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Old 12th December 2010, 19:59   #31
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post
HVK, we need to archive somewhere on this site, the bypassing of all major and 2nd level cities of India. I suffered heavily trying to cross Pune, while driving to Shirdi from Mahabaleshwar.
Unfortunately, Pune has no genuine bypass except the outgrown one on NH4. The other highways NH9 and NH50 mean you have to navigate the city - with no signages whatsoever. There is a sort of bypass (if you can call it that) from NH4 to NH9 (to Solapur), but for NH50 (to Nashik), there is nothing. Pune should have had a Ring Road several years ago, and I don;t even see signs of any such developments.
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Old 12th December 2010, 21:52   #32
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

Fantastic log, pramods! Seems like an awesome road trip Would love to do this one!

Keep posting!
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Old 13th December 2010, 01:25   #33
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Default Day 5 : Mahabaleshwar to Shirdi

Quote:
Originally Posted by amitwlele View Post
Great write up Pramod accompanied with superb snaps. You have captured sun sets at different destinations perfectly.

Would be following this thread for sure..

Cheers,
Amit
Thanks Amit. My pleasure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Unfortunately, Pune has no genuine bypass except the outgrown one on NH4. The other highways NH9 and NH50 mean you have to navigate the city - with no signages whatsoever. There is a sort of bypass (if you can call it that) from NH4 to NH9 (to Solapur), but for NH50 (to Nashik), there is nothing. Pune should have had a Ring Road several years ago, and I don;t even see signs of any such developments.
HVK - I took the Katraj Tunnel, and i was directed towards yerawade. I reach that location, i did travel 30 min plus in high traffic condition. My snaps later, will show the sign boards that i followed which will give an idea as to what road i took to hit Ahmednagar road. I did see Railway station, ShivajiNagar, Le Meridian Hotel, Hyatt hotel, Pune Central et all. I crossed a Bridge over a river after Shivajinagar. And thats where, i saw the sign boards for Ahmednagar and Shirdi. And ofcourse i was relieved

Quote:
Originally Posted by anekho View Post
Fantastic log, pramods! Seems like an awesome road trip Would love to do this one!

Keep posting!
Now that i have some responses, i will go ahead! Thanks Anekho.

--------------------------------------------------------
Day 5:

Our stay at MTDC was pleasant. The campus of the resort is very nice indeed. Lots of trees, play area, auyurvedic center, restaurant, walking area et all. Even though our accomodation was a plain simple affair (non-ac rooms), i was clean. Thats all that matters to me. I dont wanna watch TV, on a vacation. As a matter of fact, i dont watch TV even when in Bangalore these days. The last thing, i would want to watch is Arnob speaking on Times Now.. lol.

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We have our breakfast at MTDC and start the day at 9 AM. We drive to Kate's point. To reach Kate's point, we drive on the Mahabaleshwar - Panchgani - Pune road. After 5min drive, you would see a sign board showing Kate's point to the left. another 5 min drive and we see Strawberry gardens all along the road. Infact, even the main road had a bunch of gardens on the road side. Ofcourse it reminded me of FarmVille! The fastest way to earn..lol.

In one such Gardens, we stop to see how the berries are grown. The Gardens arent usually very large. Straight parallel rows. Plastic cover over the mud, to avoid evaporation of moisture from it. Small stunted plants with pudina type/sized leaves. Something new, we saw here.
Its almost mandatory to buy something from the associated store, when one visits a farm. We had a few scoops of fresh strawberry ice creams. And the house favourite - Fresh cream with Strawberries. Nice.. Liked it.

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We drive further to the Kate's point to see the beautiful River Krishna in the gorge. The reservoir at this location has a surprisingly strong blue hue to it. Photos below depict that well.
We spend another 15 min here and decide to drive down towards Panchagani.

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Our target for the day: Leave Panchagani by 11:45 max and reach Shirdi latest by 7pm. We gotta have Darshan tonight.

Next, we reached Parsi point on the Mahabaleshwar - Panchagani main road. Its another view of the river Krishna. A few telescopes (strictly LOCAL telescopes ) to pay-n-View the "Gangajal Village", from the Gangajal movie fame.

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We did have another round of Vada-pav and Corn here, at the Parsi point and head further down towards Wai, to reach the NH4.

I truely liked the Ghat road down, from Panchagani. The table top could be seen , from the drive itself and we could see a number of paragliders and parachute droppers, trying to hit the earth on the top of the Table-top.
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We reach Wai and hit the NH4. The smooth roads to Pune is 90 Kms on this stretch of NH4. We cover good times for the next 65 Kms. We took 45 minutes to do so. We crossed 2 tunnels on the way.
We reach a sign board which showed 24 Kms to Pune, on the right, deviating from the NH4. Both the cars park to the sides. We are unsure what road to take to bypass Pune, to hit the Shirdi route.

I try calling HVK. Unfortunately, i had saved 9 digits of his mobile number and had misplaced the chit somewhere in the car, which had all the 10 digits! The Over-drive magazine's MH map does show the route to Shirdi. But it doesnt help us in crossing Pune. Mahesh's GPS on his mobile, showed further straight on NH4 expressway and take the right 8 Kms further. After enquiring a few truck drivers near the gas station, we got to know that, the turn after 8 Kms is the Katraj tunnel. And finally, i remembered from one of the team-bhp logs that, we need to hit Ahmednagar, to go to Shirdi.

We lost a lot of time here. From 12:45 pm to 1:30 pm. And crossing Shivajinagar - Yerawada and joining the toll road took another 75 min. Finally, at 2:45 pm, we were past the first toll booth on the Pune - Ahmednagar stretch. The road were pathetic in some stretches till then. I guess road widening?

After another 40 min drive on some nice smooth 4 laner, we stop at a road side dhaba for lunch. Order was simple - Tandoori Rotis, Dal, Bhindi, Jeera rice. We are on the road in the next 35 min.

The scenery kept changing from civilization to out-skirts. From out-skirts to black cotton soil and cotton. And then, some shallow valleys and grasslands.

Ghat road sign boards were funny on this stretch. A "Ghat Starts" board and a Km later, a "Ghat Ends" board

The truck traffic was dense. It got denser after the nasik road coverged.
We waved at a number a KA truckers. Ofcourse, u feel good to do so, being away from home for 5 days now.

The roads for the last 45 Kms to Shirdi was very wierd. The road has been broadened and hence half the road has unevenly tarmaced surface, which is difficult to drive on. So, you would be forced to keep to the left lane. add to that 100s of Tavera and Sumos and tempos with devotees, travelling with us to Shirdi. The last 45 Kms took a good 65 minutes to cover and we finally reached Shirdi at 7 pm sharp. Target met!
As a matter of fact, Pune to Shirdi took a good 4 hours including a 35 min lunch break and a 10 min tea break.

Shirdi :
=====
Cafe Coffee day ! Yes, Shirdi has one. It has Malls too! Nike and Rebook showrooms.
This is not how, i expected to write about Shirdi But thats what struck us immediately, on arriving at Shirdi. We drive on the Shirdi Sai baba Mandir road and at the end of it, is the MTDC Piligrim Inn, on the right side of the street, right infront of the Sher-E-Punjab Restaurant.
Temple is just a 2 min walk from the MTDC. We checkin , into a family room with 3 beds. And order an extra matrice for the night. Again, accomodation is decent. No fancies.

We stand in the Darshan Queue at 7.45 pm. And within the next 45 min, we managed cross both the queue halls and got to see Sai Baba. Darshan is broadcasted on 32 inch flat screens in all the locations in the temple premises. So, even though Darshan may be a good 1 hour ahead of us, we would have already seen Sai baba on the screens.

We come out of the Darshan hall and settle down for a while, and just sync in.
I liked the campus for sure. Clean, peaceful, doesnt seem crowded, even with so many people around.

We get to know that, the final Aarthi is at 10:30 pm. So, we decide to get back at 10pm, after dinner. We check out a "Special Gujarati Thali" board and tried thalis at Hotel xxx. Nice unlimited Gujarati thalis for 100 Rs. Value for money.

We get back at the temple premises for the 10:30 pm Aarthi. We watched the Aarthi on one of the flat screens outside the sanctum. And did not stand in the queue for the same.

We get back to MTDC and hit the bed. It was a tired day of driving all the way from Mahabaleshwar to Shirdi in day time traffic.

Day 6, we would be driving a short one from Shirdi to Ellora!
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Old 13th December 2010, 01:52   #34
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Default Wai -Pune - Ahmednagar Snaps

NH4 drive upto Katraj tunnel.

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Pune City from the car:

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After Passing the Pune city, the road clears up a bit.
Good 2 lane roads now.

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Last edited by pramod : 13th December 2010 at 01:57.
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Old 13th December 2010, 02:05   #35
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Default Pune Shirdi drive - Last set of snaps

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------------
ps : No camera is allowed inside the Shirdi Sai Baba Mandir. And Hence no snaps clicked.

Next post : Day 6 --> Shirdi to Ellora, Daulatabad, Aurangabad.
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Old 13th December 2010, 10:39   #36
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

Ah. My memories of Pune, konkan beaches and mahabaleshwar got refreshed.
Loved the photos of Yerwada bridge. I wish the new bridge construction completes soon. Looking forward to Ellora and rest of the trip.
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Old 13th December 2010, 16:48   #37
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

Nice going Pramod. I noticed that the greenery around Mahabaleshwar and Ratnagairi has considerably reduced that too within a span of couple of months compared to rainy seasons. This is not the case when you compare forests in Karnataka where even in winters the greenery is still very dense.

I missed the strawberries and Makkai pattice when I was there during the rainy season. The photos of strawberry makes my mouth water.. Should visit again during this time to savour those fresh strawberries.

Waiting for the rest of the log...
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Old 14th December 2010, 17:11   #38
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Default Re: Pune Shirdi drive - Last set of snaps

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post

Next post : Day 6 --> Shirdi to Ellora, Daulatabad, Aurangabad.
I am eagerly waiting to hear about this particular stretch. I m leaving on Thursday!!! Road condition, experience, etc...

Please bring it fast, Pramod!!!

Thanks..
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Old 15th December 2010, 15:28   #39
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Default Day 6 : Shirdi - Ellora - Aurangabad

Quote:
Originally Posted by viv1984 View Post
I am eagerly waiting to hear about this particular stretch. I m leaving on Thursday!!! Road condition, experience, etc...

Please bring it fast, Pramod!!!

Thanks..
Guys, sorry for the delay. Have been a bit busy after the long vacation that i took.
------------------

Day 6: After the previous night's Darshan, we thought we could as well leave Shirdi early to visit Ellora and aurangabad for Day 6.

So, we had our breakfast at one of the hotels infront of the Mandir and start from Shirdi at 8:30 AM at 1642 trip meter.

We hit the Shirdi's main road and take the right on it. On this highway, we travel 10 Kms till 1652 before we take a right. This right will lead us towards Vaijapur - Aurangabad. 6 Kms on this 2 laned decent highway and we come across Godavari River! It was an awesome sight.

This stretch of road is damaged all through in a peculiar way. There are strands/grooves formed on the tarmac, parallel to the road. I guess some of the snaps below illustrates it. With hands firm on the Steering, it is not a bad road to drive on.

At 9:35 AM, 1690 tripmeter, we hit a junction. 2 highways cross at this junction. On the left is Vaijapur & straight leads to Aurangabad. So, we take the SH47 on the left to drive to Vaijapur.

We basically drive through the dusty town of Vaijapur. And inside the town, we take a right at the circle, which would lead to Ellora.
This stretch would become SH-18 now.

At 10:05 and 1713, we hit Kannad-Aurangabad junction. And we take the Aurangabad diversion on the right.

At 10:32 AM and 1739 Kms, left turn shows Ellora sign board. Ellora is 9 kms from this left turn. We reach Ellora Caves by 10:45 AM.

So we now had the next 3-4 hours , to explore Ellora caves.

Mind u ,at the Ellora town, we hit NH-211, which will go all the way south to Aurangabad via Daulatabad. I guess, this road can lead us to Sholapur, all the way south.

Ellora caves:

There are 34 caves in total, at Ellora. There are Buddhist caves, Jain caves and Hindu caves. It is based on, the kingdom/rulers under which they were built.

The main cave is the cave no.16, which is visible right infront of the main gate. It is the single largest Monolithic temple/chariot/structure in the world. The sight of this cave, struck me with awe! You tend to question how humans could have done all this, with the tools that they had in those times.

Let me tell u , the photos are no where close to letting people know, the awesome sight of these caves. I have just managed to click a few.

We take a guide (an official one) for 700 Rs, from the front desk or the ticketing counter. He showed us the main caves No.16, 12, 11, 10 and then the jain caves.

To reach the jain caves, we need to drive for 2 mins. And visit 3 caves at that location.

In the hindu caves, the awesome illustration of Shiva and Parvathi in different scenarios was amazing, when explained by the guide.

1. Shiva Parvathi in their wedding and how Parvathi had forgot to wear the anklet on one of her legs.

2. Shiva and Parvathi playing a game and the reactions on their faces, as Parvathi is about to defeat Shiva.

And many more. It was interesting indeed.

Jain caves have Gomateshwara, Mahaveera and bahubali carvings. They were are very nice.

At 2 PM, we say good bye to Ellora and head towards Daulatabad on a nice 2 laned NH211 route. We reach daulatabad in no time.

Ellora - Daulatabad - Aurangabad is 16 Kms and 12 Kms apart.

At Daulatabad, we visit the Chand-Minar, and the fort. We did not climb all the way atop the fort. We only walked till the chand minar and returned back. It was nice for a few good photos.

We reach Aurangabad at 3:45 PM at 1770 kms on trip meter. The first thing, that i could see is the huge presence of Army cantonment and related buildings and campuses. It was nice. But Auragabad seemed to be pretty dusty again.

We reached Hotel Panchavati. DD, thanks a bunch for pointing to this hotel. Its a steal for Rs.600. Very nice decor and facilities for 600! We relax for the next 30 min. Order some food to the rooms.

Our next plan is to visit Bibi-ka-Maqbara at 5.30 pm.

We drive back to the entrance of the city and take the right turn towards Bibi-Ka-Maqbara. Sign boards exist. We drive for the next 10 min through some crowded and narrow lanes of the old part of the city. Just before the "Darwaaza", we take a left and reach the monument.

The next 2 hours + was spent here. We were told by the guide that, earlier, this place used to operate with timings similar to Ellora and ajantha. But then, since Ellora/Ajantha took higher priority, by the time, visitors could reach Aurangabad, this would be closed. And hence, Bibi-ka-maqbara would be open till 9.30 pm. But alas, not enough lighting at all , to shoot a few low lighting snaps!

We have samosas and a few sweets at "Rajasthani sweets" and return back to the hotel. And hit the bed early.

Day 7 :Plan would be to drive from Aurangabad to Chikaldara via Akola, Akot, Paratwada.

Snaps for Day 6 coming up soon!
Vivi, hope this post helps
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Old 15th December 2010, 16:36   #40
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Default Shirdi to Ellora Snaps

Shirdi snaps and the road till Vaijapur/Aurangabad right turnoff.

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On the 2 laned highway to Vaijapur: Mind u, this turn off is before the Kopurgaon.

Sign board showing: Aurangabad, Amravathi, Vaijapur, Nagpur.

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Left turn at this junction towards Vaijapur - Aurangabad

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SH47:
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Old 23rd December 2010, 20:25   #41
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

Fantastic and informative as usual, Pramod! I envy your marathon motorability and your enthusiasm for the roads. Well done.
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Old 23rd December 2010, 22:54   #42
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

Great travelogue pramod! The best part is that you have taken time to look around all the places that you have driven to.
In Pune, you drove right through the centre of town. You could have saved some time by taking a right turn towards Swargate (there is a board in one of your pics that is taken right outside the Sarasbaug Ganpati Mandir indicating the direction) and cutting across MG road directly to Yerawada - maybe next time
I look forward to the next instalment especially as I have never driven to the Solapur area.
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Old 24th December 2010, 06:55   #43
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

Pramod,

Though I have never visited Shiridi, but from your snaps it looks like a very clean town! Thanks to you and DreamDiesel, I/we-all am/are getting a taste of this place along with rest of the places.

Another nice thing I remembered, is that I generally go to a Sai Baba Temple next to my parent's place and the "prasad" they give is glucose biscuits!
I was pleasantly surprised at this. Just imagine, whats the value of a 2 rupee coin today! And that same 2 rupee coin can get you a "chota pack" of parle G!
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Old 29th December 2010, 19:31   #44
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Default Re: A 3500 Km Drive from Bangalore across MH

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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Pramod,

Though I have never visited Shiridi, but from your snaps it looks like a very clean town! Thanks to you and DreamDiesel, I/we-all am/are getting a taste of this place along with rest of the places.

Another nice thing I remembered, is that I generally go to a Sai Baba Temple next to my parent's place and the "prasad" they give is glucose biscuits!
I was pleasantly surprised at this. Just imagine, whats the value of a 2 rupee coin today! And that same 2 rupee coin can get you a "chota pack" of parle G!
@ampere - I use the same Parle G example to explain the value to some of my colleagues while we are lamenting the diminishing purchasing power of the rupee. it is amazing how we live in two polar opposite worlds in the same country. I remember my short konkan trip for a couple of days was only a little more expensive than a dinner at one of the restaurants in Pune (not counting for depreciation on the car!). I am sure many of us bhpians experience something like this during our travels.
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