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Old 9th July 2010, 17:11   #436
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This is Lord point. It had an uncanny resemblance to Echo point. I'm not sure whether I messed up the file names.
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Another view of the Lord point.
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We proceeded to one tree hill. This is the view of some lake below. Again, it's sheer cliff. AP saab can probably tell us which lake this is. We had some youngsters at one tree hill and the women were particularly not impressed with one tree hill. And they walked all the way to only express their extreme irritation.
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However for us, standing at the edge of a sheer cliff and looking at vast expanse without any man made machination in sight, enjoying the cool wafting breeze itself was good. I'd go to even bald hill if it can give me that.
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Here's the view of One tree hill. It's a cliff off our cliff. One needs to climb down a bit and climb up again to go there. We skipped deeming it not worth the risk. Of course, the hill lived up to it's name with a single tree on top, which was rather a large bush.
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Decided to take some quick photos for posterity.
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us at one tree hill. Lugging the tripod for such long walks can be rewarding at times.
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My wife loves animals. Just like me. Here she hands out biscuits to a monkey.
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This is what irritates me. Look at the man in the back ground trying to whip out his camera to catch this feat in his cam. I say, why don't you risk your wife to feed the monkey and capture that instead? When I glowered at him, he made a quick retreat.
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I know purists would come back and say that you don't let another person take a pic but you have uploaded the same in T-BHP which is open to millions.
I'm sure that the monkeys will have their revenge if anyone misuses their photos.
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Old 9th July 2010, 17:53   #437
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
TThis is the view of some lake below. Again, it's sheer cliff.
Its lake formed due to Morbi dam.

Btw, Mtdc is not ideal place at matheran to stay as it is too long to walk from the main market.
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Old 9th July 2010, 18:00   #438
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Perched on the trees, we saw this family of Monkeys. They obliged me by posing.
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I don't know what's the fixation men have with monkeys. Most make noises at monkeys. One would need to get some animal rights activists to such places. I adored this family. Picture perfect.
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We walked back in semi-darkness. A look up, revealed the evening skies so beautifully.
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Some restaurant on the way where we decided to stop for dinner.
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Had to retire early to bed as we planned to go to Sun-rise point early to catch up with sun-rise. So we bought torch lights as we planned to leave by 4 am. So walk back from the market area to MTDC resort was cool as we had the torch light with us.
But we couldn't help notice a million stars above our head. So we pulled our chairs and lay them outside and sat watching those stars for hours together. Immersed our feet in buckets of hot water to give them some relief from all that walking!
I don't remember when sleep overcame finally. But what I do recollect is my alarm going off at 4 am and we pop out of the bed immediately and were out marching by 4:30!
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Old 9th July 2010, 18:42   #439
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Nice pics there MX6.
Loved the dinner restaurant pic. Looks like a tripod was used. I wish the evening skies pic would have been slightly less shaky (Was a good candidate for tripod).
I seldom use my tripod in India. The weird stares you get are very irritating.

Do post rest of the snaps soon. Waiting for the movie to start after seeing the trailer (teaser-pic with your daughter) yesterday. or was it day before?
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Old 9th July 2010, 18:46   #440
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Both those photos are without tripod. I was so tired walking that didn't feel like mounting my cam and taking the extra effort.
Yeah, the khandala/ lonavala pics will start soon. Later tonight. I have a last set to go in on Matheran still!
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Old 9th July 2010, 19:13   #441
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We took a shower in cold water at 4 am. Yes. A cold shower helps you walk out during christmas in Matheran at wee hours without shivering.
It was complete darkness as we walked to the sunrise point.
When we reached there, we saw a group of 10 - 15 of them already there. So we found ourself a nice dry spot and sat there waiting for the sun to pop up from the eastern skies.
Before the sun popped out, the skies were in glorious hues. In Sanskrit, it's called Usha. The pre-dawn lights of sun!
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Slowly our guy pops up, and the whole group goes in to ooh's and aah's. And then the next few seconds till the sun is completely out from behind the peak, we all watched in rapt attention and complete silence.
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With the sun popping out, the sky took a golden hue.
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And I used my 70 - 210 mm lens to full glory. Sadly, I didn't have a UV filter for that lens.
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Slowly the redness drained off and the sun got his golden yellow.
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And that's how far he was from where we sat. Actually, he was 8 odd light minutes away from us. But as I said, the world is a strange place - full of illusions
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The walk back from the sun rise point - Couldn't believe that we traversed these roads in utter darkness. The whole world was different when the sun came up.
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There were people who were on horsebacks to see the sun rise. And they were returning too. We realised that some parts of the route we traversed in utter darkness had sheer cliffs. One wrong step and it's a far cry for help.
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The route had again sunlight pilfering through the trees creating art.
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That's how close to the edge my wife was seated. This photo incidentally was before the sun popped up.
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The look on her face is priceless. Simple things like sunrise, sunsets create myriad emotions in people like us. Two days and 40 kms of walking we discovered within each other, all we want is simple things that nature offers.

Last week when my friends called and stated they were going over the weekend to Matheran and whether we'd like to join them, I thought a lot. But had to turn it down. For me, Matheran is not a place I'd go with friends. It's a place where I'd go with my life partner. It's a place where it's all about you, her and mother nature.

Up next - The land of chikki!
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Old 9th July 2010, 20:36   #442
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Nice snaps MX. Thats one section of geography which I have missed of all my visits.
Thats on cards. Will plan very soon.
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Old 9th July 2010, 23:25   #443
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@MX6 - Nice set of photos, especially loved the sun rise photos. My "places to visit" has one more entry in it now. Are there any options other than MTDC there?
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Old 11th July 2010, 15:46   #444
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@ampere. Thanks. And yes, please do come this side. There's incidentally quite a lot.

@Nutty. There's scores of options in Matheran to stay. Near the Market you have loads of resorts, but then on special weekends they tend to become noisy and crowded. We thankfully stayed in MTDC as it is closest to the taxi drop off/ pick up point and far away from the maddening crowd. Since it was christmas and new year, all resorts inside matheran blared loud music till wee hours. We were thankfully far from the melee.
Ofcourse this involved extra walk. But with my wife, that was the perfect ambience I looked for.
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Old 11th July 2010, 16:05   #445
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I am planning a 8 day trip towards MH in Aug end or Sept first week.
I have never travelled to Maharastra apart from passing through it in train, during my travel to Baroda.
I would want to do Bangalore - Hubli - Yallapur - Karwar primarily and then drive north to MH.
I know there would be numerous places worth the visit. But, i would want a few suggestions on what all i can cover in the limited time i have with that.
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Old 11th July 2010, 17:21   #446
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If you are coming up from Karwar in that route you said, I'd suggest you to drive up NH17. Ganapathipule is a fine beach (so is Tarkarli - but over monsoons I'd prefer Ganapathipule).
Further up north of Ganapathipule you'd come across some amazing places like Harihareshwar, Diveagar, Srivardhan.
You can then branch off from there and climb one of the ghats (varandha or pirangut) and go over to Pune. Drive over to Malsejh and Bandardara.
These drives are amazing in months of Aug and Sept.
Then you can take NH4 all the way back to Bengaluru.

Lonavala and Khandala have been done to death. It's also damn crowded and has lost it's charm. But if you can stay away from the hotspots and just look at it as a fun place to spend some quality time with family, they still throw up some surprises.

The route to Amby valley.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-towards-amby-valley-7.jpg

The roads are smooth, but the traffic is pathetic and people drive rough. Sometimes I feel why people can't switch their moods to holiday mood. Why can't I drive in this road at 40 kph and enjoy my drive? I got honked at incessantly. All I could do was crank up my ICE. The bachelor gang just wanted to rush to another spot, strip, get in to water with bottles in their hand. Once done, they get back in the car, rush to another spot and the routine continued.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-towards-amby-valley-8.jpg

One such group pulls in. See the guy who seems to be standing besides the car? He's actually standing inside the car with his upper torso jutting out. They drove all the way in that manner. The guy was literally hanging out and hooting. I asked my wife to take a quick photo and those guys noticed it. They started commenting "look look, she's taking our snaps".
My wife was worried that they might pick up a fight. I assured her that these are harmless guys who enjoy their 15 seconds of fame. That was that. They all got down, stripped, got in to a puddle of water with bottles in their hand. And the routine continued.
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Loads of cars parked on the rocks, many adventurous people clambered down to get their own parking spoit in the water. When they did, they parked themselves to enjoy in the puddle!
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-towards-amby-valley2.jpg

Views of the ghats.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-towards-amby-valley.jpg

The rain was still playing hide and seek. And we were parched. I had to use a/c in my car and buy bottles of water. This was in June.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-towards-amby-valley-3.jpg

View of Lonavala dam. Water level has receded so much. Wish it rains and fills the dam to the brim.
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The clouds gathered giving false hopes of rain. Clean and green surroundings?
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Not so. When I zoom out, one can see plastic strewn all around.
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Old 11th July 2010, 18:48   #447
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It was a short drive to Khandala. The Rajmachi point now needs to be renamed as E-Way point. People just come down to take photos of the E-Way. I did too.

Enroute to Khandala. Once you get past the madness near Kumar resorts, the rest of the road is a breeze.
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It's Khandala view time. The road below doesn't seem to have much of traffic. 40 mins after I left this place, a benz caught fire there in that road. Missed some T-BHP scoop photos.
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Time to pull out the wide angle lens. Wish there was more water in the falls.
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The gentle curves. Again, not much traffic.
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This was the old route. Stopped there to grab some shots of the khandala tunnel on the E-Way.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-khandala-4.jpg

Old and new. As my car rests on the old road, I see below that there's a huge tanker groaning on the right lane to overtake a truck that's groaning on the middle lane. The left lane is completely free.
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The khandala tunnel. Well well, what do I see? Cars parked. People were just strolling along posing for photos. I can understand the bikes as this part of the e-way is common to old NH4. But parked vehicles for photo shoots?
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And this takes the cake. Two wheelers are ok, but in the opposite direction? Here comes a couple of guys, very nonchalantly on the wrong side in a e-way where people do anything in excess of 100. Part of a lane is blocked with stopped cars and a bike. Another scooter is parked and the owners no where to be seen. Perfect recipe for disaster. Guess the benz caught fire due to heart burn of the driver seeing such scenes on an E-Way.
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Trademark shot of the e-way below Khandala's rajmachi point. Just a been there, done that parting shot.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-khandala-3.jpg

Up next. Family time in Khandala.
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Old 11th July 2010, 22:01   #448
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2 days of absolute bliss. Had a great time with family. Daughter chased turkeys, ducks and even monkeys. It was complete unwinding in serene surroundings, with sumptuous food and ofcourse nature at it's best.

That's where we stayed. Look pa, I can climb. She'd have clambered up those steps a 100 times.
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That's her half asleep and having her fluids. I'm back to sporting a mush after getting influenced by Sanjaykaul! Well, this photo was on 19th June. So the mush is even better now
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She used to watch the jungle book and is very wary of the fact that the monkeys carried Mowgli away. So initially she was a bit reserved. But she tried yanking a monkey's tail and was barely 2 - 3 inches away. Then she say a monkey family with a baby monkey and started screaming out BABEEEEE, much to the amusement of other people there. I put her down near a monkey that's drinking water. She's more interested in the one up the tree, who's tail she tried yanking. I let her run amongs monkeys. My wife was worried as my daughter had milk in her bottle and was running around while the monkeys were busy demonising others trying to snatch corn, water and maaza. I told my wife that no animal will hurt babies. The monkeys never bothered her.
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My wife tries her hand at photography. She's still using the point and shoot.
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Looking at the results, I've decided to get my Analogue SLR when I go to Udupi this time. So that she can learn the conventional way.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-6.jpg

That's her watching out of the window as rain drops came down from the skies. She remembers the song from Bambi about rains. And to see it washing down the leaves and flowers was a sight for her to behold. She was watching it with rapt attention for over 10 minutes.
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I decided to take her to Khandala station to show her a train. Luckily we had the karjat pune passenger pulling in, in another 10 minutes. She danced on the platform. When the train chugged in, she managed to grab the attention of the engine driver, who stepped off the engine after stopping the train to have a closer look of her! There's an old charm about this khandala station! We initially thought of walking down the track to monkey hill. Gave up the idea as my wife was tired.
Magnificent Maharashtra - The Mahalog!-khandala-6.jpg

There she is chasing turkeys. This was at tony da dhaba.
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And the ducks. The mere concept of odd looking creatures her size making strange sounds had her all charged up. We let her chase these things for a long time. When she got in to the car, she was sound asleep all the way till we reached home.
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She got to spend 2 full days with me. I didn't have calls. I didn't have work. It was all the time with her. Her arms spread out as she tried catching the water off an artificial fountain created due to holes in a pipe, she had one of the best times. A sense of adventure in the close confines of security her father offered her!
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The next trip that I've planned with her is to Harihareshwar. She loves the beach. Till then, this log will cover other places of Maharashtra. The Magnificent Maharashtra!
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Old 11th July 2010, 22:27   #449
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Classic family pics. Loved the ones in B&W. Lovely family time. I remember my daughter doing the same stuff few years ago. Shes 5 now.

BTW I am not sure about baby being too close to the monkey. They may get irritated by some stuff and intentionally/ unintentionally hurt the baby. IMO keep a safety distance with cats, dogs and monkeys. At least be very close to her when she is in proximity of these animals to take immediate precautionary actions.
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Old 11th July 2010, 22:40   #450
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Advice taken TaureanBull. She's always under the watchful eye of her father. last week she went and patted a dog. I'm an animal lover and crazy too at that. I was once 8 feet away from the great asian lion in Gir and was standing on the ground. Never felt nervous when I took the photo. But when I read about the fact that lions leap up to 20 feet in the Gir museum outside the sanctuary, I fell ill for the next few days.

I notice that off late the animals have become more aggressive in such tourist places because of humans. The Indian folk keep taunting and jeering and sometimes even pelt stones on these creatures and that is altering their behaviour pattern. So I take my time to acclimatize with these creatures and once they understand we mean no harm, they eat out of our hands. See the earlier photos of my wife feeding the monkeys in Matheran! Only when that happens, I let my daughter go near them. Even then, I stay very close in case and keep monitoring the animal's behaviour very closely.
But yes, they are wild animals and can turn dangerous any moment. So I urge people not to try this at (outside) home.
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