Exploring the secrets of amboli

By on November 21, 2018
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Away from the cluster of tourist destruction, the hillstation on the Goa-Maharashtra border offers a charming and tranquil getaway

It is that time of the year when Goa becomes a must visit destination for holiday makers and consequently too crowded for locals. Turn in any direction and you can’t escape the chaos. It is time for us to head out of Goa’s borders and soak in some tranquillity elsewhere. 

Last week, I jumped behind the wheel and escaped via the northern border of Goa into the southern tip of Maharashtra via Sawantvadi, into the cool embrace of the mighty Sahayadris. Winding and unwinding along the mountain roads, one reaches Amboli. Since the monsoons have withdrawn, the waterfall is a far cry from its gushing self and the romantic mist is nowhere to be seen. But then Amboli has many more secrets tucked away from the less discerning eye!

The key to a lively getaway is to venture off the beaten track and explore the byroads and village dirt tracks. Just pausing by the roadside and watching a farmer plough his fields revealed that the rice in these parts is called ‘Chikalya’ after the black soil in which it is grown. It has a unique taste and costs `50 a kilo. A little distance away, merrily nodding in the winds were stalks of ragi, fully laden waiting for the harvest – a rare sight, specially for Goans. Elderly women carrying loads of wood on their heads and descending the winding roads spoke of the agility of the womenfolk here, even in old age.

A drive up a non-descript road leads to a temple abutting a large laterite hillock. From under the temple bubbles a crystal clear spring, the source of River Hirenikesh which, according to a devotee, flows on past the villages of Ajra, Gangotri, Sholapur and the holy town of Pundarpur and eventually becoming a part of the Panch Ganga.

Perched on the ridge of the Sahyadri Mountains at an altitude of approximately 710m above mean sea level, Amboli boasts pleasant weather all year round. It receives the highest rainfall in Maharashtra and competes with Mahableshwar and Matheran as the most visited hill-station in the state. Unfortunately, the very charm of a place kills it and Amboli is no exception. Random deforestation has made way for large, ugly concrete buildings meant for visitors, but getting out of your concrete shell back home only to jump into another one doesn’t make sense. It would be a pity to turn around and return without a night in the mountains!

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.

Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.



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