Monday, 21 January 2013

Shivthar Ghal - January 20, 2013

This was actually a family function, a naming ceremony, of one of our friends' son in Mahad (महाड). We decided to visit Shivthar Ghal (शिवथर घळ) on the way. We four (with Nitin, Tushar & Vishal) started off at 6.15 pm from Padmavati locality in Pune in a Hyundai i-10. We took the NH-4 (Mumbai - Bangalore Highway).

We took a breakfast break for an awesome Misal-Paav at Kailas at Khed-Shivapur. We moved ahead at 7.30 am. After the toll, there comes a place called Kapurhol (कापुरहोळ). On left is a road for Ketkavale - Narayanpur (केतकावळे - नारायणपुर). Just ahead of that is small road on Right. This is the road for Bhor, Bhatghar Dam & Varandha Ghat (भोर, भाटघर धरण, वरन्धा घाट). There is no sign board. One needs to be very careful; else you'll suffer a small U-Turn ahead.

Little ahead Bhatghar Dam Wall is visible on your right. Back-waters is not seen from the road. One needs to venture inside - off-road - to view the same. Approx 15 kms from NH-4 comes a Taluka-Town called Bhor. At the end is a "T" section. Take right for Mahad (left goes to a place called Shindewadi).

About 20 kms from here comes village by the name Devghar (देवघर). From here start the backwaters of newly made Neera-Devghar Dam (नीरा-देवघर धरण). The road twists and turns around the sides of the vast back-waters. This drive is splendid. We were here in the wrong timing of the year actually. I have decided to visit this drive now in monsoons. We took a brief photography pit-stop here; while clicked some other snaps while on the drive.
Neera-Devghar Dam

As soon this beauty ends, the other one starts - Varandha Ghat descend - one of the tough ghats to get down in Konkan (कोकण). It has some breath-taking hair-pin sloping turns that could bring a lump even in a seasoned driver's stomach. But that is later; at the start are the Bhajia, Vada-pav & Chai (भजी, वडा-पाव, चहा) stalls at the foot of a large black stone cliff.
View from Varandha Top
Highlight of Varandha - a different perspective
as we see this cliff normally in monsoons, lush green

Just before ghat ends, there is diversion to Right for Shivthar Ghal (शिवथर घळ) - info board is available. However, just note that the route is only for small vehicles. Buses need to descend the ghat completely and then there is a bigger and much cleaner road on Right (5 kms prior to Birwadi).

The smaller road is only of 7 kms, while the bigger one costs about 22 odd kms (as per Google Map); however it will be better you go by the longer route in monsoons, or if you do not want to subject your vehicle for a torture testing. The time when we went, route was ok. It was about 10.15 am when we reached Shivthar Ghal.
Sunder Math - the shrine is called so
Shivthar Ghal is a place of historical importance. Saint Ramdas (संत रामदास) narrated the famous spiritual text, the Daas-bodh (दासबोध) to Kaartik Swami (कार्तिक स्वामी), who wrote it down in a small cave (Ghal in Marathi) here sometime in 17th century. It is here where Saint Ramdas and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj (छत्रपती शिवाजी महाराज) met for the first time. Saint Ramdas further went on become Maharaj's Spiritual Guru.

Its a very low heighted cave, about 7 feet. At some points it is as low as 3-4 feet. A tall person like me can barely stand straight here. Presently, the scene of Ramdas Swami narrating Dasbodh to Kaartik Swami is constructed inside with statues.

By the side of the cave there is a water fall - a small stream of water seen falling - though seen only if watched minutely. However, this must be converting itself into a magnificent water fall. We knew we were going to miss this because of wrong timing, however, we though since we are going nearby, let's atleast visit the place.

This water fall will definitely a worthy place to visit in monsoons. Just a caveat - one cannot do all those things that you might come hoping to do in a water fall considering the spirituality of the location. This is infact a very good combination of a spiritual place by the side of a water fall. I don't remember any other place, atleast in Maharashtra.

By 11.00 am, we starter off towards Mahad, about 30 kms from here. This time we took the other better road since we had to go ahead towards Mahad.

After function, sumptuous lunch and brief rest, we started for our return journey at 4 pm. This time we took the other route, the Tamhini Ghat route. Our plan was to cross the ghat before dark.

We took a tea-break at Nizampur (निझामपुर), ahead of Mangaon (माणगाव). On the I saw two boards - one for Pala Caves and the other for Hot Water Springs (on the other bank of Savatri River) towards Mangaon on NH-17 (Mumbai-Goa Highway).

We reached Chandni Chowk at 7.30 pm. After some snacks in a hotel here, we reached our gathering point, Padmavati, at 9 pm.


Odometer readings:

00 km        Padmavati (Pune)
20 kms       Kailas Bhel
36 kms       Kapurhol
52 kms       Bhor - take Right at a "T" joint
70 kms       Devghar   (Neera-Devghar Dam)
101 kms     Right - small road for Shivthar Ghal
109 kms     Shivthar Ghal
144 kms     Mahad

Return journey
174 kms     Mangaon
184 kms     Nizampur
194 kms     Take Right turn by the Posco Company
198 kms     Take Right turn at a "T" joint - Tamhini Ghat starts
228 kms     Tamhini village
242 kms     Mulshi
256 kms     Paud
266 kms     Pirangut
288 kms     Padmavati

Friday, 18 January 2013

Recap 2012

After successfully maintaining an online travelogue through blogging as decided in 2011, the Year 2012 started off with a resolution of targeting at least one trip per month. This was to set the momentum going about pursuing my hobby of travelling which was set rolling sometime in 2010.

January went by without a trip. And my resolution seemed to be failing. However, February 2012 covered this backlog when it brought with it three trips in succession. Our office colleagues visited Bhamchandra Gad and Bhandara Hill 15 days apart and then a long & secretly planned trip to Bhandardara to celebrate our Wedding Anniversary.

During second half of March, we office colleagues (with Family) visited Karla Caves near Lonavala. Enroute we also visited the Celebrations Wax Museum. Three days later we got a chance to visit the Veer Chapekar Memorial at Chinchwad; and also the Moraya Gosawi Temple nearby. We, office colleagues again, had gone there after our office hours.

One month later, in mid-April, we visited Hyderabad. This was because of an official conference. However, we got half day available for sight-seeing.

May month brought with it a Photography Workshop; outdoor session of which was planned in P L Deshpande Garden (Pune-Okayama Japanese Garden). The month ended with a visit to Prati-Shirdi (Shirgaon).

After a 2 months hiatus, we visited Prati-Balaji (Ketkavale) in end of July, our first monsoon trip. This one was with entire family.

In August second half, we visited Bamnoli - a family visit of our office colleagues.

September came with it a visit to Vaishno Devi Temple in Pune (Pimpri). It was a family visit clubbed with a family function. Next, me and my friend went to the Lord Vyankateshwara at Tirumala, Tirupati. Next week (mid-September) was the King of Forts, Rajgad.

We had our Photography Club excursion to Madhe Ghat in 1st week-end of October. Mid of the month was the long planned, much awaited, nostalgic trip to Indore.

More than a month later in November, I witnessed Star Trail Photography for first time at Telbaila.

December first week we went for a Geographical Marvel, Potholes of Nighoj. I ended my 2012's travels by visiting Pali Ashtavinayak Temple & Unhere Hot Water Springs.

The year covered in all 15 trips. I have ignored official Hyderabad trip and nearby places in Pune like Japanese Garden & Chapekar Memorial. Already crossed my target of 1 trip per month.

In 2013, I should maintain this momentum going. Many places were on cards last year, of which I visited Bhandardara & Nighoj. I also visited Kaas & Chincholi Morachi but not during the correct time. Hence all those places remain - Ajanta-Ellora (Aurangabad), Ramdara, Bhuleshwar, Morachi Chincholi. Apart from this, Gujarat visited is almost decided during October-13. Planning is to be made.

I have a long pending wish for Lonaar (Crater Lake) & Tarkarli (in Konkan). Daman is also pending since long. Just recently, I thought of Pondicherry also. Let's see how it all goes, if not this year, then in years to come.

Happy travelling!!!