Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Five day road trip into Western Ghats from Pune - day 1

Related links:  
Day 2 
Day 3
Day 4 and 5

Waterfalls, greenery, lakes/reservoirs - all in ample abundance!

I will probably run out of adjectives to describe the lush greenery and beautiful waterfalls by the time I end writing this post. There are different types of waterfalls - horsetail waterfalls, multi-step waterfalls, cascade waterfalls, free fall (plunge) waterfalls, tiered waterfalls and many more. We probably saw the lot.

Below described is day 1 of this fabulous trip!

Itinerary: 27th - 31st August, 2014
  • Day 1: Pune to Varandha Ghat, Shivtharghal Waterfalls and Mahabaleshwar
  • Day 2: Mahabaleshwar to Satara, Kaas Plateau, Thoseghar waterfalls and back to Satara
  • Day 3: Satara to Koyna Dam, river, Chiplun, Dapoli
  • Day 4: Dapoli to Raigad fort, Kolad
  • Day 5: Kolad to Tamhini ghat, Tamhini Waterfalls, Lavasa, Pune

Just for academic purposes, the original plan which we had started out with-
Day 1: Pune to Varandha Ghat, Shivtharghal Waterfalls and Satara
Day 2: Satara to Kaas Plateau, Kaas Lake, Koyna Dam, Chiplun
Day 3: Chiplun to Murud Janjira, Kashid
Day 4: Kashid to Raigad, Kolad
Day 5: Kolad to Tamhini ghat, Tamhini Waterfalls, Lavasa, Pune

Day 1: Pune to Varandha Ghat, Shivtharghal Waterfalls and Mahabaleshwar
Distance covered: 188 kms

  We (six of us in all, out of which three joined us on day 2) entered Pune with a sense of anticipation and not really sure what to expect of our sojourn into Western Ghats. We reached Pune early morning, which is an added advantage as it allows one to start off straight away. Having booked a Xylo (with a friendly driver), we were all set to enter the ghats.

We left towards Satara stopping for breakfast on the way at a Dhaba, and then took a right turn midway for Varandha Ghat. Varandha Ghat is not a specific point but an area in the Western Ghats. We crossed the Nira-Deoghar Dam and were greeted with a vast expanse of shimmering calm water on its reservoir side. Our Xylo went through the multiple twists and turns on the hilly road as we were treated with sights of beautiful lush greenery and dancing streams of water falling off multiple cliffs.
Nira-Deoghar Dam, on the way to Varandha Ghats

We crossed the point marked as Varandha Ghat on the map and continued onwards amidst the greenery. We were greeted with a new waterfall every kilometer or so, in some cases at an even higher frequency. Many of these unnamed beauties are what gives the glow to the entire Western Ghats along with the greenery.

Vast reservoir, and exquisite zig-zag flowing water amidst the hills. On the way to Varandha Ghats.

As we continued, we emerged in a vast opening from wherein we could see around four gigantic waterfalls on the opposing mountain and a deep gorge in between. The exquisiteness of the place needs to be experienced rather than read about.
Varandha Ghats!
This photo doesn't do justice to the actual scenery. Four gigantic waterfalls (two in this pic) streaming down the opposing cliff amidst beautiful lush greenery. Don't be fooled by the smallness of those waterfalls. They were easily 100m tall.
A more closeup view of one of those unnamed giant forces; from a super-zoom camera.

We eventually reached our second destination, Shivtharghal waterfalls after following a treacherously poor road and after passing through a village, we finally reaching a temple through which one could get close up to the powerful stream of falling water known as Shivtharghal.
Shivtharghal Waterfalls. Height: 20-30 meters

There were barely any one else, and the temple keeper, an old lady was surprised asking how came we know about this place. The temple has a cave passing which one can see the waterfall closeup (though the entry to the waterfall was barred shut).
Cave inside the temple, adjacent to Shivtharghal

After Shivtharghal, by which time it was the late hours of afternoon, we had to decide where to stay overnight. Choosing between Satara ( a typical city), and Mahabaleshwar was a fairly easy decision to make as we headed towards Mahabaleshwar.

Mahabaleshwar, not originally on our scheduled trip list is a beautiful hill station meant to be visited post monsoons. We passed through the clouds as we visited the heavenly hill station of Mahabaleshwar. However, we didn't intend to visit any of the points; and just stopped over for the night.
Lush green!
Through the clouds! Mahabaleshwar.

Persistent rainfall and a tyre puncture notwithstanding, we thoroughly enjoyed our day having got a glimpse of everything that we most craved for in a single day itself - greenery, mountains, waterfalls and the like.

Related links: 
Day 2 
Day 3
Day 4 and 5

Map for day 1


  1. Hi Arun,
    Your excellent descriptive text coupled with superb snaps make the readers , rush to Western ghaats with cameras and friends