Sunday, 9 December 2012

Potholes of Nighoj : Ranjan-Khalge - December 9, 2012

Nighoj (निघोज) was a long pending place in my trip plan; which happened last week. We left Pune at 7.30 am. We took got connected to the Pune-Nagar Road (SH-27) at Yerawada via the Sangamwadi bridge from Wakdewadi.

On the way there is a very unique place, for Maharashtra at least  a place called Chincholi Morachi (चिन्चोली मोराची). Here Peacocks are seen in abundance. They say there are about 2500 peacocks in that village. They are seen roaming in the fields there.

There is a place called Shikrapur (शिक्रापुर) about 40 kms from Pune after Lonikand and Koregaon Bheema. We took left from here. This road goes to Chincholi Morachi. However, to see the peacocks, the best time is just after Sunrise or just before Sunset. Since we reached there by 8.30 am, we decided not to waste time in searching for them. Our target for the day was Nighoj and we wanted to return back home by lunch. Hence we did some breakfast in one of the hotels here. We could here peacock calls from nearby fields. We tried to go bit inside, but didn't find any. Now my plan is to come here early morning, just here and not combine with any other spot, so that we can venture peacefully.

After breakfast, we moved ahead. Just note that there is no need to turn back all the way till Shikrapur if you need to go towards Nighoj and Nagar. Take the road towards Malthan which will take you to Shirur and Pune-Nagar Highway.

While we were past Malthan (मळठण), we were thinking to go till Shirur and then take the road towards Nighoj. However, after 5 kms from Malthan we got a signboard for Nighoj towards LH. We took that. About 12 kms from here just prior to one bridge on a canal there is a RH turn. No markings were there. By luck we asked some of the locals and we got that road. It was a very dusty road of about a kilometer by the canal. I don't think that would be wise to go through this road in rains.

The potholes are about 2 kms away from Nighoj village. By this route, we directly went to the Potholes. This place is a very small rocky area where the river Kukadi (कुकडी) flows with some specific shaped gorge. During rainy season, this geology creates a force which results in the erosion of the rocks below. The stones and pebbles get entangled in these pot-holes and they turn and rotate massively thus causing more erosion and the shape of a large water cistern (रांजण in Marathi). Hence the name Ranjan-Khalge (रांजण-खळगे).

These are called as Hydro-Geomorphological Formations. It takes many years to form one these potholes. These are only of its type found in Asia.

There are so many potholes of various shapes and sizes. Two small potholes are formed initially side-by-side. And due to further erosion, the walls between these potholes collapse and they merge together as one large pothole. You can see the smooth finish on the walls of these potholes (as if done by some skilled Potter or with a machine).

There is one temple here of a Goddess by the name Maalganga (माळगंगा). There is some story of 7 sisters, avatars of the Goddess. 3 of them are here (one can see 3 faces of the Goddess inside the Sanctum Sanctorum. Other 4 are somewhere down the river bank. Every year during Janmashtami, an earthen pot appears in the cannon from bottom of the river. Devotees gather here to witness this miracle.

From here we decided to turn back. We took the more common road this time. We went to Nighoj village and from here got connected to the Pune-Nagar Highway. Took Right towards Pune and reached home by 1.30 pm.

Some snaps:

River Kukadi flowing through the Gorge

Temple of Goddess Maalganga
Suspension Bridge over the gorge
Odometer readings:

00 kms          Narayan Peth
26 kms          Lonikand
30 kms          Koregaon Bheema
41 kms          Shikrapur - take LH here for Chincholi Morachi; straight till Shirur for Nighoj

59 kms         Chincholi Morachi
68 kms         Malthan
73 kms         LH towards Nighoj
85 kms         RH on a dusty road by the canal
88 kms         Potholes

Return journey
90 kms        Nighoj village
114 kms      Pune-Nagar Road
148 kms      Shikrapur
190 kms      Pune

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