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Old 4th June 2010, 22:31   #1
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Default Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar

Hi, This route probably falls in the category of 'The road most traveled' and this is indicated by the number of postings on TBHP travelogues. So why did I decide to document this trip, you ask? Firstly, well it's because it is still such a great drive. Secondly, I decided to cover more of the actual route in my pics and tried hard to keep myself from overloading the travelogue with the regular standard fare mountain pics. Thirdly since it is the latest posting going by the date, I am hoping it will probably help some newbie in his/her trip in the near future.

Trip highlights:

This was a family trip. 2 kids + 2 adults (wifey & me) and our ride was our 4 year old innova D4D. (good ol' diesel workhorse she is, I must say). I scrubbed her, waxed her the previous night till she was all shiny and ready to go.

Route: Departure from Borivali - took the Expressway till Pune - continued on NH4 (same bangalore road that the expressway connects to) - proceeded till Wai junction and took a right turn towards wai. Headed straight till panchgani. Stayed at the Ravine hotel. Shuttled between Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar during the 5 days of our stay.

Departure time: 7:15 am from borivali.
Arrival time in Panchgani: 12:45 pm. Total time taken: 5 hrs 45 mins
Total distance traveled: Borivali to Panchgani about 270 kms. Panchgani to Mahabaleshwar is about 18 kms. Total kms clocked on the odo when we got back home was 735 kms. (this includes all the local travel as well).

So here are the pics...

We started with a prayer as always.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02160.jpg

We reached the expressway without a hitch riding on the early morning (hot) breeze and some good 'Kiss unplugged' played out of the pioneer system. The kids were excited with the tunnels along the way.
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Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02147.jpg

Though we had packed some sandwiches, the urge for some hot chai, masala dosa, wada pav at the food court was too irresistable to pass up. There are three outlets here so you can take your pick.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02148.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02149.jpg

We were back on the expressway again in about 30 mins and headed for some more in-tunnel screamin'. This time the kids were joined by Axl and his boys via the sound system.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02151.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02155.jpg

We reached Pune and had another 25 km to go before the Katraj tunnel. This was a landmark I had figured earlier during my research on team bhp.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02164.jpg
We passed what I had heard was the site for the commonwealth games I think.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02166.jpg
There were a lot of these new truck chassis being driven on this road. So presumably some trucking major had one of their factory close by
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02168.jpg
There is plenty of signage along the way so no problem.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02170.jpg

We also took a picture of the helpline numbers on one of the signboards. I thought this would be a good thing to do just in case of any emergency
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02171.jpg
After the shindewadi signage, there is a bridge. It's called a via-duct or something like that.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02173.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02174.jpg
and finally the light at the...ahem..start of the tunnel! This is the new katraj tunnel. On the way back I noticed a board that said 'way to old katraj tunnel' which was off the NH4
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02178.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02181.jpg
We took a quick tea and bio-break at a place called Gargi Garden. Unfortunately the loo was not so clean. I had forgotten that Natraj Hotel was just a short drive ahead. The lush sugarcane fields was a pleasant sight though.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02183.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02184.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02186.jpg
This is the first toll naka you will hit after Pune.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02189.jpg
windmills transported by road
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02192.jpg
This is second toll naka or whatever is left of it just before the Katraj Ghat. This toll naka has been discontinued it seems.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02196.jpg
The katraj ghat is a breeze to drive. It's one way traffic so you don't have maniac bus drivers hurtling towards you around blind corners in the opposite direction. It's completely safe. In fact I hardly made out this was a ghat
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02197.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02203.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02207.jpg
You would have to watch the signs for the right turn. Then go below the flyover and take the right towards wai.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02209.jpg
The lane now is a single stretch so you have oncoming traffic. It's a nice drive however flanked by fields and banyan trees with large overhanging branches. It continues this way till pasrani ghat.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02215.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02218.jpg
The pasrani ghat is a bit tricky with oncoming heavy vehicles and steep drops. One needs to drive carefully here especially while overtaking. But you will know you are getting closer to your destination when you see the huge mapro and mala hoarding ads for jams, squashes and other delicacies dotting the way!
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02220.jpg

to be continued...
Attached Thumbnails
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02175.jpg  


Last edited by Rehaan : 8th June 2010 at 20:40. Reason: Merging into 1st post. Your earlier attachments seemed to have timed out. Preview post immed. after uploading the pics to prevent it from happening in future. :)
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Old 5th June 2010, 10:54   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CARvalho View Post
This is second toll naka or whatever is left of it just before the Katraj Ghat. This toll naka has been discontinued it seems.
Attachment 361263
The katraj ghat is a breeze to drive. It's one way traffic so you don't have maniac bus drivers hurtling towards you around blind corners in the opposite direction. It's completely safe. In fact I hardly made out this was a ghat
.

can't see the pics,
please reload them,

from the write up,
it seems that you got confused with the name of khambataki ghat with katraj ghat.
the toll naka is discontinued which was before khambataki ghat near pargaon khandala.
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Old 5th June 2010, 11:28   #3
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The narration is excellent, but need to see photos to enjoy the complete journey. Kindly reload the pics.

Thanks
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Old 6th June 2010, 12:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
can't see the pics,
please reload them,

from the write up,
it seems that you got confused with the name of khambataki ghat with katraj ghat.
the toll naka is discontinued which was before khambataki ghat near pargaon khandala.
Thanks for the correction Ashish. It is indeed khambataki ghat and not katraj ghat. I've posted the pics again
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Old 7th June 2010, 11:43   #5
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Good thread and nice snaps!

Have done Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar a couple of times and this thread refreshed those pleasant memories. One trip was in Dec (4 years back) and second was Mar (2 years back). Have never been there in Monsoon and I am planning a trip in July-Aug. Heard that Mahablaehswar would have visibility issues (thick fog) and would be muddy in the monsoon. Any first-hand experiences?
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Old 7th June 2010, 12:44   #6
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Nice pics, Carvalho. Awaiting the rest of the story & pics.

@SDP, we have been to Mahabaleshwar in all seasons. Must have made 40 - 50 trips so far. Fog is definitely an issue there. But it usually descends on the hills in the evening, after a bout of heavy rain. And yes, it IS very very muddy.

I still remember the first time we went there in the year 2001 in my Fiero bike in the month of July. There was such a heavy blanket of mist there and visibility was zero. We walked a kilometre to reach the city centre from our resort, in search of a restaurant, at 11pm, since our resort's chef had shut shop by 8pm. I still don't know how we managed to do that and return in one piece!

Last edited by Chevy_lover : 7th June 2010 at 12:47.
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Old 28th June 2010, 23:25   #7
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Sorry about the delay in posting the rest of this travelogue guys. It just hectic on the work front. Anyways without any further ado, here's the rest of it...


We stayed at Ravine Resort and this the view from room
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02223.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02224.jpg

this is the resort itself. Nice place close to panchgani although expensive.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02226.jpg
Sydney point, a popular sunset watching spot is right next to the hotel.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02228.jpg

We saw this little local kid trying to pluck some berries. His sister was standing down below. Try to spot him among the leaves in the next pic.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02229.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02230.jpg

The paragliding point is also right beside the resort. It was really breathtaking to watch these guys take flight. Unfortunately I didn't have the stomach for it. I don't know if its safe enough either.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02231.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02235.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02238.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02240.jpg

This one's at sydney point.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02241.jpg

Here are some pics of the famous table land. The moment you step out here you will be surrounded by horse and cart drivers offering to give you a tour of the place. I suggest one should take a cart with a roof to protect you from the blazing sun. They should really call this place 'tava' land!
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02246.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02250.jpg
There is a spot called pandavas footprint which locals claim is the footprint left behind by the 5 pandavas.
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02251.jpg
some more pics of table land
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02252.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02253.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02257.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02258.jpg
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Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02265.jpg
we saw this little lake n table land that never dries even during summer
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02266.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02268.jpg
St peter's church, panchgani
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02269.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02270.jpg
pictures from parsi point
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02272.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02273.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02279.jpg
Hey guys, the mapro outlet is really worth checking out. The sandwiches are good and the strawberry and cream is divine!
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02280.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02281.jpg
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02282.jpg

to be continued...
Attached Thumbnails
Summer drive: Mumbai-Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar-dsc02239.jpg  

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Old 29th June 2010, 13:47   #8
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Fantastic pics again. Did you get a chance to go to SherBaug resort? The prices are steep, but the flora and fauna is more than worth it.

PS : the paragliding pics with the sunset as background are amazing.
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