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Old 22nd September 2010, 14:19   #46
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DreamD,

The pano is fantastic and as promised, wonderful snaps of the greens. Really loved all the pictures. Thank you for sharing them and showing us the wonderful places.

Waiting for the coming post... 5* from my side..

Thanks.

Manjunath
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Old 22nd September 2010, 14:55   #47
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Lovely pictures again DD. I loved the pictures of the Ganapatipule beach. It looks so calm and serene. Looks like it is must go destination in Maharashtra. I liked the panoram too. Btw, Your pictures of the greenery have inspired me to write my own travelogue of a trek that I did sometime back.

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Old 22nd September 2010, 16:59   #48
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Day 3 (05th September, 2010): Ratnagiri Ė Chiplun Ė Poladpur Ė Mahabaleshwar

Trip Meter Ė 910kms to 1142kms

Wake up to a dull cloudy morning. The moment you step out of the room the humid climate hits you. But I love the climate of the coastal area any day over the cool climate of hills. Find out the rains have battered Ratnagiri the previous night. We get ready and quickly go down to the restaurant for breakfast. The complimentary breakfast was pretty all right with Misal Pav, Bread and Eggs. I would definitely recommend this hotel at Ratnagiri. With the breakfast done and after a quick bath we are ready to explore places in and around Ratnagiri. We leave the hotel by 10:00AM.

First stop is at Thiba Point situated at a considerable height from Sea Level which offers a panoramic view of the small Rajiwada port, fishing village and the ocean. Also offers the view of a river joining the Arabian Sea. This place is a favorite for locals who come here in the evenings to see the beautiful view of the sunset. But we were at this place in the morning and we were the only people around other than the watchman. But the view from this place just took our breath away and we also requested the watchman to open the door of the watch tower which is open for public only in the evenings and he happily obliged after seeing us with a camera and tripod. The view point was where exiled King Thiba and his Queen of Burma (now Myanmar) used to spend their evenings looking at the ocean. After about spending 30mins we drive to Thiba Palace which is about few hundred meters from Thiba Point.

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Thiba Point, Ratnagiri

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Thiba Point - The fishing village seen and also the bridge we took to get to Bhatye Beach at Ratnagiri.

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The river before joining the Arabian Sea.

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Vegetation in the river.

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Yours truely at Thiba Point, Ratnagiri.

Thiba Palace was built by the British Government for King Thiba of Burma (Myanmar) in 1910-11. This palace is linked with the history of Burma and its King. King Thiba ruled Burma for 7 years after which British arrested him and sent him to Ratnagiri. They built a palace for him and kept the king in house arrest but were treated with state honors. The red colored three storied structure has sloping tiled roofs and beautiful windows. We were little disappointed to see the overall bad state of the beautiful monument. We were the only tourists at this time of the day and only a few rooms were open as others were under maintenance. The exterior has not been maintained properly, and once inside some of the rooms have been converted as museum with few furniture and various artifacts used inside the palace. We are inside the palace only for a short time and make our way out of the palace.

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Thiba Palace, Ratnagiri

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Thiba Palace, Ratnagiri

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Thiba Palace - Exterior is not maintained well

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The stairway leading to the first floor inside the Thiba Palace

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Thiba Palace, Ratnagiri

Next destination is the beach close to Ratnagiri called the Bhatye Beach. The beach is about 2kms in length and was a little dirty. There are various beach resorts near Bhatye Beach. Most part of the beach had black sand on it. We spent about 5-10 minutes at the beach watching the waves and people playing football on the beach. There is a small temple of Zari Vinayak situated at the end of the beach. A small pathway next to the temple actually takes you up the hill to have a closer look at the sea, but we did not go as the path looked slippery due to the rains.

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View of the hill where Ratnadurga Fort is situated. Viewed from Bhatye Beach.

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Bhatye Beach, Ratnagiri.

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Bhatye Beach, Ratnagiri.

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Road we took to travel a little further towards the hill next to Bhatye Beach to have a better view, but could not.

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Boys playing football at Bhatye Beach, Ratnagiri.

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View of the hill next to the Bhatye Beach near the Zari Vinayak temple.

From the beach you can see a lighthouse on a small hill, that is where our nest destination is going to be; Ratnadurga Fort.

Continued....
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Old 22nd September 2010, 17:15   #49
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Wonderful pics of Panhala Fort. looking at the greenary, felt this is the right time to explore MH.
And yes, Misal Pavs are really mouth watering.

Abhi
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Old 22nd September 2010, 21:44   #50
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Last of the pictures taken in Panorama mode in this road trip...This one at Thiba Point.

Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!-2thiba-point-panorama.jpg
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Old 22nd September 2010, 22:03   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Wow! Stunning roads with amazing green landscapes around. It should have been bliss driving on these roads. Very nice captures there.

And like I said in my earlier post, i like the detailed way in which you post the log as well as put a caption for each snap
It definitely is one of the best Ghat Roads I have driven. Completely enjoyed the drive.

Thank you abhinav. Glad you liked the detailed report.

Quote:
Originally Posted by C300 View Post
Wow! Stunning pictures and excellent write-up. Amba ghat in monsoon is surely treat to eyes. Last year I drove from Ratnagiri to Ganpatipule in March and the colours were completely different.

Just to add to MX6's point on staying at Ganpatipule, one can also stay at Malgund. Its a small beautiful village just 2kms from Ganpatipule and has some good hotels and holiday homes. Malgund is also Birthplace of famous Marathi Poet 'Keshavasuta' (1866-1905) so those who grew up reading his poems in textbooks can surely pay a visit to his ancestral home which is now a museum.
Thank you C300. As soon as we reached Amba Ghat I stopped the vehicle and began clicking away. I never knew Amba Ghat was so beautiful.

Yes, north of Ganapatipule has some more beautiful beaches and forts. Another reason to visit Maharasthra soon!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indian Ranger View Post
DreamD,

The pano is fantastic and as promised, wonderful snaps of the greens. Really loved all the pictures. Thank you for sharing them and showing us the wonderful places.

Waiting for the coming post... 5* from my side..

Thanks.

Manjunath
Thank you Manjunath. Thanks for the stars. More beautiful pictures of the ocean coming up!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Lovely pictures again DD. I loved the pictures of the Ganapatipule beach. It looks so calm and serene. Looks like it is must go destination in Maharashtra. I liked the panoram too. Btw, Your pictures of the greenery have inspired me to write my own travelogue of a trek that I did sometime back.
Thanks addy!! Ganapatipule has become a hot destination in Maharashtra. The water is very calm and clear even at the time I visited. Could not spend more time at this beach.

Glad to have inspired you to pen your experience of trekking at Kudremukh!!!
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Old 22nd September 2010, 22:07   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akroy View Post
Wonderful pics of Panhala Fort. looking at the greenary, felt this is the right time to explore MH.
And yes, Misal Pavs are really mouth watering.

Abhi
Thank you Abhi sir. I am glad I made this trip to Maharashtra during monsoons. Many of my friends though it was a bad plan of visiting Maharashtra during rains, but I stuck to the plan. Even news reports of landslides at Ratnagiri just a couple of weeks before the trip did not hold me back.

Missing the tasty Kolhapuri Misal Pavs.
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Old 23rd September 2010, 12:20   #53
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Day 3 continued....

After asking our way around we make our way towards the Ratnadurga Fort, which is about 3-4 kms from Bhatye Beach. Ratnadurga Fort also called the Bhagawati Fort due to the Bhagwati Temple inside the fort premises is surrounded by the sea on 3 sides. There is a lighthouse on the west side of the fort. Once you enter the fort through a main gate after a flight of steps, the first structure you notice is the Bhagwati Temple inside the fort. We first visited the temple and after the darshan, we decided to walk around the fort. Very few tourists were at the fort and the fort is well maintained. There is a walkway built at the edge of fort along the fortifications similar to Bekal Fort from where you can view the sea crashing against the rocks below. There are some watchtowers along the walls. The view from the top of the fort was very scenic especially the causeway which penetrates deep into the sea. We walked along the entire walkway along the fort offering beautiful view of the sea and also the green hills on which the fort is built. We spent more than an hour at this place and decided to head back to the hotel. We had to make sure we leave Ratnagiri by 1:00PM so that we reach Mahabaleshwar before it gets dark.

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Approaching Ratnadurga Fort. A well tarred road take you all the way till the main gate.

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Some information about the fort displayed at the entrace - Ratnadurga Fort.

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Bhagwati Temple inside the fort premises.

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A small fishing village with boats and also a couple of causeway penetrating depp into the sea. View from Ratnadurga Fort.

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The walk along the fort walls with the view of the Arabian Sea beyond the walls - Ratnadurga Fort.

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View of Bhagwati Temple.

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One of the causeways seen from the Ratnadurga Fort.

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View of the causeway from one of the watch towers at Ratnadurga Fort.

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View of the Arabian Sea from one of the watch towers at Ratnadurga Fort.

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View of a causeway from the fort. We actually wanted to walk on the causeway, but due to shortage of time, did not.

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View of the temple spire of Bhagwati Temple.

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View of the fort walls with the Arabian sea in the background.

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Panny FZ35 almost at full zoom. Fishing boat in the Arabian Sea viewed from the fort.

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Greenery inside the fort walls - Ratnadurga Fort.

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View of a causeway from one of the watch towers - Ratnadurga Fort.

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Waves crashing against the rocks below the Ratnadurga Fort.

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Waves crashing against the rocks below the Ratnadurga Fort.

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View of the Ocean from one of the watchtowers - Ratnadurga Fort.

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The other side of the Ratnadurga Fort where the light house is situated. We did not visit the other side due to lack of time.

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View of the other side of the Ratnadurga Fort with the Arabian Sea next to it. Also seen is the approach road towards the entrance of the fort.

We return back to the hotel and checkout by 1:30PM. Take the road out of Ratnagiri and rejoin NH17 towards Panvel at Hathkumbe. The road condition is good from Ratnagiri for about 20kms till the point where once can view Nivali Waterfalls in the distance and the road conditions start to deteriorate. You will come across frequent potholes and moderate traffic which reduces our speed significantly. On top of this heavy rains start. We had earlier planned lunch at Chiplun which was another 50kms away, but looking at our average speed we decided to have food any decent looking restaurant on the way.

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Beautiful NH17 just after Ratnagiri towards Panvel.

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Spotted - Nivali Waterfalls in the distance.

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Nivali Waterfalls viewed from NH17 - About 19kms from ratnagiri towards Sangameshwar.

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Swift D at NH17.

We stop at Swad Restaurant on the right side of NH17 just after Sangameshwar for lunch around 2:30PM. The restaurant has a big parking place and was a little crowded. Food is good but service is slow. We have lunch looking at the heavy rain pouring outside and vehicles braking hard on NH17 trying to negotiate a big pothole right opposite the restaurant. The food was good and the Surmai Fry was very well done. I would definitely recommend this place.

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Bav River just after Nivali Waterfalls.

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Swift D at Swad Restaurant on NH17.

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Tried some stunts with the camera while waiting for food.

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Very fresh and tasty Surmai Fry at Swad Restaurant on NH17.

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Swad Restaurant, NH17.

By the time we finish lunch the rains had also stopped. We slowly make our way negotiating potholes on NH17 and also at the same time enjoying the beautiful views around. The road gets better nearing Chiplun. We spot many waterfalls on the way and during all this time its raining at frequent intervals.

Continued....
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Old 23rd September 2010, 16:56   #54
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Gosh!! Pics 1030670, 1030722, 1030724 are breath taking!! Good going. Running out of adjectives to praise your pics and write up

Rating it 5*
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Old 23rd September 2010, 19:21   #55
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Day 3 Continued....

All the while driving on NH17 its pouring outside and only nearing Poladpur does the rains turn into a drizzle.

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Driving towards Poladpur - NH17

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Saw this waterfall - NH17

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Closer view of the waterfall - NH17

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Train in the distance. View from NH17.

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Fog at Ghats before Poladpur. I think it was Kashedi Ghats.

Nearing Poladpur we see signboards for the right turn towards Mahabaleshwar a little after 5:00PM. We still have another 40kms to Mahabaleshwar and have heard about the dense fog in the evenings that surround the hills around during monsoon which will make driving difficult. We take the right and itís a single lane road with the top layer of the tarmac worn away. Itís going to be a bumpy ride towards Mahabaleshwar. But just 10kms inside this road and we see the tall hills far ahead and along with this very beautiful rain swept valleys. We stop at regular intervals to take in the beautiful views. Slowly we start our climb up the Ghats. Enroute we encounter many waterfalls and about 10kms before Mahabaleshwar it gets completely dark topped with heavy fog. I cannot see anything beyond 8-10 feet and we slowly drive in the thick fog.

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The single lane road towards Mahableshwar after the right turn at Poladpur. Spectacular view of the green hills ahead.

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A small river on the side of the road towards Mahabaleshwar. I think its river Savitri.

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Stopped here at this place for a while before the journey into the foggy hills.

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The road we are going to take..

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The view of the valley below as we started our climb up towards Mahabaleshwar.

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View around during the climb up the hills.

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View of the green valley below with a river winding its way around.

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One of the many waterfalls we saw on the way to Mahabaleshwar.

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Another waterfall nearing Mahabaleshwar. It was already getting foggy and dark.

We drive into Mahabaleshwar town around 7:00PM and ask our way towards the bus stand. Many touts kept approaching us for accommodation and we just ignored them. I had no prior booking made here as I knew it was off season and rooms will be available in plenty. We look at a couple of hotels on the parallel road of Mahabaleshwar Market and settle down for nice cozy room at Hotel Pankaj Executive. Itís a budget hotel with very clean rooms and we got a room for a very good deal. The room we were staying is usually quoted 5 times more during the season. Itís just drizzling at Mahabaleshwar but there is a thick fog cover. The temperature is not as cold as Ooty or Kodaikanal and just a jacket is enough to keep me warm. We relax for some time in the room watching TV and only plan to visit the Mahabaleshwar market which is a couple of minutes walk to have dinner.

By 9:00PM we head out towards the market, do some shopping and have dinner at one of the many restaurants in the market. Food was just about average we head back to the hotel as the rain becomes heavy. Watch TV for some more time and go to bed before wishing wifey a very happy birthday at midnight.

Day 3 was very exciting as well. I am starting to fall in love with this beautiful state. The entire journey from Konkan coast, travelling through the Western Ghats in pouring rain was just too beautiful. The climb up the hills to Mahabaleshwar was so very exciting with beautiful views after every turn. I know we landed up at this hill station during midst of monsoon but that was exactly what I wanted to do as the hills are always beautiful during the monsoons and winters. Tomorrow we will just relax and drive around to nearby places at Mahabaleshwar.

Continued....
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Old 24th September 2010, 12:54   #56
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DreamDiesel,

Thanks for sharing such a detailed tlog with us. Truly appreciate the hardwork, passion, narration, photos, captions gone in putting this tlog.

The timing you chose for the trip was just briliant. This thread is gonna move many to explore Maharashtra.

5 stars from my my end for this. Keep it coming!
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Old 24th September 2010, 23:10   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abhinav.s View Post
Gosh!! Pics 1030670, 1030722, 1030724 are breath taking!! Good going. Running out of adjectives to praise your pics and write up

Rating it 5*
Thank you Abhinav.. Thanks for the stars too..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autocop View Post
DreamDiesel,

Thanks for sharing such a detailed tlog with us. Truly appreciate the hardwork, passion, narration, photos, captions gone in putting this tlog.

The timing you chose for the trip was just briliant. This thread is gonna move many to explore Maharashtra.

5 stars from my my end for this. Keep it coming!
Thank you autocop.. Maharashtra is turely a very beautiful place. I might do a "Recce into Maharastra" part 2
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Old 24th September 2010, 23:57   #58
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Day 4 (06th September, 2010): Around Mahabaleshwar

Trip Meter Ė 1142kms to 1212kms

We wake up to a very damp morning. Itís been pouring the entire night and even now I can hear some pitter patter. The shoes that got wet yesterday are still very wet. I just donít feel like getting up from the cozy confines of my bed. Look at the watch and I realize it already 9:00AM and there is very little daylight outside. Sunlight just does not seem to penetrate on Mahabaleshwar due to dark clouds and fog.

Itís my wifeís birthday today and every year I make it a point to take my wife to her favorite vacation place; any place in the hills where itís cold and nice. Last year it was Munnar and before that Ooty. I have the Munnar travelogue posted here on TBHP.

I take a look outside the room and its beautiful and foggy outside. We get ready quickly and head out for breakfast and then try to visit some places in Mahabaleshwar. We head back to the market and have an average breakfast at one of the restaurants near the police chowki (outpost). Finish breakfast and decide to go sightseeing. We are in no hurry and just want to relax the entire day. No use of visiting viewpoints in this weather and we decide to head towards Pratapgadh Fort which is about 22kms from Mahabaleshwar which is situated on a slightly lower altitude. Itís about 11:00AM by the time we leave Mahabaleshwar and we make our way towards Pratapgadh which is situated on the same road we took to drive to Mahabaleshwar.

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Completely foggy road out of Mahabaleshwar.

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Very low visibilty...

The road is foggy for the next 10-12kms and we slowly make our way down the hill with extreme caution due to very bad visibility. We stop at a few waterfalls on the drive down and take some photographs. We also see the beautiful scenery at the valley below which just is visible for some seconds before the fog covers it. I just can imagine how beautiful it must during a clear day. We continue the drive ahead and take the deviation on the left towards Pratapgadh Fort. The road towards the fort is a single lane but well tarred road going through thick forest. As we near the fort I can made out the thin outline of the fort walls and other fortifications against the fog. We park the car and make our way towards the fort after hiring a guide to show us around.

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One of the many waterfalls we spotted on our way out of Mahabaleshwar.

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Another one..

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One of the bigger waterfalls we encountered.

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Ghat roads of Mahabaleshwar.

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Completely foggy Ghat road.

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A small stream we encountered on the drive towards Pratapgadh.

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Another view of the stream.

Pratapgadh was built in 1656 under Shivajiís command. This fort was also the place for a great duel between Shivaji, the founder of Maratha Empire and Afzal Khan, the General of the Bijapur army in 1659 after which Afzal Khan was killed and his head buried at the base of the tower. Hi body was buried at a place about couple of hundred meters away from the base of the fort and is now not open to public. Pratapgadh fort has an outer wall and an inner wall each with its own main door. If the outer wall fell to the hands of the enemy the inner wall would be secured and soldiers would be sent to the outer wall through a tunnel to launch a counter attack on the enemy.

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One of the many gates at Pratapgadh Fort.

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A foggy afternoon at the garden on top of Pratapgad Fort.

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Statue of Shivaji at the garden on top of Pratapgad Fort.

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One of the watch towers at Pratapgad Fort.

We had to do a lot of climbing which was enjoyable in this weather. There is a Bhavani Temple inside the fort. We spent close to 2 hours at the fort and as we were climbing down the steps the fog began to clear enabling us to view the fortifications and the scenery around more clearly. With all the climbing we had to do our legs were aching and were hungry too.

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The buildings inside the fort.

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As we climb down the Fort, the fog begins to clear and the fort is seen more clearly.

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The Outer wall of Pratapgad Fort.

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A watchtower at Pratapgad Fort.

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The thick vegetation around the fort.

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The Outer wall of Pratapgad Fort.

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Pratapgad Fort seem more clearly now with the fog clearing out.

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The main gate at Pratapgad Fort.

We left the fort around 2:00PM to decide to stop at one of the restaurants for lunch on the main road towards Mahabaleshwar.

Continued....
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Old 25th September 2010, 00:06   #59
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Fantastic snaps, dreamdiesel! I will take printouts of this and rattofy before leaving town in two weeks time to Mumbai. Western ghats/coast is my all time favorite. Thanks for bringing it to us. Himalayas or the Western Ghats? Preference? Tough competition between the two, I would say.
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Old 25th September 2010, 00:21   #60
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Day 4 Continued....

We stopped at Sahyadri Dhaba on the main road towards Mahabaleshwar. The food was good and the scenery from the table was even better. After a lovely lunch we drive back to Mahabaleshwar and go back to the hotel to relax for some time. We leave the hotel around 4:30PM and try to visit a few places like the lake and waterfalls. We drive towards Panchgani and found the Venna Lake closed due to heavy rains and we continue ahead. We saw a sign board towards Kateís Point and thought of taking a chance and if we were lucky we might have a good view from the viewpoint.

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The view from the table at the dhaba we stopped for lunch.

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Dense fog filled forest around.

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Sahyadri Dhaba on the main road towards Mahabaleshwar.

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Venna Lake. No boatin gdue to heavy rain and fog.

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Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar.

Parked the car and walked towards the view point and was covered with fog. We could only see the cliff at Echo point which is situated at the same place. Then the fog slowly cleared for a couple of minutes and we could see the beautiful Krishna valley and a dam below. The sight definitely was awe inspiring and was unexpected. I began to take photographs while wifey held the single umbrella we had to protect us from the light rain at the view point. After this we walked to Needle Hole Point. Not sure exactly what it means but there was a waterfall nearby and we could see the other part of the Krishna Valley below which was not visible from Kateís Point. We spent about an hour at these points and got back to the car as it started to get dark.

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Kateís Point, Mahabaleshwar.

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Echo Point right next to Kateís Point.

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The view opens up only for less than a minute and then there's a blanket of fog over it.

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Panny FZ35 at full zoom.

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The banks of the huge lake seen from Kateís Point.

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A better view of Echo Point aftre the fog cleared up a bit.

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The other part of Krishna Valley seen below - View from Needle Hole Point.

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Swift D parked near Kateís Point.

We drove back to the hotel and planned to visit the Mahabaleshwar Market and indulge in some shopping. As I park the car at the hotel, I notice the rear left tyre slightly low on air. Not wanting to take a chance we drive to the fuel station nearby but the found the machine to check air closed. Ask a few taxi drivers who suggest me to drive to Panchgani as all the shops to fill air at Mahabaleshwar is closed due to rains. We drive back to the hotel and park the car. I will get the air checked the first thing we reach Panchgani tomorrow morning. We then walked to the market and had tasty Corn Pattice at one of the shops and also buy different types of Chikkiís from Wilson Chikki store. I also pick up a small pastry, pack of birthday candles and some disposables plates and spoons from a Bakery nearby. Thatís for the small birthday celebration we are going to have after dinner.

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Wilson Chikki store at Mahabaleshwar Market.

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Mahabaleshwar Market Road.

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Yummy Chikki's at Wilson Chikki store.

We then have dinner at a restaurant near the market and head back to the room. Once back at the hotel, we have a small cake cutting celebration at the room and off to sleep a little after midnight.

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And thats the small Birthday Cake for wifey...

Day 4 has been special. Mahabaleshwar was just so beautiful in rains. In the last 24 hours at Mahabaleshwar the rain was pounding for at least 20 hours. But being on a hill station in rainy season is so very different and magical. Through we missed the viewpoints I can only imagine how beautiful it will be on a clear day. Wifey enjoyed every bit of Mahabaleshwar and glad we spent her birthday at a very beautiful place. Tomorrow we head back to the plains. We have a long drive ahead and plan to reach Nasik before it gets dark not before bypassing Pune.

Continued....
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