Category Archives: Maharashtra

Mumbai – Chennai Road Trip

My wife and I did a roadtrip from Mumbai – Trichy – Chennai – Mumbai in our Alto K10 car.

Route: Thane – Pune – Satara – Kolhapur – Belgaum – Hubli – Davangere – Chitradurga – Tumkur – Bangalore – Krishnagiri – Namakkal – Srirangam – Thanjavur – Kumbakonam – Chidambaram – Chennai – Bangalore – Tumkur – Chitradurga – Davangere – Hubli – Belgaum – Kolhapur – Satara – Pune – Thane

Day 1:

We started sharp at 3 AM from Thane. We did non-stop till Satara and we reached at 7:30 AM. We wanted to avoid morning traffic so we started as early as possible. The best part was all tolls were waived due to demonetisation effect. This helped us in saving a lot of time as well.

We stopped somewhere in the outskirts of Satara for breakfast. Had some Idly, Poha & Tea. Our next target was to reach Kolhapur. The roads were perfect NH4 highway after Satara. 4 laning of Pune – Satara is on so there were diversions in between.

We reached Kolhapur at 9 and our next destination was Belgaum and ahead. We reached Dharwad at around 11. There are not many options for eating on this highway. The best restaurant we found was Kamat Upachar just before Dharwad.

Since we reached at 11:15, the lunch was not yet ready so we had to settle for tiffin dishes. We had Vada sambhar, Pooris. We also purchased famous Dharwad peda. It was yummy and chocolaty!

We pushed ahead and we never stopped till Tumkur. One can easily maintain speeds of 100 kms safely on those highways. The drive was a breeze. We got a little exhausted when we reached outskirts of Tumkur at 5:00 PM. We stopped for nature’s call somewhere and we decided to drive till 8:00 PM.

We had made reservations for Hotel at Krishnagiri. A thought popped up to cover as much as possible and maybe stay at Salem. We decided to take a call after reaching Bangalore.

We reached Bangalore NICE road by 6:00 PM. We encountered a bit of traffic while exit. We were somewhat tired and hungry since we did not eat much after our lunch.

We stopped at Adyar Ananda Bhavan for dinner. We decided to reach Krishnagiri and stay for the night and not to go further.

Return Journey: We left again at 3:00 AM from Chennai. We covered a 1000 kms and reached Kolhapur at 8:00 PM. We stayed there overnight somewhere near the temple. Next day morning we had darshan at Mahalakshmi Temple and had famous Misal Pav (Expected it to be very spicy) but it ended up a normal one.

Things to keep in mind for roadtrip:

1. Get your vehicle serviced before your trip

2. Ensure air pressure is correct

3. Take couple of cloths to tie up at back window to avoid sun heat during afternoon time

4. Carry a lot of water

5. Drink Coconut water on the highway

6. You can stop at any petrol bunk for nature call as we found all to be clean

7. Try to maintain average speed of 80-90 kmph.

8. Do not race at 120-140 kmph as your average will only come down.

 

 

“To get an itinerary prepared for your trip, connect with me on Whatsapp @ +91 95945 58457.”

Matheran – Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle

Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 1/11 by Prahlad Raj

We had just come back from 17 Day long Leh roadtrip in the first week of July. It had started raining heavily in Thane a couple of days later. I did not want to miss out on trekking this monsoon season. Planned a one day trip to Matheran on 16th July 2017 with my wife and sister in-law. I always assumed Matheran to be too touristic and very crowded so this place never appeared in my travel bucket list. This place was suggested by sister in-law as she had already been there.

We started off from Thane at 7:30 AM and took the Badlapur route to reach Neral. The roads were ok till Neral. You can reach the top by vehicle but the roads are quite steep. You need to drive only in 1st gear. There are a few small waterfalls on the way where you can stop and take a dip. We reached at around 10:00 AM and the parking lot was full. At some places there was slush and mud where a couple of vehicles had got stuck. We were careful and found a place quite inside the parking lot.

There is an entry fee of Rs. 50 per person and Rs. 80 for vehicle parking. The hiking starts inside the jungle and there are many points to visit. We wanted to cover two points i.e Charlotte Lake and Garbet point. We were quite hungry so wanted to have breakfast. We started off towards the Bazaar area. It is around 2 kms from the main starting point. There are two ways to reach this place. One is the road route and other one can walk along the toy train route. We took the road route as there was not much slush.

Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 2/11 by Prahlad Raj
Aman Lodge Railway station – Trains don’t run
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 3/11 by Prahlad Raj
Misal Pav
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 4/11 by Prahlad Raj
Matheran Municipal School
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 5/11 by Prahlad Raj
Charlotte Lake

We had Vada Pav, Misal Pav and Sandwich for breakfast. There are several eating joints in this area but all of them serve more or less the same dishes. Then, we proceeded towards the Charlotte lake which was another 1 km.

We wanted to head next to Garbet point and there was one road on the left of Charlotte lake. We enquired with the locals and they asked us to take this route. There was hardly anyone around in this road. It started raining heavily and we were getting drenched. It was quite an experience as we were the only people. We kept walking and reached a main point where we had tea. We proceeded towards Garbet point but found later that this point is closed and is not accessible due to several water streams. We reached a place where One Tree Hill point was 3 kms away. We enjoyed the hike to this point as there were several water streams on the way and some were even flowing on the path.

Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 6/11 by Prahlad Raj
Near Charlotte Lake
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 7/11 by Prahlad Raj
Road next to Charlotte lake
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 8/11 by Prahlad Raj
On the way to One Tree Hill point
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 9/11 by Prahlad Raj
One tree hill view point
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 10/11 by Prahlad Raj
One Tree Hill
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 11/11 by Prahlad Raj

One Tree Hill point is a must visit on your trip to Matheran. It is worth walking all the way to the point. We had very good views of the lake, one tree hill itself and waterfalls. We spent some time relaxing and then we started to walk back. We stopped at a small Bhajji joint and ordered one more round of vada pav and hot onion bhajji. Belvedere point was just 2 minutes away. So we ordered bhajji and went to see the point. This is another point with good views of the mountains and waterfalls. It was quite breezy so water was splashing on our face from the opposite direction.

The hike was quite tiring since the path was full of small rocks and water streams. In total we must have covered around 12-15 kms. Matheran is a must visit in peak monsoon season. One can enjoy the view of several waterfalls, take a dip in one of the waterfalls, hike around the jungle, eat hot snacks. One can hire a horse for touring inside Matheran.

 

“To get an itinerary prepared for your trip, connect with me on Whatsapp @ +91 95945 58457.”

Lohagad Monsoon Trek – A must do!

Lohagad is located near a small village called Malavli which is close to Lonavala. The distance from Thane is 110 kms. Lohagad fort trek is considered to be one of the easy treks. One can drive till the base of the fort from where it takes 20 minutes to reach the top.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 1/17 by Prahlad Raj
Vinchookada point
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 2/17 by Prahlad Raj
On the way to the fort

We parked the vehicle some 3 kms from the fort. At the main parking area, it is handled by one guy who demands Rs. 100 and one has to handover the key to him. We decided to park elsewhere and found a place outside a house. They charged Rs. 50 for the entire day. This chowk (area) was somewhere near the Bhaja Caves (Buddist caves). Started the hike after having breakfast of Misal Pav, Vada Pav and Tea. Our target was Lohagad fort so we skipped Bhaja caves which was to our left. The hike is from the road to the fort so a lot of vehicles was passing which was quite irritating as they were honking too much.

At some places, one can skip the road and take the shortcut through the mountain. This can be quite slippery due to water streams flowing and moving through thick bush. We took 2 hours to reach the base of the fort. There are many eating places near the base of the fort.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 3/17 by Prahlad Raj

There are three doors which one will encounter on the way to the top i.e Ganesh Darwaja, Narayan Darwaja and Hanuman Darwaja. Water was flowing in full force on the steps as it was peak monsoon and it was raining heavily. There were no views of the surrounding area as the fort was hugged by low hanging rain clouds. It was quite wonderful experience for us as this was the first monsoon season outing for us. At few places, the passage was narrow so we had to be very careful as there was rush and also the steps were irregular. We took our time to reach the top of the fort and made it successfully after an hour or so.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 4/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 5/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 6/17 by Prahlad Raj

We were awestruck at the fog covered fort, heavy rains and extremely breezy. We felt as if we were in heaven. Then, we moved towards the left of the fort on the edge. It was quite scary as there were no rails to catch on and it looked like a free fall. We came across a beautiful little pond which was in the middle of the fort. The strong wind and rain continued to pound our windcheaters. We moved towards the Vinchoo kada (point). Vinchoo means scorpion in Marathi. The mountain extended like a scorpion’s tail so the name.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 7/17 by Prahlad Raj
At Hanuman Darwaja (Entry point)
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 8/17 by Prahlad Raj
A tomb at the top
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 9/17 by Prahlad Raj
Place to park the Horses
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 10/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 11/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 12/17 by Prahlad Raj
Vinchoo kada
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 13/17 by Prahlad Raj
Cloud cover at Vinchoo kada

There was a Dargah and even a Shiv Mandir on the top of the fort. We spent sometime around the area. We ended the trek with hot filter coffee which we carried in the flask. Overall, this is a must visit place during the monsoon.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 14/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 15/17 by Prahlad Raj
Shiv mandir
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 16/17 by Prahlad Raj
View from the fort
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 17/17 by Prahlad Raj
Way down
 

“To get an itinerary prepared for your trip, connect with me on Whatsapp @ +91 95945 58457.”