The final place that we went to was Sinhagad. Originally it was planned that we will do the trekking from below to the Fort above (estimated at around 40 mins or so) and I was promised that it would be an easy one. But since we weren’t sure of the place we used the GPS and it took us directly to the entrance of the Fort. I was the only one who had a huge sigh of relief and thanked the GPS (I was not very sure of the trek what with my knee giving me problems). But to compensate that, the walk around the Fort was for almost 2.5 hours. It doesn’t look like it at first, but then when we kept going the path never seemed to end at all. It was a huge circle and it was on the top of a hill, so we could see the range of mountains and other hills for a very long stretch. Here are some photo’s from that place.
Matheran – A Place totally cut off from the usual ways of living. And its closed during the peak monsoon season. It is more close to nature. There are no vehicles allowed. You have a train but it was not in working condition when we had been there. After a particular point, the phone signals stopped working too. You need to park your vehicle in the Parking lot (which itself is in a very steep location) and from there entry to the other places (hotels, market, view points) is through hand pulled carts or horses (and a 40 min ride on a horse for the first time is very scary and painful, but again another experience in my life done with. Yay!!!) Our Hotel was called The Veranda in the Forest and being an heritage hotel, we felt like royalty. Food was amazing. Many view points were close by. And if you need to visit the far off places, you need to hire horses. Felt very close to nature and the place was sort of empty when we were there so our mini-trekking was relaxed and nice. Sad that we planned it only for 2 days.
Primary mode of transport
Veranda in the forest – Hotel
Heavy rains in the evening
Felt like royalty
Charlotte Lake – Sunrise
Playful dogs @ echo point
Honeymoon Point (wonder why it is named so)
A short cut to Louisa Point
View from Louisa Point
Third stop of our trip was to a beach place called Alibagh This was the place that was meant for beach views , sunsets and some relaxation in the resort by the pool side (where I completed my Red Wedding reading and had that very emotional moment). There are three beaches in these photos and most of them were empty (just how I like them and this time it wasn’t less crowded, it was plain empty), except for the one where we saw some fishermen trying their hands at catching small crabs. Otherwise it was like our private beach. Thanks to my friend, who is nicknamed ‘dog whisperer’ by another friend 😉 ( I really like that name btw) a dog was always with us (its like ‘Wherever he goes, a dog follows’) escorting us the whole time we were there. And by the time we were about to leave the place, it would vanish into the bushes.
We were in need of some relaxation after our little adventure.
Empty Beach, Colorful Sunset
Sunrise and Fishermen @ work
Another empty beach
View from my room
When the rain started
The second stop of the trip was to Kolad. The sole purpose of visiting this place was to do the River Rafting on Kundalika River, which has rapids of grade 3 at this time and during the peak monsoon, you can get rapids of grade 4 and 5 too, according to the guide. But the best is in Rishikesh, according to the guide, if you are too adventurous. My first river rafting experience, and for someone who doesn’t know swimming, it was a great experience. We were just three of us to paddle and we got a short and quick session on the commands and how to paddle in case of rapids and stuff like that. It was very cool and surprisingly I didn’t have any pain later after all that paddling. The first time the guide stopped us between rapids in a place, he told, ‘madam abhi paani mein jayegi’ (Madam will go into the water). For that madam, that is me, replied ‘madam kahin nahi jayegi’ (Madam will not go anywhere). He laughed and said that if I felt afraid to do it here there is yet another place where the water is much more still and calm. I said how much ever he wishes that we all get into the water, I won’t. But then the other two went into the water and was calling me to try it at least once. After a lot of thought, I decided that ‘what the hell, let me just get this another experience over with’ and was trying to get into the water very gracefully, when suddenly I found myself in it. That guide seeing how much I was trying to avoid it sort of gave a slight push. But I know that without that I wouldn’t have done it. I would have crawled back again to my place and sat tight. I am grateful to him for that. And it took a very long time for me to relax. I didn’t let go of the rope he gave me which was tied to the boat and a lot of assurances from him that he will be there to save me in case of any eventualities (in spite of him being just half my size). And I was in the water for almost 20-30 mins, most of it with me lying flat in the water and straining my neck to keep my head from not getting pushed into the water. But after all that drama, I did it and it felt really really good, even if I may not do it again if you ask me now. Realized how damn afraid I am of getting into the water and how it felt good to let go of that fear for sometime. Yay!!!
Damn! I was proud of myself that day.
Where Khaas Plateau was for colors and flowers, this place was for a little adventure.
Starting up early
Mist still covering the roads
When cleared, got the mountain ranges in view
Crossed the Kundalika River
Start of the River Rafting
Other groups joining in
View from our raft
First stop of the trip was to Kaas Plateau, which was on the way to Pune. It would have been a beautiful sight if it was full of blooming flowers, which it will be in spring. Since this is sort of out of season, we had very less, yet lovely variety of flowers in this valley. A very beautiful place.