Sunday, November 23, 2008

Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar : Kashmir of Maharashtra

Mahabaleshwar points in India

Panchgani - 5 hills, Mahabaleshwar - God of great power.
.Hope the travel experience is good Mahabaleshwar guide and Panchgani guide for vacation and tourism. Enjoy the Mahabaleshwar photos and Panchgani photos.
I like to term Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar as Kashmir of Maharashtra.
(Kashmir is considered to be more beautiful than renowned Swiss Alps Ranges).

Valley view from Kates point of Mahabaleshwar near Pune in India

Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar are ideal location for tourists planning overnight vacation of 2-3 days in the cloudy Sahyadri hills on Deccan Plateau overlooking the mystic blue river waters of different reivers are Venna, Koyna, Krishna etc .... from height of few thousand feet.
For trekking and backpacker Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani offers good terrains to adventure from hill top to the lush green villages along the lake shores.

Bhilar waterfalls of Panchgani near Pune in India

Bhilar waterfalls of Panchgani

Panchgani is a well set small tourist town with plenty of hotels, lodges, restaurants. Generally people stay at Panchgani during night and enjoy sightseeing of various points like famous Table Land, Parsi point, Bhim Chula, Harrisons valley.

Clouds at Panchgani in India

Local travel options include horse cart, private taxi's, bicycle, atuo rickshaws etc
No Panchgani Visitor can unnotice the numerous boarding (resident) schools for kids.
Many parents in Mumbai and Pune aspire their kids to be educated in one of these schools.
Travelling in Panchgani is along straight hill while sight seeing in Mahabaleshar is along a loop.

Elephant head AKA Needle hole point of Mahabaleshwar in India Kates Point, Needle Hole point is one of the first and most popular places of Mahabaleshwar. Elphinstone Point, Lodwick Point, Wilson Point etc ...many more on-cliff points make Mahabaleshwar vacation excursion slightly adventerous.

Monkey at Kates Point of Mahabaleshwar in India
For nature lovers and photographers, Mahabaleshwar offers colorful and delightful sights.

Old Mahabaleshwar is a must see for any tourist, spiritual seekers, travellers, historians

Travel to Mahabaleshwar has one additional advantage, apart from scenic beauty - travellers can can also visit gets the 5000 yrs old historic temple of Lord Ganesha.
But spiritual seekers desire more for the pilgrim of the nearby Lord Shiva temple.
Lord Shiva temple in old Mahabaleshwar is one of the 12 Jyotir Ling (intentional Self appearance of Shiva Ling) temples in India.

Mahabharata timed Shiva temple of Mahabaleshwar in India

Legend goes as that Lord Shiva temple in Mahabaleshwar was built by Dharma Guru of Pandavas of Mahabharata based on vision in a dream. (Mahabharata is the worlds biggest epic and is contexted in Bhagvad Gita - a widely used popular text where Lord Krishna teaches great warrior Arjuna the spiritual gems of Vedantna - seprate comprehensive texts containing reality and purpose of life analysed, studied, practised and documented by ancient Rishis (spiritual scholars) eons before modern civilisation.

Big solid stones of all three temples in Mahabaleshwar very easily overwhlems not only the spiritual devotee but also any visitor.

Historians, Archeiologist, Interior designer can get a education quick tour of ancient Indian culture and construction capabilities.

Ancient Ganpati temple of Mahabaleshwar in India
Walking inside the the Lord Shiva temple of Mahabaleshwar is like travelling few thousand years back in time into ancient India. Temple very impressive from inside a true privilege for a visitor like me.

Historic Panchganga temple at Mahabaleshwar in India

Panchganga temple of Mahabaleshwar is another must see place for tourists.
Constuction of Panchganga - 5 rivers is also imppressive with open water pool collecting the fresh mountain stream water … visitors of Panchganga temple of Mahabaleshwar can safely taste the sweet water.
Panchganga name signifies the confluence of Koyna, Krishna, Venna, Savitri and Gayatri rivers.
All Five rivers are very aptly modelled in the ancient Panchganga temple of Mahabaleshwar and their refreshing sweet waters being stored for devotees and tourists in open dynamic pool.

Boats at Venna Lake of Mahabaleshwar of India

Price at boat club of Venna Lake of Mahabaleshwar in India Family with small kids and women can equally enjoy Mahabaleshwar as it offers horse riding, boating etc at Lake Venna.
And yes please don’t forget to enjoy the corn fritters - corn vadas.

Historic Pratapgarh fort of Shivaji Maharaja kingdom in India

Visitors interested in history can stretch 30 kms further to visit Maratha kingdoms Pratapgarh fort when Shivaji Maharaj was the king.

Multi dozen Sahyadri peaks from Dambhod Village near Shivajis Pratapgarh fort in Pune

15 kms from the fort is Dambhod village which offers spectacular mountaineous views similar to ones in Lord Of the Rings.
Hope it server as Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani guide and help you in tentative trip planning for one day or 2 or 3 days. Enjoy your road trip to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani
Both Panchangi and Mahabaleshwar have tolls of about INR 30.00 per 4-wheelers and INR 15.00. So around INR 100.00 - INR 200.00 goes on toll (depending on number of people - drivers are spared :-) ).
Good news is that toll receipts are valid for 7 days in Panchangi and Mahabaleshwar, so tourists dont have to pay everyday
Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar are in Satara district of Maharashtra state of India.
Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar barely 20 kms apart are located on hill-top.
From Pune or Mumbai take the Mumbai - Pune Expressway and continue on Banglore Expressway for another 120kms.
From village of Wai, ascent of the hill begins and takes to Panchgani.
Near by Places:
Pratapgarh Fort, dozens of cascaded peaks make you feel as in stone age.
Time To Visit:
June to January. I prefer June to September when all hills are lush green due to rainy season
and plenty of waterfalls with easy acess.
Monsoon also wipes out the smoggy pollution of the atmosphere.
Risk of monsoon is that beauty of Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani is held hostage by layers of clouds.
Fun to Fly paraglider in Panchgani
Decent Resorts, Hotels and lodging in Panchgani Mahabaleshwar:
MTDC resort, Shreyas Resort, Swiss Country Resort Saj resort, Sumn Raj Resort, Dina Hotel, Hotel Rajesh, Vimal Garden
Economic Resorts, Hotels and lodging in Panchgani Mahabaleshwar:
Madhuban, Regal, Satkar, Hotel Apsara, Hotel Mountain View, Ravine Hotel, Cliff Inn Resorts, Mount Castle Bungalow Resort

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Varasgaon Dam : Hawks Nest of Pune

The Wall of Varagaon dam of Pune in India
Varasgaon Dam, on Maharashtra state highway 57, is good place for one day holiday outing or picnic near Pune.
Pune tourists, friends and families can plan half a day trip to Varasgaon Dam and half day for Lavasa in cloud clad Sahaydri mountains.
Back packers & trekkers’ don’t have much option for trekking as Varasgaon Dam mainly a drive through & holiday place.

Varasgoan dam is one of the sources of water supply to Pune.

For Pune tourists, secluded and serene Varasgoan village competes with mighty and publicized Lavasa by being host to Varasgaon Dam and of-course its picturesque location.

Pune visitors simply get dragged towards the dam due to easy accessibility to base of the Varasgaon dam.

Pune Visitors can spend 20-30 mins at the base of dam and enjoy the music of water flow and feel awed against the mighty wall of the Varasgaon Dam.

Varasgaon dam fathering the valley of Pune in India 3-4 kms of further, travelers get lured to walk on top of Varasgaon Dam. One can see many fellow tourists strolling and taking snaps.
Pune Back packers can enjoy the beautiful view of the valley with small farms, cloud covered hills and the winding road adding to the beauty.

Varasgaon Hawks Nest of Pune in India Beautiful road cutting through the Varasgaon village reminds me of Upstate New York's popular Hawk Nest drive near Port Jervis.
Varasgaon Dam of Pune offers photographers have plenty of options. Friends and families can plan for a day’s picnic to Varasgaon and Lavasa near Pune.
Good quality roads in the hills are indeed for people enjoying to drive. Especially for Punerees it’s driving paradise, but of-course exhibit caution due to sharp turns and hills

Roads are narrow, especially through villages, be a turtle and drive slow and steady through them.

On the dam walk carefully due to slippery moss etc. and be very watchful while overlooking the valley, a small fumble can cost your life.

Varasgaon Dam of Pune is about 45 kms away from Pune. Lesser known village is 5-10 kms ahead of Mulshi village in the cradle of small hills of Sahaydri mountain ranges.
30 mins ahead of Varasgaon is Lavasa - most talked ambitious modern township, developed by HCC, in the Sahaydri mountains, which claims to be better than the
Sahara group's Amby Valley (project beyond Lonavala).
Sahara group is also the sponsor of Indian Cricket Team. Cricket is India's most popular and commercial sport.

Best Time to Visit:
During or just after monsoon, the hills are lush green and plenty of waterfalls on the way.

Nearby Places:
Mulshi Dam, Tamhini Ghat. Sinhgad fort, Lavasa

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