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Old 18th August 2008, 22:34   #1
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Post my first Indian travelog -- Pune-Lavasa-Lonavla-AmbyValley

had a 3 day weekend and nothing to do ...

was undergoing guilty pangs for having gone for first experience of trekking the previous weekend on a company paid team building event and was planning to make it up to wife and kids. I had seen the beauty of the ghats in the rains and i was determined to take them to these scenic places. A prelude to this :

I have driven quite a bit( @ 4 yrs in US ) and was planning to get an automatic in India too when i returned from US. However a close family friend and my father's best friend had advised him against me driving in India. This is for astrological reasons. BTW astrology works the other way round in US -- so I was all fine driving in US, but in India according to them a 2-wheeler or 4 wheeler means absolute no-no for me. My wife still doesnt allow me to ride pillion on a 2 wheeler( she cares for me to the hilt), and i dont know to drive one either. To end this prelude, my parents gifted this indigo to their grandchildren since they have come back from US and are used to an automobile!!

Ok enough of my yapping. So 15th August was spent in the days programme in the building complex and we had decided to start early next day. I had not told my wife or kids where we are leaving but only told them its a surprise trip -- so sit back and enjoy.

Day 1 : The day started laaaate. managed to wake up only at 6:30. Had a small argument with wife and she decided not to join the trip. So spent the beginning of the day convincing her to join it( Spoiler : i was doing it squarely for her and wanted to take her to Mumbai at the end of this trip to meet her brother on Raksha bandhan day-- read ahead to know how she had me change my original plans).

So after a lot of Cajoling and "Pataoing" (Round 1) she decided to join the trip. We started at 11 am from Chinchwad. Just as we started I realised the camera is with the rest of the luggage at the back. So I stopped the car and went to fetch it arguing with her for keeping it there inadvertently. She got off the car and started walking back home .. Round 2 of Cajoling and pleading she came back and sat next to me with a sad face. That expression remained for the rest of the day. The kids were all happy from the beginning of the ride. We filled up at the nearby bunk and started for Chandni Chowk. Just as we came down the road from Chandani Chowk to take a turn towards Paud, the elder one made a small request -- Daddy I dont want to bother you, but I have to really go Pee. Great is all i can think, but in a flash of a second , I was driving towards Kothrud and stopped at the Reliance Fresh outlet and sent my wife with the kid. Asked her to buy some tropicana juice and chips for the kids and then ask for the rest room. Task done and 20 minutes wasted in the ordeal . We started back for Paud road. The road was good except for a few potholes here and there till Pirangut which had some traffic. Took a left turn to Lavasa as given in the directions. Stopped in the ghats for a couple of snaps.

my first Indian travelog -- Pune-Lavasa-Lonavla-AmbyValley-100_1692.jpg

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P.S. : please ignore the dates on the snaps -- i had set them incorrectly during the beginning of the trip to realize it later

Last edited by kpbhatt : 18th August 2008 at 22:42.
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Old 18th August 2008, 22:39   #2
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Do they restrict entry into Lavasa? I have been to Girivan which is also another private hill resort in the same area (Maval Taluk), where the security lets you in only if you have a hotel reservattion.
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Old 18th August 2008, 22:40   #3
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Nice and short one.
OT: Its interesting to see people still having faith in astrology even after returning from US. This statement is not to offend, but my astonishment on the facts given by you.
Good that you dont hurt your family and friends belief.
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Old 18th August 2008, 22:49   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Do they restrict entry into Lavasa? I have been to Girivan which is also another private hill resort in the same area (Maval Taluk), where the security lets you in only if you have a hotel reservattion.
Entry to Lavasa is indeed restricted. I made it a point to tell wife and kids not to talk to the security and I said that I was here to attend the presentation given by the marketing team. The security guy just did not let me in, he also directed me to the the Town Hall.
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Old 18th August 2008, 23:08   #5
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After the ghats, we reached the beautiful Temghar dam. This was the second spot for us to take a short break and take some more snaps. Wife had stopped sulking, but hadnt yet started to smile. She did not oblige with snaps and I had to be content with taking snaps of the dam and the kids.


my first Indian travelog -- Pune-Lavasa-Lonavla-AmbyValley-100_1701.jpg

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Signing off for tonight. My little devils wont sleep or let sleep till I switch off all lights in the house. More updates tomorrow morning.

Last edited by kpbhatt : 18th August 2008 at 23:10.
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Old 18th August 2008, 23:13   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjothi View Post
Nice and short one.
OT: Its interesting to see people still having faith in astrology even after returning from US. This statement is not to offend, but my astonishment on the facts given by you.
Good that you dont hurt your family and friends belief.
Quite like you -- even I would tend to ignore such beliefs; however it gets quite emotional when you are the only son and have had deaths in the family due to road accidents..... Cannot afford to hurt my parents and wife's sentiments in such a scenario....
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Old 19th August 2008, 06:06   #7
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After a short halt at the dam, we were off to Lavasa. Conned the security guy into believing I was there for a presentation and he let me in. The road and the view inside is nothing compared to what I have seen before. Its beautiful. The planning of the city and its construction is in its initial stages. They plan to start the first phase for residential and commercial purposes in late 2009.

We had a hearty meal at their cafeteria and wanted to wait for the presentation to know more details. The 2 little devils were impatient and restless and forced me to rethink about staying back. We took some snaps of the Lavasa townhall and the ITC hotel being constructed there before making a move

my first Indian travelog -- Pune-Lavasa-Lonavla-AmbyValley-100_1706.jpg

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my first Indian travelog -- Pune-Lavasa-Lonavla-AmbyValley-100_1716.jpg
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Old 19th August 2008, 06:10   #8
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The dam pictures are real cool. Looks like the dam is broken and water is forcely getting out of that
In some angle it even looks like its just 2 separate wall with clear white sky at the back. Nice one.
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Old 19th August 2008, 06:25   #9
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Default Change of my plan

Started the drive back to Pirangut from Lavasa at 4 pm. After the meal the rest of us were sleepy and had put on some music to keep myself going. Reached Pirangut after the wonderful drive back in the ghats and asked for directions to Mumbai . One of the locals pointed me to Hinjewadi road ( i will regret this later) as the nearest to the expressway and asked me not to use the Tamhini ghat road. I wanted to drive via NH17 to Mumbai, but then changed tracks and headed for Hinjewadi road from Pirangut.

This was an excuse for a road ( sorry no snaps) all i did in the 20 km stretch was to keep my vehicle safe from oncoming traffic and huge craters. Made it to Hinjewadi by 5 and headed to the expressway. My wife and elder one were wide awake by that time. The elder one realised that we might be going to Mumbai and announced it to his mom ( there goes my plan and surprise) . My wife calmly waited for me to cross the eway toll naka and then announced that she doesnt want to go to Mumbai. Well i tried reasoning with her that I was taking her to meet her brother, but she would not budge. She had told myin-laws that I was taking them to an outing and going to Mumbai is no outing. There was a deadlock. I stopped the car at the Food Mall 10 kms ahead and took a deep breath to calm myself down. Downed a cup of hot tea and told her. Lets go back home. I had something else going on in my mind. I tool the Lonavla exit and headed straight for the Neeta Inn after the exit. Booked a room there . It was 6:15 at that time and there was no way we can visit anyplace that time. So headed to the room and I made some frantic calls and SMSs to a colleague who had stayed there for @ 7 yrs to know what places we can visit. Had our dinner and signed off for the day at 11 pm.
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Old 19th August 2008, 12:00   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpbhatt View Post
I wanted to drive via NH17 to Mumbai, but then changed tracks and headed for Hinjewadi road from Pirangut.

This was an excuse for a road ( sorry no snaps) all i did in the 20 km stretch was to keep my vehicle safe from oncoming traffic and huge craters. Made it to Hinjewadi by 5 and headed to the expressway. My wife and elder one were wide awake by that time. .
Haha. I lived in Hinjewadi for 2 years and took this road several times on our rides to Mulshi/Lavassa/Tamhini Ghat. Believe me, 'an excuse for a road' is a very mild way to describe this road. There is no tarmac anywhere at all, just massive craters which are often as long and wide as a truck! It is more like a motocross track. But the views are very nice, especially the stretch where it travels along the river for a while. You are kind of on the edge of a small cliff with the river below you and a mountain on the other side. Can be made into a fabulous driving road.
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Old 19th August 2008, 14:29   #11
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whoa!! that was quite a surprise by your wifey! i know how it must have felt while sipping hot tea at food mall! anyway nice pics of your 2 kids
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Old 19th August 2008, 17:38   #12
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Post day 2 Lonavla -Amby Valley

Woke up at 7:30 with a wide yawn and good sleep. Surprisingly wife woke up and was no longer sulking. However she did give me a piece of her mind for booking a hotel and spending all my hard earned money when we could have come to Lonavla from home !!!! I felt it best not to reason with anyone to avoid long and winding arguments.

Instead I was looking forward to the long winding roads of Amby Valley. Started at 10:30 after a good heavy breakfast at Neeta's inn and headed to Valvan dam. Cameras are not allowed in here since its a private place of Tata Power. However did notice some jerks sneaking them through and taking snaps of the dam. After a 10-15 minute stay at Valvan, headed straight for Bhushi dam.

Since it was a long weekend, there was a mad rush at Bhushi and there was a crunch for parking space at the nearby areas. I managed to find a secure spot near to the dam and the kids went and frolicked in the dam waters. I was wary of entering the water and was only taking snaps for the first half an hour. Being piscean by nature however, the water got the better of me and I climbed all the way up to the fencing of the dam. On the way back however, I slipped on one of rocks and fell on my back ( still suffering from a muscle pull ). Let the snaps speak for themselves.

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Old 20th August 2008, 07:21   #13
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Default drive till Amby Valley

Once we were done getting wet and wild at Bhushi dam , we proceeded to Amby Valley after a mandatory round of Bhutta (corn cob) eating ceremony at the base of the dam. The road was full of fog till we crossed the Y junction which divides the road between Amby Valley and Tung fort. Beyond this junction the visibility was great and we could enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

The road was in fantastiic condition all the way till Amby Valley gates. I only realised that my online registration was not accepted anymore after I reached the front security office of Amby Valley. The security personnel mentioned that I need to visit in person at the Chakala office in Mumbai or the Inox office in Pune to register first and then I am authorised to enter the premises.

Had to think on my toes about what to tell my wife about this big goof up. Surprisingly she didnt mind it at all and said -- anyways you arent gonna buy a property here -- are you? Lets head back to Lonavla. We took a short break at one of the scenic places and then at Tiger point for some snaps before heading back to Lonavla. this is a bigger set of pics hope you like them :


my first Indian travelog -- Pune-Lavasa-Lonavla-AmbyValley-100_1741.jpg

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Old 20th August 2008, 07:41   #14
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Nice writeup.
So, seem you had real fun for the days. Good.
The photo with you in the middle of the crowd saying "I am here sir" is cool. It has come quite natuarally with all the crowds busy in there works
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Old 20th August 2008, 11:09   #15
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Very nicely written article. Enjoyed reading it and pictures were great as well.
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