Sunday, 24 July 2011

Lavasa again - July 14, 2011

Our Tata Motors Group were planning for some getaway this week-end (for those who do not know, Thursday is our week-end  L )

After much deliberation & almost cancellations we zeroed-in to Lavasa. For me it was Lavasa Again after my last Jan-11 trip.

We left from my house (Narayan Peth, Pune) at 3.15 pm. Tushar came to pick me up in his i10. On the way we picked up Sourabh from
Prabhat Road
and finally set ourselves for the destination.

Excellent drive all across. Till Pirangut it is some what OK. On/off villages pass by with road-side dhabas, hotels & resorts. But once you take the left on Ghotawade Phate after Pirangut, it’s a splendid view wherever you see. I could compare the difference last time I visited in Jan-11. Monsoons are monsoons. You cannot witness this beauty during other seasons.
However, Temghar Dam disappointed us. We had thought that we would be witnessing some breath-taking view of water flowing through the Dam walls / gates. Nothing like it was there. Situation was much better during my last visit. In fact when we ascended the ghat we saw that the water level is much-much low; to an extent almost the complete dam-wall was visible.
Please note that the previous Rs. 18/- toll at Bavdhan (just after Chandni Chowk) is now waived-off for Pune registered (MH-12) vehicles. This may be also waived-off for PCMC registered (MH-14) vehicles. Last time I had to pay that.
With some brief stops for gas, tea & photography we reached Lavasa Main Gate by 5.00 pm.

That complete descend till Dasave village was again magnificent. The whole surrounding was as if dipped in clouds. We were not able to see the Dasave Village & the Lake below.
There was continuous drizzle, though not heavy pour. There were water falls all round the drive down. Temperature was literally chilling. It was a feeling as we were not in Pune, but some-where in Ooty, Kodia-kanal or Shimla.

After a brief drive around Dasave Lake (there was no rush at all, being an odd day. Water sports activity was also closed), we had some snacks & tea at a cafeteria which just before the lake.
We decided to move back. It was around 6.15 pm.

Return journey was no less than the earlier one. Incredible. We had a butta (Corn) on the way back. Eating it on such occasions & climate has a fun of its own.

By 8 pm I touched my house.

All-in-all it came out to be a great trip planned with really short notice.

Lavasa position     18° 26’ 13.02” N    73° 33’ 19.46” E

Odometer readings are same as in my previous post.

ठोसेघर (Thoseghar), चाळकेवाडी (Chalkewadi) - July 10, 2011

Following last minute cancellation of our long-planned Mahabaleshwar trip, we were thinking of some short one-day outing just to refresh ourselves from the daily chores of work. And then came this pleasant rainy season and I decided to plan-out a short trip. I had Malshej Ghat in my mind; when suddenly Thoseghar (ठोसेघर) Waterfalls came-up. I searched it on the net. Came across a nice blog of places near Pune. Got the basic info required.

We left Pune at around 7.15 in the morning. We took the Sinhagad Road. By 8.30 we were at Shirwal (शिरवळ) eating Batata Wadas & Bhajis at “Shree-Ram Best Wada”.

Climate was perfect for an outing. No heavy rains at all. Just an occasional drizzle. It was a pleasure to drive. More importantly, a scratch-free road over till Thoseghar.

from NH-4 before Shirwal
You need to go till Satara on NH-4 (leave the Wai-Mahabaleshwar exit). Take exit for Satara (सातारा) City. Once you enter Satara its better to ask the passers-by about Thoseghar-Sajjangadh road, though I could find the direction board for Thoseghar at one place. Just remember to go along the foot of Fort Ajinkyatara.
अजिंक्य-तारा, सातारा
Once you cross the Tunnel (Bogada) the scenery changes completely – from the houses, buildings & shops to lush green grass, trees, farms, mountains & valleys. Just enjoy this drive till you reach Thoseghar (about 25 kms from here). Not sure what it is like in Summers.

Take a left at Gajawadi Phata. Just ahead comes a Y fork. Take the right road that goes up-hill. Leave the Sajjangadh phata to the right (Sajjan-gadh is 1 km ahead). After this exit you can see the Urmodi Dam on your right side below (built on river Urmodi).

enroute सातारा ते सज्जनगड
Unwind the turns of the ghat. Keep going on this road. Here we could see the clouds all around. It was a feeling of a drive in the clouds. Just after crossing the Thoseghar village there is a shabby board on your left mentioning the Water falls. It’s a pity that such natural beauty is not even provided with a befitting information board. Parking place is available, but for not more than 7-9 cars. Half of the parking was mud-filled due to rains. However you can park your cars on the roadside ahead of the board. Actually it is better; to avoid hasty parking done by the people in the Parking Space. We reached here at about 11.15 am.

Water-falls are Majestic. Seeing the water falls from another hill with a valley in-between has its own pleasure. Please note that these water falls are to be seen, photo-graphed, shot, entrenched in your memory. No need to get drenched under it. It is dangerous to go past the railings.

The viewing gallery is nicely made; with sufficient height. It is provided with holes in its wall to allow children to look at the falls. That was a nice consideration. Good path-ways & steps with proper railings are provided to go to the main viewing gallery. There are two more viewing points very well connected to each other & to the parking. This helps to have a look through different angles.
The third and the top-most is the one from where the water is gushing towards its fall. It’s an interesting site. There is no platform construction; it is all rocky; however railings are there.

We decided to turn back. It was about 12.45 pm. We had gone about 4-5 kms when we saw few wind-mills on the hills ahead. Then I thought of Chalke-wadi (चाळकेवाडी). I had read about it in that blog and hence we asked a villager. He told us it is just ahead of Thoseghar. We decided to turn back & just have a look, if we find anything interesting; if not just turn back home.

About 3-4 kms from Thoseghar, is Chalkewadi village. Just ahead of the village on the road uphill, there is a plain plateau. Road is not good.
ठोसेघर ते चाळके-वाडी
When we reached there were clouds / fog everywhere. We went ahead upto 1.5 kms but we were not able to see any thing due to clouds, not even 15-20 meters ahead. Just when we saw the clouds move away and the part of a Wind-mill was visible just by the side of the road.
Then we saw two more. By the time I could stop the car & come out for a snap, it was again covered by the fog. We could here the hustling sound made by the blades & the internal mechanism of the wind-mill.
We waited for about 5-10 minutes to get a clear weather, but no luck this time. Hence we turned back. Actually this plateau is full of wind-mills which we normally don’t see that close. Hope next time we have a better luck.
- view from चाळके-वाडी to सातारा
Return route was the same we came through. We had lunch at a dhaba-types Hotel Sahyadri just after Pachwad toll booth. Rain was lashing with its full might in between for about 10-15 minutes. We reached Hingne (Sinhagad Road) by around 5 pm.

All-in-all superb trip. After a long time really; much awaited for us; first time in our car with only two of us. Though could not be a substitute to Mahabaleshwar, but still a superb one.

Odo readings:

0              Alka Talkies (Pune City)
1.2          Dandekar Bridge (take Right onto Sinhagad Road)
4.5          Hingne (Sinhagad Road)
           Just before the over-bridge take left to join the Mumbai-Bangalore Highway – NH-4 (Pune Bypass)
23.9       Khed-Shivapur Toll
39.3       BP Petrol Pump (onto the left)
52.5       Shirwal (Shree Ram Wada – Famous here – give it a try)
77.5       Wai – Mahabaleshwar phata (onto right – you go straight on NH-4)
91           Pachwad
97           Aanewadi toll (near Pachwad)
104        Satara phata (take exit here to enter Satara Town)
          The first big square (Chowk) – take Right
112        Second big square (a miniature Eifel Tower) - go Straight
Shahu chowk – Y junction – take Left
118        Another Y junction – take Left – you can see a tunnel here (bogada) – Right will take you to Kaas, Bamnoli, Tapola, Mahabaleshwar.
Just after the tunnel there’s T junction – take Right – Left here will go to Karad, Kolhapur.
123        Gajwadi phata – take left
Just after comes a Y-fork. Take right to go uphill.
135        Sajjangad phata (Sajjangad is 1 kms to right) – you go straight
Just after Sajjangad you can see a dam on the right hand side, that’s Urmodi Dam on River Urmodi
143        Thoseghar (ठोसेघर) Waterfalls
150        After that we were heading backwards and we enquired about Chalkewadi. We came to know that it is ahead of Thoseghar water falls. Hence we turned back again to Thosegar waterfalls.
154        Chalkewadi - चाळकेवाडी (ahead of Chalkewadi go uphill; from here the Windmills start)
185        Satara
200        Aanewadi toll
Hotel Sahyadri (just after the toll onto Left)
224        Khambatki tunnel
243        Shirwal
270        Khed-Shivapur toll
297        Pune City (Narayan Peth)

Thoseghar          17° 35’ 47.84” N    73° 50’ 44.98” E

Chalkewadi         17° 35’ 12.74” N    73° 50’ 02.42” E

Fuel consumption by my Indica Vista Safire (Petrol) is 17 kmpl mostly without AC.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Photography Club Excursion - Kihim Beach - 10 Mar 2011

In March this year I visited Kihim Beach as part of our Tata Motors Photography Club excursion. And it was my first actual Photography Tour for my DSLR (Nikon D3000). Actually a "Understanding your camera" session.

I left my house at about 6.15 in the morning to catch a bus that took us to the company gate. From there two buses started off to Kihim. We were about 90 of us. We were by an hour late to leave.

For the route please see my previous Alibag trip blog-page here.

We reached late, by about 10.30 am at the beach. Though this was not the season & time for photography especially at the beach, I really didn't mind, since it was the time I would be able to use of SLR to the fullest ... for the first time.

For couple of hours we explored the beach for possible photography spots. Below are some of my tries -->

At around 2 pm we reached for lunch. It was arranged at a hotel near the beach itself - Prasanna Restaurant.

After this full lunch we headed to Sasawane, about 18 kms from Alibag. Here is one Art Museum - Karmarkar Shilpalaya - here the art-works of / by Nanasaheb Karmarkar are kept on displayed. It is actually the ancestral home of Karmarkars' and Nanasaheb's Daughter-In-Law looks after this museum. A gallery below.

Front View - Entrance

Further we went to Mandwa (also known as Mandwa Jetty). This is the place from where one case Mumbai coastline at the horizon - sky-crappers - just like the Manhatten (of the East).

Coordinates: 18 - 48' - 17" - N  ;  72 - 52' - 56" E

Manhatten of the East
We captured some of the best sun-set shots. One of them is below:

From Mandwa we returned back to Pune -- reached by about 12.00 midnight.