Monsoons of Maharashtra - Another Photo Essay!

The weekend before last weekend I was riding in rain. But do you know what I did last weekend?

I literally lived up to the saying "Journey is the Destination".

Bangalore - Satara - Mahabaleshwar - Mahad - Poladpur - Mangaon - Nizampur - Mulshi - Paud - Pirangut - Pune - Bangalore.

Brief stay at Mangaon, otherwise I was on the move for most parts. :)

I traveled about 1800+ kms over a weekend. Traveled for 24 hours, met my friends and chilled out for 24 hours and then started another journey of 24 hours to reach Bangalore! With such numbers, very easily it could've gone down as one of the worst trips in my list but the exact opposite happened. I rate this journey as one of the best in my books!

At one point, sitting in the ordinary bus I wondered why the hell I was doing what I was doing, killing myself by undertaking such a long journey over a weekend, but soon the answer was clear to me. The route I was going through was so exquisite I didn't really mind traveling so much. I almost reached Mumbai you know! When the scenery is that good, staring out of the window is good fun too. That and I really love freaking people out, you should've seen the look on the driver's and a co-passenger's face when I said I was going to Mangaon and that I came all the way from Bangalore and to answer their why, I said "bas aise hi!". Sahyadris kept me in constant awe and I was traveling not to reach anywhere, I was traveling just to travel. Like they say, the great affair was to move.

With finds such as these, I am all the more convinced about Why I have never traveled out of India! So here's what happened.

Landslide at Mahabaleshwar, Ambenali Ghats
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".
Mangaon, Garava Farms
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.
Kaal River, Mangaon
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!
Raigad as seen from Mangaon
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.
River flows near Mangaon
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. :)
River flows near Mangaon
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.
Tribal Village close to Mangaon
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!
Riding towards Pune
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.
Entering Tamhini Ghats
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! ;)
Sun shines on the bullet
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!
Waterfalls by the roadside, Tamhini Ghats
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.
Green hilltops along Tamhini Ghats
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.
Pink Flowers, Tamhini Ghats
Abandoned building, Tamhini Ghats
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!
Mist coming down upon Tamhini Ghats
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.

We reached Pune quite late in the night, just in time to catch my bus to Bangalore. Reached Bangalore by 12 and was in office by 2pm monday. But my mind was left wandering in the amazing Sahyadris. Over a period of two days I had traveled through Pasarani, Ambenali and Tamhini ghats, gems each one of them! It was a good journey in all ways, if I had made a trip to one place and stayed there, granted I would've chilled out more but this way I got to experience a lot more of Sahyadris. And with the wonderful company of friends and myself for most parts, it was an epic weekend!

Of course the highlight of the trip has to be watching Ek Tha Tiger in the bus both the times! *straight face*



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