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Old 5th July 2016, 22:26   #1
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Default Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

29-30th June 2016 - Went to Ratnagiri to pick up my parents.

Instead of the regular NH17 375KM route, took Mumbai -> Pune -> Satara -> Umbraj -> Kumbharli Ghat -> Chiplun -> Ratnagiri -> Kasheli route. This is a much longer route and adds 2-3 hours easily to the journey. BUT, in the monsoon its worth it.

Started at 2:15AM, so as to do the Kumbharli ghat early in the morning and reach home in time. Expressway and NH4 after that till Umbraj was smooth travel. Took right for Chiplun just after 6am.

6:20AM : Once on the Umbraj-Patan-Chiplun road, the traffic became really sparse. Except locals nobody really uses this road as a connection between NH4 and NH17. I pulled over for a fresh-air break.
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A light drizzle made the roads wet and I was tempted to pull over again after 15 mins.
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Passed the sleepy town - Patan without slowing down much. I was on the road for more than 4 hours now. Although I knew that it was near impossible to get anything to eat on this route so early, I was keen to have a cup of tea at least. Passed a few shady tea-stalls and stayed on the road to try my luck further down the road.

Finally, after crossing a bridge on the Koyna, suddenly came across a small hotel which looked decent. Although this was on the right side, I stopped right in front, lowered the window glass and asked if I would get tea. The chap - apparently the owner - smiled and said -Yes. While waiting for the tea, I casually asked him if he has anything ready for breakfast. He surprised me by replying "Misal". In next 15 minutes, I devoured unarguably one of the better misals I had in recent time and washed it down with a nice cup of tea. I asked the owner, how far is the Koyna dam and he said, the right turn is just 100 meters ahead. Its 2-3kms from there. Then I realized that this junction is a favourite stop for the trucks on this route and that's why there are 2 good dhabas here. I also checked about the road-conditions in the Kumbharli ghat and was told that its in good condition.

Took the right and the road started climbing. Stopped a little bit ahead when I saw this scene on the right.
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A light drizzle did a good job of hiding all the dirt on the car from last 300 odd kms.
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Nice green tree cover on both sides.
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I kept looking out for the Koyna dam and suddenly I got a glimpse of it through the trees on the right.
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Climbed even further and reached the garden gate. One can buy a ticket and explore the garden. One can also get to see the other side of the dam from the garden. It opens at 9am. I checked my watch. 7:30AM. May be next time.
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Enjoying the Kumbharli ghat and clicking memories was important. But reaching Ratnagiri on time was also important. So got back on the main road soon and kept a good pace.
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Just before 8am, the Kumbharli ghat started.
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It was a little foggy and there was very very light drizzle. Next one hour or so, I lost count of how many times I stopped. Every corner was a window into some mesmerizing green scenery.
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Clouds floating low.
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No destruction caused by humans for miles together.
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Multiple shades of greens everywhere.
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A waterfall peeked through the cloud cover.
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I encountered just 10 odd trucks and even lesser number of cars. So lots of opportunity for Duma to pose.
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Its interesting to note that when you take the Kumbharli ghat from Pune/Satara side, its all downhill.
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Is that a road or a river snaking through the valley?
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Small floating cloud... right ahead!
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After crossing the Kumbharli ghat, started seeing some signs of human civilization.
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<to be continued>

Last edited by SDP : 6th August 2016 at 23:13.
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Old 5th July 2016, 22:33   #2
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

As I closed in on Chiplun, the road straightened out.
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I joined NH17 at Chiplun at 9am. This is about the same time I reach Chiplun when I take NH17 all the way. So my calculation of starting 2 hours early for Kumbharli route had worked out pretty nicely.

I was in familiar territory now. Just because its familiar does not mean, its not beautiful. In fact, the NH17 stretch between Chiplun to Sangameshwar and then onwards till Hathkhamba is one of my favourite stretches all through the year.
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This river gives company on the right for a long time, but the water level that I remembered was always quite a few feet below what I saw this time. The Konkan region has been lashed by heavy rains in last week or so and it was very evident.
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Cattle in lush green.
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Rice farming
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More curves ahead.
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Found a nice spot for photoshoot and parked on the wrong side (off the road). Just when I had reached this vantage point, a small rickshaw-tempo guy pulled over ...bang in the frame ...apparently for a su-su break. Had to clone-stamp him and the tempo out of the pic.
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The huge tree, the rock and the curving clean black road. The setting could not have been better.
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After Sangameshwar, I was climbing up again and saw this on the left. Countless shades of green and brown !
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The Nivali waterfall a bit before Hathkhamba. Not in its full glory, but still soothing and beautiful.
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Usual photo-op at the Gaonkhadi beach.
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Reached home around 12:30pm after a tea-break at Pawas. The trip meter showed 510kms instead of the usual 375.
10 hours on the road, 2 more than usual. Not a bad deal at all given the beautiful monsoon scenes I witnessed !

The last 2 snaps are from the return journey, when we (me + parents) stopped at the Koyna dam garden and got to see the other side.
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Hardly any visitors. A red car tends to hide dirt much better in monsoon. Just look at the white Innova for comparison.
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Climbing the Kumbharli ghat from the other direction was also fun, but being on the hill-side, it robs you of the valley view from the driver's seat. Also it was raining pretty heavily when we passed, so didn't stop much in the Kumbharli ghat during the return journey.

So overall 1020kms in less than 48 hours and a good monsoon drive! Thoroughly enjoyed!

<The End>

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Last edited by SDP : 6th August 2016 at 23:13.
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Old 6th July 2016, 10:37   #3
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post
The last 2 snaps are from the return journey, when we stopped at the garden at Koyna dam and got to see the other side.
Wonderful picturelogue SDP. The lush greenery all around is so soothing to the eyes. Good to see cattle grazing the fresh grass, rice plantations going on in full swing. Also I am amazed to see the near perfect road condition in the ghat. Here in Pune just after the first showers roads have become non-existent.

Quote:
Hardly any visitors. A red car tends to hide dirt much better in monsoon.
I agree, darker shades are a boon in the rainy season. All my cars till date have been dark shade & I never bothered to clean my cars so frequently in the rainy season for the simple reason that they didn't look that much dirty
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Old 6th July 2016, 10:48   #4
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Nice travelogue SDP.

The sight of black empty road sorrounded with fluorescent green all around simply is irresistible. The environment is pristine and seems unscathed by the waves of artificialization. How are fuelling options in these areas; would it be possible to locate a fuel station at say every 50 Kms or so?

The majestic XUV 5oo at the road cornering the coastline is simply surreal.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 6th July 2016, 10:48   #5
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Greenery, hills, dams and roads in monsoons - super combo, looks heavenly, lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing

I wasn't aware of these places but looking at the map, even an extension of the drive towards Ganapatipule may have been a bonus and you get to drive along the coast as well ?
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Old 6th July 2016, 11:01   #6
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDP View Post

The last 2 snaps are from the return journey, when we stopped at the garden
at Koyna dam and got to see the other side.
Sahyadris in monsoon is a beautiful experience. I am sure you must have enjoyed the trip


Did you check with the locals about the water level in the Koyna Dam backwaters? Has it risen significantly after the onset of monsoon?

I went to Koyna in Jan this year and I could clearly see that the water level was very low.

Last edited by GTO : 7th July 2016 at 08:42. Reason: Typo
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Old 6th July 2016, 14:19   #7
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!
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Old 6th July 2016, 14:35   #8
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Thanks for the kind words, guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by King_pin09 View Post
... How are fuelling options in these areas; would it be possible to locate a fuel station at say every 50 Kms or so?
....
Umbraj to Chiplun is about 90kms IIRC and refuelling on this stretch might be tricky. Rest of NH4 and NH17 stretches have no problems of course.

Last edited by aah78 : 6th July 2016 at 21:32. Reason: Edited on request.
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Old 6th July 2016, 14:46   #9
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

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Originally Posted by SDP View Post
Like, comment, share and subscribe if you like this travelogue. Oh shoot, this is not YouTube! :P
Lovely pics and narration! Is the road through Patan town now wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass comfortably, specially through the market area?

If you haven't already, do try the Amba ghat - that's quite an eyeful too - next time you travel to Ratnagiri in the rains. That way, you'll also get a chance to see the Marleshwar waterfall in its full glory by taking a small detour!

Cheers,
Vikram
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Old 6th July 2016, 21:50   #10
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

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Lovely pics and narration! Is the road through Patan town now wide enough for 2 vehicles to pass comfortably, specially through the market area?
...
Yes, its fairly wide now, but general lack of discipline and haphazardly parked vehicles in the market area does slow you down considerably during the day. Early morning, I breezed through without really slowing down.


Quote:
If you haven't already, do try the Amba ghat - that's quite an eyeful too - next time you travel to Ratnagiri in the rains. That way, you'll also get a chance to see the Marleshwar waterfall in its full glory by taking a small detour!
Ummm.... IIRC Marleshwar is off NH17, around Sangameshwar which is north of Hathkhamba and not on the Amba ghat route. For Amba ghat route I connect from Pawas to Lanja (which is south of Hathkhamba on NH17) and then climb up to Malkapur/Kolhapur/Karad through the Amba ghat.

I have done Marleshwar ages back and need to plan a revisit. Its heavenly in monsoon!
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Old 7th July 2016, 08:09   #11
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Smile Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Good to see Sanjay back on the roads and travelling. The pics are simply good, wall paper like. The only thing that was running in my mind when reading your travelogue was what material must have been used for building roads there which do not get abused by the traffic nor the weather. Is it the minimal traffic which is helping to keep the roads in such good conditions.

Anyways I suppose Sanjay had his extra dosage of oxygen for the monsoon. I can only dream of driving to such places.
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Old 7th July 2016, 08:13   #12
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Awesome trip that was and then you drove through some of the best sections of Western Maharashtra which at this time is at its greenest best!

The beauty of Mumbai-Pune region during monsoon is that you are never too far from driving through these twisties with multiple ghats throught various route options that take you to the Western coast.

On top of this, the lovely Konkani & Saraswat food that you get to relish when driving around in this region.

Waiting to drive around this side after 3 weeks from now and looking at your photos, the excitement is doubled !
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Old 7th July 2016, 09:59   #13
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

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For Amba ghat route I connect from Pawas to Lanja (which is south of Hathkhamba on NH17) and then climb up to Malkapur/Kolhapur/Karad through the Amba ghat.
I see. When I'd gone to Marleshwar, it was by taking the Pune - Malkapur - Amba Ghat - Marleshwar route. While coming from Pune - Amba, there's a right turn (almost a U-turn) a little distance before the ghat ends, which I was told to take by some locals as a short cut to Marleshwar.

Hope you don't mind me sharing a couple of pics from that trip for nostalgia's sake

Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive-m1.jpg

Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive-m2.jpg

Cheers,
Vikram
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Old 7th July 2016, 12:19   #14
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Saw your update on FB and was wondering whether a photologue would follow on Tbhp and bang on, you did it.

I wonder how you manage to get going at such wee hours and drive so much.

Wonderful pics. Quite tempting actually to make some plans of my own. Hope to see a couple of more monsoon travelogues from you.


Cheers,
Raj
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Old 7th July 2016, 12:36   #15
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Default Re: Kumbharli Ghat - A 1000 kms Monsoon Drive

Nothing can beat the beautiful green of hills in the monsoon. Great set of pics there with some crisp narration. If you could post some gmaps links, it would help those who are new to the ghats and roads of konkan
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