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Hyderabad to Pune, Lohagad, Lonavala and Matheran

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Western Ghats exploration drive meet - Report

 

India is blessed to have the best of landscapes offering enthralling views & jaw dropping backdrops and We throttled down to explore our piece of paradise as we always do it.

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Start point - Gachibowli (ORR)

End point - Pune (Hinjewadi)

Start time - 05:30 a.m.

Total Distance - ~1300 kms

Objective - Western ghats exploration, Matheran, Lonavla and Lohagad.

 

Participants:

 

1) Volks Wagen Polo (Red)

2) Volks Wagen Polo (Red)

3)  Hyundai i20 (Black)

4) Swift Dzire (Pacific Blue)

5) Volks Wagen Ameo (Toffee Brown)

6) Maruti Suzuki Ertiga (Brick Red)

7) Maruti Suzuki SX4 (Azure Grey)

😎 Hyundai Creta (White)

9) Jeep Compass (Red)

 

Route Taken:

Hyderabad (Gachibowli) --> Zaheerabad --> Humnabad --> Solapur --> Indapur --> Hinjewadi (Pune) 

 

Places covered:

1) Lohagad fort

2) Pavna Lake

3) Lonavla, Khandala

4) Matheran

 

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Planning

 

Day 1 Hyderabad to Pune drive details 

 

- Started at 5:30 AM in the morning ( due some delays)

- Breakfast stop at around 7:30 AM at Hotel Mahindra Paradise

https://goo.gl/maps/4ZU7cMJrdkG2

 

- Very few options on this section due to new roads

- Road between Hyderabad to Humnabad is excellent. 

- Humnabad to Solapur is pathetic, some sections are too narrow. 

- Solapur to Pune is excellent, but recently new have installed speed bumps near villages.

 

- We had a lunch break at some road side restaurant. 

- We reached Pune by 6PM.

- According to admins, we are very quick compared to last drive.

- During last drive they reached Pune at 7PM (started at 4AM)

- I think roads improved!

- We checked into Hotel Siesta which is excellent (Frankly, I did not expect such a luxurious rooms for the price)

 

Day 2 : Pune to Lohagad fort 

- We started at 7/8 AM from Pune

- Since our accommodation is in outskirts.

- We reached highway within 10 minutes

- We had breakfast stop Kamat.

- Pune to Lohagad roads are scenic.

- We reached Lohagad, explored the fort and had lunch break.

- We drove to Lonavala, Tiger view point, We are literally above clouds in some sections.

- We reached Pune by night

 

Day 3 : Pune to Matheran

-We repeated the same schedule of Day2, till breakfast.

- We hit the famous Mumbai-Pune expressway

- I can clearly see everyone is pushing their cars, it was pure fun for drivers.

- Best experience of Mumbai-Pune expressway is during monsoon.

- Once we divert from expressway, roads to Mahteran are pathetic. 

- It took us hours to complete 80 kilometres. 

- I loved Mathern, they don't even allow cycles.

- Only transport option by walk or horse.

- Hotels on the hill top are below average.

- While driving back we reached pretty quick on the same route. 

- We reached to Pune to 9PM

 

Day 4 : Pune to Hyderabad

- Drive is was uneventful

-  It is similar to Day1

 

Apart from 1 Polo puncture, drive is fantastic throughout four days.

 

Drive 

Hyderabad : Solapur : Pune : Lohagad fort : Lonavala : Pune : Matheran : Pune : Solapur : Hyderabad

 

Road condition:

Hyderabad to Solapur : 

Hyderabad to Humnabad is good and Humnabad to Solapur is bad 

 

Solapur to Pune :

Very good, but i have seen some uneven sections, It is no where close to Hyderabad-Bangalore sections

 

Pune to Lohagad:

Road are narrow scenic and good

 

Loahagad to Lonavala

Roads are bad

 

Lonavala to Pune

Road are excellent

 

Pune to Matheran 

It is a mix of good and pathetic roads

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Day - 1 : Hyderabad to Hinjewadi (Pune)

 

All the members attending the drive have assembled at the start point by 5:15 a.m. and the drive kicked-off by 5:30 a.m. after a brief introductory session about the rules and the convoy positions during the drive.

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A customary regroup stop which we do take after every Toll exit.

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Breakfast stop at Mahindra Paradise, Zaheerabad.

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After a sumptuous meal, our drive continued on the same highway.

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Following the respective convoy positions, we raced towards Solapur.

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Running under the defined speed limit, we never missed to fall out of this convoy.

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Being a part of this group for my first long drive, this factor has amazed me to a certain extent.

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We had stopped by for lunch at Sai Sagar restaurant on the Solapur - Pune highway around 2 p.m. The place was very decent with a small lawn, decent washrooms and tasty food.

We further continued our towards our stay at 'Siesta Business Hotel' in Hinjewadi (Pune).

It was wrap for Day - 1.

 

 

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Day - 2 : Hinjewadi - Lohagad - Pavna Lake - Lonavla - Khandala - Hinjewadi

 

After a relaxed morning, Our drive was scheduled to start by 7:30 a.m. towards Lohagad with a breakfast stop at Vithal Kamat. Food was very tasty and we had posed for our first group picture :) 

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We stopped by a very small waterfall enroute Lohagad before we had taken the actual ascent towards the destination. Shiva posing with his Red Compass :) 

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And the drive towards Lohagad continued.. Monsoon and the forts around Pune are a mind-blowing combination but the weather that day has not been to our favour. :( 

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We had stopped by a deserted road en-route for a short photo session before we reached the destination.

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All of them piled up!

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Srikanth is one proud owner of his SX4. Never misses out on a chance to praise her. :D 

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The weather was too bright and harsh on our eyes that morning while we climbed up the hill until we had reached the base of the fort :( 

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By 10 a.m., our simple trek up the Lohagad fort has begun with a stairway climb.

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Everyone got involved in bagging some memories through clicks and poses for a while.

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Lohagad turned out to be a pretty easy climb

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How far does it look green? This far and it just looked splendid!  

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No matter how costly you built your house, it is not as cool as this! Period :D 

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All of us have shared some cheerful moments clicking pictures, prolonged fun talks, enjoying the beautiful vistas while we explored the fort

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We waited if the sky if it could show how it cries but it just didn't happen and the temperatures were just soared by time as we trekked up.

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And the rest amidst our trek looked like a reasonable statement to pose for a pic :D 

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Contd..

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The steps at Lohagad are quite steep and quite testing on the knees, but the natural beauty takes away a lot of pain. Rakesh poses while he climb up the stairs.

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Going up, one can’t help but stop, not just because you would be short of breath, to take in the fresh air and enjoy the lush green view around

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@Asher and @Ranger on the move!

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A beautiful vista from a view point enroute the trek.

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We took our time to reach the top of the fort and made it successfully after an hour.

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The last gate opens up in a huge courtyard.

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There is a temple, a dargah and a small pond at this place. At this point on can get on the ramparts and look below to fully appreciate how far of the trek has been accomplished. But this was not our destination, we had to reach the end of the Scorpion’s tail.

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It was quite scary as there were no rails to catch on and it looked like a free fall.

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We passed through a meadow of lush green grass and more ponds

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Ashok tried capturing a short under water life in that pond in his GoPro.

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So after a short rest, we started trekking again until the Scorpion's Tail.

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The Lush green meadows on the courtyard was a treat to eyes bearing colourful flowers as we explored it all by foot.

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This huge tank, the one made by Nana Phadnavis would store enough water for a garrison for more than a year.

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As we go up north we saw strip of land extending which took us to the buruj (watch tower). It is the extreme end of the fort.

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The mountain extended like a scorpion’s tail so the name.

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After spending some time there, we came down via the same route.

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@pavanbandari @shiva and @Anil pose for a pic by a beautiful pond between the colourful meadows :) 

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By the time we reached the Lohagadwadi, we were very hungry. We stopped by a decent restaurant and had a sumptuous meal before be headed to Lonavla 

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Lonavla and Khandala drive was totally covered in Fog and Mist. We could hardly see the car ahead of us while we drove.

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We took a short break at the Lion's view point in Lonavla and enjoyed the time spent at the place having interesting conversations :) 

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We drove further to stop by a clearer place which was not foggy

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We had finally reached a point where the Fog got cleared and spent some time clicking pictures before we headed back to our stay :) 

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Final snap of the day before we wrapped up :D End of Day-2!

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Day - 3 :

 

After we had our breakfast at Vithal Kamat the next morning, We raced on to the Mumbai - Pune Expressway. The weather also looked very supportive with rain alongside and it seemed to us like the monsoon for the first time during this trip. :D 

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A drive in the monsoon rain can never get better, especially when you are surrounded by such scenic vistas all around

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A quick stop to regroup all the cars as we took a diversion towards Karjat exit from the Expressway.

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After crossing Karjat and then Neral, we took the ascent up the hill towards Matheran.

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The most unforgettable things about Matheran are deep forest and valleys surrounding it with abundant waterfalls specially in rainy season.

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Matheran in local language means "Forest at the top" covers 8 square kms in Sahyadri mountain range. This beautiful place has 28 viewing points which gives splendid panoramic 360 view of surrounding ghats and valleys with breathtaking sunrise & sunset views. We started trail in to this forest once we reached the place.

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An experience of climbing up the ridge and then walking through the dense forest on a misty trail is really wonderful and mesmerizing.

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With cool breeze and beautiful landscape around the small village adding to zeal, everyone was charged up to go climbing to Matheran

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And if you are tired, you can rent for a horse instead of walking. Be ready to bargain well on the price. They are known for looting around :D 

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While we waited for the rest of the crew to join us before we had taken a different lane deep in to the woods. :) 

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View from the Monkey hill point

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It is named as Monkey for sightings of monkey at this place. If one makes a noise or sound facing Hart Cliff, it echoes back nearly six/seven times and the echo is distinct, clear and full.

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The trail deep into the woods was quite long and tiring but we could just forget it all because of the beautiful views this place has offered to us.

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Most of the homes and resorts which previously existed in this place have not been functioning presently.

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The climb was not strenuous but passed through some dense forest and thick undergrowth.

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Climbing steadily on narrow edges with valleys was difficult at some spots.

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The view of the valley and other peaks including Garbett point of Matheran was nothing less than spectacular.

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A group pic of the whole crew :) 

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@ksa171983 and @Noel with @Ranger

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We have entered the Market place to find a hotel for our lunch break. Very few decent options existed in here.

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A train ride is also available which rides for 2 hours to do this full track through forest on this hill. We drove back to Hinjewadi after finishing up with the Matheran trek.

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The next day, We have started back to our base from Pune.

Cheers everyone! I had a wonderful time this whole trip and have enjoyed every bit of it. Both the drive and trek have been super fun while the members have made it even more joyful. :) 

 

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Beautiful Naldurg fort wall captured en-route Hyderabad.

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Cheers again until we meet up for the next drive meet. The wait has already begun :)  Drive Safe!

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Nice drive report @Prem. It truly has been another wonderful drive meet. The whole team has so cheerful and energetic despite having it all hectic at times.

Thank you so very much for making this meet a grand success. Cheers! :) 

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Awesome report Prem

 

Thank you all for making the drive successful.

 

Members : 23

Cars : 9 

 

I think this is the first drive where most of the members are new. 

Everyone contributed in their own way to make the drive successful!

 

Sharing few memories from my end,

 

Lohagad fort trek 

 

Driving into the clouds (Lonavala) 

 

Drive between Pune to Matherean on the expressway with lush surroundings is super fun.
Not talking about the bad patch once we divert form the expressway. 🙃

 

Can't forget the episodes between Ashwin(Rana) and Kids.

It was great fun.

Sarcastic guide in Matheran(Raj)

 

Night drive from Matheran to Pune

 

List goes on..

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I keep Missing drives due to other unavoidable priorities.

I hope will join in your next drives.

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Perfect Report Prem and pictures are very lively as well. 

 

Could you please add some details about the road conditions apart from 180 km stretch from Hyderabad,Solapur-Pune and Mumbai-Pune Express highway ?

 

Nice report @Prem it was a fantastic drive meet. 

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9 hours ago, BORNDRIVER said:

Mumbai-Pune

 

It is expressway, views are fantastic during monsoon. 

 

9 hours ago, BORNDRIVER said:

Hyderabad,Solapur

 

Hyderabad to Solapur still has around 70 kilometres of bad patch. 

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Looks like you guys had lot of fun.
Kicking myself for missing it. 

 

Those 3 red cars are fantastic posers.

 

I have done similar trip in 2010,

 

How is Matheran, any improvement in facilities? 

 

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Matheran is a complete commercial spot if you are going to the regular route. I have done Matheran by trek in 2012. It was completely isolated. We haven't climbed this commercial cliff back then. But, it was fun as always as we have done it in a group :) 

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There are 3 - 4 trek routs..the one we choosed was really fun...

 

On 10/11/2018 at 5:44 PM, sahil said:
There are 3 - 4 trek routs..the one we choosed was really fun...

I think we treked thru Ambewadi village.

 

On 10/11/2018 at 5:28 PM, sagar said:
Matheran is a complete commercial spot if you are going to the regular route. I have done Matheran by trek in 2012. It was completely isolated. We haven't climbed this commercial cliff back then. But, it was fun as always as we have done it in a group  

I did Matheran trek in July. It's like Bahubali movie water fall trek. Lots of fun and little risky as well. Lots of fun.
Also did 14km round on Matheran hill from morning to evening...in a continuous heavy rain. Lots of view points...stayed in girivihar resort..
Do this in rainy season...you will feel Matheran...

 

On 10/11/2018 at 5:28 PM, sagar said:
Matheran is a complete commercial spot if you are going to the regular route. I have done Matheran by trek in 2012. It was completely isolated. We haven't climbed this commercial cliff back then. But, it was fun as always as we have done it in a group  

I did Matheran trek in July. It's like Bahubali movie water fall trek. Lots of fun and little risky as well. Lots of fun.
Also did 14km round on Matheran hill from morning to evening...in a continuous heavy rain. Lots of view points...stayed in girivihar resort..
Do this in rainy season...you will feel Matheran...

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