Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Bhimashankar - Memoirs of a Tragic Trip

Traveling not always is fun! At times things go so wrong that a trip can give you nightmares. For us Dahanu ranks as no: 1 in such destinations where things just repeatedly went wrong. Once on a trip to Dahanu we had to return midway from a bike trip thanks to incessant rain that started when we were in Lonavala which continued up till almost outskirts of Mumbai and the second time was shared with you all in the disaster in Dahanu post..

Bhimashankar was another such destination..

This story is from i think a zillion years back! (ps: exaggeration now is 'almost' innate in me, actually i think it was April 2007) We set out on a ride to Bhimashankar. I had built a picture of dense jungles and shekhrus, in fact i was also mentally prepared to face a leopard. 

The ride on the Nasik HW was fine and we took the deviation towards Bhimashankar a few kilometers before Narayangaon. The ride through the open fields and small villages on 'hindsight' was fun. It couldn't possibly have been a so for the sun beating us down all the way but all i remember of the ride is couple of shady trees by the road that we stopped by for a break! 

Once we reached Bhimashankar the whole area was so dry, and for a person used to jungles of Kerala, by no stretch of imagination could i call it a jungle! We visited the temple and had a darshan of the idol but what i remember more is the thick stench of charas the entire area was engulfed in.

Now coming to my point..

The point that i am trying to make  through this post is that unless you time your trip properly you are not going to have a lot of fun in your trip..

Bhimashankar is not a place to go in the summers unless you know what you are bargaining for, so is August not a month for a bike trip!

In fact i saw some amazingly beautiful pictures of Bhimashankar recently which made me think why i had such bad memories of that place which made me realize that almost always when things went wrong in a trip it was destined to go wrong thanks to the timing of the trip!

I was just the timing that was wrong and all along i was blaming the places! mia culpa!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Panshet - A Weekend Drive..

Little over an hours drive from Pune is a rustic village - Panshet, popular amongst the cyclists in Pune as Pune-Panshet is one of the most popular cycling routes in Pune and every weekend without fail you will find at least half a dozen cyclists slowly making their way to this small hamlet. Panshet is quite popular as a water sports destination  however this place has a lot more charm than just the speed boats or water scooters in the reservoir.

I have to thank Enduro the adventure race hosted every year in Pune for letting me see Panshet the way i would have never seen it otherwise - the small hamlets on the banks of the vast reservoir and small little islands in it. There are a few camping grounds also here along with kayaks and boats. The ferry ride which the villagers use to commute from distant villages on the banks to Panshet is also quite a fun ride.

During summers Panshet also offer some good camping spots near Pune If you drive along the road next to the dam you will definitely spot atleast a dozen spots ideal for camping alongside the reservoir. Its better to speak to the nearest house from the spot that you choose to camp in and befriend them before you set up the camp. We have seen only friendly helpful people here and almost always we have found it difficult to make them accept the money that we offer for the firewood that we take from them for the camp fire!

For those who dont know how to reach Panshet from Pune here is the route map

Pune to Panshet

The route with the best roads is

Pune - Sinhagad Rd - Khadakwasla - Donje Phata (right turn from Donje Phata) - Panshet

The alternate route is via Warje

Pune - Kothrud - Warje - Khadakwasla - Donje - Panshet
About 20 Kms from Panshet dam is Varasgaon dam. Built on the Mose river Varasgaon dam is also called Veer Pasalkar dam. Panshet and Varasgaon together with Khadakwasla form the major water reservoirs near Pune supplying water to the city. With many small farmhouses dotting the small hamlet Varasgaon is also a popular hiking place near Pune.