It was supposed to be an extended family visit but due to various genuine reasons, the other family members couldn’t make it but we decided to proceed.We had booked by Tejas Express from Thane to Ratnagiri, which is an early morning train and due to my mistake, we reached Thane station still earlier. The train reaches Thane station at 6.25 am. but I had misread it as 5.25 am. and had to face angry, sleepy stares from my wife and daughter. But since there was no other option, we waited it out for the train to arrive. Thankfully the train was on time so the wait did not extend for long.Tejas Express is one of the best trains in india and we were impressed with the spacious and clean interiors as well as the catering service. I must mention the excellent masala tea which was served. Very invigorating indeed.We reached Ratnagiri station on time. I have seen Ratnagiri station so many times but it still fascinates me, the way it has been constructed, gouged out of a small mound and retains an old world charm.After having a simple but tasty veg lunch at my company guest house and after freshening ourselves up, we moved to Ratnagiri ST Bus stop where we spent an eternity awaiting our bus for Adivare, to arrive. Every bus which came into the bus stand seemed like ‘our bus’ only to disappoint us with the town nameplate displayed at the front. Finally ‘our bus’ did arrive after almost 1.5 hours (@40 km.) and we were on the way. The short journey of approximately 1 hour was spent in catching up on our sleep.Why Adivare? Someone might ask as it is not on every tourist’s tourism goal. Well it happens to be the town which hosts the Kuldevi of the Tawde family, Maha Kali. In fact, in addition to Maha Kali Devi, it also hosts Maha Saraswati Devi and Maha Laxmi Devi. In addition to this, the Tawde extended family (all Tawde’s located anywhere in the world, irrespective of their native villages) have contributed to build a very elegant and imposing Tawde Wada (Tawde Atithi Bhavan), which is located off the Ratnagiri-Adivare road at a distance of @2 km. from Adivare towards Ratnagiri. This Tawde Wada was supposed to be our abode for the next 2 days.Though we had seen photos of Tawde Wada many times before, nothing had prepared us for the imposing red structure which greeted us, as we entered through the gates. The huge swords and shield which adorn the imposing, front facade give a fort-like feel to the already formidable construction. The central portion is occupied by a huge hall which also serves as a temple for Shree Saptakoteshwar (a form of the Lord Shiva), the Kuldaivat of the Tawde family. As the small reception desk is also in this hall, you have to remove your footwear outside and enter.We were warmly welcomed by the ever smiling caretaker, Mr. Sawant who registered us and then guided us to our room. After freshening up and resting for a while, we were outside to admire and explore the exquisite building.The lawns in front are very well maintained and so is the driveway. Though a huge structure, there are only 8 rooms which flank the huge hall in the centre, four on the lower level and four on the top. The construction itself reminds you of Rajasthani havelis, though there are no intricate carvings or designs. The building itself is made using laterite stone. It is apparent that the focus of the Architect was to give an exclusive feeling to discerning connoisseurs rather than maximising profits, which would be the main aim of any ordinary hotel.The homely atmosphere is further strengthened by very down to earth staff who are helpful and ever smiling. We had sumptuous veg meals on both days which reminded us of homemade food.On the second day, we proceeded to the Maha Kali temple in Adivare by an autorickshaw in the morning. The peaceful surroundings and no crowd allowed us to proceed with our prayers at a gentle pace. The highlight of the temple is the brightly painted, intricate carvings on wooden ceiling of the temple.In the same complex there is a Shiva temple which is said to be very ancient. A huge anthill from the floor, right upto the ceiling, occupies one corner of this temple which is said to be the abode of a cobra. A sighting of this cobra is said to be very auspicious.There is also a Ram temple in this complex where we prayed for the wellbeing of all.From Adivare, we proceeded to another temple nearby, the Sri Dev Kanakaditya temple which is dedicated to the Sun God and located in Kasheli village. It is one of the few remaining Sun temples in India. The murti is tejasvi (lustrous) and the entire temple complex is recently renovated. Beautiful and highly polished wooden carvings and pillars grant this temple a serene atmosphere.The story associated with this temple is very intersting. It is said that the main murti has been brought here from Prabhaspatan in Gujarat and here is the story -Many centuries back, a businessman from Prabhaspatan was proceeding on some business trip by a ship and he was carrying with him a murti of Sun God on the ship which was handed over to him for safe keeping by a priest of the Sun temple in Prabhaspatan. Once the ship reached the sea near the Kasheli village, it refused to budge! It did not go further so he instructed the seaman to reverse it but to no avail. One night, the Sun God appeared in his dreams and instructed him to take him to the shore. Early next morning, the businessman proceeded to take the murti onto the shore and established the idol in a small cave. Once this was done, the businessman was able to proceed further on the trip on his ship.Now it was the turn of the Kanaka, an ardent devotee of the Sun God, and a resident of Kasheli, to get a dream. The Sun God appeared in her dream and told her about his arrival on the shore and asked her to search for the cave which she dutifully did, alongwith the other villagers. With great pomp and gaiety, Sri Dev Kanakaditya was brought to his current location in the village and installed. The temple is said to have been constructed by the Shilahaar dynasty and there is an ancient tamrapat (copper plate) in the temple which establishes the ancient origins.The rest of the trip was rest and relaxation and then we were on the way back to Mumbai.Yatindra Tawde
Mumbai-Ahmedabad will get a bullet train. From where will it be flagged off from? A date will be decided but will be indefinitely postponed. Why? A controversy will erupt, on who will flag off the inaugural train – whether it will be a Gujarati or a Maharashtrian . Finally a truce will be reached and decided that it will be flagged off by both. Now, where will it be flagged off from – Ahmedabad or Mumbai. For obvious reasons, it will be flagged off from Ahmedabad.
I understand that the bullet trains of Japan run at more that 300 km/ hr. Will they run at the same inhuman speeds in India? Lets suppose it does, then what precautions need to be taken…i think, first and foremost, it will need a dedicated elevated line, to avoid, any animal from crossing the tracks, especially the bovine kind, who are treated as sacred… We don’t want any protesters from holding up the bullet trains.
So the D-day arises. The timings of the train are fixed for the train to start its maiden journey from Ahmedabad at 7.30 am. The station is all bedecked in flowers, beautifully decorated. The bullet train itself has turned up at the station like a coy wife , getting ready for her wedding. The station is teeming with people. There are 3 types, those who have booked tickets in black, to be the pioneers who sat in the very first bullet train in India, others are the relatives and friends, who have come to drop off their loved ones, and the third type, are the sundry onlookers, who have just come to ogle at the train. They are all waiting for the inaugural ceremony with bated breaths. The politicians arrive for flagging off the train, sharp at 8.30 am. The people are happy, that, for once, they have come on time, 1 hour being nothing, if you consider the larger picture. Time comes for cutting the ribbon ceremony. And here everything goes wrong, making the train idle at Ahmedabad station for the next 3 hours!
The delay arises due to the controversy – who will cut the ribbon first, Maharashtra or Gujarat, driven by inflated egos. The railway babus, try to pacify both sides in vain. Some of the egotist start feeling hungry. The entire group, from both sides, retire to the railway canteen. The railway babus, grab their chance, and counsel both sides to reach to an agreement.
Finally both sides reach the front of the bullet train… There 2 ribbons are waiting to be cut, one by each group. The ribbon cutting ceremony passes off peacefully, with both parties then, embracing each other with put-on warmth in front of the preying eyes of the cameras, which are in huge numbers.
With a great toot of relief, the bullet train then commences its journey between the 2 great cities of India. Keeping in mind, the gastronomical likes of the passengers, the pantry car has made arrangements, for a continuous supply of phapda-jalebis, dhoklas, khakra, misal pav, vada pav, poha, et all. With their taste buds continuously occupied, the first travellers on the Indian bullet train never realise how the time passes, and by the time, they have had their umpteenth snack, the have reached Mumbai station, which is again festooned in balloons and decorations, and where a sea of people have gathered to welcome the Japanese marvel.
So the journey, which might have taken 3 hours in Japan, has taken 8 hours in India, thanks to the inauguration ceremony. It’s a victory of Indian tradition over Japanese innovation.