Monday, 17 January 2011

Lavasa - January 16, 2011

We wanted to go for a long drive and it had to be JUST THE DRIVE since Arnav is too young for us to go in for any adventure sports, trekking, etc. Name came to our mind was Lavasa.
After the trip what we enjoyed most is the Drive and the Scenic Beauty.
We started from Pune at 11.00 am. Taking the Karve Road, Paud Road Overbridge and Chandani Chowk we headed towards Pirangut. There’s a small toll (18 Rs for Car) just after Chandani Chowk. After the toll naka, signboards for Lavasa start to appear showing the way & kms after every 5-7 kms. They properly guide you to Lavasa. Road till Pirangut was nice. Atleast worth the 18 Rs. paid.
Two villages Bhugaon & Bhukum pass by with three small ghats as well (Bavdhan, Bhugaon & Pirangut). Just after descending the Pirangut Ghat towards right side is the Gulhane Industrial Estate. I use to come here for my Engineering Final Year Project and then a brief job of 2 months after passing out. We made a brief stroll through the area (just to refresh my old memories) and rejoined our way.
Pirangut village starts immediately after this ghat ends. Ahead of Pirangut, about 2-3 kms, is the Ghotawade Phata. The Lavasa signboard showed us to turn left. One can see the factories like Pricol, Mahale, Freudenberg on this road.
This road takes goes towards Temghar Dam after descending the Mutha Ghat. Water falling down the Temghar Walls must be an awesome sight in Monsoons. We were not that lucky, but still the view was superb.
Temghar Dam
The same road turns towards left and takes you to Lavasa Main Gate and beyond. This complete road is the fun to drive. I was not able to touch 80s because of regular turns. The sharp turns in the ghats were fun. But the drive coupled with the scenic beauty was awesome. First green fields on both sides, then the Temghar backwaters and then the Dasave lake at Lavasa. We did our bit of photography in between with the new D-3000 SLR Nikon. It was trial for me in that sense.

There was brief security at the Lavasa entry with cameras installed for identification and the security personnel noting the vehicle numbers and reason for visit.
After crossing the Main Gate we could see the Dasave village (Phase 1 of Lavasa) being developed below around the Lake. It is about 8 kms from this point. In between, points are created for a stop-over. Benches are provided, space for parking is available, beautiful flowers are blooming; it has a nice view of the Lake & its surroundings below.

view of Dasave village from top (Lavasa main entry)

There is a lake at the center and the road surrounding it. Along the road are the Residential Villas, Convention Center, Dasvino Club House, Water Sports Center, Lavasa Information Center and so on. Also there are Villas, Hotels and other activity centers along the hills above. What is to be noted here is there are ample of sign-boards to guide you about the places in Lavasa eg. Walking Plaza, Adventure Sports, etc. All along the ghat road, Residential Villas & Row Houses are seen under construction facing the valley and the lake.

Since we didn’t knew much of places in Lavasa and our intention was just a long drive we decided to take a round and search a place to eat, a hotel or something, since it was already 1.30. I had heard about couple of names of hotels and one of my friends had gone to hotel Ekaant, we decided to opt for something else. We came across Hotel Mercure. I did some basic enquiry and we were there having lunch. It was a buffet 400 + taxes per person. Food was ok. Nothing special. Mix of Veg & N-Veg. Ambience was nice and the service of the restaurant staff was excellant. Arnav had to be credited for that; since had impressed them a lot with his tricks.
Water Sports
After the lunch we decided to return back. On our way back we saw water sports going on at the lake, there was a small fast food center also filled with people.
All in all it was an awesome long drive trip that we wanted.

Trip meter readings:
00 kms: Narayan Peth
08 kms: Chandani Chowk … take the Pirangut, Mulshi toll road
21 kms: Ghotawade Phata (ahead of Pirangut)
29 kms: Mutha ghat … and then Mutha village
43 kms: Temghar Dam … road turns to left from the dam wall
51 kms: Lavasa Main Gate
Dasave town & lake is a 8 kms descent of Dasave Ghat from this point
072 kms: Lavasa Main Gate (return journey)
102 kms: Pirangut
123 kms: Narayan Peth

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Alibag-Janjira - 12 / 13 Jan 2011

journey starts
after a long planning and many cancellations (12 had confirmed; finally 7 of us went) our trip happened last weekend. myself, nitin, vishal, sharad, aditya, tushar & sourabh.

we left from company at 5.30 pm for Alibag. we took the Express Highway through Somatane Phata. after a brief stop at the food-mall (Vada-Paav) and taking Khopoli Exit we got connected to the Khopoli-Pen road.

we reached Nagao at around 9.30 pm. we had booked our stay at one Mr. Apte, reference i got from one of the company colleagues.
we had an awesome dinner. After a brief walk around, we fell on our beds by about 12.30.

Sunrise at Nagao Beach
Early morning we went on the seashore (Nagao Beach). Its a nice place with "Suru" trees at the shore and a clean beach. We did't find any Para-sailing, Motor-boats, etc those we saw at the Kashid Beach in the afternoon. It may be because of odd day or morning timings.

Revdanda - Salav Bridge
We played a game of cricket after really long time. By about 9.30 am we were ready for breakfast after a session of Cricket & Photography on the Nagao Beach. We had Poha (typical breakfast available in Konkan any day) and set ourselves towards Janjira at 10.00 am.

We stopped for a while on Revdanda-Salav Bridge for a brief photography. Just ahead we came across a way to Salav Birla Temple (The Vikram-Vinayak Temple).

Patil Khanawal @ Murud Beach

With a stop of about 20 minutes we moved ahead towards Murud. We had lunch at Murud (@ Patil Khanawal - nice konkani food), a Soul-Curry and then went to Rajpuri (about 9 kms from Murud) from here one get the boats for Janjira. Ticket is 20 Rs per person. The same boat-wallah acts as a guide and shows the important points with brief history in 45 minutes for 20 more

Janjira is awesome. One can feel its magnanimity; and can understand why it stands unconquerable (Ajinkya). The only impregneable fort on 720 kms Maharashtra Coastline. Portueguese, British, Dutch, not even Marathas & Peshwas were able to win it from

Siddhis. Shivaji Maharaj made 6 unsuccessfull attempts to conquer Janjira. Sambhaji Maharaj built Padma-Durga (can be seen from Janjira & Murud beach) to capture Janjira. It was named on his wife Rani Padmabai & is also known as Kasa Fort (it looks like a tortoise during a full moon night). Finally sometime in 1970s the Nawab of Janjira handed over the fort to Indian Govt and he settled in his palace in Murud (which is still there and his generations are living there). Other people from the fort also vacated and left for living in nearby villages like Rajpuri.


There are 19 or 22 bastions (buruj) all around; 3 storeyed from inside. Each well equipped with cannons. We can see some of them still lying there. Just above the main entrance is the "Kalaal-Bangadi" - a cannon with 18 tonne weight, 6 kms firing range; made on the fort itself by welding number of metal rings. Other two cannons are "Chavari" & "Laanda Kaasam".
It has about 2 large sweet water lakes, Palace, some destructed buildings where people used to live, a secret passage cut from below the sea bottom which opens somewhere in Rajpuri (now closed).

After 45 minutes we went back in the same boat for Rajpuri. From reaching Rajpuri, waiting in a queue for boats, seeing Janjira & back took us about 2 - 2 1/2 hours.
At around 5.20 in the evening we left for Roha. Our plan was to do Pali & Mahad (two of the Ashtavinayakas) on our back trip to Pune. But Sourabh asked us to drop at his uncle’s place at Roha for 15 minutes on our way.

We took some road from Rajpuri to Roha as shown by one of the villager there. It was via Agardanda-Bhalgaon. Road condition was pathetic. At one point it took us 45 minutes to pass 20 kms distance. I would recommend trying another road via Murud to Roha. Even if distance is bit more still it would be ok if road condition is gud.
On the way we came across a large construction activity going on. It was actually the Agardanda-Dighi Port which is being built by DPL (Dighi Port Ltd). Continuously we were coming across those large dumpers carrying sand and stones.
By 6.45 we reached at Roha (Sourabh’s uncle’s home). After some snacks & tea we left for Pali at about 7.30. In between we missed the route to Wakan and went ahead till Nagothane. This cost us about 10 kms extra. Finally at Nagothane we met one person who wanted to go near Pali. He showed us the way and we reached Pali at 8.30.

Being late, the town seemed very quiet; no rush or crowd. Free car parking is available, about 10 minutes walking distance. We also saw the paid car parking board.

We were able to take the darshan easily. Here some of us purchased the Konkan-Mewa, as it is called & famous (Pohyache papad, kokam sarbat, etc). At about 9 we left for Mahad. Firstly we were apprehensive about the timings. Whether mandir would be open so late.

My drive from Pali to Mahad was tensed. Because I was running short of gas. Pointer had already touched end of Red Zone and we had about 22 kms to reach Khopoli (next big town). Pali-Mahad is 40 kms by the way. There is not a single petrol pump in between. One which we found is the HP petrol pump just before Khopoli.

Finding the road to Mahad from here is bit difficult. Road is straight, but there are no signboards. Need to look for the NP Dhaba (LHS or RHS will depend from where you are traveling). There is a road exactly opposite this Dhaba. There’s a large banyan tree at this turn. Need to go about 4 kms on this road. Here also there are no signboards of the ashtavinayak mandir (or atleast we were not able to see in the dark).

It was 10 in the night and the whole village was sleepy. Doors of the houses were closed; almost all of them had their light also switched off; not a single human being on roads. We felt as if we have lost and there was no one around to ask. In one house we saw the door partially opened and lights inside were on. We enquired & confirmed that we are going right. Another worry was whether we could find the mandir open at 10. That too we confirmed. It was positive. Inside the mandir we enquired that it is open till 12 in the midnight.

Please note that there is no car parking space available (or maybe we were not able to locate because of darkness). We parked our cars next to the mandir (actually inside the premises). Space for only our two cars is available. Our darshan was gr8. We were able to get inside the Gabhara (Sanctum Sanctorum). We came to know that it is the only mandir in all ashtavinayakas where entry inside Gabhara is allowed.

Finally we left for Pune at 10.30 pm. Here need to take care while joining the Expressway at Khopoli. We come to the Khalapur Toll Naka towards Mumbai. One needs to take a U turn at the Toll Naka before actual pay-windows. There is a provision for U turn and the small toll booth is also placed for issuing the toll receipts of 105 rs.

Journey on E-way during this time was awry. There was no traffic sense. Heavy trucks and long trailors were plying through all the 3 lanes. Small cars were zig-zagging around them. Concepts of Heavy Vehicles Lane,

All in all, a nice trip. Feels even more nicer when at one point we were thinking of cancelling when about 5 of the group of 12 backed out in the last moment.

Cars Lane
Overtaking Lane
as if didn’t exist. Situation was much better after Lonavla.

We crossed the E-way at 11.30 and stopped for dinner at a hotel just after the old highway toll naka (pune side).

All of us had dal-rice only. We reached home by 1.30 after a brief stop at Sharad’s house for leaving the guys staying at PCMC. Myself & Sourabh in my car & Nitin & Tushar in Nitin’s car went ahead towards Pune.

Our route

Coordinates are:
Alibag:     18 - 40' - 36" N ; 72 - 55' - 8" E
Janjira:     18 - 18' - 00" N ; 72 - 57' - 51" E

trip-meter readings are:-

Day 1

0 kms - KSB Chowk, Pimpri (near Tata Motors)
21 kms - E-way toll
37 kms - Foodmall
66 kms - Khopoli Exit
77 kms - Vadval Toll
82 kms - Bawoshi
84 kms - ISPAT Plant (on the left)
100 kms - Pen
110 kms - Dharamtar toll
130 kms - Alibag
140 kms - Nagao - Kalpa-vruksha

Day 2
via Nandgaon
150 kms - Revdanda
154 kms - Revdanda-Saalav Bridge
156 kms - Birla Temple - Saalav
173 kms - Kaashid Beach
191 kms - Murud Beach
198 kms - Rajpuri
200 kms - Agardanda
215 kms - Bhalgaon
221 kms - Chirjoli
224 kms - Ghosale
238 kms - Roha
via Wakan
264 kms - Nagothane (we lost our way here; need to take exit from Wakan to Pali)
274 kms - Pali (Ashtavinayak)
285 kms - Bridge on Aamba river
291 kms - Jambhulpada
311 kms - NP Dhaba
315 kms - Mahad (Ashtavinayak)
378 kms - Expressway ends (Pune)
414 kms - Narayan Peth

Mileage given by my Indica Vista Safire (Petrol) - 13.11 kms/lit (mostly AC ON)

few contact nos for stay in Alibag are:
           Ranade             02141 232127
           Jadhav              02141 232325
           Neha Varik       02141 245458

          Vikas Gurav       02141 245184

Aakshi / Nagao:
         Shintre (Pune Office)               020 25360626 / 9820333892

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Dive-Agar ; Harihareshwar -- 10/11-Mar-10

Since many days, in fact months i was to write this blog, about our trip last year [March 2010] :-(
when i saw some blog couple of days back while planning our next trip to Alibag, i just decided to write this pending blog this thursday ... and here i am with it......

we all Tata guys (office colleagues) had decided to go somewhere out for a change and we decided Dive-Agar.... what else could be ... nearer to pune (just 160 kms).... completely away of tourist rush... it was an uniform choice.

we started off from our company (at Pimpri, near Pune) by 5.00 pm went to Sharad's place and left from there at about 5.45 pm --> myself, Nitin, Sharad, Vishal, Sourabh & Arun. we had hired a Sumo.

we took the Hinjewadi - Pirangut - Paud - Mulshi - Tamhini Ghat route

Tamhini Ghat was horrible.... road condition was terrible and by the time we reached Tamhini it was dark.... our driver must have had difficulty in driving in that condition. he was saying that he needs to do 'all doors setting' of his vehicle after one trip from Tamhini... ;-) because of the road conditions.

after Tamhini one needs to go to Mangaon which is the next big town. here we had our dinner in some really famous hotel (i forgot the name ... sorry ... since it was last year). Sourabh suggested that hotel since it's very famous in that area. after the dinner and the tank full for our Sumo we embarked ahead towards Mhasala and then to Dive-Agar. Time : around 10.30 pm.

We had our booking confirmed from Pune at Mr. Avalaskar's. they have their office at Swargate where we need to pay the booking amount. the house is just ahead of the Suvarna Ganesh Temple. Beach from here is about 5 mins walking. facility here was nice. it was one big room, comfortable for 6 people; with beds & blankets. Hot water was available. however, they don't provide food; its only lodging. but that's not a problem; it can be arranged. "Ukdiche Modak" from Bapat's are very famous there (we didn't had that because of lack of time; as we had to move to Harihareshwar & back to Pune by evening).

Then at 11.00 pm we decided to go at the beach (?) it was complete darkness everywhere. we managed to go near the beach. we could here the sound the waves, but we were not able to see anything; we couldn't make out exactly how far is the beach. hence we finally returned back to come again next morning.

we returned back to our room; did some tp before we slept for the day.

next morning by 6.30 am we were at the beach. for the next 2 hrs ONLY WE - nobody else - were there on the whole of a km-stretch.

Sunrise at Dive-agar

we had a gr8 time on the beach in the morning. had an awesome sunrise, played in the sea waters to the fullest & came back by 8.30 to our room. got freshened up, had a break-fast at the neighboring house and went on to see the Suvarna Ganesh Temple.

On 17th November 1997 (Sankashti Chaturthi according to Marathi dinadarshika) While digging in coconut and bettlenut bagayti of Shrimati Draupadi Dharma Patil, she found approximately 30 Kgs. of copper trunk admeasuring 1.25 ft. in lenghth and 1.5 ft. by breadth. In that trunk 24 carat pure golden Ganesha's mask of 1 Kg 325 gms. was buried in land for more than 1000 years as per expert's opinion. The date found on trunk was Friday, 10th November, 1060. Hence, it was concluded by experts that the mask may be made prior to the date mentioned on
the trunk.

Temple is very simply built. it has the Gold Idol by the side covered. also the copper box in which this idol was found is also kept for display.
only external snap is available since photography was not allowed inside.

Suvarna Ganesh Temple

Then we moved to Shrivardhan - just a stop at Sourabh's aunt's house - and then towards Harihareshwar.

view of Harihareshwar beach from top

after visiting the temple, we went for the rocky sea-face for which Harihareshwar is famous for. it is dangerous to go near the sea during high tides. names of people who died (due to washed away) are written on the rocks there.
rocky seaface at Harihareshwar

after a tiry walk climbing the mountain around the temple and getting down towards the sea (with high & difficult rocky steps), the view that one sees is just awesome.

they say dolphins are seen here
either we weren't lucky enough or there aren't any dolphins ;-)

after the lunch at a restaurant nearby, we started for our return journey. at Mangaon, we stopped to see the Ice Factory of Sourabh's uncle. it was a cool experience. he explained to us the process if ice manufacturing. it was something new learning for us. Finally. we reached back to Pune by about 8.00 pm.

Dive-Agar          18 - 7' - 5"   N ; 72 - 58' - 37" E
Harihareshwar    18 - 2' - 56" N ; 72 - 59' - 0"   E