Married in the year 1995, the year 2020 was the silver jubilee year of my wedding. And my children(one daughter and one son) were very excited to celebrate this occasion in a highly memorable manner, possibly abroad because we have never gone anywhere outside India. But !
But the pandemic and the resultant restriction on means of conveyance as well as the movement of people played a spoiler for us in this context. Now what could we do? This occasion could arrive only once in the lifetime of myself and my family members. Finally we decided that if not abroad or a faraway place in India, we would celebrate this occasion in the best possible manner at some beautiful place near to Pune(where my family has been living for the past couple of years, myself is living alone at Visakhapatnam due to my job). My daughter finalized our tourist place as Harihareshwar which is around 170 kms from Pune and can be termed as a sea-town because of the beaches. This beautiful place is surrounded by hills and situated on the banks of the Arabian Sea.
We went by our car and hired a driver provided by an agency for the purpose. Covering the distance was not easy because of the lengthy bad patches on the road from Pune to Harihareshwaralongwith several turns, acclivities and declivities coming across. Enjoying the beautiful scenes on the way, finally, we reached our destination for stay – Royale Greens Resort in which a large family room had been booked in advance by my daughter.This resort is a not a costly one as the tariffs are not very high. It is situated near the entry gate of Harihareshwar with the Harihareshwar Temple, the Harihareshwar beach and the Ganesh Gully being at a walkable distance. We were given a warm welcome by the managing people. We found that the most of the attendants were newly recruited(may be because of the closure in the preceding lockdown period). Anyway, after freshening up, we started our brief tour and decided to enjoy the nearby places first. The swimming pool of the resort was there right in front of our eyes but(perhaps) swimming was not allowed due to govt. instructions applicable to the unusual times. Anyway, we were not going to use that swimming pool because we had other plans.
We went to the Harihareshwar beach and decided to swim in the sea itself. In my family, my wife can’t swim. Rest all three are swimmers. So with our swimming costumes on our bodies, we entered the water. My wife also enjoyed by standing in the water and I did not go very far from the beach but my daredevil children went quite far. They had to be called back forcibly as they were in no mood to come out of the water. Anyway, it was a highly enjoyable experience. But the real surprise was awaiting us in the Royale Greens Resort which made our trip a great touring experience to cherish for a life time.
My daughter had told the resort management that we had come there to celebrate the silver jubilee of the wedding of her parents. And in the evening, we found that the resort management had specially arranged a beautiful and very very tasty chocolate cake for us (they had got it prepared specially from some specific baker because there were no bakeries in the region). Myself with my life-partner came down to the dining hall where the cake was put on a table at the centre of the hall with a candle on it. We lit the candle, put it off by a whiff and then cut the cake amidst the congratulatory voices of not only our children but the whole of the staff of the resort(there were not many guests there on that day). We were overwhelmed by their nice gesture and offered the pieces of that extremely tasty cake to one and all.
We enjoyed our room stay and room service also though the fans in that extra-large room were not affixed very prudently. Next morning again, we went off to the beach side and first had our Darshan in the Harihareshwar temple and then after enjoying for a while there, set off to another place by our car. That place was Bagmandala.
We enjoyed near the water-body of the Savitri river for some time and then climbed up a steamer which ferried us to the other shore in 15-20 minutes. We could ferry our car also alongwith ourselves in that steamer but we preferred not to do so as our driver was not familiar with the region. After reaching the other shore, we took a taxi and proceeded to Bankot Fort which administratively falls in Ratnagiri. We enjoyed there too but disappointed to see the complete neglect of the govt. for that heritage. A similar steamer ferried us back when our taxi brought us back to the shore.
My children are young and energetic but myself and my wife, being fifty-plus, could not take much strain. Falling for the good behaviour of the resort people and the memorable hospitability gesture demonstrated by them the previous evening, we preferred to have our principal meals(mainly dinner) in their restaurant itself. There was less variety in the dishes available but the cuisine was admirably very good.
Next morning, we again went to the Harihareshwar beach and this time, we went past the temple and entered the famous Ganesh Gully whose path starts just from the temple itself. First we had to climb up a lot and thereafter we had to climb down to reach the sea-bed. This small journey is a little bit dangerous and one should be very cautious. Once the plateau was reached, we came across swift sea waves coming and striking the rocks. Except my wife, all of us entered the water and then we realized that despite being skilled swimmers, it wasn’t an easy task to sustain ourselves in the swiftly flowing waters under which the spiky small rocks were aplenty. My children were quite away from me by the time I entered the water and instead of trying to swim(which only was the prudent thing). moved ahead on foot by picking the top of one rock after another. When I realized that I had come past all the rocks, then only allowed my complete body to lie in the water. Some bystanders warned me that at only a small distance from the shore, the water was too deep. Soon I reunited with my children. We enjoyed a lot there and were in no mood to return but every good thing, after all, has to come to an end.
Myself, my better-half and our children celebrated the special occasion through that very small outing of three days and two nights at Harihareshwar and felt that there was a lot more to explore in Harihareshwar. For that we will have to make another trip.
During intermittent periods of morning and afternoon, we played the games available in the resort. On one hand, myself and my wife played Badminton outside the resort building, on the other, myself and my son played Table Tennis inside. My children and I played several rounds of Chess also. We enjoyed the sunshine in the beautiful children’s park also which is a part of the resort itself. Walking in the area was also a pleasure. And watching the sunset while on the beach was something going beyond words.
Our stay experience in the resort was undoubtedly very good. Our driver was also accommodated there only and he also lived comfortably during that period. The only irksome thing was that the lift was linked to the room keys(so that the room guests only could use the lift to go up to the floors above the ground floor). No such requirement was there to use the lift to come down. Well, in the absence of a liftman, it was troublesome because many times all four of us were not coming down or going up together. So the person(s) seeking to go to the room from the ground floor need to seek help from the reception.
However the overall experience in that neat ‘n’ clean and well-managed resort was so good that while checking out on the third day, I thanked the resort people for everything done by them to make the occasion and the trip as pleasurably unforgettable for us. Our return journey to Pune was also quite pleasant. We will cherish those three days forever.