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Old 25th September 2010, 11:04   #61
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Hi DD,

Just went through your entire TL and it mesmerized me. This TL alongwith the one by Xylo owner nix1976, have proved that those places are best visited during monsoon, despite the fact that it is so called 'off season' there during this time!. Your pics are top quality. Enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks
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Old 25th September 2010, 23:29   #62
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I was glued to this thread I too have a 8 months old Swift D and I have done 17Kms just exploring Maharashtra !!!

One more place you missed en route to Ratnagiri via Amba ghat. A sharp right turn takes you there or via NH17 sharp right near Sangameshwar.

This place is called Marleshwar famous for the cave Shiva temple, venomous snakes that don't bite and beautiful waterfall.

Anyways, maybe on your next long drive to Maharashtra

Regards,
Sam
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Old 27th September 2010, 13:46   #63
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Originally Posted by LongDrive lover View Post
Hi DD,

Just went through your entire TL and it mesmerized me. This TL alongwith the one by Xylo owner nix1976, have proved that those places are best visited during monsoon, despite the fact that it is so called 'off season' there during this time!. Your pics are top quality. Enjoyed every bit of it. Thanks
Thank you LongDrive... In and around Western Ghats is best visited during or just after monsoons. Hills are at its best but the roads might not be. I always recommend friends that Hill stations are best during Off Season as its less crowded and more beautiful. The TLOG by nix1976 was helpful as I got to know what type of weather I could expect. I think he travelled about 2-3 weeks before me. Thanks again for the comments...

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Originally Posted by samigo View Post
I was glued to this thread I too have a 8 months old Swift D and I have done 17Kms just exploring Maharashtra !!!

One more place you missed en route to Ratnagiri via Amba ghat. A sharp right turn takes you there or via NH17 sharp right near Sangameshwar.

This place is called Marleshwar famous for the cave Shiva temple, venomous snakes that don't bite and beautiful waterfall.

Anyways, maybe on your next long drive to Maharashtra

Regards,
Sam
Wow!! 17K kms in 8 months... you sure are utilising the Swift D to its maximum. My 3 yr old Swift has just about to complete 40K and almost 80% of it is travelling outside Bangalore.

I somehow did nto come across Marleshwar while planning the trip for places to visit in Maharasthra. But after you mentioned it here, I looked at few pictures and sure looks beautiful with the waterfalls and the cave temple.

Venomous snakes that don't bite in the caves..Sure is going to be interesting. Planning to do another Maharastra road trip next monsoon and will sure include this place. Thank you Sam...
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Old 27th September 2010, 14:58   #64
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Day 5 (07th September, 2010): Mahabaleshwar – Panchgani – Pune – Nashik

Trip Meter – 1212kms to 1580kms

We are up by 8:00AM as most of the hotels at Mahabaleshwar; the checkout time is at 9:00AM. We get ready and pack all our bags. Its 10:00AM by the time we check out of Hotel Pankaj Executive. The rain is little light now and I load the entire luggage into the car. We drive down to the market area and park the car. Head back to the same restaurant near the police chowki for breakfast. After breakfast we bid goodbye to Mahabaleshwar, promising to be back soon.

We take the road towards Panchgani and the road out of Mahabaleshwar is in bad shape. There is a slight drizzle and medium fog all the while. I take the car gently on bad roads as the rear left tyre was low on air and am careful. We stop at Venna Lake for about 5min and start our drive towards Panchgani. Then I hear a continuous “Thud” sound coming from the rear and I gently pull over to the side of the road that’s slightly sloping downhill. Get out of the car in the rain and see that the left rear tyre is punctured. With the car parked on a gradual down slope and visibility of about 20 feet all around the car it was going to be a difficult task changing the tyre and also on top that a light drizzle.

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Foggy Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar.

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Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar.

I get down on my knees trying changing the tyre with the spare while wifey gets down from the car and tries to alert oncoming traffic. I have the tyre changed in about 30mins time and It’s a little before 11:30AM that we start driving towards Panchgani which is about 18kms away. The road gets better once out of Mahabaleshwar in about 10mins out of Mahabaleshwar the visibility is completely clear and rains have also stopped. Nearing Panchgani we stop at Mapro Garden. There is a restaurant serving sandwiches and pizzas. We chose to shop for Jams, Squashes and Jelly. And the best part is you can actually taste these products before buying them. We then continue with our drive towards Panchgani.

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Sales Counter at Mapro Garden, Panchgani.

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Mapro Garden, Panchgani.

About 1km before Panchgani we stop at Parsi Point. It offers panoramic views of picturesque Dhom Dam backwaters and the lush green Krishna valley. The view was much better because of the clear sky at Panchgani. We spend about 30mins here and continue with the drive inside Panchgani town. As we were behind schedule we chose not to visit Table Land at Panchgani and visited Sydney Point instead as its just 500m away from the main road at Panchgani.

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Spotted a waterfall enroute to Panchgani.

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Closeup of the waterfall.

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View from Parsi Point, Panchgani.

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Hills around Parsi Point, Panchgani.

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View from Parsi Point, Panchgani.

Sydney Point at Panchgani is located on a small hillock offering a view of the lush green Krishna Valley. We spend another 30mins here before we leave Panchgani and head towards the plains. The road from Panchgani all the way to NH4 is in good condition and in very little time we left the hills behind and touched the plains. It felt a little good to see sunlight after couple of days and the warmth was a welcome break.

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View from Sydney Point, Panchgani.

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View of the Panchgani Table land from Sydney Point.

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Closeup of Panchgani Table Land.

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View of Krishna Valley from Sydney Point.

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View of Krishna Valley from Sydney Point.

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Sunlight on the hills around us.

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View from Sydney Point, Panchgani.

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Lush green hills around - Sydney Point.

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Back to the plains - The 2 lane road from Panchgani towards NH4.

Leaving Panchgani behind we zoomed our way towards NH4 and at Surul Junction we meet NH4 and turn left towards Pune.

Continued....
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Old 27th September 2010, 15:11   #65
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Originally Posted by dreamdiesel View Post
Then I hear a continuous “Thud” sound coming from the rear and I gently pull over to the side of the road that’s slightly sloping downhill. Get out of the car in the rain and see that the left rear tyre is punctured.
Doesn't sound good at all. It started the same for me during my harihareshwar trip. Rear left. In my case, it was heavy rains lashing and I was dripping wet when I finished replacing the wheel.

Now I have a broken leg, 2 more punctures at the end of the same.

Hope your ordeal ended right there.
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Old 27th September 2010, 17:21   #66
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Doesn't sound good at all. It started the same for me during my harihareshwar trip. Rear left. In my case, it was heavy rains lashing and I was dripping wet when I finished replacing the wheel.

Now I have a broken leg, 2 more punctures at the end of the same.

Hope your ordeal ended right there.
Thats a bad ordeal you had MX6. Replacing tyres in heavy rains can be really frustrating.

For me the flat tyre at Mahabaleshwar was the only hiccup in this road trip and by gods grace I could safely replace the tyre.
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Old 28th September 2010, 12:00   #67
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Day 5 Continued....

Within no time we are on the outskirts of Pune and it’s the first time I encounter a tunnel on NH4. All excited I zoom into the tunnel and it takes some time getting used to the darkness. Once we cross this tunnel we come across the New Katraj Tunnel just before Pune exit. This tunnel was well lit inside and didn’t have much difficulty zooming in and out in no time. We continue to drive on the Mumbai – Pune bypass and I am looking for a decent fuel station to fill up diesel and also get the punctured tyre repaired. After almost driving for about 30mins, I don’t spot any IOC outlet and its only HP outlet all the way. I stop at an OK looking fuel outlet and fill diesel for Rs.500/11.8lts. (Enough to take me to Nasik) and also get the puncher tyre repaired. All this cost us a good 30mins and we continue our drive bypassing Pune.

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We are back on NH4 towards Pune.

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Khambatki Tunnel on NH4 before Pune.

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New Katraj Tunnel on NH4 before Pune.

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Outskirts of Pune.

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NH4 - Outskirts of Pune.

Just before a kilometer before the right turn towards at Talegaon towards Chakan we stop at a Dhaba named “Thanda Mamla” for lunch around 3:30PM. We were not sure whether the food was going to be good. Once we turn towards Chakan it might be difficult to find a Dhaba and this one seemed to be good looking at the number of vehicles parked outside. We had some very tasty Vegetarian food and I would definitely recommend this place.

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Deviation towards the Mumbai - Pune Expressway.

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“Thanda Mamla” Dhaba just before the Talegaon Junction.

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“Thanda Mamla” Dhaba on NH4.

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Just before Talegaon Junction.

After a very good late lunch we continue our drive towards Nasik. A little further away from the Dhaba and we turn right towards Chakan at Talegaon junction. This 2 lane road is chaotic and enroute we saw the Bajaj Auto plant at Chakan and also deviation towards the Mercedes Benz India plant. After travelling through this road which had mostly Automobile industries we meet the Pune – Nasik (NH50) and take left towards Nasik. This road is good but traffic is heavy and I am able to maintain speeds of 80-90kmph. It’s a 2 lane road and overtaking can sometimes become a pain due to the heavy traffic.

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Bajaj Auto Plant at Chakan.

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View along the Pune - Nashik Highway (NH50).

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Good 2 lane road towards Nashik.

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Towards Nashik - NH50.

Pune to Nasik is about 200 odd kilometers and we reach Nasik around 8:00PM. We ask around for Royal Heritage Hotel near Shalimar and a very helpful Auto driver guides us to the hotel as he also was driving towards the hotel. We check into the hotel around 8:30PM. Royal Heritage at Nasik is an average hotel with rates starting from Rs.600 to Rs.1500. Only the AC rooms in the high tariff range are good and definitely would not recommend the Non AC rooms here. But the hotel has a good restaurant, secured parking and is in the center of the city with all amenities nearby.

Nasik is a big city and one of the fastest growing cities in India with various shopping malls and good infrastructure. Many consider Nasik as a stopover enroute to Shirdi or Trimbakeshwar. But the city has lots to offer with various historical places nearby. Though travelling in and around Nasik was never in the plan, I definitely would want to come back again and explore the areas around the city. After the long drive, we relax in the hotel for about an hour watching TV and around 9:30PM decide to drive out to College Road at Nasik which is about 2kms from the hotel. Enroute we spot an entire main road having shops setup on either side selling Ganesh Idols for the festival and were very beautiful idols which you would not find in Bangalore at all. At College Road, we did some shopping at Big Bazaar for some basic necessities and then had dinner at McDonalds just opposite to Big Bazaar. Returned back to the hotel by 11:00PM and finally called it a day.

Day 5 was about leaving the hills and returning to the plains. Starting the day with a puncture and have the tyre changed in fog and rain was an experience in itself. The way the climate changed just 10-12kms from Mahabaleshwar was a pleasant surprise. Once we came down to Panchgani it was clear skies and almost no rain. The drive around Pune City and also the long drive from Pune to Nasik were pretty long which did tire me a bit. But that’s the fun part in doing a road trip into a completely new territory. For the next 2 days its mostly going to be visits to Temples which we have been planning for a very long time.

Continued....
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Old 28th September 2010, 12:12   #68
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Looking forward to your photos on the nasik temples. I started with the nasik leg in my magnificent maharashtra log. But stopped with one photo as I got busy with the back to back kaas trips.
Shooting photos is easy. selecting, compressing, uploading them IS difficult. Waiting to take inspiration from your photos. Unfold the history and heritage of Nasik.
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Old 29th September 2010, 19:33   #69
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DD,
Wonderful Quality of Snaps. Good detailed log.

And totally agree that MH has to be visited in Monsoons or just after that.
Maharashtra doesnt stay green like karnataka once things dry, as the forest cover is less in MH.

My MH trip, on the SAME circuit should have taken off tomm. But Alas, i have to fly to Dallas immediately :( Will get this trip gng in Nov End.

Regards
Pramod
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Old 29th September 2010, 20:16   #70
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Very Nice DD. Snaps look stunning!

A Maharashtra log is on from my side as well.
I may not try the Nasik side, but what I had in mind was

Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani-Ganapatiphule-Goa and Back.
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Old 29th September 2010, 20:38   #71
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DD,
Maharashtra doesnt stay green like karnataka once things dry, as the forest cover is less in MH.
This has got to do with the rocky terrian and the black (clayey) soil. Karnataka has red alluvial soil which is very fertile and fine and retains water. So most of the rain water is sucked in by the soil in Karnataka and rain washes fertile silt. So the makes perfect for tropical rainforests. So is it with Kerala. With soil not taking in much water in Maharashtra, and most water is used for irrigating far away lands and drinking water supply of major cities like Mumbai and Pune and the soil itself not suitable for forest kind of vegetation, the monsoon transition of Maharashtra is a huge surprise and a welcome thing!

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Very Nice DD. Snaps look stunning!

A Maharashtra log is on from my side as well.
I may not try the Nasik side, but what I had in mind was

Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani-Ganapatiphule-Goa and Back.
When are you planning?
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Old 29th September 2010, 21:46   #72
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When are you planning?
Nothing concrete yet, but I had in mind for a long 2 weeks kind of a break.
But need to work out vacation plans.

After Dec for sure.
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Old 1st October 2010, 18:28   #73
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Day 6 (08th September, 2010): Nashik – Trimbakeshwar – Nashik – Shirdi

Trip Meter – 1580kms to 1730kms

After a tiring Day 5, I wake up to a cloudy Wednesday morning at Nashik. It has rained the entire night and the weather is pretty gloomy now. We plan to leave the hotel by 10:00AM to Trimbakeshwar. We get ready and head towards the restaurant for breakfast. I notice mine is the only car in the parking lot as all other tourists have left the hotel for sightseeing. Breakfast at the hotel was pretty good and by the time we leave the hotel is around 10:30AM. The road towards Trimbakeshwar is right next to the hotel and is a straight drive.

Leaving the hotel my first priority is to find a decent IOC outlet to fill up diesel and also get the air pressure checked. About 5-6kms out of the hotel I spot an IOC outlet and fill the tank to the brim with diesel. The price of diesel at Nashik was similar to Bangalore. Mileage I got was 19.76kmpl.

After this we drive towards Trimbakeshwar which is about 36kms from Nashik. The road is pretty wide and in good condition throughout but only while exiting Nashik that you find broken tarmac. We enter Trimbakeshwar only around 11:30AM and after paying an entry fee we are directed towards the parking lot which was very badly maintained. The monsoon had only made it worse. The entire place was slushy and you had big sharp stoned sticking out of the mud. After carefully parking the car, we walk towards the Shiva Temple which is about 500mts from the parking lot.

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Road out of Nashik towards Trimbakeshwar.

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View of Brahmagiri hills nearing Trimbakeshwar.

Trimbakeshwar is a religious center having one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The temple is at the foothills of Brahmagiri hills. It’s in these hills that River Godavari originates. The temple here is very ancient, is built of black stone and enclosed in a spacious courtyard. The place was crowded with pilgrims and cameras are not allowed inside the temple. I had to keep the camera in a locker outside the temple.

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Trimbakeshwar Temple

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Trimbakeshwar Temple

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Trimbakeshwar Temple

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View of Trimbakeshwar Temple and courtyard taken from a 2MP Cellphone camera.

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View of Trimbakeshwar Temple and courtyard.

The queue was pretty long and was stationary due to Aarti going on inside the temple. After sometime the queue slowly started to move and by the time we finished darshan and came out of the temple it was close to 2:00PM. Now we were very much behind schedule and after collecting the camera decided to head back to Nashik. Just out of Trimbakeshwar it started raining heavily and we thought of having lunch at one of numerous Dhaba’s on the road towards Nashik. We stopped at a Dhaba serving Andhra food just Outside Trimbakeshwar. The food was nothing close to Andhra cuisine and was below average. After quickly finishing the lunch we drove towards Nashik. We reached the hotel, packed our bags and checked out of the hotel a little after 3:00PM.

We drive out of Nashik on the Nashik – Pune highway. Traffic was pretty heavy at this time of the day and also the rains were intermittent. After travelling about 30kms on NH50 from Nashik we take left towards Shirdi at Sinnar. The left deviation is about a kilometer after Sinnar College on the highway. A little further ahead we take the right onto SH39. The light drizzle now turns into a heavy downpour. I tail a Tata Sumo at a safe distance as the visibility gets bad. The SH39 is being widened. There is work going on the left lane and there is enough room for 2 cars to pass on the right lane, but the rood surface is good. Continue driving further ahead and take right at a T junction. Drive a little further and you meet SH10. We take the right here and enter Shirdi around 5:00PM. We have our accommodation booked at MTDC Pilgrims Inn very close to the temple. We don’t find much trouble finding the hotel. Park the car in the spacious parking lot inside the hotel compound and check in around 5:30PM.

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SH39 - Towards Shirdi. Heavy rains all along.

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Bear territory!!!!

MTDC Pilgrims Inn is a very well maintained hotel, has a huge parking place and very close to the temple. We had passes arranged for the 6:30PM Aarti at the temple and after some phone calls we were directed to go to the Gate # 1 at the temple.

We entered the temple little before 6:30PM and I was fortunate to get a place right in the front inside Samadhi Mandir during the Aarti.. After the Aarti we went around the Samadhi Mandir. First we visited Gurusthan located outside the Samadhi Mandir, this is a small temple under a neem tree, where Baba is said to have meditated. This temple houses a shivling and a picture of Baba. Then we visited Dwarkamai which is actually an old mosque where Baba stayed. Today it houses images of the saint and articles used by him, including an old grinding stone, where he used to grind wheat for the poor, and a stone stool used by him. Highlight of this mosque is the dhooni that burns for 24 hours and provides the sacred udi (ash) to the devotees. Then we visited Chawadi which is a small stone structure where Baba used to retire every other night. It houses the wooden bed and the stone chair as was used by him. Also opposite to Chawadi is Abdul Baba's Cottage where one of the most devoted followers of Baba lived. Interesting articles here include the Koran and photographs of the devotees.

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View from the balcony at MTDC Pilgrims Inn, Shirdi

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View from the balcony at MTDC Pilgrims Inn, Shirdi

We also shopped for some photos and statues of Sai Baba and returned back to the hotel around 8:30PM. After resting for sometime in the hotel we had dinner at Sher-E-Punjab right in front of MTDC hotel. Dinner was just about average and we get back to the hotel. We then decide to go for another darshan around 9:45PM and finish darshan in just 30-40mins. Finally, our desire to visit Shirdi and have Darshan was fulfilled. Got back to the hotel by 11:00PM after having Ice Creams outside the hotel and retire by midnight.

Sorry folks, not many pics on Day 6 as No cameras allowed inside Trimbakeshwar and Shirdi and also on top of that was raining all throughout the day. I promise more snaps on Day 7 and beautiful ones too!!! Day 6 was about visiting the 2 most important temples I had planned for the trip. Did not foresee the crowd at Trimbakeshwar and plan was pushed behind schedule by almost 2hrs. But thanks not so crowded Shirdi, we could finish Aarti and Darshan with ease. Visiting Shirdi on a Wednesday was a good idea than my original plan of visiting Shirdi on a Thursday. Tomorrow we travel south towards Aurangabad.

Continued....
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Old 1st October 2010, 18:35   #74
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Originally Posted by MX6 View Post
Looking forward to your photos on the nasik temples. I started with the nasik leg in my magnificent maharashtra log. But stopped with one photo as I got busy with the back to back kaas trips.
Shooting photos is easy. selecting, compressing, uploading them IS difficult. Waiting to take inspiration from your photos. Unfold the history and heritage of Nasik.
Not many photos of Day 6. And did not visit all the temples at Nashik. I will be back to Nashik for more.

+1 on the difficult part of selecting, compressing, uploading photos.

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Originally Posted by pramod View Post
DD,
Wonderful Quality of Snaps. Good detailed log.

And totally agree that MH has to be visited in Monsoons or just after that.
Maharashtra doesnt stay green like karnataka once things dry, as the forest cover is less in MH.

My MH trip, on the SAME circuit should have taken off tomm. But Alas, i have to fly to Dallas immediately :( Will get this trip gng in Nov End.

Regards
Pramod
Thanks Pramod. Yes its mainly due to the black soil as mentioned by MX6. But the greenery is totally different from Karnataka. In Karnataka you usally find shades of dark green and thick forest cover. But in MH its more of light green, almost flourecent and more like meadows.

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Very Nice DD. Snaps look stunning!

A Maharashtra log is on from my side as well.
I may not try the Nasik side, but what I had in mind was

Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani-Ganapatiphule-Goa and Back.
Good plan there Ampere. Try to do the MH roadtrip before OCT-NOV when its still green.
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Old 1st October 2010, 18:55   #75
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Default Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!

Day 7 (09th September, 2010): Shirdi – Ellora – Aurangabad

Trip Meter – 1730kms to 1882kms

Up by 8:30AM and today we plan to drive towards Aurangabad. After getting ready quickly we head to the restaurant in MTDC and have breakfast. Breakfast was pretty good and would definitely recommend this hotel to anyone visiting Shirdi. We check out around 10:30AM from the hotel. The car is completely dirty and I feel it’s the dirtiest of all the cars parked in the parking lot.

Exiting Shirdi by 11:00AM we travel on SH10 towards Kopargaon and about 5kms from Shirdi we take a right towards Aurangabad. It’s now a 2 lane road with minimal traffic. Only the surface of the road is broken in strips and one can cruise comfortably at 100kmph. Only if you are travelling at a lower speed will you feel the broken tarmac. The 30 odd kms to Vaijapur is done under 30mins and take a left on the HG into Vaijapur. The town is pretty dusty and crowded. We slowly make our way through the traffic and head towards SH16. The 2 lane road is in good condition and we finally join SH16 and turn right towards Ellora. SH16 was also good but with occasional potholes and traffic. This road straight goes to Aurangabad. About 25kms before Aurangabad we take left towards Ellora Caves which are about 7kms from here. This 7km stretch was in very bad condition and we slowly drive towards Ellora Caves.

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Entrance to the Samadhi Mandir, Shirdi.

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Towards Aurangabad, just after the right turn after Shirdi.

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The 2 lane road towards Aurangabad.

Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!-p1040189.jpg
Broken tarmac in strips. You have to keep the steering wheel steady or else the road controls the steering!!!

Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!-p1040191.jpg
The 2 lane road towards Aurangabad.

Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!-p1040192.jpg
Towards Aurangabad.

Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!-p1040195.jpg
Road at a small village named Khandala towards Aurangabad. Wifey was thinking I am taking her to Khandala (hill station) as a surprise on the way to Aurangabad looking at the sign boards...

Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!-p1040204.jpg
Closer to Ellora Caves..

We reach Ellora Caves a little after 1:00PM and buy entry tickets. I was shocked to find out the fee for the official Guides who have been appointed here. It’s Rs.600!! Then again there are Auto rickshaws inside which take you to different caves and the driver also acts as a guide. We bargained that for a couple of hundred rupees and we set out to explore the Ellora Caves.

Recce into Maharashtra in Swift D!!!-p1040205.jpg
Welcome to Ellora Caves!!!

Continued....
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