Thursday, 23 February 2012

Bhandara Hill - February 22, 2012

A day before (on 21st) at 5 pm while leaving from office, Bala told that we are planning for a outing tomorrow. Nothing else was decided.
Next day (on 22nd) I reached office prepared (in my car for the drive, extra pair of sport shoes - if required for the trek and the camera). Couple of people backed out due to some other priorities, however, we 4 made it.

We decided for Bhandara Hill - again near Dehu, like last time we visited on February 8, 2012.

We started off by 5.15 pm after our office hours through the same route as our earlier trip. We reached Dehu village. Stopped for the brief photography.
Tukaram Gatha Mandir (Temple) at Dehu - on the banks of Indrayani

After this bridge comes the Talegaon-Chakan By-pass. Last time we went towards right. This time we took Left here. Immediately when we headed towards Chakan, we could see the Hill on right side - that's the Bhandara Hill.

Bhandara Hill - as seen from Talegaon-Chakan bypass
There's one toll (25 Rs.). We told the person there that we are going to Bhandara Hill. He informed us that the same receipt can be utilized while returning. One can just try to avoid this toll if he can pass-by as a local from the area. One needs to have that confidence in talking that way.  ;-)

Withing 1/2 a km after the toll is the rectangular arch constructed (pink colored) on the Right. This place is called a Indoori. We took that road.

This road goes on the hill. Road is extremely wide, newly tarred; actually some patch is still under construction. But the drive upwards is excellent. It must be pleasure to drive in monsoons.

On the top is there is a small temple with the idols of Tukaram Maharaj; apart from Vitthal-Rakhumai, Lord Ganesha and others. There is this large tree in the shade of which Tukaram Maharaj used to sit for his prayers. Parking space is ample. There are couple of snacks centers which would serve atleast Chai if nothing else. We got only Chai-Biscuits; nothing else was available.

We spoke with some locals there. It is said that the historic meeting between Saint Tukaram and Chhatrapati Shivaji happened at this very place.

By 7.00 pm we decided to get back. On our way back, we halted at the Tukaram Gatha Mandir at Dehu (refer 2nd photo from top). We did the mistake here. We should have gone here first and then we should have proceeded for Bhandara Hill. By the time we reached at 7.20 pm it was all dark already and couldn't see the beauty of it.
Gatha Mandir - this one I took with shutter speed of 1.6 seconds; hand-held
Next time I will definitely visit here during the daylight.
Coordinates for the places are:-

Bhandara Hill:              18° 45’ 06.38” N   73° 43’ 58.72” E
Gatha Mandir:              18° 43’ 39.53” N   73° 46’ 06.12” E

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Bhamchandra Gad / Dongar (Hill) - February 8, 2012

My new set of colleagues from my new department (I changed by department in Oct-11) planned to visit an unexplored site called Bhamchandra Gad / Dongar (that’s Hill in Marathi). One of our experience trekkers, Mr. Ashutosh Jayawant, suggested this place; and we were all game to it.
When we were told about this place, we were all ignorant and so was Google. When I tried to google this place, what I came to know was some news related to villagers’ agitations against the industrialization and couple of name references on sites of MTDC, Wikipedia and Facebook. Even Google Maps doesn’t show this place. There was not a single blog; except some guy had posted a 90 secs video on some site. My this blog might be the first one.

On Wednesday of January 8, 2012 evening after office hours, we started off for Bhamchandra Gad. We left our factory at Chikhli at 5.15 pm. We reached at the bottom of the hill by 6.15 pm. The final part of road is pathetic. It’s a muddy road with stones around, extremely uneven. At one point my Car was hit at the underbody. Luckily nothing seems to have happened. If time is available, its better to park the car prior to this muddy road starts and get walking.

There are two ways to reach the top. Take the car till the end of the road – ensuring its torture testing as mentioned above – and start climbing (enjoy the trek). Else park the car prior and take a relatively lower slope, but a longer route.

Our destination - Bhamchandra Hill
The Group
After couple of photography pit-stops, we reached the top by 6.45 pm. There is the Lord Shiva Temple cut in the caves. Ahead of that there are about 20-25 stairs which go to Lord Vithal Temple, again rock cut. It has Saint Tukaram carved on one side; as if chanting.

Final steps towards the top

Legend has it that, Saint Tukaram used to come here for his prayers. It must have been the peaceful ambience that provided him the required sanctity and piety for his verses. One can witness the same even today – the peace and beauty in the environment.

If you need to experience this mood, I think you should plan a visit in the coming 2 years or so. Because, we saw many industries are coming up on the way from Dehu to this place. This is definitely going to do a complete make-over and the things would not be the same again.

Unfortunately, there are no odometer readings this time. The reason is we started-off from my company at Chikhli. However, there is a different route from Pune (shown in the map below). It is about 45-50 kms from Pune (a very good half a day trip).

Just note that there is a very photogenic location by the bridge on River Indrayani near Dehu. Just take some time to satisfy you photography buds. I couldn’t this time, as we were running late and could have missed the sunset photographs. However, I have decided that I am going to come just at this place to take come snaps.

Pune – take NH-4 (Mumbai-Pune Old Highway)
Leave Kasarwadi (Nashik Phata), Pimpri, Chinchwad, Nigdi.
Dehu Road – Just prior to Dehu Road, there is a Right towards Dehu. Take that.
Go ahead of Dehu, cross the bridge on River Indrayani.
Join Talegaon-Chakan Road and take Right.
Ask for Hyundai Chowk (named after Hyundai Construction Equipments Company) and take Left (Village Savardari) – You can see the Hyundai Plant and Tetra Pak Plant on Left.
Vasuli Naka, Bhamburle village – Take left.

The hillock seen in front is our destination. An extremely muddy and pathetic road will go towards left. Take that. If you can, park the vehicle there and go by walking. Or else need to take the vehicle very cautiously and carefully so that nothing hits its underbody.
Coordinates given above might not show the exact location; however, a fair idea can be sought.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Recap 2011

Year 2011 started off with a resolution of maintaining an online travelogue through blogging - this was to maintain a record for myself and to help other fellow travellers plan their trip; in a way I am doing so and taking online help when I plan for one.

So I penned down the first post for Diveagar-Harihareshwar trip that we did in Mar-2010 with my Tata Motors colleagues.

2011 brought with it two trips, both in January 2nd week. Alibag-Janjira again with my TML colleagues and then trip to Lavasa at the backyard of Pune with Manjiri and Arnav.

In Mar-2011, our Photography Club had planned an excursion to Kihim Beach. So here I was visiting Alibag again within a span of 2 months.

Then there was a lull period for the two quarter almost. Monsoons brought with it loads of opportunity for "excavations" around. In Jul-2011 we went to Thoseghar Waterfalls near Satara. We tried to see the Chalkewadi Windmills also; however, we were not able to see them effectively due to heavy fog. Next we shall give it a try again. Then 4 days later, we went again to Lavasa with two of my TML colleagues. The place had transformed like anything due to monsoons than last time we visited in January.

1st week of Aug-2011 also had another Photography Club excursion; this time to Mahabaleshwar - to capture the natural ecosystem (theme for our photography). We coupled the 15th August holiday for a family visit to my cousin at Badalapur (near Karjat). From there we went to a Waterfall at a nearby village named Savroli.

Again the same 3 of us (TML guys) planned a short Thursday outing to Panshet-Varasgaon Dams near Pune in the 1st week of Sep-2011. In the 3rd week we 3 along with 5 others went to Malshej Ghat. This was a distinct promotion party instead of the regular restaurant types.

Oct-2011 was our already long planned family trip to our native in Konkan. 3 days coupled with Diwali holidays was an experience that we can cherish.

This way year 2011 came with in all 10 trips. I don't remember I have traveled  to so many places in a year earlier.

Next year atleast I should target for a trip a month. Many places are on cards - Kaas, Bhandardara, Ajanta-Ellora (Aurangabad), Ramdara, Bhuleshwar, Morachi Chincholi, Ranjan-Khalge. Lets see how it all fares.

Happy travelling!!!