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Old 22nd March 2014, 18:28   #1
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Default A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai

TRIP TO WAI-PANCHGANI –MAHABALESHWAR

1. The goal that I had set for myself was to see as many places as possible within India and that these would not be the normal tourist destinations. Each year would be one big trip and a few smaller ones, easier said than done.Anyways to come back to the write-up at hand though I had several smaller trips jotted down in my list WAI was definitely not one of them and in fact I had not even heard the name till a couple of days back .There was this two day holiday coming up and because it was a two day affair the choices of my smaller trip were indeed limited as none of them could be accomplished within the time frame with a certain degree of satisfaction.

2. Wai was proposed by the family and I did a bit of researching on the net, liked what I saw and decided that it was perfectly doable with Panchgani too thrown in into the bargain. So the destination finalized , I read a bit more on what I was going to see and noted down the salient features , also indulged in the travel accounts of few others who had done this destination in the past and that helped me to finalize a rough itinerary for the trip.

3. The trip spanned Mumbai –Wai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar ( bit of it) – Mumbai.So started on 16 early morning for the onward journey to Wai. Well whats does Wai have to offer is what many would be wondering. The place is also known as “Dakshin Kashi”.Nestled along the banks of the Krishna and surrounded by the Sahyadris , it holds great religious significance since the bygone era. There are seven ghats on the river Krishna and numerous temples dotted all along the river with quite a few submerge as the water level goes up and then resurface once the level comes down. I found that religion had permeated in to every walk of life in the village.

4. Wai is also famous believe it not for the Bollywood movies ( Swadesh,Gangaa Jal , Omkara)that are shot with regular alacrity as recent as Gulaab Gang , well this is just to include the trivia that makes the write up readable
.
5. The start was at 0501 in the morning with a target to reach Wai by around nine for I wanted to indulge in some photography before the light became too harsh. The route included the Eastern Freeway out of Mumbai followed by the Mumbai-Pune expressway and thereafter the AH47 till around 03 km after the Khambatki Ghats where we then have to leave the AH 47 and turn right towards Wai which is 09 km away.

6. The ghat is one of the steepest that I have come across in these parts of the country and definitely treacherous as they twist and turn constantly and coupled with the heavy traffic, are a sure recipe for disaster in case due attention is not paid.

7. The roads were a breeze as I had set out early and was actually pretty happy to be driving on the National Highway after a break of a couple of months. Reached Wai by 0910 and straightaway went to visit the Dholya Ganapati temple which is one the most prominent temples on the banks of the river Krishna and dates back to the 18TH century. The deity itself is 10 feet tall and Lord Ganesha does look happy  .

8. Immediately opposite the Dholya Ganapati temple we have the Kashi Vishveshwar Temple. This is an old temple of Lord Shiva, the main feature of this temple is the sculpture of Nandi which is made of the same stone from which the main temple has been built. Nandi was decorated with garlands and other jewellery.The entire temple was massive and totally rock built.

9. After some time spent out here, looking at people go by and seeing devotees thronging the temple I decided to walk on the ghat and soak in the atmosphere of young kids playing in waters of the Krishna as the mid day heat built up. The Krishna is one of the longest rivers of South Central India, over 1400 km in length and the third longest in the country. It originates from Mahabaleswar and is one of the most disastrous rivers of the country as it causes huge amounts of soil erosion in the monsoon months reaching depths of over 75 mts in certain places.

10. The next place on my itenanry was the Menawali Ghats , a little known place away from the touristic crowds , around 5 km from Dholya Ganapati temple.I has to ask passers by the directions to this isolated gem of a place. A narrow alley leads to the Ghat through traditional maharastrian village. The temple dedicated to Lord Shiva will demand your attention as it is below the waterline of the Krishna flowing just adjoining. The Krishna meanders her way and disappears in to the wilderness , we spent close o an hour to feel nature at her best. Let waves lash at the feet as one can sit on the Ghat and contemplate in to the distance. This place will be an absolute beauty in the monsoon I can vouch for.

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-krishna-river.jpg

THE RIVER KRISHNA

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MENAWALI GHAT

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DOME PROFILE SRI KASHI VISVESWAR TEMPLE

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-nandi-2.jpg

NANDI @ SRI KASHI TEMPLE

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NATURAL SCULPTURE OF LORD HANUMAN

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AT MENAWALI GHAT

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-menawali-ghat-5.jpg

PICTURESQUE

11. From here I went to visit Dhom Dam on the river Krishna in order to indulge in some photographic moments.Dhom dam is around 15 km from Wai and there is a narrow road which leads one to the dam itself. Completed in 1982 , it is one of the largest civil engineering projects completed after Indian independence. I was fortunate that I was granted permission to visit the dam gates itself in order to have a closer look at the dam.Afer spending some great moments at the dam and the catchment area we were ready to proceed to Panchgani and begin the second stage of the trip.

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-dhom-dam-1.jpg

DHOM DAM

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-dhom-dam-7.jpg

LOVELY WATERS

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-dhom-dam-9.jpg

LOVED THE PLACE

12. Panchgani is 12 km from Wai and enroute we stopped at Ganesha pure veg restaurant for a late lunch. The lunch was passable and we used the opportunity to get out stay booked for the day as we had set out without any prior bookings and had at the last minute noted down few names and numbers of the accommodation available at Panchgani.

13. Hotel Gitanjali where we stayed is within walking distance of the main bazaar and the taxi stand yet is very serene and peaceful located away from the hustle and bustle owing to the abundance of trees and foliage. The caretaker Mr Madhav proved to be of great help indeed and the biggest plus point of the place was the general atmosphere of the hotel and availability of car parking.The negative points were the tariff and the washroom which definitely could have been improved upon.

14. Panchgani is all about mountain ranges of the Sahyadris , deep valleys , Table Land and the delicious strawberry.Scenic Panchgani was discovered by the British as a summer resort in the 1860s.The place is nestled at the middle of five hills in the Sahyadris.The five hills surrounding Panchgani are topped by a volcanic plateau which is the second highest in Asia after the Tibetian Plateau and is known as “Table Land”.

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-table-land-9.jpg

EARLY MORNINGS AT TABLE LAND

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-table-land-4.jpg

MOON LIT NIGHT AT TABLE LAND

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-prespective-2.jpg

PRESPECTIVE

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-mona-table-land.jpg

CONTEMPLATING LIFE

15. After a short rest of an hour I was ready to see the various famous landmarks of the place and started with the closest of them all –SYDNEY POINT ( I wonder how these names have come into existence).This point is situated on a hillock facing the Krishna Valley. One can see from here the glittering waters of the Dhom Dam. Sydney point ia around 2 km from Panchgani Bus Stand. It is quite motor able and one can drive till the top itself. We watched the sun set from here though I am not sure but the entire atmosphere was kind of misty and I do not mean the morning fog.Anyways spent close to 45 min out here and one could see the Krishna meandering herself as she wound her way towards Dhom Dam in the distance.

16. The next point on the agenda was the famous Table Land and I wanted to experience the feeling of the place as the moon rose from behind the Sahyadris.Accordingly we visited the place as the sun set in the distance .One thing about Panchgani is that they collect toll tax for every conceivable reason  and it is valid for seven working days.

17. Table Land as not that impressive maybe because of the presence of myriad constructions happening in the valley below and I spend some time in the moonlit night just relaxing out there, soon it was time to leave and we started back towards the hotel , tired by now. There are a lot of horse rides available at Table Land and they can help one cover the entire length of the plateau.

18. The main road of Panchgani is quite short and other than the big resorts everything else is on this road itself, something like Calangute , Goa.All the hustle bustle in one small area, anyways we walked a bit out there and thereafter retired to the hotel premises with the satisfaction of a day well spent. Tomorrow was a big day as I planned to beat the tourist crowds by going to some places quite early with sun rise at Table Land as the first of them all.

19. Though I had ensured that multiple alarms were in place yet I got up late and it was by hurrying up that I was able to reach Table Land with the sun just having risen, managed to capture a few shots though I am sure I could have done beter.There were hardly any people at this hour other than three odd morning walkers. So had the entire place to ourselves and this was good. The best time to visit this place is either early morning or on a moon lit night, for only then one is able to enjoy the feeling of massiveness that the plateau generates minus the horses and the people.

20. From Table land I set out towards Kate Point and Needle Hole point. These are on the Panchgani-Mahabaleswar route and one has to take a diversion to the right from the point where there is a signboard which indicates route to Hotel Bright Land. Kate point is so named in memory of the daughter of then Governor Sir John Malcom.The point is at 1560 mts above sea level and one can see the Krishna Valley stretching in to the distance and the Balkavad Dam down below.

21. Just adjoining Kate Point we have the Needle Hole point and the Elephant Howdah.I was pretty amazed at seeing such rock formations and the close resemblance, check it out for yourself. Needle point refers to the gap in the rock formations. Soon I proceeded towards Arthur Seat , the advantage of early visiting was that there was absolutely no tourists and hawkers hence we had all these lovely places to oneself and could actually feel them for what they are. Arthur Seat is 12 km from Kate Point and in the opposite direction. The place is famous for being the site where the then Governor Sir Arthur used to sit and gaze out in memory of his family who perished in the river Savitri which used to flow below , in a tragic incident. This is the only view point from where one can clearly see the geographical differentiation of the Konkan Region and the Deccan Plateau. There are a total of around five sites which are famous and if required the services of a local guide can be taken to show and explain the historical significance.

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-kate-point.jpg

AT KATE POINT

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-dhom-dam-frm-kate-point.jpg

BALKAWAD DAM

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-elephant-houdah-1.jpg

ELEPHANT HOWDAH

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-krishna-valley.jpg

KRISHNA VALLEY

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-needle-point-1.jpg

NEEDLE HOLE POINT

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-sydney-point-1.jpg

SYDNEY POINT

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SUN SET AT SYDNEY POINT

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-sydney-point-3.jpg

KRISHNA MEANDERS

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-sydney-point-6.jpg

SUN SET

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-view-frm-arthur-seat1.jpg

VIEW FROM ARTHUR SEAT

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-view-arthur-point-2.jpg

KONKANI BELT STRETCHES ON


22. We then proceeded towards Lake Venna which was totally crowded and hardly worth even a dekko during this time of the year. I was out within 05 min from there. My last agenda point was Lingmala Falls, which was former shadow of its monsoon form. The best time to visit Lingmala is Aug – Nov.The area is quite serene and tranquil, with clouds and dark woods in a hilly area. After entrance, there are a set of stairs, leading to the main fall. It is 600 ft fall in three stages.

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-ling-mala-falls-1.jpg

LING MALA FALLS

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-ling-mala-4.jpg

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-ling-mala-falls-5.jpg

23. After spending some time out here I was done with my trip and proceeded to the hotel for a quick bath and then checked out after visiting the oldest bakery in town since 1900.The return trip commenced by around 1400 hours and I drove without any big breaks and reached colaba by 1830 hours

24 TRIP ODOMETER : 62916 - 63556 : 640 KM

Last edited by swsumit : 22nd March 2014 at 18:34.
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Old 24th March 2014, 12:36   #2
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Default Re: A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 26th March 2014, 16:02   #3
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@swsumit,

Thats a great travelogue. Even I completed a Thane-Pune-Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani-Wai-Pune-Thane trip a couple of days back. We stayed at Mahabaleshwar for a couple of days. I totally loved driving my Punto in the Kambatki ghats and the ghat between Wai and Mahabaleshwar. The twists and turns were kind of roads I was longing for.

The pics you posted were great. The idol of Ganpati and Nandi at Wai were really divine.
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Old 27th March 2014, 09:36   #4
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Default Re: A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai

Beautiful snaps. Thats a perfect combination of places to visit. And its not just monsoon times alone. The early morning and late evenings are a sight to beckon in these regions. But yes the days are hot.
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Old 27th March 2014, 19:45   #5
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@swsumit,

Thats a great travelogue. Even I completed a Thane-Pune-Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani-Wai-Pune-Thane trip a couple of days back. We stayed at Mahabaleshwar for a couple of days. I totally loved driving my Punto in the Kambatki ghats and the ghat between Wai and Mahabaleshwar. The twists and turns were kind of roads I was longing for.

The pics you posted were great. The idol of Ganpati and Nandi at Wai were really divine.
hello ,
true the Punto would have had maintained an amazing road grip on those turns.
thx that the pics were liked , appreciate

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Old 27th March 2014, 19:47   #6
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Beautiful snaps. Thats a perfect combination of places to visit. And its not just monsoon times alone. The early morning and late evenings are a sight to beckon in these regions. But yes the days are hot.

Hello ,
i totally agree , monsoons are not the only times to visit these places . The sunsets were really great for the eyes and the soul

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Old 4th August 2015, 11:23   #7
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TRIP TO WAI-PANCHGANI –MAHABALESHWAR
11. From here I went to visit Dhom Dam on the river Krishna in order to indulge in some photographic moments.Dhom dam is around 15 km from Wai and there is a narrow road which leads one to the dam itself. Completed in 1982 , it is one of the largest civil engineering projects completed after Indian independence. I was fortunate that I was granted permission to visit the dam gates itself in order to have a closer look at the dam.
Nice travelogue with excellent pictures, seeing it very late. Thanks for sharing
Does one need prior permission to visit the Dhom Dam ? Could you share more details of how to get this ?
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Old 4th August 2015, 13:44   #8
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Beautiful place and nice photography.

Was searching for destinations for my weekend trip during 15th, 16th August. This definitely would be a great ride from Daman. Thanks swsumit.
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Old 7th August 2015, 10:26   #9
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Nice travelogue with excellent pictures, seeing it very late. Thanks for sharing
Does one need prior permission to visit the Dhom Dam ? Could you share more details of how to get this ?
You can see the Dam from the road itself, no permissions required for that.
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Old 7th August 2015, 21:16   #10
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Nice travelogue with excellent pictures, seeing it very late. Thanks for sharing
Does one need prior permission to visit the Dhom Dam ? Could you share more details of how to get this ?
hiii,

permission for going onto the dam itself needs to be taken basically cajoled from the security staff stationed there , it helps if one is from a government sector .
alternately if one goes ahead on the same road .. after a km or so .. take a diversion to the right and park the vehicle and walk till the waters of the dam itself ... that also is possible

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Old 14th September 2016, 18:50   #11
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Default Re: A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai

To visit the Dhom Dam does one need to take the Menwali Road that goes to Dhom Village or the Dhom Dam Road as shown on Gmaps ?

A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-gmap.png

If the order of visits is Dholya Ganapathi temple, Menwali Ghat and then Dhom Dam, does one need to get back from Menwali Ghat to the Dholya Ganapathi temple and then take the Dhom Dam Road ? OR Can one go straight on Menwali Road, circle around the periphery of the dam and return via the Dhom Dam Road (next destination is Panchgani) ?

Gmaps is suggesting this:
A Trip to Dakshin Kashi - Wai-gmap2.png

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Old 14th September 2016, 19:37   #12
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To visit the Dhom Dam does one need to take the Menwali Road that goes to Dhom Village or the Dhom Dam Road as shown on Gmaps ?

Attachment 1554216

If the order of visits is Dholya Ganapathi temple, Menwali Ghat and then Dhom Dam, does one need to get back from Menwali Ghat to the Dholya Ganapathi temple and then take the Dhom Dam Road ? OR Can one go straight on Menwali Road, circle around the periphery of the dam and return via the Dhom Dam Road (next destination is Panchgani) ?

Gmaps is suggesting this:
Attachment 1554217
Since you have Dholya Ganapati and Menawli ghat in your to-see list, then you need to come back till Dholya Ganapati (Wai town) and take the Dhom dam road again.

Coz if you take the Menwali road straight ahead it will take you to Dhom dam, but the route to join dhom dam road might not be possible, as on a closer zoomed look, it climbs the dam wall which is not allowed.

What I would suggest is - Take the Menawli road to Dhom, visit Dhom and come back to Wai and take the normal route to Panchgani.
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Old 14th September 2016, 20:05   #13
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What I would suggest is - Take the Menawli road to Dhom, visit Dhom and come back to Wai and take the normal route to Panchgani.
To visit the dam, does one usually go to Dhom village on the Menwali road or take the Dhom Dam road ?
Are there different view points in each of these routes ?

Any places of interest in Dhom village ?

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Old 14th September 2016, 20:17   #14
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To visit the dam, does one usually go to Dhom village on the Menwali road or take the Dhom Dam road ?
Are there different view points in each of these routes ?
If you take the Menawali route, dam is to your left and if you take the dhom dam road it is to your right. That's the only difference . Equal beauty on both sides.

Most people prefer Menawali route since you cover couple of places on way, like Ganapati mandir, Menwali ghat, Nana Fadnavis wada and Narsimha temple(in dhom village). Also Ganapati mandir till Dhom village is barely 20-25 mins drive. Roads are decent.

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