Travelogue - Renault Triber to Gokarna - In the Land of Sand
We take the Renault Triber for a superb trip which we shall cover in two legs. Our first leg takes us from Pune to Goa and then on to Gokarna. Here is how it went
Travel. Ah, yes, that ol’ yearning that is strong amongst us all. It sure is an inner calling that must be fulfilled in some way or the other. Travel opens us up to a world that is unknown and it is here that the word “adventure” rears its beautiful head.
When it comes to India, an adventure can be just a short distance away due to the brilliant diversity our country boasts of. We, at Car India, decided to do a two-part series where we would discover two completely different sides of the nation. Our companion for the trip would be the new Renault Triber for this journey from Pune to Gokarna via Goa for our very own adventure.
As the sun just about started to rise, we were all set to head out of Pune and towards our first destination: Goa. The Triber was nicely packed with more than a dozen pieces of luggage and equipment, four human beings, and some chocolates; however, impressively, there was still a fair bit of room left in the smart seven-seater. The seats are comfortable too, which would keep you happy on those long arduous journeys.
The early start saw us out of Pune without facing any dreaded traffic and we were soon at an easy pace on the highway. The Renault Triber may just have a frugal 1.0-litre engine, but, is quite adept at maintaining highway cruising speeds. After a much-needed breakfast stop, we thought about which route we would take to Goa. Via Nipani is the most commonly used road and one that we are accustomed to. This time we decided to take a longer route via Belgaum. Spoiler alert! It is worth it. Yes, the distance to our destination increased by about 50-odd kilometres, but the scenic beauty we passed along the way sure did make up for that. Google Maps, displayed conveniently on the infotainment since Renault thoughtfully included Android Auto in the Triber, showed a shortcut when we were in Belgaum and it is this shortcut that had some of the most amazing roads on our trip. Small narrow ways with barely any traffic and surrounded by woods. Could not ask for anything better, to be honest.
In Goa, we got ourselves settled into a quaint little hotel close to Candolim. This was a good base to explore the surrounding well-known areas. This time, however, we decided to visit and showcase a different side of Goa, staying fairly clear of the regular tourist routes and visited places that the locals advised.
Saligao Church is one of the biggest churches in the state and quite a beautiful one too. The place is well-maintained and hosts a number of visitors on the daily. Next up another church, Chapora, which houses two churches, the new one and the old one. This one is a little away from the bustle and, indeed, has its fair share of urban legend-like stories. Some of the locals claimed the old church has a few supernatural stories. We did not find our own X-Files episode, but have to state that the place is quite pretty, high up on a cliff and overlooking the sea below. It is a bit difficult to get to with the road condition not at its best. However, the Triber has an impressive ground clearance and with that really good suspension too, we were golden. In addition, there are a number of local youngsters who use the place as a hangout, which became quite lively closer to sunset.
We stopped off for a quick milkshake in Chapora after that and then continued on our way. As we drove a little further, we saw a little fish market port and decided to stop there for a little visit. The port was busy as ever, with fishermen mending, loading, and cleaning their boats. It is quite nice to see these hard-working people going about their daily chores with vigour and yet a smile on their faces. At night, we spent some time at a nice restaurant which had some live music and at a point moved into a karaoke fest. Almost every person in the establishment sang their favourite tune and the audience happily joined in.
Goa is indeed a very lively place and the regular haunts are well known and documented numerous times. I would always advise checking out some of the off-beat places too. It opens the traveller up to a number of things they might miss when sticking to the well-paved road. We left Goa wishing we did not have to, but our next stop would be a similar one, albeit a bit more laid-back: Gokarna.
The drive to Gokarna was quite nice and, in the Renault Triber, you get a rather good six-speaker audio system that had us singing all the way to our destination. In addition, hooking up your smartphone to the car’s Bluetooth is a breeze. Something that we completely appreciate. It seats seven, or five and a whole lot of luggage, and doesn’t feel cramped in either configuration. In addition, our cans of Monster and them chocolates stayed cool as the Triber has a brilliant cooler between the front seats – a true godsend when in hot country.
We took the coastal route to the place. On the way, we stopped off at Margao for a quick bite at a nice little café. Margao is a place that is quintessentially Goan. The locale seems well-kept, clean, and quite homely. Moving along, though, we at times found the road touching the sea at times, but mainly stayed just a little inland. We found ourselves on a highway that seemed new but fairly deserted. After a bit of confusion and, more importantly, a local telling us we were on the right path, we continued down this deserted highway. A brilliant move. Apparently, this new highway had not officially been opened yet, hence traffic moved along the old route. This meant that we had an open highway for most of the way until we reached Gokarna.
Gokarna is a super laid-back place which runs at a much slower pace than Goa. The beaches are quite clean with minimal people and a fairly calm sea. We found a nice hotel by the beach with some very friendly people running the place. After a nice little dip in the ocean, we explored the place for a short while. Close to Gokarna is the famous Om beach. This beach will generally have a number of water sports for travellers to enjoy themselves with; however, when we went there, the water sports establishments had been shut for a short period for some reason. Getting to Om beach is also quite an issue, for you have to park atop a hill and walk down a pathway to the beach.
All in all, I would describe Gokarna as a relaxed getaway mixed with a little romance. There is no swashbuckling fun around here but, instead, just a calm and serene environment. Our companion, the Triber, had proved its mettle throughout the journey so far. This is a sturdy car too, expected, as Renault is known for their build quality. It also has an athletic aesthetic SUV-like styling with a European design turning heads everywhere we went.
The next leg of this journey will take us in an absolutely different direction. A direction that heads further inland and away from the coast as we head to Kodagu (erstwhile Coorg) and its plantations and picturesque hills. See you there.