinese lights for Diwali decoration.The town houses had Rangoli and paper lamps hung outside homes. After a long and bumpy drive of 6 hours from Mumbai, when we saw NO ONE on roads we realised O MY ?? where have we landed? What will we do here for 5 days? Chai pe Charchha ? Finally we came to 10 best Things to do here.
1-Ganesh Temple: The temple is nearly 300 years old.One feels very peaceful when we heard the Ganapati Aarti which is in traditional style- simply remembered my parent’s house gathering.There used to be all Marathi special people who would gather every evening with dholak and Manjira-to sing Ganapati Aarti-which would last for 20 minutes. I was instantly transformed in that age. Now only speakers and CDS or better still pen drive plays the Aarti
Chaturthi day near the temple in this below picture -See the moon
2:Harihareshwar beach: This is considered as Kashi, of this area.Here is a Shiv temple (photography) not allowed. It is very pious and people believe that if you visit here You have attained “MOKSHA” this little beach town had water sports as well.
3- Shrivardhan: This is very close to Harihareshwar. It used to be famous for Peshwa fort which now lies in ruins not well kept at all. Here the beach is good and we did some old style sitting in horse carts . We had Dosa’s and lime juice in the outside stalls. The beach had black sands.It was pristine but a little commercial.Shrivardhan also has a Somaji devi temple, which we visited on Diwali Day.
4- There are 2 more temples in the town of Diveaghar. These are Roop Narayan and Sunder Narayan .These Are near the beach of Diveaghar. They are more than 500 years old but are well preserved. No much hype has been created about these temples. The Diveaghar beach is too crowded and not recommended to visit.It is similar to Mumbai’s Juhu beach,with water scooter, lots of food stalls, chaotic horse rides.
5- Kondivali Beach: very nice peaceful silvery sands. Lovely sunset seen from here, and even the brahminy kites roosting , the last minutes feeding of western reef egret, and lesser sand plovers running around.There was a close sighting of white bellied sea eagle.
6- Dolphin watch: Just close to our hotel was a small fishing village who would take you to watch Dolphins at sea .Very well organised and all safe with Life Jackets as well.I must tell you all we did see 2 dolphins.The owner was ver knowledgable and said if there wind around the dolphins come out and jump,but for us there was NO BREEZE. We had lost hope of seeing any Dolphins when suddenly the man on the wheel steering the boat screamed out loud .We all were very Happy. See the rock formation in the sea.You can get down in high tide to this island rock.Have i become the boatman in this picture below?
7- Wada Pav point: This was a very nice man standing alone at the roadside,on route from Diveaghar to Shrivardhan route which is very scenic and i call it the great ocean road.It was all along the sea. Sea to to the right of you and hilly area on the left. Here this Local was selling hot wada pav,and Kuldi chai, with adrak and masala.All the people passing by(handful, since it is not so touristy) would get refreshed with the very aroma of wadas being fried. The view from Wada pav centre is below
8-Dighi Port -Close to Janjira fort: The forest road was up and down the hills, where you see Langurs on the way.The drive to port is very well made only with some places being rough and still under construction.From here to you can cross over to Agardanda in your car,which further you can reach Murud and then Mumbai.There are ferries every half an hour. This another route to reach Diveagar and Mumbai.
9-Eateries: How can I forget this is a fishing town and so there were-RANE’S and PATIL’S eating joint which had fish Thali, and chicken thali at Rs160/-.We being Vegetarians tried out the Suhas Bapat’s thali.Authentic Marashtrian Thali. The best SOLCURRY and yummy hot aukde Modak with a big teaspoon of home made ghee. If In Diveaghar you must taste this thali. Keep this in mind also that you have to do previous booking. He caters to only those first 100 people who have booked.
10-My Stay Hotel Exotica. Lush bungalow type homes,with balconies. Garden to eat your meals. Surrounded by gardens with Koi fish pond and fish angling stage which also can be used as barbeque point.Of course for me it was a bird watching point.
Some bird pictures :
Some reptiles and amphibians seen around the garden of Exotica
This was in a nut shell my Diwali vacation. In this sleepy little less visited town of Diveaghar. A must visit if you want to switch OFF your MOBILES (since connectivity is poor) A cut off place to Rejuvenate.My style of saying Thank you when the roads are empty.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
WALONG -SPECIES SPECIFIC BIRDING
GROUP OF 6 OF US:
4-Ms Roda Dalal
5-Dr Kiran Marthak
Guide -Nikhil Bhopale
driver : Mr Bittu : Mobile number:8638601583
Dates: 20th April to 27 April 2019
Our journey started by all of choosing the same flight to Mumbai-Guhati-dibrugarh
At Dibrugarh, Mr Bittu came with 2 vehicles loaded up and started our journey to Chowkham.
We stopped at the market to pick up a pair of shoes for Mr Vasant.
A quick roadside hotel for food and off to Chowkham.
We had the most awful vehicle which was rocking away and thus reached golden pagoda resort. Quick last good shower and dinner we took a walk in the spacious gardens.
lucky sighting of the Brown Hawk Owl, and as we walked another treat was awaiting us- Red giant flying squirrel. It took flight from one tree to another showing of its wings. All of us were so awestruck and forgot to roll our cameras. There were lots of glow worms which all of admired and thought to ourselves what a wonderful beginning .
red giant flying squirrelbrown hawk owlglow worms
21st April: Travelling en route Lohit River was giving beautiful landscape and occasional birding .
In the evening went to stay at Khupa,via udayak pass.
The highlight was seeing a formation of a river
This spot is totally avoidable.The stay is not worth mentioning at all. I would have preferred to drive to along without this stop gap arrangement. The food was home cooked and good was the only best part of Khupa.
formation of a Riverpintail pigeonsKhupa homestay
white capped red start
hoary bellied squirrel
Travel to Walong .Roads were bad but birding on the way was fairly good.
There were lots of variety of butterflies en route. But our 2 nd car continued to give us problems.
map butterflyParis Peacock
six and four barred sword tailgrey wagtail
biscuits and cock
Morning we tried to go to Helmet Top.It was cold ,windy and rainy. No much birding except Eurasian cuckoo singing in the rain.We could not reach the top due to security reasons.
We went to Tillam Tops in the evening.Very nice place.Eye level birding. Yunnan nuthatch was found investigating the tree hole.Was it in search of a nesting place?
black headed green finch
Eurasian cuckoo callingYunan nuthatch in search of nest
drove down to to Kibitoo ,in search of Godlewski Buntings, and Lesser Rufus headed parrotbills.We just got a glimpse only of both. But good views of Derbyan Parakeet. Breakfast at the Riverside (lohit) was calming and wonderful. We were at the northern- eastern most road in the India.Pictures taken and walk on the rope bridge.we all went back in search of 2 main species again.
There were so many raspberries growing wild on the road. I kept picking them and eating. Loved the delicious fruit.
We saw black browed bush tit there. A Francolin call was disturbing for all of us.Even Nikhil could not identify this call.
Groove necked keelback
Lohit River bed Picnic
On the rope way bridgelong horned beetle
Eastern most road in India
Brown cheeked Bunting
Sweet wild Raspberries
Indo-China war Memorial
25 April-day 6-travel day
Lots of ups and down -We had bad cars which made our day quite bad. We had 2 tyre punctures and then at one point the tyre just rolled away.All went searching for screws to fix back the tyre.While the tyre was being fixed ,i went birding and saw a whole family of white crested laughing thrushes .There was a pool full of tadpoles and orchids,butterflies,and dragonflies too and a Group of Mesias, Finally we reached Golden Pakoda resort once more.Night trail was not good
26 April:Day 7:
Kamlang wild life sanctuary-Chowkham
Morning lovely Trail:.A pair of chestnut winged Cuckoos,greater and lesser necklaced laughing thrushes,slender billed Oriole,lesser Coucal,.streak throated weaver birds.Some saw broad bill ,which i missed. Good views of Yellow breasted piraña,Blue bearded bee Eater was very difficult to see . It was very well camouflaged.Stork billed kingfisher,emerald dove and grey headed pigeon were some birds seen .
while repairing our puncture we saw rosy Minivet.
I also learnt that red vented bulbul in North east area is called BROWN Cheeked bulbul.-it is different subspecies.
Evening we heard the loud cries of Gibbon monkeys.
streak throated weaver birds
27 April : day 8Morning was lovely with no cameras , we still all enjoyed the Crested Goshawk male and hoary squirrels feeding away ,with once again views of chestnut winged cuckoos(a pair).We quickly retreated back in time for breakfast and packed our bags to catch the return flight to Mumbai.