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Hyderabad to Mahabaleshwar & Panchgani, Road trip, Monsoon Drive

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'Hyderabad to Mahabaleshwar , Panchgani' - Monsoon Drive Meetup - October 8th and 11th 2016
 

Start point - Gachibowli (ORR)

End point - Panchgani hill top (Accommodation)

Start time - 4 :15 a.m.

Total Distance - ~610 kms

Objective - A monsoon drive meet to Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani during a long festive weekend.

 

Participants:

 

1) Maruthi Suzuki Swift

2) Volks Wagen Polo

3) Hyundai Creta (Red)

4) Hyundai Creta (White)

 

Route Taken:

Option 1 

Hyderabad (Gachibowli) --> Pargi --> Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) --> Baramati (Via Akkalkot) --> Solapur --> Indrapur --> Panchgani (Via Wai) --> Mahabaleshwar

Single lane road till Solapur, but some sections are super good and some are average, no potholes. 

 

Option 2

Hyderabad (Gachibowli) --> Zaheerabad --> Solapur --> Indapur--> Panchgani (Via Wai) --> Mahabaleshwar

Last 100 kilometers before Solapur is pathetic, road is filled with potholes.

 

Option 3

Hyderabad (Gachibowli) --> Zaheerabad -->Humnabad --> Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) --> Baramati (Via Akkalkot) --> Solapur --> Indapur --> Panchgani (Via Wai) --> Mahabaleshwar

Smoothest and longest of all. 

 

While you are coming back, would suggest you to take following route, so that you can cover KAS, valley of flowers.

Mahabaleshwar --> KAS --> Satara --> Pandharpur --> Solapur --> Kalaburagi (Gulbarga) --> Humnabad --> Zaheerabad --> Hyderabad (Gachibowli)

Cover Pic: 

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Places to visit in Panchgani:

Panchgani is a pseudo head quarter for the parasailing which is conducted through out the year except during the monsoons.

1) Table Land

2) Parsi Point

3) Sydney Point

4) Devil's Kitchen

5) Mahabaleshwar

 

Places to visit in Mahabaleshwar:

There are as many as 30 viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar. Few of the major places are,

1) Elephant's head point

2) Arthur's seat

3) Kate's point

4) Kaas Plateau (Valley of flowers)

5) Venna Lake

6) Panchganga Temple

7) Mapro garden

8) Lingmala waterfalls

9) Pratapgad fort

10) Elphinstone point

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Having all the recipe ready for the meetup on a long weekend, the drive had begun on a rainy morning when the clock swept 5:15 a.m. It's perhaps surprising but true that driving on a rainy day is more dangerous than driving on a snowy one. Knowing the statistics of how tough the start of the drive was when the visibility showed zero, the convoy was as cautious as it could get until the sun showed up. Pacing up the track towards Kalaburagi (Gulbarga), we took our first pit stop at 'Lumbini's Grand Hotel' for breakfast by 9:30 a.m 

 

After a decent drive in the heavy rain until we reached Kalaburagi, the condition of the road was pretty good.

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It is a decent 4 lane track with less traffic where you can cover quite a distance in a short while.

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The track of the road is excellent after you cross Kalaburagi and it starts to deteriorate as you reach a town named Akkalkot. The road from Akkalkot to Solapur is an average track where you come across frequent ditches and pot holes.

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The moment you get on to the Solapur-Pune Highway, the road is just bliss. We had come across many decent restaurants for families all along the highway and we stopped by the 'Athithi' restaurant for lunch for another pit-stop around 12 30 p.m.

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After a 100 km drive on this flawless highway, you bifurcate towards 'Indrapur' and proceed towards Baramati. This road is a decent 2 lane track with less potholes and more than decent for a comfortable drive.

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Having covered most of the distance in quite a decent amount of time, we started taking frequent pit-stops to live the beauty the nature and we proceeded towards Wai before we reached our stay at Panchgani.

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We got off the road track to explore more of the offbeat and untouched side of the western ghats on our way to Panchgani

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All the cars have lined up for a photo session

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After the first leg of enjoying nature, we started to pace up towards our stay at Panchgani and we reached our destination by 8:00 p.m.image_3196.jpg

 

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Panchgani - A quaint Hill station..Panchgani is a small town on the way to Mahabaleshwar with an unhurried relaxed charm with its strawberry farms, boarding schools and old British buildings. Panchgani is set at the foot of five hills and blessed with pleasant weather around the year which is an ideal weekend destination from Mumbai and Pune. The five hills surrounding Panchgani set atop a volcanic plateau opens up numerous vistas making Panchgani a photographer's paradise! Major attractions of Panchgani are Sydney Point,Table Land, Parsi Point, Devil's Kitchen.

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Day : 01 - In Panchgani, we wanted to check out some off-beat locations and explore the untouched sights around the place and hence our drive begun post breakfast

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As we started our drive towards the Kaas plateau to explore the Kaas pathar and the Kaas lake bed, we had come across a beautiful sight filled with a lot of fog and green land full of flowers... Yes the mother nature started to show good on us as we climbed the Panchgani ghat.image_3202.jpg

 

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Kas Plateau - The Valley of Flowers..Kas Plateau or as popularly called Kas Pathar is a vast plateau in Satara district which during most parts of the year is just a hinterland on the way to Tapola and Mahabaleshwar. It's a plateau situated amidst high hills and grasslands which turns into a 'valley of flowers' during monsoon season, especially in the month of August. The valley of flowers of Kas pathar even overshadows Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani in popularity as a weekend destination during the months of July and August when the vast plateau of Kas transforms itself into a bed of flowers with more than 150 varieties of flowers.

 

We had taken quite a lot of pitstops to cherish the beauty in nature on our way towards the Kas pathar (valley of flowers) 

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We started to explore the untouched beauty of the Kas plateau. Ask the people of India-Drive about how it is enjoy nature when there is no crowd.. Calm.. Serene and Blissful.. !!!

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A look down to sight the whole of Panchgani when you stand high above the clouds :rolleyes:

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Those amazing times when your foot couldn't stand still to cover all the distance and sight every single bit in the scene.. :cooler:

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And we felt prey to capturing some memories of the place

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With a score of this beautiful valley offering a panoramic vista, the whole team excites to pose at this natures artistry! 

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With salubrious weather throughout the drive, we enjoyed every bit of it craning out and cherishing all the beauty that nature had offered

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We have taken the roads less traveled to absorb all the untouched beauty in and around Panchgani

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How much ever freedom the open roads had offered us, we never miss out on driving in a convoy.. 

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The visibility factor has almost become zero as we moved towards Bamnoli ghat section. We had enjoyed this phase of nature too.

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Pretty soon, the weather got even colder and the fog turned so intense that we could hardly sight the other end of the lake..The Happy Couple - Tej and Sruthika :)

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We have waited until the fog got cleared and commenced our drive ahead towards the top most point of the Kas pathar

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We have lined up for a short photo session at a beautiful view point to stretch ourselves

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Towards the south of the Kas Plateau is the Kas Lake which adds to the beauty of the flower carpet the plateau adorns. Kas lake looks like a bowl carved out of the green verdant mountains. With mist all around, we hardly found another colour to sight except white.

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They never miss out on any drive 'India-Drive' does.. 'The fantastic 4'

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Ascend the ghats from Bamnoli and you are at the beautiful seasonal flower beds of Kas Pathar which is a must do especially in Aug - Sept. For the first time we felt that the mist was spoiling our sight at the 'Valley of flowers' 

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On our way back from the Kas plateau, we had stopped by numerous view points which were not on the commercial end 

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Few glimpses of the beautiful Kas Plateau :D

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Without these cheerful souls, the trip wouldn't have been so much fun

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End of Day 01, We have closed down the night with some fun filled interactive games and BBQ ..

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Day - 02, The next morning started off with a small hike around the valley in the backyard :)

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And then our drive on Day 02 had begun to explore the places around Mahabaleshwar

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Mahabaleshwar - The Queen of Hills

Mahabaleshwar is a vast plateau, bound by valleys on all sides. Celebrated as the Queen of Hills Mahabaleshwar truly lives upto its reputation with its mesmerising beauty. It is a perfect getaway and is well known for its panoramic viewpoints. There are as many as 30 viewpoints in Mahabaleshwar.

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Mahabaleshwar has different shades during different seasons and offers a delectable experience in all the seasons. The best time to visit Mahabaleshwar is Sept - Nov.

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There is lots to see and experience in Mahabaleshwar. Amongst the major attraction in Mahabaleshwar are the Venna Lake and Old Mahabaleshwar with the Panchganga temple. If you want to see strawberry farms a good place would be the Mapro gardens. 

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Our drive towards Tapola was chosen as the first leg to be covered for the day

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Tapola - The Mini Kashmir

Tapola famously called the mini Kashmir of the west. It is a rustic hamlet with a magnificent lake - Shivsagar. It is at the end of the road and practically a dead end! From Mahabaleshwar Tapola is 25 kilometres away and the drive to Tapola is a picturesque one with vistas galore on either side of the road.

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The primary attraction in Tapola is the Shivsagar Lake - a 90 km long water body infact the reservoir of the Koyna dam. If you are a water sports enthusiast Tapola is the place to head to. Be it boating, water scooter rides, kayaking or swimming Tapola. image_3241.jpg

 

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The whole team pose cheers by the Venna Lake before we drove down to the restaurant for lunchimage_3243.jpg

 

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Our 2nd leg of drive post lunch was to checkout the famous view points of Mahabaleshwar which the dense fog around the place had pulled us aback.. The visibility factor turned out to be absolutely zero which had given us zero possibility of sight at all the view points. A dense fog filled conjuncture which takes us to the Elphinstone point and the famous Arthur's seat view points each..

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As the sky turned dark, we waited for the fog to clear out which turned out to be of no help and we drove back home for the day.

 

The next day, our drive was all set to hit back to Hyderabad and we followed the same track which felt was apt. :D

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On the whole, the drive turned out to be a successful meet-up with a beautiful team all along.. We lived the Dream, We Drove the places to Discover the untouched side of the Western ghats.

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Very nicely composed sagar.

A wonderful meet, Kids to elders everyone contributed to make the drive a success.

4 days and 1600 kilometers in a convoy was fun.

Even though the drive was hectic, It was great to see the high energy levels and lifted spirits.

Thoroughly enjoyed the meet. Looking forwards for the pictures from other cameras as well.

Dream Drive Discover. 

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Nice write up @sagar!!! Truly it was an amazing drive !! Places are really worth visiting!! If it isn't for fog,we would have captured more view point beauty!! One of the most memorable drive's so far!!:)

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One of the best drive's i've ever had. Loved the places, climate & fun-filled people. Would love to explore & join the upcoming meet-ups. Cheers!

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Awesome pictures guys, Looks like you have had super fun. It was the right time you had toured Mahabaleshwar.. I know how disappointing it feels when the fog disturbs your views and schedules :D

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Good write up. Request you to give a heads up to all the members of 'India-Drive' before you venture out for these drives. I don't want to miss this next time.. :)

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Excellent travelogue and lovely pictures, I had visited the same place few months ago and they looked drenched in fog & mist! Feel like visiting the place another time in a convoy with 'India-Drive' the next time.. Thanks a lot for sharing flag

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All the photographs are superb, and you did it at the right time before monsoon ended. Another informative wanderlust travelogue. Keeps us wanting for more.. Way to go 'India-Drive' :D

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Nice pictures Guys.Climate is looks very good from the pictures.

How is road condition between Solapur and Mahabaleshwar?

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driveking said:
Nice pictures Guys.Climate is looks very good from the pictures.

How is road condition between Solapur and Mahabaleshwar?

Road is fine 

We took the longer route

Solapur --> Indapur --> Baramati --> Lonand --> Khandala (not the main Khandala) --> Wai --> Panchgani --> Mahabaleshwar.

Solapur to Indapur : 4-lane excellent.

Indapur to Wai : 2-lane average , but we get a 4-lane road for 15 kilometers which is amazing.

Wai to Mahabaleshwar : 2-lane Ghat section, Beautiful views.

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Amazing pictures and it looks like a fun convoy. I shouldn't have missed this.. Can any one suggest me some decent accommodations around Mahabaleshwar or Panchgani..?

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      Food was good as well as the service and atmosphere. After some nice breakfast we started towards Bangalore, as we approach the outskirts of the city traffic made us slow down, and also the fear of over-speeding and getting fined made me cautious, kept at 60-80 speeds reached Devanahalli around 12:30 PM.
       
      Our EcoSport flyaudio gave us this route which bypassed the traffic areas of the city (silkboard, electronic city) and took us to the sarjapura main road and joined on the NH just after the electronic city. The route we took to bypass the city is quite scenic and some places were narrow roads. and in some parts very rough roads (2-4 KM) with construction work is ongoing. I am attaching the route map for reference.
       
      Around 2:30 we reached Hosur outskirts, despite being a Sunday afternoon the road is filled with heavy vehicles occupying all the lanes and made us slow down, managed to reach a good restaurant which serves good tamil meals by 3:00 PM.
       
      The food was good and hot. after staying so long out of Tamilnadu we always look forward to eating in Tamilnadu hotels, glad we could make it for lunch.
       
      After lunch started the journey towards Salem, Roads were quite good and smooth but not as wide as Hyderabad-bangalore highway. Not a pleasant experience as the vehicles seems to be in hurry and not giving space occupying all lanes, had to be very patient to outmatch the city buses.
       
      Kept a average speed of 60-80 KM reached Salem, thought have a break at Salem, but due to some politicians visit (i am guessing its CM visiting his native Town) the roads were filled with cops asking us not to stop and keep left. At some places the cops were confusing us with their directions, over all a confused environment, but good thing is they reroute the heavy vehicles like lorries and trucks to some other route, so we had a clear road ahead of us.
       
      The only catch is we couldn't stop for the tea break. And it started drizzling once we past Salem, it's almost 7 PM, and those rerouted trucks joined us back while we are nearing Coimbatore making our last leg of journey more interesting  At Komarapalayam we stopped for some hot Badam Milk and much needed break.
       
      After that it was nice to drive to the coimbatore city with with lit wide roads, reached around 9:15 PM to Sungam cross roads, Coimbatore. After parked the vehicle and went inside the house all of us were feeling that still we are moving. From morning 4 to night 9 this makes my longest distance driven in a day. (960 KM says speedometer)
       
       We visited the famous GeDee Car museum, Coimbatore. the beauty of the museum is we can see so many vintage cars at one place which are maintained so good.
       
       Checkout few pics:

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

       

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