Team-BHP > Travelogues


Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 1st October 2022, 17:48   #1
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

The Plan



Monsoon is my favorite time to drive around in Maharashtra, especially the coastal areas and the western ghats. I love the lush green landscapes, the incessant drizzles with an occasional sunshine, and of course the hot vada-pavs and chais!

Every monsoon, we typically drive to the coastal parts of Maharashtra (our latest drive there, done a couple of months ago, is documented here). However, it had been a long time since I drove around in the areas near Pune. I have a office in Pune and majority of my team is still based in Pune. Therefore, I visit Pune quite frequently. Sometimes I drive from Bangalore, and sometimes I take a flight. But most of those trips end up being hectic business trips with hardly any time to drive around.

I thought of changing that pattern in my latest Pune visit. I had to visit my Pune office in the second half of September (just a couple of weeks ago), and that meant the weather and the greenery in the hills surrounding Pune would be at their best! Given the optimal weather for driving, I decided not to take a flight, and instead decided to drive. Further, I planned to work from Pune office for more than a week, spreading across two weekends in the span of that time. This plan gave me enough time to make short driving trips in the nearby areas, with a nice mix of hectic work days followed by short driving trips. I also had some family meets planned in-between this, and thus, these two weeks became a complex concoction of work, driving around, and family time!

Although the weather and the landscapes were at their best for driving around, unfortunately, the road conditions were at their worst! This year's heavy monsoon has taken a serious toll on the road conditions. I knew that once I exit the National Highways and start exploring the interior areas and the rural roads around Mulshi, Lonavala, Pawna etc (the typical areas I planned to drive around), roads would be quite bad. As it turned out, my guess was right. I faced some of the most horrible road conditions in some sections of my drives near Pawna Lake.

Not just that the roads were bad, but it was raining heavily in Pune when I drove there. I expected a lot of water logging on the streets that I had to drive through in Pune (and even this guess turned out to be true, just the day after I arrived in Pune).


The Car



Given the anticipated bad roads and water loggings, I did not want to risk my beloved BMW 320d there. Fortunately, my "old faithful", my beater car, my 2010 Maruti SX4 ZXi is still running fine and that looked like the right choice of machine for this drive. Just that it needed new tyres. I decided to buy a set of new tyres for SX4 before deciding on the long drive. A quick visit to Madhu's (our usual and most trusted tyre shop in Bangalore), and I got a set of four brand new Michelin Primacy 4 ST (the old tyres were Primacy 3 ST) installed on the SX4. With the new tyres, the car felt much better to drive than on the earlier tyres which had become quite hard. Happy with the tyre change, and happy with the overall condition of the car, I decided to take this car for this two-week driving trip.

The simple mechanicals (with a sweet-shifting old-school 5-speed manual gearbox) of this car are in stark contrast to the complex electronics and the state-of-the-art ZF8 in the BMW. I enjoy both cars for their own strengths. SX4 offers a simple, old-school joy of manual driving, with zero worries about road conditions and the water loggings. Sure, the steering and the handling are quite poor, the ride is OK, and the overall dynamics are average at best. BMW 3-series is light-years ahead of SX4 in ride and handling, and in driving dynamics. Further, being used to the power and torque in the BMW, the SX4 feels terribly slow too. The 1.6 NA petrol engine has no torque to speak of. But in challenging times and conditions such as those I faced in these drives, the SX4 makes up for all its dynamic shortcomings by offering a supremely reliable, robust, worry-free driving experience. The high ground clearance of SX4 was also a critical factor in its favor when driving on the kind of roads I had to face in this drive. That coupled with the simple manual gearbox that I really like, I still enjoy driving my SX4 on such long road trips occasionally.

My SX4 (pictured here at one of the locations from this drive, under heavy rain) proved to be the right choice in the end:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_14522501.jpg

It was raining when I reached Pune. It continued raining overnight, and the next day as well. When I started my office commute from my home, I had to face what felt like rivers flowing on the road. There was plenty of water everywhere. The entry and exit lanes of Pune bypass highway that I take to reach my office in Baner had a serious amount of water accumulated and yet more water was flowing in. I had no choice but to drive through that water. Thankfully, the SX4 managed that without even a hint of any trouble. After 12 years and 130,000+ km of driving, the car is still reliable and is quite useful in such challenging conditions. I thanked my stars that I chose my SX4 for this drive and not my BMW. There was no way the BMW would have managed that morning's commute from my home to office all through those lakes and rivers formed on the roads.

The Camera



There was none. Since this was primarily a long-drawn work trip, with some family functions thrown in, and a lot of luggage to carry (by the way, on the topic of luggage, the huge boot space of SX4 was also a strong point in comparison with the tiny boot space left after the space saver in the BMW), I decided not to carry my DSLR and the lenses. After all, the drives were secondary and an afterthought. Anyways, as they say, the best camera is the one you have. All I had was my mobile phone, and all photos in this travelogue are taken using my mobile phone camera.


The Drives



Anyways, with that introduction to the plan and the car, let me get to the actual drives. The actual drives happened over next few days, whenever I could take time away from my work schedules. I will cover these drives in the following posts below.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 2nd October 2022 at 16:47.
Dr.AD is online now   (32) Thanks
Old 1st October 2022, 18:54   #2
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

A Day Drive around Mulshi and Tamhini Ghat



My first outing from Pune, after finishing the first round of office work, was a day drive around Mulshi and Tamhini ghat areas. My parents also joined me for me this drive. It was a great experience to explore the roads and the landscapes, and enjoy the drive together as a family.

We did not take the usual main road (Mulshi Road) to Tamhini ghat. Instead, we drove via a narrow rural road around Khadakwasla dam, and enjoyed some scenic landscapes before joining the main Mulshi road.

A view of the Khadakwasla Dam in its full glory, as we drove past this view point:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_104437.jpg


A closer shot of the flowing water, which felt quite mesmerizing and very soothing as we just stood there watching this scene for some time:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_104447.jpg


The simple but scenic rural roads:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_111850.jpg


The lush green fields and the typical refreshing green shade, which are characteristic to this region of Maharashtra in the monsoon months:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_112407.jpg


Hills and waterfalls on the hills - another characteristic monsoon scene:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_112855.jpg


A locked gate to what looked like a mystery (but heavenly) location:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_113636.jpg


The rain-drenched logs, under that green backdrop, formed an interesting frame:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_113756.jpg


The roads were quite good so far, and the intermittent drizzle was enjoyable:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_113856.jpg


Another view of the enjoyable roads:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_114225.jpg


Plenty of mud tracks nearby, something that my Thar friends would have enjoyed:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_114330.jpg


Tiny waterfalls in the lush green farms:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_114345.jpg


By now, the good roads were over, and we were on long stretches of bad roads, like these (the roads became even worse in some patches later):
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_115112.jpg


Could not resist taking photos of such lovely green fields all around:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_115742.jpg


Another small waterfall somewhere on the side of the road:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_121215.jpg

After wandering around this rural road for a while (and by now this road had become quite bad in terms of road surface and was full of potholes), we joined the main Mulshi road, and started driving towards Tamhini Ghat.

A view of the Lavasa City, from a viewpoint on Mulshi Road:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_122210.jpg


Two old and slow vehicles :
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_122431.jpg


Once on Mulshi Road, we had these views of Mulshi Dam backwaters on the side of the road (this road goes along the edge of the backwaters and you get some great views of the water all along the road):
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_131156.jpg

After driving ahead a bit, we reached a beautiful restaurant named "Quick Bite" (Location: https://goo.gl/maps/UpFi2WNpsov21XyJA). We had a nice relaxed lunch there, enjoying the water views. This restaurant is really pretty in the setting and the views it offers. The food was nothing special, but the views and the ambiance more than made up for that. We had a great time sitting there and enjoying a relaxed lunch.

Views from the restaurant:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_140950.jpg


We enjoyed our lunch while admiring this view:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_134750.jpg


Rainwater flowing from the roof:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_140915.jpg


Once near the main Tamhini Ghat area, the tarmac was smooth, and the roads were just beautiful, like this:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_143923.jpg


A few tourists enjoying their walk on the rain-drenched highway:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_144358.jpg


After driving a bit ahead of Tamhini Ghat, we found this lovely spot where the SX4 could reach after driving down a small off-road track in the rain and mud:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_14522501.jpg


The water levels were quite high, as these submerged trees would tell you:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_145245.jpg


By now it was raining hard again, and the SX4 enjoyed the rain and the location:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_14535401.jpg


These small flowers, called "Terda" in Marathi, are characteristic flowers in this region during this season. They bloom everywhere on the grass in this season. The famous Kaas Plateau, which I visited a few days later, also has these Terda flowers in plenty:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_150750.jpg


A parting shot of the Mulshi Dam backwaters as we started our return drive:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_151557.jpg


A view from the windshield, in our return drive:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220917_152010.jpg


This was a short and simple day drive. Nothing special or extraordinary. But nevertheless, a very satisfying drive with some great views and the characteristic lush green monsoon shade everywhere. I was lucky to visit this area at exactly the right time of the year, and I totally enjoyed this drive.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 2nd October 2022 at 16:58.
Dr.AD is online now   (33) Thanks
Old 1st October 2022, 22:11   #3
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Vacationing on Pawna Lake



After finishing another round of some critical office work, we took a couple of days off. We had planned a family meet at a bungalow on Pawna Lake, near Lonavala. We spent two days at a very picturesque location, enjoying some awesome weather and the views, good food, and of course the company of close family members.

To reach Pawna, we started driving on Pune-Mumbai expressway towards Lonavala. Driving on the expressway was fun, as always. Again, September is probably the greenest time of the year for the hills and the landscapes around the expressway. It was nice to drive on the six-lane highway with lush green landscapes in the background. We made fast progress and reached our exit near Lonavala quite quickly.

However, after we exited the expressway and started driving towards Pawna, the road conditioned worsened dramatically. At some sections on that road, the road surface was so bad (the tarmac was completed destroyed by the recent rains - all that was remaining there was massive potholes and ruts, and crests and troughs of lose soil and stones) that even SX4, with 180mm of ground clearance, struggled on that road.

A windshield shot of a narrow hill pass (called "Khind" in Marathi) that we drove through:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_120518.jpg

After driving through above "khind", the roads worsened even further. At one point the SX4 got stuck in a huge ditch in the middle of the road. The surface was made of all lose stones and soil, and there was zero grip at the rear wheels to climb up that ditch. The lack of any meaningful torque from that 1.6 NA engine was most obviously felt at that time. There was neither grip nor torque to pull the car out. The car was heavily loaded (four people in the car and the trunk full of luggage), and that made the lack of torque even more problematic. Eventually, I had to ask my family to get down from the car (to reduce the load that the engine had to pull out, and to ensure enough ground clearance by reducing the sagging at the rear end), and then reverse out of that ditch, and then after gaining some traction, climb forward in first gear. This trick worked and finally we managed to get out of that crazy stretch of road. Once again I thanked my stars that I took my SX4 there and not my BMW. The BMW would have suffered badly on that stretch of road, especially when loaded so heavily.

After getting out of that crazy stretch of road, I took a quick break at this spot, just to get out of the car and asses the further road conditions.

This road looked like a highway compared to the road we took to reach this spot :
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_121053.jpg

Thankfully, after this, the road improved, but just by a little bit. But at least the roads after this were driveable, although not great by any stretch of imagination. After crawling on these bad roads for a while, finally, we could see Pawna Lake.

A nice view of the lake from the road, as we approached our destination at Pawna Lake:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_174321.jpg

Finally, we reached the bungalow that we had booked. The place was beautiful, and the bungalow and the location made us forget all the pains of reaching there.

Living room, with a wide open French door and great views outside:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_122810.jpg


Views from the dining area (it was a great experience to have family lunches and dinners here overlooking the lake):
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_123016.jpg


View from the terrace on the upper floor:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_123837.jpg


The mountain view from our room windows:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_123048.jpg


Another view of Pawna Lake from the terrace:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_134527.jpg


The waterfront area of the property, in front of the bungalow, and leading to the lake:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_124502.jpg


At the end of the property, right on the edge of the water, was this lovely gazebo, where we spent nice time enjoying the weather and sipping hot tea:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_101946.jpg

During different hours of the day, the weather varied and clouds moved in and out of the hills. We enjoyed watching the play of clouds on the lake and the hills.

Clouds arriving on the hill in the front of the living room:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_153042.jpg


The property also has in-house kayaking facility:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_165931.jpg

As I mentioned, one of my favorite activities in a Maharashtra drive is to enjoy hot vada pavs and tea. With such rainy weather (and it was quite cold and windy too), hot vada pav and tea was heavenly. All throughout our stay there, we enjoyed some really awesome food (mostly Maharashtrian food).

Hot vada pav and poha, with a view equally good:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220922_090908.jpg


A tea with a view!:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_1652162.jpg


The icing on the cake, so to speak, was these delicious and hot gulab jamuns that we devoured:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220920_14123901.jpg


There is a boating facility nearby, and we enjoyed a ride in a full boat hired just for our family:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_103849.jpg


A colorful tree there formed a frame that I could not resist capturing:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_112000.jpg

We enjoyed walking around the Pawna Lake road, and those walks provided some great views. Not just the water views, but even the grass and the flowers were quite interesting. This region sees a bloom of some colorful and small flowers that grow in the grass, only at this time of the year. September to October is the best time to see these flowers blooming on the grasslands and hills in this region. Kaas Plateau (near Satara) is well known for these flowers, and that was our next destination anyways. However, even here in Pawna, these flowers had bloomed everywhere and offered very pretty sights.

These small yellow flowers were everywhere:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_114516.jpg


This combination of the colorful flowers and green cactus was both beautiful and unique:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_114721.jpg


This is the pink "terda" that grows here in this time of the year:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_115159.jpg


Another field full of flowers looked amazing:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_115639.jpg


Yellow and pink flowers - the view that is on offer only at this small window of time:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_115653.jpg


Another gate to what looked like another mystery (but heavenly) place:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_115756.jpg


Walking around the road there, we got plenty of such views of Pawna Lake:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220921_173207.jpg

After having an absolutely great time there for two days, we returned to Pune. For returning, we took a different road via Kamshet, and that was somewhat better than our ongoing road, but still had plenty of potholes and broken sections.

A view of Pawna Dam, as seen from a viewpoint in our return path via Kamshet:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220922_103233.jpg


A parting shot of the landscape and a narrow winding road that we drove on to reach back to the expressway:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220922_103148.jpg

What a memorable vacation we had! We were there at probably the best time of the year, and absolutely enjoyed the weather, the location, the scenery and the food.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 2nd October 2022 at 17:13.
Dr.AD is online now   (30) Thanks
Old 2nd October 2022, 11:14   #4
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Scenic Drive from Satara to Kaas



Our next plan was to visit the famous Kaas Plateau or the "Plateau of Flowers" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kas_Pl...eserved_Forest), which is about 25km from Satara. This is just a short detour from Pune-Bangalore highway, and therefore, we decided to visit this during our drive back to Bangalore.

The best time to visit Kaas is September-October, which is when the flowers bloom. Since we were driving back at the exact time when the bloom is supposed to be at its peak, we made it a point to visit Kaas this time. Of course, the blooming time and amount of bloom varies from year to year, depending on weather conditions. Unfortunately, with the heavy rains this year, the blooming is delayed or reduced a lot (same thing happened last year too - the flowers need a good two weeks of sunshine after rains to bloom). However, we still got some good flowers and some great views to see there.

While Kaas Plateau was the main attraction, thanks to the weather and the rain and the lush green carpet of grass, just the drive from Satara to Kaas turned out to be a quite scenic in its own right! The grass in this area is quite dry and brown for the rest of the year, and I never imagined this area would look so different in the monsoon. But if you drive there at the right time of the year (August-September would be ideal to see the green carpeting of the grass), you will see a totally different landscape, with some amazing views on offer. This is exactly the "surprise package" that we got, and we loved it.

There were two things about this road that I absolutely loved, and that is why this road deserves a separate post in this travelogue (Kass Plateau by itself will be covered in the next post): 1. The road by itself is beautiful. By that I mean the road surface is butter-smooth, and the road has nice curves and corners to enjoy driving a car here (and this is precisely where I missed my BMW. The SX4 was a wrong vehicle on this smooth tarmac with nice corners). 2. The roads offered breathtaking views on both sides of the roads. This roads goes along a top of hill, with valleys on both sides, and large water bodies down those valleys on both sides offering fantastic views. One can stop every 100m and see some amazing views.

We took our own sweet time in driving this short 25km distance. We stopped at many places and enjoyed the views on both sides. Further, when we started out in the early morning, the road was engulfed in fog, and that offered a very surreal kind of morning drive. Later in the afternoon, it was a bright and somewhat sunny day, with beautiful blue skies, and that gave the landscapes a different kind of beauty.

The smooth tarmac and nice corners on Satara-Kaas road:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_082436.jpg


In the morning drive towards Kaas, the road was engulfed in fog and looked mystical:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_083644.jpg



Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_084025.jpg

This road runs on the top of hills in the middle of multiple large dams. This means there are views of large water bodies on both sides of the road. On the north side of the road is Kanher Dam, and on south side is Urmode Dam. Both dams are large and picturesque.

The views of Kanher Dam on north side:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_082152.jpg


Landscapes on north side of the road:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_082426.jpg

As we drove on this road, we continued to see breathtaking views of the water from different angles.

More views of Kanher Dam:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_114041.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_114051.jpg


SX4 on the backdrop of Kanher Dam:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_114208.jpg


In-between these lovely views, I was also impressed by the road itself, and could not resist capturing a few scenic corners:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_114605.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_114127.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_1213240.jpg


On south side of the road, Urmode Dam:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_110436.jpg

Somewhere on south side, I saw a narrow road going away from the main highway and venturing into the hillside. This is where the SX4 comes good. Although I missed my BMW on the highway, once I saw such narrow hillside roads, I happily took my SX4 on those roads and explored some scenic views away from the main highway.

SX4 taking us on some scenic byroads:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_115841.jpg


And then it finds itself a parking place hidden behind grass:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_115943.jpg


With a small walking trail opening up to a beautiful view:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_115657.jpg


The stunning view ahead after a short walk:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_115648.jpg


The lovely mountains and the water:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_115624.jpg


We just walked around enjoying the fresh air and such views:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_120152.jpg



SX4 on that scenic background:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_120627.jpg


The small byroads that we explored in SX4:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_120816.jpg


A bit further ahead, while returning, we got such views of Kanher Dam on north side:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_121741.jpg


A windshield shot of the road ahead, somewhere close to Satara in our return drive:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_122004.jpg


A parting shot of that scenic road, with Urmode Dam in backdrop:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_122209.jpg

Overall, this drive turned out to be quite interesting. I liked this road so much that I am sure to go back there soon, with the right car and the right camera, and do another car photoshoot soon.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 2nd October 2022 at 17:42.
Dr.AD is online now   (32) Thanks
Old 2nd October 2022, 12:35   #5
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Kaas, the Plateau of Flowers



As I mentioned above, luckily we were there at exactly the best time - End of September to October - to see the blooming flowers. However, the heavy and elongated monsoon this year has resulted into relatively lesser blooming. One really has to be very lucky to find absolutely the right weather and the right time window (just a couple of weeks each year offer this perfect timing) to see the magical views of the entire valley full of colorful flowers. We were not that lucky due to the bad weather this year.

When we reached there in the morning, it was already drizzling nonstop. On top of that, it was extremely windy and cold. It was so windy that I was not able to hold my umbrella in that wind (I was stupid enough not to carry a proper rain jacket, and instead only carried a small umbrella). Eventually I gave up on the umbrella and just walked around in the plateau under that drizzle and the chilling wind.

There was plenty of fog too, and that again gave a different look and feel to the plateau and the views. We started our walk (yes, it is a walk; one has to walk a few km inside the plateau on the designated walkways to enjoy the views of the flowers) around 8:30AM, and it was rainy and foggy till about 10AM. At about 10AM the rain and the fog cleared, and we got some clear skies and sunny views after 10AM. Unfortunately, even the crowd increased dramatically after 10AM. By 10:30AM, it was so crowded there that it became impossible to walk there on the narrow walk-ways without bumping into other people, and we decided to call it quits and returned to our car a around 11AM.

There is a large open space designated as parking lot near the entrance of the Kaas Plateau. Unfortunately the land there is unpaved, quite bumpy, full of stones and mud, and it was almost like doing a bit of off-roading to find the parking space. Once again, the SX4 came very handy in such conditions.

I parked at one end, which almost looked like some off-road location :
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_084821.jpg


These are the walkways one has to walk on and explore the plateau. These walkways run for a few km, and one needs to walk about 5km to explore the entire plateau:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_090239.jpg


First glimpse of the colorful flowers (these are the same "terda" flowers that I mentioned earlier about) under the foggy and misty morning:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_090424.jpg


A bit ahead, from a viewpoint, we could see this lake down but it was way too foggy to see anything clearly:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_090727.jpg


The valley below was hidden under the fog too:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_090932.jpg


The pink terda, blooming well in some spots, looked beautiful:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_092752.jpg


More photos of the flowers as we continued our walk in that cold, rainy and foggy morning:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_093413.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_093544.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_093645.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_094306.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_094539.jpg


After walking around for a couple of km, we reached this small lake in the middle of the plateau:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_095824.jpg


The walkways through the plateau (again, flowers or no flowers, the walk itself is very pleasant and scenic):
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_100304.jpg


Some more photos flowers as continued our walk:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_100408.jpg


By now the fog had cleared, and the lighting conditions improved:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_101158.jpg


Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_101322.jpg


By now it was warm and pleasant:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_102039.jpg


A sweeping corner on the walkway (my love of driving makes me spot such corners even on walkways) :
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_102544.jpg


We reached the same viewpoint again, now without fog, and saw some nice views:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_103146.jpg



Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_103338.jpg


By now it was getting seriously crowded, as you can see here from the crowd gathered at that viewpoint:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_103623.jpg

With crowds increasing to a point where we found it impossible to walk without hitting other people walking in the opposite direction, we called it quits and returned to our car.

When we returned to the parking lot, the parking lot of overflowing with cars and there was a general chaos everywhere:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-20220924_105445.jpg

Tips about Vising Kaas:



If you are planning to visit Kaas (September-October is the best time of the year), I thought I could share a few tips that might be helpful:

1. You need to book entry tickets and a specific time slot online here https://www.kas.ind.in/booking.php (This online booking is certainly required during the peak season. For the rest of the year, I heard that they do allow spot entries, but I am not sure). Ticket fee is Rs. 100 per person, to be paid online during the booking.

2. I recommend booking morning slot of 7AM to 11AM. After that it gets very crowded and also hot and sunny.

3. You need to walk a lot. Somewhere between 3km to 5km to cover most of the area. Therefore, it is even more important to go before the sun comes up. This entire walking path is in the open land with just grass and flowers around without any trees or shade. It will be difficult to walk there in the heat once the sun comes up.

4. In Google Maps, you will see many Kaas locations, and it can be confusing. Therefore, to make it simple, just use this location of "Kaas Plateau Car Parking" as your destination and drive there: https://goo.gl/maps/T94F8PL3XiGqejEP8

5. There is a checkpost just before entering the Kaas area. Carry a printout of your online booking. They will check the ticket and stamp on it before letting you enter. After that, they will guide you to the parking lot (the same spot I mentioned above) and ask you to park there.

6. From the car parking, you have to take a bus to the main Kaas sites, and back to parking lot once you are done. The bus ticket is Rs. 20 per person for the round trip, to be paid in cash while boarding the bus in the parking lot.

7. The bus will drop you at one gate. Then from there you have to walk around to various points on the designated walkways.

8. However, not just the flowers and the main Kaas site, but there are great views all along the road from Satara to Kaas (as I mentioned in the previous post). Make sure you spend enough time on that road exploring both side views.

Epilogue



These were a few short but memorable drives from Pune within a span of a couple of weeks. Nothing special or extraordinary. Just simple but scenic drives, and some memorable experiences. I do plenty of such short weekend drives from Bangalore, but it had been a long time since I did a similar drive from Pune. In my latest Pune trip, I am glad I managed to take some time off from hectic work schedules and managed to sneak in these drives.

Well, that is all folks! Thank you for reading.

Last edited by Dr.AD : 2nd October 2022 at 17:57.
Dr.AD is online now   (56) Thanks
Old 2nd October 2022, 18:21   #6
Team-BHP Support
 
Sheel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Purnea (Bihar)
Posts: 8,690
Thanked: 12,666 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
Sheel is offline   (4) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 11:46   #7
BHPian
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Mumbai
Posts: 49
Thanked: 89 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

What a lovely Travelogue. It seems like you stayed at Jumbo Farms near Pawna. We had gone there in July from Mumbai, and hence the pics were familiar. The one patch of road we drove on, was totally washed away, and it was like driving over a waterfall for a stretch of nearly 2 Kms. It was a wonder that my Alcazar could handle that bad roads.
Ays7 is offline   (1) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 12:07   #8
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ays7 View Post
What a lovely Travelogue. It seems like you stayed at Jumbo Farms near Pawna. We had gone there in July from Mumbai, and hence the pics were familiar.
Thanks. Yes, you are right. We stayed in Jumno Farms. They have cottages (called Jumbo Paradise) as well as a 5-bedroom bungalow that they rent out separately. We booked that 5-bedroom bungalow.

It is a fantastic place. The bungalow is very nice - spacious and clean. And moreover, the location and the views are just fantastic! The caretaker was great, the service was great, and the food was very good too. The food was always fresh and hot, and was very tasty.

Quote:
The one patch of road we drove on, was totally washed away, and it was like driving over a waterfall for a stretch of nearly 2 Kms. It was a wonder that my Alcazar could handle that bad roads.
Yes, I remember that stretch. That was really horrible. That is exactly where we struggled even in SX4, maybe because it was loaded with four people and luggage. I hope they fix that stretch soon.
Dr.AD is online now   (3) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 13:03   #9
BHPian
 
PearlJam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Bangalore
Posts: 560
Thanked: 1,383 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

What an amazing travelogue and beautiful pictures, AD! Your MH monsoon travelogues are always one of the best! Thanks for sharing.

I have been to Kaas a couple of times, and I had always wanted to take the Kaas-Mahabaleshwar direct route once. But every time I was hesitant since some reviews mentioned very bad roads, some reviews mentioned that it was not possible, and Google maps never showed a proper route. Then I think KarthikK (I don't think he remembers), said this can be done, and I finally took it. Posting a few pics here with your permission.

Started off with bad roads:

Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_20190924_151252437.jpg
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_20190924_153137376.jpg

Roads getting better, sun playing hide and seek:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_20190924_154525997.jpg
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_20190924_154733404.jpg

On the ferry:
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_20190924_163235005.jpg
Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_20190924_163636949.jpg
PearlJam is offline   (9) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 13:15   #10
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by PearlJam View Post
What an amazing travelogue and beautiful pictures, AD! Your MH monsoon travelogues are always one of the best! Thanks for sharing.
Thank you very much for your kind words, PearlJam!

Quote:
I have been to Kaas a couple of times, and I had always wanted to take the Kaas-Mahabaleshwar direct route once. But every time I was hesitant since some reviews mentioned very bad roads, some reviews mentioned that it was not possible, and Google maps never showed a proper route. Then I think KarthikK (I don't think he remembers), said this can be done, and I finally took it. Posting a few pics here with your permission.
Wow! Awesome photos! Thanks for sharing.

Yes this road has been in my "to do" list for long, but so far never managed to drive from Kaas to Mahabaleshwar. Thanks for sharing your experience and these wonderful photos. Your story gives me a new motivation to go back there and drive that route.

The light in your pictures is lovely. That area has this very unique shade of green and that lovely golden light in the months when monsoon is just about to recede. That time is the ideal time to travel there.

Quote:
On the ferry:
Nice! Many roads in that part of MH (and also in the coastal highway MH SH4) require one to take these ferrys to continue, and those ferry rides are quite fun! Those take time (including waiting for the ferry and the boarding time), but these trips are not meant for hurried travels. If one is willing to take their time, drive slow, make slow progress, wait for the ferry and enjoy the ambiance, then these routes offer some of the most unique traveling experiences!
Dr.AD is online now   (2) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 13:57   #11
BHPian
 
Dodge_Viper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Pune
Posts: 583
Thanked: 874 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

The magic of monsoons! Turns the otherwise dry and barren landscape into the most refreshing of greens. I simply call this green therapy which works wonders. Good to see Kaas road still in shape. Being from Satara, I visit Kaas almost every year. After ages I saw such butter smooth roads. Had a blast driving there in June.

Don't want to hijack your thread but simply can't resist sharing this beauty of monsoons!

Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-pxl_01.jpeg

Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-pxl_02.jpeg
Dodge_Viper is offline   (12) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 15:27   #12
BHPian
 
UD17's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2022
Location: Dwarahat
Posts: 180
Thanked: 595 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

What a Lovely narration with some lulling image. I echo fully with your view points on Kass pathar, the place is at best in morning hours. Rains in the kass pathar is very-very unpredictable so be prepare yourself with proper rain protection.

I was there in Pawna region last week. The cold breeze and high humidity made the habitat so nerve comforting that few hours seems like bantam. The lush green landscape is making full Maharashtra a heaven like in monsoon. Can not resist to post some pictures from last few trips.

Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_1668_p.jpg

Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car-img_7867_p.jpg
UD17 is offline   (6) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 16:59   #13
Distinguished - BHPian
 
Dr.AD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Bangalore/Pune
Posts: 1,461
Thanked: 12,562 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dodge_Viper View Post
Don't want to hijack your thread but simply can't resist sharing this beauty of monsoons!
Wow! Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing. Your Gypsy looks great and that backdrop is fantastic too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by UD17 View Post
What a Lovely narration with some lulling image. I echo fully with your view points on Kass pathar, the place is at best in morning hours.
Thank you very much, UD17.

Quote:
I was there in Pawna region last week. The cold breeze and high humidity made the habitat so nerve comforting that few hours seems like bantam. The lush green landscape is making full Maharashtra a heaven like in monsoon. Can not resist to post some pictures from last few trips.
Very nice photos. I also read your travelogue on the waterfalls in that area. That was a fantastic report with some breathtaking photos.

I am glad you liked my travelogue.
Dr.AD is online now   (2) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 18:36   #14
BHPian
 
Join Date: May 2022
Location: BANGALORE
Posts: 43
Thanked: 47 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Well, I also have the same a 2010 SX4 ZXI with 1 lakh kms on the odo. What a practical car it is! Throw in any roads, it just survives!!

My main car is recently acquired Seltos DCT and I would rather take SX4 on these bad roads than Seltos(though the latter is SUV)

I think, with so much electronics stuffed into newer cars, not sure if they can be as versatile or you can use it as beater cars like the old guys.

Also, manual transmission is welcome change from driving the DCT(with drive modes and paddle shifters I never use).
harshbhat is offline   (3) Thanks
Old 3rd October 2022, 21:51   #15
Newbie
 
Join Date: Sep 2022
Location: MAS/BLR/LKO
Posts: 4
Thanked: 5 Times
Default Re: Rain-drenched Maharashtra and an Old Car

Lovely pictures! The west coast in the monsoons is truly stunning; I had the opportunity of spending time there last year and was left yearning for more. Particularly the area around Pawna dam and Kamshet: so so green and beautiful. There is another, I think lesser known dam in that area called Thokarwadi; also very beautiful and surrounded by hills, with windmills on one side and Buddhist caves on the other. All in all, MH in the monsoons: sublime.
TorqueConverted is offline   (2) Thanks
Reply

Most Viewed
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Copyright 2000 - 2022, Team-BHP.com
Proudly powered by E2E Networks