Trip to Bhandardara – Day II

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30-Oct-2011:¬†Today we wanted to wake up early and go and see the sun rise at some sun rise spot or something, but after yesterday’s tiring day we had to take it easy ūüôā Finally, woke up at 8:30 am and went to the resort cafeteria to have the breakfast. The weather was very good and we¬† were looking forward for an eventful day. Today we had planned to explore this place a bit in the morning and were thinking of going for boat ride again in the evening if possible.

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We got to know from resort staff that the total dam perimeter is around 25 km which can be circumvented by a decent road. There are many nice vista points along it and some other attractions as well. We were back to our room after heart-full breakfast and wrapped up our things and stepped out. There was no difficulty in finding the road as it starts close by from the place we were staying at and then you just make sure to not leave that road and you would be back to the point from where you had started. First we had to go bit uphill as we were on the other side of the dam which is off course lower down river bed. There we passed along the MTDC resort which had a majestic views of the backwaters, which temped us to come back some other time and stay there. But we were as happy with Yash!

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This place is so nice, quite and calm as very few people visit it. We could hear the slow buzzing sound of the wind, the chirping of the birds and off-course in the background the soothing sound of waves. We stopped at couple of places to have great view of water with nice backdrop of hills. There were few big trees but mostly  bushy grasslands which was a different topography which we liked. We then decided to enjoy the drive and take a break from stopping and taking pictures :). There is a different fun to drive on a vehicle less road and I was enjoying it. At some places along the backwaters there was rice farms and the sight of endless expanse of green carpet is always refreshing.

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As we were just going around the perimeter we saw board for a diversion to a vista point. We decided to check it out. We had to scale the ghat section for it and then we reached a place which is like Mahabaleshwar or Lonavala, from where we got a great view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. It was so windy up here that it was difficult to stand still there but we liked it a lot and  spent lot of time there admiring the golden hued mountains. Then we hopped into the car again and descended and as we were about to hit the plains we got bit confused on which turn to take to return to our original route. After some deliberations we took a path we thought was the right one, but it ended in a dead end :).

But sometimes missing a turn can also be a good thing to happen. The road we took was going nowhere, but it ended on a beautiful spot which was just adjacent to the backwaters and there was a small vista point there with railings. We got on the platform of the railings and could here the waves  hitting the stone walls and making a calming sound. We were lucky to have stumbled here and got some time to spend. Then we backtracked and got on the actual route and continued our journey along the coast.  Some distance ahead we could see a temple and from where we were we could see it was quite old.

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As we approached we could see the majestic temple in front of us. Its quite an old temple; at least 700-800 years old and called Amruteshwar temple. The architecture is hemadpanti and the carvings are fine and beautiful. The best part was a big courtyard with a turtle filled pond and the whole complex was just adjacent to the backwaters giving it a timeless appeal. After taking darshan and admiring the whole complex we spent some good  time there sitting in the courtyard. From there we could see some forts like Ratan durg and I decided to be back here some time soon for a trek.

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It was now over 1:00 pm and we were bit hungry. So we decided not to stop anywhere now and just enjoy the drive and see if we can find a good restaurant on the way to have lunch. Unfortunately there are not many good options here to eat out and we ended up going back to the resort. We were not sure if we would get anything as it was past lunch hour; but they managed to get something for us which was nice. Then we took a nice siesta and woke up late just in for tea time. Earlier on the way back while passing the Bhandardara village, I thought I had spotted another road to reach the waters and possibly a water sport/boating place. So after our evening snacks thought to explore that and as it was close by we decided to walk there. But it turned into a disappointment as it was a dead end and nothing there, so we returned back but decided to have a nice evening walk amongst the nature.

We were back at the resort by 6:30 pm and were quite tired. We took some rest, watched TV and then reluctantly headed out for dinner. We could see there were many guests sitting along the bon fire playing games, but we were just too tired and just headed to our room and hit the bed.

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Trip to Bhandardara – Day I

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29-Oct-2011: My birthday was approaching and some time back we had started this tradition to go out on a short vacation somewhere on these kind of occasions as its a good bahanaa to travel and also build some good memories. So G & I had been thinking of where to go this time and not sure how we stumbled across the option of Bhandardara backwaters. From the info and pictures we saw online it appeared to be a nice place and also seemed to be not that visited, so less crowded ;). Only thing was there seemed to be not many options to stay there.

I think at that time there were only 2 one was MIDC resort and another being Yash resort. We obviously wanted to go for MIDC as generally they have the best locations and good VFM and the one here was situated on the top of the hill overlooking the backwaters, but unfortunately it was booked for the days we wanted. So somewhat reluctantly we booked the other one which frankly turned out to be a really good decision :).

With the resort booked, the plan was ON and we decided to drive to the place as it had been some time I had been for a long drive. It is located around 170 km up north of Pune and was expected to take us around 4 hours to reach. We decided to make it a 4 days trip, taking Monday & Tuesday’s off (In those days planning the trips used to be cliffhanger experience as we both had to apply for leaves and had to wait anxiously for both of them getting approved for the time duration we planned for ;)) but we had not made any specific plan as this area was new to us and we were not sure what to expect and so decided to take things as they come. The previous week we got all stocked up and were ready to leave early morning on Saturday.

We woke up early. The weather was quite nice and were looking forward to the ride and the trip. The route is Pune -> Chakan -> Rajguru Nagar -> Ale Phata-> Otur-> Kotul -> Bhandardara. The initial part of road was going to be great but we were expecting some traffic as this is industrial area and from there the road is two lane highway so we were expecting some slow and rough ride. As expected we were doing quite good till Rajguru Nagar, but from there our progress slowed and the road was also not pleasant to drive on. We took a break enroute and had our breakfast. We were at Ale Phata by 10:00 am but around here there was bad traffic jam and we were stuck there for good 30 mins and somehow managed to get out and on our way to Otur. From here you pass through the plains and there is nothing singular about this ride but we were glad to get out of the traffic.

But after some time as you cross Otur, the geography changes rapidly and you are now passing through the rolling hills. 1, 2, 3, 4 .. and eventually I stopped counting. You just ascent a hill through a ghat then descend then get on another one and get off it and so on. It was one of the most enjoyable drives I have had. The country was so beautiful that time of the year and passing through hills crossing few streams and passing through quint villages was a memorable experience. I would have liked the ride to just go on but we were now near the backwaters and could see the full expanse of it. Then we reached a small bund, the water overflowing from top of it on the road we were driving on.  In monsoon it seems this road would be closed for traffic. Then we went down hill a bit and saw the dam gates, water pouring out of the gates and passing below us through an aqueduct. From here a bit uphill and after passing the Bhandardara village we were at our resort around 1:30 pm.

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The Yash resort was started by a retired couple, who also run and manage it. They are really good people and took good care of us while we were their guest. They have many room options and we had rented a room in a cottage and on the upper floor. The room was nice and spacious and had a small balcony attached to it. We had got a swimming pool view and also view of vast stretch of densely covered green hills and valleys in front of us. We took some rest, refreshed up a bit and then decided to have lunch. We were actually late to lunch but they were kind enough to arrange food for us and we had it in our room. We spent the afternoon at room only watching TV as it was fairly hot outside. Then we had the evening tea and decided to just go along the backwaters for a stroll.

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Plan was just to go along the backwaters and spend some time there, but as we reached we saw no queue for the boat ride and realizing that later in the evening there would be quite a wait decided to have a ride right now. The boat takes you almost half way, the whole backwaters is huge though and the rates compared to other similar locations was quite reasonable. It was so calm and we could hear even a slight whisper of natures sounds. The backwaters are surrounded by hills and we got a great view from here. Also as the sun also sets early here among the hills we got some glimpses of the hue too. All in all we had a great time and we were lucky to find the right time to come here. The one hour ride came to so quickly and once we were dropped back we had some snacks in the chowpaty area and were back to the resort by 6:30 pm.

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We were quite tired now and bit sleepy as well. In fact we were not even enthusiastic to go to the dinning area for the dinner. Also it was quite cold and windy outside now. Somehow we managed to get there and had some light food and after we were back we called it a night immediately.

 

 

Trip to Alandi

Oct-2006: This is the trip which started it all. This was our first trip as a group which over the years led to many exciting trips. Not that there were not attempts made earlier, but nothing was coming through and it seems divine intervention was what was required. So, one fine day or rather afternoon as we were taking after lunch walk Ashk initiated the topic to go for some outing. Again, you know how these discussions are, they start with some small place and then within no time every one is throwing around names of some exotic locations and then the plan is non starter even before it had time to form. But that day, he not only talked about the outing but suggested rather asserted we go to Alandi.

Alandi is a holy town close to Pune which is a place of pilgrimage having samadhi of Sant Dnyaneshwar maharaj and is around 20 km from Pune city. This seemed like nice place to start our journey and everyone were on board in no time. We decided to go the coming Saturday and decided to travel by bike. We all were from different parts of Pune and so I, Ashk & Ram were to meet at their place (I was going to travel pillion) and then we were to meet near Bombay Sapers where Sam, Sandy & Rav were going to join us. We were planning to start early and plan was to be back by afternoon.

As this was our first official trip and also it was going to be a short one there was no specific planning done. I just showed up at Ashk place as per plan around 8:00 am and after some time Ram joined in and we started towards the meeting spot. We reached there around 9:00 am which was close to the agreed upon time, but there was no trace of other guys, they started arriving one after the other and Sam was the last one. Finally we were on our way. The road to take is straight from there, i.e. towards Vishartwadi and this goes all the way to Alandi. The road till Vishartwadi or till bit further was ok, but from there on the road was real bad. It becomes single lane, with good amount of traffic for company and as you approach the town the road was no more than gravel. It really tested us!

Somehow we managed to the town and after crossing the famous Indryani river we parked. We were quite hungry and the original plan was to eat something en-route, but as we had started late, we had come non stop here. So there was one nice restaurant just at the entrance point of the temple walkway and we had misal and vada sambar there which was nice along with tea. We then went straight away to take darshan of Sant Dnyaneshwar maharaj. The samadhi & and temple is tranquil and spiritual. This I think was my first visit there and I liked the place. Then we spent some time along the banks of the river, the name of which has been engraved in our minds from  childhood.The town is quite nice and well maintained, though the river could be kept in better shape.

We were not sure on what next and were contemplating, when Ashk informed us that one of his relatives is disciple of Sant and he manages one of the ashrams just outside the town and he is in today. So we headed there to meet him and we had nice discussion with him. It was almost lunch hour and they were serving food for the devotees and he asked us also to have the prasad. So we sat on the floor and had the lunch which was nice and a good experience. It was over 1:30 pm now and we had to head back. The weather was quite hot though. We were back on the adventurous road and our back & spine got a good rundown :(. Earlier in the day on our way to Alandi we had spotted a new Sai baba temple which was still under construction but is quite nice and Ashk wanted to stop there for some time. So we compiled and had darshan. The work was still going on but the marble temple looked quite imposing and nice.

We also had nimbu pani outside the main entry gate and now were heading back home. We entered Pune around 2:30 pm and one after other people started going there own ways. We also headed towards Ashk’s home. I then picked my bike and was back home around 3:30 pm. So this started the journey which took us to visit many forts, treks and general travel and we were also back to Alandi as well few times!

Trip To Hoover Dam & Red Rock Canyon

WP_20150801_14801/02-Aug-2015: We were some what tired from our two days sojourn and on on the return journey from Grand Canyon to Las Vegas except the drivers I think everyone had a nice nap. On the way we decided to halt at Hoover dam, which was not in the original plan, but as we were passing close to it, we decided lets stop over. I have been around these parts few times but have not been to this iconic dam.

Named one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century, Hoover Dam is an engineering marvel. Built during depression, construction began in 1931 and when completed it was largest of its kind. It is located on the borders of two states (Nevada, Arizona) on a Black Canyon. There is a big motorable road on top which passes over the dam walls to the other side of the Canyon. Beneath you could see the contained waters of the mighty Colorado river.

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You also pass through one state to other and even transcend time zones! We parked on the other side and then walked the remaining distance. We only went half way and it was breathtaking to see the huge walls and gates of the dam constructed over 80 years ago. By this time Ar was quite tired and would not walk and G was tired of holding her, so we waited while others explored further and came back. It was already getting bit dark and we left for Las Vegas.

We reached our hotel by 8:00 pm and all were equally tired. Earlier we had planned that we might cook something at hotel but now decided to order something. We even had planned we might explore LV bit more tonight, but that plan was also quietly dropped! So after exploring a bit on what to order we decided to get a pizza. We went to Dominos and ordered few pizzas and waited for long time for it to arrive :(. Finally we got hold of the smoking hot food and were back. We had a nice dinner and spent some time chatting. Then it was time to take to bed as tomorrow we plan to leave early as we were heading back home and also we wanted to see if we could squeeze in one more attraction to our trip.

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We woke up got ready quickly, packed our bags and did checkout. We were heading to the Red Rock Canyon before getting on the route to home. Bye, bye LV, until next time! We enjoyed our stay there but did not do all the activities. Would be back for chopper ride and yes Celine Dion show!

Red Rock Canyon is around 20 miles on the west side of LV, so a nice half an hour ride takes you to this interesting park. I call it interesting as there is no vegetation there or hardly any and its all barren and splintered with rocks, but there is something to it that you start liking as you spend some time there, I think its the unique topography and play of colors!

Red Rock Canyon is located in Mojave Desert and as the name suggest is Canyon made of red rocks and you get a feeling that someone had just randomly thrown the rocks of all sizes and dimensions everywhere. As you enter through the park gate, you buy ticket for the scenic loop. The 13 mile Scenic Drive through Red Rock Canyon takes you from highs and lows of the canyon and has many scenic stops along the way. As said earlier the drive is scenic in its own way as the rustiness of this place I think is what is appealing. The rocks are pitch red and are of different hues which provide a different shades to the mountains. It is quite hot and dry though and we only got out at couple of places and we wanted to go back in the comfort of the ac in the car as soon as we could.

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We took a break at couple of famous vista spots, where you have to hike a bit on the boulders and rocks and is fun and good exercise. The rocks had created a unique design pattern and we got some nice pic shots and when we shared it on social media, some people could not believe it to be real! We would have liked to explore this place bit more but we were pressed for time. It would be really interesting to hike around here, so that thought in mind, we bid farewell to this lovely place and headed towards home. On the way we stopped at one place to have chalupas and shake and then we were back home around 6:30 pm in the evening with loads of memories.

Thus ended a nice 2 days trip, in which we found solace in desert and rusty topography and managed to cover lot more than we had planned for!

Trip To Grand Canyon

DSC0214101-Aug-2015: After a tiring day yesterday, today everyone woke up late. After getting our morning chores done we had tea and garma garam poha. Then it was time to go to our first stop of the day Grand Canyon. It is located in the neighboring state of Arizona and the Canyon is layered bands of red rocks formed due to millions of years of erosion by the river Colorado which cuts through it. Its one of the natural wonders of the world and is amazing to be at. There are 3 rims North, South and West to watch these majestic Canyons.

I had been to South rim before and it was unreal to watch. From the South Rim you can peer all the way down into the heart of the Grand Canyon where the Colorado River runs a mile-deep from top. There are many vista points, outwardly hanging rock formations and though generally red in color, the Sun rays falling on the cliffs create multi hue color spectacle. It is indeed a mesmerizing sight and I was excited to go back to see it again.

Today though we were going to a different rim, the West one which is closer from Las Vegas. You basically take the I-93 S which merges to I-40 E and then you get on I-64 to reach the West side of the Grand Canyon and the journey takes around 5 hours with over 280 miles to cover. The route passes around Lake Mead, which is a water body formed out of Colorado river and we took a break there to see the great views.

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The whole route is ghat section and with lots of twists and turns and G was bit uncomfortable through this section. The weather was also quite hot and so we avoided too many stop overs. On the way we had our lunch at a Mexican place and there we deliberated upon the activities to be done when we reach the park. We had two options, one was to do river water rafting, which was V’s choice, but as I and G had done that on river Bias in Himachal we wanted to go for the other one which was to go on the Skywalk!

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Skywalk is an experience!0 Its a semi circular platform ring made of glass on which you walk. One end of Grand Canyon’s rim is 70 feet behind you and the other end is 3 miles in front of you and as you look down (if you have heart!) you see¬† —- nothing. There is nothing between your feet and the bottom of the Grand Canyon which is 2,000 feet below you. The constructors for this platform has done an amazing feet of engineering! I always wanted to do this and today was the opportunity. After lots of discussion, we finally picked this attraction.

We reached the West rim park by around 2:00 pm in the afternoon and straightaway went to the ticket booth. The ticket was priced I think $80 for adults and $60 for kids, which was on the higher side, but wait till you get on the Skywalk and its worth it. Not all of us joined in, I think we were 6-7 who went for it. After passing through the lobby and short walkway, here we were standing 2000 ft in air literally. I don’t think G saw much of the bottom, but I and Ar had a great experience walking there. We even sat there and the experience is hard to explain. You can see the bottom of the Canyon and the river flowing below you and the view of the rim opposite to you is enchanting. Not to mention we clicked many pics there and spent lot more time there than we had planned for.

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It was after this memorable experience we decided to explore the Grand Canyon rims from the vista points. This is indeed a natural wonder of the world and you get lost in history of this place,which is not few hundred or few thousand years but goes back millions of years. You could spend the whole day exploring this place. Off course we did not had so much time and surprisingly were already hungry as well. So we sat on the benches there and had some snacks brought with us and also go some snacks for kids from the eating joint there which had a huge queue and consumed more than half and hour of our time.

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As we came back to the table and were having food, some distance further from the rim we spotted a nice hillock tucked with boulders. We were excited to have some trek and leaving the ladies behind, we went to scale it. I was having a real trek after a long time and was enjoying all of it. At first we had to scale small rocks and boulders, but as we approached the top we had to pass on big ones, some as tall as meter. It was tiring, but finally we made it to the top and were glad we came. The top of hillock, which constituted¬†only one rock where at max 3-4 people could stand was actually the edge of the rim and it offered unparalleled view of the valley and the river. We stood there for long time, before we were called back ūüėČ The journey back was equally interesting with the boulders and rocks really testing us.

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Grand Canyon parks gives special preference to local Indian communities for jobs and opportunities, which was nice to see. After our tummies full, we explored the park a bit more which along with other things had a huge horse ranch. All of us even got our pics clicked sitting on the horses there. There were some other activities to do, but as we were getting late and also it was quite hot outside we left. As we were leaving I remembered a funny but embarrassing incident from my last visit here. At that time we had come with a group and our guide (Terry) had given us clear instructions to be back in 45 mins.

Now leaving aside if 45 mins can do justice to this place, we were on our way back in the given time range when I and P spotted one souvenir shop. In those days we were lot into souvenir thing and so we went there to explore and we lost the sense of time. At some point what we see is couple of our friends coming running towards us and asking to hurry. On the way they told us Terry is angry as hell and was even planning to leave without us. But our friends somehow convinced him to give them 5-10 mins to find and get us back. We were lucky they found us otherwise we might have to camp there only :). As we entered the bus all our co travelers gave us round of claps and we went and took our seats with our faces covered :):).

So it was time to say goodbye to this gem of place, which you can’t explore enough. I am sure we would be back here sooner than later.

 

 

Last day of 2016!

31-DEC-2016: Normally we don’t have any special plans for 31st. Typically we just spend some time with family, may be cook something together, watch a movie or so and then take to bed. This time around I was on long leave and we have been thinking about going for a cruise, so booking a cruise for the night of 31st sounded an interesting idea. We booked the cruise in advance as normally the sits fill up quickly. This was from Davy’s Locker called the Boat light parade cruise, which takes off from the Balboa pier of Newport beach. We were on the 8:10 pm slot and it was going to be 2 hours long. The cruise goes around the Newport harbor passing by many houses located on the water front, close enough for you to see their Holiday decoration and lighting’s.

We were going to have home cooked dinner. So G got the dinner packed along with few snack items and juice. We got there bit early, it was around 6:00 pm as we thought we may not get parking later and also we could go around a bit. We had decided to park in the Balboa pier parking lot, same place we had parked when I had been to Catalina island. But as we pulled in, the person on duty informed us that they have closed for the day and so you would have to do street parking. So bit sad we got on the road again, thinking when and where we would get the parking, but luckily just opposite to this parking lot on the other side of the street there was a slot available on the street. We parked there and paid for the parking for next 4 hours.

Now we had long time to kill and though normally there are lot of activities to do on the pier, but due to it being 31st everything was closed. Also it was very cold outside, kind of chilling, so we deiced to stay put in the car only. We even turned on the heater in the car, it was that cold! After a while we got bored and decided to walk the shoreline and explore the place a bit. So we moved along the shore, passing by many houses. It was dark by then, but the lights had lit up the harbor. Many of the houses we saw had some cool Christmas decorations, some having moving decos and were really nice. The reflection of lights in the harbor water was sight to see. We would have walked more, but it was quite chilly and we decided to head back to the comforts of our car.

We were hungry by then and so had our dinner. For dinner we had home made pattice, which though cold by now tasted yummy! Again the actual plan was to have it sitting along the harbor, but it was just not possible in this weather. It was a memorable experience to have dinner in the Car and we had nice songs playing in the background for company. Once done there was still some time in our hand and so we had a quick nap ūüôā Now it was close to 7:30 pm and we decided to head to the cruise office. First off we got in the wrong line, it was for the one slot before us, which we realized just before boarding the ship :). So we got back and stood underneath the shade of the office. It was not as comforting as inside the office itself, but we wanted to be close to the front of the line to get better seats :). Then it started raining, thankfully we had had our umbrellas, but we were worried about this whole plan being washed away. Thankfully the rains stopped in a bit, but made it even more chilling! We weathered on and finally our cruise came and they started boarding.

The cruise was nice and quite big than we had anticipated. There were 2 decks and we straight away headed to the top one to get a better view and experiences, hoping and praying it does not start raining again. The lower deck was enclosed and cozy and though the upper deck also had seating arrangements they were open to sky and it was very cold and became even more when the ship started moving ūüôā . The boarding was done quickly and the ship started and we were on our way. We were now cruising in the harbor and getting some nice views of the bay. There are many houses on the shoreline and many of them have there personal boats or yachts, which were also artistically decorated.

There were not many boats moving in the harbor itself, which is normally the case except for few like us, some of them had a full blow party going on their decks. Ours was more sober, with light music and cruising along slowly.  Many of the houses had nice decos, some which I remember well were showcasing events from Christs life, one who had created a big clock with multiple color lights and then reindeer, snowman, snowing effect etc.

At first we were quite excited to stand on the deck along the railings watching the spectre, but then as the night advanced it became really chilly. Now we would have liked to head to the lower deck, but off course it was all packed :). Somehow we managed to get under some shelter on our deck only, which protected us from the breeze at least. I and Ar got bored eventually and then decided to head to the tail of the Ship. Not only you get good views from here, but the the thrust from the exhaust creates nice waves and shapes in the water. It was so peaceful being on water. Year 2016 was passing us by and we were ushering into the new year, though we were few hours away.

We had already taken the U turn and now were seeing the other side from close quarters. One lesson for us was to get hand gloves and add more layers of clothes. The return trip was bit uneventful except that we were almost frozen! We finally landed and rushed towards the parking lot. After turning the heater on full blast, we became bit normal and then pulled the car and headed south along the pacific coast highway. Its always nice to drive on PCH, nights are even better, but the 31st made it memorable. Earlier we had thought that we could go someplace else after the cruise, but the cold got into us and we decided to just head home. We were back by 11:00 pm and thus ended an eventful year 2016 and welcome to year 2017!

India Trip – Satara & our village – Day 1

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30-Sep-2017: I was in India for few weeks and was quite busy with some personal stuff. But we wanted to go for a couple of days of outing. Earlier plan was to go out for 2 days, i.e. 30th September and 1st October, but at the last moment we added Kolhapur to make it 3 day outing. Baba booked the car for 3 days and as we were travelling light, the bags were packed in no time. On 30th morning we started at 7:30 am, which was within the time range we had decided. Today’s plan was to first go to Satara, drop Aai at M’s place and then head towards our village, then go to Gondavale, be back to Satara, pick Aai and head towards Kolhapur for layover. It was an ambitious plan, which was workable though, but things took turns and we flowed with it.

The route was our familiar and dear Satara super highway. But the road condition is pretty bad especially from Pune till start of Khambatki ghat section. The expansion of this highway has been going on for long time and so the roads keep winding from wide to narrow to wide again. Also some flyovers are under construction and so there are many diversions en route. In short the driving or passing through this section is no longer a pleasant experience. Due to road conditions we were making slow progress and our first stop over was Sri Ram vadewale to have our favorite vada. But as we parked and got in, the place was overflowing with people and there was no place to sit or even stand. There was a long queue at the token counter. Looking at all this I suggested to skip this and to go to someplace else. Another eating joint which we try sometimes on this route is a misal joint, just after old Khambatki toll naka (I keep forgetting the name), so we headed there.

As we pulled up near the entrance, observed that this was also fairly crowded (should be avoiding the weekends ūüė¶ ), but we were able to get a seat and so we decided to have breakfast here only. We had nice misal, I and Aai trying the dahi one. We had tea also which was OK and with our tummies full we headed out. One thing I remember from our stopover there was seeing some kittens playing by the roadside just outside the joint and Ar coming to my thoughts immediately, how she would have liked being there. I think I sent here couple of pics or videos of those young feline playing ūüôā

Next we started ascending the¬†Khambatki ghat section which has become 3 lane now and the roads are also nice. I remember getting holed up here many times due to narrow roads and limited turning space causing traffic snarls. The expansion seems to have eased that a bit. From here on our journey was nice and fast. We reached our first stop over at 9:30 am, which was¬†Udtar. We straightway went to the Shankar temple and took darshan and then left for Satara City. We reached Satara by around 10:00 am and went to M’s place. Aai decided to stay there until we return, we had only water and left immediately. Our next stop was our village.

Our village is on Pandharpur road, around 10-12 kms from Satara city. Its a nice place and I have many sweet memories of it since my childhood days. I always consider it to be one of the ideal village to spend some time in as it is quite close to town/city still removed from it and which in its expanse has a river, hills, train station and tracks not to forget farms and old houses and nice people. Also the approach road to the village, especially the last few kms are really beautiful, with road lined with old big Banyan trees! We reached our village at around 11:00 am and took darshan and then went to visit few of our acquaintance, who drowned us in Sarbat ūüėČ .

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River Vasana passes through our village and over eternity it has created a small beda ghat like section. Basically the river water over lakhs of years has been cutting through the hills/rocks and has created a impressive gorge, which is a sight to behold. We spent some time there and also went to the other side of the river which has a hillock and on its top there’s a temple. We used to visit this place once in a while during our childhood vacations though in those days there was no bridge to reach there and you had to spiral up the small slippery pathway holding on to cliff end and other side being the valley and the river, all the time holding on to our breath. It was an adventure in itself!

It was almost 1:00 pm when we left and we were running bit late and were tired as well. But as we had so much more to do for today we kept going. We decided to have lunch at our next stop Gondavale which is around 50- 60 kms from here and would take us around 1.5 hour to reach. Meanwhile we decided to postpone going to Kolhapur for next day as it was getting quite hectic and we were literally running behind time.

I had been to place long long time ago that I hardly have any memory of it. The roads are nice and as you go further away from urban jungle to country side it is really refreshing. We reached Gondavale¬†around 2:15 pm and took darshan. The place is really nice and serene. After spending some time inside the complex, we decided to scout for Hotel to have lunch. We were highly recommended to go to Hotel V, so we headed there which was near by only. We ordered meduvada and dosa. First the¬†dosa came which was half burnt and then the¬†meduvada which looked at least 2 days old. When we told the waiter about the dosa he said that’s the way it needs to be¬†ūüė° . We were so angry and left without eating much. There was no other place to have lunch and so we decided to go to hotel once we reach Satara. We were quite hungry, but didn’t had much option.

We reached Satara around 5:00 pm and had lunch ūüėČ at one of our commonly visited place of Ajinkayatara Hotel. We had some south Indian fare and some refreshments.¬†We were fairly tired by the time we reached home around 6:00 pm. Aai had already arrived there and had it setup. We just decided to take rest. Finally after couple of hours somehow we managed to move and went out for dinner at one of our other regular joint Amrapali. This is a nice place near moti chowk. We had soup, paneer and one mix veg which was nice. Once back we were too tired and just picked the bed and went to sleep.