Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sinhgad fort trip

On 26th morning we left our homes for Sinhgad fort on our bikes. Ankush, his wife - Meenal, my wife - Meet and I enjoyed journey passing through Khadakwasala dam.

After reaching the foot of the Sinhgad fort we parked our bikes, got freshen up and had spicy misal pav.

I was not feeling well that day. So I decided to go by Tempo Trax to the top. Ankush, Meenal and Meet wanted to give a try of climbing. I must mention that all of them were suffering chikungunya and yet decided to opt for climbing.

The sun was shining and to protect themselves the team had a hat made from leaves. Creative people.

They enjoyed beautiful nature around them. I really felt jealous but could not do anything as I was sitting idle at the top of the fort waiting for my team join me. 

Ankush gifted Meenal hand made jewellery (नवलक्खा हार). He made it out of leaves and stem.

During their trek they took small breaks.

They had some entertainment too.

And of course, they had snacks in between. Weekends is a season for sellers of juices, fruits, curd, buttermilk, onion fritters and local food.

After all this, the team finally reached at the Pune Gate (पुणे दरवाजा) where I was waiting for them as decided.

After this point the team had four members including me. We had some fun at Pune gate of the fort before moving ahead.

My wife, Meet,  was wearing all types of natural ornaments, green gold jewellery.

We first visited a place where all the ammunition was kept.

On our route to next spot we found many crabs. Here is the shot of one of the smartest crab we encountered. He had his prey in his hand and was looking contended to have that. Isn't it?

We then went to see Dev Take (देव टाकं). The water was in the purest form. Local sellers attract visitors to their huts quoting that they prepare food using water from this tank. I think they don't have any other option. There is no other water source on the fort. It is not feasible to cook food using mineral water either.

"Water is life and it is miraculous that it is available at this height. Please keep the tank clean."

This time too we found a kitten on our trip. She was playing with something, may be a plastic cup dropped there by some careless visitor.

While coming back from Dev Tank we saw Hatti Tank (हत्ती टाकं), meaning elephant tank. I am not sure why it is called Hatti Tank. Is it because of its size or something else don't know. There was no guide on the fort who could give detailed information.

Temples near Hatti Tank.

Then we visited mausoleum (समाधी) of a great maratha warrier Narvir Tanaji Malusare. He sacrificed his life to conquer this fort for Shivaji Maharaj. He was called Narvir (nar = man, vir = brave).

We had our lunch after this. It was delicious. We had bhakari, pithale, bhaji, curd and buttermilk in our lunch. You will find many offer meal on ground. People like it having meal sitting on ground than on table and chairs.

After this we came down. This time all decided to go by Tempo Trax. All of them were tired. And I had no other option.

We took our bikes and marched toward Pune in the evening time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Khalapur trip

Since my wedding I was planning a trip to Laxmi Narayan - Khalapur, our family deity. Finally I managed to visit Khalapur on September 19, 2010.

We reached Shivaji nagar (Pune) railway station at 6:15 AM and were waiting for our 6:30 AM local for Lonavala.

I could not have my morning tea as I had to leave early. But it was fun waiting with my family at railway station.

The local was sharp on time. We boarded the compartment. As it was early morning there was no rush in the compartment. We could easily get seats.

After a long time I enjoyed standing in the door watching the engine on the turning track. It was fun. Now I feel it was too childish act on my part. But I was enjoying that.

We reached Lonavala railway station at around 8:00AM.

We walked the over-bridge to get on the other side of the railway station. Then we went to Lonavala bus stand to catch bus for Khopoli. We got freshed and quickly got bus, a mini bus.

Even the bus was not crowded. I think there would not be many people going out of Lonavala on weekend.

It was great journey. The route to Khopoli was through Pune-Mumbai Express Way. We were on Express Way just after leaving Lonavala. There is by-pass on Express Way for Khopoli. The scene outside through bus was catchy.

There was a famous suicide point too on Express Way. On the wall it was written that 'येथून उडी मरू नये' means 'don't jump from here'.

In next 20 minutes we were at Khopoli phata, also known as 'Shil phata'. We had to catch six-seater for Khalapur from there. As there was no auto rickshaw around that time I knew that we will have to wait for a while. Meanwhile, we had family photos.

I didn't know that the auto rickshaw stand has moved by 100 meters. Now you can get rickshaws at the other end of the bridge towards Khalapur-Karjat.

We got rickshaw at the other end but our sizes could not fit easily in the rickshaw. I had to make my brother sit in my lap to make some space. It was dare adventure for me which lasts for 15 minutes. Our wives were laughing seeing my hard time.

The road was good and hence I didn't face much problem lifting my brother.

The six seater dropped us till Khalapur phata. We had to walk from there till deity temple. It was around 1.5 Kms walk.

While we reached the turn towards the main area of city off the highway we saw a small hotel. We had a great breakfast there. We were so hungry that we ate 6 plates of fritters (भजी). The test was awesome.

Finally after having stomach full we went to our family deity temple, Laxmi Narayan Sansthan Khalapur. The idols dressed in golden dress and were looking gorgeous.

We also played football in temple corridor. There were 2-3 local kids who accompanied us in the play. In fact, they approached us and asked whether we want to play. My brother readily accepted the offer and we went on playing football in that small area.

The same kids took us to their homes. One of the kid happened to be the son of our acquaintance who used to take care of the temple. Now, Sanjay Mulekar is the new care taker for the temple. The mom of that kid gave us this piece of information. The boys went on showing us the kittens. We played with themand  had coffee.

Mr. Sanjay, new care taker, dropped us till Khopoli stand in his car. Many thanks to him.

We had sugarcane juice at Khopoli stand. We didn't had our lunch that day. Fritters were still full in our stomachs.

The patch from Khopoli to Lonavala is full of greenery and natural resources.

We caught train to Pune from Lonavala station. Reached Pune in evening time. It was a great trip to Khalapur.