We were waiting for this excursion since long. Last we had in March-11.
This time it was Mahabaleshwar (महाबळेश्वर); with a theme of "Jungle" and we were expected to shoot "Biodiversity" that might indicate sustaining Ecosystem.
Our buses started-off from the company gate (Pimpri) at 7.15 am. I caught the bus at Alka Talkies. We were about 110 of us (two buses). After a stop at Swargate we took-up Sinhagad Road and then the NH-4 (Mumbai-Bengaluru Highway). For exact route, please refer by earlier blog of Thoseghar (ठोसेघर) here - till Wai-Mahabaleshwar exit.
We took a Snacks-stop just before the start of Khambatki (खम्बाटकी) Ghat. It was a stomach full of menu with types of Cutlets and Doughnut. Very different than the usual Samosas and Kachoris.
By 10.15 we cooched ahead. After Shirwal about 15-20 kms, there is an exit towards right for Wai-Mahabaleshwar (SH-63). Proper direction boards are available - no worry.
Continue on this road for about 10 kms where you connect to the SH-72; which is the road to Mahabaleshwar. Couple of kms before this one can witness a strong smell of हलदी (Turmeric); there are its factories there. 2 kms from this point on SH-72 is the town Wai (वाई). After Wai the Mahabaleshwar Ghat starts. Its a longer ghat, ample turns, must be fun driving a car here; not tough.
Here you need to pay the tax at two places, when you enter Panchgani (पाचगणी) and next when you enter Mahabaleshwar.
We crossed ahead the Mahabaleshwar town and the market by about 4-5 kms, parked our buses and then barged into the nearby forests for our photography. 17° 55' 34.01"N and 73° 38' 23.79" E.
|I title this as HOPE|
|My first time with "Zoom While Shooting"|
|My best capture of this excursion - its a Silhoutte, not B&W|
After about 1.5 hours at about 2 pm we marched for a lunch at Hotel Hirkani (17° 55' 41.10"N and 73° 41' 31.83" E). Was a nice lunch, buffet, Punjabi menu and unlimited with Paneer Sabji... awesome....!
By 3.00 pm we moved towards Linga-mala (लिंगमळा) Waterfalls as instructed by the hotel owner. On the same Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road coming from Pune on the left handside is the Hotel Surya Retreat (17° 55' 29.10"N and 73° 41' 35.67" E). Just next to this hotel wall is a way to this magnificient waterfalls. You need to go walking for about 15 minutes to catch the sight of heaven.You need to get on the other hill (there is a proper bridge on the flowing water that makes up the waterfall ahead). Once on the other side you can witness this view (17° 55' 17.37"N and 73° 41' 32.93" E).
|Dhom Balkavadi Dam|
From here one can see the Dhom Balkavadi Dam below (left hand side) and Fort Kamalgad (कमळगड) in front. There is one waterfall on the right hand side.
From here started our return journey. After a shopping of Mahabaleshwar Specials at Mapro Garden and a Tea stop we left for Pune at around 6.45 pm. I got down at Alka Talkies at 9.30 pm.
Odometer readings from Wai-Mahabaleshwar Exit
0 kms NH-4 Wai-Mahabaleshwar Exit - take right turn below the flyover
8 kms Turmeric factories
10 kms Join SH-72
12 kms Wai town
41 kms Mahabaleshwar
Some more ...