Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Konkan Diaries | Shrivardhan

Scenic Tamhini Ghat

Ride type: Highway


Ride difficulty: Moderate


Distance from Pune: 155km


The monsoon is pretty much over and it’s time to visit a beach. Since we have been to most of the beaches near Dapoli, we decided to travel to a different place this time. Our objective was to find a seashore without much of a party but close to Pune. And hence, Shrivardhan it is.
Though it is not an unheard-of place, like the ones I like to visit, we decided to go there as many of my friends recommended it.

Shrivardhan is a city of historical importance about 155km from Pune, near the famous pilgrim city of Harihareshwar. The history of Shrivardhan dates back to Mahabharata, when Arjuna (one of the five Pandavas) visited Shrivardhan in his pilgrimage. In sixteenth and the seventeenth century, it became well known city for traders. Shrivardhan is also notable as the birthplace of Balaji Visvanath, the first Peshwa of Maratha Empire appointed by Chattrapati Shahu (Grandson of Chattrapati Shivaji).

Though you can travel to Shrivardhan and return to Pune within 8 hours to make it a one day ride, it is highly recommended not to do so. A ride is a best experience when it is not rushed. As goes the famous quote “It’s not about the destination. It’s about the ride”, one should not just ride for the sake of it, but should enjoy the ride itself.

There are several ways to reach Shrivardhan. We decided to take the route through Tamhini Ghat because this route is very scenic, especially just after the monsoon.

Directions: 

Travel towards Mulshi from Chandani Chowk. Follow the main road for 34km to reach Mulshi. Keep going on the same route and after about 67km and you will reach Mangaon on National Highway 66 (Mumbai Goa Highway). Take left turn onto NH66 and after about half a kilometre, take a right turn onto SH97 (State Highway 97). This road will lead you directly to Shrivardhan which is about 55km from there. 

       

We gathered at Chandani Chowk at 5.30am. There were 8 of us and were riding Honda CBR 250R, KTM Duke 200, Honda Stunner 125, 2 Bajaj Avenger 220 and 2 Bajaj Pulsar 220. We geared up, started our bike and left from Chandani Chowk with a lot of excitement. The route via Tamhini Ghat is always so beautiful. Though this route never disappoints when it comes to scenic surroundings and calm rides, the road conditions are very bad in some areas which slows you down. There are many nice spots en-route, where you can stop and click some nice pictures or just admire the landscapes. In spite of the fact that it’s been only a few kilometres, the small villages in between really give you the feeling that you have come to some other place far from Pune altogether.

Landscape in Tamhini Ghat

We clicked some pictures on the way and took a breakfast break in Mulshi. Mulshi is very famous for its waterfalls and scenery. We had nice and freshly prepared pohe and hot tea, sitting amidst green hills. After the refreshing breakfast we continued our journey. The cell phone receptions for Vodafone and Reliance Jio is good on this route and there are fuel stations, tyre repair shops and general stores in most of the towns in between. This route is also well connected by public transport with state transport buses after every 1-2 hours.

Beautiful scenery en-route
Right after Mulshi comes Tamhini Ghat. This ghat is one of my favourite ghats because of its wonderful corners. It is a sheer bliss to ride through these corners. Right after the ghat is the Vile Bhagad MIDC area. There is a straight and wide road of about 4km over here which is excellent to speed up your bikes (with caution of course, as there might be a few trucks and trailers).

We reached Mangaon at around 9.30am. We took a halt there so that all of us could regroup. This halt was part of the ride plan and was decided while having breakfast in Mulshi. The regroup halts are important as the ride is more enjoyable when everyone is riding together.

After regrouping, we left Mangaon and took the right turn onto SH97. From here, the types of houses, the colour of the soil, the scenery, everything begins to change. And after riding for a few more kilometres, you also begin to feel the humidity. The helmet turns sweaty, you begin to perspire inside your jacket and there is nothing you can do about it. 

Ride to Shrivardhan
After riding for about 50km, we reached Shrivardhan. The city is quite small with narrow streets, but is very nice. The city has a historic look and has very few modern buildings. Most of the houses are two storeyed with inclined tiled roofs. The people of shrivardhan lead a relaxed and calm lifestyle. You will never see people rushing anywhere.

Route to Shrivardhan
We had booked tents on the beach for us to stay. We reached there, parked our bikes, freshened up and got ready for lunch as it was already 12.30pm by the time we reached. We were starving since we didn’t have anything after breakfast. Fortunately, lunch was ready and served by the time we freshened up. We were so hungry that we finished all the food within no time. The food was amazing with the authentic Konkan flavours and had a nice homemade feel to it. We took a nice nap after the delicious meal.

Shrivardhan

The location of the tents was perfect, right next to the beach. The tents accommodated 4 people each and were very spacious and were in the midst of coconut trees. Since we were leaving on the next day, we spent the evening, relaxing on the beach. Time passes very fast on a beach and before we realised, it was already dinner time. The dinner was very tasty and full of flavours. With our stomachs full, we decided to light a campfire. So we collected some dried coconut leaves and dried wood and lit a campfire. Campfires and nostalgia go hand in hand. We sat around the campfire sharing our old college memories and laughed over them. And before we could know, it was 1am. It was quite late and we had to travel a lot the next morning. So we slept soon.

   

Tents in Shrivardhan
The location of the tents was perfect, right next to the beach. The tents accommodated 4 people each and were very spacious and were in the midst of coconut trees. Since we were leaving on the next day, we spent the evening, relaxing on the beach. Time passes very fast on a beach and before we realised, it was already dinner time. The dinner was very tasty and full of flavours. With our stomachs full, we decided to light a campfire. So we collected some dried coconut leaves and dried wood and lit a campfire. Campfires and nostalgia go hand in hand. We sat around the campfire sharing our college memories and laughed over them. And before we could know, it was 1am. It was quite late and we had to travel a lot the next morning. So we slept soon.

Shrivardhan beach

The next morning we got up to the sound of the sea and chirping birds. We realised that it was already 11am and that we had to leave soon. All of us woke up, did our morning chores and had our breakfast. By 12.30pm we were all set to leave. We left from Shrivardhan at 1pm. The weather was very hot and was not at all pleasant for a ride. But it did cool down in the evening. We reached Pune at around 6.30pm. We stopped only once for snacks in Mangaon. The return ride was quite tiring and we hit a lot of traffic from Chandani Chowk.
Altogether, the ride was excellent. The calm and laid back air of Shrivardhan gives you a break from the regular routine and rush. The beach is clean, nice and safe to have fun and the experience of staying in a tent on a beach was very unique and relaxing.

Shrivardhan is a very nice place to spent time with family or friends and is a perfect destination to travel to if you are looking for a vacation for two-three days. 

Ride safe! Cheers!  
 
   

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