Monday, September 17, 2012

Monsoons of Maharashtra - Another Photo Essay!

The weekend before last weekend I was riding in rain. But do you know what I did last weekend?

I literally lived up to the saying "Journey is the Destination".

Bangalore - Satara - Mahabaleshwar - Mahad - Poladpur - Mangaon - Nizampur - Mulshi - Paud - Pirangut - Pune - Bangalore. 
Brief stay at Mangaon, otherwise I was  on the move for most parts. :)

I traveled about 1800+ kms over a weekend. Traveled for 24 hours, met my friends and chilled out for 24 hours and then started another journey of 24 hours to reach Bangalore! With such numbers, very easily it could've gone down as one of the worst trips in my list but the exact opposite happened. I rate this journey as one of the best in my books!

At one point, sitting in the ordinary bus I wondered why the hell I was doing what I was doing, killing myself by undertaking such a long journey over a weekend, but soon the answer was clear to me. The route I was going through was so exquisite I didn't really mind traveling so much. I almost reached Mumbai you know! When the scenery is that good, staring out of the window is good fun too. That and I really love freaking people out, you should've seen the look on the driver's and a co-passenger's face when I said I was going to Mangaon and that I came all the way from Bangalore and to answer their why, I said "bas aise hi!". Sahyadris kept me in constant awe and I was traveling not to reach anywhere, I was traveling just to travel. Like they say, the great affair was to move.

With finds such as these, I am all the more convinced about Why I have never traveled out of India! So here's what happened.

Landslide at Mahabaleshwar, Ambenali Ghats
I reached Satara only by 6.40 which meant I missed my connecting bus to Mangaon already. Waited till 8.30 to catch this red bus that goes to Mangaon. To give you some context, I was trying to reach Bombay - Goa highway from Bangalore - Pune highway and Sahyadris form a huge divide between these two. On map, the distance is just as much as 120kms but it easily takes about 4-5 hours to traverse in reality. The route passes through dense forests, climbs up amazing ghats and goes along rivers. Definitely one of the beautiful routes I have been on. The constant rain and mist was all good until it caused a landslide just after Mahabaleshwar. Now it was Bear Gryll's turn to keep me company, I mean his book, "The Kid who Climbed Everest".

Mangaon, Garava Farms
It was 4.30pm when I finally reached Mangaon and met my friends. The farmhouse where we stayed had this small waterfall in its backyard. At last, it was time to chill. Nothing like a good dip in the water to cure the tired! Oh btw, this is where I saw another spectacular rainbow but missed capturing it when I left my gear in favor of enjoying the moment. 


Kaal River, Mangaon
The next morning we found our way to Kaal River close by. The river was swelling with all the recent rains and these kids were fishing. It was quite a morning, watching them fish, talking about our other treks and what not! Come to think of it, I do not remember what we talked, I just remember it was insanely relaxing to be by the riverside with no agenda whatsoever!


Raigad as seen from Mangaon
Sometime close to afternoon our gracious host mentioned of another waterfall nearby, close to a tribal settlement. Goes without saying we jumped at the opportunity and left the riverside in search of that place. We walked through country trails lined with dense greenery and a whole lot of pink flowers! Then we negotiated through much slush to get to the tribal village. The small mountains in the far distance that you see, is actually Raigad it seems. Mist playing hide and seek with the mountains, the sound of river nearby and the most beautiful weather. This was also one of the dreams, to wander in pretty hamlets, finding waterfalls, chasing rivers, doing nothing but just enjoying unspoilt nature.


River flows near Mangaon
Finally after finding some trails of our own here and there, following the river on a slippery slope we got a glimpse of the waterfall. Oh, did I mention the pink flowers everywhere? I must have. :)


River flows near Mangaon
This river or a tributary it might be, was also full thanks to the rains. Few villagers was washing clothes on one far end and the clouds were slowly sneaking upon us. We got down to rocks nearby and spent some more time doing nothing! All this chilling out was making up for all the tiring journey the previous day.


Tribal Village close to Mangaon
While returning back, we passed by the tribal settlement again. The place looked very sad and left out. The village had no more than 20 houses and kids were huddled in one corner playing. The young men were huddled too playing cards or the likes of it. The women were staring at us. But what surprised me was the dish tv antennae on almost every small household there! 

Riding towards Pune
It was barely evening and I had to start another big journey, to reach Pune by night, for I was catching the bus to Bangalore from there. My friend who rode from Pune to Mangaon warned me that it was an extremely beautiful ride and I might wanna start early if I want to enjoy the views. 


Entering Tamhini Ghats
He was so right! As we entered Tamhini ghat, I was just blown away by the greenery and the scenery around. Mangaon to Pune was another 120 kms but since it passes through this huge section of ghats and forest it is going to take a long time to reach. Not that I was complaining, hum to scenery ke liye kuch bhi kar sakte hain! ;)


Sun shines on the bullet
The Shining!
It was close to sunset and it was time for the golden hour magic. There was lovely light and beautiful mountains around. No points for guessing the photographer in me went berserk!


Waterfalls by the roadside, Tamhini Ghats
Numerous waterfalls lined the roadside, almost reminded me of my monsoon trip to Sikkim! Only difference being in Sikkim, I was the only one enjoying the view, here, almost every waterfall I saw had a couple before it trying to take pictures of each other. With great difficulty I found this one with no people around.

Green hilltops along Tamhini Ghats
It was almost difficult to take in so much green! Somewhere far down below you can see the road that got us here. I could never get used to views like this. What an amazing place this was.

Pink Flowers, Tamhini Ghats
Oh how much I love Pink Flowers! Last year around the same time I made a trip to Kaas and missed the pink flowers so dearly. I guess the flowers were making it up to me this year!


Abandoned building, Tamhini Ghats
As the light faded slowly, I heard of many of my friend's escapades in the Sahyadris. The urge to return back was growing exponentially for I knew in a while darkness would engulf us and the view will be gone. We stopped at this abandoned building to take the last of the shots. The entire stretch from Mangaon to Pune goes through a route that shows very few signs of civilization. Pune is so lucky to have such beauty so close!

Mist coming down upon Tamhini Ghats
And that was the last light for the day when the heaven's flood gates opened up and how!  We drove towards Pune in the heavy rain through wilderness I could feel but couldn't see. I have seen so much of monsoons in Western Ghats of Karnataka, but just a state away the landscape and geographical features of Sahyadris was so different! We drove amidst something like a plateau between high rocky mountains. Sometime soon, I would like to capture this part of the world too.

We reached Pune quite late in the night, just in time to catch my bus to Bangalore. Reached Bangalore by 12 and was in office by 2pm monday. But my mind was left wandering in the amazing Sahyadris. Over a period of two days I had traveled through Pasarani, Ambenali and Tamhini ghats, gems each one of them! It was a good journey in all ways, if I had made a trip to one place and stayed there, granted I would've chilled out more but this way I got to experience a lot more of Sahyadris. And with the wonderful company of friends and myself for most parts, it was an epic weekend!

Of course the highlight of the trip has to be watching Ek Tha Tiger in the bus both the times! *straight face*

32 comments:

  1. Interesting...could please add some info on how to get there., where to stay and any other useful tips?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We stayed at this farmhouse - http://www.garavafarms.com/index.html
      I do not know about closeby places because I didn't get to see any. This town is on Bombay - Goa highway. You can google for it and decide how to reach.

      Delete
  2. That is indeed a wonderful journey. Even though a bit hectic, the traveller in you must have loved every single moment. Those captures are awesome. Loved the colour green in all the pics.

    http://rajniranjandas.blogspot.in/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, it was really hectic but like I said, the views kept me good company. :)

      Delete
  3. Loved your photos, which lens have you used for those wide angles?

    Also, the Mulshi Pirangut ghat road is one of the MOST scenic routes in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra during the monsoons!

    Did you really do these 1800km in 2 days? Hats off to you! Whoa!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, I know! Then I thought maybe I should do this kind of stuff while I still can. Loved the route but night fell by the time we reached Mulshi. All the drive along the reservoir was in darkness but I felt it must've been beautiful.

      I used Tokina 11-16 recently, and totally loving it! :)

      Delete
  4. Very well captured! Rarely do photos do justice to such places... and yours do :)

    btw, isn't 'Ek tha tiger' a rip off of some gult movie? :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, thankfully not! Else I would've seen that movie thrice. :P

      Thanks, it was such a beautiful route, taking pictures was effortless. But definitely want to explore more of that area.

      Delete
    2. The more you travel the longer the list of places to explore gets!

      Delete
  5. You are the original traveller! Your joy was just bubbling through the write-up and pictures - thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was indeed ecstatic all along, even though it was tiring to some extent. :))

      Delete
  6. wonderful pics, Neelima!! and what a trip!!! wonder how ever you managed to work on monday! i feel so terrible after coming back from any trip, let alone such a wonderful one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How I work on Mondays is a trade secret Anu, sshhhh. ;)

      Delete
  7. Lovely set of pics Neelima!

    Western ghats in monsoon.. I believe nothing in the world can get greener than this.And riding them on a bike - Heaven!

    Its been a while since I rode them. Should make it a point to ride them before the clouds move on!

    Cheers
    Venky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am totally with you on this, western ghats are the awesomest! :))
      I was able to manage only two monsoon trips this year. Have to plan more next year. Thanks for dropping by!

      Delete
  8. Loved your post and the photographs. Your photos are some of the best I have ever seen of India.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks much! I am glad you like the photos here. Made my day! :))

      Delete
  9. Love the pics..:) keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Postcard shots, love them all. You make me want to go back a couple of months and soak in the rains. I ran away from all of it this year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you could, you should Shivya, go back in time that is. ;)
      I absolutely love monsoons. That's when the forests come alive and how!

      Delete
  11. Really like the red buses photos. Did you pay them to stop at this exact spot :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, no, the rains made them stop! ;)
      The thing is the landslide had brought down a huge rock and it fell right in the middle of the road. Smaller vehicles could go around. Only buses couldn't, which is why you can see only the red buses waiting. Besides, the rains washed the buses too, can't tell you how dirty they were inside. :)

      Delete
  12. Awesome pics Neelima. Each one of them.

    Hey I am in Lavasa for 1 full week :) My plan was to basically do nothing. But now after seeing your pics I am thinking of getting out to nearby areas. Any suggestions where? Day trips or overnight, can do both.

    Thanks in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Sorry for the delay in reply. Hope you had a good time.

      Delete
  13. spell bound..very beautiful pictures. Grass is always greener on the other side of chaotic monsoon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Avinash, I think I have to disagree, grass in greener on all sides in monsoons. :)

      Delete
  14. Neelima, try some other bush/jungle walks in Masharashtra, which are as beautiful

    Like

    Lonavala - Bhimashankar (around 65-80 kms)
    Vasota (Satara region)

    There are many others too... Sure you would love the visits...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I've been meaning to trek in the Sahyadris for a long time. Hopefully, one of these days.

      Delete
  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Excellent piece of writing!

    Great photography and nice description about the travelogue.

    My blog at http://rakmoddin.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

Get widget