The best adventures arise from the moments when we least expect them.
Did this ever happen to you? It sure happened to me recently and I am so glad it did 🙂 I moved to Pune in August 2013 and after some time I registered on meetup.com. I joined various groups and I kept receiving emails about various Meetups, but I couldn’t attend any one of them. Maybe because I was a lazy bum that time 😉 Anyways, came June 2014 and I joined a couple of travel Meetup groups. There are many beautiful places around Pune and I wanted to visit some of them. Joining a Meetup group seemed a good option to visit those places and make some new friends.
In July I received an email about a Meetup planned by one of the groups. It said ‘Monsoon drive to Tamhini Ghat’. This place was on my mind and I definitely wanted to visit it. Some information about the place. Tamhini Ghat is a mountain passage located between Mulshi and Tamhini. It is noted for its surroundings, scenic waterfalls, lakes and dense woods. The ghat stretches almost 15 km. (Source: Wikipedia)
The plan was to visit Tamhini Ghat, surrounding places and have fun. The group limit was 8 people as the organizer planned for two cars which would be used for car pooling. I RSVPed myself and I was on the waiting list as 8 people had already registered 😦 I contacted Vijay, who organized the Meetup and he said there was no seat left. Darn it! It was Saturday night and I thought as I wouldn’t be going to Tamhini, I’d watch a movie or two and sleep later.
One of my roommates, Mrudang, with whom I went to Sinhagad fort, had visited Tamhini on Saturday itself and he was admiring the place. I wished I could visit it too. I was preparing dinner for me and my phone was in the other room. After dinner, I noticed there were 5 missed calls from Vijay. I called him back (with a ray of hope) and he asked me if I would like to join as two guys backed out. I said hell yeah! We’re on, baby!
Vijay lives pretty close to my place and he said he’d pick up me as we’d be traveling via his car. So, I woke up at around 5.30 am and got ready for the trip. Vijay picked up me from the place we decided. So there I was in Vijay’s car fully geared up for my first ever Meetup! We’d have some more people joining with us and they’d be joining us from other places. Vijay started telling me about his travel experiences and I must say he is an experienced traveler. He’s been to a lot of places and he just loves traveling. Awesome! Love to travel with such people. On the way he told me that a girl, who was supposed to join, dropped out last moment and so he called me up. Well, thanks for that, stranger 😀
We picked up Dinesh, who was about to leave the corporate world to follow his passion of portrait photography. Cool! We got a photographer with us. We’d get some amazing pics 🙂 Then we were on our way to Baner, from where we’d pick up Vamsi. En route Dinesh showed us a beautiful cemetery in Kirkee. We passed by the cemetery and in those fleeting moments I just got a glance of it. Man, I was so amazed to see such a beautiful cemetery. I made a mental note to check it out soon. Vamsi joined us and we headed for our next stop Chandni Chowk. Yea, even Pune has got one!
There were 3 other members (Shwetha, Smruti & someone whose name I forgot) who were traveling by another car and were going to join us from Chandni Chowk. It was decided we’d gather at another place which was a little ahead of Chandni Chowk. So, finally those guys reached at decided place and we headed to a place called Paradise Cafe. It was Vijay’s suggestion we’d have our breakfast there. As you say, boss 😉 Also, he said that there is trail from that place which leads to Mulshi lake and we would spend some time there. Sounds good.
So, we were driving through beautiful scenery and the trip had just started. We reached the cafe, introduced ourselves to each other and then ordered Aloo parathas, which were pretty tasty. It’s a nice cafe, which can be easily missed if one is not paying attention while driving towards Tamhini ghat. We had reached there quite early and there was no one but us. I checked out the cafe and noticed that there was a bookshelf. I found out a novel by Sidney Sheldon and I decided I’d buy that one. After the breakfast we walked through the trail and we found ourselves at Mulshi lake. The view from there was really beautiful. It was raining and there were hills and a dam around. We liked the place so much, we thought there was no need to go anywhere.
However, there were even more beautiful views waiting for us! We left Paradise cafe and headed to another place, which as per Vijay, was way better than our previous spot. Well, lead our way Vijay. You’re the leader 🙂 I noticed a board that said “Fort Ghangadh”. We made a right turn from there and we drove uphill. We stopped at a place where we could see nothing but a road, thick forest and a trail in the forest.
We clicked some pics there and headed to the next spot which was just nearby. We reached the place and I just can’t describe how beautiful it was. But, I am gonna try anyways. If you’ve seen the movie Avatar then you might be able to recall a scene in which they’re flying in a chopper and there are rocks in the air. The place was something like that (except those rocks in the air). It was a place from where you could see a waterfall from the top dropping to a couple of hundred meters and there was another waterfall across the hill. Just imagine that! There was a big rock at one end from where you could see the waterfall across, all the way down was a water stream flowing and nothing but natural beauty all around. To reach the rock one had to walk through the fall and there were slippery stones on the way. Better be careful! The view from that place is quite fantastic. Check it out.
We enjoyed at that place so much and clicked plenty of pics. I guess it is called steep valley and it is steep indeed! It was one of the best places I’ve been so far my trips this monsoon. Kudos to Vijay for finding that spot 🙂 I just didn’t want to leave from that place. Alas, we had to move on. So, then we drove downhill and back on track to Tamhini ghat. The plan was simple. Enjoy the drive through the ghat and spot waterfalls along the way. Now, since we’re talking about waterfalls it wouldn’t be an awesome trip without a bath in a waterfall, would it? Yeah, it was on the list.
So, we were enjoying the drive through the scenic ghat and because it was Sunday, there were plenty of people. Vijay was trying to locate one of the falls he knew which wouldn’t be crowded like other falls. But, it seemed that all the falls were equally crowded. Finally, we stopped at one the falls which wasn’t crowded much. Vijay & I wanted to take a bath under the fall so we went for it. Out of the car, into the fall 😉 Ya, I just made that up. The water was gushing and it was cold. But, it was so much fun \m/.
Phew, what a bath! It was around 2.30 or 3 pm and all of us were getting hungry. We had decided we’d hit Paradise cafe for lunch. When we reached the cafe, it was packed. Luckily, we got ourselves a table and ordered some food. We knew it would take time for our order to reach out table. So, we checked out the store there. It was not open when we were there earlier for breakfast. The owner was there and he showed some amazing stuff to us. He had some really cool knives, swords, bags, trekking stuff, shoes and lots of other things. Vijay told him I wanted to buy a book which I mentioned earlier and the guy offered a nice discount. Cool!
The food arrived and we just attacked it like starved soldiers! You know, when it’s time for some really good food, two hands and one mouth just ain’t enough 😉 It was a delicious lunch and man, we enjoyed it a lot. Good trip, good food and good company. That’s a splendid combination and a key ingredient for a day well spent 🙂 Clicked some more pics there, bid adieu to the place and we headed back to Pune.
Thanks to Dinesh for the wonderful pics and Vijay for planning such an amazing trip 🙂