Monday, 5 December 2016

How to enjoy your weekend | Devadi Dam | Prati-Balaji

bike are parked on a dam surrounding water and beautiful nature
Bikes upon Devdi Dam


Ride Type: Highway, Narrow Roads


Ride Difficulty: Easy


Distance from Pune: 40km


Winter is here! (GoT fans, pun intended). Winter rides are something most motorcycle riders always look forward to. After about three weeks of a lot of work and health breakdown, I finally got some time this weekend to go for a nice ride. Eager to ride, I started to plan it a week in advance. Called up a few friends, did some probing on the internet and we came up with a lovely plan. We decided to ride to the Prati-Balaji Temple at Ketkawale and then improvise the further route. We also found out that there was a small dam near the temple called Devadi Dam which we decided to visit.


Directions:

Travel on NH4 (Mumbai-Bangalore Highway) towards Bangalore till the Nasrapur diversion (locally known as Nasrapur Phata) which is about 30km from Pune. After about 4km from Nasrapur diversion, take left onto Saswad-Kapurhol-Bhor Road. Travel on Saswad-Kapurhol-Bhor Road for about 3km. You will see the arch of the Prati-Balaji Temple on the right side. Travel further on Saswad-Kapurhol-Bhor Road for about 500m and you will see a trail/off-road with a metal arch on the left side. This road will lead to the Devadi Dam (the metal arch might be a temporary one. So in case the road to the dam gets confusing, ask the locals for guidance)

      

We geared up, started our bikes and left Pune at 5.30am. There were three of us and we were riding a Bajaj Pulsar 200NS, KTM RC200 and my Bajaj Pulsar 220. We gathered at the highway fly-over at Sinhagad Road (Vadgaon Bridge). The weather was icy cold so early in the morning, but we were prepared for it. Except for the hands. Even though were wearing riding gloves, after riding for about 20 minutes, we were unable to feel our hands because of the cold. So we had to stop to warm our hands up. All we just had to hold our hands near the engine and the exhaust. A marvellous way to use the heat from the engine and exhaust I’d say! At first, the highway is good. But after about 10km, the road gets quite nasty. Gravel, dug up patches and “scratched road” (if you know what I mean!) with potholes all over. So ride cautiously is what I would suggest.

calm empty raods early in the morinnng kit over by street lighs
Empty roads early in the morning

Within an hour, we reached the Prati-Balaji Temple. It was still very dark and we could hardly see a thing. We parked our bikes in the parking lot and started walking towards the temple. Since backpacks and mobile phones are not allowed inside the temple, we had to keep them in the locker. We were expecting a long queue of people waiting to enter the temple, but to our surprise, there was no queue at all. There were only a few of us over there and we directly entered the temple. The morning mantra chanting was going on over the P.A system as well as inside the main temple along with the performance of some of the traditional musical instruments. This created an air of serenity and devotion all over the place. It felt extremely peaceful inside the temple. Though we did not understand the chanting and the music being played at all, we felt like staying there till the rituals were complete and then collected the sweet Boondi that was being distributed as Prasad (Prasad is edible food, generally sweets, distributed in temples and is considered to have the deity’s blessing residing within it). 

people going in the temple early in the morning to worship god
Prati-Balaji Temple

By the time we left the Prati-Balaji temple, it was dawn and some of the hotels had also opened up. Since we were famished, we had our breakfast at the hotel right outside the temple’s gate. Considering that it was quite early, they were serving only Idli-Sambar. It was pretty good and had a nice authentic South-Indian taste to it. We clicked some photos there and decided to carry on with our journey.

bikes parked in a formation in a parking lot at sunrise
Bikes at the hotel near the temple

Travelling further from the temple, you start to see the Devadi Dam on the left in a minute or two. The road to the dam comes up on the left immediately, with a metal arch upon in. The road to the dam is not prominent and is actually a trail or something like an off-road. It’s fun to ride here. The dam comes up after riding for about a minute. And oh my, it is beautiful! Mountains in all directions. Calm, blue backwaters with no one around. The surrounding mountains are covered with golden grass and patches of green trees in them. It is a sheer visual treat. We took our bikes over the dam and parked them on it to click some nice pictures. This place would be a photographer’s paradise during sunrise and sunset. We sat over there in peace, calm and relaxed, with not a single thought in our head, just enjoying the natures the beauty. It felt like we could forget all the worries in the world and stay there as long as we liked. But after some time, reality hit us hard and we realized that it was getting late and that we had to leave.

the road to surrounding by golden grass
metal arch on the entrance of a dam having a off-road way
Entrance to Devadi Dam

dam backwaters surrounded by beautiful golden grass with green patches
Devadi Dam Backwaters

beautiful golden surrounding with green patches in between
Landscape around Devadi Dam

While returning, instead of taking the same route back, we decided to go further on the Saswad-Kapurhol-Bhor Road. This road further leads to Saswad, from where we can return to Pune via Dive Ghat-Hadapsar route. We left from Devadi dam and started travelling towards Saswad. This road has some of the nicest corners and taking them on is pure joy. Be careful of the oncoming traffic though, as the roads are narrow and there are no dividers. Also, be wary of the potholes and gravel on some corners. The view around here is also amazing. Long stretches of dried up grass with mountains at the horizon. You can also see Fort Purandar on the right side while riding on this route.

roads with golden mountain on the horizon
Scenic road from Devadi Dam to Saswad

mountains covered in clouds and sunlight shining through it
Purandar Fort when travelling from Devadi Dam to Saswad

After travelling for about 17km on this route, we reached Saswad. We were getting hungry by now and we decided to have some light snacks here. “Asmita Wadewale” is a very famous snacks center in Saswad and is very well known for its vada pav (Vada Pav is basically a Potato Pakoda packed inside a bun). It is located just opposite to the Saswad Bus Station. We had vada pav and tea over here. The vada pav here is just too tasty. The pav is filled with tamarind chutney, onions and coriander which gives it a very unique taste. The vada pav is so good that you can’t really eat enough of it. The tea was also nice and refreshing.

big highway with wide divider amd people riding
Raod from Saswad to Dive Ghat

We left Saswad after enjoying the flavourful food and next up was Dive Ghat. The quality of the road from Saswad to Dive Ghat has improved a lot lately. Earlier it used to be a small two lane road with no divider. But now it’s a six lane road with a wide divider in between. Dive Ghat roads are also very nice and wide. The only problem in this area is the heavy bus traffic. Because of this, you have no option but to slow down. Most of the traffic here are the State Transport buses who are famous for their “excellent” driving skills. So you got to ride cautiously.

beautiful view from the top of a ghat
View from the top of  Dive Ghat
top of ghat with people travelling on it
Top of Dive Ghat

After descending Dive Ghat, we reached Hadapsar at around 12pm leading us to a fierce battle with the famous Hadapsar traffic. We reached home at 1pm. Another thing to mention is that there are plenty of fuel stations, hotels, puncture repair shops and garages all over the route. The cell phone reception for Vodafone and Reliance Jio is also good all over the route except a few kilometres before Saswad where none of the service providers have any reception.

Overall, the ride was a splendid one. It was very cold when we left but got pretty warm, late in the morning. It was a perfect and a much needed break for the city routine. Devadi Dam is a very nice spot to spend time with your family or friends, and the Prati-Balaji temple adds a serene touch to this trip. I can see how this can be an ideal excursion with family or friends.

Ride safe! Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. deepanshu pandita12 December 2016 at 19:20

    I had been to prati Balaji via Bangalore highway on pulsar 150 2yrs back early mng....it was awsm ..hot summers...on return took a dip at krushnai water park...



    Cheers


    Deepanshu pandita

    ReplyDelete