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Old 23rd October 2021, 22:44   #1
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Default Western Ghats - Weekends' love

Western Ghats! I had always dreamed to explore and ride into the green, misty wetland with abundant flora and fauna. Here comes the story about it, this may start like a biography a bit, but will get to the point soon.

This desire started when I was a child. Being a puny kid and not so immune, the fevers and colds attacked me all the time (That's when I was little, so don't start imagining a stickman figure), I had to sit in front of a book or the TV. Well, there was one problem with a book. If I open a book, I doze off, therefore I chose TV and was addicted to NGC and Discovery. I grew up watching documentaries sitting at home, but had love towards exploring new places, food, bikes and (body building - this never happened though). And one fine day, watched a documentary about the bio hotspots in India - Western Ghats.

From that day, I wanted to ride deep into the Western Ghats, with some number of treks and interacting with people from secluded places (Well, the development in years made places like this little rare in the country though). And finally, when I grew up, as some of you people know me or might imagine, I ended up finding a career in automotive industry, bought a sport tourer (CBR 250R), started riding small and rode almost all over north, some cross border touring too to Nepal and Bhutan (read my Bhutan experience here). This happened when I was in Delhi. In an interesting job change decision, I got two offers from two different companies -one in my hometown which is Chennai or another but to be stationed in Nashik.

I had difficult choices to make, in Chennai I will be at home with family, childhood friends, a promised career with abroad chance and higher pay, touring south and importantly near to a racetrack. I got married when this was going on which added pressure from family to opt the Chennai offer. Imagine all that advantages for a person who was tremendously screwed up with financial burdens. But I chose the Nashik offer, as this was a career option in OEM with little less pay, might have to pay rent and burn money on travel charges to home. But the deciding factor was, I get to live my passion.

So, I moved to Nashik and waited "X" loooooong (count the Os for answer) months for the long-lost friend from last year "The Monsoon" to work his/her (no gender bias) green magic. While he started few days back, I waited and let him/her go in front of me and start making the route, the journey beautiful for me. New job, lack of leaves, I decided that I will have smaller circuits every fortnight and cover the land this season.

I started with Saputara (GJ), and covered Bhandardhara (the place of fireflies), Vikramgarh-Palgarh-Tungareshwar, and many more gems. I did this for two monsoon seasons over two years before I was transferred by the same organization back to my hometown, so will over as Season 1 and 2. I am writing these in an orderly fashion, so that you get to see the effect of monsoon’s magic like a time lapse of lame pictures to epic pictures.
Photography disclaimer - Not a pro and had a DSLR but couldn't use much in rain, so just captured the moments when possible with my Lumia 730 and sometimes gopro.

SEASON 1, WEEKEND 1: SAPUTARA (GJ) (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 1, WEEKEND 2: BHANDARDHARA (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 1, WEEKEND 3: VIKRAMGARH- PALGARH (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 1, WEEKEND 4: ANJENERI (Trek) (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 1, WEEKEND 5: HARIHARGAD (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 2, WEEKEND 1: SURYAMAL (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 2, WEEKEND 2: KALSUBAI (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 2, WEEKEND 3: DHAMMAGIRI (Click here to go to the post)

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SEASON 2, WEEKEND 4: LONAVALA - LAVASA (Click here to go to the post)

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Last edited by saikarthik : 24th October 2021 at 15:59.
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Old 23rd October 2021, 23:21   #2
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Before that I would like to write a bit about Nashik. It's a nice and pleasant city, everyone might know or heard of. But it has some more magic to it,

1. The climate is awesome round the year.
2. People are little conservative but once you start talking, they become good friends.
3. One can travel from one end of the city to another in max 30 minutes.
4. Food is traditional, most common is Pav, Peanut Chutney(powder), Aloo based Vada.
5. Bikes and cars - For a small city, they have more rich people (Mercs, Jags are common), often superbikes growl.
6. Land of wine - if anyone interested.

And most importantly, you go 15 kilometers out of city, you find beautiful landscapes everywhere. So Initially I had to use my dad's car to roam around and scout nearby and take my parents to Shirdi, Triambak, Pandavleni caves & vineyards. I had done numerous short drives and rides which are not part of this travelogue. It was dry then, but boy now it looks like this.

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This path is in industrial area which leads to a landfill, can you imagine?

And now for the trips themselves, there were many places nearby and people started suggesting different places at the same time and make plans and cancel them. I got little confused. Too much for a guy who used to travel either with one or two friends / solo. So, I decided, I will start small with a day ride with my wife to Purna wildlife sanctuary (GJ).

SEASON 1, WEEKEND 1: SAPUTARA

Myself and my wife packed just the essentials (food & juice tetra packs, tools, rain wear in case, first aid kit), this was the first trip for my wife on bike. So, I made a route plan with enough breaks, just a 300 km ride (I forgot how 300 kms in a day will be difficult for someone who hasn't been a pillion rider ever), briefed her about safety and emergencies. I had prepped the bike which was minorly damaged in transit from Delhi. But again, my bad! I didn't notice the non-existing rear footrests (I never have had to use them so i had removed them in Delhi). I ran into the house, took the foot pegs, and installed them in a jiffy.

This was the route,
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We started at 8: 00 Am from Nashik, was riding slow inside the city. Not much traffic on the Saturday morning, except few choke points. Crossed the city limits, few river bridges. They were still water deprived, the rain was intermittent and didn't cause much of change in the landscape. I was in a slight disappointment that I won't be able to see the green and waterfalls etc... But the climate was good, wind was cold and soothing. Good roads, but one must be careful not to run into the trees which are in middle of the roads. Yes, in and around Nashik they don't cut/ relocate trees when roads are being laid. They try to divert the road a bit around the trees. Once we crossed Dindori and rode further, the landscape started to change slowly. Vast arid kind of lands which might be full of grass in monsoons. it was too vast that it reminded me of Morey (Moore) plains. Grape plantations started to disappear, cows and mules grazing on dry grass.

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This was not the view I was planning on; I was a little early. Rather, like us (by us I mean our people) punctuality has been adopted by nature too. The monsoon was delayed by almost a month. The sky was with full of dark clouds and was teasing us by mere drizzles. But I was still enjoying the ride, felt awesome to ride after months (except commute). We reached Saputara, enjoyed some nice twisties and fast sweeping turns just before Saputara.

Old lady selling some fruits (Jamun).

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The roads changed noticeably, traditional wear, language I couldn't understand much. But the place was little greener, and it has rained there. They had started rope cars ride, boating too in the lake (wasn't interested much), the place is a proper tourism dependent I felt. It was 11: 00 already since there were many breaks and we had to have brunch. Ordered a nice sandwich, butter toast with tea. The sandwich was amazing, so soft inside but crispy grilled outside.

Cheesy enough? I guess it's not making anyone crave for one.

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Then we continued towards Waghai. The roads were wide, and it became hotter, Saputara was cooler. The place was completely dry, and all the trees were stripped off bare, no leaves. There were some tribal villages in between, different types of housing (huts). It was beautiful and unexpected too.


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Then we visited biological park in Waghai, there were different kinds of plants, cactuses, trees and it was little crowded with young couples trying to seek some private time under each tree. So we took a quick walk around and exited the park.

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We tried to get to Gira waterfall which was a water curtain when I saw in the internet, but then it was completely dry.

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Then had a little snack around and started the return leg, it was becoming late and we had to return to Nashik since Sunday was working day for me. On the way back, we had a small diversion to take a quick look at the fort after crossing Saputara. It was a fort on top of a hill and the view was magnificent from the top.

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Then we reached home slowly by late evening, and the rain blessed us on entering Nashik city.

Last edited by saikarthik : 23rd October 2021 at 23:22.
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Old 24th October 2021, 12:38   #3
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SEASON 1, WEEKEND 2: BHANDARDHARA

This particular place is interesting, it is near to the Harishchandragad/ Kalsubai wild life sanctuary and in pre- monsoon season there will be a spectacular fireworks show by nature. In the nights millions of fireflies take flight, dance, and amuse any visitor. It's hard to stop focussing on them and try some photography. Just google "Bhandardhara fireflies" and look what I am trying to make you experience.

Unfortunate this year, I missed the pre-monsoon visit. But worry not, the place is beautiful even without the fireflies.

This time, it was raining cats and dogs. So, my wife couldn't accompany me, but two of my colleagues did. Our plan was to start early and slowly ride to Bhandardhara dam and visit the ghats of Igatpuri/Kasara.

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But complications, we started around 1: 00 Pm. It's a short ride and half the distance is on highway. So, we were cool on the delay and started relaxed. But from the beginning rain was ahead of us and drenched constantly. No intervals were there, raining so heavy that even with my rain layer/lower on, my inners got wet and was little uncomfortable (many might know what I mean). Added to this, I opted my carbon fiber knuckled (trying not to boast, but ya may be a little to have fun) track gloves, my hands were numb and was worried about the gloves since it was leather.

The whole route was beautiful, even the highways. Visors were fogged up by breathing in the rain, couldn't see properly with them. Without them, the raindrops were stinging on the face and eyes. We took a break for hot chai and some scenery. Near Igatpuri ghat beginning.

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We had to take a detour before Igatpuri from the highway towards Bhandardhara, roads became little narrower, and we saw some nomadic tribes walking with their families and their stuff on the cattle. As we heard, that's routine every year for them. It was raining and raining, few minutes it would stop so did we at that time to look around. The route was complete greenery, not many vehicles.

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There my friend was trying some dialogue with a red crab. We were close to the dam, was just 20 km away. we enjoyed the calm roads with very few corners. By the time we reached the top, rain got insanely intense. Not just our bikes were flowing in the corners, but also the water. Dangerously slippery and roads got a bit worse, full of potholes.

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After reaching the town, we had to descend a bit for the dam. Now there are 4 views primarily you can enjoy here of the dam. From the road on top,

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This view might be magnificent when all the gates are open. There was a small shed where few locals were selling corn (Bhutta) and jamun in midst of the rain and wind. We got ourselves some corn, it was not so soft as they harvested before it could have matured.

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From the bottom of the dam: To get there, bikes must be parked and have to walk a bit through the path, which is a good picnic spot,

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From bottom of the dam and trek a bit near to the gates:

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The trek routes and the view of the downstream. This was one of the best views there and not many people go there.

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On top of the Dam: This is the best of all, we had to take bikes to the top through the regular road which leads there. Park them, and walk into the reservoir itself, the wind speed here is crazy but awesome, we could see mountains engulfing the catchment area and partially filled water with misty weather. Perfect!

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We spent a while there despite it was becoming dark, spoke to few locals and had warm tea.

Then started the return, what we saw was unbelievable. The places which had no water when we were climbing up were full of waterfalls and powerful streams. and it became more and more beautiful by the time passed. Also, people were clocking in for the Sunday. It was better that we spent some quality time there before the crowd could spoil the moment.

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The places which were of no water before. It was already late, so we rushed home back with no stops. Amidst of all this beautiful moments I forgot all about the wet clothes/gloves previously I was cribbing about.

It was a fun ride!
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Old 24th October 2021, 14:22   #4
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Season 1, Weekend 3: VIKRAMGAD-PALGARH

A crisp plan on a wet day, I was sitting and detoxing my body with green tea and was searching for next route/destination. I had 2 days this time, so was planning a little relaxed ride and not just green, but also add some brown/red & blue into the menu. Was thinking of regular wildlife sanctuaries plus beaches. Found a perfect route,

Nashik - Vikramgad (forts - I will explain later) - Palghar (initially Vasai) - Tungareshwar.

Trip distance - 450 kms.
Budget - 2k
People - My wife and 3 friends
Bikes - 3

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We started on Saturday around noon, and headed to our first destination Kashyapi dam through Girnar village. The roads are often secluded but crowded at certain areas. we had to ask directions for the dam because of so many "Phatas" (crossroads, diversions).

The dam was half filled but like the Bhandardhara dam, the reservoir is almost naturally formed between the hills. Had a small walk around lazy whilst the locals were busy with their daily chores of washing clothes, bathing, washing cattle. But I must say, they were doing this in same water, most of us have forgotten such things that we were doing in childhood and now being too protective and being over hygienic. But given that the pollution/epidemics it's ok to be over hygienic though.

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Then we started riding towards Vikramgad in hopes of seeing fort through Jawhar. The roads were narrow and mostly deprived of traffic. But they were not the same, the roads and views changed every few kilometers.

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Farmers ready to re-plant the rice into the flooded farms. Rain was intermittent and was changing with the distance, was heavy for few meters and just drizzling ahead in some places. Waterfalls were working their magic all through the route, attracting some vendors to sell warm stuff nearby.

Helmet was not for sale, only the corn was.

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Desperately trying to keep my head gear dry. Munched the corn sitting on top of a rock looking at the falls and drizzle on face. Ahh!
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Then we had to break for lunch immediately as it was already 2: 30 pm. So, we enquired about good places to eat on the route, crossed Jawhar town and there was a good dhaba outside the town. It's a good place, decent food. Rain was lashing heavy meanwhile. What we missed is that there were 2 forts nearby and one of which was just behind the dhabha. We continued to Vikramgad and we were told on almost reaching the place that there is only a dam here and we missed the forts on route. The whole route till we came near to the highway was brilliant. Not many pics were taken because of heavy rain.

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We reached Palghar by the late evening and was a small but very buzzing town. We initially thought of going to beach for sunset (with all these clouds!!), but we had to search for accommodation first. We needed 2 rooms but, the decent hotels had only one room. Luckily during our negotiations some fellow vacated. Then there was the drama that couple are not allowed. I was like Dude! what about married couple? He was with like "I won't believe" face. So, I show him soft copy of the marriage certificate, and he still asks for both of our IDs. Darn the super superstitious people.

We then stayed at the hotel, but my friends went on to the beach which was 6 kms from the town on a short night ride/view. Morning, we checked out and started to the beach "Khelwa” and had some Vada Pav and chai on the coast. The beach is with grey sand and coconut trees lining the shore, not an awesome view with clouds but admirable. There were some Tonga rides, lazy dogs (literally) and few youngsters playing football.

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But the roads leading to this place was awesome. Imagine being in Kerala/Goan roads.

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We heard about Bhawangad fort nearby and we wanted to make up for missing the forts in Jawhar. But it was quite a mystery to find this fort. Not many knew of its exact location nor this was visible easily. Everyone said follow the boards, there weren't many. We had to cross a creek, ride deep into the highly vegetated place to find this fort.

We finally found the fort after taking "n" number of wrong turns. There wasn't much left of the fort, it was invaded by the banyan trees, but the structure was also being supported by its roots. It was more like a look out post.

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We didn't take long there, tried to reach Tungareshwar as quick as possible. We had to come back to the highway and follow the route to Bhiwandi. The highway was even more beautiful, with fresh grass, moss. we stopped there for lunch in a hotel made by bamboo. Decent food, but amazing bamboo art and bird collection.

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We had a walk around the area and left for Tungareshwar, it was bloody crowded in there, it took us 40 minutes to cross 1.5 km on bike. And we would have seen around couple of thousand people in that time. Narrow path waterlogged and slush, cars and bikes parked in the path and few stream crossings were horrible. Not because of streams, but cos of people. Stupid riding and driving, no words to describe. I thought it will be peaceful and secluded place but am sure even animals would have been migrated from that path and into deep forest area in the sanctuary.

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We decided not to waste the time and left that place losing another 1 hour in return. We then started our return leg. It was slow because of the beauty of misty Kasara ghat and Igatpuri.

Last edited by saikarthik : 24th October 2021 at 14:37.
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Old 24th October 2021, 14:36   #5
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Season 1, Weekend 4: ANJENERI TREK (Photo log)

I would like to restrict my words about this trip/trek in particular and let the pictures talk 10-15% of what I have experienced. This Place is near Trimbak, 25 kms from where I live.

Trek time - Approx. 3.5 to 4 hours (If you are fast and experienced)
Trek Experience – Magical in monsoons!

We started our trek after a small commute from home around 2: 00 Pm. Initially it was some off roading and then we parked the vehicle and started on foot.

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Rain in the well
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That's the peak we wanted to climb but we climbed a little more in adjacent peak too.
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It was raining, foggy and all those waterfalls!
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Looked at them and reminded of kung fu panda 2, "my old enemy, STAIRS." But our companions in trek were more evolved than us.
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Had tea and few roasted peas
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Walking on the top of the peak to the temple.
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This pond was on top of the peak, was an absolute tranquil! Another kung-fu panda moment - "Panda, we do not wash our armpits in the pool of sacred tears".
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Old 24th October 2021, 14:41   #6
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Season 1, Weekend 5: HARIHARGAD

Darn. It's been 4 weeks since I went on a trip and losing the season. Was unwell, caught up by work and most importantly my bike's rear tire was leaking air. After checking I found n^n^n (If you could recollect high school math) cracks in it. It’s in warranty period and the MRF 150/70 R17 was doing just fine, and now it gave up on me and waiting eagerly for salary to change. Now you might be thinking " Wait, this guy said it's in warranty and why in the hell he needs salary to change tire". Yup correct, I threw off the Bill. How careless!!! Nope Don't curse me. It got wet last month while touring and I thought no use of it and threw it in garbage just few weeks before.

Height of things happening with reason and coincidence. So I had to do a trek nearby, and it was a beautiful experience for following reasons,

1. Took my wife on her 1st trek,
2. We didn't go to top, cos we took wrong trek route, but we found a new and more difficult route and reached the peak's shoulder,
3. Drizzle and sunshine alternative companions,
4. No people around. Only 30 people for at least 5 kms radius.

Now since this was 1st trek for my wife. I took all the necessary stuff for worst case scenario. Guided her how to, what to and what not to. Started climb slow and with little breaks for her but was also pushing her limits slowly. We had to cross streams, dodge branches and insects in thick cover and controlled slides on slippery rocks. She fell in one stream, hurt the leg, but managed pretty good climb time. The place was literally like the place from Hobbit movie, so untouched by modern world and well preserved. We encountered small land slides on the route, but nothing big.

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How lucky are these people to live in a place like this!
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Shire in India
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luckily didn't happen when we were there,
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One of a trek path
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Last edited by saikarthik : 24th October 2021 at 14:49.
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Old 24th October 2021, 15:08   #7
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SEASON 2, WEEKEND 1: SURYAMAL

A lot of touring season has been wasted, no rides due to project work at peak, weekend travel to home in Chennai and official travel. All this travel is on flights and cabs and I was not enjoying the rain on bike with green carpet roads. But It was unavoidable, I became a father at that time to a baby girl and needed to visit home too. All this has led to my GO MAD point and I need to ease off this pressure.

So as any biker would do, went on a short weekend ride approx. 200 kms; a small village called "Suryamal" - Garland of sun if I understand correctly. It's not a travel destination or a local attraction and I just picked the place by " Inky pinkie ponky" on the map. Well, that was not disappointing at all. Later, I was scheduled to join 2 of my friends back in Nashik for a shorter ride to Kashyapi dam. So, I was just riding without breakfast only stopping for pics and to enjoy the moment.

I started in Nashik at home, packing only essentials --> water, some biscuits, and documents in the bag. Full rain gear for me. My beloved LS2 helmet, Cramster 4S jacket, gloves as usual & new Scoyco knee guards. I love my Cramsters no matter they suck in rain and always end up drenching me.

Rode past Trimbak road, roadsides filled with water and it was raining continuously past 2 weeks (At least it would rain 16 hrs a day considering mist too). Mountains draining the water from their top through multiple waterfalls, cattle grazing on meadow like small bumps in the landscape. A beautiful sight.

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My CBR sprays a lot of water from front tyre and my shoes, socks were already wet - meh! anticipated stuff. Meanwhile, I notice a beautiful view of mountain with waterfall half covered in mist rest was green and sunshine on it. So, I took a detour from the main highway towards the mountain and the road was parched kind of and covered in mud, easy peasy. But It was a slippery son of a "Gulp" (swallowed the word - Decency on net), I almost fell few times.

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Photograph was not able to show you guys what I saw. Then on to the target, wasted no time and returned to highway, took a left and no people became scarce, no traffic, entered a bypass with villages here and there. Now I started enjoying my Solo ride. Took few pictures, but as I was complaining about my cramsters, I was drenched, and my phone lens was heavily fogged. I didn't notice in the rain and clicked few shots which came out hazy.

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Water dripping from everywhere, resumed the ride on to beautiful corners and reached a point where in my last post I mentioned about a special place for non-veg lovers. This place is now flocking with phony tourists and selfie-mongers. People have even started temporary installations for corn, bread omelets and chai. I saw even a food truck selling chicken pakora (pakoda for my south Indian friends), but darn I was on a no non-veg day yesterday. With my mouth dripping with saliva in addition to water dripping out of my gear, I continued ahead with heavy tongue.

Now the road even got better, single narrow lane with good curvy lines following alongside, but I was careful not to get carried away, fall and end up testing my new Scoyco knee guards.

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Reached a place where I didn't know the route and maps don't work. So, had to do the old ways of GPS - enquire the local villagers. One guy misunderstood my Hindi and hopped onto my bike thinking that I was offering a ride free to his village. I took him for a few kms and dropped him before ghat section and went on my path. Stopped at a village named Suryaghat for break, you everybody needs to go and especially in rainy season, feels like a mountain loads of pressure builds up and needs to be relieved. The whole place smelled like horseshit, literally there were some mules.

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Now, on the top of a hill I was riding with both sides covered in green sloped farming. And it was misty, and visibility dropped to less than 5 meters at few places (only for a short duration). It was heavenly!

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I had GoPro on my helmet but was running low on battery. So, I recorded a few important videos at good places. But when I was checking them out, I was getting error saying file format not supported. I googled at home and it said something about multi-chapter video & individual chapter is deleted bla blah blerch. Back to story from all the cribbing for my stupidity, I was on return leg. Normally I don't trace the route back, I plan a circuit so that I will be passing only through unexplored route (unexplored for me). But due to time constraint that I need to meet my friends, I traced the route back fast.
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Old 24th October 2021, 15:12   #8
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Story continues as same day as above:

I met my friends after a quick bite at old and famous hotel - Shamsundar, had shevbhaji with chapati. They were in a car and I was riding alongside. The route to Kashyapi dam is short 30kms and through beautiful Girnare village (famous for tea). Reached the dam and put my bike closer to water to click some pics and the wind was howling loud. Decided to dry my socks and my gear a bit. We stayed there for just half hour and headed back.

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Reached home, bathed in hot water and made green tea. Sat down for the evening listening to the rain, smelling mud, made cheese oregano maggi for dinner. Man, what a day!
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Old 24th October 2021, 15:26   #9
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SEASON 2, WEEKEND 2: KALSUBAI

Badly wanted to ride to Malshej, so I geared up and skipped breakfast again to save time for the ride. I started around 11: 00 am after a long phone call from a friend, I was in a dilemma that will I be able to ride to & return before nightfall knowing that it's just 3 and half hour ride per side. I did not stop anywhere after refueling and withdrawing some cash. I rode fast wherever I could to save some time, but something kept me pulling back from this ride. The road towards Bandardhara was under some repairs and I needed to take a detour which cost me time dearly. It was cutting through villages and those narrow roads were poorly maintained, traffic was building up too.

After a while roads were slushy and were full of potholes, had to crawl at an average of 10 kmph. In this all BS, I got lost a bit and had to rely on local guidance since network wasn't available, had to roam in countryside through roads where almost no one goes. But a good thing in all this was there was no vehicles other than me after I got lost. I had a lonely, insecure feel but felt good being disconnected from regular rush.

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These are the better parts of the roads to stop & take a pic. Other places were like ankle deep of slush covered & no one could see what lies beneath, a pothole or a pot well. And out of nowhere there was a half hour traffic jam (the first time anyone in these villages would have experienced - no disrespect). I happened to see a Land rover Discovery Sport (It was in front of that S-Cross). I was so happy to see it to be used for at least a little off-roading than regular highway mile muncher.

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I had recorded all the action in GoPro, but it sucked big time --> again faced the "File not supported" error. I had a lot of amazing vids recorded on GoPro and all bit dust; I wasn't worried about those but just one. Felt little bad. No matter, I had that on my mind, the moment. I now know the problem with my GoPro -- > Needs a UHS-1 microSD card, class 10.

It was raining now & then, leaving a good gap for me to dry up and get drenched again. I jumped up the traffic and took a wrong turn as I mentioned above but turned out to be a good one even though it was additional 30 kms to Kalsubai. I was able to ride through villages like these, as I was passing by school kids and elder people were seeing me like I was kind of an outer space alien with all my gear & GoPro on helmet. They were getting scared like in old days people run away from doctors who were forcefully administering vaccines in villages.

Darn I do look like an astronaut/alien with my small head in big helmet.

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As you can see the roads are wet, it was drizzling throughout, and I reached a small town on the way and stopped for lunch. Hotel Sahyadri --> A small shop with 2 tables and the owner's wife was the cook. I had a homemade meal, spicy & hot chicken with Chapati in rain watching waterfalls. hmmm! Had kadak chai and geared up.

Reached Kalsubai and fell in love immediately. Reason was "The last Samurai" is one of my all-time favorite movies. I remember every scene and dialogue. For one moment I felt like I was in a set of the movie --> Calm, green fields, raining (snowing in movie), people minding their daily chores, kids playing on empty rough roads, chickens clucking. This guy is living such a beautiful life,

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Then had to ride in this road (pic below) to go beneath the hill, had to cross streams, had a stare down with an OX coming in the opposite, stepped in poo. Darn the GoPro vid, had that all on it and wasted.

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Then started return ride through Bandardara (I covered this in season 1 last year), on the way got to see someone having a romantic time with his GF and got jealous a bit, but glad that they had this beautiful moment. Could see a couple on the top of a hill, don't stare and give 'em some privacy.

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Last edited by saikarthik : 24th October 2021 at 15:27.
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Old 24th October 2021, 15:35   #10
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SEASON 2, WEEKEND 3: DHAMMAGIRI

Got two days off this weekend, planned out a short ride nearby. It was supposed to be a brunch ride but turned out to be a late lunch ride. Place is called Dhamagiri, never heard of it before, I planned for Igatpuri ride and thought I will go to some place from there, that’s how I got to Dhamagiri on a friend's recommendation. The road till Igatpuri is just a highway (NH3), so it’s just high-speed burst ride. In between, took few detours to remove the bored feeling of riding in a highway. So ended up traveling through these roads,

Running parallel to the tracks.
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Went through these roads and re-joined the highway and stopped for the late lunch, Hmmm. I was craving for stuffed Paranthas since I moved from the north to west. So, went to an old dhaba famous for their masala parantha and had taste of fried aloo, gobi & pyaz parantha, which gave me a recollection of warm memory of having paranthas in old Delhi (parantha wala galli).

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I resumed the ride and took a detour which will lead me to a lake. The road was like a hill station road with narrow streets, cottage like buildings and the whole damn place was so humid, damp that every wall, roof was covered with grass or green sprouts of some plant.

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Had to cross slippery places and places where it was just grass and by merely few vehicles going in the same path there was a patch which looks like a road.

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Blasted (no speed violation) the highway for return in the urge to watch Q2 of MotoGP, but couldn't make it on time. So chilled out the evening and was thinking like,

Me: I should rest tomorrow!
Inner me: Ride to somewhere.
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Old 24th October 2021, 15:58   #11
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SEASON 2 - WEEKEND 5: DIWALI SPECIAL RIDE TO LONAVALA & LAVASA

It’s been a while since I rode, was travelling officially and was too busy in project completion phase. Luckily, I was in my hometown for Dussehra, so I got a little me time in Diwali. Was planning to ride to GOA or a bit longer rides since I had 4 days off + may be 2 more I could have taken. But I had promised my gear to a colleague who was riding to Ladakh, so with decision to make whether to be selfish or to make sure of his safety in harsher terrain/environment. I dropped my plan for long rides and planned a shorter one - Lavasa and Lonavala. A decent overall trip of 600 kms as I had only my helmet and elbow guards.

As lazy I am, started out to Pune in mid of the day and had to ride hard on boring highway for 200 kms. Also, it was festive weekend and nobody was on road. Roads were mostly empty as below, only me, few nomads, sheep were on the road. But the road was full of blossoms and clean for most part, so was doing decent speed and covered some distance, but had to suffer crawling traffic on narrower roads near few villages on the highway.


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Had brunch and rode hard to Pune to a friend's place for nice evening meet after 2 years with him. Next day decided to go to Lavasa owing to all the hypes on the net and was riding with pillion, & less gear, so was not pushing even if few turns were really taunting me to push. Had awesome breakfast in a local handcart which was tremendously satisfying and cheaper, ride was good once we entered the ghat sections, breeze was cool, and road was good. Saw a dam and a beautiful reservoir behind it, continued further to Lavasa. Paid 200 bucks for parking and the place was seriously over hyped. I mean it’s good, planned, activities to do but it’s not for the bikers I would say.

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All we did was walk the streets and had overpriced continental food and return. So, for the dinner we had again a cheaper yet tasty, good food on the roadside. I was happy to see all the handcarts/mobile food services were offering good food for so cheap and people (not only poor, but middle class and families) were having it for what it is even though the place was smelly and not so clean. This is not available in Nashik, if it is then I would save a lot of frustration and money on dinner.

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Next day, my plan was to ride to Lonavala and get back to Nashik, but we started late and with just masala dosa in our bellies, rode to Lonavala nonstop. And again, the festive weekend this time hitting hard but with too much traffic in Lonavala city. I was utterly disappointed due to the crowd. There was no peace or anything to enjoy nice view or ride. So we left the city and rode up towards Amby valley, the ride was darn good, the breeze was cool, dense forest on one side, plains and valleys on the other.

That was my best shot with my phone in this trip!
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Oil was leaking from the forks - Reason unknown. Scoured the plains and took the bike little off-road, the road was full of either tall grass or yellow, purple flowers. I guess in right time, it would have looked like a mini valley of flowers.

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Rode back from Lonavala and had late lunch at Toni da dhaba, --> food was good but not the attitude of the waiters, they faked price and suggested portions we couldn't finish.

Saw an Industrial fire just out of the Pimpri area.
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Then I had my solo run back to Nashik and it was getting dark, I crossed all the bad village roads when light was there, but was finding it difficult to ride the highway after dark due to all those high beams and my scratch full visor. Was riding fast wherever I safely could to minimize road time and got back by 9 :30 pm with a burn in my bum!

My neighbor's deco
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Old 25th October 2021, 05:09   #12
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Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 25th October 2021, 20:15   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saikarthik View Post
We started at 8: 00 Am from Nashik, was riding slow inside the city.
Great travelogue and super pics. Seems you had fun. Quick Q - what was the date? How were the roads? I want to do this route next week but hesitant about post monsoon potholes.
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Old 25th October 2021, 22:40   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kotirajendra View Post
Great travelogue and super pics. Seems you had fun. Quick Q - what was the date? How were the roads? I want to do this route next week but hesitant about post monsoon potholes.
Thanks. It was before pandemic. So can't guess about the road conditions. But trust me and take the trip, you will improvise and expand your skills..

The luxury of short and lesser planned solo trip is that you can modify the plan dynamically and take time in soaking the feeling of awesome places.

Last edited by saikarthik : 25th October 2021 at 22:43.
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Old 25th October 2021, 23:44   #15
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Wow so many wonderful trips and that too in lush green surroundings, so refreshing to read so i can only imagine how good you would have felt while exploring them. Nice write up, keep riding and writing. Enjoyed the entire post of yours.
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