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


Bonfire

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.