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Old 26th August 2013, 00:22   #1
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Default Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

One day locations around Mumbai/Pune are not difficult to find. Many a times the drive towards the destination is what makes a trip enjoyable. Such was a trip to Varandha ghat and Shivtharghal which is located around 124kms from Pune.

Quick short info about the places: Varandha ghat helps to connect the Deccan plateau with Konkan. As with other ghats like Tamhini and Kumbharli, this is used to get down to Konkan from Pune.
Shivtharghal is the place where saint Ramdas dictated Dasbodh to Kalyanswami.

Route taken: Pune-Bhor-Varandha ghat-Shivtharghal

We decided to start off at 6AM rather than our usual time of 4AM. After few snoozes and lazyness we finally managed to get out by 7. One of my friend had decided to join after his night shift provided I bring him back by 3-4PM. He wanted to catch some sleep before his next night shift .

Road conditions were good from Pune except some diversions. Luckily Independance day holiday meant thinner traffic. Cruising along NH4 we crossed Katraj in no time. The chaotic Khed Shivapur toll plaza was also smooth. This toll plaza is one nightmare during peak hours.

By now all sort of animals had started showing their activity in our stomachs. An immediate breakfast break was called for. NH4 meant a fixed breakfast place. Hotel Kailas bhel at Khed Shivapur, our usual adda. Piping hot misal, sheera and steaming chai was gobbled up in no time.

Chilled weather, spicy misal and steaming tea! What a combo!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3857.jpg

Shops and hotels at Khed Shivapur which were along highway are now gone. The corporation cleaned off the entire stretch after a flooding incident in which one Alto was swept away by water currents. Now there is no traffic along this stretch and no haphazard parking along roadside.

Breakfast now done, we set off towards Bhor. Previously there was a right turn on highway just after HP petrol pump. But now there's a subway kind of something being constructed at that spot. Hence one need to go ahead a few metres take a u-turn over a slushy patch to get over to other side. This turn can be easily missed because of the construction.

After leaving NH4, state highways started. Not that smooth but better till Bhor. Lot of rough patches but fortunately no surprise potholes. We took the Bhor town bypass route to avoid the narrow town roads. After crossing Bhor the road towards Varandha ghat was excellent.

Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3858.jpg

Objects in the mirror can be farther!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3860.jpg

Bhatghar dam. This is actually on NH4-Bhor route. Dam gates were opened. Since it started raining after few snaps, we decided to stop again while returning.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3861.jpg

Enough BHP to go anywhere!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3862.jpg

Lush greens in every nook and corner!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3868.jpg

Roads were good! A closed shop by road.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3869.jpg

A kind of temple right in middle of a field. The typical yellow flowers were present everywhere. Since it was very windy, there was no way we could manage a decent shot.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3871.jpg

Our own desi Windows XP wallpaper .
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3875.jpg

Another dam-Nira Deoghar dam. Again overflowing hence dam gates were opened causing this mini flooded stream.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3879.jpg

Dam wall with some watch tower kind of thing. Just have a look at the amount of water!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3883.jpg

Another view of the flooded stream.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3886.jpg

The steed for the drive. Codenamed "Little Red Riding Hood" or for this trip say "Dirty Red Riding Hood".
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3889.jpg

Fully filled up dam reservoir.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3890.jpg

Clouds playing a light and shadow game on dam wall.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3897.jpg

There was a bhutta(corn) stall at this place. Not a stall in exact sense, but he had converted his back seat of Bajaj M80 into a corn roasting machine. Probably he knew people are going to stop at this beautiful location. Business mind you say.

Soon after getting our hearts filled, we left for further journey. Weather was just perfect, a typical shravan month weather. Light drizzles, sunlight again drizzles. It was just refreshing! But something was still missing...

Waterfalls! Where art thou?
We kept on driving along the dam reservoir. It seemed endless. At one turn it was there! The first waterfall of the trip. Came to a screeching halt (well not really) took a u-turn came back and parked. And we were greeted by this:
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3903.jpg

The stream created by it
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3908.jpg.

But our happiness was short lived. Moments later few cars too pulled up. All hooligans shouting screaming. They too stopped and went towards the fall. We realised it was no use in waiting and it was impossible to get good shots with people shouting and dancing. We decided to move further, Varandha ghat was about to start. Just some kms before we encountered numerous small small waterfalls alongside road.

Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3912.jpg

Steed posing in front of it.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3913.jpg

The overflowing water was routed through a pipeline below road. On the opposite side it gave an interesting pattern in long exposure.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3918.jpg

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 26th August 2013 at 19:00.
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Old 26th August 2013, 00:53   #2
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Default re: Monsoon Diaries:Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

We continued towards Varandha ghat. Finally we reached the famous view point of Varandha ghat. Unfortunately it was foggy. The famous peak like structure is actually a fort named Kavla(Marathi word for crow).
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3926.jpg

The valley of light!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3929.jpg

There are lot of monkeys in this area. Hence it was risky to roam around with cameras. They snatch whatever you have in your hands. I could have given anything to them pizzas, burgers but not my camera. I was sure my car was safe since there was no way they could snatch it.

Yeah open windows could have invited trouble, but I was lucky. Anybody stopping here, please keep in mind to roll up your windows. They straight away get inside and snatch whatever they get.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3936.jpg

There are lot of stalls selling vada pavs, bhajjis and tea. There's a fierce competition here between the stall owners, each one trying to grab you towards their place. It was quite crowded here with cars parked haphazardly. Roads are not that wide, and with parked cars it becomes a mess. Add to it the giant ST buses plying on this route. If you happen to stop, park you car before these stalls and walk down. The place where I parked is quite wide and safe.

After a quick bite of vada pavs and tea we headed towards Shivtharghal. Now while going to Shivtharghal there are 2 options, one is the shortcut which is mentioned in few threads. This was supposed to be a kaccha road which is just after crossing those 3 hairpin bends of Varandha ghat. A gateway has been constructed with signboards. It has been tarred at the beginning. However after few kilometers it's all stony.
It becomes extremely steep, narrow and rocky later on. Though it's manageable, low GC sedans might get hits.

We had decided to avoid this route, but the local tea stalls guys told us not to worry. Still in doubt I decided to give a try, and after looking a Nano going ahead on that route, we went in.

Still I would recommend to take this route only while descending. We never saw any vehicle coming up, inspite of Shivtharghal being crowded.

Route1: Shortcut
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-map1.jpg

Route2: Long cut, but excellent roads
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-map2.jpg

The so-called difficult hairpin bends of Varandha.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3942.jpg

After the 3 hair pin bends, one can see that gateway with arrow showing the route. Unfortunately I didn't snap any pics on this route. There is proper parking area for vehicles.

The first glimpse of Shivtharghal waterfall.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3951.jpg

The stream.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3947.jpg

Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3949.jpg

Unlike some other tourist places, this place was properly maintained. The stream flowing was clean, there was no littering of any sort in that. There is cave where Saint Ramdas dictated the Dasbodh. This place is extremely peaceful leaving aside the roaring waterfall which falls over the cave.

Another closer view of the fall.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3956.jpg

There are steps to reach the source of waterfall. But somehow walking barefoot on that stony path was pain. Still we tried to reach, but the way further was blocked by locals by putting thorny branches across. Without attempting any heroic acts we returned back.

Some clicks from a higher vantage point.
The actual force of water, I must have bored you with all those long exposures .

Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3964.jpg

One final pic and we returned!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3971.jpg

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 26th August 2013 at 19:04.
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Old 26th August 2013, 00:56   #3
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Default re: Monsoon Diaries:Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

We did not spend much time at Shivtharghal. There are not much eating options here, so we decided to return. We took the longer route while returning. This is much more scenic than the shortcut.

The mighty western ghats.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3977.jpg

Twin waterfalls. View from Varandha ghat.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3980.jpg

The tea stall at Varandha. Clicked them while going back. Kanda bhanjjis have one more name, khekda bhajjis. Given the pleasant weather, one can easily gobble down 3-4 vada pavs at a time. They very well ensure that you get hot vadas everytime .
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3986.jpg

The return route saw the same dam reservoir for company. This time we stopped to click!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3988.jpg

The road alongside.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_3992.jpg

Live to Drive!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_4003.jpg

The steed, always ready to roll any time!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_4004.jpg

My favourite shot!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_4014.jpg

One final front view shot and we packup.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_4022.jpg

While returning we stopped again at Bhatghar dam. Look at the number of doors open! More than 50!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_4027.jpg

The raging water!
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-img_4043.jpg

With this, the memorable I-day trip came to an end. The return journey along NH4 was uneventful. Infact road towards towards Pune was bad at certain places. I had promised my friend that we shall return by 4PM. But it didn't happen. We reached around 7.

P.S: One word of caution. I am not sure whether it was Independance day rush or normal holiday rush, but there were lot of bikers driving rashly. Specially later in the day. So please be careful with them, since they drive very badly.

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 26th August 2013 at 19:06.
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Old 27th August 2013, 02:46   #4
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Mods note: Thread moved from Assembly Line to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 27th August 2013, 08:26   #5
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Smile Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

@Dodge_viper,

Absolutely fantastic pics, thanks for sharing them. The Bhatghar dam looks splendid in those pics. The Shivthargal falss very closely resemble the Dudhsagar falls.

BTW how much distance was covered in the trip?
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Old 27th August 2013, 09:15   #6
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Beautiful narration and fantastic snaps! Loved the silky-water shots.
Frankly, I am tempted.

Can you please share some route details? Specifically after exiting the expressway, where do you leave NH4? A map would definitely help!
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Old 27th August 2013, 09:55   #7
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Greens on the NH4 around Maharashtra is just too good! Witnessed a part it last week. Need to come down to this side once again!

Very nice snaps indeed.
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Old 27th August 2013, 10:19   #8
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
@Dodge_viper,

Absolutely fantastic pics, thanks for sharing them. The Bhatghar dam looks splendid in those pics. The Shivthargal falss very closely resemble the Dudhsagar falls.

BTW how much distance was covered in the trip?
Thanks a lot ghodlur! Though height of Shivtharghal waterfall is not much, the flow of water is fierce in peak monsoon.

We started from Wakad,Pune. While going we covered approx 121kms and while coming back 142kms since we took the long cut as previously mentioned. So overall around 263kms were covered.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Beautiful narration and fantastic snaps! Loved the silky-water shots.
Frankly, I am tempted.

Can you please share some route details? Specifically after exiting the expressway, where do you leave NH4? A map would definitely help!
Thanks Sanjay!
After exiting e-way, you have to exit NH4 just immediately after Kapurhol village .
Point A - Narayanpur fata (The famous Balaji mandir)
Point B - Place of exit from NH4 (Landmark - HP petrol pump)
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-1.jpg

For Bhor town bypass:
Point A: Just after crossing one bridge over river keep left at Point A
Point B: Take right from here and head straight for Varandha
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-2.jpg

The circle 2 is the exit point. At this very place contruction activity is going on hence one has to go ahead a few metres and take a u-turn.
Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal-wiki.jpg

Map route link from Mumbai:

Vashi - Shivtharghal (via Pune if one want's to avoid NH17)
http://goo.gl/maps/bgX6I

Vashi - Shivtharghal (via NH17-this is actually very much shorter, but one misses Varandha ghat)
http://goo.gl/maps/LRaUG

Let me know if this helps.
It seems I missed important details of the TL. First time posted a TL
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Old 27th August 2013, 11:29   #9
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Misal Pav, Vada Pav, Kanda Bhaji, Rains and a wonderful travelogue.

Damn bro!! There is a limit to how much you can make a person jealous (a** burning limit in hindi )

The start of your travelogue with the MISAL pic was enough to make my face turn with jealousy.

Do keep exploring, and giving me ideas for a short trip during my annual leave.
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Old 27th August 2013, 14:20   #10
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Hello,

Congrats on your first travelogue & looking at your narration & pictures, I am sure there are going to be many more travelogues from you.

All the pictures including the one of Bhatghar dam with all the gates open are really good, but I personally found the first picture - Tea & Misal picture very much. It makes one feel that Misal pav is ready on their desks. By the way, can we visit these places as a one day trip from Mumbai?

Kudos to your photography skill.

Thanks,
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Old 27th August 2013, 14:36   #11
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jignesh View Post
Hello,

Congrats on your first travelogue & looking at your narration & pictures, I am sure there are going to be many more travelogues from you.

All the pictures including the one of Bhatghar dam with all the gates open are really good, but I personally found the first picture - Tea & Misal picture very much. It makes one feel that Misal pav is ready on their desks. By the way, can we visit these places as a one day trip from Mumbai?

Kudos to your photography skill.

Thanks,
Thanks a lot Jignesh!

We had left around 7AM from Pune and reached Shivtharghal at 12.30PM. That was because we spent lot of time in photography on the way.

Yes you can visit this in one day, provided you leave early morning. From Mumbai one can take NH-17 route (189kms). Shivtharghal is nearer to Mahad (around 26 kms). But that will not include Varandha ghat and those 2 dams. Else while returning you can come via Pune so that Varandha ghat and 2 dams will be covered! Would be bit hectic but enjoyable.

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 27th August 2013 at 14:39. Reason: added some info
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Old 27th August 2013, 15:23   #12
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Very good t-log Dodge_Viper. Reading through many logs this monsoon season, its very enticing to visit Maharashtra and especially west coastal india alongside Sahyadri mountain range. The color "green" itself is so pleasant and different, I dare to call it Sahyadri Green! A long and lengthy trip is due to homeland it seems.
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Old 17th April 2016, 20:08   #13
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

Has anyone taken the Varandha ghat road to go to Konkan recently? I am planning to take this route from Pune to Ratnagiri. Wanted to understand the road conditions on this route.
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Old 20th April 2016, 09:00   #14
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Default Re: Monsoon Diaries: Varandha Ghat & Shivtharghal

This is a spectacular Monsoon place. Just before reaching Shivtharghal, which is at the head of a valley with hills on both sides, there are maybe 30-40 large waterfalls visible in the surrounding hills. To the entire left, ahead and entire right. And a flowing river on the left. Heaven on earth when it is raining and all is mint green under a sky with scudding grey cloud.

As far as I know, most weekdays one can be alone there. Which is a rare thing. Just 3 hours from Pune, it is a must visit place in the rains.
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