Discovering Konkan with the 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport

The year is 1947. A man sketches the silhouette of a car in the sand of a Welsh beach. The car is Land Rover. Tough, intrepid, it goes on to change history, mastering all manner of terrain, and capturing hearts around the world.And when it comes to long drives searching for new routes and places…. your brain will shout out “Land Rover”! It was no fun testing the All New 2019 Discovery Sport in the city or just for a short drive, so we decided to take this beauty to my in-laws native place “Tanali”, a remote village near Chiplun (Konkan in Maharashtra, India). Our house is situated in one distinct corner where there are no tarmac roads. It’s a perfect place for Land Rover Discovery Sport to go in her habitat to test her real skills and most importantly… to check the car’s PRACTICALITY.

Our village lies in the coastal area call Konkan.Being coastal, there are lots of things to experience, like discovering remote beaches, jungles, the local people and most important…food! Food is a culture here and non-veg food is a part of their life.

We selected the Mumbai-Goa National Highway NH 66, as the shortest, safest and easy route. We planned our journey by starting early in the morning to avoid some Mumbai traffic, but somehow we ended up leaving by 8.00am. As usual, we took almost 2.5 hrs just to reach the famous Wadkhal Naka.After that, the traffic eased up and we managed to speed up a little bit. For many years, in spite of being one of the busiest routes, the process of converting NH66 into an Expressway is still going on, and finally construction has started. We faced lots of bad roads and single lanes, making our journey a wee bit irritating. We stopped just before Khed for lunch. Surprisingly, the chicken thali was yummy and we thoroughly enjoyed the scrumptious meal.

The weather was really bad, with the car indicator showing 41 degrees outside. The hotelier told us that due to the road construction going on lots of trees were cut down, leaving the entire surroundings barren like a dessert, making the whole area super-hot. We literally felt as if we were sitting inside an oven. After lunch, we started our onward journey and surprisingly, in spite of outside temp of 40 degrees plus, we felt very comfortable inside the Discovery Sport which was set at a cozy 23 degrees.

Looking at the time, we decided to go directly to Guhagar for tea/ coffee at my friend’s Hotel, The Durga Pearl. The temperature dropped down drastically to 34 degrees just because the surrounding was covered with lots of trees. I just hope that the expressway contractor plans a huge tree-plantation drive on both sides of road, which will make that area cooler. We reached Guhagar at 5-5.30. After are refreshing coffee break, we immediately headed towards Palshet beach to capture the sunset, along with some exotic shots of the car. On the way, we saw a beautiful spot from where we could see an aerial view of Guhagar beach. A beautiful frame indeed, enhanced by one quaint temple in the middle.

After the quick stop, we moved ahead on the narrow hill roads.Once we went over a 200-300 mt slope which was really bad with no tarmac, just gravel with stones, but the Discovery Hill Ascent made crossing the section a cake-walk, smoothly and safely. Immediately after that, we saw the beautiful Palshet beach, but sadly could not get a proper spot for a photo-shoot. We scouted around and found a beautiful spot where actual the seashore activity happens, so I decided to incorporate it into my frame with the Discovery Sport.

Nearby, we came across a lovely, sea-facing bungalow, and luckily the owner invited us to see his property! We were surprised to see its interior built using all local material; the best part was a huge picture window overlooking the Arabian Sea! The owner,Mr. Wayne Dlima showed us the entire house in detail. We discovered that he, along with his architect,share a close bond with nature. So this artistic house was constructed in tune with the local surroundings.

I didn’t miss the opportunity to click the Discovery Sport from his house and trust me, those two shots turned out to be the best in my collection!Soft light after sunset, top angle showing Moon roof and of course, raw, beautiful surroundings making these picture perfect, typical “Brochure” shots.

We reached our native place around 9 pm. The road near our house was very rough, but as usual, Discovery made our path easy. The day ended with hot and spicy chicken made by our Ramesh Uncle. Post dinner everyone slept like a log, the journey tiring us all out but thankfully the Discovery Sport easing out lot of that tiredness. Next day we got up around 7 am and decided to give a nice bath to the Discovery Sport pre-shoot.

We moved to a smooth road to take some panning shots. Panning/tracking shots are trademarks of Motorworldindia, with such highly skilled shots testing the photographer’s ability.

Later, we went to see our organic farm, where Ramesh Uncle has cultivated lots of vegetables like green and red chillies, lady fingers, lima beans, cluster beans, coriander, radish, groundnuts, cashewnuts, lemons, kokum and pineapples.

After a heavy breakfast, we started our journey to explore some exotic beaches. On the way we stopped in a local market looking for some organic vegetables and of course, some Mango delights which the Konkan region is famous for. That’s why this place is called the California of India!

After some shopping, en route to Dabhol, we saw the devastation of the Enron closed project. We then moved towards Anjenwel, which is simply out of the world, as u can make out from the photo.

A two-colored sea is what makes it different from other places. From there, we choose some offbeat path, inside dense jungles, spotting some rare birds like the Scarlet Minivet and the White-Cheeked Barbet. My daughter couldn’t resist shooting the Discovery Sport at this place, when perfect sunrays peeping out from the trees fell on the car. It was now 2 pm and everyone was starving, so we decided to move fast to Palshet village to have an authentic veg meal at Athrav Bhojanalaya.This place is famous for Marathi cinema shoots and has witnessed a few movies like Kaksparsh. Post lunch we moved towards another beach called Karul. It was a lonely beach with no tourists and only local fishermen present.

I got a lovely shot of the Discovery Sport in the middle of the road in their village with fluttering flags enhancing the frame.

After that, we moved towards the Velneshwar beach. Here was the real test as there was a steep climb around 45 deg, but the Discovery Sport made it easily with the passengers and luggage. From the top, we got a nice panoramic view of the Velneshwar beach. Taking the aerial shot of the beach is a class apart, and you can actually appreciate the beach and its natural surroundings.

After reaching the seashore, we had fresh coconut water looking at the lovely sunset. From there, we moved on to our last destination,Hedavi, which is famous for Ganesh Temple. The name of this Ganesh is ‘Dashbhuja Ganapati’. This ‘Laxmi-Ganesh Temple’ is not only ancient, but also rare. This temple may have been erected in the period of Peshwa. The deity has been foundon the top of a mountain. The Ganesh idol has been carved in white stone. Such stones are normally found in the Kashmir region. The speciality of the idol is that it is 3 feet high and has 10 hands. Now with it being time for our last dinner, we had to have fish which is found in abundance in Konkan.Our friend, Mr. Khare, owner of the Durga Pearl Hotel,cooked shallow-fried kingfish on a chulha enhancing its earthy flavors. We enjoyed this meal so much that we will remember its taste forever.

We reached our native place around 10 pm. While going back, the moon roof was slid back and we enjoyed the ride looking at the stars from the top clear glass.It is a completely different feeling which can’t be expressed in words. Being a fan of night photography, I decided to end this trip with a Milkyway Galaxy photo. My native place is ideal for this as there are no city/village lights nearby, giving a nice clear view of planets, stars and galaxies.

The next day we started our journey back home to Mumbai with the same route, but with unforgettable memories stored in our minds forever. It was indeed a memorable trip as we discovered lots of beautiful and photographic places from where we can do justice to nature through the lens.The icing on the cake was Discovery Sport, which made our journey most comfortable, relaxing and safe. A few of the locations couldn’t have been possible without this beautiful Land Rover. It is really a practical car for your daily travel and long drives, as it takes your journey on the next level of exploration and enjoyment for your family and friends.

We drove the Discovery Sport with a light foot on the entire route and here is the proof of our driving skills. The drive statistics in the car says it all.

During the monsoons the entire topography of this same area changes into a lush green belt…. so stay tuned for Part II from the same place, but with a the different Land Rover!

We had the 2019 Land Rover Discover Sport HSE 7-seater with us for the entire 900kms drive which played a very important role in our journey exploring the Konkan belt in its plush comfort. The Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE comes powered with a 2.0l 4-cylinder Ingenium Diesel engine with 177bhp of power output and 430Nm of torque, the transmission duty is taken care by the 9-speed automatic unit. Prices for the 2019 Discovery Sport start at Rs. 44.68 Lakh for the entry level trim.

Words & Photography – Dr Anand Narvekar

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