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Posts Tagged ‘Explore Pune’

I badly needed a ‘bhatanki-break’ to kill my boredom. On saturday night, I started hunting for a place to drive and suddenly ‘Lavthaleshwar’ stuck my mind. Actually ‘Lavthaleshwar’ needs to be clubbed with Jejuri as it is 1-1.5kms just before Jejuri but i had not been there earlier in my Jejuri visits. It is known to be an ancient cave temple of Lord Shiva. I felt keen desire to visit here. I got up early in the morning and took up Solapur highway.

To reach Lavthaleshwar:

  1. Take Solapur highway
  2. Drive up to Hadapsar and take right turn to Saswad.
  3. On the way to Saswad, you have to cross Dive ghat.
  4. From Saswad, take road to Jejuri.
  5. 1.5 kms before Jejuri, look for ‘Lavthaleshwar’ temple entrance on right hand side.
  6. Total distance from Pune is around 48 Kms.

It is good drive of around 50 kms to reach the temple. Amazing fact about this place is – the temple is underground and not easily seen from road side. I parked my vehicle near the entrance name and literally searched for the temple. Later found some deep steps leading to the temple door. I  descended and found this cave temple. Another unique thing about ‘shiva-linga’ was, it was placed perpendicular to the entrance of ‘gabhara’. Mostly shiva lingas are horizontally placed in ‘Gabhara’. Being cave temple, it was cooler inside. I bowed in front of almighty and sat in peace. I generally like to visit temples in off-season where in I can spend my own sweet time there and conversing with God in leisure. This time it was exactly same. Then I came outside the temple and spent some time observing the surroundings. It was peaceful and shady. 

It is said that Swami Ramdas on the way to Jejuri halted at this temple overnight. He composed famous Pooja Arati – “Lav lavathi vikrala brahmandi mala…” here derived from the name ‘Lavthaleshwar’.
 
I started my return journey, took a ‘Misal paav’ break in Saswad. It was good drive of 60 odd kms and the place was worth visiting. 
Lavthaleshwar can be clubbed with Jejuri. For all those who want to be at peace this is THE place to be. 🙂

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Reverse monsoon (November rain) is not a pleasant thing anymore. Moreover as it was accompanied with storms, cyclone Phyan and what not. Rains made the days dull and lazy. Weekdays were spent in the office and then came weekend.

My friend wanted to capture clouds/fog for time lapse in Mulashi-Tamhini and I decided to accompany him. (Don’t ask me about time lapse stuff, i dont know any technicalities of it but i can now understand and identify it visually. )

‘Mulashi+Tamhini+rains’ equation is always delightful and also we both didn’t meet for quite some time. These reasons were good enough to catch up. We started at 5:30 AM. Plan was to reach there before sunrise but we couldn’t speed up much, many thanks to worst road condition.

 Somewhere near Mulashi, we found a wild cat crossing the road. We slowed down to watch it. It stood up to see how are we to focus lights in its eye, it gave us a dirty look and walked away. It was still dark morning. As darkness began to vanish slowly we found the road to be foggy and road-side puddles gave us evidences of rains. Few miles later, we stopped the car and my friend showed me 1st new bird of the trip. It was ‘Pied Crested Cuckoo’ (मराठी: ‘चातक’). It was busy enjoying its morning breakfast. It is said that Pied-crested Cuckoo sights are sign that monsoon are in. This is migratory bird which travels from South Africa to India. He waited for while and proceeded ahead.

We halted in Tamhini ghat for sunrise. Lord Sun slowly rose from back of the mountains, generously spreading its rays on the earth, fading away all the darkness and making the morning pleasant and worth while. We took some snaps and drove till Plus valley. There was no fog and clouds rising from valley so my friend was not able to capture time lapse. There were few rain showers in the mid.

We came across an animal which was killed by the road vehicles. The animal was ‘Small Indian Civet’. It was sad to see this rare-cited animal  getting killed in such inhuman way. 😦

We traveled some more and waited at a spot.  We did hear some calls of birds and giant squirrel ‘Shekru‘. And also tremendously beautiful pair of Scarlet Minivets had caught our attention. He parked our car at road side and went to woods. The pair also had their baby with them. I must say Scarlet Minivet male with its red and black color is one of the most colourful birds I have seen in India. The female is none less and is yellow-black with some patches of grey on wings. We silently stood at trees. I was seeing them for first time and all I wanted to do is watch them. Needless to say, thanks to my wildlife expert friend who knows all about birds, wildlife and immediately identifies them.

Another attraction was loads and loads of colourful butterflies. I enjoyed seeing and clicking them too. We started our return journey at 11:30 and took a ‘Quick bite’ break while returning.

Mulashi-Tamhini and its wildlife treat is full of many such surprises and too irresistible to miss.

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Peacock FeatherI visited “Morachi Chincholi” for second time last weekend. From learning from last visit, this time we started very early morning at 5:00 AM. I had my friend and her family along with me. They were very keen to see this place and we made a plan.

After reading my earlier post on “Morachi Chincholi“, a young chap called “Tanmay” from same village was very much excited that I wrote about his village and then we got in touch through mails. He insisted that I should visit his home when I go there again. He has also launched website to promote this specialty about his native. I became his critic to make his efforts better. This time I had company of Tanmay’s cousin “Dattatraya” in exploring more peacocks.

So….we reached there at 6:30.  On entering the village, we heard the “Mee-ow” of peafowls and then we HAD to stop. We had first flocks of peafowls to welcome us. 🙂

Datta joined us and we began to go to different places around the fields to see more peafowls. I really wonder how God has gifted this bird with so many magical colors. Its elegancy is divine. We witnessed graceful dances of peacock from behind of the shrubs and bushes without disturbing them. I am spell-bound to explain how amazing it was! 😀

Datta invited us for breakfast and tea and I just couldn’t deny his offer. We went to his place. His house was simple and neat with livestock of cow, buffalo and bullocks. His mother made “Pohe” and “Kanda bhaji” for us followed by refreshing tea. We were overwhelmed by their warm welcome and hospitality.

While returning Datta gifted us with peacock feathers as memento. I said to myself that this is not the last time and many more visits are on my mind. I strongly believe that there are some knots tied somewhere among the individuals which make us to meet different people in our life. I am happy that my path has crossed many such in my life.

We reached Pune by afternoon. My weekend was celebrated!!! 😛

Note: Few more snaps here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/morachichincholi/

Disclaimer: Friends, I recently got a comment that someone visited Morachi Chincholi and was unhappy that ‘Datta’ didn’t help/entertain them. Let me make it very clear that ‘Datta’ or people alike, whom I met are simple villagers who don’t have any travel company to entertain visitors like us. Nor do they do it for money. It is just for sake of relation and love that they have with me. I am thankful to them for that. I highly disclaim here that do not visit Morachi Chincholi or any of the places with expectations that ‘Datta’ or any villager(s) whom I wrote about, will help/entertain you. I myself have visited many remote places around Pune without knowing anyone there. Intention of my blog is not to provide you assistance for site seeing and food. My sheer objective is to provide detailed information about routes, place and share my own experiences.

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Ghorwadeshwar Base entrance‘Ghorwadeshwar’ (मराठी: घोरवडेश्वर) was on my mind since quite some time. Last Sunday, I visited this place with one of my friends. We got up early in the morning and drove to Ghorwadeshwar base. We parked our vehicle there and started climbing the mountain.

To reach Ghorwadeshwar:

  1. Start from Pune and take old Pune-Mumbai highway.
  2. Cross Dehu, Shelarwadi to reach village called ‘Somatane’.
  3. On left hand, you will see entrance of ‘Ghorwadeshwar’ and stone steps on the huge mountain.
  4. Total distance is 35-40 Kms.

Note: Carry water bottle. Wear good shoes/floaters with good grip as path is steep and rocky.  Strictly – no chappals, fancy footwear, sandals.

Cave Temple - GhorwadeshwarThere are stone steps till the half way and rest of the steps construction is still in progress. It was good trek and we climbed the mountain to reach the top. Cold breeze refreshed us and we rested for a while below the tree. And then we began to explore…

Total 11 caves and many water tanks date back to 3rd or 4th century. There is a Chaitya gruha which has 3 small rooms dug on left side, 4 on right side and similar 2 on back side. The main stupa is now turned into ‘Ghorwadeshwar’ temple. The sabha mandap is big to accomodate devotees. The Gabhara is extension to it and has no door. I found the shivlinga quite unique in shape from the rest. The base of this shivlinga is squared and not circular in structure. Some of the wall has carved messages in Brahmi lipi.

The panorama of Shelarwadi, Dehu, Talegaon, Somatane was on front side and on back side there were traces of concrete jungle in Hinjewadi. We sat on the rock for some time to figure out these places with our bino.

On the left hand side there is another cave temple dedicated to Saint Tukaram. Three beautiful black stone idols of Vitthal, Rakhumai and Tukaram are installed here. Ghorwadeshwar trust was formed in 1981.

There is huge yatra here on ‘Mahashivratri’. Thousands of devotees climb up to take darshan on this auspicious day.

A new chirping beauty caught my attention. I clicked many snaps of this place as well as of this new bird which got recently added to my bird encyclopedia. I later found its name – “Crested Bunting”. 🙂

Seeing all this was indeed very amazing. We started descending down at 10. It was wonderful trek+outing. 😀

For more snaps visit – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/tags/ghorwadeshwar/

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I have been to Kavdi (also called as “Kavdipat“) for couple of times.  Each trip is a treat in itself.

We started for Kavdi at 6:30 AM. After crossing ‘Loni Kalbhor’ toll plaza, we traveled for 2 mins more and took left turn. We found Bush chat (Female) and clicked few snaps on the way. We could also spot a Honey Buzzard along with Bulbuls, Shrikes, Drongos, etc.

To reach Kavdi:

  1. Start from Swargate and take Solapur highway.
  2. Cross Hadapsar, Manjri etc. Travel straight till you reach “Loni Kalbhor” Toll plaza. Get return receipt of  Rs. 22.50/-
  3. After crossing this Toll plaza, drive 2 mins more to see “Kavdipat” sign board on left hand side. Take left turn to go to Kavdi.
  4. After distance of 10 mins drive, we reach bund and river at Kavdi.
  5. You can park your vehicle at temple near by.
  6. Total distance is approx 20 Kms.

Best season to visit: November to January.
Must carry: Binocular and a camera. 🙂

Kavdi BundFlocks and flocks of migratory as well as local birds make their way to Kavdi. Winter mornings are very pleasant. If you reach there at time of sunrise then you could get some awesome sunrise shots.

We climbed the bund and fun began. First there were Wire-tailed Swallows. I approached them closer and closer and they were all set a wonderful photo session.

Other birds found were –  White-throated Kingfisher, Small blue Kingfisher, Teals, Brahminy Ducks, Ducks, Marsh Harrier, Yellow Wagtail, White-browed Wagtail, Grey Heron, Spotted Sandpiper, Black Ibis, Spotbill Duck, Cormorant, Darter, Common Sandpiper, Large Egret, Spotted Ducks.

Blue ThroatA special mention about a bird called “Blue Throat” which flies all the way down from Europe and then north Asia to this place. I saw it for first time. Thanks to Vishal for showing this to me.

If  you are lucky enough, you can also get to see – Pied Kingfisher, Peafowls, Purple Heron, Egrets, Stonechat, Scaly-breasted Munia, Red Munia, Painted Storks. 😉

On the way back, we waited at “Joshi Wadewale” and took a “Wada-paav” break. I returned home with memories of all these wonderful flying beauties.

Kavdi is truly bird watcher’s Paradise!!! 😀

For more pictures – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ruhiclicks/sets/72157603886961076/detail/
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Ananda ValleyI visited ‘Ananda Valley’ with my colleagues last saturday. It was a more of a team building activity than a picnic. We gathered near our office and started at 8:30 AM.

Best thing I like about Pune is – as you drive few kilometers away from city immediately the scene changes, you can breathe fresh air and enjoy nature. It was bit of cold and pleasant atmosphere in the morning. On the way, we enjoyed some garama-garam pattice which I got from Hindustan bakery.

To reach Ananda Valley:

  1. Take Pune-Nasik Highway, Cross toll entry (take return toll of Rs. 31.50/-) at Moshi.
  2. Drive till toll exit.
  3. After Exit look for 2 petrol pumps (BP, HP) on the left side.
  4. Take left after the 2nd petrol pump take the road that goes to Kadus village. You will leave the highway at this point.
  5. Drive more 10 kms to reach Kadus village.
  6. Ask for Dr. Kataria’s Farm i.e. Ananda Valley. After 1 km, look for sign on your right.
  7. Total distance is approx. 50-55 kms from Pune on Nasik Highway(NH-50).

We reached there at around 10 AM. Our booking was already confirmed and the concerned person explained us the details about the activities of the day. There were many other groups from different IT companies. We had breakfast which consisted of Pohe, Upma, Kokam Sharbat, tea, coffee and farm-fresh bananas.

Eco TourOur guide then took us for an Eco-tour. We followed him as he took us to different spots. We clicked some snaps in the garden on the way. We traveled from one direction to another and finally came at a hill. We climbed up and panorama from here was amazing. We could see lake and some greenery of the fields from the hill-top. Then we descended down to climb another mountain. This is a good trek. I found a pair of vulture hovering over us in the sky. They were at great altitude and capturing them in camera was O-O-Q (out of question). 😦

By the time we returned, it was lunch time and we were hungry. We enjoyed delicious Maharashtrian Thali (with Jowar Bhakri, Pithale, thecha and all that stuff). Then we took some rest.

In the afternoon, we enjoyed a bullock-cart ride and also some tatoos and mehendis. We played few games of carom and Fuss ball. Magic show was on but we took no interest in it. It seemed very boring and we just ignored it.

We didn’t indulge ourselves in any kind of actual team building-like tasks or games like other groups; the only reason was our group itself was small and other reason was, we just wish to relax. But we interacted more among ourselves. At end of the day, I felt I knew my colleagues more than yesterday and that was what it mattered for us.

AV is better option for corporate picnics than a family outing. They now have accommodation facility for overnight stay for families. I still feel rainy season will be better to visit as it will be green. This is certainly NOT the place for bird watching and photography.

+ points: Nature, Food, Hill climbing, team building activities.
– points: Less activities in the afternoon, no boating.

We came back in the evening. Ours was different kind of team building outing. 🙂

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My friends and I were planning for some monsoon outing since long. Finally we decided to go to Baneshwar last monsoon. We packed our backpacks and started in morning. There were light showers and atmosphere was very pleasant.

To reach Baneshwar:

  1. Take Pune-Satara highway.
  2. Drive approx. 30-32 Kms to reach Nasarapur phata (function).
  3. You can see sign board on left hand.
  4. Take right turn from this junction.
  5. Drive more 2.5-3 Kms to reach Baneshwar.
  6. Total distance is 35-40 Kms.

As the temple approaches, the dense canopy of bamboos welcomes you. This path is amazing. There is lot of parking spaces with few shops selling pooja thalis. Also there are few small hotels outside the temple. The temple entrance, deep malas, Nandi and water tanks are worth watching.

Baneshwar has beautiful temple of God Shiva. This temple is founded by Shrimant Balajirao Peshwa in 17th Century. ‘Ban‘ means ‘dense woods or forest’ in Marathi language. As this temple is situated among dense forest and trees it is called ‘Baneshwar‘ i.e. ‘God of woods’.

There is a unique flow of water around the temple. The construction is mostly in black stone. There are two water tanks with Gomukh. The water in those tanks is hard water. The gabhara has idols of God Vishnu, Devi Lakshmi and Shiva Linga. The surrounding is very pleasant and peaceful.

Outside there is a beautiful garden. There were many beautiful flowers and plants. We spent some time there. I spotted a spotted dove (doesn’t that sound rhyming…? 😉 )

Also there was a waterfall near to the temple. The route to waterfall is amazing and there is green all over. We should take precaution in waterfall as negligence can be dangerous.

Baneshwar is becoming popular now-a-days due to its approachability and beauty. We really had great time at Baneshwar.
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