Saturday, July 05, 2008

Purandar Pictures

Early sight of Purandar from base - Narayanpur
The twin fort of Vajragad as seen from Purandar
The entrance to Balekilla of Purandar
Fortification Purandar
Looking towards the barracks - West side of Fort
From the west end of Purandar - Balekilla and Vajragad in distance

Little monsoon beauty
Narayanpur - Base village from Purandar
The familiar Ranhalad
A hut - on the slopes of fort


My last weekend went uneventful. This weekend three of us set out for Purandar on our bikes. We had fairly got used to the road now due to the 2 week earlier visit to Sonori. Purandar is around 4550 ft from MSL per most of the sources on web and is quite deceiving in a way looking at it from the base. There is a twin fort called Vajragad that sits east of Purandar. Purandar is more known for Murarbaji and Treaties of Purandar.

For the direction seeker from Pune :
1] Head from Camp to Kondhwa, continue straight ahead on Kondhwa-Saswad Rd to Saswad. Move further ahead cross the bridge on the Karha river [ dry most of the times, even in rainy season ] Saswad mysteriously never gets a significant rainfall despite being around 30'ish odd Kms from Pune. Take a left towards Bhor. Travel for around 5 odd kms and take a left to base of Purandar.
2] Head to Saswad via Hadapsar. Take a right from Hadapsar towards Saswad via Fursungi. Reach Saswad and follow the rest of directions from #1.
3] Take Pune-Satara Rd. Reach Kapurhole and take a left to famous Balaji temple. Take a left to the base of Purandar after reaching Narayanpur. All these cases, entire distance not more than 50odd kms I guess.

There are lot of ruins around, there is a Kedareshwar temple at the highest point of the fort. This fort is a birthplace of Chatrapati Sambhaji and Sawai Madhawrao Peshwa. Purandar apparently a home to WWII German prisoners of war. There are lot of barracks here and ruins of two churches. Indian army gets this heritage from the British and they are sitting pretty on this land doing nothing and just being a pain in the arse for civilians. They have a *up his* guard here whose job is to deter people from making it to Vajragad or even to Balekilla. I was shocked myself after returning after 2003. Be careful with this s** o* b** ! I ran into this weirdo today, though I would hunt for my chance sometime for sure.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sonori A.K.A Malhargad Pictures

Kondhwa - From Baapdeo Ghat
Sardar Panse Palace at Sonori
Walls of Panse wada - Sonori
Sonori - Malhargad - Fort
Shiva temple on the fort
Fortification - Malhargad
One of the multiple wells for water
Fortification on the west side of the fort
The water tank on fort
East end of the fort

Sonori A.K.A Malhargad

Not sure if I would be able to carry on like I did in the previous years. Though,the bug wouldn't let me sit idle so without much planning and hype a team of four set out to Sonori, A.K.A. Malhargad. Going by records this fort is the last one to be constructed by the Marathas. It was built by Sardar Panse, the Admiral of Maratha army to watch over Dive Ghat. The village Sonori is at the base of this fort.

To reach this place from Pune:
1] Take Saswad-Kondhwa road and travel till Saswad, take the right turn towards village Sonori on a not so nice road. Sonori about 5 odd kms or more from here.
2] Take Saswad Road from Hadapsar via Fursungi, Dive Ghat and reach Saswad. Take the left to Sonori on the same road described in #1.

There is not much to see on this fort. The fort is named after Lord Malhari i.e. Khandoba. There is a temple of Khandoba here and a temple of Lord Shiva. There are ruins of the partly still intact fortification. There are couple of dry wells and a dryer water tanks that might have served as source of water in ancient times. The fort apparently was built in late 18th century. The construction isn't made of Dark Basalt stones unlike the prominent Maratha forts. There are ruins of Sardar Panse's palace in the village Sonori which needs some mention and needs a visit.

Scaling the fort isn't a tough deal as well and takes hardly half an hour to 40 odd minutes from the right side of the fort. I had hoped that the rainfall this season till now might have pumped some life in the dead grass around here. Although, to my disappointment there was no rainfall reported here so the landscape was quite arid and dry. I had visited Purandar back in 2003 and I had a similar observation by then. This area doesn't get much rainfall, despite the proximity to Pune.

From the top one can apparently spot Dive Ghat, duo of Purandar-Vajragad, Jejuri and Sinhagad [?]. There was no signs of rains and the weather was not as clear so I could spot none. But you sure can try your luck. One more to the kitty for the fort collector !

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Kas A.K.A Kaas Plateau Pictures

A little yellow beauty outside Satara
A typical Sahyadris landscape in late monsoon
Looking back enroute. Look at the winding road.
The scenic road. Right the edge of plateau

Kas lake waters
Part of a big blue carpet on Plateau
A purple one this time.
Taken from a chai shop. Typical red soil. The plateau to right.
My partner my Dhanno

Kas A.K.A Kaas Plateau

I don't remember how I set out for this one, neither do I remember any of the details. Since I am writing it down after almost a year. Although, the idea was to capture the late monsoon beauty of the Sahyadris, esp. the wildflowers. Places like Raireshwar, Kaas/Kas have always been much cherished places on the list.
I had almost completed the quote of 10+ this season plus an earlier outing to Thoseghar gave an additional familiarity with the Thoseghar-Kas region.
On the judgment day three more friends of mine and I set out towards Kas.

Edit: Courtsey - Mu a dear friend who was a partner in crime. We read about Kas in TOI. Typically come monsoon and you have these newspapers flooded with tips for monsoon outings and some such things for the wannabes. We latched on that piece of information and maybe set out with expectation that we are going to witness a spectacle a-la Valley of Flowers.

Now for the direction seeker from Pune :
* Reach Satara by NH-4 or whatever ways you prefer. Enter Satara by taking a left on NH-4. There are clear directions once you enter the city, else take the route towards Ajinkyatara. By the base of Ajinkyatara continue on right towards Kas. Memory beats me but must beAround 15 odd kms from here.
The road is absolutely absolutely fun for a drive, no potholes no problems. PMC has lot to learn from these guys.

Kaas/Kas is a volcanic plateau that becomes home to millions of tiny flowers in late monsoons. The whole spectacle is beyond words. There is a little lake thats formed by the catchment of rainwater. The road continues to Bamanoli towards Koyana backwaters from here. Thoseghar coupled with Kas is a much much recommended for anyone looking for a nice stress free drive, some good pictures and anyone looking to catch few leeches :D

Monday, September 17, 2007

Torna A.K.A Prachandgad Pictures

The Hone[y] Collector
Unknown to me - Flower of Sahyadris
My Dhanno - My partner in crime
Karvi flower - Blooms once every 7 years
Swades - HE the people
Torna framed - The way to top through Karvi
Sept - Oct is the time for numerous of these flowers
Another view of Fort Torna
Another unknown to me flower of Sahyadris
The entrance

Torna A.K.A Prachandgad

I have couple of places left on my agenda for the end of this monsoon. I am not one of the winter trekkers, mostly due to my work schedules and more since I have always believed that Sahyadris are at their best in monsoons. If you are keeping abreast with news related to Sahyadris, you might have noticed that there has been a lot of talk about Karvi blooming. This plant is abundant in Sahyadris and blooms once every 7 years, after which the plant dies to be born again from the seeeds. I had been to Lavasa last weekend for a ride and I did spot the flowers, though I wanted to see the flowers in the full glory which saw me and S ride towards Torna early Saturday morning. If you are looking for a piece of history etc. Google can be of great help. I wouldn't reinvent the wheel here, more so since most of us know it and its easy to get it and is out there.

Easy to reach here from Pune :
1] Take NH4 till Nasarapur [ A little past Natraj ] and take a right from here all the way to Velhe which is the base village.
2] A little secret : Reach Donje Phata [ Sinhagad ]. Take a right towards Panshet and just past Khanapur, take a left to Velhe. The road is not in a great shape so if you are looking for a boring ride, take option 1. If you are one who is always on a lookout for something new this is the way to go. Takes little time as well.

We started climbing 10'ish. To utter surprise, we found 3 chicks trying to figure their way to top. They were IT profressionals and had taken a bus from Pune here. Who said there was no incentive in hiking when you have damsels in distress to save :-) Last time I was to Torna was around in 2002, and lot has changed since then. The temple has been renovated, there is railing now at the rocky part. We ran into some weirdos from Mumbai here. Ran into an enthusiastic father from Pune with his kid who was here to witness Karvi. You can spot as well as identify Rajgad and Sinhagad from here clearly. We finished our Good-Days, visited Konkan Darwaja, looked around a bit, frowned over the drained camera battery and headed back. Took option 2 on the way back and I guess we made it back in 1.5 hr. The Karvi is in full bloom here, too bad to miss it if you care at all because the next bloom will be in year 2014.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Thoseghar Pictures

Breakfast time for a bug just outside Satara
Sajjangad - Numerous flowers like these bloom in Sahyadris in Late August
Thoseghar - F1
Thoseghar - F2
F2 - Closeup
Another Wildflower of Sahyadris
One of the many windmills - Chalkewadi
If it gives any idea about the size
Floors of rice fields - Chalkewadi
Left - Sajjangad, Right at distance - Ajinkyatara