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sagar

Hyderabad to Pune, Lonavala, Khandala, Lavasa and Raigad Fort Road Trip

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Hyderabad - November 21st - 2015

All I've been waiting for a week since i had this new 'White-Fang' enter my family is to get it serviced and kick long.

 

Haven't really taken it out on the highways, but I've been completely happy maneuvering it in the city and Now, is the time when i had this recipe ready...

 

My new Hyundai Creta and the Western ghats calling to throw in a good measure on the nature's lap.
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Having decided to drive through the ghats around Pune, I freezed on to few places adding a flavor of off-roading in relative comfort as i am a total newbie as far as off-roading is concerned.

 

Not knowing if you can call this off-roading or not, but yeah I have put up my experience on different terrains i had come across the drive.

 

Itinerary:

Day 1 : Hyderabad - Pune (Pimpiri Chinchwad)

 

Day 2 : Pimpiri - Lonavla - Khandala - Lavasa - Pimpiri

 

Day 3 : Pimpiri - Raigad Torna - Pimpiri

 

Day 4 : Pune - Hyderabad

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Day -1:

Place : Hyderabad - Pune - Pimpiri Chinchwad (Base Point)

 

Drive : Hyundai Creta 1.6 Diesel SxAvg.

 

Mileage : 18 KmplDistance : ~550 kms

 

Drive time : 11 hours (Including a Lunch break)

 

Stay: OYO Rooms

 

Route Taken & Best Route:

 

Hyderabad (Hi-tech city Start point) ---> Zaheerabad (Via Sangareddy) ---> Solapur ---> Pune city ---> Pimpiri Chinchwad

 

All tanked up, we started off late around 8:00 a.m. when the sun just started to shine bright maintaining the leisurely pace passing the spate of small towns between Hyderabad and Zaheerabad towards Solapur. Kicking off late turned out to be a huge disadvantage between this stretch for obvious reasons with heavy a truck traffic on the narrow 2 lane road. As the road repair work is in progress, there were a number of diversions and odd potholes and craters throughout.

 

Every vehicle plying on the route were driving zig-zag forcing each other to fall in hell-hole. This stretch of the road until we reached Solapur is wide enough like a 3-lane road which could offer decent overtaking opportunities considering less truck traffic.

 

As we moved close to Solapur, we pass by the Naldurg fort which seemed impressive and deserves a dedicated visit sometime soon.

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Sticking on to the Mumbai highway, we bifurcated to take the beautiful Solapur - Pune Highway

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We stopped by for a quick snap as 'The White Fang' poses over the flawless Solapur - Pune highway.

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We had entered the Pune City traffic around 7:00 p.m. and reached our hotel for the night's stay in Pimpiri Chinchwad by 8:30 p.m.

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Day -2:

Place : Pimpiri Chinchwad (Base Point) - Lonavla - Khandala - Lavasa - Pimpiri Chinchwad

 

Drive : Hyundai Creta 1.6 Diesel Sx

 

Avg. Mileage : 16 Kmpl

 

Distance : ~170 kms

 

Drive time : 6 hours

 

Route Taken:

Pune (Pimpiri) ---> Lonavla - Lions point (Khandala) ---> Ghusalkhamb ---> Aamby valley ---> Ghusalkhamb ---> Lavasa ---> PimpiriAvoid Ghusalkhamb ---> Lavasa if you are driving a sedan.Alternative route which suits any car : Pune ---> Lavasa ---> Pune

 

The next morning we had started off late after a leisurely breakfast at Pimpiri around 9:00 a.m. towards Lonavla, assuming that it would take about 2 hours to cover that 70 kms distance considering the horrendous city traffic.

 

We had stopped by this view point in Lonavala to click our first shot of Day-02 on our way to the Lion point

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One of the first glimpses from the first stop at the Lonavala view point

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As I moved ahead towards the Lion point, I had stopped by to get a snap of the Mumbai - Pune expressway

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Hair-pin bend en-route where one needs to stay cautious during his drive

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As we drove past a small stretch of the Mumbai - Pune expressway

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Drove through a small tunnel en-route to the 'Lion point'

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En-route to the Lion point, I drove past the 'Shivsagar' lake which looked absolutely dry because of the drought this season.

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I felt sad for the plastic littered all around the place and its ill maintenance at the Lion point parking area. Car parking fee: 100 INR

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Few clicks shot at the Lion point area which is one of the prominent tourist spots in Lonavala

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Lion point at Lonavala is one the most scenic spots which lies between the Bhushi dam and Aamby Valley

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On our way back from the Lion point while we headed towards our next destination, we have stopped by a few places in Khandala sliding down off the regular tarmac into a rocky dry grassland to test the vehicle dynamics and a photo shoot.

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'The White Fang' stopped by to flex his muscles posing around for a small shoot amidst the deserted grassland

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Off-roading over this wide terrain, spending countless moments wondering how stunningly beautiful the wilderness around is, definitely one hell of an experience that i have had at the moment.

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I am sure this an attractive proposition though the vegetation around ensures that its not all rosy!

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After a short offroading stint through the rocky grass tracks, I made my way out to greet the smooth tarmac

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Looking back at it looked so calm and easy, the 'Lion point' was still at our sight but now we know better!

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After carefully negotiating all the craters and ditches, I pulled out to a point where I was greeted with what felt like paradise to my eyes - 'A smooth road and a kilometer stone indicating the distance to Lavasa'.

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Fresh tarmac is being laid between Lonavala and Aamby Valley which has been simply a dream road to drive in these stretches.

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I made sure I never missed out on any opportunity to get a click of my drive across the mountains or being surrounded by nature.

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Reached Amby valley and to my disappointment, found out that there is nothing much one can do there without a membership or an ownership. Nevertheless the drive was very pleasing to eyes and we headed towards Lavasa.

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Alas, most of the distance is however devoid of a proper surface and instead of coasting, you need to carefully and slowly negotiate the road by its width and its oncoming traffic.

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Road to the next destination i.e; Lavasa via Aamby valley was restricted and unknown to my head until the security at the Amby valley enlightened us.

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Having gone through the 'Offline Google maps' which was introduced just a day ago by then, has served the purpose after being lost in a deserted place like Ghusalkhamb.

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We had 2 options left to reach Lavasa after going through the google maps, We either had to take the forest narrow road via Ghusalkhamb to reach Lavasa Entry gate or go back to Pune and drive down to Lavasa.

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I decided to take the road via Ghusalkhamb, Initially the track between the forest was fairly simple which worsened by distance with deep ruts and ditches. I maintained the speed as it was a 2WD high ground clearance vehicle which seemed to manage the track having a lot of potholes of various shapes and depths which made working out the route quite difficult.

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We were left with no alternative but to cross the rocky bed as best as I could. Some deft maneuvering as the oodles of torque from the vehicle helped me come out of the potholes successfully. Definitely not a route to be taken if you are driving a sedan or any low ground clearance vehicle.

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It was 6:30 p.m. in the evening and dark already by the time we had reached Lavasa which is called the 'India's planned hill city'.

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The 'Waterfront Shaw' apartments offer a wonderful view of the Warsagaon lake and the beautiful Lavasa town

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Few glimpses that I had managed to capture in the dark during a short time when i had experienced the beauty of this french city.

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After a sumptuous dinner at Lavasa, I drove back to Pune with a heavy heart . Cherishing over this auspicious start to my drive out, i retired for the night early keeping in mind the major off road drive lined up for the next day.

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Day -3:

Place : Pimpiri Chinchwad (Base Point) - Raigad fort (Via Old fort road)

 

Drive : Hyundai Creta 1.6 Diesel SxAvg.

 

Mileage : 15 KmplDistance : 140~ kms

 

Drive time : 4 hours

 

Route Taken:

 

Pune (Pimpiri chinchwad) ---> Tamhini ---> Bhagad ---> Nizampur (Take left for offroading. Strictly avoid this if you are driving a sedan) --->Pachad Road ---> Raigad Fort ---> Pimpiri

 

Best Route:

 

Pune (Start point) - Tamhini - Bhagad - Nizampur - Mangaon - Kemburli - Raigad Road - Raigad Fort

 

I had been wishing to visit Raigad since long, but as a matter of fact it never materialized and today finally an opportunity.

 

Yet again, the new mountains that gave me the same sense of fulfillment.The Rajgad fort was Chatrapati Shivaji's one of the safest of all.

 

The location and architecture was such that any enemy approaching towards the fort can be seen from a distanceThis fort, rises 820 meters (2,700 ft) above sea level, is located in the 'Sahyandri' mountain range.

 

There are approximately 1400–1450 steps leading to the fort, though today a rope-way exists to reach the top of the fort.

 

After the breakfast at the hotel, I had started off my drive towards rope-way point at base of the Raigad fort hill.

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I had stopped by for some quick snaps of the road conditions en-route to the base of the rope way point

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I decide to drive all the way till the peak, roads are in bad shape past this and also narrow. You need to check vehicles coming in the opposite side ahead and wait at wider sections of road to let them pass.

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I had reached to a point where I was surrounded by grass fields all around as the sun peeks from the top and the golden rays made everything look so warm and welcoming

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A steep and bumpy ghat section and a pretty good off road track paved with rocks all through

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I just loved the way it drove all the roads

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Hatchbacks and low GC cars are highly not advisable to take this route. Also there are no hotels, no food joints, no petrol pumps nor puncture shops

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Jeepers can climb up and down the cliffs, in the jungles and deep ruts without worrying about a ding here.I being a soft roadster till date gained threw my complete trust on the claddings around.

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As I had reached the rope way base point, I purchased a token which costed 200 INR / head and had a proper 'Maharashtrian lunch' Jhunka Bhakri' & ' Thecha'. By the time I got done with my lunch it was my turn to take the rope-way up the hill. The route forkets in to two. One pointed up hill. Another started climbing down hill.

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Few glimpses during our rope-way ride up the hill. We experienced some thrilling and breathtaking views throughout the ride.

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After we got down the rope-way car, The Huge Pali Darwaja was stood elegantly to welcome us

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Fort is mesmerizing with his natural beauty & raw attraction

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It was a gradual walk of crossing numerous hillocks in the fort arranged like a wave by nature.

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Zooming down from the "Queen's place" viewpoint

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Offices Of Ministers On Raigad Fort

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Bale killa at Raigad fort

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As usual, like I have seen, a fort is incomplete without a difficult patch.

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Statue of 'Shivaji Maharaj' at Raigad fort

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The market place - Raigad fort

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The mountains around were hazily visible because of winter fog.

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The ridge between hill to hill was splendid & breathtaking and the view from top was so awesome

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It was a sight to gasp the way as we jumped all through the descend until we reached the point. There were protective rails on the side of valley.

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As we cautiously made our way through the road we had to get down at places and move the rocks from the landslides.

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The original Chattri of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj

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I knew I have found what was missing in life. At times we realize that we missed something so much only after discovering it. This sounds crazy, but its true.

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One cannot help but want to share this joy with others.

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Day -4:

Next day I started the return leg leisurely taking my own sweet time to drive back to Hyderabad. I had started back home around 9:00 a.m. after breakfast taking the same route back and got home by 8:30 p.m. as I had to face a lot of truck traffic throughout and road diversions between Solapur to Sangareddy.

 

This has eaten up a lot of time during the drive back.But, the interesting thing about coming back home after a long journey is that nothing changes, You realize what has changed is you and we can call this an experience to cherish for.

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Another amazing travel story with beautiful pictures.:clap:

Holiday mood is ON. Waiting for the month end :D

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Awesome pictures.It is so refreshing to read.

Creta is looking too good in that dry grass background.

gowtham said:
Another amazing travel story with beautiful pictures.:clap:

Holiday mood is ON. Waiting for the month end :D

Me too,Cant concentrate on work. Searching places for December trip.

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Great write up as always with really good pictures :clap::clap:. Pune and its surrounding places are still on my list of places to cover.

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Though the place doesn't seem to be green...it still looks very beautiful....Your travel diary really has a great collection...High time you guys plan for meet ups and take us along for such amazing drives....!! 

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Excellent pictures @sagar

Next time plan the drive during monsoon.

Looks like you took the routes less traveled. But it is always fun to explore unknown places.

Thank you for sharing cheers!flag -Drive

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uday said:
Excellent pictures @sagar

Next time plan the drive during monsoon.

Looks like you took the routes less traveled. But it is always fun to explore unknown places.

Thank you for sharing cheers!flag -Drive

 

yeah, this has been my first so called offroading experience :cool: and it was great fun

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@Sagar.....Amazing bro!!:shock: I was like in Mumbai for like over a decade and must have travelled around the Western Ghats innumerable times......Never seemed so beautiful before....The pics look awesome like always....:D ....Keep it up....flag

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Awesome write up. Pics speaks more than words and you seems to be very good at photography. Added the trip to 'To Do' list :)

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