13-Feb-2017 : Today was bit relaxed day. We woke up bit late, got ready and packed the bags. We decided to haul the bags to the car and get them in and then come back for breakfast. Breakfast was at their other restaurant and we ordered typical vada samar, utappa etc and tea. It was nice, but as Baba was not feeling that well, he didn’t had any. While we were completing the formalities, Ar had some fund time in kids play area with Aai. We left Mahad around 9:00 am and headed toward Poladpur on NH17. We were to take NH 17 -> Poladpur -> Poladpur ghat -> Pratapgadh -> Jawali Ghat -> Mahabaleshwar -> Medha Ghat -> Satara. Yeah there were many ghats on the way and this was the section whose first leg we were completely unaware of, in terms quality of roads, time it will take etc. But yeah, today we had the CD with us, we were hoping the journey would be bit more fun.
The road is OK and the traffic was quite lite, so we were cruising along. We crossed Poladpur and then in some time started ascent of the ghat. The ghat is quite good, though its fairly winding and with high gradation. It was only 10:00 am and we were closing on to Pratapgadh and we were thinking by this pace, we would be in Satara for lunch which we had planned for in Mahabaleshwar. Now there was an opportunity here to go to Pratapgadh which is on the way and also R could do his souvenir shopping as well :). So I suggested we take a small detour to the fort and we all agreed upon. So we took the diversion from the base of Jawali and started the ascent of Pratapgadh fort.
Now this fort needs no introduction and it has been one of the important fort’s in Maharaj’s life, in fact he had it built and also established mandir of Tulja Bhavani on top.I have been here many times from my childhood days and still remember it fondly.The road goes all the way to base where there ST stop, some shop etc and from here there are stairs to go up the fort. We were thinking that I and R and may be G might go up, do the shopping and be back as I was not sure if it would be too much for Aai to climb. But Aai wanted to also come along and so we all geared up. On the way many old memories came along and we took a break at the hotel just before the top. We had limbu pani and kokam sarbat and from here you get great views of the the bastion adorned with flag, which every child in Maharashtra had grown up seeing on school textbook.
After the much needed break, we went straight to Mandir and took darshan. We were lucky to come here and get darshan. Then we went to building next door which has a large shop of souvenirs and handicrafts. We have been here before as well and its a good place to find some interesting things. We spent may be an hour here and got most of what we were looking for like key chains, t shirt, pics etc. So all our objectives being accomplished we started the descend. On the way Baba suggested, should we have lunch here only on the fort as it was already 11:30 am. The hotel is on the edge of fort walls and has great views of bastion and Jawali khore. Great place to have food with family. We ordered zhunka bhakar, tak and all. Food was nice and we had relaxed time there. It was kind of place you can stay for as much time you have.
But we had our plans lined up and now we were running bit behind, so we started the descend. On the way we stopped at the same place we had limbu pani before as it was G’s upwas and she got khichadi parceled. It was Aai’s upwas too, but she doesn’t eat anything till the evening 😦 . We were at the base in 20 mins and then left. On the way we passed through Jawali khore and then started the ascent of Mahabaleshwar. This is one of my favorite spots and its just cool being here. We reach Mahabaleshwar around 2:00 pm and as we were not going to go to the town having already passed the schedule, we took the diversion for Medha ghat. This again is a good ghat section, good roads, good views and lite traffic. It takes no more than an hour to reach Satara city from here. On the way you pass along the Kanher backwaters which fall on your right side. Its a completely different experience during monsoon, which I highly recommend.
We reached Satara at around 3:00 pm and we straight away went to our home. It was good to be back to one of our fav cities after a gap of around 2.5 years. We had had a good day so far and equally long day awaited us.
PS: Now, for all that new CD, we could get may be at max 20 -25 mins of music and the car’s music system just died. It was total crap!
This trip though brought the nostalgia back, many childhood day we have spent on this tony hill station with family & relatives, visiting points, those Strawberry farms, eating at the town center, veg sandwich and Strawberry shake at Mapro’s, chane at Mama chanewala, hike behind the Hotel woodlands, the horse rides, coming here just to drink cup of tea or shake from Satara in the afternoon.. I think I should stop.. ;(