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Old 4th February 2013, 23:06   #1
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Default Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

The annual picnics had, well, become annual picnics, for the G-6 bus commuters.

In the past we had been to
Bhimashankar (2011 Monsoon Trips :: Starts off with a trip to the origin of the Bhima River),
Purandar Fort (Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort),
Tikona Fort (Back to mother nature and a piece of history Part II - Family Trek to Tikona Fort) and
Neelkanteshwar (Neelkanteshwar, Pune : A great one-day destination; mostly unexplored.).

The team had been to a couple of more places that I had missed.

And so it was decided we had to visit some place in 2012. Yes. 2012. I had been too busy (did I spell it as l-a-z-y?) to write about it here earlier. Better SLO than never.

If there is something that makes every Maharashtrian proud, it is the great ruler Shivaji. He was one of my childhood heroes too. The many stories read about him, used to bring to life the warrior in me and my brothers. We would take up swords and chop the heads of all those poor shrubs and plants along the path to our school. They were our enemies.

So when we decided to visit Shivneri Fort, I readily agreed. I was quite thrilled. I would actually be visiting the birthplace of the great Maratha king. We were told that the place is immaculately maintained. We were also informed that visiting this place is like a walk in the park. So we thought we should visit more places on the way to Shivneri Fort. Ozar, Lenydari and Malshej Ghat were added to the list of places to stop by.

On 28 July 2012 (that sounds like a decade ago) our bus headed towards Nashik after picking up several families starting from Kharadi. We had our breakfast in the bus (veg puffs, bread butter, biscuits etc.) and reached Ozar in the morning by about 10:30 a.m.

Ozar.
Ozar is one of the Ashtavinayaka temples. Among the scores of temples dedicated to Lord Ganesha in Maharashtra, there are 8 special temples that constitute the Ashtavinayaka temples and they are all scattered around Pune. I have no idea about what is so special about these temples. But many undertake a pilgrimage to visit these temples. So far I have been to four of these temples. You can read more about Ozar temple here.

The temple is located about 80km from Pune and is called the Vigneshwara Temple. It is located next to the backwaters of a dam. We had a quick darshan here. No long line of devotees (a sigh of relief!). There are also a couple of restaurants here that will serve you breakfast and lunch. Now for some pictures.

The view of the temple from the parking lot.
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090055.jpg

Guarding the Entrance
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090043.jpg

The grand entrance to the temple
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090021.jpg

Stone carving at the entrance
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090045.jpg

Above the entrance
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090020.jpg

A close-up
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090023.jpg

The SMS ringtone of the Gods
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090030.jpg

The marketing gods
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090025.jpg

Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090052.jpg

The temple again
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090019.jpg

Last edited by pjbiju : 6th February 2013 at 12:52.
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Old 5th February 2013, 14:03   #2
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Lenyadri
Our next destination was Lenyadri. Lenyadri was about 14km from Ozar. This is again one of the Ashtavinayak temples. As per wikipedia, there are about 30 rock cut Buddhist caves on top of a hill at Lenyadri. Cave No. 7 is now the temple housing Lord Ganesha. This one is really huge and has no pillars supporting the roof. The roof of this cave unlike the other Buddhist caves, is really low.

When we reached there, we were literally blown away. The wind was so strong that it was literally pushing people around. I am not sure if that is a normal occurrence there.

There are clean rest rooms at the base of the hill. All adults need to purchase an entry ticket to go up the hill. The temple is managed by a trust and you can find more information about them here. You can also read about Lenyadri here.

Puffing and panting we reached the top. There are beautiful steps all the way to the top. And there are monkeys. Anything remotely looking like edible stuff in your hands and the monkeys will assign a z+ level security cover to you. So you better hide those packets of chips, water bottles and even handbags. A few of the folks did have a harrowing time there. And DO NOT FEED THE MONKEYS (here or anywhere else).

The strong wind pushing the leaves to one side
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090058.jpg

Green pastures
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090060.jpg

The path less travelled
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090062.jpg

A view of the caves
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090064.jpg

Almost the entire section of caves
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090065.jpg

Cave close-up
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090066.jpg

A view of the cave that is the Ganesha Temple
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090067.jpg

Photographing the photographer
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090074.jpg

The tree that kept craning its neck to look at the pilgrims
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090076.jpg

Something that has become quite alien to the cities
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090077.jpg

"Here, take a last picture"
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090078.jpg

The valley
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090079.jpg

The temple perimeter
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090080.jpg

Exploring the caves
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090081.jpg

One of the Buddhist caves. This is "First Time Quality". No chance of retakes here. If you make a mistake, you have to look for the next mountain to start the cave carving all over again. You have to be a perfectionist first.
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090090.jpg

The Ganesha Temple cave. There were a few monkeys even in here.
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090091.jpg

Parking lot below
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090095.jpg

The other caves
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090097.jpg

An artist turned to farming? Looks like an Earth Painting.
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090099.jpg

The road to the town
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090100.jpg

Back to earth
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090102.jpg

If you are either lazy, adventurous or for some reason cannot climb up to the caves, you will be carried up and down like a king/queen for Rs. 500.
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090112.jpg

We had simple veg meals at the base of the hill from one of the places serving snacks and meals. No hi-fi place here to eat.

Coming up next - Shivneri Fort.

Last edited by pjbiju : 6th February 2013 at 13:53.
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Old 7th February 2013, 08:49   #3
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th February 2013, 09:55   #4
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Great account of the first two places in your TL, pjbiju!

I am glad (in fact relieved) to see that the Lenyadri caves and the approach route (steps etc) are so clean and devoid of commercial activity.

A couple of months ago we had been to Karla caves with the idea of showing my son the architecture and the effort put into carving caves into the hill. After braving the steps surrounded by all sorts of shops selling music cds, religious stuff and ignoring hijras and beggars, we reached the top around 4pm. At the main cave, some guys deputed by the ASI were shooing away tourists from the main cave. The board displayed the closing time as 5 pm. People questioned them why it was being closed early, some with kids were even requesting them to keep it open at least till 430. Or another 10 minutes. But they rudely refused. The kids were disappointed, some were even crying. Not sure who these folks were and why they shut the cave early.

We decided not to give undue importance to these morons and just left the place. In any case, it was so shoddily maintained that there was no chance of us staying there for even 10 minutes. A total disappointment there, which is why I am glad to see your report of this place. Sorry for the long ramble, while someone sees this wonderful place, I would like to warn them of the other type of places (and people) that exist in our vicinity.

I look forward to the pics from Shivneri and a route map from/ to Pune with a summary of road conditions if possible.
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Old 7th February 2013, 14:24   #5
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Great snaps as usual Biju sir.

Before reading the post i browsed through the snaps and was wondering how come there is so much greenery at this time of the year. After reading the post understood that you were very busy .

Route maps would definitely help. I guess this route can be planned for a wonderful one day outing with family.
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Old 7th February 2013, 21:52   #6
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Shivneri Fort

We were already quite late by the time we finished our lunch and then wanted to rush to Shivneri Fort for that walk in the park. "No worries man. We can simply drive up to the fort and there is no trekking involved at all." That is what heard from our friends.

So, as soon as the bus came to a stop at the fort, we jumped out. And sure enough there were a few granite steps leading to the grand entrance and that is all we had to conquer. We started walking up and up and up. And the walk in the park part was quite right. Only that the park was really h....u.....g.....e. You climb a few steps, walk to the end of the trail, climb up the next few steps, walk to the end of the trail, climb up the next few steps. Continue until you are tired or until you reach the Badami Talav, a pond at the far end of the fort.

The whole place is quite clean and neat. There were a couple of folks inside the fort serving lime soda etc. And at the base of the fort there was a chaiwala and a couple of people selling keychains and other small items. There was nothing else that you could get there. No places serving food etc. And I thought that was a good thing. There is one run down toilet that nobody can actually use. I am not sure if there are other rest rooms in the fort that ladies could use. There was again a place at the top that had the label "Drinking water" but with no water.

It takes at least a couple of hours to explore the fort. So carry water and other snacks with you.

See what I mean
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-shivneri1.png

And see how strategically located this fort was
Name:  shivneri2.jpg
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Size:  116.5 KB


A few steps is all it takes
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090127.jpg

The grand entrance
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090135.jpg

And we conquer it
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090143.jpg

As we start climbing up, a river quite far away
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090146.jpg

The surrounding areas
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090150.jpg

And the next straight stretch
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090175.jpg

The lion
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090179.jpg

The viewing gallery
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090189.jpg

Quite out of place here - nevertheless, good place to take some rest
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090183.jpg

Another view of the river
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090173.jpg

To be contd...

Last edited by pjbiju : 7th February 2013 at 22:06.
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Old 7th February 2013, 21:57   #7
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Very nicely taken and composed snaps Biju. The colours are really beautiful. How is the route from Pune to these places?
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Old 7th February 2013, 22:44   #8
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Quote:
Originally Posted by selfdrive View Post
Great account of the first two places in your TL, pjbiju!

I am glad (in fact relieved) to see that the Lenyadri caves and the approach route (steps etc) are so clean and devoid of commercial activity.

A couple of months ago we had been to Karla caves...

I look forward to the pics from Shivneri and a route map from/ to Pune with a summary of road conditions if possible.
Thank you selfdrive. I completely agree with you. I visited Karla caves in 2000 when I first came to Pune. It was sparsely crowded and we were free to walk around everywhere and go inside the caves.

And then we tried to visit the place around 4 years ago and it was a horrible experience. We had actually gone to Lonavala to visit Bhushi dam. We were stuck in traffic jam for more than two hours and then started back towards Pune, taking a U-turn at the first opportunity that we got. And then decided to visit Karla caves. There was some festival and we were caught in another traffic jam at the base of the caves. It took us another hour to somehow get out of the madness there. Never been back after that.

I believe Lenyadri caves are kept clean and not commercially crowded since this place is managed by the Shree Lenyadri Ganpati Devasthan Trust.

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
...
After reading the post understood that you were very busy .

Route maps would definitely help. I guess this route can be planned for a wonderful one day outing with family.
Thank you Amit. Yes, this route and places are ideal for a day of outing from Pune, particularly after the monsoons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Very nicely taken and composed snaps Biju. The colours are really beautiful. How is the route from Pune to these places?
Thanks Amp. The road from Pune to these places were in good condition when we visited. I will add some more details on the route later. (I still need to get back to you on the GPS issue. I have had a long chain of email interaction with Garmin. Will send you a pm with the details).
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Old 7th February 2013, 22:47   #9
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Beautiful pictures biju. The essence of the places is very nice captured.
Which camera have you used? Is this SLR?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
I will add some more details on the route later. (I still need to get back to you on the GPS issue. I have had a long chain of email interaction with Garmin. Will send you a pm with the details).
What is the GPS issue you are facing with Garmin?
I have done some research in loading india maps on garmin gps and was successfull in loading the maps in garmin nuvi GPS which I bought as gift for couple of my relatives and sent it to pune. The feedback I got was good.

Last edited by n_aditya : 8th February 2013 at 09:35. Reason: Posts Merged.
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Old 7th February 2013, 23:52   #10
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Shivneri fort continued..

A window to the world
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090192.jpg

Looking out for foes
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090193.jpg

And friends
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090195.jpg

Conquering the fort, with a smile - my friend keeps climbing
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090196.jpg

Lighting up the fort
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090200.jpg

Another H-U-G-E door
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090204.jpg

Well, this certainly is not one of those doors our film heroes would want to crash into - to break them open
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090206.jpg

Finally some resting place
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090211.jpg

Battle scars!!
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090214.jpg

Another flight of stairs
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090216.jpg

An old structure on the way - forgot its name
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090226.jpg

The dancing blades of grass
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090228.jpg

Yet another flight of stairs
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090224.jpg

Another artist farmer? Why do these look like paintings
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090232.jpg

Green wraps
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090238.jpg

The vertical cliff edges surrounding the fort
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090234.jpg

Treading on the footsteps of Shivaji
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090240.jpg

To be contd...

Last edited by pjbiju : 8th February 2013 at 00:11.
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Old 8th February 2013, 07:59   #11
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Quote:
Originally Posted by athanedar View Post
Beautiful pictures biju. The essence of the places is very nice captured.
Which camera have you used? Is this SLR?
Thank you. The camera is Panasonic LX5. This is not a DSLR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by athanedar View Post
What is the GPS issue you are facing with Garmin?
I have done some research in loading india maps on garmin gps and was successfull in loading the maps in garmin nuvi GPS which I bought as gift for couple of my relatives and sent it to pune. The feedback I got was good.
Actually I am not facing any issues with Garmin. The model I bought (2465 LM) was supposed to have a feature called Trip Planner, but it was not there. So I was trying to figure out if there is some way trips can be planned on a computer and the routes uploaded to the device. Ampere was helping me with this and I am yet to try out the things that he has told me to do.
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Old 8th February 2013, 08:30   #12
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
Thank you. The camera is Panasonic LX5. This is not a DSLR.
What do you use for Post Processing? I was looking at the specs of the camera. Although it says full manual settings, but I dont it allowing aperture/speed control. Do you have that? If not, then the photos feel even more amazing, know that you have snapped them with that constraint!

The snaps of the train TL were also with the same camera?
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Old 8th February 2013, 12:16   #13
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Quote:
Originally Posted by ampere View Post
What do you use for Post Processing? I was looking at the specs of the camera. Although it says full manual settings, but I dont it allowing aperture/speed control. Do you have that? If not, then the photos feel even more amazing, know that you have snapped them with that constraint!

The snaps of the train TL were also with the same camera?
The snaps in the train TL were also with this camera.

I mostly use Gimp2 and IrfanView. Gimp2 is mostly used to adjust the color curves and for cropping. Irfanview is used to add borders etc. All these images are jpegs from the camera. And I usually only adjust the color curves. Sometimes I do use Gimp2 to get rid of some unwanted stuff like electric cables, garbage on the ground etc. if I cannot avoid getting them into the frame. But that is a time consuming affair. Adjusting color curves in Gimp and then adding borders etc. in IrfanView leads to saving the images 3/4 times as JPEGs. This degrades the quality with every save operation. Not sure if there is any better way of doing this.

The camera allows full manual control.
The standard settings on my camera that I normally use are:
  • Color Mode: Vibrant (to get more saturated colors for nature photography)
  • Exposure: Program AE (Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority as required)
  • AF Metering: 1 Area
  • White Balance: Mostly auto, but I keep changing depending on the conditions.
  • Light Metering: Spot/Centre Weighted along with AE lock
  • ISO: 80/100 (I keep the max limit as 400 so that even in fully auto mode, this is not exceeded)
  • Output: RAW & Fine JPEG
  • Zoom: 24-120mm (Optical Zoom is 24-90mm)

The method I follow (when time permits):
  • Get the composition that I want
  • Adjust the other parameters, particularly light metering to get the lighting effect I want
  • Take the picture.

I miss the ability to go beyond F8.0 in certain situations and also that I cannot zoom beyond 120mm. I am still trying to learn quite a bit looking at what people put up here and other forums. Sometimes people get a bit annoyed when I photograph them since I take too long to click.

Last edited by pjbiju : 8th February 2013 at 12:22.
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Old 8th February 2013, 13:07   #14
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Thumbs up Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

Wonderful pictures & great perspective Biju! Love it when someone goes off the beaten path! Need more of such destinations around Mumbai. Clearly we in Mumbai don't have as much choices of weekend drives, when in fact the lifestyle of a Mumbaikar necessitates it the most!!

Also, it would be great if you can point our a rough Route map with Distances. Would help us mortals from mumbai plan around! Google maps would be Fantabulous!

But Amazing visuals Thanks for the views!!
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Old 8th February 2013, 21:37   #15
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Default Re: Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar

We continued to walk around the fort. There aren't many buildings or structures here to be seen. Towards the far end, there is the birth place of Shivaji. Even here, the wind was very strong. At the birth place, you are expected to remove your footwear. The wind was so strong that people's footwear being thrown around by its force.

The cliff edges hidden by foliage
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090243.jpg

Stone wraps
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090239.jpg

A mosque?
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090257.jpg

The two-storied structure that marks the birth place of Shivaji
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090255.jpg

The great king at his birth place
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090259.jpg

Wife enjoying the outside view from the top floor of the structure
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090263.jpg

The window
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090268.jpg

Another shot of the spear-door
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090300.jpg

Badami Talav - Shivaji's swimming pool?
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090282.jpg

It is the turn of Alex to enjoy the window
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090278.jpg

A painting of Shivaji in a temple in the premises
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090290.jpg

My friend at the far end.
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090274.jpg

And my parting shot
Around Pune : Go SLO - Shivneri, Lenyadri, Ozar-p1090266.jpg

I will update the travelogue with the route details etc. later.

To be contd...

Last edited by pjbiju : 8th February 2013 at 21:54.
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