“Pilgrims” or “Tourist” who we really are..!!?

13th day of May, 2017.

Long week and heavy workload in office always makes one nostalgic about Saturday morning! And finally this was one good morning with chilled, refreshed weather. Self-made tea mug in one hand, a wonderful book in another, sitting in balcony, sipping tea and reading book, what could be better start of the day than this..!!

One of the team-mate was getting married and we were invited. So we decided to attend his marriage reception in evening. We decided to visit newly constructed BAPS Swaminarayan Temple located on Pune-Bangalore highway, Katraj, Pune, before going to marriage place. We started around 5:00 PM in evening and it was really hot outside. Temperature was almost around 39° C. Sitting on the window seat in car, I was really missing my morning.

We reached temple around 5:30 PM. Evening time, good wind was really helping us to calm ourselves down over heat, despite of heavy sunlight. Architecture of this temple is just best marvel as other BAPS Swaminarayan Temple. BAPS temples are always spic and span, well organised, will have easy entry and exit, peaceful and lovely. Pune campus got leverage of serene as well. Small hills around, one lake is also nearby, and evening time visit will always help you to enjoy sunset, wonderful lighting of temple and “aarti” as well. There is also cafeteria near exit gate for those who wants to grab a bite.

There was one hill there, small but good enough for half hour track. One can go to the top of this hill with car or bike as well, but we preferred to track. It was easy to climb up but while coming down, it was dark and it was also difficult to walk on the very same path that we used to climb up. Large landscape would give you a wonderful look of Pune-Bangalore highway, a lake, some small houses built on the mountain and a pleasant sunset. This was the perfect time to witness beautiful lighting of the temple down there.

We were there as pilgrims, and all of sudden we were tourist. I think this transformation was easy in this city. This is why I like this city! You would be flabbergasted how nature has blessed this city with so many vivid landscapes.

We thought wow, this is amazing but this wasn’t really end. A full pack of surprise was waiting for us. All of sudden, It started raining! Scent of first rain was there in the atmosphere. And then suddenly, lighting was cracking throw the clouds and directly hitting the ground. This pleasant atmosphere became scary. Rain was still there but there wasn’t scent that we smelled few minutes back. It reminded me of the day of 2 years back and there was same kind of thunderstorm. On that day I managed to capture some of the lighting photos with my mobile. Here I am sharing those photos.

I am publishing this article on 29th May, 2017 and I have revisited this very same place on 28th May, 2017.

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TIKONA FORT

It was 8th January 2017.

New year was started few days back and everybody were settling down in their life with new hopes, new expectations and  different new year resolutions then last year. In my case, it was new job. I was also confirming myself at new place. With this new beginning, we decided to visit Tikona Fort.

Total distance to Tikona fort from my place is around 80 km. My plan was to leave at 7 AM form home and have some breakfast midway and reach there max by 10:30 AM. Well, when you want roam around with your roommates, you should not stick to any plan.3 friends on 2 bikes and we finally managed to leave our home at 10:15 AM. Ya that’s correct. At that time I wanted to be there. Anyways, we took old Bombay-Pune highway to reach destination so it took lesser time than anticipated.

It was already late so we decided to have lunch on the highway. So we stopped at famous dhaba on the way. It was good place but was as costlier as decent restaurant within the city. Food was good and helped us to satisfy out appetite. Till the time clock was displaying 1:15 PM.

Again we started for Tikona Fort with full stomach. By time time 2:00 PM we were at our first wonderful place near to our destination. The place was “Pavana Dam”. If  you are a fan of natural beauty then you will just fall in love with this place. Amount of water that you can not even imagine, is in front of  your eyes. Wind that makes some waves in the still water and gives you a feel of sea. Some mountains, a river bank, good wind, wonderful atmosphere, all those thinks put just one thing in your mind. “I want to have a house here”.  Then you realize that you can’t even afford your shared rented house in Pune. 😛 😀 That is also very costly so you leave this thought behind and just enjoyed the moment.

Left this place at 2:45 PM and reached Tikona Fort at 3:00 PM. After reaching there we realized that this is not actually a big fort but it is a trek..!!! At 3:15 PM, we were really not in the mood of trekking but we got there so we had to reach the top most point there. We started and successfully completed that in one and half hour. It was moderate level difficulty for someone like me who is at beginner level in trekking. Temperature was also comparatively high, we were out of water, one of my friend had motion sickness, trek route was also difficult but with all these challenges some energetic songs on JBL speaker(Ya, we had one JBL with us 😛 ), Nimbu Pani midways, some comments on each other made it easier to reach the top. Nearly the height of 3500 ft gives you a gigantic view of mountain series and water reservoir.

We returned to parking around 5:15 PM. Then we had Kanda Bhaggi, Poha, Chai over here and played Gaalli Cricket with local kids with just flat wooden strap, tennis ball and cycle wheel as stumps. 😀 It was really very interesting and memorable game. At 6:15 PM we started towards Pune but again Pavana back-water lake forced us to enjoy sunset at the same place where we started. The same place was totally different than what we had visited the very same afternoon. Same place can just show you altogether different view. This sunset was very beautiful. The atmosphere was so pleasant that we didn’t leave from there till it was complete dark. Our journey towards city began at 7:30 PM from there.

SINHAGAD FORT

It was the 10th day of December 2016.

After having lunch on the day of Saturday at home, friends want to roam at some NICE place. Then we decided to visit Singagad Fort.Total distance to this place from my location was 50 km. We started around 1:00 PM. With the help of google map, we reached swargate and then we realized that we don’t have enough fuel in our bike. 😛 Ya, we are careless bachelors.. 🙂 We found fuel station nearby very easily but due to recent effect of demonetization, it was difficult to convince then to take our payment via Credit Card. Well, at the end we managed to purchase fuel in some round figures and convinced him to accept credit card and the time was 2:15 PM till then.

Then our next stop was Khadakwasla Dam. Pune city technically ends here. Spent some time here with tea and wadapau. It was sunny day, half an hour was enough amount of time on this place.

Again, we started towards our destination Singagad Fort but before reaching there we got one point there at some height and one person was selling Linbu Pani there.Clicked some photos there. Ya, we had DSLR with us. I doubt our photography skill but when you have camera in hand, it is obvious that you consider yourself a skilled photographer 😛 😀

And finally we reached our destination Singagad Fort aound 4:00 PM. You can have a view of Pune city and wonderful natural beauty from the height of 1300+ m (4250+ ft). It was still sunny day so sun was shining with charm of heat as it was the month of December so this sun was not too hot at evening time with some wind. Around 100 steps and a walk on the top of fort helped us to kill 2 hours of time. Then the atmosphere was so pleasant that we didn’t leave from there till it was complete dark. We had Pithla Bhakri (famous maharashtrian dish) from local vendors over there.

It was well spent evening with friends and bike ride made it really memorable to me.