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Old 28th November 2008, 15:18   #1
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Default Pune - Harihareswar

Travelogue
I must say right at the beginning that my narrative will be different from most others that you have read. My riding style is very different. For me the ride is much more important than the destination and I usually don’t stop for sightseeing, so you will not find a lot of description about the places that I visit but you will get a lot of first hand info on the road, the driving conditions and other things that I notice while riding. I believe these are very important aspects which are ignore, since most people are fixated on the destination rather than the journey (Which is perfectly normal. I actually am in the extreme minority so you can safely say that I am eccentric). I have taken a few pics which I have included.

My latest trip was from Pune to Harihareshwar on the bike and back the same day. The route followed was:

Pimple Saudagar (PUNE) – Waked – Chandni Chowk – Pirangut – Paud – Mulshi – Tamhini Ghat – Nizampur – Mangaon – Mhasla – Harihareshwar – Mhasla – Goregaon – Lonere – Mahad – Bhor – Shirwal – Katraj – Balewadi - Chandni Chowk – Waked – Pimple Saudagar.

I did the trip in 4 stages (please note that the distance in kms is reasonably accurate but not 100% precise) :-

Stage 1 – Pimple Saudagar – (4kms) – Waked – (10kms) – Chandni Chowk – (12kms) – Pirangut – (8kms) – Paud – (28kms) – Mulshi – (15kms) – Begin Tamhini Ghat – (12kms) – End Tamhini Ghat – (10kms) – Nizampur – (15kms) – Mangaon (on NH 17) Total approx 120 kms. Driving time – 2.00 hours. Halts – At Mulshi for 10 mins and at Mangaon for 20 mins.

Left home at 7:00 am and went towards Chandani Chowk from Wakad, via the Bombay Bangalore highway. From Chandani Chowk took a right towards Pirangut and Paud. The road upto Paud is in reasonable good condition. The Pirangut ghat is a small one and not worthy of any special mention. The fun with the road begins after Paud. From Paud right upto Mulshi the road is in a terrible state. You just cannot maintain an average speed of more than 30 kmph. The scenery is quite good and the road is not as crowded as say the road to Sinhagad. The Mulshi lake with its azure blue waters and surrounded by forested mountains cloaked with a semi transparent veil of mist is absolutely enchanting. Of course you are not allowed to go into the water and there are numerous signs warning about the hazards which include – strong underwater currents and repties!!!

There are a few restaurants but thankfully not too many to ruin the scenery. If you want to get something to eat then this would be the time since the next place where you can get good food is at Mangaon (almost 50kms away) There is a popular waterfall at a place called Palse not far from the lake. Had been there last year and its quite a nice place for a picnic. The drive along the lake side towards Tamhini Ghat is very beautiful and the road is quite decent.

Tamhini Ghat is not too difficult, the gradients are not too steep and the curves are not too tight but there is a lot of road work going on which means there is loose gravel and sand strewn on the road which makes it extremely dangerous. Take your eyes off the road to gawk at the unfolding valleys while driving and you could be on your way to meet the valley face to face!!! Lots of photo ops and even I stopped for a moment to click a couple. There are lots of places where you can park and have a nice picnic breakfast/lunch and take in the scenery.

From the end of Tamhini Ghat till Mangaon the road is excellent and it is a bike riders paradise. Small roads in good condition with lots of twists and turns, ups and downs and ringed on both sides by golden fields. If you enjoy riding as much as I do, then these 25 kms are a blessing straight from heaven. Nizampur is a small town and you pass through it to reach Mangaon on NH17. This is quite a busy place and meeting traffic after more than 120 kms of solitude is quite shocking! I took a quick pit stop here for some food. There are quite a few restaurants and shops and it’s a good idea to get a snack, refuel, stock water (whatever is required) before proceeding.

Pic - Mulshi Lake

Pune - Harihareswar-mulshi_lake.jpg

Pic - Tamhini Ghat

Pune - Harihareswar-tamhini_ghat.jpg

Stage 2 – Mangaon – (30kms) – Mhasla – (15kms) – Srivardhan – (15kms) – Harihareshwar. Total approx 60 kms. Driving time – 1:45 hours. Halts – At Harihareshwar for 1 hour.

The first 20 kms from Mangaon to Mhasla is in excellent condition. The speed of the ride is limited only by your skill and daring. But there are small villages along the way so please be careful! After 20 kms of heavenly riding the brief honeymoon ends and you get a jolt into reality with a familiar sight – potholes around which you have to find a road. An exercise in futility for the most part so be ready for a lot of jolts, especially the pillon rider. This continues all the way till Mhasla and then on to Srivardhan. There are a couple of small ghats on the way and these should be taken with extreme caution due to the ongoing road construction. These 25 kms take almost 1 hour on a bike. Cars should be able to do much faster speeds.

The intriguing part is, there are brief patches of 300 – 500 mts which are good after which you again hit a bad patch for 1 - 2 kms. Everytime you hit a good patch you are relieved but before you can savor the ride you are back to square 1 . And this holds true for almost the entire way!!!. Astonishing perseverance in eccentric road maintenance. I invite all readers to speculate on why the riders are subject to something like the good cop – bad cop routine from Hollywood movies. Maybe it is to keep you alert and focused on the driving – who knows??!! I was so focused on avoiding the pot holes and preventing permanent damage to my bike that I almost didn’t see the milestone signaling the turn off towards Harihareshwar!!!

After about 42 – 45 kms from Mangaon you reach a ‘T’ junction. To the right is Srivardhan (3kms) and to the left is Harihareshwar (15kms) I took the left turn and went towards Harihareshwar. These 15 kms are again in excellent condition. I stopped at the MTDC resort for lunch. They have set up something like covered food pavilions with a fantastic view of the beach. The fish is quite good but don’t order Chinese. They have no clue how to prepare it. There are some cottages (I saw some AC cottages also) but didn’t enquire about the rates. I had gone on a Saturday but the place was completely deserted except for a couple of families who were staying in the cottages.

Stage 3 – Harihareshwar – (30kms) – Mhasla – (30kms) – Goregaon – (6kms) – Lonere (on NH 17) Total approx 66 kms. Driving time – 1:45 hours. Halts – At Mhasla for 10 mins and at Lonere for 15 mins.

I have already covered the road between Mhasla and Harihareshwar in Stage 2. I wanted to take a different route on the way back since I usually dislike returining the same way and try to take a different route, if possible. However I had not planned for an alretnate route before setting out and hence did not know about the distances and road conditions. Please be warned that this might not always be the best idea – as I discovered. Plan the route, make enough enquiries about the distance and road conditions and stick to the plans, especially if you are in a group. For a lone rider like me, a 100 kms extra riding is not much of an issue.

On the way back, at Mhasla I stopped for a quick cold drink and was away in 10 mins. From Mhasla to Goregaon the road is good for about 40 – 50 % of the way. Quite a bit of the road is through the mountains and so extra care needs to be taken as the road is under construction. I passed through Goregaon without stopping and reached Lonere on the NH 17 where I stopped for a cold drink and packet of chocolate biscuits.

Pic - Accident on ghat approaching Srivardhan.

Pune - Harihareswar-dangerous_roads.jpg

Pic - Where is Mahad? After 20 kms or 2 kms?

Pune - Harihareswar-where_is_mahad___.jpg


Stage 4 – Lonere – (30kms) – Toll Naka – (6kms) – Begin Bhor Ghat – (60kms) – End Bhor Ghat – (6kms) – Bhor – (8kms) – Shirwal on NH 4 – (30kms) – Katraj – (18kms) – Wakad – (4kms) – Pimple Saudagar. Total approx 165 kms. Driving time – 4:30 hours. Halts – At Joshi Wadewale near Katraj 20 mins.

From Goregaon you reach Lonere and touch the NH 17 at a [SIZE=2]‘T’[/SIZE] junction. To the left is Mangaon and to the right is Mahad. I took the right turn and sped on towards Mahad. NH 17 is of course a very good road and much more scenic than the NH 4. The drawback being, there is no divider!! So you need to be real careful if you are on a bike. Beyond Mahad there is a toll naka from where I took a left turn towards Bhor Ghat. The road is typically awful in patches. By now the good cop – bad cop routine of the road was old news and I was convinced that the road authorities had specifically set out to make the roads as uncomfortable as possible and succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. After some time I swear I could hear my brain trying to shake loose from my skull!!!!

One word of warning about Bhor Ghat – do not attempt to use this unless unavoidable or possessed by insatiable curiosity. Go back via Tamhini Ghat. This ghat is 60 kms long and it takes more than 2 hours to traverse. And to top it all, it was deserted. I saw 1 odd truck or bike after every 10 kms or so. I kept a count and did not see more than 15 vehicles in the entire time it took me to cross. There are no villages unless you are almost through to the other side. Somewhere in the middle (about 20kms or so into the ghat) there is a rest stop kind of a place with some stalls selling tea, wada pav etc. It was dark by the time I got through and the last 10 kms or so were really bad with no lights and bad roads. Close to 25% of the road is bad in Bhor Ghat. The scenery however is magnificient and the peaceful serenity of the mountain ranges is awesome. Anyone who likes nature will be in paradise. There are numerous places where you can stop and have a picnic, although be sure to keep enough time in hand to cross over before the sun sets.

Passed through Bhor and went on to Shirwal on the NH 4. When you reach Bhor don’t take any turns, just go straight through. There is a chowk with a statue of Shivaji Maharaj, go around it and continue straight to reach Shirwal. When you touch the highway turn right to go towards Pune. I stopped at Joshi Wadewale for some hot snacks and continued towards Pune via the Katraj tunnel. Went on straight to reach Waka via Chandani Chowk and was home at 9:00 pm. The ride was fantastic and I reached home tired and content. Nothing like spending the day on the bike.

Pic - Biggest truck I have ever seen.

Pune - Harihareswar-nh17__biggest_truck.jpg

Some pics of Bhor Ghat

Pune - Harihareswar-bhor_ghat1.jpg
Pune - Harihareswar-bhor_ghat2.jpg
Pune - Harihareswar-bhor_ghat3.jpg


Total time spent – 14 hours (7:00 am to 9:00 pm)
Total halt – 2:00 hours
Total ride time – 12:00 hours
Total distance covered – 444 kms.
Vehicle – Bajaj Pulsar 180 DTSi (Sept. 2004 model)


Suggestions for travellers
  • I have taken the long route back to Pune by coming via Bhor ghat. The convenient route is going and coming back via Tamhini Ghat. The distance will then be close to 380 – 400 kms for the entire journey covering Harihareshwar, Srivardhan and Dive Agar (which I did not visit in my trip).
  • Due to bad roads plan for atleast 4:30 hours of travel time each way.
  • MTDC resorts are usually facing the beach so they are the best option for overnight stay.
  • Cars are the best way to travel due to the road conditions.
  • Do not cross Tamhini Ghat after dark since there have been stray incidents of dacoits accosting travelers.
For the die hard riders out there, if the call of the road is irresistible and something deep within you answers the siren call, then don’t delay, chuck the cars and saddle up your bikes. Hit the tarmac and burn some rubber – Three cheers to the Road Warriors!!!
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Old 29th November 2008, 12:30   #2
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Thats a very nice writeup Hiraj and some great pictures too. Very detailed and informative as well - keep it up! Looks like you had quite an adventure in a day.

"For me the ride is much more important than the destination"
Couldn't agree more with you!
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Old 1st December 2008, 00:02   #3
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Hi, AviatoR,

Its nice to meet a fellow rider! God knows they are rare enough. I fully intend to continue riding and writing. I am planning that the next one will be Pune-Kolhapur-Belgaum-Bijapur-Solapur-Pune. Intend to complete that before the 15th of Dec.

Till then cheers!
Regards, Raj
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Old 1st December 2008, 00:51   #4
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Excellent travelogue Raj and bike makes it all the more fun and adventurous... I had used the Bhor ghat 3 yrs back in my car and I felt exactly the same way as you did. But looking at the pain you have been through I think the road has deteriorated much much since then.

All the best for your south maharashtra, north karnatak trip. You are making the same mistake again, going-to by a better road and coming back by the worst possible. LOL
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Old 1st December 2008, 11:12   #5
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Excellent travelouge!! I enjoyed every word of it and relived my trip to Kelshi on my HH Splendour :-) ( which was about 8 years back! ). I remembered getting lost around Lonere. WE went via Mahabaleshwar ( even longer route ) and after getting lost around Lonere, we reached Kelshi only around 5 PM. We started Pune around 5:30AM. However it was July (rainy season) and we enjoyed every minute of the ride.

The only caution (we learnt a hard way) during rainy season is lookout for all low lying bridges over numerous streams which tend to flood during rainy season and cut off the road.

Also, need small clarification below

"Passed through Bhor and went on to Shirwal on the NH 4. When you reach Bhor don’t take any turns, just go straight through. There is a chowk with a statue of Shivaji Maharaj, go around it and continue straight to reach Shirwal. When you touch the highway turn right to go towards Pune"

Raj - I guess, you meant turn left towards Pune when you reach NH4 Highway.

Thanks for sharing your experience. A very refreshing one.

takecare and drive safely
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Old 1st December 2008, 12:03   #6
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nice travelogue although no pic of harihareshwar.
bhor ghat mentioned in the travelogue is VARANDHA GHAT.
this ghat is in pathetic condition. avoid to travel by this ghat.
after the city of bhor, you need not go to shirwal to touch nh4. you have to turn left at shivaji statue and go toward bus stand and continue on this road. you will touch nh4 near kapurhole. on this road, you can see bhatghar dam. while coming from varandha ghat to bhor, you will see neera devghar dam. at the point where varandha ghat ends the ascend, there is small tea stop. from this point, you can see torna fort. as you approach near bhor, you can see vichitragad fort. in varandha ghat itself, there are lot of tea stalls at one point as mentioned in travelogue, right at there, kavlya fort can be trekked within 1/2 hour. when varandha ghat ascend starts, there is left turn to go shivthar ghal[ spot where saint ramdas wrote dasbodh 400 years back.
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Old 4th December 2008, 17:21   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkavthekar View Post
Raj - I guess, you meant turn left towards Pune when you reach NH4 Highway.
It is indeed left towards Pune! Sorry for the mistake.

I remember the days of my Hero Honda Splendor. I had gone to Ahmednagar on it for a college project and it was my biggest adventure on those days!!!

Raj
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Old 4th December 2008, 17:27   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meer View Post
All the best for your south maharashtra, north karnatak trip. You are making the same mistake again, going-to by a better road and coming back by the worst possible. LOL
Thanks Meer! Glad to know you enjoyed reading my post. Regarding the next trip, NH4 is a fantastic road, but I have gone to Mahabaleshwar and Satara quite a few times but never towards Solapur and so want to cover it on the way back!.
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Old 4th December 2008, 19:27   #9
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Been very long since I went to Harihareshwar. Mhasla Ghat was a pretty steep and dangerous one then. Have they made it any better now? There was an accident that took place recently involving an ST bus in which many people died.
There is an alternate route via Goregaon (not the Mumbai suburb). It is a longer, but, safer route.
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Old 5th December 2008, 12:27   #10
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Fantastic ride and write-up, though pics of harihareshwar are missing.

I am riding to either of the places (Harihareshwar, Dive Agar or Hedvi) tomorrow from Pimple Saudagar on my Machismo 500. Just wondering if you wish to join in
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Old 6th December 2008, 14:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Been very long since I went to Harihareshwar. Mhasla Ghat was a pretty steep and dangerous one then. Have they made it any better now? There was an accident that took place recently involving an ST bus in which many people died.
There is an alternate route via Goregaon (not the Mumbai suburb). It is a longer, but, safer route.

The Mhasla Ghat is pretty steep and still very dangerous. More so now since there is road work going on and as usual this invlolves lots of debris and rubble on the road. And I was warned about the accident by a friendly rickshaw driver at Mangaon, so I was very careful with te throttle and brake.


The Goregaon route is definitely safer and yes a bit longer.
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Old 6th December 2008, 18:41   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hiraj2001 View Post
Thanks Meer! Glad to know you enjoyed reading my post. Regarding the next trip, NH4 is a fantastic road, but I have gone to Mahabaleshwar and Satara quite a few times but never towards Solapur and so want to cover it on the way back!.
Solapur to Pune road is a bit tricky. Avoid morning (8-10) and evening (5-7) as there are lot of bikes on the road. Also, most of the road does not have a divider, so overtaking is tricky. Nearer to Pune, you will get 4 lane toll road with divider.

All the best
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