How do I plan three days trip around Pune?

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You should always plan to visit pune during monsoon preferably July and August.There is nothing much within pune but places around pune are beautiful during monsoon.Those lush green mountains, amazing weather, chilled-out people and roaming around late nights without fear is what I love about Pune. You should hire a cab/ self-drive car(if you are comfortable driving in Ghats) for all three days, which is very convenient way. If you need any help with getting a cab in genuine rates, I can help you with that. You can plan your three days trip as:

Day1: Visit Mahabaleshwar , spend the night there. It will be all foggy and green. Must visit strawberry farms and have strawberry cream.

Day 2: Early morning leave for Panchgani and visit mapro garden and have sandwhiches there and if time permits visit Table land and leave for Korigad, it is a unexplored yet wonderful place to visit. If you need more details about Korigad, visit my story for korigad here. It is near famous Tiger’s point in lonavala.

At night, visit Tiger’s point and stay at a resort at Ambey valley.

Day3 : Must visit Matheran. Enjoy horse ride from parking lot to reach Matheran. It is sort of a Jungle trek. There are beautiful resorts to stay too.

Best places to eat in Pune: Restaurants, Street Food Shops, Bars, Cafes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Food

Must visit places to eat in Pune

Well! Hello Food Lovers,

Sometimes we just crave to have delicious mouth-watering food with no importance for ambience, Sometimes you all need is romantic ambience to take your special once and have quality time and most of the times you need both good food and perfect ambience. Being North Indian I find it very difficult when I crave for spicy and yummy North Indian food in Pune. There are many good places to eat in Pune that can at least help to relax your cravings

Here I have shared all the best places to eat in Pune: Restaurant, Street Food, Bar, Cafe and Lounge. Not only that but their specialty and my experiences over there. Fortunately or Unfortunately I am vegetarian, so most of the specifications will be about vegetarian food. But I will try and gather reviews from my friends who love to explore non-vegetarian food as well.

Story behind the blog:

When I told my friends I am going to write about yummy food serving joints in Pune. They all got pretty excited and gave a large number of suggestions. So obviously these are the ones most filtered.

Chaitanya Parathas:

Although there is no comparison with special Punjabi parathas and our Capital’s famous “Paranthe wali Gali” (Parantha street) at Chandni chawk, Delhi, but yes when you are in Pune, this is the most suitable place to go for desi style stuffed paranthas along with delicious flavoured lassi.They offer a wide range of stuffed paranthas and flavoured lassi in jumbo glasses.My favourite is Aloo-Onion Parantha along with Mango Lassi. For Paranthas, this is the must visit restaurant in Pune

Location: You will find their branches at almost all famous spots of Pune, Some of them:
FC Road, Viman nagar behind Phoenix Mall, Kharadi, Kothrud(near new Reliance Mall) and Baner.

The Paratha House, Destination Center, Magarpatta City:

They serve varieties of paranthas with unique names. If you haven’t been to this place, you must visit once. Specially their Italian and cheese filled (named as chillie millie) Paranthas are mouth-watering served with pudina chutney, boondi/vegetable raita and pickle. One of the best places to have yummy buttery Paranthas.

Gol Gappe(Pani Poori): Delhi Style Gol Gappe in Pune

When it comes to Pani Poori, every region has its own variation. But I being from North India love the most spicy delhi-style gol gappe served with filling of mashed potatoes, onion and chickpeas and ice-cold water. Pune also has some places which serve these kind of Gol Gappe.
1. Ganesh Bhel, Pimple Saudagar( along with its delicious servings and water, its speciality is pani puri water made using mineral water)
2. Pyare Pani Puri(a small stall with no board), Near Delhi Chaat, Destination Center, Magarpatta City
3. Lane 7 Koregaon Park, opposite to Subway(It’s the only small stall with no board)

Cream Corner, Pune:

It’s a famous fast food joint. Noodles, Pav Bhaji, Sandwhiches, Veg Crispy etc are all good in taste and available at very affordable price. Veg crispy is their speciality.

Location:
1. Kalyani nagar near Big Cinemas, Pune
2. Camp, Pune

 Menchie’s Frozen yogurt, Koregaon Park, Pune:

This place in Koregaon Park Pune is a must visit if you have sweet cravings and with sweet and delightful aura.I loved their self-serving system and pay according to weight. They have yogurts enriched with different flavours, with a variety of toppings and sauces. You can visit any time and I would suggest you to go after dinner and enjoy the desert over there, it is open till 11:45 pm all days.

Location: Lane-6 Koregaon Park, Pune. 

Burger, East Street, Pune:

This is a very old and famous burger joint in Pune started before 20 years, previously known as Burger ‘King’ (not the new ‘Burger king’). They named it as burger ‘king’ because they offer a Jumbo size burger (with fresh bun baked by themselves) and that too in a very low price but yes they only accept cash. People say that they serve the same taste as they used to serve before years. I had a potato cheese burger and my friend had chicken burger (which is more famous here), it was huge but I being a burger lover tried my best and finished it and I was more than full. But It’s freshness and taste is heavenly.

Location:
1. Phul Gate, Opposite Talwarkars, Off East Street, Camp, East Street, Pune
2. Mundhwa Koregaon Park Road near High Spirits.

Satguru’s Punjabi Rasoi:

It’s a good restaurant in Pune famous for its dishes with typical Punjabi taste. If you like spicy and tasty food, it’s a must go place to have proper lunch/dinner. For vegetarians, garlic naan and Paneer Kadhai is their speciality and for non-vegetarians, you need to go and try out 

Location: There are many branches of their restaurant which you can easily find on Google Map but I personally prefer the one in Destination Center, Magarpatta.

 

The flour works, Kalyani Nagar:

I would recommend this as the place for brunch. If you just need to hangout with friends or just need a cup of coffee and a soothing ambience, it’s a must visit place. The place used to be a small bakery initially for serving fresh buns, breads etc and then gradually they opened a café. They serve pies, cup-cakes and many more mouth-watering deserts. They also serve good food and drinks.

Location: Commercial 3, Nirvana, North Avenue, Between Jogger's Park and ICICI Bank, Kalyani Nagar, Pune

Red Chilllies, Kharadi:

Decent ambience and great food. I have been there many times when I want to have spicy and delicious food with proper flavours of spices and I look for affordable yet allegant places to eat in Pune, Red chillies is one such place. They have moderate prices and there are varieties of dishes available which is rare in vegetarian food. I recommend to have hara bhara kebab and their red chillies special veg masala. They also serve spicy non vegetarian food which you can go and try out and let me know the reviews too. It would be helpful for other readers here

Location: Parmar Square, Kharadi, Pune

Spice Factory, Kharadi:

This bar and restaurant in Pune is a must visit and one of the best places to go with friends especially if you like authentic Bollywood music or good old evergreen Bollywood songs. On Fridays, they have a live band too. Its décor makes you go again and again. I love the sarcastic quotes they have on the walls of stairs about all the alcoholic beverages. You can also create memories by asking their photographer (and that too free) to click your picture which they later publish on their facebook page.
The Place is mostly crowded, so always book a table in advance or else you will have to wait 15-20 minutes to get the table. Rest all is good enough, Food, drinks and ambience, to go at this place again and again.

Location: Goodwill Landmarks, 3rd Floor, Kharadi, Pune

Café F.R.N.D.S, Kothrud:

It is a small café started recently based on the theme of most favourite series of almost all the people “FRIENDS”. It has a perfect ambience. As it has started recently not all the items in the menu are available but yes! You can create memories by clicking pictures with your friends at scene of your favourite show.

Location: Chaitanya Nagar, Kothrud, Pune

 

 

Vada Pav at J.J. Garden Pav Center:

Its a simple Maharashtrian dish made of spiced potato-patty(Vada) covered inside Pav(bread roll), served with fried salted green-chillies and garlic-peanut chutney. You may find it at many places in all the cities or villages in Maharashtra as it is very common and affordable dish. I have had it at many places while I wander around in or near Pune but J.J. Garden’s vada pav is the best one with their amazing chutney. It’s a small street shop at MG Road.

Location: J.J. Garden Vada Pav Center, MG Road, Pune

 

New Poona Cold Drinks (“Duns Dairy”), MG Road:

It is a very small old café/dairy and they serve delicious ice cream faluda, kulfi, mastani in different flavours. And most importantly it is easy on pocket along with taste. If you have sweet tooth you must visit this place. Their mastani and Faluda are delicious.

Location: RS Kedari Road, Off MG Road, Camp Area, Pune

 

Idlicious, Baner:

They serve one of the best South Indian food in Pune. If you are tired of having that Marathi style sweet and red sambhar, you must go for this place. They serve mouth-watering sambhar along with two chutneys. You can totally satisfy your cravings for good south indian dishes. The place is decent and simple located in a complex and is pocket friendly too.

Location: Shroff Suyesh Building, Balewadi Phata, Baner, Pune

 

Café Uniq Aroma, Nigdi:

It is more of a teenage/college hangout place with some music in background. They also have guitar which you can grab and play it. I had hazelnut frappe which is luscious. They serve varieties of coffee, shakes and sandwiches in pocket friendly prices.

Location: Sunscape Apartments, Pradhikaran, Nigdi, Pune

 

Idli Sambhar Tapri, Dange Chowk:

It is a small hut (tapri) located infront of Hotel Regent at Dange Chowk. They serve fresh soft Idli with tasty and spicy sambhar. It opens only for 2-3 hours in morning starting from 8am.

 

11 East Street Café, East Street, Pune:

It is a themed restaurant which is a replica of the famous London Street. The place has a bus at the entrance and the place shows the view of streets of London. They have a special tradition that if you order any desert, you can only have it by sitting inside this beautiful red bus. I went there with my girlfriends (although the place gives romantic vibes so you can also go with your partner) at this place and everything we ordered was delicious Pink sauce pasta, lasagna, cheese balls and some desserts.

Location: East Street, Camp, Virwani Plaza, Pune

 

Marz O Rin, Pune:

The place is an ancient eatery and perfectly fit when you are tired of shopping in streets of MG Road and want to grab quick bites. The place is pocket friendly. They serve various juices but the mango juice is their specialty. Apart from that they offer varieties of sandwiches, cookies, burger, bun-maska and much more.

Location: Bakthiar Plaza, Camp, MG Road, Pune

 

Husseny Bakery, Camp:

Its pune’s oldest Irani Bakery started in 1914 run by Dr. Irani and his family since years. They serve Irani naan, plum cakes, lamington cakes, khari and freshly prepared Pizza base.

Location: Taboot Street, Camp Area, Pune

 

Gujar Mastani House, Budhwar Peth:

They started in 1995 also known as Gujjar Cold drink house. This place gives you feel of old days and childhood for 90’s kids with old wooden chair, tables and people here love to share their old stories how they started and all. They serve glass full of luscious mastan. They have varieties of mastani like mango mastani and they have the famous Bajirao Mastani too. Kulfi here is also must try dessert.

Location: Behind City Post, Budhwar Peth , Pune

 

Smiley House, Aundh:

It is a first Vietnamese café/restaurant in Pune. The décor is cute, happy with Chinese lantern and cute cushions. Their specialties are noodle soup, Vietnam coffee, fried spring rolls. Along with that they serve a wide variety of Vietnamese food. Including various rice dishes.

Location: Near Midpoint Hospital, Aundh, Pune

 

And the list goes on…

Phew! I am tired and hungry now. I am going to go for some of these places… Till then read it out and go and grab your appetite. Will be back soon with some more eateries in Pune.

Also If you are eager to know more about these places, you can always reach out to us here

Keep Exploring 🙂

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Trek to Lingana – Whee! what a climbing experience it was.

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in India, Summaries, Travel

Adventure is right there on this straight peak of Maharashtra

Finally, After a year I convinced Paresh to be a storyteller and here I am.. sharing his thoughts with my ink

 


About Lingana :

Lingana – It was named as Lingana due to its shape. It looks like a shivling of Lord Shiva. Its located in Mahad district.It is a massive pinnacle located on the mainline of Sahyadris between Raigad fort(Capital at the time of Shivaji Empire) and Torna at a height of 2969ft above the sea level.

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Front view of Lingana


Shivaji Maharaj used Lingana to lock down the prisoners and it was built in 1648 by himself and then destroyed by the British and was almost inaccessible for a century.

In 1970, a Mumbai based group summited for the first time after destruction followed by summit of many people. Whee! Now it was my turn. Okay enough of history now. Atleast I am not so interested in knowing the past, so lets get started with the actual adventure.


Let's get started!

It is one of my life's best adventure trip.

As I started planning to go on this adventure, I told some of my friends about it. It is always better to have a good company and they always wanted to for this kind of adventurous trip with me.I tried to convince at least 10 people in which 5 of them were convinced but at the time of booking only two of them got ready Aman(from Indore) and Harshit(from Mumbai). No offense but maybe they lost their passion as they had during college or there could be any personal reasons too.

Well, I came to know about an explorer’s group while scrolling through Facebook and there I show their upcoming event about the hiking on a mountain named “Lingana”. As I searched through the pictures of huge thrilling hiking to Lingana, I could not control my thirst. It was kind of a place, I was wishing to go for a very very long time.

Explorers were about to cancel the trip before a day as they could not receive responses from enough number of people. I pleaded them not to cancel the trip, I was waiting for this for a long time. But they were unable to do anything. Phew! I gave my last try and they got ready to go for the trip. I told them my friends are coming from Indore and Mumbai only for the trip, they have planned leaves also from their job. Yay! Finally, the trip was on.

Wait wait…!! before moving forward I forgot to introduce you to the Explorers Group who organized the trip and the summit credit totally goes to them only.

The team of explorers had four people in it named Anand Kenjale, Sunil, Santosh, and Yugandhar. They all had a strong experience in hiking. They lead the whole trip with enthusiasm. Yugandhar was the youngest. He was only 18 years old, though had a great experience in hiking. They all were very kind, supportive and took care of everything for every member. They made climbing such a tough trek really easy by motivating each member and guiding properly at each step. Also, one important and good thing was that they did not compromise with the quality of equipment. You can reach out to them here at Explorer's Group


Our journey:

We reached Explorers office at sharp 2.30 pm. They distributed lunch packets to all of us and then we left for Lingana around 3 pm. We were 7 participants apart from 5 explorers I mentioned. Anand picked us up in black Scorpio. We were so curious that we threw queries one after the other on Anand and surprisingly, he answered every query without getting frustrated. According to the plan, we would start climbing at 3 am but everyone was so excited and could not wait to starting climbing at night as soon as we reach the base village. We were having all this discussion on our way and all of us tried to convince Anand about it. But he did not agree at that time. At around 6.30pm we reached the base village Mohari.

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We saw a beautiful hut over there belonged to Sarpanch(Leader)  of Mohari.


Three of us (me, Aman and Harshit) initially did not involve with the group much. Also I could not stay at single place to rest and was damn excited. So we went to the edge of valley. It was such a refreshing moment to watch the sunset.

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Trying to capture the sun departing...


IMG_20151225_173548Aha! The beautiful sun set marveled my eyes.


As we were lost in watching the sun depart, I heard the voice, “Guys! Food is ready come along quickly”. Meanwhile other climbers of explorer group were fixing ropes, we started our dinner with a conversation from the same unanswered question – why not tonight only???

Finally, Anand took his Cell phone and called Sunil, who went to fix ropes, to know about the flow of wind over there. Sunil asked him to wait for sometime until he provides the green signal.

Infact the explorers used to climb at night only but since past 8 years, no participant had such enthusiasm and will power to do so and hence they schedule to start early morning. Ah! Finally Anand and Sunil agreed after analyzing the flow of wind and looking at our enthusiasm, excitement and most importantly will power.

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Can't wait to see what delicious food we are gonna have... I'm damn hungry man!


In dinner we had delicious mixed spicy vegetable curry, green chilli thecha, nachanichi bhakri,  kadhi and rice (purely Maharashtrian food). Normally in Pune, the thecha is not that spicy so I took a bite of bhakri full of thecha. Eek! It was damn spicy, I could clearly feel fire in my mouth. I had lots of water and 5 spoons of sugar. Everyone started laughing to see my situation. After finishing our delicious and spicy food, we all gathered. Anand, winking and giving cunning smile, warned us “No pooping possible during climb and Since it will take long time, whoever had food in excess should go ahead and get freshen up behind trees. You have 20 minutes before we start our trek”.

Hee-hee! One of my friend went behind the tree and obviously I took his picture. Lol! Yeah I still have that picture but can’t show it in public.

After 20 minutes Anand asked us to gather behind the hut. There he filled us with more enthusiasm by his motivational speech. Ha-ha! As I am a filmy kind of guy, it reminded me of speech given by Bollywood actor Shahrukh khan to his hockey team in the movie “Chak De India”. He distributed equipments among us and asked us to remove extra weight from our bags and keep it in car.

Anand knew the route very well but he did not want to take any risk specially during night, so he called two local people to cover the end of queue. We started moving towards Boratyatchi Naal, a narrow patch, around 9:30pm. The best thing was it being a full moon night, so we didn’t even need to turn on our torch all the time except few places. Oh! Yes I totally forgot to mention, It was Christmas Eve and so obviously the weather was chilling. Everyone could feel the freezing drizzle of Christmas as were already in outskirts and that too on mountain. The base point/bottom of Lingana was a level down the Naal. As we reached the mouth of the Naal, we tightened up our Harness (climbing gear) and helmet and started descending the mountain.

Though we had to descend the mountain, it could take time. But as the trek was just started, we all were very full of energy, curious and excited, It felt like we reached the bottom of lingana in a blink of eye.Though actually it took us around two hours to reach. It was 11:30 pm, I saw someone flashing light on us from the mountain and they were none other than some members of explorers along with one of the lead Sunil, who settled up rope for us.

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"Anand whistled and We all flashed out torch lights above to give them a signal"


Trust me, it was an amazing feeling to reach even the base of Lingana with such enthusiasm.

It's time to climb...

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Before we started climbing, we took a break. Anand reminded us about every rule that we need to follow and how to handle the equipments. We started to tighten up the harness, mittens and decenders. Although decenders are required to rapel down. I don’t want to go in technical part much so Yeah let’s move ahead.

Around 12 o’clock, we started climbing finally. I can’t express in words about my excitement and happiness about that moment. Anand lead the group and asked Vaibhav to stay at the end, as he was the only experienced participant.

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We attached  our self-anchor with a belay rope and start ascending.


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Trick to hold torch while climbing...


We held our torch in exactly the same way as we hold pencil during writing so that it becomes easy to climb and watch out in darkness.

After a while we reached a point where we had to cross the curvy edge of mountain to climb further. It  was only 1-2 inches wide. We were scared to cross it during night due to darkness, but tried our best by using equipments. First, we self-anchored (attach your harness’s anchor with rope)ourselves so that we don’t fall down if we slip and started placing foot slowly and finally we did it. After climbing for some more time, we reached the point closer to the light coming from side of Sunil. Anand went to the end, Sunil threw a belay rope and as per instructions, everyone attached their anchor and started climbing up. I was the first one to do so. I reached up to Sunil but could not see his face due to extreme wind and I could not even hear his voice. So I waited quietly for others without disturbing him while he was helping others. Gradually, all of the participants reached and at the end anand came up. We started moving towards the right side for cave and if you see in the picture,you will able to understand  that it’s a bit off track, is same as the previous curvy one with only some inches to place our foot.

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Curvy right side of cave 


Phew! Only rope was our hope. Hee-Hee! Forbid my poor rhythm. With the help of rope, we self-anchored ourselves and reached at cave at 2 am.Cave’s dimensions were approximately 12*12*12 feet cubical with front open to huge valley.We quickly adjusted our backpack and took a place and put our bed sheets and relaxed.While doing that I noticed Sunil and Anand took out their sleeping bags, packed themselves and said, goodnight guys! and I was like, bro! we need to purchase these sleeping bags, they are awesome.

The wind was extremely chilling and wild. The temperature at that point was approximately 4°C.We were shivering with cold, as the cave was open from one end. The last person had to sleep on the edge as the cave was small in length. Anand sarcastically warned, “whoever walks in sleep and specially Vaibhav! You are sleeping just 2 foot away from the edge. So be very careful”. He again gave that cunning smile and everyone laughed and went to sleep.

Even after staying so close to each other for almost an hour to protect ourselves from chilling wind,we were not able to sleep. Me and my friend Aman together managed one bed sheet below us. Aman said, laughing and shivering, ”Bhai apni girlfriend samaj ke hi chipakja, Please”(Hey! Please don’t doubt on me guys, it was just a situation Ha-ha!) and I replied, teasing him, “Oh! Bro, Are you Gay?”.

Afterall, A friend in need is a friend indeed. Finally after an hour, we were able to sleep properly for 4 hours.

Marvellous morning with beautiful glimpse of valley:

I woke up at 7 am and slowly opened my eyes. I could see the huge ridge of a mountain with a deep valley infront of me.

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What could be more soothing than having such a wonderful glimpse in the morning as the first thing.


During night we did not see anything except darkness. It was very deep and we spent the whole night at such a height.
After a while everyone was up and Anand announced, “let’s make tea first, have some breakfast (packed one given from the office, during the start of expedition) and now everyone wanted to freshen up.

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Although it was embarrassing when Anand circulated the newspapers to everyone and explained to poop on newspaper wrap it properly and then throw it down on the side edge and to make sure that it does not open up. He also warned us, “while you throw it down due to flow of wind it can come up back on your mouth as well” and everyone reacted, Yuck man.. !!. Anyways his main aim behind the plan was to keep the natural clean and green and to avoid problems for other hikers as well.

Anyways coming back to the trek, after half an hour we were all set to move ahead. I was thrilled when I came to know that all the ropes which helped us to climb up to cave were removed by explorers.


Climbing through the second part above the cave:

Now we all were filled with an extreme level of confidence and energy.

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We started climbing further with the target to summit and to return back to base village Mahori by 4 pm. Also, now we were used to handle equipments and rock climbing too, so we paced while climbing.

But then Sunil told us about one most challenging patch coming ahead. It was the most challenging part of the expedition. Ooh! Explorers  have named it as “Ramdev Baba Patch” and You know why? Ha-Ha let me tell you. Because you have to climb the patch with a proper judgement of stretching both hands and legs and put a lot of effort too. When I saw Anand crossing the patch, it seemed easy to me and I felt that we can do it easily. Although we did do it, but no doubt man! It was actually tough and more time consuming as compared to other parts of the mountain but unfortunately Harshit could not do it after trying his best and got really scared.

We even tried to motivate him and Sunil gave support from bottom to push him up but he was not able to do it. In the end he decided to stay there only and waited there till we returned.


Here comes the most awaited part.. “Summit”:

After some bela patch we were left with only 20 minutes of climbing to summit Lingana.  It took us around 2 hours from cave to Lingana’s summit point i.e. morning climb.

Whee! Finally I did it, we all did it. It was an amazing feeling. There is nothing quite like reaching the summit of mountain. It was my first summit and it made me feel like the biggest achievement in life.

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Well! “It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves”


Indeed it was, but that time I did not know, there are going to be more such summits in my life. It was actually a big turning point for me.

We congratulated each other with hugs and thanked the explorers’ team.

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Celebrating success with a friend is above all.


After dancing like crazy, we clicked some pictures.

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Also we were able to see two other forts from that point, “Raigad and Torna. We started our returned journey after enjoying our success. But actually its the important, a bit sad and realistic fact:

“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.”


Rapelling down/ Returning to base village:

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Actually, the summit is just a halfway point. During climbing you can see what you have to climb through but in rapelling you cannot see and measure the level of difficulty.

Besides it was my first experience of rapelling, so I was a bit nervous but was more curious.

Well! there were 5 patches to rapel down through the same route we climbed, 3 up to the cave and there was one longest patch of around 150 meters to rapel down. In that patch we were unable to see the edge. In rapelling we used descender, the only equipment we didn’t use yet. Sunil explained quickly about the procedure. Rapelling was obviously faster. Some people on the other valley infront of us encouraged us and in response, we thanked by signaling altogether. We met Harshit as we reached at cave and quickly had lunch of already packed chapati and shrikand.

From that point we rapelled down with our complete baggage and bundle of ropes. I, being full of enthusiasm and passion, personally asked Sunil to let me do descending for a short patch without rope but sadly,he denied as it was risky.

Now the last two patches were left to rapel down and one of them was again a bit hard but somehow we all did it quickly and easily too.

What is hard to endure is sweet to remember.

During rapelling, some tiny rock pieces and stones were falling down and during rapelling as we are not experts so as we were not experts. So we were asked by explorers to  warn loudly saying 'WATCH' so that the one who rapelled down before the other could be careful and protect himself  by using climbing hat.


Back to Base Village:

Finally we reached at bottom of Lingana. We had to now ascend Boratyachi Naal with some of our left out energy. We were all completely wrecked up. I and Vaibhav were the first to reach base village. As we reached we laid down for 10-15 minutes as if we were dead. Hee-hee! Also I have heard somewhere,"Pain is only weakness leaving the body."

After a while Anand came and told us to go on right direction and see the view of Pinnacle Lingana.

Woo-hoo! We could see the complete view of lingana. It was huge man and we could actually feel what we have achieved in first attempt. We were overjoyed and were just looking at it for around 40-45 minutes. The feeling was more intense than summit. The feeling of elation is above all and it made us proud on ourselves. In the end we thanked the Sarpanch for lovely dinner last night and to keep our extra stuff and left for Pune.

Finally, the great Lingana trip ended with memories, amazing friends for life and urge to go for more challenging mountains.

---- The mountains are calling and I must go.


 

One day unplanned but worth remembering trek to Lohagad Fort, Pune

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Travel

Lohagad Fort, also known as “Iron Gate” in Marathi, is located on side range of Sahayadri hills near Western Ghats and Lonavala(Maharashtra,India). It is at an elevation of 3,450 feet but is an easy trek and a wonderful picnic spot. The fort is well maintained as it is under government.  We can still see some Cannons, flags, ponds, walls on the edge of the fort, and places to drop stones to prevent people from climbing through ropes.

Although it is famous for visit in winters but what I feel is during monsoon, It is one of the best place to visit. Lush green walls of fort covered with grass and fog all over the fort just makes the place a beautiful spot.


History:

Lohgad was one of the most important forts of Satwaahan Period(2000 years back). The Buddhist followers who traveled all over to spread Buddhism carved it Just like other Forts of Shayadri, it was built to protect the 60ghats in Shayadri. The main aim to build this fort was to keep eye on people like Nane Maval, Korbaarse Maval and Andhra Maval.

Ah, I am not into history much. Therefore, to find more history about the fort , you can visit: http://www.qutubminar.org/Maharashtra/Lohagad%20Fort.


My Travel Experience:

June 26,2016

Trip to lohagad fort was actually not in my travel plans but was a sudden plan. Argh!! I was so frustrated with work whole week that I was waiting eagerly to relax and take rest on weekend. I was at home for whole Saturday doing nothing , which made me even more frustrated and bored. I was unable to stop my lust for wandering somewhere.

Finally I called my always ready for travelling buddy, ha-ha who else can it be and we made a quick decision to go somewhere on Sunday. Ah, Finally we had  a place to go for and its “Lohagad Fort”.

It was 5:30 am when my alarm started buzzing, I woke up at one go with excitement and sneaked out of window to check the weather. It was a light shower of rain outside. We packed our bag with a water bottle, 2 rain coats, glucose biscuits, 2 small polybags to cover our mobile phones from rain.

We left from Pune at 7 am sharp and also it stopped raining. The weather was just perfect with fresh air and a earthy smell after rain.  For one day trips we always prefer to go by bike to save money, also it's fun to have road trips on bike.


Ways to reach Lohagad from Pune:

Through the Mumbai-Pune Expressway:

It is the fastest route to reach base village of Lohagad known as “Lohagadwadi”, also the route given by Google Map. Start from Pune Expressway and as you see sinhagad institute on the side of highway, ask someone over there for exit or way to reach Lohagadwadi. As it is not very obvious to find the exit from there.

After crossing the narrow street, take a right onto main road and after travelling for 5-6 kms , you will reach the base

Through Bhaja Caves:

This route is mainly preferred by professional trekker groups and those who do not go by personal vehicles. Well, I am not quite a trekker like Paresh So We preferred not to go by this route. Also we had a bike. Anyways, You need to go to Lonavala by local train and take another local to reach Malvali Village and then head off to Bhaja village which is 2 kms from Malvali. From there , stairs will take you to bhaja caves and if you follow the wider path next to stairs, It will take you to the base village “Lohagadwadi”.

Through Old Mumbai-Pune Highway(Paud-Dudhiware Khind route):

This is the route we took. This was one of the easy yet green  and beautiful route to reach Lohagad during monsoon. From Magarpatta city (in Pune, where we stay), we headed towards old mumbai-pune highway. Just after crossing toll plaza before lonavala, we took left turn on Y shaped road and after 200 meter take first left again. From there, Lohagad was around 8-10kms. As a road side local person told, we came across Mumbai-Pune highway twice and also there was a railway crossing.

On our way we found a beautiful and clean lake under the bridge.Infact, that beautiful lake surrounds the Lohagad Fort. There was broad slabbed boundary on the bridge. I asked paresh to sit on it, as the view behind that was eye-popping and I could not resist myself from capturing it.

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We could see the complete side view of lohagad fort.

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The walls looked as if they were covered with green blanket of grass.  Continuing on the way to Paud, Just before lohagadwadi (the base village), we crossed Dudhiware Khind  “the mountain pass”.

Just after the mountain pass, there was a tea and snacks shop. We stopped by for tea. Having tea with parle-G biscuit and maharashtra’s famous Kanda bhajji is just a delight to your mouth. Behind the shop there was a perfect scenic view of huge green valley. I could not stop myself but capture the moment. Oh yes, how can I forget the tragedy of this trip.


Trip tragedy:

“Trip tragedy or you can call it a mistake from which we learn something not to forget in future trips”.

Ha-Ha it is so lame but we together make (Paresh + Ani) “Pareshani” (Trouble). So You will almost always find a small or large tragedy in our travel stories. Oops We forgot to check the petrol when we left and once we crossed toll plaza, It just came through Paresh’s mind. He checked the petrol and it was almost empty. Moreover, there was no petrol pump nearby.

We were totally clueless and freaked out. Thanks to God, we somehow reached the tea shop after mountain pass. I tried searching for nearby Petrol pumps but unforuantely, the mobile network had weak signal strength. We asked the Chai wale bhaiya about the petrol pump.

From that tea shop, Loahagad was 4km on right Steep patch. On the other hand Lonavala was on left side road where there was a petrol pump after 6kms.  We had to go to Lonavala for petrol and then we returned back. But the good thing was  petrol got over when we reached petrol pump.


Trip Continues… :

Continuing further, we took the steep patch and moved towards Lohagadwadi. We parked our bike at Lohagadwadi parking at around 11 am and started trekking to Fort. Many people who do not have vehicles prefer to go on foot till base village too.You must carry your rain coats if you visit the place during monsoon.There are stairs all the way to the top of the fort but the steepness keeps increasing.

 

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There were hawkers selling  guava, cucumber with masala on them, raw mango pieces and a lot of tamarind. Yum!! It filled my mouth with water, I could not resist and bought some raw mango pieces and cucumber. Oh! Yes you have to be very careful with eatables, as there are many groups of monkeys on the side walls of fort. I was just watching a monkey and her baby. She was pulling head lice of her baby. Aw, they looked so cute. Suddenly, one other monkey came and snatched food from a person’s hand standing near to me.

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Moving ahead we found a corner view point. It was not having any boundary and was at a different path from the way to destination. From the corner point , We could see the whole valley from top. It looked beautiful. There was light rain, cold wind, mist fog and wonderful valley made me fall in love with the place.

At the side of stairs, there was mud and a lot of trees. It was creepy but wonderful view having trees at such a heighted place and that too on Fort.

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The most interesting thing about the place is close interaction of natural rock and man-made architecture. There was a huge gate also known as “Ganesh Gate” with two lion reliefs.

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After entering the gate after 3-4 stairs there are stairs on the right to go down to the small Tomb which belongs to “qubba” (a commandor). The place is bounded by a wall. The wall has small holes like window which were used to fire on  enemies during the war.

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Through those walls we could see the whole deep valley.There are caves filled with water and shivalingas. From the vast open space at the top, you can see the whole fort.

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Also I have heard some people camp in that vast open space. At the end of this vast space, there is a narrow strip of the hill which is not more than few meters that take you to the edge of the hill as well as the Lohagad Fort.As it was all cloudy and fog all over the place, we cannot see the sunset by any chance. We returned back to the base village at around 4:00 pm.