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|22nd August 2010, 22:36||#1|
Join Date: Feb 2008
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Mumbai to Malshej - A Monsoon Experience
Inspired by Raavan's settngs for the locales and climax (no - don't read that as me liking the movie!!!) coupled with the excellent cinematography, the idea of heading for a drive to Malshej Ghat had been running through my head for a long time. The idea finally took shape on the eve of Independence Day when 5 of us decided to the drive from Mumbai to Malshej considering that the recent heavy rains would have laid the green turf which is what gives the place its true picturesque beauty.
The weapon of choice - a 2009 Honda City iVtec S variant - courtesy the self drive options offered by Avis. They have a good collection of cars and the rates are pretty decent plus you get the joy of driving a car on your own especially when you are away from home and don’t have your own vehicle. Having collected our car for the day at around 5 am, we left from Santacruz at 6 heading along the JVLR to catch the Eastern Express Highway (NH3). The weather was perfect for the drive and we had planned a morning - evening run considering that there are really no good options to stay at Malshej. The car was a breeze to drive considering I have a Tata Indica and this was a definite major upgrade. The handling was excellent and the steering very responsive. We did have quite an incident trying to figure out the CD player on the dashboard and finally managed to find the USB port – only later did we find out thanks to the Team – BHP information that a CD player is not standard on the car :-) Having crossed the Thane toll booth at a quick pace we were onto the Nashik highway and quick reached the point to take the right turn into Kalyan from the highway. The search for a breakfast halt started after the turn onto the Murbad road and we quickly realized that not a single place was open at 7 am in the morning. Hopefully something at Murbad we thought and headed along. The road soon turned into a 2 lane (NH222 to call it!!!) and the scenery was definitely awesome to say the least. Having soaked in lovely rain filled spray we continued on to reach Murbad and could not find anything good to stop by.
Post a quick stop for a driver change, we were continuing along the NH when we saw a sign board just out of Murbad to the right which spoke of a dam 8 kms off the highway. A spontaneous decision from the entire team and we were onto this road. In hindsight this decision provided us with an amazing drive through some of the villages (see some of the pics below). The road was really good though narrow and after having gone on for what seemed like eternity we realized that we had actually missed the cut to the dam. Continuing on hunger was getting the best of us and we stopped by at a local shop for a break but all he had were some biscuits. Even the nicotine sticks (read cigarettes) were shorter than usual. On enquiry we were told to head on to a further village called Uchale where we could expect to get something to eat. En route we stopped by a small stream to get some photos and nature around was giving us some amazing scenery to dig into. Quick though - were we really only 2 hours from the concrete jungle called Mumbai??? Boy was it really worth taking the turn. A few kms ahead we managed to reach a point where the road widened a bit and there was some civilization. We did find breakfast at last and we had some hot piping vada pavs - just a small roadside stall which sold everything from petrol, kerosene, general provisions to tobacco. One could not have asked for more. The guy there had a business card as well asking if we wanted to come back for lunch. He said multiple trekking groups used to halt there while undertaking their hikes in the local mountains. The locals told us of a dam nearby around 2 kms away but on checking it we found it not to be worth the effort at all.
A quick time check and it was just around 9 am. Hearing that the road actually joined across to the highway, we decided to head along to Malshej. The road took us even closer to the mountains and we did manage to join the main highway through SH37 at around 10. Heading up the mountains, the ghat sections grew steeper as did the dense jungle around and the scenery as well. A quick stop at a bridge to just click some photos of a huge stream and we all decided that it was the place to have some fun in the water. Parking the car along the highway we headed down to the stream. The setting was magnificent, the water crystal clear and rocks filled with moss. After some balancing acts and some slippages on the moss, we finally managed to find the spot to settle in the water. The next 2 hours were filled with fun (including a so-called leopard sighting which later turned out to be nothing at all - but the thought of all of us in the water with a leopard facing 4 half clad men not knowing where to run was hilarious enough to send us into bouts of laughter). The water was fun to play in and we lost all sense of time and place - it was like a private jacuzzi (a cold one at that!!!) and there was no one to disturb us. Having had our fill, the party decided to continue on to Malshej. The time - 12:20. It started to rain as we commenced on our ascent up the Western Ghats and as we neared Malshej seeing the other tourists struggling to even stand on the smaller falls, we had a good laugh on our decision to stop at the earlier stop. Clearly an excellent decision!!!
Finally reached the top at Malshej - the MTDC resort - probably the only place to stop at exactly 1pm. The weather had turned brilliant and during our wait for lunch, the valley below was covered in cloud and in an instant the weather had changed with plenty of rain. Having had the buffet lunch courtesy MTDC (the menu said a-la-carte but only the buffet was available) @ 150 per head, we left at around 3 pm to see a huge lake since there was nothing much to soak around. Then started the return journey to Mumbai and mind you, there were plenty of police check posts to check for drunken driving. With the rain having eased off, the drive down was good but challenging as well considering there were sections filled with fog and we decided to head back on the highway. Having come down the ghats, we stopped for a final driver change
En route, the rains were torrential - the drive magnificent with the joy only increased!!! It was 5 when we reached the outskirts of Kalyan. The plan was to head to a dhaba for a good dinner before reaching Mumbai. The drive continued when we were reminded that we were back in the concrete jungle having got stuck in traffic. The traffic was horrendous before we could hit the junction of the Nashik highway. Having managed to reach there we took the turn onto Nashik and headed down a good 8 kms before reaching a dhaba where we got all we wanted - food and of course the weather. Time Check - 6 pm. A good 2.5 hours later, the final leg of the journey. Thankfully traffic was decent and we managed to pull in for a fuel refill at 10 pm before returning the car to Avis.
On the whole, it was a great drive - aided by the car as well as the locales and needless to say the company. Everyone was contended in all aspects and we could not have asked for more considering we had done a similar drive to Bandhardhara just 2 weeks earlier (more on that in the next blog!!!). A total distance of 330 kms covered during the trip and the City did return an average of around 13.5 kmpl considering we did plenty of offroading as well as ghat driving. To all of you there who are thinking of heading out - just do it before the monsoon goes away. It’s worth it!!!
P.S : This travelogue was complied my friend Karthik, since I am too lazy to write.
Last edited by bblost : 7th October 2010 at 15:07. Reason: Please check forum rules, esp rule #11. Thanks.
|23rd August 2010, 00:42||#4|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Sep 2008
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Nice one Marlon. Malshej always looks different no matter how many times and ways you look at it. So did you guys fly up from Madras or what?
A word of caution though, the forum rules and the mods do not allow alcoholic beverages to be mentioned on the forum. Also drinking and driving are also neither desirable nor mentionable. So be ready for some infraction points coming your way courtesy of the mods. Just thought I would give you a heads up you in case you were planning to do so again in your upcoming travelogues.
|23rd August 2010, 06:50||#5|
Join Date: Sep 2009
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You guys had a ball!
Taking snaps of water bodies is one fun, and being in the water body is another!
Road and the mountain is great! And so are my favourite water bodies.
|23rd August 2010, 10:42||#6|
Join Date: Feb 2008
Thanked: 78 Times
About Drinks. We strictly follow the rules of 'Do not Drink & Drive'. We are 3 drivers in the Car and the Guy who does not drink only drove the car after our Cocktail Dinner to Mumbai.
|24th August 2010, 14:47||#7|
Join Date: Aug 2009
Thanked: 32 Times
I can see from the snaps what a nice time u had and what a great place this is. I am heading that way from Pune in early September and then proceeding to Bhandardara from Malshej the next day... I hope I get equally good locales to snap!
|24th August 2010, 14:57||#8|
Senior - BHPian
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: City of seven islands.
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I appreciate your practice of safe drive Marlon. However, do have a look at forum rules. Mere mention of carbon based oh drinks might invite attention of Mods.
@frequent. You will find good locales to snap in Early sept.
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