Written by onaiza on 18 Jul, 2010
Matheran probably is one of the most under rated hillstations near Pune and one of the most negatively publicized holiday destination near Pune in recent times. Onaiza also had visited the place earlier and described it as a hot and humid place. I decided to…Read More
Matheran probably is one of the most under rated hillstations near Pune and one of the most negatively publicized holiday destination near Pune in recent times. Onaiza also had visited the place earlier and described it as a hot and humid place. I decided to see Matheran for myself and boy am i glad i did so!I left for Matheran on a weekday and planned to return on the same day. So at about 8:30 in the morning I left Pune with with two rain coats stuffed in my knapsack. The rains can be an absolute joy to watch while sitting in the comforts of a dry warm place but at the same time has the potential to be the joy killer while riding. There was intermittent drizzle on the way and i cocooned inside the two raincoats that i was carrying. It was difficult to leave Lonavla without stopping but i had to, however I couldn't stop myself from stopping myself at Khandala Ghat. I like the view from the Khandala ghat with the green hill sides and white foggy clouds floating towards the hills.At times while we are travelling to a particular destination the places on the way, which in itself could be a destination on another day doesnt bring as much elation in you as it would if it was The destination. There is a joy in reaching the destination too. Maybe it is because of the limited time that we give ourselves that reaching the destination becomes so important to us. To really enjoy travelling i guess we have to cut out the time factor from our minds. Probably thats why they say that the best companion to travel with is the one with a sense of time that is vaguer than yours!!I was on my way to Matheran again with in half an hour. After Khandala the old mumbai-pune highway joins the express way for a few hundred yards. I was careful not to miss the exit to Khopoli as once i had and had ended up paying a hefty fine at the next toll check post. Once I reached khopoli i asked a few people for directions and continued straight on the way towards mumbai on the old highway and from Chowk took a right towards Matheran. Matheran is about 29 Km from this junction. However later i discovered that at exactly 5 Kms from Khopoli there is a right turn that you can take which would get you close to Karjat in about 10 Kms. This route reduces the distance to Matheran by about 30 Kms. I have to add here that the roads are not in the best condition here but definitely is ridable! At about 11:30 i reached Dasturi Naka after negotiating some twisty-turny ghat roads. The view on the way was very pretty with a few waterfalls on the way. It was lush green all around with different shades of green like most of the places around pune during monsoons but the difference was the narrow gauge railway tracks criss crossing the way at regular intervals. I parked my bike in the parking area in Dasturi and started my trek up. At 12 in the afternoon the visibility was low on account of a thick fog cover floating across. After passing the horse parking area where i had to deal with a few touts who were trying to sell me a ride up to bazaar which i refused i continued on my trek. The horse guys where quoting prices ranging from 300-500, later after speaking to a few locals at hotels i discovered that the lowest that they charge for a trip upto bazaar from dasturi is 100 normal rates being 120-150.Matheran is the only hill station in Asia where vehicles apart from Ambulance is banned. You either need to do it all on foot or you may hire a horse or a hand pulled rikshaw. Probably that in itself struck a chord with me, after all it was a unique experience to visit a hillstation where you don't get to hear the sounds of motor! After walking up about 3Km i reached the bazaar peth. It gave the impression of an erstwhile bustling town. Probably this is how towns of yester years would have looked like. With paved walkways and shops and all the activity. Most of the resorts and hotels in Matheran are in the bazaar peth area. The Matheran railway station is also in the bazaar. Even in the mid day sun the place was misty and pleasant. A little ahead was the park - a little garden where there where holidaying families. I continued on my walk towards the woods. Matheran, literally the woods on top of a fill is rightly named so. There are about a dozen points scattered at a distance of 1-2 Kms from each other. I rued the fact that i hadn't given myself more time for the trip. Anyways its not always necessary to see all the "points" in a place; according to me it only serves the purpose of boasting to people that none of the points were missed.There were a few government buildings, a hospital and an old church ahead of the bazaar. I could picture the old Britishers before independence walking to the church in their hats and dresses. It was fun imagining how it would have been like. It might not have been much different from now minus the hotels and the shops. There were sign boards announcing distance and direction to the "points". I saw on a board Charlotte lake and was reminded of a friend who read the name as "char lotey" once, smiling at the thought i took the turn towards the lake. Charlotte lake was a miserable sight. Muddy brown water with plastic bottles on the bank. from here i walked towards the echo point. The walk trough the woods was very refreshing. I could see why Matheran is famed or the other way around as a haunted place. Walking alone with no one in sight and the only sounds breaking the silence being the flowing water somewhere downstream, chirruping of birds and crickets i found the place peaceful however it would be easy to be feel creepy in this setting. From echo point while walking back i saw it written on a rock which read as - If you haven't seen Lord's point you haven't seen Matheran! Sometimes these punchlines can be very effective in inducing a decision. So i walked towards Lords point, which in fact was a place with quite a nice view. Near the lords point was the temple of the pisaran devata, the gram devata. Now it was getting late as i wanted to get down the ghats before dark. I walked back towards the bazaar but lost my way and ended up at the Belvedere point. It actually lives up to its name and is really a beautiful point.There were a few more spots that i could have gone to like the one tree hill, Rambaug point, Sunset point monkey point etc but i kept these points for my later visits as Matheran has definitely got into my list of places were one could return again and again. Probably it was the time of my visit that made all the difference. A month into the monsoons but not a very rainy day. It was misty and pleasant all through the day and at the view points it was quite clear with the fog not obstructing the view. I walked down to the bazar and back to Dasturi on the narrow railway tracks with a promise in my heart to return to Matheran. Close
Written by tech-writer on 29 Jun, 2005
Laxmi Road is a hot spot for shopping. You can park your vehicle in a corner and walk through the length of this place to buy anything you want. You get the best of jewelry, the fanciest of saris and dress material, elegant foot wear;…Read More
Laxmi Road is a hot spot for shopping. You can park your vehicle in a corner and walk through the length of this place to buy anything you want. You get the best of jewelry, the fanciest of saris and dress material, elegant foot wear; anything you ask for, you get it here!
M.G. Road, or the main street, popularly known as Camp, is also a good place for shopping but a little expensive. But you get trendy and wonderful stuff here. It is also the perfect place for window-shopping!
Two other places that are hot favorites of the youngsters (and even others) are Fashion Street and Hong Kong Lane. Visit these places if you are in a mood to bargain and want to pick up trendy but inexpensive stuff!!
When you think of eating out in Pune, you have a lot of specialty options. It is not like going to a restaurant and opting for South Indian, Punjabi, or Chinese food. Now, variety is the key word, where the culinary specialties of a couple of dozen countries reflect the cosmopolitan nature of the city. Pune, with its rich blend of a local and cosmopolitan crowd, seems to have a perfect menu for each and every person, be it Chinese, Italian, French, Continental, Mexican, Swiss, German, Japanese, Thai... the list seems to be endless. You can find an appropriate place to visit in Pune!
Pune has an overwhelming number of nightclubs. So, if you like to visit a pub or dance away to the best of music, then Pune is the place for you! Most of these nightclubs have become a regular hangout for the young crowd.
Pune has been famous for the annual Ganapati Festival. It was also known as the army and air force base. Now, it is evolving into an industrial and hi-tech city with a large number of industrial houses, software companies, educational institutions, and research institutes. It is a happening city, and no one can deny it!
Written by onaiza on 27 May, 2010
In about two weeks time monsoons should be here, and I am eagerly waiting for the rains to be here. This summer has been particularly hot...every year we seem to say the same thing that it was so much better last year...anyway the point is…Read More
In about two weeks time monsoons should be here, and I am eagerly waiting for the rains to be here. This summer has been particularly hot...every year we seem to say the same thing that it was so much better last year...anyway the point is that I am eagerly waiting for the rain. Pune has a different aura altogether once it starts raining. Though the incessant drizzle is now something like a folklore monsoons still bring the best out of Pune.SinhagadMonsoons last year was fun and while I wait for the rains I thought it would be a great idea to blog a few of our trips last year.If I remember correct it was a weekend and we were not quite sure what to do and in the spur of the moment we decided to pack our bags, and so we did! We decided to go to Sinhagad.This is something quite nice about Pune. There is no dearth of weekend destinations around Pune and one really doesn’t have to travel for hours to reach somewhere to feel the chill of fresh air. In Sinhagad there are a few options to stay like the Thilak smarak, the Gaikwad’s and also the PWD guest houses but we decided to camp on this fortress.We left in the afternoon and we reached Sinhagad in about 1 1/2 hours. It doesn't require that kinda time to reach the place but we stopped at khadakvasla dam where next to the reservoir there are umpteen number of stalls selling ‘chat’ and corn different kinds of desi snacks. We also stopped at the base of the fort to have our omelet, which is more of a ritual for us than anything else! SinhagadWe reached the fort in the early evening and being a weekend the fort was quite crowded. Sinhagad is quite the favorite spot for a weekend drive for a punekar who likes outdoors and if you happen to visit the fort on a weekend you wouldn’t need any further testimony for that. It's in fact slightly difficult to find a parking space if you go in the evenings!Anyway the fort was a glistening green with the rains and blanketed by mist. The romance of the place could bring out a poet in even a stone heart, and I was just a mere mortal! The tea stalls make good business here and to have a sweet tea sitting in one of the shacks here is quite fun and how can one miss the ‘kanda bhajji’. Sometimes I wonder whether it's the taste that makes these things so amazing or is it the setting in which it's served. Let me add that you would have to understandably pay double the cost here.Sinhagad The initiatives to renovate the fort is quite visible. If you happen to go to this place for the first time you might feel that nothing is being done here to preserve this place but if you have been here a few years back then you would quite surprised to see the paved walkways, the railings and the steps, which i would have to say is a good thing, though initially i had my reservations. Once you enter the fort after climbing, I don’t know how many steps the view is quite nice. By the time we reached which by then was late evening the weekend crowd was heading back. We walked around the fort. If you have been here I am sure you would have one favorite spot on this fort which you would end up going again and again. Mine is near the buland darwaza and I don’t really recount the number of times I have camped here alone and with friends!Sinhagad This time however we decided to camp near the wind point for a change which turned out to be a grave mistake. I didn’t expect the wind to be so fierce that in the night it was difficult to sleep with wind howling away and the force of the wind practically changed the shape of our tent. It's very cold in the night and the mornings are chilly. We got up with the wind still howling away and the early hikers were already there on the fort enjoying a nice walk in the chilly morning.For the record the distance from Pune to Sinhagad fort is about 50 Kms from Pune. There are two routes to reach the Sinhagad from Pune, one from Warje => road behind the NDA => Khadakvasla => Sinhagad and the other one which is more frequented which is Swargate => Sinhagad Road => Khadakvasla => Sinhagad Close
Written by onaiza on 23 May, 2010
It had been a while that i traveled with friends and hence for this weekend i decided to hang out with friends and what better than a beach do that. So we decided to head for Diveagar a beach not too far from Pune. We…Read More
It had been a while that i traveled with friends and hence for this weekend i decided to hang out with friends and what better than a beach do that. So we decided to head for Diveagar a beach not too far from Pune. We hired a 17 seater van which cost us about Rs 7200 and booked a bunglow which cost us Rs 2100 and left for the beach on 22nd March 2010, a Saturday morning.May is hot and near the cost it is hotter and may be a wrong time to go to a beach but we couldn’t care lesser. The road to Diveagar was re-done recently and was in quite good condition for almost the entire distance. Narrow winding roads leading up-to this tiny hamlet took us a drive of about 5 hours with more than one stop, once for breakfast and then once for no justifiable reason!! For the records the distance from pune to Diveagar was about 165 Km as the milestones read but from experience i don’t trust milestones much.Diveagar is for starters a small village with a beach which shot up in popularity after a golden idol of ganesha – the elephant god was discovered by a woman in her farm and was later placed in a temple the Suvarna Ganpati temple.The locals here seemed to have taken up the hospitality business with a zest. Almost all the houses here seemed to have a board soliciting the bread and breakfast board. However its better to have a place booked before reaching here as almost all the good places seemed to have been booked during even this off season weekend!Once we checked in to the bunglow that we had booked from Pune we headed for lunch. To be honest the lunch was disappointing because our host couldn’t manage to get fish that day and what is lunch without fish that too while in Konkan.Anyways after a lunch of chicken thali which was nothing to boast about a few of us headed to scout the Diveagar beach. The beach was understandably deserted at this time of the day. The diveagar beach is quite a long stretch of beach which seemed close to about 5km with a river meeting the sea at one end. The sand is very fine and quite mucky once wet. I wasn’t too happy with the color of the sand but who cares…its a beach after all !!We went back to our room and after resting for some time in the evening we again headed to the beach this time for a dip in the ocean. Diveagar is quite a wavy beach, though not the high waves it has waves coming in constantly unlike most of the beaches in this stretch which are quite calm. After having a lot of fun in the water and football in the beach we headed back for our shower and dinner. This time around food was nice at this joint which seemed to extremely busy. I never expected myself to be waiting in line for dinner at a place like Diveagar but here i was waiting for people to finish their dinner as the place was packed. Food was good and the fish fry was great!!Like all groups our group also had a singer amongst us and we jammed quite late into the night and i don’t remember when drifted to sleep.All in all I would rate Diveagar as a good weekend destination, pluses would be not too close yet not too far, not too crowded but not sparse either, availability of the resorts and the minuses would be the food which was quite disappointing overall.waiting for my next weekend and eagerly waiting for the monsoons which is supposed to arrive in a fortnight!!! Close