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Old 13th September 2021, 20:24   #1
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Default Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon

The car: Bagheera, my Nexon XZA+ Diesel (BS4)

Growl!!
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-bagheera-ready.jpg

The plan: Kaas Plateau and Thosegarh Waterfall

Phool....
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-kaas-sideview.jpg

Aur Jharna...
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-small-thosegarh.jpg

The distance: Close to 320km each way

The duration: One night/two days

The journey: It was Ganesh Chaturthi and while everyone was making plans to bring Bappa home, we were planning on going somewhere for the weekend. Reason being, my wife, mom and my leaves barely sync at the same time and this was just luck that we all managed to be free at the same weekend. After deciding against Statue Of Unity due to the RT-PCR scene and because we wouldn't have been able to give justice to that place, we decided against it. Kaas Plateau was always on my list because of the uniqueness of a valley (plateau?) of flowers being located in a place which is otherwise scorching hot. So after a quick Google search of some stay options, we decided to pack two smalls bags and set course for Tapola. Tapola is a very small riverside town and surprisingly cheap to stay.

We were supposed to start on Saturday 6am (the thought even crossed that maybe we should have started Friday afternoon or evening and stayed over at Pune or Khandala for the night, but canned it since I wanted to avoid night time driving) and ended up leaving at 8am. Yeah I know, it's too late to leave for a weekend vacation but I figured we could catch up. So off we went, taking the first stop at Food Hub before Lonavala for breakfast/lunch/brunch for the humans and diesel for Bagheera (filled 26.69 litres) at around 10:30am.

Oh! Another Nexon
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-breakfast-spot.jpg

Then we continued our drive on NH48 crossing Lonavala, Pune, Surur. After Surur (maybe because Himesh sang tera tera suroor) the road towards Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar becomes a little bad. Especially if you're coming from that awesome stretch of the Expressway. Don't get me wrong, it's one of the easiest climbs to Mahabaleshwar. Broad road, one direction and smooth tarmac. I didn't realise when we reached and crossed Panchgani, no, not because I was lost in driving but because it was so foggy and misty! The only time I realised we've reached Panchgani is when they asked for entry fee.

Where's the road?
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-foggy-route.jpg

Ah, there it is!
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-enroute-mbeshwar.jpg

After that was the typical hill station road, vendors here and there. Multiple Mapro and Mala outlets vying for the originality tag till we reached Mahabaleshwar. We thought of stopping for lunch but then we'd have spent a lot of time there. With visibility being poor, I wanted to reach Tapola before sun set (well, it was tough to know because even at 3pm, I couldn't see the sun). If you guys are thinking of staying over at M'beshwar, go there for the weather only. All other activities such as horse riding and tourist spots are open but I doubt you'll enjoy getting drenched throughout your stay. Moreover, Venna lake was over full so no boating happening there. Coming back, looking at the line at Mapro Garden, we figured if we ate there, we'd have to book a room in M'beshwar and stay the night. So we egged on and just after crossing it, the road became non existent. All one could see was trees covered in mist, windscreen covered with rain drops and a huge veil of fog in the front. I had already turned on the foglamps (only fogs, no headlights since I was able to make out oncoming traffic and those headlights wouldn't have solved any visibility issues either) as we were climbing Panchgani. The fogs helped in ensuring oncoming traffic could see us properly.

Shoot a horror movie here!
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-mbeshwar-tapola.jpg

The road to Tapola has encountered a few landslides, I could count 6 places where they had to cordon off the area due to landslide. But it was a pleasantly challenging drive. Once we crossed Phenomenal Resort, the road was phenomenonal (pun intended). View of the Koyna river alongside us, greenery on both sides of the road and us in the middle going up and down. We reached our resort, Kinara Agro Tourism Resort which is at the river bank at around 4:30pm and had our lunch. Sweet of the owner to keep lunch for us till so long.

Bhakhri by the Riverbay (no images of the bhakhri cause that was devoured within minutes)
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-riverview-daytime.jpg

The Resort has a variety of limited rooms. I counted 8 rooms of which 3 are tent types. That's the one we booked. It's huge with three double charpais placed next to each other. Amenities include an attached bathroom with geyser, a small table on the porch, indoor games like carom, chess, a swing and a magnificent view of the river.
We spent the rest of the evening strolling around the banks.

This is foren ka jagah no?
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-riverview-evening.jpg

Enjoying the swing

Pablo Escobar's Mom?
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-swinging-lake.jpg

And also stretching our legs.

Remember to carry nice sandals
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-stretch-your-legs.jpg

They also provide a mosquito repellant but if you're planning to visit there, please carry track pants and Odomos. Oh and there's also a cat there who keeps craving for attention and affection.

This is no Grumpy Cat, this is Grabby Cat.
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-resort-cat.jpg

The next day was supposed to be a visit to Kaas Plateau, Thosegarh Waterfalls and Sajjangarh. Kaas Plateau is a plateau of flowers, Thosegarh waterfalls are quoted as one of the highest waterfalls in Maharashtra and Sajjangarh is the resting place of Sant Ramdas. To go from Tapola to Kaas, you have two options, one is by road through the ghats and the other is by ferry. I didn't want to drive the ghats again as it would have been time consuming so we took the ferry. The first ferry leaves Tapola Jetty at 10 am. They charge Rs.500 including passengers. Getting the car onto the ferry was a task since they don't have a proper loading point or lip and you just have to use your judgement to put the car on the ferry.

I believe I can swim
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-inkedbagheera-going-sail.jpg

Naav that's something you don't see everyday
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-loaded-boat.jpg

Thanks to the idiots who got on board before me and parked their cars on two sides leaving me the middle spot, I couldn't get down of the car for the entire sailing.

No social distancing between cars
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-idiots.jpg

In one spot before Kaas, two cars got off and they had to reverse uphill for about 200-300m before they could make a U-turn. I wasn't convinced an AMT Nexon would be able to do that if the situation was the same at Kaas. However, Indian jugaad is undermined a lot. The boatmen instructed us to reverse our cars. On the boat itself. While sailing!
A couple of cars reversed and faced front while the boat docked at Kaas Plateau.

The uphill point at Kaas. Please ignore the super model on top deck. Due to budget issues, I had to ask my mom to support me in this nepotic directorial
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-offloading-ramp.jpg

The others reversed on the boat and disembarked. A few cars such as a Swift, an i20 Asta and Hector struggled to get down because of the rocks and immediate uphill but as I drove up, one 8-9 year old kid mustered, "Array haan Nexon kiti mast geli varti".

Torque is torque after all no?
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-easy-work.jpg

The road to Kaas Plateau is long but beautiful.

Small brooks and rivulets (I know the difference )
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-tapola-kaas.jpg

Something about monsoons makes everything so pretty.

No Green Tax paid here
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-green-road.jpg

It's a single lane road so you have to be on the lookout for oncoming traffic very carefully. While going uphill, you'll see a parking spot for Kaas. Don't stop there because you'll have to take a bus, go uphill, visit Kaas and then come back down to where you've parked your car, travel uphill again (they're making some bridge there so the road is horrible).

There is no road, only the will to go ahead
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-tapola-kaas-bad-road.jpg

It's wise to climb up all the way since the road dissects the plateau and you can view the flowers on both sides.

Humaare beech ki yeh daraar...
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-kaas.jpg

There's strictly no stopping, no parking so you'll have to keep driving ahead. Before going downhill there's another spot to park your car. Park here, take the bus to Kaas (10rupees per person, 20rupees for the parking) and you can visit Kaas for a fee of Rs.100 per person. You don't need to book online since they're allowing offline sales too. Our ferry ride took longer (actual sailing is 15-20 minutes) so we reached Kaas at 12:30pm and by then we realised there's so much fog that we won't be able to see the flower even if it was tied in front of our eyes! Plus, one of the security guards was helpful and said end of September is the best time to visit Kaas.

Say hello to my little lake
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-getting-down-kaas.jpg

So we drove on, next destination was Thosegarh waterfalls. This means traveling downhill for an hour towards Satara, taking a right as soon as you get down and enter Satara tunnel (subway should have been the better terminology) and then you drive for another hour to reach Thosegarh. As expected, more ghats but gentler ones.

This..is...Sataraaaaaa...
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-down-valley.jpg

Again, amazing green luscious forestry all around and then come the waterfalls.

Gentle but pretty climb
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-up-thosegarh.jpg

Whatte scene
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-scenic.jpg

You park alongside the road, have a vada pav (please have the vada pav!!) and go to see the falls. Entry fees are 50 per person. If you're traveling with senior citizens, please ensure they are aware that it's a long walk inside. There's two waterfalls inside, big Thosegarh (360 M) and small Thosegarh (110 M). Tip: Visit the small one first, they have provided the directions. As you're walking, you'll hear the sound of gushing water and it's almost scary.

Bade miyaa, bade miyaa
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-big-thosegarh.jpg

Chote miyaa subhan-allah..
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-chota-thosegarh.jpg

If promoted properly, it can be drawing more attention than Dudhsagar.

They are waterf-awe-lls
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-aww-falls.jpg

We walked back out and decided to have one more vadapav (trust me, they're really good!) and then drove downhill towards Satara. Sajjangarh is along the way, a fork leads up towards the fort/resting place but due to dearth of time, we skipped it. We started our drive from Thosegarh at 4, stopped at Kamat's before Pune at 6pm and had our lunch/dinner/snacks. Then continued our journey back home. The roads in Pune are bad. Especially in monsoons. The street illumination is worse than the light on a cheap Casio and the way potholes appear it's as if you're playing pop-up frogs. It took me 2 hours to cross that stretch because of heavy rains and lack of visibility. Reached Food Hub at 8pm, checked tyres, all good and had some tea. Then drove ahead and reached the Expressway. As we reached Sion Panvel highway, the maps showed a 40 minute delay because of two breakdowns and one accident on the WEH at Goregaon . Eventually reached home at 12:15am on Monday.

Expenses:
Departing Tolls/Fees
Vashi: 40
Khalapur: 203
Talegaon: 67
Khed-Shivapur: 100
Panchgani: 150 (not sure)
Mahabaleshwar: 230 (3 pax + car)
Return tolls:
Anewadi: 70
Khed-Shivapur: 100
Talegaon: 203
Khalapur: 67
Vashi: 40
Fuel: 2520
Resort: 4500 (inclusive of room and meals)
Snacks along the way: 1500
Fine for not wearing a mask in the car while going uphill at Thosegarh: 300
Total: 10,900

Issues faced:
Too many ghat sections isn't a complain but the road quality can be improved. In fact, they are working on a bridge between Tapola and Kaas as well.
Bagheera has a service due. I've delayed it for a few weeks but I could sense it needs an engine oil change.
I'm this close to changing my headlights and putting a lighthouse bulb on my car. The visibility over long, dark stretches is pathetic. Although it was better on the Expressway which makes me think maybe it was oncoming traffic that was blinding me.
AMT can never be as good as a manual. While disembarking the ferry I wished I had a proper manual gearbox and clutch so that I could sense the car. The AMT got the job done alright though.

Positives faced:
Beautiful scenic roads even in Maharashtra.
Discovering new places.
AMT isn't that bad as I made it out to be in my earlier statement. I never felt let down by it and it could sense when I need a downshift almost as fast as I thought of it. It's a well tuned gearbox for sure!!
The car munches on potholes but the Pune ones are a bit too bad.
691km done in total and I'm writing this down at 1:30am on Monday. Says a lot about lack of tiredness. Nexon can be an amazing cruising vehicle.
Other stuff:
Barring the road from Mahabaleshwar to Tapola and Tapola to Kaas, I was on City mode. No issues at all.
Had to switch to Sport mode intermittently from Mahabaleshwar to Tapola and completely on Sport Mode from Tapola to Kaas because there's more uphill there. One point I'll add, while getting down from the ferry, I was so concentrated on finding the right angle to disembark that I forgot to switch Sports mode. Bagheera managed to climb up anyhow and made that kid mutter what he did. If I was on sports mode, maybe he would have asked him father to buy him a Nexon right then itself.
AC was switched off in Mahabaleshwar and Tapola except when it rained.

Average and Trip Distance
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-odo-end-trip.jpg

Here's a goodbye from Bagheera, hope to see you on the road.
Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-inkedparting-shot.jpg

Last edited by Zignor : 14th September 2021 at 09:20. Reason: Re-uploading images and attachments
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Old 14th September 2021, 09:36   #2
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Default Re: Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon

Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travelogues section. Thanks for sharing!

Going to our homepage later this week
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Old 14th September 2021, 10:44   #3
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Man, that's a wonderfully written travelogue. You have a good sense of humour. Well complimented with the pics. Can you share some pics of the stay please? Just the types of rooms and the tent set up. Thank you.
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Old 14th September 2021, 11:55   #4
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Default Re: Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon

Lovely pics and narration.
Thanks for sharing.

Does this abandoned bungalow still stand? It is hardly a few feet away from Kaas lake.

Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-kaas-bunglow.jpg

Back in the late 80's we spent one (scary) night in it, just for the heck of it.
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Old 14th September 2021, 12:00   #5
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Default Re: Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon

Superb! Trip reminds me how beautiful MH is and how much potential our country has as a whole to be an excellent place to live.

Great to see the Nexon as well. Gives some innate sense of pride to read about a home grown brand launching a product that customers like and appreciate. Interesting to read about the smoothness of AMT. Always thought Tata missed a customer base by not launching a true blue auto tranny, but reviews by customers such as yourself remind us the needlessness of over-engineering products.

PS: engaging writing style!
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Old 15th September 2021, 13:49   #6
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Originally Posted by Raghu M View Post
Can you share some pics of the stay please? Just the types of rooms and the tent set up. Thank you.
Thanks for the comments. We shot a video of the room and it came out too goofy to post online. I'm attaching images shared by the owner prior to booking and trust me, I was sold on this.

Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-room-view-1.jpg

Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-room-view-2.jpg

Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon-room-view-3.jpg
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Old 15th September 2021, 14:08   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedTerrano View Post

Does this abandoned bungalow still stand? It is hardly a few feet away from Kaas lake.

Back in the late 80's we spent one (scary) night in it, just for the heck of it.
As far as I could (or rather couldn't) see, this bungalow wasn't there. Pretty sure many people found it scary, especially in the monsoons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hell_raiser View Post
Superb! Trip reminds me how beautiful MH is and how much potential our country has as a whole to be an excellent place to live.
For sure! The list is endless. I remember going to Bhandardhara back in 2008 before it was popular.
Then there's the Jawhar waterfalls and driving there felt like driving through one of the set pieces of Game of Thrones.
There's also Unhere Kund which is a hot water spring in Pali - Raigad district (close to Ballaleshwar Pali Mandir).

Quote:
Originally Posted by hell_raiser View Post
Interesting to read about the smoothness of AMT. Always thought Tata missed a customer base by not launching a true blue auto tranny, but reviews by customers such as yourself remind us the needlessness of over-engineering products.
The trick I have followed with Nexon is to ease off the throttle while gears are shifted. That's what we do in a manual transmission car as well and as such, this gearbox is no different except that it is automated. So far, the only time I've felt a jerk is while going uphill and the gear shifts down from 3 to 2. But it's not a hindrance in any way.

As far as missing a trick is concerned, we're all generally greedy people. Had they given a TC, we would have wanted a DCT or vice versa.

PS: Thanks for the compliment.

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 25th September 2021 at 11:55. Reason: back to back posts merged
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Old 15th September 2021, 19:55   #8
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Default Re: Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon

Excellent travelogue mate, well taken pictures as well! The fuel efficiency of Nexon is good too!
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Old 15th September 2021, 23:10   #9
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Quote:
Average and Trip Distance
Did you get an average FE of 25.7 kmpl!!???

Is it because it is AMT and you were in "City" mode for most of the trip? What is the FE you get while driving in city?
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Old 15th September 2021, 23:31   #10
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Did you get an average FE of 25.7 kmpl!!???

Is it because it is AMT and you were in "City" mode for most of the trip? What is the FE you get while driving in city?
Hahaha, I think the reasons are multifold.

1. Diesel
2. AMT which doesn't let the engine revv too much unnecessarily.
3. The AC was set on Auto at 24C.
4. I didn't need Sports mode too often. City mode was sufficient even on certain sections of the ghats. In fact I find it better to be on City/Eco mode if I'm going downhill. It may not be the ideal thing to do since Eco mode will up shift the gear at lower RPMs but it reduces the number of times I hit the brakes.
5. It shows 25.7 kmpl but it may really be 22-23 kmpl since the MID shows a slightly higher value.
6. My driving in the city isn't too much but it gives me an efficiency of 16-20kmpl depending on the traffic situation.

Hope I have answered your queries.
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Old 16th September 2021, 11:19   #11
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Originally Posted by Zignor View Post
5. It shows 25.7 kmpl but it may really be 22-23 kmpl since the MID shows a slightly higher value.

Hope I have answered your queries.
Are you sure about this? Have you verified the FE displayed on the MID? The reason I ask is - I have a Tata Zest and I verified the average FE displayed on the MID against the actual FE, and I always found the MID reading to be about 1 kmpl lesser than actual. So, if MID shows 16 kmpl, I get an actual FE of 17 kmpl.

Yes, thanks, you answered my queries
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Old 16th September 2021, 11:54   #12
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Originally Posted by Zignor View Post
To go from Tapola to Kaas, you have two options, one is by road through the ghats and the other is by ferry. I didn't want to drive the ghats again as it would have been time consuming so we took the ferry. The first ferry leaves Tapola Jetty at 10 am.
Very beautifully written travelogue and I know what you have experienced. I have been to Tapola several times over the years, its my go to place when I need a short break from the hustle and bustle of Pune. I have always driven to Kaas through the long winding ghats because I never knew there was a Ferry option! I never spent much time in the Tapola jetty to be honest, I always stayed off the town at my regular place called Koyna Agro Resort.

But I must say I have enjoyed the drive through Bamnoli Ghat. If in a hurry, I will surely opt for the ferry next time.
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Old 16th September 2021, 14:18   #13
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Quote:
Fine for not wearing a mask in the car while going uphill at Thosegarh: 300
Guess almost everyone missed this. Stay Safe, even in your own vehicle.
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Old 17th September 2021, 12:24   #14
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Default Re: Kaas! If only...Tapola in a Tata Nexon

Can you share details about this ferry? Being from Satara I had no idea about this till now .

Would be helpful if you mark the starting and disembarking spot on map. I am aware of a road from Tapola which takes you to Kaas directly.
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Old 17th September 2021, 21:33   #15
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Originally Posted by Dodge_Viper View Post
Can you share details about this ferry? Being from Satara I had no idea about this till now
Apart from the boat ride you should also try visit the surrounding locations in winter. Given you are from Satara its a perfect place to go around in winter.

While monsoon is all about green, you can witness rest all colours in winter. It’s absolutely brilliant! Especially the early morning sunrise!
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