Monday, 16 September 2013

Thoseghar Waterfalls Dobara - September 1, 2013

Following is the Photo-logue of our recent Thoseghar-Chalkewadi trip:

Thoseghar Waterfalls:

Chalkewadi Windmills:

equivalent to the Kaas Plateau (Valley of Flowers)

Urmodi Dam:
Panorama of 4 individual photos stitched together

For route, visit my last blog about our first visit -- Click here

Some updates --> Entry fee has been levied for entry at Thoseghar Waterfalls - Rs. 10 each for per adult entry, Car Parking & SLR Camera (Rs. 5  for a Compact Camera)

Road condition at Chalkewadi was as bad as it was 2 years ago - need to be pretty careful in case you have a car; mine under-body did hit at one place.

Chavand Fort a.k.a. Prasannagad - August 25, 2013

It was our long awaited Photography Club Excursion. Actually I heard this fort for the first time - Chaavand Fort a.k.a. Prasannagad.

The region where this fort is located - near Junnar - has the history that goes back to 1000 years, the Satvahana era. There are 5 forts & Fortresses in this region - Hadsar, Shivneri, Jivdhan, Naneghat & Chaavand, the Famous Five. Chaavand Fort has the remnants of construction that is about 800 years old. It is one of the oldest forts amongst the treasure of 350 odd forts of Maharashtra.

We started off at 7.30 am (I took the bus from Alka Talkies, Pune). We took the Pune-Nashik (NH-50) Highway. There is a left for Junnar from Narayangaon. As you reach Junnar, you can see the mighty Shivneri Fort, Shivaji's birthplace, on left. From here we headed for Chavand village via Aptale. Boards are available; else one can enquire with the locals.

By the time we reached the base village, rain had started. And by the time we climbed half the fort, it was lashing like anything. And this situation remained the entire day. Our photography tour was converted into an adventure trekking.

Chavand is the base village of Prasannagad; also known as Chavand Fort. The fort looking from base looked as if some huge rock is placed over a hillock. It seemed impossible to climb for usual trekkers. It felt as though you'll need experts with mountaineering equipment.
Image from Google Maps - Showing climbing route from Chavand village
However, it is not so. Reaching the top is comparatively easy; Therefore, I have given a Google Maps imagery of the fort above. From the base village there are well laid steps till the half-way (work is going on).
Railings provided on rock-sides to facilitate climbing
At the half-way, a steep rock patch starts; However, very well laid & strong railings are made to facility this climb easily. Absence of the railing would have devoided common people from reaching this fort.
Last few steps - takes your breath away
Finally, after the rock patch again there are steps that take you to the Main Door. These are huge & steep. Lashing rains & powerful winds was making this climb gruely tiresome.
Chavandwadi Village from top
Rain Rain All The Way
Actually, there was one mistake I did. I didn't study the fort well before going for this trip. I didn't knew what are the places to see on top.
To add up, the climate was against us. It was raining heavily. Actually, whatever photos I took they were with extreme risk of getting my camera damaged. Secondly, due to monsoons, the whole land was covered in high grass.
After the steps & passing through the Mahadarwaja (Main Gate), the plain area is seen with further more small hillock a little ahead. We were exploring the area when we found small water tank with a broken temple (seems to be of Lord Shiva) at the end. One side of the tank had 8-10 small compartments with Idols carved / kept inside.

Seems to be a Shiv-Linga

From here we started our descent. There were few more places to see which I came to know later.

Once at the base, we got back to our buses to go to the Nane Ghat. It used to be a trade route from Western Maharashtra to the Konkan. It has a beautiful Kokan-kada. There is one large cistern carved out of stone. Traders used to drop money in that as a part of Tax (Toll system of that era), while they used this Nane Ghat to travel.

Rain was extremely heavy & there was no visibility. Hence we dropped the idea to spend some time at Nane Ghat & decided to turn back.

On the way back home, as the rains gave some break, we stopped over an extremely beautiful  ancient temple - Kukadeshwar. This is the place where Kukadi River originates – the river which near Nighoj forms the famous natural Pot-holes.
Kukadeshwar Temple
The temple is in ruined state. The villagers are organizing its reconstruction. The work is under progress.

"Alien-like' Sculpture which seems to be
of a frail, old Lady

Kukadi River

Route from Pune:

Zoomed map of the Region:

Pavana Dam - August 1, 2013

We had to undertake a vehicle trial of our upcoming model. We decided the Pavana Dam - Dudhivare Khind route; the kind of route we wanted - Highway, Cross-Country and Ghat Section, with lot many pot holes due to the rainy season. So this was our official trip at one of the many scenic drives near Pune.

We started off from our office in Pimpri at 10 am. We took the Old Pune-Mumbai Highway (NH-4).

There is a left turn at Kaamshet (after Talegaon) towards Kalewadi. After Kalewadi, the road is extremely scenic. On the left Pavana Dam Wall is visible as the road climbs a small ghat.

Pavana Dam - River flowing past the Dam

Pavana Dam - Wall & Catchment Area
With the backwaters on the left and the road twisting & turning through the ghat, the drive is awesome. And driving an SUV on this is like an icing on the cake.

We could see many waterfalls on the way. It was an official Test Drive, hence we couldn't stop at all of them; however, we still sneak through couple of them for a brief photography. Again being on official duty, we just photographed and had to resisit our temptation of taking a cool bath inside one of them...

Tunga Fort across the Pavana backwaters
From here, we took the Lonavala route through Dudhivare Khind. It is a small mountain pass on top of a hill with travel distance of just above 100 meters. However, the high walls of black rock on both sides with a very narrow road to pass was giving a very eerie feeling. Just a note, do not stop your vehicle in between; there are chances of land-slides (they are not fatal though). Park the vehicle before or after the pass and then walk in between.

Dhudivare Khinda

From here we went to Lonavala, had lunch in between and then reached our office in Pimpri.