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Old 31st August 2012, 22:50   #31
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Default Panjare waterfall

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A stretch where the road surface is completely washed away.
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Does it look like the Duma is crouching down to hunt the pray?
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Panjare waterfall
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Old 2nd September 2012, 09:03   #32
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Default Ghatghar dam and finally we reach Amruteshwar temple

The road and the surroundings can not be described in words.
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Amazing, mesmerizing are just empty words. You have to be there to experience it.
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That's the Ghatghar dam.
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Broken road.
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11:45AM -> Left turn towards Samadra and Ratanwadi. Its been one and hour hours since we started and with 11 kms to Ratanwadi, looks like there is still 30-40% route remaining.
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My decision to pick-up speed coincides with the road getting slightly better.
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A stretch of thick fog.
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We stop at a heavenly spot.
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Multiple waterfalls from all the surrounding hills + fog + light drizzle.
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12:30PM -> Finally we reach the Amruteshwar temple.
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A quick Darshan and we are out.
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The temple is apparently more than 1000 years old. The shiv-linga remains immersed in water throughout the year. During our visit, the water was not clear. But the following pic (from the internet - Copyright with original poster) shows how it looks.
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Last edited by SDP : 2nd September 2012 at 09:20.
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Old 2nd September 2012, 12:02   #33
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Default Re: An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri

Beautiful & so refreshing. My Sunday got livened somewhat seeing your pictures. Wish it was so green, wet, foggy here at the same time.

Rain, surprisingly has been eluding us this time around :(
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Old 2nd September 2012, 22:38   #34
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Default Lunch at Ratanwadi and a bit of exploring

1 PM-> We stop for lunch at a nearby Hotel Pravara from where you can see the Amruteshwar temple.
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True Maharashtrian rural food. Bhakri + bharli wangi + varan + bhat.
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The sky opened up and the clarity presented another opportunity for good photos.
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Green carpet everywhere.
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We had crossed this bridge just before reaching the temple and noticed a min-dam overflowing.
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2:00 PM -> After a good lunch in the most beautiful surrounding, we decide to check out the mini-dam on foot.
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The sight of sheets of water gliding down was soothing to the eyes.
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From the bridge, you can not really hear the water. But from near, its simply music to the ears.
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The Amruteshwar temple offers a few new angles from this place.
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We walk back to the hotel to claim our Duma.
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Last edited by SDP : 2nd September 2012 at 22:42.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 20:25   #35
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Default Return from Ratanwadi

Ratangad was never on the itinerary. Its a trek for which one needs to start walking from Ratanwadi early morning. Easily around 3-4 hours "one way", I heard. So its 2:30PM and we are done for the day. Most of the day has been spent in the beautiful drive that we would remember for years to come. Time to say good-bye to Bhandardara and check our luck in Igatpuri for tonight's stay. Worst case, we drive back to Mumbai and try to reach home before 10pm.

On the return journey, more waterfalls tempt us.
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Some near..
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and some far.
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2:45PM -> The lunch makes me slightly sluggish and we decide to take a break.
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The surrounding was beautiful with not a soul in sight (obviously except us).
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We park under a tree.
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Just next to a stream. With the help from wifey, I give Duma a fresh-water bath.
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Duma starts looking clean once again.
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We relax for 15-20 minutes before starting again.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 21:13   #36
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Default Splash

There's few inches of water on road occasionally. Mostly in low-lying portions of the road where some small stream decided to cross the road. I pick up speed and the car makes some fantastic splashes in that clean water. An idea is born. How about clicking some photos with the car splashing some water? On second thoughts, I wanted to do that since ages. So technically, the idea has been conceived years back, its time to execute now. Its a perfect setting. The tummies are full, the plan for the rest of the day is wide open, Duma just had a bath and the landscape is heavenly. I ask my wife hesitently, she agrees immediately to get down and handle the camera.

With anticipation, we move forward looking for puddles of clean water, gauging visually if they are big enough for a good splash.

We spot one. I drop wifey off and reverse the car some 50 odd meters to gather speed.

Here's the result: 2 images and one animated GIF.
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Good fun! I check the images, they are good. The splash is predominantly on one side and is not very high. But still, its GOOD fun. Let's do it again.

We find the next puddle. Not really a puddle (which sometimes implies dirty water) as the water is crystal clear. Its a small stream, which has breached the road's boundary. This one is spread over a big area, wide enough for both tyres to be in water. The water depth is easily 4-5 inches.

Repeat: drop her off, reverse, watch out for traffic, vroooooom and then splaaasssssshhhh!

Here's the result of this attempt: 3 images and one animated GIF.
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Good splash! As high as the car, almost 6 feet! And its pure white water.

There's something about splashing that brings back the innocent memories from childhood.

PS: No humans were harmed/endangered during this episode. Wifey was standing off-road and quite far from the action. The heavily cropped images might give an impression that she was too close or standing in the middle of the road. Just clarifying.

Last edited by SDP : 3rd September 2012 at 21:17.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 23:00   #37
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Default Re: An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri

Awesome place and equally beautiful narration. Brought back memories from a trip that I did in the end of Sept 2009. Although the sole motive of our trip was the trek to ratangad.

Plus an added bonus of spotting a leopard(bibtya) crossing the road on the way back somewhere near Akole(I guess, don't really recall the location that well).

Very nice pictures as well. May I ask which camera? All I could guess from the labels is its a Sony.
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Old 3rd September 2012, 23:26   #38
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Default The illusive Kalsubai

One interesting thing: for last 2 days, we have been asking people for the Kalsubai peak. Everybody point in some direction and mentions - Its over there. If the fog clears, you will see it.
We never did.

The outside temperature is around 21-22. The rain doesn't allow us to roll down the windows completely for long, but we still drive with partially rolled down windows.

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After a leisurely drive, we reach the gate of the sanctuary again. But not before one more stop to enjoy the lake and the dam view (for the last time in this trip).
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That's the Anandvan resort right outside the sanctuary gate.
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Its 4:30PM. The return from Ratanwadi has taken us 2 hours.

Snaps from Bhandardara till we join the Mumbai-Nashik highway.
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Old 4th September 2012, 07:13   #39
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Default Map-My-India Zindabad #2

Map-My-India Zindabad #2

After passing through the treacherous stretch through Ghoti market, we stop a few meters before the left turn to Igatpuri. Finding the hotel for tonight is important. Let's use MMI's hotel search.

It throws 3 hotels, the nearest one is apparently about 2 kms towards the Nashik side. Some Hotel Kinara. We decide to check it out. I start the navigation and turn right on the highway. The distance to destination gradually increases to 2.5 and then 3 kms. It suggest the next right, I take it. That's the Mumbai-Aurangabad-Nagpur highway. After a few hundred meters, the road disappears from the navigation system. We take a railover bridge and the road magically reappears on the screen.
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We have travelled 3-4 kms and still no sight of Hotel Kinara. We see a hotel and I get down to make inquiry. Its a restaurant, no option to stay.
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I ask someone if there is a hotel nearby. He replies - hotels in Bhandaradara or hotels in Igatpuri.

I retrace the route. Again the road magically disappears and reappears. Ah, I get it now. The rail-over bridge is possibly new and is not updated in the MMI maps . The bigger "MMI Zindabad" moment is still a few minutes away.

Some 5-7 minutes later, we reach the exact same spot where we had stopped and done a hotel search on the MMI. Hotel Kinara is just next to where we had stopped!! Literally less than 20 meters away!

Last edited by mobike008 : 4th September 2012 at 09:59. Reason: as requested
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Old 4th September 2012, 09:12   #40
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Default Re: An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri

SDP, loved reading this thread. My maternal family is from rural parts of Thane district which is pretty similar to this region. It used to be my monsoon trek destination till I moved out. Thanks for this virtual experience.

Last edited by avingodb : 4th September 2012 at 09:17.
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Old 4th September 2012, 09:17   #41
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Default The Search for a hotel at Igatpuri

The Search for a hotel at Igatpuri
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Hotel Kinara: Its lousy looking hotel cum bar, with a few rooms on the first floor. Should we even bother? Let's at least check it out. I go alone and enter the hotel. The guy at the cash counter has no clue and asks me to check upstairs. The first floor has some 8-10 rooms, all locked. The passage is poorly lit and dirty. Overall perfect setting for a C-grade horror movie. I rush down the stairs and out of the hotel.

We move forward. We spot a water resort with stay-options.
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Hotel Shagun: Seemed like a decent place. We stop, check at the reception, no rooms available. The guy at the reception says - No point wasting time sir. You won't get any room in Igatpuri. Its a 3 day weekend.

OK, we might have to head back to Mumbai. So let's click a snap of the car. It might as well be the last snap of the trip.
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As we approach Igatpuri, Hotel Ashwin is advertised at multiple places. We call them - no vanancy sir.

Find a small eatery Sai Plaza some 4-5 kms after Hotel Shagun. There is a board right next to them advertising about some Sai Resort with AC and non-AC rooms.
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The arrow makes me believe that the resort is someplace else.
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I call the number and ask for directions. The guy says - are you calling from the red car outside. Come in and let's talk at the counter.

I park and go inside. Next to the hotel there are some 10 odd rooms and they are available. For one night 600rs + 300 rs for 2 kids. Ok, let me check the room first. He calls the caretaker guy and asks me to show the room. The room looked good on the hoarding. I check 2-3 rooms, they all have one or the other problem. Finally I settle for the first one. Its OKish, but visibly better than the one where we stayed in Bhandardara.

I go to the cash-counter and confirm. He asks for 600Rs (instead of 900), I pay 600 quietly.

I park at one extreme corner of the parking space and unload. We settle down, freshen up. While I bring in all the bags, a whole bunch of mosquitos enter the room.. big ones. Should have guessed when the caretaker gave 2 mosquito coils along with the key. We light one of them and start swatting the mosquitos with newspaper. The kids enjoy it. Isn't there a smiley for rolling eyes?

Dinner time
Its been a beautiful day. Let's wrap it up with a nice dinner. That Shagun resort seemed neat. Ok, its finalized then. We leave the room around 8pm.

Dining at Shagun was fantastic - good food and brilliant ambience.

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Just clarifying: I was served Pepsi in that glass. I don't drink. Ever.
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9:40PM -> After a few snaps at Shagun, we start back.

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Our room is some 5kms away. Who drives 5kms (one way) for dinner, when there is a hotel right where you are staying? Rhetorical question, don't answer that!

That 5km drive was tricky. No street-light, there was very light drizzle (and possibly little bit of fog) and neither the low beam nor the high beam seemed to illuminate the road adequately.

Last edited by SDP : 4th September 2012 at 09:27.
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Old 4th September 2012, 16:43   #42
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Default Another weird night

Another weird night

We reach the hotel and quickly get into the room. Apparently the restaurant is popular and there were easily 15 odd cars-innovas-taveras stopped for dinner. The following hotel-sign might have something to do with the popularity.
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We want to sleep, but there are still too many mosquitoes. We are outnumbered, but in true "300" style, we wipe out the mosquito army. We need 2 more blankets, I go searching for the caretaker. He has become a waiter now. I trace him and ask for 2 more blankets. He asks me to raise a CR in the system and route it through the workflow and get approval from the regional head. (Just checking if you are actually reading or just flicking through the snaps). I am kidding, the caretaker asks me to talk to the owner. The owner is now managing the crazy dinner crowd. The owner promises to have the caretaker attend to us in 10 minutes and does nothing. I am not surprised, it makes perfect business sense. The dinner bill of a Tavera gang would be 1000+ Rs, in fact much more with special liquids. And the margins are fat. So if you can earn at least 500-600 Rs on 2 tables in an hour, why care about the customer staying in that 600 Rs per night room. Additionally, the customer taking the room has already paid and he is not going to stay there again anyways. So why bother?

I wait for 20-30 minutes and then help myself with a blanket from the next room, which was unlocked. With a night lamp on, we all doze off.

Around 2pm, some sound wakes me up. I hear a couple of men outside in the veranda. Wifey also wakes up. They are at our door and trying to push the door. One guy says - its locked from inside. Me and wife are both quite tense by this time. Who are these people? What do they want? None of the obvious answers that come to our mind are comforting. Where the hell is that caretaker? After working as a caretaker throughout the day and then being a waiter till 12-12:30am, is it really possible for him to stay awake and be a watchman of the premises through the night? I doubt that.

Then suddenly the human sounds stop. We heave a sigh if relief. That relief lasts for about 2 minutes and then there is some weird sound outside the window! Now we are really scared. Is somebody trying to break in?

While taking the room, I have not checked if there is a grill on the window. That realization makes me curse myself at that moment. We remain quiet and alert. There is no movement outside the window. We dismiss the sound as rain or a mouse and try to sleep. All that tension ensures that we couldn't sleep properly for the rest of the night. That's three nights in a row.

I have never waited more eagerly for a morning. Finally the sun rises around 6AM. I check the window. The window has a grill and there is just a rice paddy just next to the window. I step out of the room to check on Duma, he seemed well. At least 3-4 rooms out of the 10 odd have occupants. Must have been one of those groups which reached the hotel late and got confused with the room number. Now, it appears as a logical conclusion, but in that moment, it was a scary experience.

Unplanned trip, huh!

Last edited by Technocrat : 5th September 2012 at 23:05. Reason: Typos corrected on request :)
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Old 4th September 2012, 17:57   #43
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Default Re: An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri

Hello SDP,

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Just clarifying: I was served Pepsi in that glass. I don't drink. Ever.
Good you clarified.
But jokes apart apreciate that fact that you never ever drirk. earlier we also noted your safe driving practices, especially when driving with Kids. Sincerely appreciate the discipline that you follow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
I trace him and ask for 2 more blankets. He asks me to raise a CR in the system and route it through the workflow and get approval from the regional head. (Just checking if you are actually reading or just flicking through the snaps).Unplanned trip, huh!
Typical IT Company systems & we are all very used to these approvals procedures. But yes, we are following & reading your thread in detail.

The experience at night was really scary specially when you are staying in a unknown hotel with family. But all is well that ends well.

Thanks,
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Old 4th September 2012, 20:51   #44
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Question Day 3: Morning fog in Igatpuri and a good breakfast

Day 3: 20th Aug 2012 - Morning fog in Igatpuri and a good breakfast

By 6:30AM, everybody is up. The view of the rice paddy and highway from the window.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0165.jpg

We get ready swiftly.
8:00AM -> We are all set.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0171.jpg

I load the bags in the car and handover the room-key to the caretaker.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0182.jpg

What's the plan for today? The Outlook Traveler mentions Bhatsa River valley, Camel valley, Ghatandevi temple and upper Vaitarna dam. I make a mental note.

8:30AM -> We start towards Igatpuri. On second thoughts, we ARE in Igatpuri.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0185.jpg

In about 2 minutes, the road and the surrounding area are engulfed in thick fog. Vehicles with tail-lights ON just about visible.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0187.jpg

The vehicles without tail-lights are really difficult to spot. We have all lights ON including front and rear fogs.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0188.jpg

An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0190.jpg

We have two valleys on the list. What will we see there in this thick fog? Plus its quite dangerous driving in these conditions. We decide to stop at the next decent restaurant for breakfast. After dismissing a couple of Sai Plaza grade restaurants, we spot a relatively big one on the other side of the road. I take my time to carefully execute the right turn.

Its Hotel Greenland. We park there.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0199.jpg

Its Id. The place would remain closed for today. We decide to hang around in the parking space anyways.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0192.jpg

An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0196.jpg

An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0197.jpg

In another 15 minutes, we get bored of watching the cars in the thick fog. Let's explore the internal roads of Igatpuri.

Even on internal roads, the fog is thick. But since the speed is slow and there are fewer vehicles, its OK.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0201.jpg

Suddenly we spot the Hotel Ashwin, which is well advertised in this area and we had called them yesterday for a room. I ask at the gate if the restaurant is open. Yes, it is. We park and go inside.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0220.jpg

The resident crowd is having a buffet breakfast. Its 120Rs per head, unlimited. Upma, idli, bread-jam and potato-wada. We hesitantly ask if we can order anything else. The answer is affirmative. We settle down. Because of the fog outside, there is absolutely no hurry. We order 4 different things and two coffees.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0204.jpg

An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0214.jpg

An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0215.jpg

We explore Hotel Ashwin and found it to be a decent property.
An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0217.jpg

An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri-dsc_0218.jpg

Last edited by SDP : 4th September 2012 at 21:02.
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Old 5th September 2012, 17:54   #45
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Default Re: An unplanned long-weekend trip to Bhandardara-Igatpuri

Absolutely fantastic. Superb narration coupled with superb pictures. Really refreshing greenery.
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