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Thread: Koyna Lake Dirt Road: The road less traveled

  1. #1
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    Default Koyna Lake Dirt Road: The road less traveled

    October, 2011

    Exploring places which are not frequented has always brought immense pleasure to me. Last time around it was Ahupe near Bhimashankar and now on radar was an amazing dirt track along the Koyna Backwaters. Koyna is a fascinating place which so much to explore. Parag, a friend and colleague, agreed to join the ride.
    It was one of those last minute plans. A weekend in hand, we wanted to ride this 100 km odd dirt track which starts at the end of Raghuveer Ghat(Again, a lesser known ghat road to climb the Sahyadris) and meets the road between Mahabaleshwar and Pratapgad. From very long time I knew there was this track which was do able and was visible from Google map as well. Zenosh, a friend from Mumbai, rode through this route solo and did treks to Mahimandangad, Parbat and Chakdev along the way. So with this, it was confirmed that the route was actually do able. So, here is how it went...

    Map:

    View Larger Map


    Day 1:

    Got up early and reached the decided meeting point at Katraj bypass road. Parag arrived at around 6:30. We then rode along the NH4 till Kapurhol, after which, we took the right turn to Bhor.




    At Katraj bypass





    Better part of Bhor-Varandha road


    The condition of the road wasn't good. After passing Bhor we reached the scenic Varandha ghat. Had a brief stope for some tea and some clicks.




    Parat at Nira deodhar backwaters






    The calm and serene waters enroute Varandha Ghat






    Our bikes






    Scenic road to Varandha






    Blooming flowers all over, no need to go to Kaas!






    Varandha ghat, first look






    The sights from the ghat






    Varandha ghat






    Varandha ghat


     The road condition was bad till we reached the Mumbai-Goa highway. Had our brunch at a highway dhaba. Some delicious sea food was what we needed and that is what we had! After the brunch, we headed along the scenic Mumbai-Goa road to Khed. The twisties at Kashedi ghat were pure fun. At round 11:30 we reached Khed. From Khed, we took a left turn towards Khopi.




    Lush Green






    The start of Raghuveer ghat


    It is from Khopi, where Raghuveer ghat starts, the road condition initially on the ghat was bad but later on improved and then came great views of the Konkan plains below. We hardly saw a vehicle on this ghat road. From here we could spot Vasota fort and Nageshwar on the ridges down south. The moment the ghat reaches the top, Satara district starts and this the starting point of the dirt road. The region falls into Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary(Now Sahyadri Tiger Reserve) and thus I suppose they have not allowed the road  to improve. I believe this is required to protect the ecology of the place and I think it is better, it remains like that.




    Raghuveer ghat






    Raghuveer ghat






    Raghuveer ghat






    Relishing the ride!






    Raghuveer ghat






    Raghuveer ghat



    The first village we encountered was Shindi. We proceeded to reach Valvan village, where Zenosh has made his stay. Our initial idea was to cover as many distance of the dirt track and then camp somewhere near the lake. All along, the road travels around the lake, giving some great views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. The dirt track is just amazing and it was all green with flowers blooming all over. It is a road like this which really gives one , a true sense of an adventure. If you like to rough it out, then this is the place to be.




    Start of the dirt track






    Flowers all over






    Great scenery






    The only mode of transport






    the vast expanse of the lake






    Villager






    Scenery along the road






    Roads which adventures are made of!






    Enjoying the break



    The speed being slow, the amount of distance covered was less. We were riding continuously on this road for about 3 hours now. It was time we stopped and pitched the camp before it gets dark. At around 5:30, we found a place near the lake and decided to camp here. It was surely one of the scenic places you could put your camp. There was a slight drizzle by now. Soon we pitched the tent and went in search of some firewood for the campfire and to cook the food(read Maggi). After we settled down and it got dark, it was time to cook the food. We were little tired by the long ride. A villager, earlier in the day, told that the fish in the lake were dying due to some reason and discouraged us from drinking water from it. So we were running short of water. I took two empty bottles and went to Nivli village which was near by and got some water for us. Parag, meanwhile, started the fire. Soon the drizzle completely stopped. The campsite was really in the middle of nowhere. Spending night in such a place with a campfire, is something which is to be experienced. I'm not a good writer so can't really describe in words how good it was. After we had the food, it was time to sleep. Being tired, I felt to sleep quite early. Parag wasn't very comfortable with the idea of sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere. Eventually after some anxious moments where he felt somebody was moving outside the tent, he fell to sleep as well!





    campsite






    Parag inaugurating his tent! 






    Stunning sunset from the campsite






    getting darker









    Its dark!




    Day 2:

    I somehow managed to get up early on such occasions and like always got up at 5-5:30. The morning was very refreshing and sights from inside the tent were so idyllic. We managed to pack everything up by 8 and then left.




    Tent with a view!






    campfire remains






    Tent with the bikes



     The idea for today was to see if we could get a boat on which we could put our bikes and cross over to other side at Tapola. Otherwise we had to ride all day long to reach the Pratapgad-M'war road. Somebody told us we could get boats from Gadavli village.




    The amazing road!






    The amazing track continues...






    Time for some rest to enjoy the views






    The never ending track






    Views all along the track






    Koyna lake






    I can't have enough of it!



    The time we reached Gadavli was 1 pm. If we do not get a boat to Topola, it would have been a long day ahead with possibility of spending another right near the lake. Although I was wanted to do the whole track, the temptation of crossing over to Tapola and further spending a relaxing day at Mahabaleshwar was more. After enquiring for more than hour, a person agreed to take us across. He said he had a small rowing boat and he could take both the bikes and 5 people in the boat! We were little apprehensive of the whole idea. We decided to trust his confidence and agreed to take his services. He directed us to a point from where they generally load goods/people onto the boats. With half of our bikes inside the boat and half of it dangling outside, it was going to be one jittery ride. Both parag and me were holding our bikes and two persons started rowing towards Tapola. The distance wasn't much but any mistake or imbalance here would have taken the bike straight into the bottom of the lake! To our relief, we crossed the lake without any incident. The roads from here on were butter smooth and within no time we reached Mahabaleshwar, Here we checked in into MTDC and spent the rest of the time relaxing the cool weather there.





    Point where we loaded the bike onto the boat






    You see that!






    Both of us holding the bikes






    2 bikes and 5 people and still floating!






    Back to civilization and tarmac!






    Day 3:

    A quick ride back to Pune from M'war and back to work!


     

  2. #2
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    My photography page: Gourab Das Photography

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    Looks like a great ride. Can you share the exact route please? The link at the top doesnt seem to be working.

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    Lovely ride.. wish I could do something like this..
    How to find out about such rides.. are these private rides or can any one join in?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    -Aditya Bhelke
    N650, Ride Hard!

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    ^^+1.....link not working anyways nice trip & pics.

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    The pics are so relaxing Kindly post a higher resolution ones if possible buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyperion View Post
    Looks like a great ride. Can you share the exact route please? The link at the top doesnt seem to be working.
    See if this work...



    Koyna Lake Ride - Google Maps

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    Quote Originally Posted by adityabhelke View Post
    Lovely ride.. wish I could do something like this..
    How to find out about such rides.. are these private rides or can any one join in?
    Well you can get a lot of information from reading blogs, going through maps, talking to trekkers and so on... I have done few solo rides as well...Just head to some destination and take the off beat paths, ask the villagers for shortcuts, dirt roads...

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    Quote Originally Posted by phanikar View Post
    The pics are so relaxing Kindly post a higher resolution ones if possible buddy
    Glad you find it relaxing. You can click on a photo to get a higher resolution one.
    But again, thats all I have!

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    Quote Originally Posted by amitmalve View Post
    ^^+1.....link not working anyways nice trip & pics.
    Thanks Amit!

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