Tuesday, 16 August 2011

a trip to countryside - सावरोली (Savroli) near बदलापुर (Badalapur) - August 14/15, 2011

Primary, this was our family trip to my brother's place at Badalapur (near Karjat, on Mumbai-Pune Rail-road). It was a family function - Sneha's, my sister's Kelvan (केळवण) for Maharashtrians. A monsoon trip was planned by my brother's family to a waterfall nearby the village named Savroli.

Being an extended weekend with the Independence Day holidays, we started-off from Pune on August 14, 2011 at 6.15 am. We took the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway instead of the Expressway (to avoid the holiday rush). And our gamble payed-off. At some of the stretches, ours was the only vehicle on the road - no rush at all. By 8.00 am we were at Khopoli eating the Ramakant Special Batata Wada. For those who don't know, Hotel Ramakant was at one time the most sought after hotel on the Mumbai-Pune Highway. Coming-up of Expressway & the one-way traffic in the Old Highway Ghat has reduced its popularity, however the quality of Batata Wadas is still AWESOME.

About 10 kms ahead of Khopoli, there is a road to right for Karjat, Matheran, Murbaad. Road sign is available. Though we took the same, we regretted the decision because of the road condition. Its better to leave this road and take another one 10 kms ahead. Though you'll have to travel almost double the distance, time taken will be much less considering better road conditions. You can see a big statue of Lord Shiva on the left. Take a right exit. Nitin Desai Studio is seen on the left. Road signs are available for Karjat.

However, the road that we took as I told was pathetic. After about 10 kms comes a "T" Junction. You need to take right. Taking Left will take you towards the Mumbai Pune Highway near the N D Studio & Lord Shiva statue (see previous paragraph). I did the same, went till N D Studio and came back - a hit of 16 kms.

2 kms ahead of "T" junction there is a cross road. Straight goes to Karjat, left goes to Neral, Matheran, Badalapur. There is no direction board. Only note that there is a left arrow for Dr. Modi's Resort. Take this road.

This road takes you through Bhivpuri Road and then to Neral. Just before Neral, you can see another "T" junction. Left goes to Matheran hill station, while right will be for Badalapur.

Then comes Shelu & Vangani. And then Badalapur. Road condition all the way from Khopoli exit is not good enough.

My brother leaves at Shirgaon near Samartha Vidyamandir. For this we took left on a road to Ambarnath just after Badalapur MIDC. And then onto Left again after the direction board for Asaram Bapuji Ashram.

Next day morning we started-off for Savroli Waterfalls. Two cars and an auto-rickshaw. We reached Badalapur MIDC (same route as above). There is a cross-road with the area named as Kharwai (खरवाई). Take a road to Right for Kondeshwar (direction board is visible). Then take Rights for next 2-3 "Y" junctions. Its a very narrow road with just one car can pass with lush green trees on both sides. You will also pass over a small bridge with no railings on both sides. This road finally ends at Savroli village. It is a very small village with small houses hand-made (not huts). All the children there were amazed by looking at our cars. They were running behind the cars - the way we see in movies. Unfortunately couldn't capture them in my camera.

From this point the actual waterfall is about 45 mins walking through the hills. We had children and some elders (senior citizens) also with us. Hence we went to a spot nearby (about 10 mins walking). It was a flowing water through rocky terrain. Enough for children to play in the water and for us to get drenched. It's better you take somebody knowledgeable with you since the routes in the hills are tricky and there are chances of getting lost.

This was a nice trip to be able to witness the rustic countryside and more importantly without any other tourists. It is not that much famous in that region. People are not aware of this place. Since the gardener at my brother's bunglow leaves in Savroli, we knew of this place. And he was with us for taking us near the water.

Nearby is the Kondeshwar temple (Lord Shiva) which, they say, is also a scenic place. Seems that there also is one waterfall. Also Bhoj Dam. However, due to time constraints, as we had to go back to Pune, we returned back. Maybe Kondeshwar will happen next time.

Our return journey was the same route, only thing is that we made a passing visit to Karjat (our another relative) and then we took the N D Studio road to join the Old Mumbai-Pune Highway instead of the bad road we came from.

Odometer readings:
0             Narayan Peth (Pune)
80 kms     Khopoli
90 kms     Take Right for Karjat, Matheran - very bad road; ignore; instead take another road 10 kms ahead; a big statue of Lord Shiva on Left and N D Studio on Right - Take Right road here
100 kms    "T" junction - take Right.
                We lost our way when we took Left - a hit of 16 kms.
116 kms    again "T" junction - we went straight now
118 kms    Crossroad - Take Left (arrow to Dr. Modi's Resort);
                straight will go to Karjat
113 kms    "T" junction - Take Right for Neral, Badalapur;
                Left will go to Matheran
152 kms    Badalapur

8.5 kms from here is Savroli (ask for Kondeshwar Temple from Badalapur MIDC - Kharwai)

Return journey:
0 kms         Badalapur
145 kms      Narayan Peth (Pune)

Total kms covered: 358 kms (including a shopping trip to Ulhasnagar)
Mileage from my Indica Vista Safire: 14 kmpl (mostly without AC)

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Photography Club Excursion - Mahabaleshwar - 4 Aug 2011

We were waiting for this excursion since long. Last we had in March-11.

This time it was Mahabaleshwar (महाबळेश्वर); with a theme of "Jungle" and we were expected to shoot "Biodiversity" that might indicate sustaining Ecosystem.

Our buses started-off from the company gate (Pimpri) at 7.15 am. I caught the bus at Alka Talkies. We were about 110 of us (two buses). After a stop at Swargate we took-up Sinhagad Road and then the NH-4 (Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway). For exact route, please refer by earlier blog of Thoseghar (ठोसेघर) here - till Wai-Mahabaleshwar exit.

We took a Snacks-stop just before the start of Khambatki (खम्बाटकी) Ghat. It was a stomach full of menu with types of Cutlets and Doughnut. Very different than the usual Samosas and Kachoris.

By 10.15 we cooched ahead. After Shirwal about 15-20 kms, there is an exit towards right for Wai-Mahabaleshwar (SH-63). Proper direction boards are available - no worry.

Continue on this road for about 10 kms where you connect to the SH-72; which is the road to Mahabaleshwar. Couple of kms before this one can witness a strong smell of हलदी (Turmeric); there are its factories there. 2 kms from this point on SH-72 is the town Wai (वाई). After Wai the Mahabaleshwar Ghat starts. Its a longer ghat, ample turns, must be fun driving a car here; not tough.

Here you need to pay the tax at two places, when you enter Panchgani (पाचगणी) and next when you enter Mahabaleshwar.

We crossed ahead the Mahabaleshwar town and the market by about 4-5 kms, parked our buses and then barged into the nearby forests for our photography. 17° 55' 34.01"N and 73° 38' 23.79" E.
I title this as HOPE

My first time with "Zoom While Shooting"

My best capture of this excursion - its a Silhoutte, not B&W

After about 1.5 hours at about 2 pm we marched for a lunch at Hotel Hirkani (17° 55' 41.10"N and 73° 41' 31.83" E). Was a nice lunch, buffet, Punjabi menu and unlimited with Paneer Sabji... awesome....!

By 3.00 pm we moved towards Linga-mala (लिंगमळा) Waterfalls as instructed by the hotel owner. On the same Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road coming from Pune on the left handside is the Hotel Surya Retreat (17° 55' 29.10"N and 73° 41' 35.67" E). Just next to this hotel wall is a way to this magnificient waterfalls. You need to go walking for about 15 minutes to catch the sight of heaven.You need to get on the other hill (there is a proper bridge on the flowing water that makes up the waterfall ahead). Once on the other side you can witness this view (17° 55' 17.37"N and 73° 41' 32.93" E).

From we went for the Kate's Point. From Surya Retreat go towards Tapola, Mahad (opposite of Pune). There is a board for Right Turn for Kate's Point, Echo Point & Needle Hole Point. Note that this road is extremely narrow. Even two cars opposite each other will have to be narrowly maneuvered. And we took our two buses there. One's there was a problem when two cars came ahead of us from opposite direction. It must have bad testing times for drivers involved. Parking space however is ample.
Dhom Balkavadi Dam
From here one can see the Dhom Balkavadi Dam below (left hand side) and Fort Kamalgad (कमळगड) in front. There is one waterfall on the right hand side.
From here started our return journey. After a shopping of Mahabaleshwar Specials at Mapro Garden and a Tea stop we left for Pune at around 6.45 pm. I got down at Alka Talkies at 9.30 pm.

Odometer readings from Wai-Mahabaleshwar Exit
0 kms     NH-4 Wai-Mahabaleshwar Exit - take right turn below the flyover
8 kms     Turmeric factories
10 kms    Join SH-72
12 kms    Wai town
41 kms    Mahabaleshwar
Some more ...