Thursday, 1 October 2009

More Recent Adventures

The Pavana Trip

I was home on the 5th and 6th of September, during which I attempted to recover from a mild case of vertigo brought about by my sinusitis. This was only the second time this monsoon that I hadn't gone out anywhere. On the plus side, I got to meet a cousin who dropped by during a 10 day break from work, and my uncle before he left for Calcutta.

However, it was back to travelling on the following Saturday. I was keen to go to Pavana again since we only just got an appetiser of it the last time around. But my cousin and his car weren't available. While talking to RV about the possibility of him getting a vehicle, he confirmed what I'd been thinking - that I'd become lazy and too dependent on private transport. I started off this monsoon trekking but now preferred comfortable travel. Part of this was due to health reasons of course. I still hadn't fully recovered from the sinus attack. I was still getting headaches, was not 100% and definitely couldn't think of a trek, even a short one. But he was right, I have grown lazy, after just two trips in a car.

But I so wanted to go out that weekend. RV finally managed to get a Tata Sumo from his uncle and called three other friends along and the five of us decided to visit Pavana, via Khandala. This would be my fourth trip to Khandala this monsoon, though we didn't visit Buffalo falls this time.

The day started off with me travelling to the Directi building at seven on Saturday morning, meeting RV after his graveyard shift. The others were late, still in bed (I don't know why I even bother getting up so early if everyone else's going to be late) so we chilled out for an hour, me beating RV royally at fooseball (I've recovered my touch it seems; I guess I'm good at one on one fooseball). He, not to be outdone, ran away to play TT as soon as the table was free, and showed me how good he was at beating me at that.

The others called to say they were ready at last, and we picked them up. The drive to Khandala along the expressway was warm but non eventful. A lot of this trip was going to be non eventful, I was to realise by the end of the day, at least compared to previous trips. We visited St Mary's villa and Father Robin first - he used to organise camps in the area. We then checked out the cliff face path leading to the Garden of Eden, before driving to Lonavala, for money, fudge and alcohol as usual.

We then drove to Pavana. It was exquisite, the play of light on the water, the different shades of blue and green. We drove all round the dam and up and down various paved and unpaved roads, stopping now and then for pictures. RV, being the only driver in the group, had to do all the driving.

We stopped at one of RV's family friends' beautiful weekend home for a while at one point. They plan to rent out a room and bath to travellers. That's good to know. What I liked most about he place was the view of lake from the large verandah.

We then drove up into the hills, looking for something to eat. I ate some Choris Pao that RV had got while the others had fuller meals. RV was tired by now. We went back to Khandala and Fr. Robin's place for some thick hot soup, and that, together with a lot of cigarettes on the way back, kept him awake.

I caught a train home from Vile Parle. The trip was good, but I really should be doing overnight trips to the area.

The Shivneri Trip

With RV in Paris the following weekend, and RG and his car still unavailable, it didn't seem like I'd be going anywhere the following weekend. But a colleague suggested Shivneri and I launched onto the idea of a bike trip on Sunday, 20 September.

It was a truly exquisite trip. It took us (four guys on two bikes) 5 hours to get to Shivneri fort via Malshej ghat, with Borivli as a starting point, and another 5 hours to get back. My legs were sore the next day from riding pillion in the same stiff position for that long, but it was worth it if only to see the beauty of Malshej once again. I hadn't been there in 5 years.

And Shivneri fort was a good visit. I wish we had more time to explore it. Being the birthplace of Shivaji, it was well maintained and busy. Uptil this point, Janjira had been the largest fort I had ever visited, but Shivneri seemed larger, at least because it's built on a hill and you need to go up a winding way to get to the top.

My friend's blog post on the trip is here. Again, it was a wonderful trip, and even chilly in parts (the ride up and through the ghats) and we even encountered heavy rain on our way back. This is the last monsoon trip I did.

The Kashid Trip

And that finally brings me to last week's Saturday trip. RG, RV, NS and I drove to Kashid and Murud for the day. A lovely trip. RG and I picked up the others from Jogeshwari and Andheri, leaving at 8.00 A.M for Vashi and Panvel, from where we continued along the highway for Pen and Alibag, passing Karnala on the way. I depended on the others for directions till Alibag, and they depended on me for directions till Murud, I being the only one among us who had been there before. The drive to Alibag was pretty peaceful, with very little traffic.

We came to a trisection on the outskirts of Alibag and after asking for directions, took a left for Revdanda. This road was narrow but peaceful, with bungalows lining both sides. We soon came to a junction where we took a right for Revdanda, came to a crowded town, and passed under ancient arches, the ruins of an old fort and town, on our way out.

We continued south, the road turning into a coastal one, coming next to Korlai, which we passed by, and then finally to Kashid, where we stopped for a rest, snack and pictures. The beach is clean and beautiful. And a row of shacks along an embankment along the beach provide refreshments, shade, and hammocks. And behind the embankment is the road and across the road from the beach is a beautiful green woody slope.

You don't get full meals on the beach, and have to visit a resort for that, so we drove 20 kms south to Murud for lunch, stopping for views of Nandgaon beach and the palace on the cliff.

Inspite of being hungry, we drive through Murud to see Janjira fort, almost coming to Rajpuri village itself. We were happy with a view of the fort from the hill overlooking it, and went back to Murud for a heavy seafood lunch. The drive back, as is usually the case, was never-ending.

My friend's post on the trip is here.


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