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Old 30th January 2015, 09:57   #1
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Default Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-1intro-pic.jpg

What’s monsoon without a drive through the wet greens?
I said to Amal who had brought a cup of green tea and a plate of pakodas.
Tea and pakodas, what a great combo for a rain drenched evening!

Amal (aka tbhp handle- EagleEye) and I were lazing on the balcony of his home near East Goregaon, Mumbai.
It was an overcast Saturday evening during the monsoons last year and I was visiting Mumbai from Kochi for official work.
The heavy downpour had cast a spell on the ambience.
The colourful garden view intermittently peeked in through a veil of mist and water droplets.
As we sat there, the rain drops kept pinging upon the overhead sheets tuning a subdued but prolonged hum.
Wow… What a magical atmosphere!

I took a sip from the green tea he handed me.
Eww..” I cringed my face. Green tea, definitely is an acquired taste.
No two ways about that.
I added more cubes of sugar into it, while Amal (aka EagleEye) scorned me through the corner of his eyes.
The sugar screwed the purpose of “Green Tea”; but it did save my sanity.
Good tea…” I managed to spurt out, and slipped into a chain of thoughts, staring into the dispersed droplets in mid air.

“Blglhglblgl…blbglbdfhrlulshgfj…blah blah… blah blah..” I sensed that EagleEye had said something in the muffled background.
What? Say again…” I hadn’t paid attention.
I was too much engrossed in planning revenge for the atrocity called green tea.
What he said next instantly made me forget the attack on my taste buds.
How about a drive to Malshej Ghats tomorrow?” he said again.
(Was that the green tea talking?)

Hell Yeah!!
When have I ever said no to a drive?

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Malshej is one place where I had always wanted to go.
Thanks to Director Manirathnam for etching it deep in my heart.
However, being at Kochi didn’t help my desires.
It was not like Munnar that you take a leap and you reach the destination over a weekend from Kochi.
So, driving to Malshej during monsoons was like a dream come true.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-7.jpg
(Photo Credit- EagleEye)

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 30th January 2015 at 12:06.
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Old 30th January 2015, 10:22   #2
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Default re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Malshej was always pretty elusive even for EagleEye (Amal), who was settled in Mumbai.
He had planned many times to drive there.
Something or the other always drifted him away.
There was even a monsoon drive by Mumbai Bhpians to Malshej the previous weekend.
EagleEye had to miss that too.
He called it occupational hazard.

So, this drive was more of a statement for him.
For me, the lesser mortal, it was just a wonderful escapade and a day well spent.

08 August 2014- The day of the Escapade

Yeah. I know. This report comes in pretty late.
The monsoons have gone by, the green leaves turned yellow and shed themselves over the months and the winters have also marched past.
The green spread we saw in Malshej would’ve started to turn to shades of brown now.
Still, it is better late than never.
Especially for likeminded people in a forum like this, a travelogue is always welcome. Ain’t it?

Car: Skoda Laura L & K; 1.9 TDi. DSG

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-car-1.jpg

She was a very obedient lady, petite yet muscular.
The DSG meant effortless driving and for the first time I realized what I had been missing all these years!!!

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EagleEye, the proud owner with the beauty.

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Photo Credit: EagleEye.

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 30th January 2015 at 10:25.
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Old 30th January 2015, 10:39   #3
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Default re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

The Journey

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-map.png

We hit the tarmac early without giving a chance for the traffic to punch us back.
In the wee hours of the morning, EagleEye breezed me through the concrete jungle which was just about shaking itself from its slumber.
A monsoon drive would be meaningless if it hadn’t rained right?
Well, we were welcomed well.

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Soon we were on the road to Malshej, a wonderful strip of tarmac.
Different shades of green were strewn across and a smooth black tarmac slit through it.

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Halt !!! Cattles have right of way…

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Country roads engulfed us with its charm; the beauty of which can’t be equated with words to suit justice.

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Much of the time, we were confused as to which side of the road we should look to.
There was nature in its prime everywhere; Each sight unique than the other.

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We could see many streams running past us as we went forth.
Each time we saw them, the child in us started to jump within.
At last, we had to give up to the child in us and stopped by one of the streams to pacify him a bit.
Well, there goes one hour to the wind…
Er… Rather, one hour to the water

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EagleEye tests the chillness of water
It was definitely chilling. No marks for guessing.

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I chose to splash it up instead

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And she rested by the road whilst we were making merry.

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A makeshift corn vendor with steaming corn awaited us across the road, as we emerged out of the cold dip.

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Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-52.jpg

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 30th January 2015 at 10:43.
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Old 30th January 2015, 11:26   #4
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Default re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

After the break we gunned ahead to our destination.

It was heavily fogged out and we could hardly make out the headlights of the vehicles approaching from ahead.
As we took a turn, the visibility immediately dropped and we were covered in a thick blanket of whiteness.
EagleEye kept the car in motion in slow speeds.
Suddenly both of us were shaken out of our seats by a thunderous noise and heavy water splashes on the windshield and over the car.
If felt like a huge tipper truck dislodging its load all over us.
We both were wonderstruck.
Our shorts were already wet from the goofing around by the stream; so, technically, we couldn’t wet our pants.

Then the reality of what actually happened struck us.
It took us a while to come to terms with what we comprehended.
We were actually under a waterfall which plummeted onto the road. Goodness!!
Our terrified pale faces immediately rushed to red with excitement.
This was more than what we had bargained for!!!
AWESOME!!!

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That’s EagleEye driving into the waterfall for a second time.
Well, of course, I got drenched waiting outside so that these pictures could be clicked

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We stopped over here on the return drive too.
And let loose the child in us once again under the spray of water drops.
You can’t stand underneath the falls as such. The force of the falls will throw you apart.
EagleEye tried to walk underneath the falls with an umbrella.
Understandably, the umbrella didn’t last a second before it was crushed to a mangled chunk of steel.
Well, Kochi Bhpians, if you are reading this; that’s how Amal lost his famous ‘MAK Lubricants’ umbrella.

We moved forward after the falls and treated our eyes to abundance.
The place was covered with drifting fog giving a touch of ethereal beauty.

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We soon reached our destination.
The place is astoundingly beautiful for a drive.

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However, I did not find any place by the roadside atleast where you could plan to stay over.
I didn’t search either. Our intention was just a drive through the lashing rains.
I am sure there are places to stay too, which I would request the readers to update here for the benefit of others who may plan visits in future.
There was however a decent restaurant at the summit.
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Old 30th January 2015, 11:41   #5
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Default re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

The return journey

On the return leg, we stopped over at many places.
Just to gaze at the extensive spread of green on the valleys that stretched in front of us.

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Yes, that’s a waterfall.
It tumbled down in six steps. (Only two steps are visible in the pics though)

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EagleEye capturing a piece for memory.

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Leaning on to the barricade by the road side, EagleEye pointed out a small village by the foot of a hill.
That was connected by road too, which slit through a green meadow.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-99.jpg

We looked at each other.
A smile automatically crossed our lips as we read each other’s mind.
A few minutes later, the Laura took a sharp right onto a small road which diverted out from the highway.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-101.jpg

The Google map grab of the same locale:

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-pic1.png

Lat Long- 19.345101, 73.755339

The road seemed to lead to the foot of that majestic falls which we had seen from atop.
However, we later realized that it was just a false hope. The road terminated at the village and the falls were a 6 km trek further from there.

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We had all mind, motivation and energy to trek it up.
However, the villagers warned us of slippery and treacherous trails to the falls which made us settle for the view for the time being.

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Few people walked past us, who posed good subjects for a greeny landscape. There was a stream in the foreground and mountains in background. CLICK!

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Picture perfect.

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We reached the village soon.
The people were very friendly and accommodative.

Tempted with the pangs for authentic local khana, we requested one of the houses if they could spare us some food.
To our surprise, we soon learnt that none of them knew hindi.

EagleEye took out his Marathi prowess and threw them a lexicon of phrases.
The persistent clueless look on their faces re-affirmed me that EagleEye’s Marathi knowledge was only as good as mine.

Then came a person who knew a little bit of hindi.
We stitched together our little bit of Marathi to that and a lot of hand signs later, we were sitting inside a small parched hut for a delicious round of meals.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-113.jpg

They were past their meal timings and still they gave us a sumptuous meal.
A sumptuous meal even with their limited access and wealth.
The taste which lingered for a whole day, and memories which will linger for a lifetime.

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EagleEye and this friendly guy had developed a liking for each other in quick time.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-120.jpg

Last edited by dhanushmenon : 30th January 2015 at 12:49.
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Old 30th January 2015, 11:59   #6
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Default re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

With our stomachs and heart full, we returned back to the highway, on our way back.
Some Random shots enroute:

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-123.jpg

The road seemed like a dead end at the stream.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-124.jpg

The Grazing Cattle.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-126.jpg

Hey!! Don’t click my pic without my concurrence.

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Cold Water therapy… Relax yourself

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-130.jpg

Exiting the lonely Ghat roads into the heavy traffic of suburban Mumbai was quite something.
From effortless cruising, we shifted to laborious nose edging.
That evening, I learnt that most Mumbaikars are colour blind.
It seemed that Red and yellow on the traffic lights always appeared green for them.

At last back at home

The essence of the monsoons lies in the life it renders to the greenery around.
I witnessed it in the grandeur it bestowed to the Ghats of Malshej.
Any superlatives or adjectives would fail to match the excitement and fun we had on this drive.
Awesome is an understatement.
I ain’t sure whether you would get the same if you visit there anytime else.
But monsoons, a resounding YES!!

I bow again to this wonderful DSG that kept pace untiringly on this breathtaking one day escapade.

Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians-133.jpg

Epilogue:

We sat again on his balcony that evening, and Amal brought me a cup of green tea (again!!!) and pakodas.
The horrendous experience of last evening came rushing back to my frames of thought. I passed a candid glance at him.
Seems that Amal feels I am in love with his Green Tea!! (Glorious misconceptions)

But then, in a matter of seconds, it was washed by the memories of the awesome drive we had that morning.
After all, the Green tea may also have contributed to string that idea into his mind.
A smile slowly spread across on my face, replacing the frown which the Green Tea first brought along.

You have been forgiven my brother.” I thought in my mind.
I will down four more cups of green tea if you wish.
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Old 30th January 2015, 15:24   #7
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Travelogues. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 30th January 2015, 17:28   #8
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Very poetic, Dhanush and excellent pics to go with it! Feeling a little bad that someone from Kerala has to come show us locals some hidden treasures in our home state

Your monsoon pics got me craving some hot tea as well so took an unscheduled break at work
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Old 30th January 2015, 17:36   #9
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Great set of pics Dhanush.

Your travelogues are coming from south, east and west.

For an August trip the place looks very green. Would have thought you did it during peak monsoon season.
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Old 30th January 2015, 17:39   #10
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Quote:
Originally Posted by noopster View Post
Very poetic, Dhanush and excellent pics to go with it! Feeling a little bad that someone from Kerala has to come show us locals some hidden treasures in our home state

Your monsoon pics got me craving some hot tea as well so took an unscheduled break at work
Thanks noopster for your kind words.
You need not feel bad. The converse is also true.
Many times over, I have been amazed by wonderful places in Kerala fished out by some random person coming over for a week's vacation.

After all, Malshej is just across the fence.
You can sneeze with enough force and you will land up there.

But ofcourse, you will have to wait for monsoons to see it so full and lush green.
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Old 30th January 2015, 18:29   #11
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Oh Man Dhanush! You ARE living the good life! Maharashtra in monsoon is a different story; a truly a different poetry. Have not been able to do that till date. But will always remember to cover that one! In fact the whole of ghats in MH south of Pune. Keep rolling!
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Old 30th January 2015, 18:59   #12
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

You wait months to write the report, then upload it exactly when I don't have a second to spare for months at work.

Terrific report and pictures! Sometimes, all it takes is a spur-of-the-moment decision and a partner-in-crime to have fun. Who says unscheduled holidays aren't a hoot and a half?
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Old 30th January 2015, 19:11   #13
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Excellent snaps! Great to see the ghat roads in the perfect climate. Monsoon drives have it's own charm, I personally love the sound of the tires on the wet road.
It's one of my dream to drive on the Western Ghat roads.
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Old 30th January 2015, 21:50   #14
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

Thanks for the report, your pics are nice.

My maternal family is from a village near Tokawde, which is on the Mumbai Malshej Ghat route. We cross that road every year during Ganpati Festivals.

I have also crossed the ghat per se many times in childhood, on the way to Ahmadnagar in one of those red boxes :P (Last time I did that was 15 years ago!, so I guess another of those trips need to be planned)

BTW which part of which Maniratnam movie was shot there?
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Old 31st January 2015, 10:35   #15
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Default Re: Malshej during the monsoons: One day escapade of two jobless BHPians

So tempting place to visit! Thanks for sharing Dhanush!

There is so much to explore in this Incredible India, one just can't have enough. Added to my wishlist. Must plan a Maharashtra trip before joining the company
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