Camping ride to Dangs and Bhandardara.


Bhandardara and Dangs, these 2 places had been on my mind since the onset of rainy season. But, somehow the plan could not materialize and I missed the famous Fire Flies event in Bhandardara which happens just before the start of the rainy season. Monsoons, here in Maharashtra are intense and though it is the perfect weather for the travelers to explore the nature, frankly speaking, I did not ride the entire season. Not because I did not want to but, somehow I just lost the grip of travel during the 4 months. Dangs too was a shortlisted alongside Bhandardara after our last ride to Kelsi beach before the monsoon.

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Fire Flies lighting up the sky in Bhandardara…

My rider friends from Ahmedabad too were interested in this trip and after planning so much for the trip, it still did not materialize. Initially, we had only planned for Bhandardara and it was almost on the verge of getting finalized but we had to scrap the proposal as people were not ready due to personal issues. A long time passed and my people in Ahmedabad were getting restless. They did not have a long trip since their Ladakh journey in June. It was decided that come what may we will be again doing the same location on 23-24-25th of Dec. Before this, the trip was planned for the month of Oct in the first place. 25th Dec was holiday owing to Christmas and it was falling on Monday. That’s why these dates were chosen. Since we had already got contacts in Bhandardara when we had researched in the first place, people had to flow down here for the trip. Initially, it was decided that the people would be coming by Train or Air and getting the bikes on rent from Mumbai city and they we all would ride towards Bhandardara. My Mumbai friends were also interested in the trip and so the trip was ‘ON’. But, again what happened in the first place happened this time also. Ahmedabad people were not available, and so we all from Mumbai decided to continue with this trip. Now, we were 4 people for this trip. Ganesh accompanied me in Mumbai as he left Ford and joined in my same company here. We 2 and my Kelsi ride friends, Subhesh and Anurag, we were ready for this trip. Since the distance was less as compared to the holidays we had in hand, we decided to include Dangs too. This was also my ‘go to’ place alongside Bhandardara.

I and Anurag were confirmed for this trip. Later on, I came to know that Ganesh had 2nd and 4th Saturday working and since 23rd was falling on Saturday, it was going to be difficult for him to take leave since he had recently joined the company. He too was unsuccessful in getting approval for the leave as other people in his department were already on leave. He agreed to join us on the 2nd day of Camping at Bhandardara. The 1st day of camping place was decided to be Dangs i.e. on 23rd. There was no logic applied in selecting a particular place on a particular date. We just went with it. Just a week before the dates, we got to hear from Subhesh that he might not be able to join the ride as he had to go back to Ahmedabad for some personal stuff. Subhesh is from Ahmedabad and currently working in Mumbai. Anurag is from Gwalior and works in Pune. Two days before the date, we got an ‘OK’ confirmation from Subhesh. He was not going to travel to Ahmedabad and instead join us on the trip. He was bringing in one of his office colleague, Vinod to the trip. So we’re all set for the trip dates. On the first day, we would be 4 of us riding towards Dangs. Anurag was going to ride from Pune and join us in Mumbai. On the second day, Ganesh would be joining us in Bhandardara directly.

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Our Day 1 Route towards Dangs..

Since I, Anurag and Subhesh had already camped at Kelsi beach before, we knew what all things we would be requiring for the trip. This time we decided to even cook Non-Veg food. Back at Kelsi, we had limited ourselves only to Maggi. But this time it was going to be big. We prepped ourselves with the necessary items and even bought an extra barbecue since, this time it was going to be varieties of both, Veg and Non-Veg. We made a custom barbecue out of steel grills normally used for wall compound. This I made and purchased a day before the trip.

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Cooking Maggi back at the last trip to Kelsi…

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Making custom barbecue….

The bike was readied accordingly and on Saturday morning around 7am, we started the trip. We picked Anurag on the way and moved on. There was heavy traffic on the roads leading out of Mumbai. It was warranted since it was holiday season and people had 3 days to enjoy the weekend. We were forced to move along with the slow traffic and couldn’t do anything better. This continued till we were clear of the city limits and then immediately decided to halt for tea breaks. Tea was mandatory to soothe ourselves and after that long-suffering in the heavy morning traffic. We had the famous ‘Vada-Paav’ for breakfast along with hot tea. It was really refreshing. I hadn’t eaten ‘Vada-Paav’ since ages. I had two of them along with 4 cups of tea. Yeah, you saw it right, 4!, I think I broke my own record for drinking most back to back cups of tea. I did not know how but it just went on. Maybe, the taste of tea, my tongue didn’t want to let go.

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Preparing for the ride and at the same time injured my finger too!!

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Me and Subhesh waiting for Vinod to join…

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At one of the signal…seen ahead of me is Vinod on Avenger and at upfront is Subhesh with single side-saddle bag!!

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Seen at the left is Anurag who had come from Pune and was waiting for us….

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That’s how the traffic was..very bad..we were almost driving on the side of the roads..

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Vada-Paav and Chai

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L-R: Subhesh, Vinod, Myself, Anurag

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About to leave our breakfast adda….

We spent quite some time at the roadside stall having breakfast and then decided to move on. Our final destination was the famous Gira Falls in Dangs district which was roughly 300 km from our start point. As stated earlier, there was no logic applied in selecting the location for camping. We had only heard that it was famous during monsoons. So we decided to head up there and find a suitable place to camp for ourselves. We’d decided to take things as it presented itself. From there on, we headed towards Igatpuri.

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Gira Falls location…

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Gira falls during monsoons..

The roads were pretty good, in fact, the highway was excellent. Soon we were gaining elevation, a sign that we were approaching the last line of the Sahayadris. Riding in the mountains is totally different fun. At the time there was a train going past the tunnel at the high mountains and we were almost rushing to catch her! The sight was awesome. I remembered by train rides back in my college days when I used to travel Pune-Mumbai and the train used to pass under the lush green mountains in and out. I will never forget that sight during the rainy seasons with water falling on the train roof from high atop the mountains. A train ride worth to remember.

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Going up the mountain…

Igatpuri was approaching fast and we decided to take a break to click some photos as there were beautiful mountains presenting themselves at the back. A photo of the mountains!! There was no any open area adjacent to the highway road, so we parked just at the highway itself, right along the edge of the road. We had parked right around a sharp corner and so had to be careful of the incoming traffic.

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That’s where we were about to park our bikes…

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Shot with Nikon..

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What a mountainous view…

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Serious discussion going on…

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Approaching Nashik City…

After a quite decent session of Highway photography, we moved on and entered the city of Nashik. I had visited Nashik only once when I had taken a break there when I was riding to Ahmedabad from Pune and taken that offbeat route. I had stationed there to have lunch and ate the famous ‘Misal-Paav’ there. They have their own unique style of presenting the ‘Misal-Paav’ which I had liked the most. And here I was standing at the doors of the city again and longing for one again. I quickly checked into Facebook and asked my friends for best recos to have the item and I did receive many and out of that 2 names were mentioned frequently. One was ‘Sadhana Misal’ and the other one was ‘Mamacha Mala’. But both the places were quite deep into the city as shown to us by Google ‘mata’. We were waiting at the city bypass. Since none of us was that damn hungry we decided to have it during our return journey from Dangs.

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We crossed Nashik city and were soon going to take the state highway. Except me and Ganesh all are alcoholics, and since we were soon going to enter into Dangs which falls in Gujarat, they had to make arrangement for the night and so we were stopping frequently and searching for their ‘ITEM’. But bad luck prevailed, we were not able to find one along the highway side. ‘Age Milega (We’ll get Ahead)’ with this thought we pushed ahead and entered the SH from NH. The roads were telling us that we had entered the State Highway. The road condition was completely nullified by the scenery around. All around we would see the Grapes and Strawberry cultivation and it was just mind-blowing. We could see the grapes fully grown to size and farmers were plucking them and keeping it in their basket. Nashik is famous for one thing, i.e. Grape Wine. I think all of the wine is exported out of the country. You get to see the famous ‘Sula’ vineyard factory along the way. They have 2 units. These guys arrange a special festival called ‘Sula fest’ in the month of Jan end or early Feb. Wine lovers should not miss this chance. I don’t even drink wine. Some farmers were even selling their produce right outside the farm and we could see at many places people stopping to buy them. A perfect sight and moment, eat right where they are produced. A totally different feeling!

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Grape vineyard on both the sides…

We stopped ahead at the hotel to have a ‘SOLID’ lunch since we were on Tea and ‘Vada-Paav’ which we had in the morning plus some biscuits which we shared amongst ourselves when we took the breaks. They were offered to us by Anurag.

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Time for Lunch…

We had a good heavy lunch of ‘Sev’ subji along with Veg-Kolhapuri, Daal Tadka, and hot tandoori rotis. Now we felt like we were alive. It gave us some strength to proceed ahead. It was 4pm and chill started to engulf the normal dry hot air.

We still had few things to shop before we’d camped at the day end. Out of which 2 were important, which were wood and a rod to cook barbeque. Both of them were necessary in order for the cooking to happen and our mission to eat our own cooked food.

Along the way, we spotted a fabrication shop, where we custom manufactured one rod for our chicken barbeque. We could notice by the woods logs kept at the back of his shop that he was selling that too. There itself we purchased wood too. Total 7kgs of wood for 50 bucks! Now everything was set and the last one which had planned to buy was the Chicken itself and Vegetables for cooking. That we’d decided to buy at the last where we were almost nearing our destination. Packing all that we moved on. Still, these guys had not got what they were searching since afternoon, Booze!

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Our stainless steel barbecue rod making in progress….

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That yellow bag behind Vinod’s bike contained wood…

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That’s Vinod bike carrying the main ingredient.

We stopped at one place where we thought we could get the booze but it turned out to be a dead end. The shop was open but nothing was inside. We had missed seeing a shop some 3-4 km back which happened to be the last one serving the booze before the border began. It was 5pm now and getting darker by the minute. A collective decision was taken to ditch the booze plan and move ahead. A quite some time was spent there, as I had to urgently go for nature’s call, which was calling me since late morning. Meantime, other people were busy clicking photos to keep them as their FB ‘DP’. Gladly, the shut-downed booze place was adjoining to the hotel which was having a decent toilet. Otherwise, I had no choice but to go out in the open.

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Vinod…

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Anurag.

It was still 50kms to our final destination and without wasting much time we kicked-off. Now we were almost zig-zagging between the mountains. Yes, this was mountain territory, the last of the Sahayadris. Within few kilometers, we reached Saputara, the one and only hill station of Gujarat that too on the Maharashtra-Gujarat Border. We could see the sun almost dipping itself into the horizon. Soon it was going to be dark. We still had a long way to go and most importantly we had to shop here before we moved ahead towards our destination. We all parked our bikes on the side of the road and decided on the next steps. It was not worth going ahead since by now it was pitch dark and even though we’d reached the destination finding a good place in the dark would have been challenging or rather impossible. Subhesh hinted us that he had few contacts here in Saputara who could help us find a privy place to camp, away from the crowds. Saputara, at that time, was crowded like hell. Since it was winter season, it looked like the whole of Gujarat had come to that tiny place to enjoy. We decided that if we were to stay there, we would have to find a secluded place in the area where we won’t be disturbed and our sole objective of camping would come through. Just as we were almost done and parting our ways, each person had got a shopping list to buy the required things, we met shubesh’s elder brother who too had come there for visiting the place. He works in Gujarat tourism and by the time both the brothers figured it out where to camp for the night, we’d gone for shopping. By the time we came back, the place was decided, it was a corner place on one of the mountains where an abandoned resort was there. The resort owner was a good friend of his brother. We were to stay at the resort, which was soon going to be renovated. The resort harbored plush houses facing the deep gorge below, a scene which we could only see in the morning. Without wasting much time we headed towards that direction. The weather was chilly since we were now surrounded by trees from all the sides. The resort had a watchman which ensured that our parked bike standing outside were safe. We found out an open place at the center of the resort inside, where we decided to camp. We even got a 20 ltr can of fresh water and one of the houses in the resort was opened for us to use the bathroom and keep our luggage inside. You can say, it was a mix of camping and ‘resorting’. It was the best we could get at that moment of time. We had leisurely traveled that day taking a whole day to cover just 300kms. It was our fault having missed our main destination. But camping here offered us water and a good security of keeping our luggage. Had we went ahead towards Gira Falls we would have to carry enough water from Saputara to manage all the things for us, which was the biggest concern since we did not have a storage can big enough to store water.

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We reached Saputara

 

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The Sun was setting down in Saputara and we still had 50 kms to go….

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It became this dark in Saputara after we had finished with our shopping….

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After all our luggage was offloaded at the resort gate…

After all the luggage was offloaded, we started the preparation for cooking the food. First, we made arrangements for 2 cooking fires near to each other with the help of bricks. Then at one side Chicken was being marinated while at the other end vegetables were being cut. It was 9pm at the time. Soon the fire was lit with the woods which we had purchased in the evening and kerosene. We were facing difficulty in keeping the fire intact as the wood was not responding properly. We first cooked the vegetables and kept it aside. It took us a long time to make the vegetables to get completely cooked. Then it was the time for Chicken to get roasted. The barbeque setup was already ready we inserted the metallic rod inside the chicken and started giving it heat.

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Left was for Veg, Right for Non-veg

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Lighting up the fire…

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Cooking the vegetables, potato mixed with cauliflower!

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The chicken marination process starts…

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Cleaning in progress…

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Now, wait for 1 hr before you proceed ahead!!

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Let the game begin…

The wood used for roasting the chicken was burning well. I think we had used the wrong type of wood when we were cooking the vegetables. The flame was intense and started to cook the chicken. We could see the outer layer of the chicken turning to crisp. We were playing some good old music at the background with the help of our Bluetooth speaker. The mood was festive and every one of us was enjoying. Cooking the chicken was taking a lot of time. We had the right amount of flame but we had to ensure that it was cooked thoroughly before we ‘d pull the rod out of it. Slowly, the whole chicken was turned into crisp black. The ideal sign and color with which the barbequed chicken is generally identified. We even poked the chicken with a knife just to be sure that it was cooked and the knife was piercing with ease. With these tests, we took it out of the flame and finally roasted the bread (chapatis) over both the flames so that it will be roasted fast and the already cooked food won’t turn cold.

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Anurag, roasting the rotis for all of us..

Finally, it was time to enjoy the dinner. It was awesome cooked dinner, though there was some portion of the chicken which had not cooked properly but was manageable. Everyone was so hungry that no was one talking to each other in that cold night and were busy enjoying the hot served dinner. All these activities took us until midnight. After that, it was time for pitching our tent and go back to sleep. The fire was still burning and we utilized the heat to warm ourselves before retiring into our tents. All we could hear were the crickets singing as we lay back and went off to sleep. There were only 3 tents available for 4 of us, so Vinod had to retire back to the house for sleeping. My eyes automatically slid down like a man hurriedly closing down his shutter on the shop.

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We were ready for sleeping…

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Bedtime guys…

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so bhi ja aab…

Next morning it was difficult to wake up since the tired body was not letting me too. But I could hear the chirping of the birds and when I checked my watch, it was 8 o’clock. I quickly got off the tent to enjoy the beautiful view outside. Everyone was still sleeping inside. I quickly strolled around for few minutes enjoying the morning and went outside the resort. I could see all the bikes parked safely at their original position. With this, I assumed that everyone was still at the resort and sleeping. I took the bike keys with me and decided to do a short tour of the Saputara during the wee hours of the morning. It was 9am at that time and still cold was felt. With the same clothes which I had worn during sleeping, I hopped onto my bike and went on short tour checking the map frequently on my mobile. I visited a small dam which was around 3kms from our place. The road was typical village type and I was feeling colder as I was driving on shorts. The view at the dam was beautiful and upon clicking some photos there, I returned back to the resort. I saw Subhesh with his bike standing outside the resort gate. We decided the go to the city bazaar and have some tea, while the other 2 were still sleeping. The tea was served with lemongrass mixed with it and the taste was just awesome. Subhesh has been to Saputara many times and every time he wishes to have tea, this is the place where he comes. He proved me right with his choice.

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Still Sleeping…

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Good Morning to all the bikes….

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At the dam..

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Village roads are the best…

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Vinod and Anurag busy cleaning the utensils…

We went back to the resort and by the time, the other 2, Vinod and Anurag had woken up and getting ready. It was time to pack up and leave for the next destination, Bhandardara. Since the other 2 had missed out on tea, I again accompanied them while Subhesh was busy readying himself. We three then went to the same stall for tea and along with it, we had ‘Poha’ for breakfast as we were feeling hungry now. The cold had vanished and Sun was beaming at its full power. It was feeling like summertime. We had to shop for dish wash soap also to wash our utensils which we purchased after our breakfast. While the 2 went ahead to the resort, I was in search of Kerosene which was low in quantity after the yesterday’s usage. We would be requiring that today also for making dinner in Bhandardara. Bad luck outran me as I could not find the kerosene. We hoped that we would find it along the way. By the time I returned back, everything was set, the utensils had been washed and were kept out in the open sun for drying. Meantime we all readied ourselves and around noon we left the place finally.

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Ready for our next destination…Bhandardara…

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Ready, Get, Set, go…

While we three were waiting at the same tea stall, Subhesh had gone to speak with the resort owner to thank him. He was having a series of resorts along that line and the place where we stayed was the last in line, abandoned. When we finally all met up, it was not before we had the same Lemon Grass tea that we wished to leave the place. I will remember that place for the special tea served only.

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Subhesh: Let’s have a final cup of tea before moving ahead……

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Thank you for visiting Saputara!!!

Finally, we left the place and at the back, we could see more influx of people into the city. It was around 1pm when we had hit the roads and we decided to do non-stop until Nashik. We reached Nashik around 3:30pm. Ganesh and Chetan were going to join us directly at Bhandardara from Trimakeshwar. Ganesh and Chetan had driven from Mumbai, visited Trimbakeshwar and we’re going to join for camping tonight. Chetan was riding pillion with Ganesh.

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Vinod adjusting his rear luggage somewhere before Nashik…

When we reached Nashik, it was around 3:30pm and we still had a long way to go. Hence here again we ditched the plan of having the ‘Misal-Paav’ and instead moved ahead. Time was haunting us. We had decided that at least for today we would reach the destination before dark. In order to save time ahead for shopping, we gave all the required list to Ganesh and Chetan who had agreed to bring the items with them. Today there was fish for the dinner while the same menu was there for the vegetarians. Since nothing had gone inside the stomach since morning apart from the 1 dish ‘poha’ we decided to break for few minutes and have a good solid food before we proceeding ahead. We had ‘Aloo Paranthas’ for all of us along with special tea. The time was 5pm and the distance remaining was still 50kms. We decided to split the workload. Subhesh and Anurag were to travel ahead and find a place for camping while I and Vinod were to search for wood before uniting the former 2 people at the camp.

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A quick stop for late lunch fore heading towards Bhandardara….

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Our bikes relaxing until the time we finished our lunch…

The road now diverted off the highway and towards the mountain again. Now, these patches of mountains were huge, no doubt they harbor the highest mountain in Maharashtra state known as ‘Kalsubai’. The famous and the most difficult trekking fort also lies in this range and is known as ‘Harishchandragad’. It was starting to get darker, and we stopped at many places asking for wood supplies. The mobile network was going ‘On and Off’. We had signaled Ganesh and Chetan to reach directly at Bhandardara but, it’d seemed that they too were far off and we were unable to establish contact with them. At such places, you just can’t rely on the network alone. In the meantime, we found a village where we could get wood for our purpose. We went there, as suggested to us by locals, and were happily helped by the village people. We packed the logs which were given to us into the rucksack, which was also provided. We mounted them on Vinod’s bike and moved ahead.

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Heading towards the mountain up ahead…

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Curious villagers look while the firewood is being arranged…

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Thanks a ton guys for helping us out!!

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The blue bag behind contains valuable item….

Vinod was looking for the ‘ITEM’ which he had failed getting his hands on the other day. That task was given to him by Subhesh, dare if reached to campsite empty-handed. Just as were searching for the ‘ITEM’ Ganesh and Chetan found us and from then onwards we were together moving towards the camping site. Darkness had conquered but, we thought the people up ahead might have found a good camping place for us. The only issues was how do we to contact them. Signal strength was sporadic. They had sent us the location but we were unable to receive it. At one point we did receive and we were off to that location. The roads were like serpentine going up the hills. It was colder than the Saputara. After some time we reached the place where many hotels were located. Here at this point, we found the ‘ITEM’ and Vinod was very happy. We moved ahead as suggested by the Google map location. We could see them by their reflective jackets up ahead. But, when we approached them, there was no any camping site, they were just waiting on one side of the road beside the dam’s secondary release gates. They had already done the survey of the area but had failed to find a private spot for camping. Being winter time, the whole place was flooded with campers like us. There was little room for camping but you had to pitch the tent beside someone and privacy was surely gonna go for a toss.

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It was pitch dark and we were tracing the location sent to us by Subhesh…

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We met Subhesh and Anurag at the highlighted location..

We didn’t notice there was a boy standing next to Subhesh whom he had already spoken too. He told me that the boy was our person in setting up our camp at a private place along the banks of the lake. He was going to take us to the place and was waiting for one more party who too had called him up. The other party had come in a car and in no way, they were going to camp like what we had planned. From then on we followed the guy on the bike till his place. In the meanwhile, we lost contact with the car and it had stopped in between for some unknown reason. We assumed that seeing us people they might have opted for some different Campers. They were numerous campers signboard along the way waiting to grab the passengers. It was a peak season for them. We had gone deep into the jungle following the road and now we could not see any camper sign along the way. The place was really going to be private. At least, it looked so based on the scanning done around while driving. After driving for a couple of kilometers we could see faint street lamp light and 2-3 houses stationed near it. This is the place where we stopped. After we all alighted from our bikes, he showed us the place for camping. It was really close to the lake. That was our aim in the first place for the camping. Camping beside the lake. It was pitch dark and the road to the campsite was through farms and narrow roads. At one point, there was even a 20-30 feet gorge on the left side and we had to watch our footings. The moonlight also helped us lighting the place in a proper way. The site was perfect, we wondered how it would look like when the morning light comes. In the night only, with all the moonlight reflections on the water, the sight beheld us. The boy, later on, told that he lived in the house which I’d described earlier and he had recently started offering camping packages. He had come to the rescue of Subhesh and Anurag when they were unable to find one. His place was far off into the jungle away from all the hush-hush. The same guy called ‘Shivram’ agreed to help to transport all the luggage to the camp spot. The spot was 200-300mtrs away from the house. His family members were also involved in transporting the stuff. We kept all the helmets at the house and the rest was transported to the site. They also helped us fill the 20 ltr can which we had brought empty right from Saputara. They also provided bricks to set up our fire.

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That is how far we drove to the actual Campsite…

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That’s where we had pitched our tents….It was a good old walk beside the farm

After helping us they went their way and we started our preparations. First, all the tents were pitched. Now we had 4 tents with us for 6 people, 2 more tents were provided by ‘Shivram’. Now, we had tents for all. After that we all freshened ourselves and got back to prepare the dinner. Ganesh and Chetan were busy marinating the fish. Anurag was helping light the fire while Subhesh was cutting the vegetables and Vinod was setting up the mood with Music and ‘ITEM’. I was helping Anurag lighting up the fire. We started off first with Veg while the Fish was left for marination. We were having a gala time and in between, we were clicking photos. This time the wood selection was perfect and the wood lit up perfectly so much so that within minutes the veg gravy was ready and we had to literally remove extra burning wood from the fire to soothe it. Once the vegetables had cooked we started off with shallow frying the fish. The fish which we had selected goes with the Indian name of ‘Rohu’. We dipped it in a mixture made up of ‘Sooji’, ‘Gram Flour’, Chilli powder and salt before finally placing on the frying pan. The oil was so hot that fish were getting fried instantly. Here also, we had to dim the flame so as not to burn the fish. Fish cooks very fast as compared to chicken.

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Roasting potato along with the main course…

We had brought almost 2 kgs of fish, sliced into pieces which made up good no of 20-25 pieces. Enough to eat for 4 of us. By the time the fish was being cooked, we made ‘rotis’ on the adjacent fire. Meanwhile, at the back, we had arranged our tents in a semi-circular fashion and preparations were underway to light up the bonfire made in the center. There was plenty availability of wood since we had camped nearside the farm. At one place there was a huge pile of logged wood kept and ready to use as fuel for cooking. It was cut by the family of ‘Shivram’ who had happily told not to hesitate to use them if you ran out of wood. Dinner was ready and we sat around the bonfire and ate the food while the music played in the background.

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Look, how big our bonfire was…

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Dinner time…

Now it looked like a proper camp with a bonfire in between and tents surrounding it. The glow of the fire was reflecting from all of our tents. Our faces gleaming with golden red yellow. The bonfire had completely engulfed the winter cold and it didn’t look like winter season. The bonfire made was as tall that at one point as the woods went on burning, it fell and one of the stick fell into the dish in which gravy was kept. Some of it spilled on the ground but much was salvaged and we ensured that Veg people didn’t sleep hungry that day. Later on, when Anurag tried to drink water from the bottle nearby, he mistakenly drank the diesel which we had bought as an alternative to kerosene. We all couldn’t control our laughter at that moment of time. But he recovered soon. Might be he was little drunk at that moment of time caused by the ‘ITEM’. We had forgotten the time and by the time we checked back into our clocks it was 1am in the morning. After the dinner, we stacked all the utensils at one end of the corner and slowly and steadily started to retreat into our tents. I did not went inside the tent and instead lay down on the grass nearby the fire and gazed upon the beautiful stars above. They were in numbers, after long span I could see these many stars as one hardly sees them in cities owing to pollution. I felt like I was on a different planet or I was on my planet and I could imagine what is to be out of this planet. Seeing the stars I felt so tiny as I focused my eyes deep into space and got lost in the maze of stars. For the moment I felt lost and disconnected with the physical world. It was an awesome feeling and moment which is hard to get by one. All the urban species yearn for such things. I wished I could just sleep there itself with the bonfire to protect me from cold. I was stargazing with my eyes and I really felt very bad that I could not capture that moment which could be cherished later on. I was lacking the device to capture that moment. The moment was there but I had no means to capture it. My so long wish is to capture our beautiful galaxy with my camping tent lit from the inside. Rest everything should be dark, only my tent and the stars should be visible. Just like a picture perfect postcard or the one you would get on the net if you keyed in the following characters inside ‘Google’. It was 2am at the time. Almost all were dead sleeping. We had our return journey tomorrow and with that in mind, I slept forcefully. The sight of the sky had removed all the tiredness within me. But for my selfishness, I slept.

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‘Chilling’ after the dinner…

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Me lying next to the bonfire while others had gone to sleep…

I would say we really woke up to a really good morning. At our sights beheld the beauty of the vast lake with all the fog sailing over the waters. It was like experiencing it in a dream. We were completely taken back by the scenic view and had not expected these things last night. Everyone was up on their camera and taking photos. The reaction of each was just priceless, just like when small children do when a chocolate is presented in front of themselves. At one point, we even noticed aquatic snakes swimming in the lake waters and we tried to capture that too in our photo with Subhesh’s long Nikon lens. This continued till all were satisfied and everyone was captured in the moment. The sun came in front of us a little late due to the size of the mountains and when it came it was really strong, giving us the same feeling of Saputara. By this time almost all had freshened themselves and everyone was feeling hungry. It was around 9am and ‘Shivram’ had brought his cattle for grazing along with him. They were grazing near to our camping site only. We requested him for breakfast to which he happily nodded. We had a traditional breakfast of ‘Poha’ and tea and it was really delicious. Later during that time when I had gone to attend the nature’s call, I had found a good place along the lake where could go in and dip ourselves. It seemed like a good plan right after the breakfast. So we all went for a dip while Subhesh was sleeping inside his tent. He had woken way too early in the morning and as a result, was feeling sleepy. Compared to us, he had woken way too early.

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Good Morning guys…

 

 

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Lighting up the fire again…

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That View….

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In the Lap of the Sahaydris…

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Morning fog floating on the waters…

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A different view of the lake..

 

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Anurag bhai ki selfie…

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Another view..shot by Ganesh…

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Sun coming up nicely from the mountains…

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Anurag bhai, konsi book hain?

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Chetan…

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Ganesh…

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Selfie with Lake…L-R: Anurag, Ganesh, Subhesh, Chetan, Me, Anurag

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Our breakfast…

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So now we were all naked now, obviously towels around the hips and carrying the utensils we went to the lake. First, we washed all the utensils and then at a place ahead went neck deep inside the lake. My God! That water was chilling our bones. I wondered, how it would have been doing the same in the Himalayas. I didn’t remember when was the last time I’d experienced it and it felt really accomplishing. We had not thought that we could get an opportunity for swimming too along with camping. As usual, we clicked photos and solo pics and then decided to retire out as we still had a long prep to do and head back to the concrete jungle.

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We dried ourselves up and started winding up. It took us almost an hour to leave the place as it was when we came in last night. Only garbage, neatly packed in a plastic bag was kept there and rest everything was taken back. As a kind gesture and for offering his services, I offered my thermals to Shivram to protect from nature.

We thanked all his family members took a group photo of ourselves with the mountains in the background and moved on. Time had already crossed noon. We decided to have lunch there itself once we hit the main road on Bhandardara Lake. We had planned to avoid unnecessary stoppages once we had hit the highway. We finally took the lunch which consisted of ‘Vada-pav’ and ‘Misal-Pav’ at the place where we had bought the ‘ITEM’ in the first place. Finally, our dream of having a ‘Misal-paav’ came true and we cherished it like anything, though we missed the best, it was ‘OK’ to lose something. There’s always the next time.

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Clicked a quick snap before Subhesh was about to park his bike…

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My Bae..

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Finally, all the details of the guy ‘Shivram’. Do visit this same place if you happen to visit Bhandardara and want total privacy…

Since we were now on our return journey back home, Anurag had to take a different route since he was going back to Pune and the remainder of us were traveling to Mumbai. We bid adieu to him and wished him for a safe ride back home. From there onwards, we continued ourselves towards Mumbai taking the same route which we had taken while coming. We had left at around 3pm after having lunch and at around 5:15 we stopped for one last break of Tea.

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While returning, we found out that the from Rim on ganesh’s bike had bent and so we were seeking help with the tyre service people…This came to notice as soon as we were about to exit the camp..

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Return journey started….

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88 to go…

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Heavy return traffic near Bhiwandi section…

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Thane…..

We rode non-stop till we reached Bhiwandi. From there on Anurag and Subhesh took the Eastern Expressway and Myself and Ganesh took the Ghodbunder route towards Borivali. We reached home around 9:15pm.
It was a culmination of an exciting 3 days for all of us. Having camped for the 2 nights back to back, it was a dream come true. The trip had really gone well with no issues with bikes as well as with each one of us. It was really a ride worth remembering with a lot of memories, photos, exploring, wandering and finally the important thing, making new friends along the life journey.
 
Thank you for reading this blog. If you really liked reading it, don’t forget to comment and like it. This will also serve as a ready reckoner if you too wish to explore these places.
 
Until then, see you on my next Blog!!!
 
Chao, Bye, Adios….
 
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Sumit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: Maharashtra, Travel

1 comment

  1. Finally a blogger who doesn’t believe in skipping the little details of the journey which make them unique!
    Love the detailed description of the entire trip and that chicken looks yummy! So far we haven’t had the chance to cook anything but Maggi in the mountains but your pictures have tempted me into convincing my friends to give this a try the next time we head out to camp in the wilderness! 😀
    Great post! Keep blogging!
    Cheers

    Like

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