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Old 20th December 2012, 17:19   #1
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Default Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

In October 2012 we had a nice (and much awaited) road trip from Bangalore to Mahabaleshwar via Dharwad. We had a few calendar holidays and could manage without taking too many days off from work. Of course, we had an eclectic mix of what 5 days could offer – nature, history, culture, temple and heritage – but sans wildlife!

The stretch of around 800 kms was covered over two days, with a substantial detour to Badami in between. The weather all along good except between Bangalore and Dharwad where rains prevented us from taking the desirable roadside relaxations. Otherwise it was good and provided opportunities for photographs. And we furnish it more as a photo travelogue. We do understand we still have to learn a lot in travel photography. This is our first post on Team BHP (got the membership recently), and just getting acquainted with the various options of the site. It was also our Fiesta’s first trip to Maharashtra, after substantial intermittent trips between Bangalore and Payyanur and some Bangalore getaways. And the loyal Fiesta once again proved to be steadfast and frugal.


Drive on the vast, relaxed highway has always been very enjoyable…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3750.jpg

The drive on the NH4 is a breeze. Moreover, in all the 2000 plus kms trip we hardly encountered a bad stretch, and Fiesta must have enjoyed it thoroughly, not something it is used to. So, long distances without any pains and breakdowns! That’s more than a bonus.

Around 815 kms, with Hubli - Dharwad as a good mid-point.
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3755.jpg

Thanks to our friend who is in academics, we had the opportunity to stay on the sylvan campus of Karnatak University Dharwad.

Perhaps the best place to spend time in Dharwad…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3760.jpg

And the green canopy that greets you on the campus…
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Bereft of a GPS navigation system, we located most of the important towns, landmarks and deviations on the benevolent google maps and scribbled on our notepad before departure itself. Also, my wife had a USB datacard and notebook assuring that we would never lose direction by any substantial degree.

Took the route via Navalgund and Nargund
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3769.jpg

At times we found asking the locals for direction as the best option. And you ask one, at least four will turn up to guide you! Sometimes they may end up fighting among themselves in front of you. We also asked people who were already arguing on something else. We also had the experience of asking a lonely person in a desolate field just to confirm our direction To Badami based on google maps. And he started asking counter questions “Only two of you?” “Why?” ”Better you go back to Dharwad and start afresh”. We had covered nearly 25 kms by then!! However, we decided to move forward on intuition and got to know that we were on the right track!

Very fertile soil on either side…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3770.jpg

We used to look specifically for these yellow direction boards of Karnataka Tourism
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3772.jpg

Its me… on the slightly desolate Solapur highway…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3777.jpg

Indian approach to the Monument Valley !!
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3782.jpg

We had long heard about Badami, formerly Vatapi, as the capital of the Chalukyas. And it has been quintessentially musical – Vatapi Ganapatim Bhaje. It is many years later that we made a more focused understanding of the episode of music. History has many ups and downs of dynasties and the battles amonst - Chola, Pallava and Rashtrakuta. The Vatapi Ganapati idol now sits in Tanjore, in deep South, as the Pallavas brought it from Badami in 7th century.

In front of the Museum and the imposing rocks behind
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3784.jpg


And there are many objects – frozen in time from 5th century onwards
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3817.jpg

And we just marvel at the capabilities of the dynasties manifested in these exquisite carvings.

We spent more time on the banks of the Agastya Lake and Bhutanatha Temple

The caves in the distance…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3843.jpg

The picturesque Agastya Lake in the foreground and the high rocks in the background offer a surreal beauty to the Bhutanatha Temple
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3876.jpg

Another angle…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3878.jpg


Standing the tests of time….
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3886.jpg

Immersed our feet and sat on these steps…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3921.jpg

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3959.jpg

Some of them one may find closed… and the ‘guides’ have the key, if we wish to see inside, they would open but they would expect a few bucks in return!
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3967.jpg

Badami had decent options for stay which would include Karanataka Tourism’s Chalukya on a budget and the Badami Court on the higher end. Time was a constraint for us having made the day trip from Dharwad (around 115 kms one way), erasing Aihole and Pattadakallu from our list. But the surreal beauty of Badami made us plan a separate trip to cover them and Gol Gumbaz in Bijapur as well.

On our way back… Windmills on mesas…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_3978.jpg

And miles to go….
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4194.jpg
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Old 21st December 2012, 12:03   #2
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Default Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds !! PART 2

Though the trip was long, our agenda for Mahabaleshwar was limited. Planned for 2 nights stay, coverage of some sahyadri interests such as Arthur Seat, Elphinston and a trip to Pratapgad. We had the allowance of one more day if we find anything particularly interesting but no prior hotel booking.

The drive from Dharwad to Mahabaleshwar – very relaxed cruise, 3 breaks, 7 hours.
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4024.jpg

Amar – only veg, after Tavandi Ghat offers good food
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4027.jpg


And first top up in Kolhapur…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4028.jpg


We took the route via Panchwad and Wai to Panchgani.

Had a late lunch at this small dhaba near Panchwad...
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4030.jpg

A temple to start with…in Old Mahabaleshwar…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4055.jpg




On the top right of this snap…too many people packed at Arthur Seat Viewpoint
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4068.jpg

Of course, what Mahabaleshwar is known for…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4175.jpg

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4148.jpg

Pure bliss…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4179.jpg

A village at a distance below…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4189.jpg


Evening sun in Venna Lake
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4192.jpg


Destination Pratapgad – At times the drive is as good as the destination…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4211.jpg

The imposing Pratapgad Fort
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4234.jpg

The Great Walls of Pratapgad
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4252.jpg

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4298.jpg

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4304.jpg

Smoke in the mountain…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4307.jpg

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4308.jpg

Shivaji Maharaj Square
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4342.jpg

Stand for the medieval torch around the Fort..
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4351.jpg

The canon of old times
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4357.jpg

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4358.jpg

This modest eatery is on the base of Pratapgad, and the proprietor uncle proved to be very aggressive in canvassing all passersby by loudly announcing ‘Jevanne hei babu- garam garam deta hun’.
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4363.jpg

The thali was simply wholesome…straight from the oven…full justice to ‘garam garam deta hun’ …the authentic Maharashtra cuisine…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4364.jpg

We would also suggest the ‘Hirkani’s’ for an authentic tasty stopover – on the Panchgani - Mahabaleshwar highway.

I always liked villages like these…green and serene…between Pratapgad and Mahabaleshwar.
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4365.jpg


The small town of Wai comes between NH 4 and Panchgani. We took a slight detour to the villages on the way towards Dhom Lake, a vast reservoir we could see as we were descending Panchgani. We asked the local people in Wai town about the road towards Dhom Dam, in late evening. We were informed that we were on the right track, however, they corrected us “Its not Dhoom, its DhOm”. Thanks folk!! and so we proceed.

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4379.jpg

The Dhom Lake on the base of Panchgani may not feature in standard travel guides, but we felt it definitely deserves more attention than Venna Lake in Mahabaleshwar. We really regret we made it very late to Dhom Dam that day, effectively giving us only a couple of minutes before darkness. We should have spent the whole afternoon on the banks of this vast lake!

Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4380.jpg

On the way to Dhom Lake, we had seen a beautiful small village – Menawali. This would remind us of the title, ‘A river runs through it’. Yes, that’s Krishna River. So, while coming back we made it a point to spend some time in Menawali to experience the tranquility, eventhough it was too late. My wife was a bit annoyed as I insisted on her asking (she was good in speaking Hindi and managing Marathi) a grandma on the roadside about a mandir on the banks of Krishna without giving any particular clue as to the name or any other detail (something that came in my web searches on Panchgani and Krishna River the previous day). And. Of course, there could be so many temples on the bank of Krishna!

And there it is…we could locate…a beautiful temple, some 100 mtrs off the road.
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4406.jpg





It was almost dark and we literally struggled to get a snap of the mandir with the slow shutter speed in the dim light. Regret again – a serene place but no time to sit and enjoy.

And quiet flows River Krishna…
Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!-img_4407.jpg

A search for nearby hotels in Wai listed one hotel in makemytrip. Thought of spending the night in Wai so that we can further explore the Dhom and Balakwadi area the next day. We went to the hotel which is on the Wai – Panchgani highway, but surprised to see the condition of the hotel which has a listing in travel portal. It was all deserted and apparently nobody staying…just had a cup of tea from the garden restaurant which was functioning fortunately!!


No good hotels to stay, and no intention to drive upon to Panchgani to stay overnight, we had to start over to Bngalore. It was already 7 30 PM by then and we had no solid plan…but quickly made up our mind to drive upto Kolhapur and stay with one of our relatives. And a nice drive of around 2 hours took us to Kolhapur. Good food, good stay and a visit to Mahalaxmi Temple next morning. Off to Bangalore at 11 30 AM. Nice drive… 2 hours break at Dharwad with a spicy and wholesome lunch at Karnatak Univerisity Guest House. And back in Bangalore… A nice holiday to remember.
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Old 21st December 2012, 15:35   #3
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Nice pics, thanks for sharing. Mahabaleshwar has astounding beauty. For those from Mumbai or Pune, it's a no-brainer weekend destination.

Some fun things to do:

Old Shiva temple : Origin for 5 rivers (including Krishna)
Pratapgarh Fort
Paragliding at Wai
Arthur's Seat point
Elphinston Point
Wilson Point
Kate’s Point
Lodwick Point
Table Land (Panchgani)
Boating on the calm lake
Bombay Point to see glowing sunsets
Go-Karting? Velocity : 02168241451
On Wheelz : 02168 - 242012

Food:
Hirakani or the many corn pattice joints
Thali lunch @ Valley View or Fountain Hotel
Savoy dhaba (non-veg friends swear by it)
Burgers & other junk @ Imperial (main market)
Olive Garden @ Brightland Hotel has surprisingly good pizzas
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Old 24th December 2012, 10:34   #4
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Very nice travelogue Nalin. The "Shiva Parvati" thaali at Pratapgad looks inviting. What is the best way to drive to Badami from Mumbai?
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Old 25th December 2012, 11:38   #5
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Excellent photos and narration. Thanks for sharing

Quote:
We had long heard about Badami, formerly Vatapi, as the capital of the Chalukyas. And it has been quintessentially musical – Vatapi Ganapatim Bhaje. It is many years later that we made a more focused understanding of the episode of music. History has many ups and downs of dynasties and the battles amonst - Chola, Pallava and Rashtrakuta. The Vatapi Ganapati idol now sits in Tanjore, in deep South, as the Pallavas brought it from Badami in 7th century.
Vatapi Ganapti idol is in the magnificent Tiruvarur temple (50km from Thanjavur).
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Old 26th December 2012, 14:46   #6
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds !! PART 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalin Kumar View Post
On the way to Dhom Lake, we had seen a beautiful small village – Menawali. This would remind us of the title, ‘A river runs through it’. Yes, that’s Krishna River. So, while coming back we made it a point to spend some time in Menawali to experience the tranquility, eventhough it was too late. My wife was a bit annoyed as I insisted on her asking (she was good in speaking Hindi and managing Marathi) a grandma on the roadside about a mandir on the banks of Krishna without giving any particular clue as to the name or any other detail (something that came in my web searches on Panchgani and Krishna River the previous day). And. Of course, there could be so many temples on the bank of Krishna!

And there it is…we could locate…a beautiful temple, some 100 mtrs off the road.

This village Menavli has featured in innumerable hindi and marathi moviee. Swades, Gangajal etc. There is a small old palace in this village which boasts of the only painting of 'Mastani' the beautiful courtesan of Bajirao Peshwe.
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Old 26th December 2012, 16:16   #7
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hrishik View Post
Very nice travelogue Nalin. The "Shiva Parvati" thaali at Pratapgad looks inviting. What is the best way to drive to Badami from Mumbai?
Thanks Hrishik. The best way to Badami from Mumbai would be to drive on the NH4 upto Sankeshwar and then take the road to Nargund via Gokak. You also get to see Gokak waterfalls in this route. Look for the directions (yellow boards) put by Karnataka Tourism.
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Vatapi Ganapti idol is in the magnificent Tiruvarur temple (50km from Thanjavur).
Thanks for this specific piece of information. This definitely adds Tiruvarur temple in our next TN itinerary.
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Old 26th December 2012, 22:21   #8
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Good start @Nalin; nice travelogue with good photographs. All the places you have covered seem to be very beautiful! Look forward to more...
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:11   #9
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nalin Kumar View Post
Mahabaleshwar.
A nice holiday to remember.
Very nice pictures mate.
Whenever you plan next time, do visit in monsoons, you will love this place even more.


Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Mahabaleshwar has astounding beauty. For those from Mumbai or Pune, it's a no-brainer weekend destination.
Food:
Hirakani or the many corn pattice joints
It is simply awesome. I would have been to Mahabaleshwar at least 100 times, yet there is something new you discover about the place every time.

Once I had a sumptuous and mouthwatering breakfast of Omlettes and 'Thalipeeth' in the cave below the table land. Pity that they are closed now. They had wood trunks cut to use as table and chairs. It was indeed an experience.

And for corn pattice, 'Bagicha' near venna lake serves good one too.
Mapro garden when visited on weekdays is nice a stopover to relax and enjoy their super big grilled sandwich.

A lot of times I drive there just to enjoy the drive on Mahabaleshwar - Panchgani stretch.
Or to hurl my Polo to Poladpur on NH7.
In fact I travel to my native village near Dapoli, only via Mahabaleshwar even though shorter routes are present.

Cheers
Abhijeet.
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:25   #10
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

@ Nalin Kumar

Excellent pictures buddy. Mahabaleshwar, what a wonderful place for pure bliss. Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani used to be my second home back in 1999.I used to enjoy those beautiful Ghat roads on my Kawasaki Aspire with my wify.We used to go down the hill to wai to a garden restaurant located between Wai and Panchwad to have our favorite Chicken Handi and Misal Pav.

Do you have any picture of the Table Land and Sidney point?
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Old 27th December 2012, 18:33   #11
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Nice travelouge Nalin. This reminds me of the upcoming strawberry season in Mahabaleshwar and a mandatory travel to be made. Just got the Pune-Goa- Pune done and your snaps of the NH4 (new numbering convention AH67 something like that) reminds me that the best portion is between Sankeshwar - Kolhapur ( part of the belgaum - kolhapur section).
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Old 28th December 2012, 09:17   #12
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds!

Thanks for sharing Nalin. Mahabaleshwar photos brings back so many fond memories of my childhood and youth when we used to hit the road on bikes or sometimes even with state transport buses to reach the lovely hill station on long weekends and then visit the points like Arthur Seat / Sunset aka Bombay Point. Seeing those mountains and valleys we tend to feel so belittled. Your photos actually kickstarted a film in my head like a slide show , strawberries , sunsets in the mountains , green foliage and little red roofed bungalows and houses , the cool breeze coming up from the valley , the views of Dhom Dam ....and it goes on. Thanks for triggering those memories.

Now with the highway and road to Mahabaleshwar in good shape it can easily be covered in a day from Pune , Mumbai , Kolhapur.
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Old 28th December 2012, 12:44   #13
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Default Re: Bangalore - Badami - Mahabaleshwar: 2 States, Many Worlds !! PART 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by heman_369 View Post
This village Menavli has featured in innumerable hindi and marathi moviee. Swades, Gangajal etc. There is a small old palace in this village which boasts of the only painting of 'Mastani' the beautiful courtesan of Bajirao Peshwe.
This is indeed very exciting, and took us to read further on this. We learn that this is the village where Nana Phadnavis settled (Nana Phadnavis Wada, beside this mandir). We should have done more homework!!
We remember seeing temples near the Krishna bridge in Wai as well, but couldnt stop and take snap due to traffic. What are the options for stay in Wai?
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