Monday, August 18, 2014

Katraj Zoo in Pune

Few clicks from Katraj Zoo collection. ...
Owls Caged but not bound, united we stand and glare.... Owls at Katraj Zoo Mongoose Few lucky creatures outside of cage.... Mongoose at Katraj Zoo Bear To far and cornered for better view, now I now why bearish means markets going down. Hope to see bear is always dim in this zoo...maybe for security reason. Bear at Katraj Zoo Crocodile Hungry youngster, expressing intent :-( Crocodile at Katraj Zoo Gaur: Indian Bison Though passive looking, I wouldn't cross way of this huge animal Gaur Indian Bison at Katraj Zoo

Monday, September 5, 2011

Overflowing river in Wakad, Pune

Video capture of the soaring water levels of otherwise quiet river.
Waterlevels were higher by 15-20 feet....

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Bhandardara near Pune

Bhandardara a remote village area, nestled in peaks of Western ghats, is lesser known tourist spot outside Pune. By road it seems to be closer to Nashik
rather then Pune or Mumbai.

Until reaching Bhandardara I wasnt very sure of its worthiness, initial plan was for overnight stay at Bhandardara spend 2/3 hours and then drive towards Malshej ghat.

Infact until Ale Phata, town near Malshej ghat, locals didn't know exact directions for Bhandardara which was supporting & adding onto my apprehension. But was also encouraging that we would be able to get overnight accommodation because it seemed lesser known and well known places were fully booked even before starting from Pune.

After a long 4 hours drive we started seeing signs for Bhandardara and also could see landscape gradually transitioning from dry and brown to pleasant green.
Drive after Rajur, town just before Bhandardara, changed drastically from green farmlands to mountainous terrain.

Weather was bright, sunny and clear i.e perfect for photography. Though dry trails of waterfalls on the far mountains meant lesser interesting views, but some places did have gushing waterfalls.

Speelway gate was first impressive offering of Bhandardara which immediately cleared my apprehension. Very impressive Civil engineering work to control very active water reservoir.

Since we still had to hunt for overnight accommodation, we rushed past Speelway and grudingly compromised onto poorly equipped Hotel Aishwaryam due to time constraint, location of overlooking Bhandardara Dam reservoir and biggest of all its proximity to MTDC Bhandardara resort.

Umbrella falls of Bhandardara dam near Pune in India

After confirming our booking, we drove back down to base of Bhandardara Dam and enjoyed a small track to overpowering Umbrella falls. Havent seen such strong
Waterfall upclose. Turely captivating sight of HUGE dam and STRONG waterfall.

We went back to Speelway gate, enjoyed the panaromic view along with savouring the Vada Pav and hot cup of tea. I was now convinced that visiting Bhandardara was right choice.

Randha falls of Bhandardara dam near Pune in India

Randha falls, our next stop, has beautiful twin strong waterfalls. Best view is enjoyed by 10 minutes walk to the tip of the cliff, where both falls can be
seen and merging into surprisingly tranquil stream. Top view of waterfalls easily reminds one of Grand Canyon.

On Sunday, inspite of hectic Saturday, we managed to complete our breakfast and start by 9:30 am. After unhappily paying entry fee of Rs 110.00 we started
our drive through preserved area towards Harishchandra garh and Kalsubai.

Panjre falls of Bhandardara dam near Pune in India

Rustic Panjra village had uncountable waterfalls and took us almost 30 mins to drive through a very small village. Unlike yesterday it was raining steady and
too many. Omen of good journey ahead.

Kalsubai, highest peak of Maharashtra, and nearby peaks were all covered by mobile clouds but driving around them revealed rich craftmanship of nature.

Konkankada spot of Bhandardara dam near Pune in India

KonakanKada was our next stop a great location overlooking a dam, thankfully clouds sparsed enough for us enjoy the sight.

Amruteshwar Temple of Bhandardara dam near Pune in India

Amruteshwar Temple, of God Shiva, is impressively located near a pond and surrounded by hills. Very peace instilling location.

50 kms of loop took us three long hours because of indescribable beauty of nature and countless waterfalls acting as magnet; forcing us to stop, drench and
absorb in the flow.

Bird near Bhandardara dam near Pune in India

Malshej, 80 kms from Bhandardara was our next stop, took about 3 hours to reach. Mainly due to backroad drive and the battered roads. Banana, Wheat, Brinjal
and numerous other farms along the routes are worth driving the route.

Cauliflower farming near Bhandardara dam near Pune in India

Around 3:30 pm we reached Malshej, after a quick refreshing break at Atur town. Malshej ghat was covered by thick clouds with visibility of bearly 5 meters.

Route is very narrow and heavy trucks and buses plying on it could easily prove fatal so we had to turn quickly around for safety reasons.

Though nothing like Bhandardara dam, Pimple Joga dam was pleasing with birds flying around and fishing.
Highway 222 connecting Ale phata to Kalyan, is already my faovrite route to drive around.

Click for more Photos

My video capture of Bhandardara on YouTube:

Randha falls Video

Bhandardara waterfalls Video

Kalsubai mountain peak Video

Umbrella waterfall Video

Konkankada Site Video

Nearby Places to see:

Malshej Ghat, Pimple Joga dam, Nashik City, Ojhar and Lenyadri Ashtanvinayak Ganpati temples, Shinveri fort at Junnar, Bhimashankar temple

From Pune its about 200 kms, takes about 4 hours due to single lane Nashik Highway (NH-50). After crossing Manchar and reaching Narayangaon, make sure you ask villagers the directions for Bhandardara.
Malshej ghat is 40 KMS after turning left from Ale Phata, which is NH 222, Bhandardara can be reached both ways either continue straight from Ale phata (NH-50) or by taking left towards Malshej continue right and then turning right on reaching Autr town ( about 20/30kms) on NH-222

Friday, February 12, 2010

Pu La Deshpande Park

Okayama park a.k.a Pu La Deshpande park of Pune, openly highlights the grand living disparity of Indian Society - chaotic, unplanned, growing Indian cities (like Pune) implusated by occasional exception of planned execution and impeccable maintenance.

Yes, Okayama or Pu La Deshpande park of Pune is that fantastic exception of this city.

Pu La Deshpande park
This amazing park, located at foothills of small Parvati hillock, is indeed a good tranqulizier for visitors just coming out of congested and chaotic Pune city traffic.
Okayama park of Pune is symbol of friendship between Pune and Okayama cities and has been built with Japanese collaboration. You can easily spot Japanese and international tourists enjoying the beautifully designed park.

This park has been named Pu. La. Deshpande park, after popular Marathi writer and actor Purushotam Laxman Deshpande and is impressively well maintained by otherwise notorious and negligent PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation).

Till the entrance of the Pu La Deshpande park, Pune visitors wouldn't find anything different but crossing the gate of Pu La Deshpande park is the step to beautiful transformation from disorderly to disciplined and orderly.

Walkway of Pu La Deshpande park

Built on 10 acres of land, Pu La Deshpande park begins with sturdy bamboo trees and colourful plants leading the visitor to artifical, yet beautiful and green, hillock of the park with the natural back-drop of Parvati hills. For Pune's Pu La Deshpande park visitors enchantment begins with the soothing water canalsbeautifully cutting through the green grass and colourful plants.

Plants in Pu La Deshpande park
Even before Pu La Deshpande park tourists can complete appreciating, one encounters a beautiful pond with two small islands for birds and amphibians of the park. With backdrop of green hillock backdrop, small bridge this small pond with two green islands is indeed marvelous.

Pu La Deshpande park's small pond is the heart of the park not only for the visitors but also its nautral inhabitants : the rich marine life and chirping birds.

More Photo of Centre pond rim Pu. La. Deshpande park
More Photo from Hilltop of Pu. La. Deshpande park

More Photo of centre pond of Pu. La. Deshpande park

Birds in Pu La Deshpande park
East of park has mini cascaded waterfalls, If visiting Pu La Deshpande park during afternoon then tourists can evidently feel the refreshing moisture and lower temperature while walking towards it.

Waterfall pond in Pu La Deshpande park
While walking towards the west, do stop by and enjoy the aligned agri-farming section.

Farming tracks in Pu La Deshpande park
North East of Pu La Deshpande park (way towards exit) is my favourite because walking amongst the neck high colorful plants gives feeling of being in the woods and the beside steady flowing canal stream is very refreshing makes you feel part of the energy flow.

Architects of Pu La Deshpande park smartly used this downhill trail to open into center pond, which however was dry yet beautifully maintained.

center Pond of Pu La Deshpande park
After crossing this second center pond, of Pu La Deshpande park,is the most audible water stream donating a great pacifying feeling.Make sure you sit and enjoy the free natural peaceful energy overflowing in abundance in this area of Pu La Deshpande park.

Before visitor of Pu La Deshpande park can step out park offers one more mesmirizing mini vista looking over the pond and overlooking bridge of the park.

More Photo of peaceful ambience of Pu La Deshpande Park

Pu La Deshpande park is like a self sustaining natural ecosystem, where humans are indeed visitors gradually exposed to other natural beings.
From Pu La Deshpande park, visitors take away the calm and placetness, much required for peacfully dissolving into mad urban race.
So whats the disparity I mentioned earlier?
Pu La Deshpande park cuddled by Parvati Hills shanties indeed make this well maintained park look a lavish luxorious spending.

Parvati hills huts behind Pu La Deshpande park
Also Security guards managing the Pu La Deshpande park are indeed creditworthy on ensuring the high orderliness of the park.It makes me wonder why cant same management look after the wonderous Empress Botanical garden, plagued by young romeo-juliets.

Near by places to visit:
Saras Bagh, Parvati Temple, Peshwe Energy Park , Ramakrishna Mutth

Located on Sinhgad Road in popular Parvati Hills area and next to Ramakrishna Mutth and 5 kms from Saras bagh.
Entrance ticket is Rs 5.00 per person and Rs 5.00 for car parking. This is money well spent.
Pu La Deshpande on Google Maps

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Vedas flagging Ashthavinayak Ballaleshwar Ganapti temple of Pali

Pali is a popular pilgrim destination due to sacred Ashthavinayak Ballaleshwar Ganapati Temple.
Pali has twin temples of Ashthavinayaks Ballaleshwar Ganapati, DhundiVinayak temple where God first appeared and offered wish to devotee Ballal. Second is the main temple where devotee requested God Ganapati to reside in the village.

DhundiVinayak temple of Pali
is one of twin temples of Balleleshwar Ganapati of Pali.and should be the first to visit, idol of Ballaleshwar Ganapati is similar as in main temple. Temple has paintings depicting Ballal's story.

Idol of Ballaleshwar Ganapati is visibly different and stretched horizontly. Though photo it seems to be unusual, but in reality I found it very beautiful compared to other Asthavinayak idols seen so far.
Ballaleshwar Ashtavinayak Temple of Pali is not only the spiritual centre but also hub of economic activity for common villagers. Numerous shops and auto rickshaws are common sight of such places but what impressed me is the business acumen of local community. Self help groups of Pali village not only prepare sweets as prasad but also pickles and traditional Indian snacks like papad etc. at home.
Home made at Ballaleshwar Ashthavinayak in Pali.jpg Make sure you buy the delicious sweets and seal the treat.
Though the liveliness is good for both locals and visitors, but certainly robs the peace of other wise peace of the temple and its beautiful surrounding.

Mountain Peak at Ballaleshwar Ashthavinayak in Pali.jpg
Ballaleshwar Ashtavinayak Temple of Pali is located at the foothill of scenic mountain.Temple has wooden interiors with fine artwork and a small hall for devotees to spend peaceful time. Though the hall is open, but sanctum is low on air circulation, but beautiful idol of Ballaleshwar Ganapati pulls your attention away from this petty ignorable item.

Hall of Ballaleshwar Ashthavinayak in Pali
About 4 to 5 kms from temple is natural hot water pond at Unhere village, land mark is Dutta temple. Infact there are two - one for male and other for female. Local villagers smartly use it for bathing and surely saving on energy. They should be indeed be awared some carbon credits so that can make sum extra money for sustainence.
Uhere hot water pond near Ballaleshwar Ashthavinayak in Pali
However, didnt find anything great about Unhere's hot water pond and wouild advise to ignored if you are short on time.

Drive to Ashthavinayak Ballaleshwar Ganapti temple of Pali is, on State Highway 92, refreshing due to ample of greenery, remoteness and striking assembly of four mountain peaks.

I call them four vedas : Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva.
Vedas are ancient texts of Sanatan dharma, now popular as hindu religion, remarkably detailing Advaita relationship between macrocosm (God) and microcosm (Human) and offering insightful guidelines on interpreting daily life experiences.

Ashthavinayak Ballaleshwar Ganapti temple of Pali is infact located at the base of these mountains visible nearly all along the drive on State highway 92 towards the temple.

Ballal Vinayak temple is named honouring a devotee boy named Ballal whose continued deep devotion was met with fear of abnormality by villagers and their persistent complaint to father resulted in severe treatment and beating of Ballal. God Ganesh then saved and granted wish to unfaltering devotee. Ballal requested God for his continued presence in the village.

For me real Pali hills should be accredited to this small village instead of Mumbai's Pali Hill, in Bandra, where many Bollywood personalities reside. Weather of real Pali hill is more like Mumbai - typical sultry feeling reminding of Alibag beach at distance of 50 or 60 kms from Ashthavinayak Ballaleshwar Ganapti temple of Pali.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Shri Aryabhatt

Following blog, though not exact but ... is translation of text came across at Arya Samaj hall mentioning Shri Aryabhatt, one of Ancient Indian scholar in field of Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology.

Profoundity of his work is evindent from : India's first satellite was named after Shri Aryabhatt and Pune's IUCCA is proud host of his statue.

More references are available on

Shri Aryabhatt Ancient Indian Scholar in Astronomy Mathematics Astrology

Shri Aryabhatt, born in 476, was one of the earliest Indian legendery scholar and contributed significantly in field of Mathematics, Astronomy and Astrology. His birthplace is village Kusumpur near city Patna, then known as Pataliputra. Aryabhatiya is the most popular work authored by Shri Aryabhatt in 499 at age of 23.

Aryabhatiya is broadly divided in four sections and the contents are written in Sutra style. Sutra style is one of ancient Indian style of writing where brevity and precision is ensured by using technical terms. Sutra style of concised writing can be idiomised as ocean in a bowl, e.g. one of the shloka mentions 5 different theories of Mathematics while in MolPaad, 4th section of Aryabhatiya, entire Sun theory is mentioned in mere 11 shlokas. Some of the currently accepted facts were invented and discovered by Shri Aryabhatt, e.g. Trignometry, one of first users of Pi ( 22/7 - Greek discovery) in regular mathematics. Many of his works are being thought in schools, globally.

Shri Aryabhatt Ancient Indian Scholar in Astronomy Mathematics Astrology
In Astronomy, Shri Aryabhatt was first to claim that earth is round and also rotates around its axis. In one of his books Surya Siddhanth, he provided first meaningful explanation of Solar and Lunar eclipse, instead of accpeting eclipse as work of deamons Rahu and Ketu.
Shri Aryabhatt had calulcated 1 year cycle to be of 365.2586805 days, his calculation was better than Greek calulcation and is still inline with current acceptance.
Shri Aryabhatt's work is mentioned in books like Aryabhatiya, DanshGitika, Tantra.
Shri Aryabhatt is indeed Prime contibutor of late-ancient golden era of free India where it he is believed to be heading the ancient Nalanda university of Astronomy.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Plight of soothing Sangameshwar

Colorful sky at Sangameshwar temple near Tulapur in Pune
Off state highway 58, at outskirts of Pune city in Maharashtra state, is a hamlet Tulapur.Historically known as Nagargaon acquired name of Tulapur due to Shahji, ancestor of Maratha king's Shivaji and Sambhaji.
However, more than this feat, place is witness of one of the brutal historical events.

Sangameshwar ghat near Tulapur in Pune

Sangamner, in Tulapur, is a quiet and remote junction of three rivers - Bhima with its subsidiaries Bhama and Indrayni rivers.

Sangamner is more than junction of three rivers, it offers a special subtle experience of unifying with nature and overflowing peace.

Sangamner is a quick nature escape for tourists and citizens for traffic crazy Pune city.Drive to Tulapur / Sangamner is pleasant without traffic with lush greenery and hillocks along.

Visitors, tourists and devotees would certainly enjoy God Shiva's Sangameshwar temple near Tulapur.
Reason is ...
Sangameshwar temple is non-commercial with hardly any visitors yet impressivle maintained and well architected temple.Its picturesque location at junction of three rivers surrounded with big green trees and carefree wandering squirrels, chirping birds and flocks of white Cattle Egret birds makes it generous donor of overflowing peace, calm and more ...

Befitting the name, visiting Sangamner is a truely unifiying experience where an individual automatically gets unified with beauty of nature and divine force
behind it - God Shiva.

Shiva Temple at Sangameshwar near Tulapur in Pune
Sangameshwar temple offers a comprehensive escape package to Photographers.
God Shiva's Sangameshwar Temple is built of solid stones which immediately instills strength and sense of awe with its ancient looking architecture.
Since Sangameshwar temple is lesser known, its isolated location is a great option for tourists looking to be in cradle of nature and peace.
For urban animals and working professionals of Pune, its shortcut to uninterrupted and overflowing peace

Temple is maintained by small village community now known as Shivale. Every individual enjoying Sangameshwar owes deeply to this devoted community for
resurructing and maintaining Sangameshwar.

Reason is ...
Opposite the Sangameshwar temple is grand statue of Maratha king Sambhaji Maharaj.
Brave Sambhaji Maharaj, son of great King Shivaji Maharaj, died one of the most heart wrecking and inhuman death.

Sambhaji Maharaj at Sangameshwar near Tulapur in Pune

What caught my attention was title of Dharamveer (Brave protector of religion)? King Sambhaji chose to martyr his life to protect his religion, people, culture but refused to change religion even after continous torture by hands of Mogul

A very disturbing event witnessed by otherwise calm Sangamner.

Entire history is recorded on

Samadhi of Sambhaji Maharaj at Sangameshwar near Tulapur in PuneRemains of Dharmveer Sambhaji are stored safely in dedicated secured structure as shown in above photo.

Directions : About 1 hr drive from Pune city area.
Option 1: SH60 From Nagar Road, left onto SH 58.
Option 2: NH-50 Nashik Road right on SH-58 crossing popular town of Alandi where Saint Tukaramji use to live.
Due to isolation no signs one can easily miss the Sangamner. Sangameshwar temple of God Shiva, however, is good and reliable landmark of this lesser known place. Tourists will find very few visitors in the temple.
Time to visit:
Almost anytime except, since Alandi (place where Saint Tukaram lived) is nearby, for 3-4 days around June 15 when lakhs of devotees of Saint Tukaram and Dhyaneshwar participate in Palkhi procession involving walking hundreds of kilometers across cities to follow the trail of two enlightened Saints who blessed city of Pune.

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