Monsoons of Maharashtra - Another Photo Essay!Monday, September 17, 2012
Bangalore - Satara - Mahabaleshwar - Mahad - Poladpur - Mangaon - Nizampur - Mulshi - Paud - Pirangut - Pune - Bangalore.
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".
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.
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!
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.
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. :)
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.
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!
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.
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! ;)
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.