Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Panshet Parikrama

A two day cycling expedition Parikrama (the path surrounding something) around river Panshet;
The event was perfectly planned, flawless execution. [Jan 31st - Feb 1st]
Organized by folks of Pune Running and Gaint Stores, no need to say more I think.
The event was huge success with 100+ participants, with the demand they are organizing another edition soon in Feb-15.

For more information do visit

Panshet Dam, also called Tanajisagar Dam, is a dam on the mula-mutha river about 50 km southwest of the city of Pune in western India.
The dam was constructed in late 1950s for irrigation and, along with three other dams nearby, Varasgaon, Temghar and Khadakwasla,
it supplies drinking water to Pune.

Panshet is one of the famous picnic spots of Pune and attracts many visitors from Mumbai.
The lake is made because of the backwater from the Panshet Dam; from the dam, tourists can see the Sahyadri mountains.


Day 1:
05.30 - 06.00 Assemble at Vishnuji ki rasoi,near Rajaram Bridge, Sinhagad Road
06.00 - Start towards Panshet
07.30 - 08.30 Ride towards Panshet
08.30 - 09.30 Breakfast on route
09.30 - 13.00 - Ride till Island Point
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch at the Island
14.00 - 1600 Ride till Campsite (Day 1 ride ends here)
16.00 - 17.00 Tea & Snacks with free time at Campsite
17.00 - 18.00 Establish Camp (Planning for a tent stay)
Chance to get in water, be very careful No Children in water without adult supervision.
18.00 - 19.00 Timepass Gappa Tappa
19.00 - 20.00 Prepare your own food, Chuliwarchi Khichadi (optional)
20.00 - 21.00 Dinner
21.00 - 22.00 Campfire
22.00 - 05.30 Good Night

Day 2:
06.00 - 07.00 Refreshments
07.00 - 08.00 Tea & Breakfast, Camp wind up
08.00 - 10.00 Start Ride Unexplored routes of Panshet)
10.00 - 11.00 Break
11.00 - 13.00 Ride through Ghat section
13.00 - 14.00 Delicious Lunch at Panshet Boat Club
14.00 - 18.00 Complete Parikrama and reach Pune (Tea break enroute)

Pune - Sinhagad Road - Donje pata - Vele - Camp (Pole Village) - Panshet Boat Club - Donje Phata -Pune

Route Map

Elevation Profile[from Prashanth Tidke]

Cycles can be rented if you don't own one.
There are many stores offering on rent around, Gaint, Surender, and Pro Sports are a few.

Gathered at Vishnuji Ki Rasoi, loaded bags into backup vehicle, got cycles checked
Started at 7AM, the weather was pleasant no so cold, proceeded towards donje pata.
It was a nice ride, took short break to catch people at khadakwasla.

Arvind briefing ride details

Whole troop, on the way towards Sinhagad Road

Then rode further, breakfast was arranged at Chimbalkar Resort.
As we are already hungry, had a heavy breakfast there, the surroundings were great, see pics.

At Chimbalkar resort

Pool side breakfast at Chimbalkar resort

After this the route is around the river Panshet, with beautiful scenic places and small villages around.Do stop wherever required, take time for yourself, shoot pics, have fun.

Some random shot.

Another random shoot.
The lunch stop was some 48Kms from Pune, amid rivers and mountains.
Hot parathas, salad, veg biryani and gulab jamun were available
Nice place to have lunch and take a nap, roam around the island.

Descend towards panshet

A colorful bullock cart


Lunch point

Panorama from Lunch Point

Started towards camp, was pleasant ride.
The camp is located on river banks, clean and pristine, offering great view of river surrounded my mountains. Volunteered in pitching tents, nice experience. Roamed around and took bath after swimming.

Couple having a good time

Camp - Near Pole Village
Camp-fire, nice songs followed by dinner under moon light and well deserved rest.


Woke up at 5AM, skies were clear took tripod to shot star trails, got few good pics.
By the time we are ready, breakfast is being served.
Boiled eggs, bread, butter, jam and upma was available for breakfast.

As we started, it started to get bit hot.
Do carry enough water, don't hesitate to ask for water any villager.
The ride goes through beautiful back water of Panshet with few climbs.

The lunch for the day is at Panshet Boating Club.

Met a German couple in Panshet , they are living there for quite a time.
They guy does some engineering works, he got full fledged workshop there, the women looks into gardening.And they educate the local people on farm equipment and others.
Checklist, shared by organizers.

  • Dish/Plate,
  • Glass,
  • Spoon,
  • Torch with extra battery,
  • Bedding (Sleeping Bag+Carry mat the mat below the sleeping bag protects bag and helps with cold),
  • Cap,
  • Sunglasses,
  • Sun screen
  • Extra pair of clothes
  • Chappal
  • 2 water bottles(1 ltr each)
  • Personal medicines if any
  • Tooth Paste
  • Brush
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Paper Soap
  • Helmet
  • Spare Tube for your bicycle
  • Reflector Jacket
  • Sack for carrying water, tiffin & foodies while riding
  • Sack to keep rest of the items in Backup vehicle
  • Cycle specific tool kit etc
  • Bicycle tight shorts with padding do help with saddle sore issue
  • White Petroleum Jelly for saddle sore and other chaffing issues.
  • Anything you feel is important and missing here.

Do carry tripod, clear skies, can get to shoot start trails.

The trip was total paisa vasool(value for money), you don't feel that you are at some remote places given the facilities provided.
Overall a nice leisure ride, perfectly organized one.

Note : Events and places are from Panshet Parikrama Cycling Expedition IV Edition - Jan 31st- Feb 1st, might differ from time to time.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cycle Ride to Khardungla

That awesome feeling, when you are on a bi-cycle and you can see aeroplane flying below you.

Khardung La (Khardung Pass):
Khardungla lies on north of Leh, is the gateway for Nubra Valley.
The roads are maintained by Border Roads Organisation (BRO),
Locals/BRO claim that it is world's highest motorable roads(18380ft),these claims are disputed by modern GPS systems which measure as 17582ft.

Renting Cyles : 
As we planned cycle ride to Khardungla, the first thing was to rent good bicyles.
We started the search, went to almost all cycle renting shops in Leh, didn't find good cycles.
After a long search we finally found one bike shop "Summer Holidays" on upper Tukcha road, Leh.
They keep good Mountain bikes for renting, he had TREK 3700/4300, GIANT bikes, and many more.
As that was peak season, rent charges are Rs.900/day/cycle same as that of renting an Royal Enfield Bullet.
After a good bargain we got 10 cyles for Rs.8000/- along with back up van, which we didn't thought of.

Cycle Ride :
Khardungla is 42Kms from Leh.
Ride to Khardungla is tough considering the whether, road and terrain conditions.
We started at 5:00 in the morning, temperature was around 5-8 degrees.
Moved towards Khardungla, streets wore a deserted look, no one around.

The route was not easy, as we started 5 from our batch moved past me.
After riding for an hour I realized i was the last rider, moving steadily negotiating climbs.

As time passing the distance between me and fellow riders kept increasing.
At a point thought of going back, but didn't, kept on riding.

We are not well prepared, just the day before we completed YHAI Mountain Biking Expedition.
Just had noodles before the start, carrying gatorade and few energy bars.

On the way to Khardungla
Later on I stopped for sometime, had a snickers and gatorade, started again.

Just before reaching south pullu, i was almost dead.
I cannnot push myself beyond this,and Khardungla is 15Kms from there.
And there is no point in pushing hard and falling ill, so decided to stop there.

Suggestion for Visitors - At south pullu

Saw a van ( not our back-up van) coming from behind, asked for lift.
Driver stopped and asked me to get in, the driver himself loaded and tied my cycle on van top.
These Leh people are so helpful, always ready to help.

Roads till south pullu (24Kms) are in good condition, from there the roads are full of rocks, dirt and may be snow melt.

The van driver a was great help, it was like a social trip for me.
All the way we were discussing about Ladakh Culture, what they do, how they live, etc etc.

Khardungla Top:

We reached Khardungla top, driver helped me untying the cycle.
As I tried to offer some money for the help(typical city lives), he refused firmly.
I gave my number and asked him to call for any help in pune (his children are studying here).

As I waved good bye to driver, the temperatures are below 0, felt something weird happening to me.
I was feeling dizzy, unable to stand, happened like my vision getting blurred.[Altitude Sickness]
Immediately went into nearby military facility, the army guy standing said civilians are not allowed.

Snow clad mountains - Khardungla Top
I can see cafeteria, its just 100mts away from me.
I was thinking "will i make it to cafeteria or collapse in between"
Took few deep breaths left all my belongings, walked straight to cafeteria, had 3 tea and hot noodles.
Rested for sometime, body gave a "good to go" signal, went out and roamed nearby.

A small frozen waterfall in between.

"The" route.

"The" route.

My cycle posing on the world's highest roads.
On the top, people are surprised to see me with cycle, started asking all sort of questions
did u come on bicycle? how did you manage? where are you coming from? etc etc..
Few people wanted to take photographs with me, now this is real weird for me.

Clicked few pics there and started back to Leh.

Elevation Profile : 
Elevation Map : Click for the elevation map of the route

- Start early.
- Plan well, sleep well before night.
- Carry water, energy drinks/bars.
- Wear layers of clothing, temperature changes quite fast, you can add or remove accordingly.
- Be extra cautious on rock and on fresh snow patches.
- Oxygen in air is 50% low compared to that of sea levels, be well prepared.
- Do carry cycle repair kit.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Baneshwar Temple, Nasrapur

Baneshwar Temple, Nasrapur
Place Type: Temple / Waterfalls / Recreations for Kids [ perfect for a day trip with kids ]

Distance : Approximately 35Kms from Pune.
MSRTC has frequent bus services to Baneshwar/Nasrapur.

Best Time to visit : Anytime , Better in monsoons with waterfalls.
Exercise extreme caution in monsoons, as the water falls will be at full flow.

Baneshwar is a temple of lord shiva , located in Nasrapur.

Driving Directions:

View Driving directions to Baneshwar Temple Access Rd, Nasrapur, Maharashtra in a larger map

Temple Architecture [ From Wikipedia ]
Baneshwar temple architecture is from the medieval period. The temple was constructed in 1749 by Peshwa Nanasaheb, son of Peshwa Bajirao I.
The total cost of construction was 11,426 Rupees, 8 Aane, 6 Paise. 
The temple hosts an important bell which was captured by Chimaji Appa after defeating the Portuguese in the battle of Bassien in 1739.
The bell has the year 1683 and a Cross on it, which depicts that the bell belonged to a church and was transported as a token of victory. 
Same kind of Portuguese bells can be found at Bhimashankar Temple too.

The temple has two pond/tanks where few fish and turtles can be found.

Surroundings : 
The temple is surrounded by lush green trees, hence the name Baneshwar - God within forest.
The forest surrounding temple hosts good variety of birds,a must visit if you are a bird lover.
The scenic water falls behind the temple is one of main attractions.
The garden surrounded has kids play area, along with green trees and birds make it a perfect one day family trip.

I have been to this temple once in mid-summer, the forest and play area surrounded is as usual green.

Temple Entrance


Fish ponds inside temple.

Children play area outside temple complex.

Children play area outside temple complex.

Waterfalls behind temple

This is in mid summer, temple is lush green

Waterfalls wore a deserted look in hot summers.
Other Similar Places:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Mountain Madness - Himachal Pradesh

This is about my recent trip to beautiful Mountain State, Himachal Pradesh, where 90% population lives in rural areas.

With snow clad mountains, pine forests, perennial rivers, apple and cherry orchards, a place which I say in nearest approximation to heaven(if it exists).

The mighty peaks are host of many adventure activities like Trekking, Rafting and Skiing.
Most of the parts of state are cut-off from outside world by snow for 4-6 months(may be this is the reason to remain beautiful).

Manali, Shimla, Kullu are not of my interest because of crowds.
Was seriously looking for some off-beat not-so-crowded and not-so-known places to visit, found few places and Tirthan Valley topped the list.
At Tirthan Valley, we stopped by Raju's Cottage, which itself is amazing place.

Read detailed post on Tirthan Valley and Raju's Cottage.

Raju's Cottage across the Tirthan River
I always wanted to see/spend time in villages and take real experiences.
While I was staying at Raju's, met a local college going guy had a chat him.
Asked him if he can arrange for a nice trek and village stay.
The same day he called me and arranged a home stay and trek to Lambri.

Detailed post on Lambri Trek

Nature Hues : On the way to Lambri
After that I moved to Kasol for Sarpass Trek organized by Youth Hostels.
Sarpass Trek is the oldest and most famous treks organised by YHAI.

Detailed post on Youth Hostels Sarpass Trek

Sarpass Trek : On the way to Nagaru Camp

Tirthan Valley - Himachal

Tirthan Valley, one of the beautiful and not-so-know off-beat locations of Himachal Pradesh.

Reach :
Delhi - Chandigarh - Aut - Banjar - Gushaini
Aut is 30 Kms short of Kullu, buses ply between Aut and Banjar/Gushaini.
Gushaini is also know for the entry into GHNP.

Panaroma of Tirthan Valley
Gushaini, is a small village not so different from many in Himachal Pradesh.
What makes it special is, its not crowded, peaceful, nice places, waterfalls and small treks nearby.

Raju's Cottage:
And if you want to have wonderful family trip, do visit Raju's Cottage.
The place itself is a an experience, Raju Bharti,Varun(raju's son) looks into the cottage.

This is how one reach Raju's Cottage
Tirthan River

It's a small hotel across the river amid apple/cherry orchard.
Wholly built with wood and every room hosts hundreds of books, room warmers.
All rooms are equipped with beds, geysers, woolens giving a splendid view of surroundings.

Dining hall, loved the experience.
They have one big dining hall, everyone has to come there for lunch/dinner.
You meet lot of interestng peple from all over the world here.
And the bonfires , no need to explain, chats go till mid-night with true strangers.

I met some  interesting people, one of them answered "I'm from this world" for where are you from.
Had a nice conversation with that guy, still don't know where he is from, but I do remember his stories/experiences from across the world.
Met an assistant director, a script writer, architecture students, etc, etc.

Dining Hall
Check the video of Dining Hall.

They have very adorable dogs , where ever you go the dogs will accompany you all times.

Place we stayed

Bonfire at night
Complete Video of Raju's Cottage:

Other places nearby :


This is not a "city park", this is a National Park.
Recently GHNP has applied for world heritage status, and is being looked into.
If you are planning to visit make sure you have necessary permits, there are no hotels inside.

A view of mighty peaks of GHNP
Planning for a trek, make sure you all equipments right from ration(cooking) to tents.
You can hire a porter to carry all your stuff, costs are some 1500/person.

Varun, can organize treks to GHNP with local guys.
GHNP is huge and area is that of whole Mumbai.
There are many treks in GHNP varying from 1-10days.
The mighty Pin Parvati trek starts from GHNP.


There are a couple of waterfalls nearby, Village Nagin, 5Kms from Gushani.
You can take a nice walk and trek to visit waterfalls.
The place is so beautiful, calm and serene, there were no one other than us.

Nearby waterfall

Nearby waterfall
Temple Trek:
There is a small temple on the hill, you can go there for a nice half day trek.
You can do this even on a sunny afternoon also, the trails go all through tree shades.

Hill top Temple

View of temple from Gushaini Village

Dogs were all the time with us.


You can find Troute Fish in tirthan and other himalayan rivers.
Varun can get you required permit and euipment for fishing.


Varun can arange cycles on request, you can go around and roam.
You can goto Jalori from here, its a 65Kms tough route.
Prior cycle riding experience really helps.

If anyone wants to visit I can share local contacts on request, drop a comment.

Read more from Himachal Tour here:
Lambri Trek - Tirthan Valley
Sarpass Trek - Himachal Pradesh
Tirthan Valley - Gushaini