Malshej – The least visited place

Malshej Ghat – a beautiful heaven of towering peaks and bottomless valleys with air so fragrant and pure, one wish to pack some to bring back to pollution filled cities.

Just like all the hill stations in Maharashtra, monsoons is the best time to visit Malshej Ghat. The black tarmac is cleaned by rains, valleys turn lush green and surrounding is mostly covered by clouds. Though one might not get too much to see during peak monsoon but the experience still is worth a visit.

Destination so breath taking that I wonder how come I have just visited this place just once and that too way back in 2003. So when the opportunity came to visit Malshej again on 2nd Oct for a Pune-Bombay Nomads meet, I coudn’t let this oportunity go by. Though the rains were gone long time back, I was expecting to encounter lush green valleys.

The group from Pune (Me on CBZ, Nalin on CBZ-Xtreme, Praveen Sathaye on P180 DTSi and Biswa in his M800) meet at Nashik Phata from where the ride started around 7am. The relatively empty road combined with cool weather, while riding, felt like heaven. Though two lane for most part, it was still not much an issue riding, except for when crossing cities enroute.

After covering around 80km from Nashik Phata, we got off the Nashik highway at Ale Phata and turned left towards Malshej. Road surface after sometime got little bad but it improved as we started the climb up the ghat. Twisties were so inviting that we decided to take a break to soak in the beauty.

View from the start of Ghat

After a small break we headed towards the meeting point, MTDC. By 9:45, having covered 137km, we were at MTDC and didn’t have to wait for long for the Bombay guys to join us along with Harshad from Amhednagar. After a round of introductions, between those who were meeting for first time, we had breakfast and then decided to walk around to let our eyes enjoy the beauty. Later few guys decided to bring their bikes and it was time for cameras to get busy.

Tunnel’s view from top of ghat

Poser boy

Twin models

Small water pond at the top

After spending some time at the top of valley, we headed towards the overflowing lake, whose water has submerged a small road running parallel to main road. Here, while couple of guys decided to go for swimming, rest stayed back on the banks.

Where the road ends

Can I?

Only water could stop me

As the lunch time neared, we all headed back to MTDC for food. After gupling down our favourite food, at 16:20, Pune guys decided to ride back with Bombay guys. The road on Bombay side of ghat is right there with the best road surfaces I have ever ridden. It was a fast rip to the bottom of ghat.

View of the valley on Bombay side

Pit stop

After riding for 33km’s from MTDC, we reached the junction where Pune guys turned left towards Karjat. Sun has gone down by now, so it was getting dark, hence it was left to Roy to lead in his Gypsy while Biswa took the tail in his M800 with all the bike riders in between them. The road is a narrow running through forest.

Sun is finally going down

At around 8pm, after covering 118km from MTDC, some 2km before Khopoli, we came out on NH4. Enroute to Pune, we halted at Toni for Dinner and at 12:30am, having covered 190km’s I reached back my home.

Hampi – BN Annual Ride 2007

The ruins of Vijayanagar, near the town of Hampi, are some of the most fascinating in India. Once the capital of one of the largest Hindu empires in India history, Vijayanagar was founded by the Telugu princes in 1336 and hit the peak of its power in the 16th century.

The regular annual meets of BN were kick started in 2006 at Goa. For this year, the destination was selected as Hampi. Having returned back from Hospet in 2004, I didn’t want to miss another chance to visit Hampi, so I joined the 30+ nomads who headed towards Hampi on 23th Nov.

Few bikes and couple of cars of Nomads started from Pune on 23rd Nov early morning at 6:50. It was perfect weather for going on a bike trip. Around 7:30 we were out of Pune and cruising on partially empty NH4 towards Satara. Faster vehicles went on to enjoy the speed while I was the slowest one to take on the rear. Around 8:20 we all regrouped at the breakfast point, having covered 85km’s since the start. It was an hour long break after which we headed towards Peth, the turn off point for Sangli, our Lunch halt.

Once again the group was split with all riding at their own pace, to regroup at Peth. It was now a 2 lane road till Sangli, so we all decided to ride together with one car each leading and sweeping the group and all bikes in between them. There was a bit of truck traffic to content with. It was 12pm by the time we reached Mayank’s place in Sangli. So far we covered 138km’s. At Sangli we saw not just three nicely maintained bikes of Mayank but also the nicely maintained garage.

At 13:30 we left Sangli after a nice food for riders and fuel for rides. Once we crossed Miraj, traffic eased off and the road was relatively empty. This stretch was one of the best 2 lane road to ride on. With both the cars tailing bikes, we reached Bijapur. We all regrouped after Bijapur for a cup of tea at 17:10, having covered around 500km’s. It was now confirmed that it will be a long night ride we will have to do. At 17:50 we resumed the ride with sun already went to rest.

We knew it will be a lot of truck traffic till Hospet so the group got split into smaller groups with 2-3 vehicles per group. It was slow at times getting passed convey of trucks. As time went by the night went from cold to colder. By the time we regrouped for Dinner at 22:30 it was freezing, having spend another hour in couple of breaks before it. So far we had covered around 600km with just 30odd km’s left to Hampi. At 23:20 we started our last leg of the ride to Hospet where all the early birds were waiting for us. 35min past mid night we all reached Hampi having covered around 620km’s. Though it took us 17hrs 40min to reach Hampi, the actual riding time was only 11hrs 40min.

24th Nov was the day to explore Hampi so instead of going in one big group we all split into small groups, to regroup back by 3pm for group pictures back at hotel.

Water reservoir

First View of Hazararama Temple

Inside view of Hazararama Temple

Lotus Mahal

Just Ride!!!

Lotus Mahal

Elephant’s Stable

An attempt at Table Top shoot

Bikes line up at Hotel

Bikes ‘n’ Riders line up outside Vitthala Temple

Views of Vitthala Temple


The evening was spend in an hour long introduction of all the members followed by dinner. There was an unsuccessful attempt to have bonfire later in the night. After partying till late in night I went to sleep at 2am.
Around 6am people started to get ready to return back home. It was only by 7:30 that we started back towards Pune with Bangalore and Hydrabad guys taking it easy due to smaller distance to cover. At Hospet we refuled our rides. After riding on Sholapur road initially we turned towards Hubli, knowing that there are lot of potholes on this road, still it was going to be much faster due to longer 4 lane stretch. After a couple of 15mins break we reached Hubli. Except for one stretch of road which was anything but potholes everywhere, rest of road was still ride able but only in day time.

Since I was going to be the slowest on NH4, I split from group and carried on as I didn’t need the break, assuming that the faster vehicles will catch me up down the road. After crossing Dharwad, I started to feel hungry and sleepy so at 12:15, I pulled over into a road side hotel for food and sleep, having covered 222km’s so far. After a 25min break I resumed the ride, cruising at speeds around 80 on NH4. To kill the boredom of NH4 I kept on taking small 5min breaks every 80-90km’s. Once I crossed Satara, I started to feel hungry and with the traffic also increased, I slowed down a bit. At 17:35, I halted at Khambatki ghat for food break with just 70 odd km’s to go. Sun was going down fast, so at 18:00hrs I started the last leg of ride, with the rest of group still over an hr behind. The traffic was heavy and it was like a high speed dog fight on road. Thanks to the 4 lane road it was not difficult to ride here even though it was dark. As I entered Pune, I was greeted by a big traffic jam and it was by 19:10 that I reached Chandni Chowk having covered 621km’s.

Diwali weekend twin rides

Road to Lavasa, covered in fog

Though I had 4 days off during the Diwali weekend, I could barely ride due to my lazyness and some pending works to be completed. But when I got opportunity to do two small rides, I grabbed them with both hands.

First one was to Lonawala on Saturday evening, 10th Nov 2007, to team up with Arpan (Pulsar 220) and Alok (Pulsar 180 DTSi), who were riding to Bangalore. With Praveen (Pulsar 180 DTSi) willing to join me (CBZ) from Pune, we decided to ride via Pawana to view Sunset there.

We decided to explore some new route and took the road via Hinjewadi. Unfortunatly we took a road that got us within striking distance of Pawana, with just a small stone, ok ok it was a small hill, seperating us from Pawana as the road ended in dead end :-(. Following are some pics from the evening ride.

Suntset, very close to Pawana but on a road that leads to no where

Very close to Pawana but on a road that leads to no where

Very close to Pawana but on a road that leads to no where

Next ride was on Sunday morning to Lavasa. I finally managed to move the start time to 6am, so that we can see sunrise around Mutha. Well as it turned out, early morning fog deprived us the beautiful sunrise but at the same time it let us experience one of the best morning I have had in recent times.

During this ride I had a chance to ride Captain’s Pulsar 220 for the entire ride, with my CBZ resting at Chandani Chowk. At the start of ride, we flagged off Arpan and Alok towards Bangalore. Here are some pictures from the ride.

Early morning foggy road near Manas Lake

Sunrise, enroute Lavasa

View from Temghar Dam

View from Temghar Dam

Lavasa twisties

All steeds lined up

Similar topic(s)
Discovering ride to Pawana
PPL Ride
Return to Lavasa
The Bajaj Pulsar 220 DtsFi Test Ride
Lavasa – A Dream Fulfilled and some laws redefined

Are our “modern bikes” really modern?

Very often we refer to the bikes that are sold in India as “modern” bikes. Now I just wonder are they relaly modern?

Let me put down the tech we get to see in our modern machines.
– Single cylinder.
– Twin valve head.
– SOHC (Single Over Head Cam).
– Air cooled.

Is this really modern? My knowledge about bikes is not too great but isn’t all that tech there and used since, what 70’s or earlier?

More so, with every upgrade/new model of a exisiting bike, we keep on seeing them going heaver and heaver in weight. Is this due to modern tech?

So are the bikes really modern just because they uses stuff like LED lamps, Digital consoles, Clip on handle bars, Fancy disc brakes, Gas shocks, etc but still the same decades old engine design?

Oh someone might point out at the usage of EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) in our bikes. But is it really a step to use modern tech in our bikes or just an effort to make sure the bike meets emission norms?

We can say that as per the majority of consumer’s need the decades old engine design is what’s best suited. But then why call them “modern”?

Now one thing which has surely gone modern is the place where the bikes are manufactured. Having visited a scooter factory way back in 80’s and recently, another factory where bikes are made, the difference is surely noticeable. We can call this modernisation.

2005 Naldurg Ride

When at BikeNomads, Pune and Hydrabad guys decided to meet up for lunch. Naldurg, the biggest fort in Maharashtra, located almost in the middle of Pune and Hydrabad, just off NH, was chosen. The ride was planned for Sat, 23rd July 2005.

After last minute drop outs from Pune, I was the lone rider from Pune. I started late on my Bullet, since no one was waiting for me I left at 6:30. Maintained a steady pace of 80-100 as the road was good (initially 4 lane) and hardly any traffic.


Once the 4 lane got over, speed went a lil down as overtaking a convoy of trucks was not very easy. Had to stop for some 10min at a railway crossing, was tempted to sneak my bike under the pole but dropped the idea. After riding for 2hr 30min (166km) decided to take a quick break for food as was feeling very hungry. Took a quick 10min break and started, wanted to reach by 10:30. By now the traffic has increased, slowing me down :-(

Reached Sholapur by 10:40, was under the impression that Naldurg is some 5-10km from there but it was 45km (as found out written on a board, while zipping thru it. So once crossed Sholapur decided to up the pace and was doing in the range of 100-110. Around 11:00 crossed the bridge where we were to meet, saw no one so decided to cross the ghat (wide, twisties, empty roads never fail to tempt me :-D ) Stopped at the top of ghats, clicked some pics.

Returned back at the bridge. Waiting for hyd guys to come. Was wondering if they all went ahead in the fort as I got late.

After 30min first grp of riders came with Solly, Vinay and Praveen in it. After a round of introduction we waiting and then came Mayur followed by GR after some time. After
regrouping we all went to the fort, which is supposed to be the biggest in Maharashtra. Initially GR tried to be our guide but then later we got one.

Inside the fort

Now, the office of the fort

Remains of the fort

Panoramic view of the lake behind fort

View of lake behind fort

The tallest structure in fort

A mini dam inside fort

Pigeon box

The Nomads with guide on top of dam

Inside fort there is a small dam with two gates (located one over the other) to let the water flow down. Call it a masterpiece in design, there are a few rooms (two levels) build under the wide wall of dam. Now when water is let go from the gates of dam, it comes down as a waterfall and there are windows in those rooms opening right behind these waterfalls. Though this can only be seen during rains now, when the dam is full and water overflows through the gates. Another problem now a days is that, bats have made these rooms as their home, so one has to be careful when inside the rooms.

One of the two gates of dam

Remains of the fort

Climbing upto the tallest point in fort

Then there is a checkpost at the tallest point in fort with a few cannons on it. To fire at enemy. From here one can get a nice view of the area.

Double attack

Blow them all

The group outside the fort

Monsoon is the best time to visit Naldurg.

After seeing the fort, we headed for a quick lunch. Though I planned to have a light lunch, coudn’t resist having butter chicken yum yum.

GR left us early and at 3:50 we seperated and headed our ways. Was initially planing to ride back slowely but then had promised wife to be back home by 9. So decided to up the pace but by now wind had picked up and I was forced to ride into wind. Was not able to go above 90 for most of time. Only after 100km of Sholapur that the wind got a bit low and by 6:00 I was at the same place where I stopped for breakfast. Decided to refuel bike and have a quick snacks break.

Started at 6:25 and I knew that if I have to make pune by 9 I have to maintain the same speed at which I came in morning, its was difficult so I decided to give it a try. Until it got dark (some 100km to Pune @ 7:30) I was able to maintain the pace. Once it got dark it was a bit difficult as the on coming vehciles (cars and buses) were not ready to use dippers. Some truck guys were kind enough to do so. Still will not very heavy traffic maintaning 80 was not a problem. Once I reached 4 lane, speeds of 100 were easy to maintain so by 8:50 I entered pune.

Now the task was to pass thru the city to reach other end of town. Thankfully the loud horn and riding a bullet made it a bit easy and was home by 9:25. Smsed Solly about my state and watched movie with dinner.

Some stats: (I love this part ;-) )

Total distance: 612km (P-N: 305, N-P: 307)
Total time (including breaks): 9hrs 30min (P-N: 4hrs 30min, N-P: 5hrs)
Avg speed: 64km/hr (P-N: 67km/hr, N-P: 61.4km/hr)
P-N: Pune – Naldurg
N-P: Naldurg – Pune

Discovering ride to Pawana

CBZ and the destination in backdrop

When captain told me about a new road that he has discovered, how can we miss the oportunity to ride on it. After discussing with Captain we found its the one that comes out near Mutha (one I looked curiously during my last ride to Mutha). Now just riding on it to reach Mutha was a bit less than normal plan, so we extended it to ride to Lonawala via Pawana. So the ride was planned for Sunday, 4th Nov 2007, early morning and invitations to Nomads were send. In the end it was me on CBZ, Captain on his Pulsar220 and Nehal on her RX100 who started the ride.

As usual we grouped at Chandani Chowk by 6:30 and after tanking up our bikes we headed towards NDA. Yes, Captain has taken the permission so that we can ride through NDA to reach the new route.

After doing the paperwork at NDA entrance we headed towards Peacock Bay end to exit NDA. 10km into the ride and at Peacock bay we were now coming out on a road, I’m riding for the first time. Its a narrow and scenic road. With hills on one side and farms with Khadakwasala dam’s water beyond them. Will be at its best during monsoon for sure.

Backwater of Khadakwasala dam

Backwater of Khadakwasala dam & CBZ

Though the road condition is not the best with some broken patches in middle, its still worth riding on. After some 21km’s from Peacock Bay we reached the point where it joins Mutha ghat.

View from the bottom of Mutha Ghat

After a small break, we all ripped up the Ghat, which was as good as always. After coming down Mutha ghat, we headed towards Pirangut. The road is wide with great tarmac and some free flowing twisties.

At Pirangut, we took the left turn towards Paud, a destination which is some 20odd km’s, we reached after riding for almost 50km’s. From Paud we got off the SH and turned right towards Pawana. The road is back to a narrow one with some bad stretches in between.

The first view of Pawana was very different from last time. There is a lot more brownish-green grass on the road side, due to which we missed the trail that would have taken us to a better view point. Also there is plenty of more water right now. Due to lots of haze, the camera’s were not able to capture a good view of the scenery.

Pawana and Tung fort covered in Haze

View from Top

After a small break we headed towards the Boat club as we all were hungry by now. As we crossed the Pawana dam, I wrongly took the right turn at a ‘T’ junction, which I realised after we have ridden for few km’s. Once we asked the locals about the destination of this road as Kamshet, there was no turning back. After all it will still take us to our homes :-) . So we carried on the second discovery of the ride. This road is a typical village road, with lots of bad patches in between. Enroute, we gave the turnoff to Kamshet a miss as we realised that the road will still take us to Pune.

Discovering the road

Since we were all very hungry by now, so we pulled over to a small road side hotel to feast of hot tea and hot bhajis. Home is not too far now, so once we were done munching, we kick started the last part of the ride.

Discovering the road

View of Expressway

By the time we came out back on NH4, we have already covered 97km’s and now it was time to twist the wrist and gobble km’s at faster pace. By 11:15 we all split at Wakad, having covered 113km’s into the ride.

So couple of roads were discovered to ride on during rains, as thats the best time to enjoy this part of country. Ofcourse, we can always ride to Pawana to view what would be some breath taking sunrise and sunset views.

Similar topic(s)
PPL Ride


Rajmachi – A twin fort destination near Lonawala. A location which is a two days beginners trek and a slightly challenging destination for those who wish to use the two wheels over two legs.

My first visit to Rajmachi was way back in year 2002 on my Suzuki Fiero with three other riders (from the Pulsar yahoo group) who came from Bombay on their Bajaj Pulsar’s. We teamed up at Khopoli, as I rode down the Khandala ghats. Before we started our ride to Rajmachi we feasted at RK, Lonawala.

The road to Rajmachi, when coming from Lonawala side is just after a couple of turns after Lonawala town. The road is on right hand side and goes down steeply.

The auto is coming from Lonawala side and the narrow road going down, next to those advertising boards goes to Rajmachi.

Initially the road is not so bad but once we cross the last village enroute, for the rest of 20 odd km we have to ride on gravel, stones, mud, etc. Just before the Rajmachi village we have to climb up a stretch which during monsoon is used by rain water to come down. So it is full of decent sized stones and loose sand to fight with, often requiring not just the machine but human power to get the vehicle up.

After a challenging ride we are greeted by the village located at the base of fort. There are some houses here who cater to tourist by providing them home cooked meal at a very reasonable rate but the time taken is a lot. So one can order the food and walk towards an ancient temple and a water reservoir located behind the village.

One can also walk up the fort but it will be difficult to return back the same day, unless he is willing to ride back in dark. A different kind of experience all together, which I’m yet to experience :-)

To stay overnight, one can either take shelter in the house of villagers at a nominal rate or choose the school room for night halt.

Here are pictures from my very first ride to Rajmachi.

Ravi & Eric at RK, Lonawala

Enroute Rajmachi

The village at the base of fort

The village at the base of fort

Riding back from Rajmachi

Riding back from Rajmachi

Riding back from Rajmachi

It took me another 5odd years to revisit this wonderful place. The ocassion was Republic day ride (2007) at BikeNomads. This time as well it was the riders from Pune and Bombay riding together to conquer the challenging Rajmachi trail. Accompanying me it was once again my good old Suzuki Fiero. The route hasn’t changed much in last 5 years so hasn’t the challanges. Though few of the team members decided to stay overnight, me and a few more riders returned back before it got dark.

Here are the pictures from my second visit to Rajmachi.

Enroute to Rajmachi

The water reservoir

An ancient temple

Catching the sky

Returning back from Rajamchi

Returning back from Rajamchi

Returning back from Rajamchi