Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Quick trip to explore Vijaydurg, Devgad & Nearby Area

Vijaydurg Fort and nearby area were on our wish list for a long time. We got a chance to explore the places just after Diwali festival. We planned 4 days trip to visit few places Like Vijaydurg, Devgad, and beaches.
Travelers for this trip were me and Wife Renuka.

Travelers

About Vijaydurg
             Vijaydurg town is around 370 km from Pune. It is mainly famous for Vijaydurg Fort which was one of the oldest forts from Sindhudurg. It was built by King Bhoja II of Shilahar dynasty. Adil Shah of Bijapur took control of fort but Later it was captured and rebuilt by King Shivaji Maharaja.
It is also known for beautiful Virgin beaches around Vijaydurg town.

There are 2-3 ways (via Tamhini ghat, via Varandha ghat OR via Kumbharali ghat) to reach Vijaydurg. Best way to reach at Vijaydurg from Pune is, Catch National highway 4 (Mumbai-Bangalore highway) towards Kolhapur/Bangalore direction – Karad - take right after Karad for Kokrud - Anuskura Ghat - Rajapur - Vijaydurg.

As we took a halt in Chiplun, we join Kumbharli ghat whereas for return journey we came by Anuskura Ghat.

Vijaydurg Fort
Vijaydurg Fort

Day 1: 20 October 17: Pune to Chiplun
              To save travel time, we decided to leave Pune on Friday noon. After lunch, we left Pune by 3:30 PM. We preferred Kumbharli ghat to reach Chiplun. The Road condition was good except some small rough patches in Ghat section. Due to less traffic and smooth road, we reached Chiplun before 9PM. I started Long distance cycling from last one year and I wanted to ride around Vijaydurg hence we took MTB cycle with us.
              We had Dinner at Restaurant Abhishek which is one of my favorite seafood hotels. Food was excellent in taste, definitely not to miss for seafood lovers. We checked few budget hotel and stayed for the night.

Pomfret meal at Abhishek hotel, Chiplun
Pomfret meal at Abhishek hotel, Chiplun

Expenses
  • Car petrol: 3200/-
  • Toll 1: 85/-
  • Toll 2: 60/-
  • Abhishek Hotel: 768/- (Pomfret Thali, Veg Thali, Solkadis)
  • Budget Stay 700/-

Day 2: 21 October 17: Chiplun - Napane waterfall - Vijaydurg
              We left Chiplun by 6:30 AM. Our first destination was Napane Waterfall. It is also known as Sherpe-Napne Waterfall. Early morning foggy weather with the chilled wind on the national highway made our journey memorable. After Pali, I decided to ride Cycle up to Rajapur and Renu went ahead by car. I was willing to ride to waterfall site but to save time, we mounted cycle on the car and moved ahead.
              Best way to reach waterfall site is Talere - Nadhavade - Sherpe-Napane fall. We followed Google map which was the shortest path but was in terrible condition. While returning, we came to Talere. Also if your referring Google Map then check Sherpe-Napne waterfall (16.531413, 73.699234) instated of Napane waterfall.

Sherpe Napne waterfall

              Shrepe-Napne waterfall is two-tiered fall. The first step is smaller than Second and it is also ahead of second stage fall. This is 12 months running waterfall lies on the river. Better to not to Swim in running water to avoid injury from falling down from step to the waterfall. Forest nearby fall offers you a good sighting of western forest Birds. There is a small restaurant which serves snacks items. We had heavy snacks before moving to Vijaydurg.

Sherpe Napne Waterfall

              We left this place by 2 PM and reached Vijaydurg. Road condition was quite bad but manageable by Car. We booked AC room at Hotel Vijaydurg Palace which is a stone throw away from Fort. Hotel owned by Mayur Shetye. It is budget category hotel with Non-AC and AC. Rooms are large enough for 4 people and offer you a view of Fort and Creek. Vijaydurg has very fewer options for stay.

Vijaydurg town
Vijaydurg town

             We did check-in quickly and had some snacks. We decided to visit beautiful Vijaydurg Fort in the evening. Fort is located on the tip of creek facing towards the sea. Fort was built by King Bhoj during 1193-1205. It was captured by Adil Shah. In the year 1653, King Shivaji Maharaja won the fort and renamed as Vijaydurg. Fort was earlier known as Gheria fort.
             Fort was surrounded by sea from 4 sides and bridge trench as the entrance to the fort. Now, it is surrounded by sea from 3 sides by sea and land from one side. Fort was the capital of Naval base during Maratha empire lead by Kanhoji Angre.

Fort entrance

Vijaydurg Fort Wall
Vijaydurg Fort Wall

              Fort is open for an entire day with nominal entry fee. Fort has 20 Bastions and 3 layers protected the solid wall. It also has an underwater wall around a fort built during Shivaji Maratha empire. Purpose to protect the fort from Large ships approaching towards the fort.
            You can see Cannon fireballs after entering into fort area. On the right side of Entrance, there is a Storage room and Dock bastion area. Fort also has meeting room area, palaces, and Temple. People says Shivaji Maharaja himself hosted flag on this fort. Also, local claims that British scientist discovered Helium gas from fort while observing a solar eclipse in the year 1868.

Cannon fireballs at Vijaydurg fort
Cannon fireballs at Vijaydurg fort

Fort Dock Bastion

            You can view the Vijaydurg town from the topmost point of the fort. View of Beach and sea from the wall is breathtaking. We took a walk on the wall and witnesses beautiful sunset.
            We had dinner at the hotel and small walk before calling a day. My Tomorrow's plan was to explore Vijaydurg to Devgad area on Cycle whereas Renuka had some office work.

Vijaydurg beach
Vijaydurg beach

Sunset from Vijaydurg Fort
Sunset from Vijaydurg Fort

Expenses
  • Coffee 20/-
  • Lunch: 235/- (Maggi 35,Omelet 45, J soda 25)
  • AC Stay at Hotel Vijaydurg palace: 3600/- for 2 Night
  • Fort entry: 10 for 2 people
  • Evening Snacks: 215/-
  • Dinner at Hotel: 520/-

Day 3: 22 October 17: Vijaydurg - Devgad - Vijaydurg
             I left Vijaydurg at 6 AM on My MTB cycle. Renu stayed in the hotel for some office work support. My route was from Vijaydurg to Devgad along with beaches like Pural beach, Padel beach, and Padavane beach.
              The entire route was full of the Up and downhill ride. It was my Solo ride and with the steady progress, I reached close to Pural beach (16.516536, 73.323227). After some point, tar road shifted to the rough narrow road. I reached on the beach after a couple of KM ride. It was Virgin beach with No tourist, No home, hotel etc. It was a lovely beach. I climbed down on beach so I was aware of riding uphill while going back. I took some rest on the beach and left the beautiful beach.

Pural Beach
Pural Beach

Pural Beach
Pural Beach

              My next location was Padel beach. I took right on State highway (16.479880, 73.339976) towards the beach but I was blocked by a group of cows and Bulls. Street dog (belongs to the same group) was not in the mood to allow me to travel ahead so, I took U term and joined State highway. I missed Padel beach.
              I started my Bicycle journey towards Padavane beach. I stopped at a small village on coastal highway to refill my water sources. When people got to know that I'm a tourist on Cycle, they started asking me too many questions and also offered me tea/coffee. After some chitchat with locals, I moved ahead.

Time to Locals

              I took right turn on the highway (16.433411, 73.399896) and came across beautiful temple named Vimleshwar Shiva Temple (16.437588, 73.395430). Locals suggested me to visit the temple when I took break for water refilling. Temple is very old and hidden gem of Konkan. It has an idol of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. It also has carved elephant which is painted recently. Temple area is very calm and hardly visited by tourists. It is very photogenic location. The Same road goes to a beach known as Padavane beach (16.411106, 73.367248).

Vimleshwar Shiva Temple
Vimleshwar Shiva Temple

Carving at Vimleshwar Shiva Temple
Carving at Vimleshwar Shiva Temple

Carved Elephant

Old Ganesh Idol

           Another beach with hardly visited by tourists. There is nothing apart from few local fishermen's house. It's golden sand beach. As I didn't enter the water for swimming so no idea about safety. I spend around 20-30 min before leaving the beautiful beach.

Padavane Beach
Padavane Beach

Padavane Beach
Padavane Beach

           My next destination was Devgad. It was around 10 in the morning. Renu planned to join me at Devgad by car for Lunch. Last Hill climb was an endurance test for me and somehow I managed to cross it. Renu was waiting at Devgad beach. Devgad beach can be visited while going to Devgad fort. Beach is quite small but clean n well maintained. You can see Windmills on to the top of the mountain. There is a path to visit the Windmills but we missed it due to short of time.

At Devgad Beach

              After a short break on Devgad beach, we went to Devgad Fort. I was on Cycle and Renu by Car. Fort is divided into two parts, one on top of Hill and second near Jetty close to sea line. Hardly any fortification is present near jetty hence people forgot or avoid to visit that part of the fort. Hill Fort area consists of Lord Maruti temple, Lord Ganesh Temple, fort wall, Few Bastions, Cannon and Lighthouse. Fort is not maintained properly and tourist mainly visits the lighthouse.

Devgad Fort wall
Devgad Fort wall

Lord Maruti Temple inside Devgad Fort
Lord Maruti Temple inside Devgad Fort

Light house at Devgad fort
Lighthouse at Devgad fort

              Historical information about the fort is not available. British won the fort from Maratha empire in the year 1818. You can enjoy the view of the sea from Lighthouse and engineers gives you a detail information about how lighthouse work. After visiting this part of the fort, we climb down (by Cycle and Car) to see the jetty side fortification. There are steps as well to climb down at jetty from Fort entrance gate. You can see ruined fort wall near the jetty. I stopped my Cycle ride at Jetty after completing 50km for the day from Vijaydurg to Devgad via 2 untouched beaches.

Devgad fort area

Devgad at Zero...Cycle ride Completed at the Jetty (Fort Base)

              We took a lunch break at Diamond restaurant which was average in taste. We began our return journey towards Vijaydurg and meet 3 riders from the UK. They were on a journey from Mumbai to Goa on cycle. As Renu wanted to visit Vimleshwar temple, we took small break at temple and returned Vijaydurg by 4PM

New Friends...

              For evening, we took a boat ride around the fort to witness the beauty of fort and enjoy the sunset time. We spend an hour on the boat. We missed the sunset due to clouds but the overall experience was good.
We had seafood dinner in the hotel and took rest.

Expenses
  • Water: 10/-
  • Limbu Sarabat: 40/ for 2
  • Lighthouse entry 10/-
  • Camera at Light House: 20/-
  • Lunch at Diamond hotel: 360/-
  • Boat Ride around Fort: 200/- for 2 people
  • Coffee and Biscuit: 35/-
  • Dinner at Hotel: 345/-

Day 4: 23 Oct 2017: Vijaydurg- Pune
               I woke up early in the morning and went to the fort for a walk. Walking on the fort wall and sunrise view from the fort was the perfect start of the day.

Morning Time on Vijaydurg Fort

               I came back and took my MTB for the ride. My destination was a beach (Beach name as per locals is Rameshwar whereas No official name for this beach) which is around 5km from Vijaydurg. GPS location on the beach is 16.552013, 73.322799. Proper road to the beach is not available. As you approach towards the beach, the road becomes narrow and suitable for Bike or Cycle. You need to climb down for last 50-100 meter to reach on the beach. Beach was untouched with white soft sand and Mountains on both ends. I was alone on the beach and it was the very peaceful environment.

Beautiful Beach

My Rockrider on Beautiful Beach

              I left the place after spending 20-30 min. My next destination was Rameshwar temple. DO NOT confuse or link this temple with the Rameshwaram temple from Tamil Nadu.
              Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Temple built in the 16th century and local says that Shivlinga and Lord Ganesh Idol are Pandav Kalin idols. Entrance to Temple is very unique as you need to climb down small hill which was created by Cutting hill during Peshwa empire. As per locals, Temple was expanded three times in 3 different periods. Temple Gabjara ( the place where Idol is placed) was built by Kanhoji Angre (Admiral of Maratha naval fleet). Temple Mandapa and Pradakshina route were built by Sambhaji Angre and Sankhoji Angre (Sons of Kanhoji Angre). Later Entrance gates and entrance route was built by Madhavrao Peshwe along with some modifications in temple structure. Bell at the entrance was brought from Portuguese Ship which was captured by Maratha Navy in one of the successful raids.

Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg
Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg

Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg
Temple Mandapam, Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg

             Famous story (no evidence available) says that Kanhoji Angre was not happy due to set back while leading the naval fleet. Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and requested to fire a cannon fireball. Place where cannon fireball was fall, he found Shivlinga idol. He built the temple which resolved his issues.

Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple
Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple

Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple
Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple

                I returned to the hotel and by 11 AM, we checked out. As Renuka wanted to visit the Temple, we went to Rameshwar Temple. After Temple visit, we decided to have a lunch. We had lunch at restaurant Mayuri (GPS 16.556086, 73.337074). The restaurant serves very delicious seafood and veg meal. They have Thali system which is quite less in price. You should read and implement their rules before having a meal. They strongly believe in "no wastage of Food". It is must visit restaurant if you're close to Vijaydurg.

Mayuri Restaurant, Vijaydurg
Mayuri Restaurant, Vijaydurg

                It's time to start return journey after tasty seafood. We choose Anuskura Ghat road to join Bangalore - Pune national highway. We reached home safely by 9 PM

Anuskura Ghat

Expenses
  • Lunch at Mayuri hotel: 740/-
  • Car petrol: 1000/-
  • Toll-1: 70/-
  • Snacks at Vithal Kamat: 230/-
  • Toll-2: 60/-
  • Toll-3: 85/-

Contact number for reference
  • Hotel Vijaydurg palace: +919764211322.
  • Restaurant Mayuri: Rupesh Javkar +919271886177.

GPS Locations
  • Sherpe-Napne Waterfall: 16.531413, 73.699234
  • Vijaydurg Fort: 16.559851, 73.334897
  • Pural Beach: 16.516536, 73.323227
  • Padel Beach: 16.479880, 73.339976
  • Vimleshwar Shiva Temple: 16.437588, 73.395430
  • Padavane beach: 16.411106, 73.367248
  • Devgad Beach: 16.375761, 73.370622
  • Devgad Fort: 16.386641, 73.373363
  • Un-Named Beach near Vijaydurg: 16.552013, 73.322799
  • Rameshwar Mandir: 16.537954, 73.333866
  • Hotel Mayuri: 16.556086, 73.337074

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Day trip to Saswad and nearby places

We were looking for an offbeat location near Saswad for a day trip. places to visit were not in mind and it was runtime planned drive trip. Travellers for this trip was me and Wife Renuka.

Sangameshwar Temple, Saswad
Sangameshwar Temple, Saswad

There are two ways to reach the base Saswad. One is Pune – Kothrud – Warje bypass – Take a right towards Katraj on bypass highway – Do not go on Navale flyover – Take left side road and take left for Ambegaon – Katraj – At Katraj Chowk, Take right and immediate left for Katraj-Kondhwa road – Bopdev Ghat – Saswad

Another route is Pune – Swargate – join Pune-Solapur highway – Hadapsar – After Magarpatta Chowk do not take Flyover – Take a right turn on flyover for Saswad road (New flyover to take right is completed) - Dive ghat – Saswad.

03 Sept 2017: Pune - Saswad - Panvadi Village - Pune
              On late Saturday evening, we decided to go for a day road drive trip. Monsoon took a break and everything was covered with lush green shade. We woke up the morning by 6 AM and left Pune by 7 AM. It was a pleasant journey to Saswad village via Bopdev ghat. The better route is to go by Dive ghat but we haven't drive via Bopdev so we prefer that route.
               From dive Ghat, you can see Mastani Lake. Mastani was the second wife of Peshwa Baji Rao I. She is said to have been a beautiful and brave woman. It is believed that while in Pune, Mastani used to go for her bath to a lake made by Bajirao, especially for Mastani. The true story is when Mastani went to Saswad area, Villagers requested to her to built Lake for farming purpose. King was not is town and approval process was quite difficult as she was not considered as Queen in Kingdom. She spends her own money to build Lake. To honour her, Village gave a name to the lake as Mastani Lake.

Mastani Lake, Dive Ghat
Mastani Lake, Dive Ghat

              We reached Saswad village and went to Sangameshwar Temple. It is located on the bank of Karha and Chameli river. Temple was built by Yadava's and still persists its old charm. Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. You need to climb around 12-15 steps to reach the temple. Once you entered the temple, you can see old Nandi sculpture in black stone. There is open space around the temple. Temple's Shikhar is curved with many small sculptures. 

Sangameshwar Temple, Saswad

              On entering into Sabhamandap (small hall), you can see a Huge sculpture of colourful Nandi. There is Carved Ganesha on the wall. Temple's Gabhara (Main Room where the idol is placed) consist of Shivlinga. Area nearby temple is beautiful and not too much crowded in the morning time. Loved the ancient temple.

Nandi at Sangameshwar Temple, Saswad
Nandi at Sangameshwar Temple, Saswad

Nandi at Sangameshwar Temple, Saswad
Nandi at Sangameshwar Temple, Saswad

             Our next destination was Changa Vateshwar Temple. it is also commonly known as Vateshwar temple in locals. It is beautiful ancient temple few km away from Saswad and on Saswad-Narayanpur Road. Details information about Changadev and history behind the temple is written on board. Temple has Deepmal outside temple. You can see Nandi and Shivlanga inside the temple. Temple was built in Hemadpanthi style and bit renovated.

Changa Vateshwar Temple, Saswad

Nandi at Changa Vateshwar Temple, Saswad
Nandi at Changa Vateshwar Temple, Saswad
Deepmaal at Changa Vateshwar Temple, Saswad
Deepmaal at Changa Vateshwar Temple, Saswad

               We spend around an hour in the temple area and left for the drive. We took a small route which is just before Changa Vateshwar temple. Route change very scenic and full of curved in the lap of Sahyadri. We drive till Panvadi village. There is no huge waterfall but you can see some beautiful landscapes. You will not find any hotel in this area hence better to carry own food. After spending more than 2 hours on that route, we returned to Saswad-Bhor road.

Road to Panvadi Village

Green Nature

Panvadi Village
Panvadi Village

             We had lunch at Hotel Kamat on Pune-Banglore highway. After lunch, we went towards Bhor. We visited Necklace river point. Due to river curvature, it looks like Necklace. This place was a popular destination for Marathi film shooting. It becomes more famous after showing in the Katyar Kalajat Ghusali film. As we wanted to reach home before sunset, we travel back home safely.

Necklace River Point, Bhor
Necklace River Point, Bhor

There are few other places, which you can cover along with Saswad visit


Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy travelling. 

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Offbeat Vairaatgad trek

I was looking for an offbeat trek with medium endurance and I came across Fort Vairaatgad. I decided to visit the fort on Saturday.
Friend Vishal and Ashutosh with his son Aarush joined me for the trek.

Vairaatgad Fort
Vairaatgad Fort

About Vairaatgad 
Vairaatgad is located 8km away from Wai town. Base village for the fort is Vyajwadi. Fort was used by King Shivaji as a military station. Fort area is small

To reach the base village is Pune - join Mumbai-Bangalore National Highway - cross Khambatki Ghat section - drive till Panchwad village located on the national highway- take right under the bridge - take left at GPS (17.901404, 73.929159) - Vyajwadi village.
Another route is Pune - Join Mumbai-Bangalore National Highway - cross Khambatki Ghat section - take Right for Wai - take left in Wai for Wai-Satara road - take right at GPS (17.901404, 73.929159) - Vyajwadi.

Vairaatgad Fort
Vairaatgad Fort

29 July 2017: Vairaatgad Fort
              Trek was planned on Friday night so it was not possible for us to leave in the early morning. We left at 7:30 AM by car. There was less traffic on highway considering monsoon weekend. We took breakfast break at Shriram Wadapav Center. It is the famous hotel for Wada Pav, Missal, and other snacks.
             After breakfast, we reached Vyajwadi village. There are 3 routes to climb for. Two are from Base Village Vyajwadi and one from opposite side of Vyajwadi. The third route is a longer route with multiple hills to climb before the main fort. We decided to climb fort via Vyajwadi.

Vairaatgad Fort View From Base

               If you are facing towards fort from base village then two routes are from the Left side of the mountain and from right side mountain. Both routes joined before final climb for the fort. There are multiple narrow routes available to climb the fort. We started Climb and after a 60-75 min, we reached the entrance gate. Entrance gate area is in ruined state but you can see bastion and water tanks. After few steps, we reached the top of the Vairaatgad fort.

Way towards Fort entrance...Vairaatgad Fort
A way towards Fort entrance...Vairaatgad Fort

Vairaatgad Fort entrance
Vairaatgad Fort entrance

               Fort top area is very small and can be explored less than an hour. There is small chapatdan Hanuman Temple. It named because of Lord Hanuman's pose to slap the devil that is at his feet. There are around 3-4 small lakes and 1-2 Water trench. There is some ruined fortification available on the fort. View from Fort is breathtaking.

Shiv Temple on the Fort

Lake on the Fort


Lord Maruti Idol

               You can see newly built Shiv temple. There is big shelter to take some rest. We spend around an hour and left the less visited the beautiful vairaatgad fort. It took around an hour to climb down. Few patches are a bit slippery in monsoon but manageable with proper care. We reached home by 5 PM safely ending pleasurable trek in monsoon.

View from Vairaatgad Fort
View from Fort

Lake and Shiv Temple view

View from Vairaatgad Fort
View from Vairaatgad Fort

Things to carry for Vairaatgad Trek:
  • A water bottle to carry at least 2 liters of water. (Water in lake is available during monsoon)
  • Some dry food, in case you didn’t find any suitable food stall 
  • Windcheater/jacket / Barsati during monsoon trek.
  • Do carry instant energizers like Glucon-D or Tang.
  • A towel or napkin and 2-3 old newspapers
  • Camera to capture best nature movement
  • Better avoid wearing Gold and other ornaments. No need to carry heavy cash.

Our Expenses:
  • Car Petrol: INR 800-1000/-
  • Toll: INR 120/- (Returned)
  • Snacks at Shriram: As per Dish (Missal: INR 50, Vada Pav: INR 30 per plate)
  • No Parking charges in Village
  • We had packed food on fort and milk share during the return journey
Village view from Vairaatgad Fort

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling. 

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune