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Old 2nd November 2015, 13:57   #1
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Default Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

Mid Oct - I got my Polo GT TSI.

I love driving and the new car meant that I was ready to drive for any reason no matter how small.

My daily drive is a short 9km one way in the usual city traffic. I don't do justice to the GT by driving it in city traffic. Usually, I take the car to office only 3 times a week.

For a couple of years, my wife wanted to do a Ashtavinayak Yatra. But for one reason or the other its never materialized. I was not too keen on the idea of going to 8 places in 2 days in a Bus. So.. out goes my wifeys proposal of doing a the yatra with "Tour operators". We have been to a few of those 8 temples but its been completely adhoc.

Now, with the Polo I was keen to drive to all 8 temples.. but with a twist.

A yatra in the true sense means that you leave your home visit all the places and only then return home. But that wasn't to be for me. This "yatra" is with a twist.. its going to be in a staggard manner one place at a time.

This is a travelogue for all those lazy bums based out in Pune who want to take their own sweet time to do Ashtavinayak yatra.

Last edited by freedom : 9th November 2015 at 15:47.
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Old 2nd November 2015, 14:52   #2
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Default Ashtavinayak - At my own sweet pace

31st Oct 2015

Ganapati 1 - Shree Moreshwar, Morgaon


From Pune, there are 2 routes to Morgaon from

Swargate-NH9-Chofala-Morgaon
Katraj-Saswad-Jejuri-Morgaon

I was not too sure of the traffic on the Jejuri route. From my past experience, I expected NH9 to be in good shape.

1330 - Started from Deccan Gymkhana
1345 - Missed a turn and got lost in Camp area. Kept my bearings and then came to Race Course. Went halfway around the race course to Emrpess Garden and then onto NH9 at Fatima Nagar.

Reset the trip meter while waiting at Fatima Nagar signal.

1400 - Stuck in traffic after Hadapsar. I had to keep the engine running as there was no traffic light and everyone would move 5 feet and stop and the same thing repeats over and over again.

1415 - Finally managed to clear and jam.

Note - After Hadapsar make sure to be on the left side lanes. The right and center lanes are blocked by everyone wanting to take a right turn towards Fursungi/Saswad.
Roads till Manjri lack lane marking and are not leveled. 2 wheeler riders also like to poke in from the numerous illegal breaks in the median.


Made very good progress after Manjri.

Encountered a BOSS (8055) number plate White Scorpio .. I don't need to explain how he was driving. Traffic was a mix of trucks and occasional Ape/Ace moving at snails pace in the fast lane. I was able to signal and change lanes to make good progress. The Scorpio guy was making all kinds of crazy maneuvers.

After Urali Kanchan, the local traffic dropped out and the pace picked up.
I found good company in an empty Bolero being driven steadily in the fast lane. I kept 3-4 sec gap between the myself and the Bolero and swtiched on Cruise Control around 85.
I was able to keep the CC ON only for 1-2 mins at a time, but it did come in handy to avoid unnecessary speeding up. After slowing down, just press the RES switch and off you go again.

On inclines, I could sense that the CC increases engine rpm to maintain speed, unfortunately the Bolero guy would slow down and I would end up closing the gap. Got fed-up and passed him, and set the CC again, this time it was much better as I was the lead car and only had to worry about passing trucks etc.

In the RVM, I could see a swift and i20 racing each other. I let both of those idiots pass me.. only to catch up with them in 2 mins ... sigh. Cruise Control really helps maintain a steady pace. I can only pray that adaptive cruise control becomes a reality in India.

50 km into the drive, got off the highway at a place called Chaufala/Khedagaon. The headed towards Morgaon by crossing the highway using the overhead bridge

Tip - Look out for a signboard asking to take the left side exit for Satara and Nagar. Continue on service road, get up the ramp to come to a junction. Turn right for Morgaon/Satara turn left for Shirur/Nagar.

Chaufala to Morgaon is about 25-30km. It was a normal State highway with a mix fo smooth/uneven/rough/broken patches. Overall, the surface was better than what we have come to expect from State Highway standards. I also saw some patchup work going on, hopefully this road will be in better shape in a few weeks.

Tip - The road is straight with one small ghat section of 4-5 turns. On the straight section look out for the troughs and droughts. There are blind spots created due to this topography. People try to overtake without having a clear view. Honk liberally to advertise your presence.
I had a Duster guy overtaking a truck on a blind spot. I was honking, yet I had to brake hard to avoid the idiot.

Tip - After crossing Supe. You will come to a fork. Bear Right and continue on the Shirur - Satara Road. If you miss this and go left, you will have a long detour to Morgaon.
Look out the for signboard for Morgaon at this fork.

Parking was a non-issue, just parked in the temple lane keeping enough gap for another car lorry to pass. No "development charges" or "parking fees". You can also park on Jejuri Road as the road is pretty wide with good shoudler margin.

Darshan was a quick affair as there was no rush. We also could clearly feel the coolness inside the temple thanks to the walls made from black stone bricks. We did our prayers and spent some time just sitting quietly and soaking in all the calm and quiet surroundings.

We had a quick tea break. I was thinking of doing Siddhatek as well since its in the same direction, but decided against it as it was already 5pm and had to get back home for dinner.

The return leg was standard affair till Manjri. In Manjri-Hadapsar area got into a minor jam once again but it cleared off rather quickly. Another jam at AFMC - Solapur Bazaar area right upto Golibar Maidan. Then again a jam at Dandekar Pul.


Distance
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-distance.jpg

Average Speed
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-average-pace.jpg

Time
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-time.jpg

Average Fuel Efficiency
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-fe.jpg

Last edited by freedom : 16th November 2015 at 12:23. Reason: Ashtavinayak - At my own sweet pace
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Old 9th November 2015, 09:20   #3
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Default Ashtavinayak - At my own sweet pace

8th Nov 2015

Ganapati 2 - Shree Siddhivinayak, Siddhatek


Started from home around 0945. Topped up the tank with Regular Petrol and we were off towards Solapur highway.

1035 - Crossed Hadapsar.
No Traffic jams but the volume of vehicles was pretty high and the average speed was really taking a hit.
30 km from Pune past Urli Kanchan, I was able to maintain descent clip.
Set CC at 90 and cruised for a few minutes only to slow down due to one Truck trying to overtake another. Sight.

After crossing 3rd toll Naka, there were 2 options.
1. Turn left at Kurkubh-Saund-Siddhatek.
2. Continue on NH9 after Kurumb and take the left at Ravangaon.

Tip - From Pune the ticket you buy at 1st Toll plaza is valid for the second one as well.

I thought Daund road would be chaotic, and the Ravangaon route was of equal distance with more distance covered on NH9.

Zipped past Kurkumb and ~ 10 km further down dropped off the highway at a village named Ravangaon (Look for green colored sign boards on the left).

On the exit service road there is an unmarked/unpainted speed breaker.

Didn't expect it and braked hard just at the last instant. It was too late ... thud .. but I was not too fast, so the Polo was OK and we moved on.

Tip -
Look out for an unpainted/unmarked speed breaker after you exit the highway at Ravangaon

The plan was to take a left at Ravangaon. This road eventually joins the Daund-Siddhatek State Highway.

For a village road, it was pretty descent, but it was very narrow. Encountered a lot of Sugarcase loaded tractor trailers doing 10 kmph. Overtaking these giants on narrow roads was a challenge. I had to do some off-roading a couple of times.

The road was OK in some parts and broken in some parts. The center of the road had a prominent hump and the left/right side had sagged down. I was trying to drive in the middle of the road to keep the car level. I was worried that the hump in the middle will brush the underbody. Fortunately nothing of that sort happened.
Google maps can lead you to wilderness, and this was one of those *** situations.
One the way we passed by some villages and more broken roads and people chatting with each other in the middle of the road (while sitting on bikes)

I had my sense of direction and followed the road all the way. The last 200 m before hitting the SH 67 was in total shambles. I mean just lose gravel and lots of red soil. But the road is very broad here, looks like theya re planning to expand the road. I hope the road gets fixed soon.

Finallya fter 20 off mins of driving thru no mans land and only sugarcane, marigold for company, we hit SH67 around Devalgaon.
SH67 was wider than the village road, but the surface was rough and had potholes. But doable in any normal car.

Reached Siddhatek at 1230 ish

Darshan was super fast with no rush at all.

This mandir also has a "pradakshina" around the Mandir hill. The start point is just outside the Mandir foot steps and if you follow the path, you come back to the same point after a big loop around the village.

We did the pradakshina bare feet. It was pretty intense with the afternoon sun baking down the concrete paver blocks.

Around 1330, we started the return journey.
This time I wanted to try the road via Daund-Kurkumbh. Just kept following the road signs and at just before Daund, got onto SH10 and headed towards Kurkumbh (this road goes further to Baramati). Just keep following road signs for Pune/Baramati on SH67 and you can easily get onto SH10.

At Kurkumbh. joined NH9 to head towards Pune.

Stopped over at Vitthal Kamat for a quick lunch.

As we started off from Vitthal kamat, I again set CC at 90 and had a good ride till a few kms after Chaufala (the place where you get off for Morgaon. Refer post#1).
A few kms after Chofala somewhere near Yavat there is an unmarked rumbler strip on the highway. I had no lead car and I saw the bumps way too late. Braked and braked real hard, a nice thud.. heart skipped a beat and the car rolled over the rest of the bumps smoothly. That was scary.

Tip -
Look out for an unpainted/unmarked speed breaker somewhere near Yavat on the way to Pune.

I didn't feel any vibration on brake pedal during hard braking, so its fair to assume that ABS didn't kick in as there was no wheel locking. If I had done this on my i10 I am sure I would have triggered ABS easily.
Thankfully there is a crossing just after these speedbreakers and I had let gone of the gas a few seconds back to slow down.

Whoever came up with the idea of putting those bumps on super smooth highway should be immediately moved to a mental asylum.

After that incident it was a smooth sailing back to Pune via the ual route Urli Kanchan-Hadapsar-Swargate.

Got back home around 1600.


FE
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-distance.jpg

Distance
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-fe.jpg

Average Speed
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-average-pace.jpg

Last edited by freedom : 16th November 2015 at 12:17.
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Old 23rd November 2015, 08:37   #4
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Default Ashtavinayak - At my own sweet pace

21st Nov 2015

Ganapati 3 - Shree Ballaleshwar, Pali

Started from home around 8:15. The usual chore thru Pune city to MPEW. Exited MPEW at Khalapur (take the extreme left exit). Followed Google Maps and road signs (or lack of it) and got onto Khopoli-Pali Road SH92.
The intial part of the road was rough and had lots of speed breakers. Pace picked up once we were past Ad Imigica.

This a normal State highway grade road with some good sections and generous sprinkle of pot holes and unpaved sections. Overall not to bad for a car. There was some truck traffic as this is State Highway connects NH4 to NH17.

The route we followed was Durshet-Parali-Pedali-Pali.
Once in Pali town, the roads were very narrow. We passed thru the market and asked for directions and followed the signboards.
You will be greated by "Mofat Parking" signboards. Yes, no catch here. Parking lot is big and free.

Pali is the only Ashtavinayak where there is a dedicated "free" parking lot.
Not sure about Morgaon as we just has parked by an empty road side there.

Bang next to Ballaleshwar Temple, there is another Ganapati Temple (forgot the name). The custom is to visti this temple first and then Ballaleshwar.

Darshan was quick and we were back in the car in about 40 mins.


Ganapati 4 - Shree Varadvinayak, Mahad

Started from Pali at 11:15. Took the same route back. At the end of SH92. We should have taken a right to go over expressway and onto NH4. But 3G connection was iffy and I was lazy to look at offline maps. There were no signboards. Took a left and drover for 4-5 kms when I realized that I was heading west towards Pen (again no sign boards for milestones here). Took a U turn and came back to SH92 juction and this time took the correct road to Khopoli. Headed towards Panvel and arrvived at Mahad turn off in no time.
The temple is 1km from highway and the road leading to it is narrow but in good shape.

Darshan was quick once again!!

Darshan was quick and we were back in the car in about 30 mins.

Ganapati 5 - Shree Chintamani, Theur

Started from Mahad at around 13:20.
Back to NH4 and headed towards Khopoli. At Khopoli saw a signboard for Express Highway. Followeed the sign boards and we were onto a connecting road that was HORRIBLE. The top layer was completely absent. I saw come container trucks going ahead and I was confident that this will take me to Express Highway. 5 mins of 1st gear driving and lot of back breaking potholes later, we joined a smooth road and we were onto Khalapur Toll Plaza in a flash.

Tip: From Mahad NH4 juction we should have headed towards Panvel for 3 km and then turned left at Khalapur village which would have taken us to Khalapur toll via a better road.

We were hungry but I usually avoid the food malls on express higway. We decided to goto Kamat at Khandala.

Expressway had its usual mix of traffic slowdown near Amrutanjan bridge and Khandala tunnel, but nothing too bad. Took the Khandala exit and went to Kamat for lunch.

We go onto the express highway at Lonavala. We had lunch but the car was more than half empty. Topped at BPCL COCO at Talegaon Toll Plaza.

Followed this route to Theur
Expressway Exit-NH4-Balewadi Stadium-Baner Road-University-Shivaji Nagar-Finance Road-Council Hall-Prince of Wales drive-Empress Garden-NH9

Skipped the shorter route suggested by Google Maps via Manjri (I had gone via this road 4 years back and was not worth the 37 rupee toll that it avoids) and instead took the NH9 all the way to Loni Kalbhor. Thur turn is well marked on the Highway. NH9 to Theur was smooth sailing.

Once in the town, followed the signs to "Vahan Tal" (Parking Lot).

Temple was crowded. Took us about 40-50 in the Darshan Queue.

Left from Theur at 17:45. Back to NH9 and a smooth sailing till Hadapsar.

I was already thinking about reaching home by 1830. All that went out of the window. Hadapsar to Swargate took 40 mins. Sigh.

Reached home after 19:15 !!

Distance
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-distance.jpg

Time
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-time.jpg

Average Speed
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-average-speed.jpg

Average FE
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-average-fe.jpg

Last edited by freedom : 23rd November 2015 at 13:40.
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Old 23rd November 2015, 11:43   #5
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Default Ashtavinayak - At my own sweet pace

22nd Nov 2015

Ganapati 6 - Shree Girijadmaj, Lenyadri

Started from home at 05:50.
The route we took was Shivajinagar-Wakdewadi-Khadki-Dapodi-JRD Tata bridge-NH50-Chakan-Rajgurunagar-Narayangoan

NH50 start to Rajgurunagar was very nice 4 lane road with median. Rajgurunagar to Narayangaon is very rough and bumpy. Its a shame to call this a National Highway!!
GT was a bliss to drive. Overtaking was quick and we made good progress inspite of this being a non-median road.

At Narayangaon bus stand, Google Mam ordered us to turn left. We didn't see any signboards and the road looked too narrow, so skipped it and drove 100m ahead to see if there is any better/wider road. Nope, for once google mam was spot ON! U turn and then turned into the dingy looking lane (where google told us to turn) and asked for directions. We were on the right track. The mithaiwala shop owner even provided us with the extra info that Lenyadri is 22 km.

Followed the dindy lanes, the road snaked thru the village and then opened up into a beautiful smooth road.

Just after exiting the dingy lanes, there is a Y fork. This junction has a dusty milestone saying Left for Lenyadri/Junna and Right for Ozar. As we had to do Lenyadri first, we turned left towards Junnar.
Ozar is only 9 km from here if someone just want to goto Ozar directly.

Junnar came up in no time. Narayangoan to Junnar is smooooooth. This road is a even smoother than MPEW! I made liberal use of The GTs torque and in gear acceleration. It was bliss.

At Junnar, Google was hell bent on sending us thru narrow roads, didn't pay any heed and asked for directions from a local woman.

"Saral ja. Chowkat Shivaji Maharajancha Putala Disel. Tikde right ghya"
(Carry on straight till you reach a chowk with a statue of Shivaji Maharaj. Turn right there.)

Perfect.

Junnar to the Ozar turn is only a few minutes drive. But the road is broken at a few places.

A big signboard asked us to turn right for Lenyadri which is ~13km from the turn. Followed the village road till we saw a sign board to turn left for Lenyadri and carry on straight for Ozar. Turned left, paid 10 ruppes entry fee and then 20 rupees parking fee.

By the time I parked the car, it was 07:50. Had a cup of Tea and started the climb.

Then began the fun.
Climb.. climb.. climb. Hush. Get the breath back and do it over and over again.

No sign of Monkeys !! Well I mean the native kind. But we saw lots of humans behaving like monkeys.
Darshan was once again quick. We were back to Ground zero in 50 mins.

Well to be honest, its not such a difficult climb as its made out to be. Yes the steps are steep and you go run out of breath, but you can always stop and do another 20 steps and then stop.
A less than 40 fairly active person can do this no problem at all.

Breakfast Tea and we were on our way to Ozar.


Ganapati 7 - Shree Vighneshwar, Ozar

Started from Lenyadri around 09:15 and got to Ozar in 20-30 mins. Road is nothing to write about. Only 1 vehicle can pass at a time. Fortunately,we encountered traffic from opposite direction only at 3-4 places and it was pretty smooth maneuver.
Paid 20 rupees to get to the parking lot.

There was a long queue for Darshan all thanks to tour operators doing "Ashtavinayak Yatra". It took us 30 mins in the queue. It was a good decision to have breakfast before we came to Ozar.


Ganapati 8 - Shree Mahaganapati, Ranjangoan

We were back on the road by 10:30 ish. 7 done and its the grand finale.

There is road which goes from Ozar straight to Narayangoan. We should have taken this road on the way back, but there were no road signs and didn't want to get lost and lose time. So we just drove all the way back to Lenyadri-Junnar-Narayangoan.

Once again had a great time driving from Junnar to Narayangoan.

Google was showing a direct route from Narayangoan to Ranjangaon. But I wanted to stick to only NH/SH as far as possible. We decided to take route to be taken was
Narayangoan-Rajgurunagar- Shirur/Shikrapur -Ranjangaon

Turned left just after the Rajgurunagar bus stand. The road dind't have any signboards for Shirur, but I saw a sign for Pabal and knew that were going in the right direction.

Rajgurunagar to Kanhesar is one of the best State Highway road I have driven on. Smooth tarmac and well maked shoulder lines.
Zipped past Kanhesar and 2-3 km before Pabal, the fairytale road ended and we were back onto narrow road with just enough widhe for 1 1/2 vehicle.
At Pabal there was a signboard showing Shirur left, Shikrapur straight. 2 seconds of mental calculation and decided to forget Shirur and goto Shikrapur.
Pabal to Shikrapur was no different story. Rough road with just enough widht for 1 car and bike to cross each other.

On this patch, we caught up with 2-3 truck/tempos that we had to overtake. Each one of them moved to the shoulder and come to a halt and let me pass!! I didn't have to honk even once. I mean who follows these ettiqutes these days! Take a bow.

Shikrapur to Ranjangoan took no time.

Parked the car at the parking lot. And headed to the temple.

There was a long queue. Took us 1 hour to finish the darshan.

Ranjangoan to Pune was a smooth drive.


Distance
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-distance.jpg

Time
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-time.jpg

Average Speed
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-average-speed.jpg

Average FE
Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace-average-fe.jpg

Last edited by freedom : 23rd November 2015 at 13:42.
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Old 23rd November 2015, 13:38   #6
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Default Ashtavinayak - At my own sweet pace

The End.

It was a 1000 km drive and took us 4 days. We could have easily done this in 3 days.
I didn't click any photos. Not even from the phone. I am not a shutterbug and don't like stopping in between places just to click photos. Sincere apologies for this part.

The car odo is now 2500+ in just 35 days of ownership. . With the Polo GT TSI, you end up visiting places just for the drive

Last edited by freedom : 23rd November 2015 at 20:43.
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Old 24th November 2015, 14:09   #7
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Default re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 24th November 2015, 14:29   #8
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Default re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

You named it right. at turtles pace as Ashtavinayak is done mostly in 2 days by most of us here.

Following is the route we usually take starting from Navi Mumbai

Day 1 - Pali -Mahad - Theur - Morgaon ( at times have done Jejuri also)
Day 2 - Sidhatek - Ranjangaon - Ozhar - Lenyadri

For Theur/ Morgaon from Pune - going via Katraj-saswad-Jejuri-morgaon is a much better route than going through hadapsar. avoids a lot of Pune traffic.

There is nice lunch menu at Ranjangaon Temple prasad. Typical Maharashtrian thali. Hygenic and tasty too !
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Old 24th November 2015, 14:57   #9
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Smile re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

I too had done the Ashtavinayak trip long time back and did it in two days flat
Day 1 - Mahad - Pali - Ozhar - Lenyadri. Night halt at Lenyadri
Day 2 - Ranjangaon - Theur - Siddhatek - Morgaon. Stay at in laws in Pune.
Day 3 - return back to Thane.
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Old 24th November 2015, 15:05   #10
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Default re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

The idea was to follow the "correct order"
Morgaon-Siddhatek-Pali-Mahad-Theur-Lenyadri-Ozar-Ranjangaon.

Its not too much of a problem if you are based out in Pune.
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Old 24th November 2015, 15:07   #11
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Default re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

You got it Freedom- Doing it in correct order adds a lot of overhead in terms of time. adds almost 300 kms more.
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Old 25th November 2015, 13:17   #12
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Default Re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

Nice travelogue, thanks for sharing!

You really love your FE, don't you . This is the first time I'm seeing a travelogue with pictures only of the MID .
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Old 26th November 2015, 15:02   #13
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Default Re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Ashtavinayak ends when you visit Morgaon again after Ranjangaon. But nevertheless, great travelogue with great information about the roads. Even I am planning for this since long time but for some reason it's not getting materialized.

One interesting point to note here is that all of these Ashtavinayak murtis are Swayambhu (self existent).
Quote:
Originally Posted by freedom View Post
The idea was to follow the "correct order"
Morgaon-Siddhatek-Pali-Mahad-Theur-Lenyadri-Ozar-Ranjangaon.

Its not too much of a problem if you are based out in Pune.
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Old 26th November 2015, 16:47   #14
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Default Re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiesta1.6 View Post
Correct me if I am wrong, but I think the Ashtavinayak ends when you visit Morgaon again after Ranjangaon. But nevertheless, great travelogue with great information about the roads. Even I am planning for this since long time but for some reason it's not getting materialized.

One interesting point to note here is that all of these Ashtavinayak murtis are Swayambhu (self existent).
I am planning to visit Morgaon this weekend or in mid-December
And yes all Ashtavinyayak murtis are 'swayambhu'
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Old 26th November 2015, 17:04   #15
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Default Re: Pune to Ashtavinayak - At a turtle's pace

I think this is the first TL on team bhp with photos of ODO meter and nothing else. Nice and honest writeup though.
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