There are a few months in every year where I get bored of the life I am living and want to escape into the wilderness, be myself and as always go on a world tour. The last part of that wish has definitely been on your wish list at some point in time too. (if not... then it soon might be there) With a lot of my friends traveling solo across the world and Facebook doing a good job of rubbing it in, this year the travel itch started quite a bit early. Probably as early as the Indian Summer. As you all might know, the Indian summer is not exactly a great season to tour around the country so it was decided that this time, it will be the monsoons which I will welcome in the Western Ghats around Pune, giving the beloved Ecosport a monsoon drive and at the same time trying to capture some good clicks with the camera. However the delay in monsoons and the usual uncertainties of life, meant that most of my plans materialized only in my brain.
So when this year the monsoon finally seemed likely to make an appearance in Pune on my Birthday weekend, it was decided that this Birthday would be celebrated in a slightly different manner. The idea was to set out on an overnight journey, with a set of clothes, camera and the car and go wherever the road takes you. Click pictures where nature mesmerizes you and halt wherever the body feels tired. Though things didn't materialize as planned and I came back to spend the night at home on Saturday, the solo tour of Tamhini and Pabe did turn out to be a lot more fun than expected.
A late start and incessant rains on Saturday meant that Tamhini was enjoyed more by drenching in the rains and experiencing the lovely sights that it had to offer than clicking pictures of the same. The drive through a relatively dry Mulshi dam and roads through forests hidden in cloud cover refreshed me instantly. After surviving a few heavy spells of showers which also allowed me to catch up on lunch, Tamhini finally cleared a bit allowing me to capture a few photos of clouds rolling down the mountains, waterfalls cascading over steep cliffs, the typical red state transport busses plying through the green forest and some paddy fields being planted. No trip in a monsoon is ever complete without a dip in one of the cold mountain streams gushing down in the valley below. So just before heading back, I stopped the car in front of one such stream got down and dipped myself in the cold crystal clear water. Talk about getting a refreshment overdose :) The journey back was pretty uneventful and by the time I reached back Pune it was pretty late in the evening.
The next day, in the midst of attending phone calls from friends and family I set out to Pabe Ghat. From what I remembered of it, it seemed to provide an interesting and quite secluded route away from Pune. The weather seemed bright and sunny till I crossed Sinhgad, but after that it was incessant rains all throughout. The drive to Pabe was excellent with tree lined roads winding up the hill to the top. Once up there, I walked up on the ridge only to soak in the few showers that decided to cross from one valley into another at that moment of time. After about an hour spent there enjoying the play of sunlight and the clouds, I finally moved towards Bhor. Unfortunately the monsoon or its associated rains had not even reached this side of the Western ghats and after a couple of clicks of the dry river beds and the arid lands, I decided to turn back towards Pune.
Driving through clouds, dense forests, quaint little villages, fresh mountain air, cold mountain water gushing in the form of numerous waterfalls, amazing sights when the valley clears of clouds, bits and pieces of sunshine, no goals, no direction decided and no one but the occasional good song on radio for company... It turned out to be by far one of the best birthday celebration so far and allowed me some time with myself. With a promise to self, to travel solo more often and explore the country if not the world, I finally returned home.
For more pictures of the trip check out the Tamhini & Pabe - July 2014 section at http://www.pratikpatki.com/places/