Unforgettable ride in the monsoon!

It was almost 2 years since we are in Pune together. I am talking about me and my roommates Subbu and Senthil. It was time for Senthil to leave Pune and go to US to pursue his dream of doing masters. So this ride was planned as a one day outing for us to spend together before he leaves Pune. We have been venturing out for a lot of one day trips. But this one was a different one altogether. You will know why in the course of this trip log.

The destination this time was Bhimashankar and Malshej which came to be around 350 kms ride overall from our home. It was a Saturday and we were expecting rains early in the morning as it has been the condition for few days. Our alarms rang at 4:30 am and we woke up at around 4:45 am. We were up and ready to roll by 5:45am.

We got on the bikes, Subbu and Senthil on Subbu’s P150 and me on my P220. It wasn’t raining when we started. Rode through the empty roads of Pune and caught the Pune-Nasik highway NH50. It was a decent 4 lane roads. But we had to ride only till Rajguru Nagar which was some 45 kms from Pune and had to take the interior state roads to Bhimashankar.

Few kms before Rajgurunagar we stopped for fuel and from here on Senthil was my pillion rider. Back on the roads and just few kms before Rajguru Nagar stopped by an abandoned bridge for the first photo stop of the day. Took poser ishtyle pics here.

Soon we took the diversion at Rajguru Nagar and were on the way to Bhimashankar. Riding on these roads were amazing, not that the roads were smooth but the awesome vistas and landscapes that opened up as we proceeded towards the interior made it amazing. Greenery all around, small water streams flowing along with us on one side, it was pleasure to ride. Soon we reached a dam and stopped to click few pics.

After this the scenery around got even beautiful. Waving hands at the school kids waiting for bus and riding through those winding roads were so amazing. We stopped at some place for breakfast. Sipped hot chai and munched vada pav.

Back on roads and this road lead us to the regular road that goes from Manchar to Bhimashankar. These roads were wider and were smooth. We zoomed through the twisties and almost reached Bhimashankar. There was one stretch for about 1 km where the visibility was hardly 15 mts due to the fog. Loved the place and stopped for few pics.

Then reached Bhimashankar, parked our bikes and walked for ½ km to reach the temple.

After the visit to temple we were back on the bikes proceeding towards Malshej. We were supposed to reach Junnar and from there take the road to Malshej. When we started from Bhimashankar there was a sign board on the road pointing to a place called Ahumpe and it was 18 kms. The sign board pointed towards the left. The road which led to the left was narrow one . We took the map and saw that Ahumpe was somewhere off the road toward Junnar. But if we reach Ahumpe we can proceed to some small village which has a road to Junnar. So assuming we would find roads till that village we went ahead towards Ahumpe. As we rode through this road a canopy of trees started to appear. It continued like this and roads were winding. We could hear water stream flowing somewhere in the closer vicinity. Few minutes into the route the roads became worse with rocks and boulders appearing. The road conditions worsened as we progressed more into the forest. We didn’t give up and went for it. We stopped by a small stream and clicked few pics.

It started to rain by this time and we were continuing to ride into the dense cover of trees. At one curve the road led us to an open space which was a spectacle sight. There was a river flowing with mountains in the background and an old steel bridge good enough for vehicles to pass on. It was just picture perfect! I could not explain the feeling we had seeing the scenery. See the pics for yourself!

After the photo stop we started to proceed towards the interior. But we got skeptic if there is actually a route that would lead us to the village. There was hardly any human activity in the area. Saw a lady walkin by the road and we enquired her. She said there is a route and bikes can go through. So with happiness we started proceeding. Soon we neared a village and a villager shouted at us and asked where we were headed to. He told that the roads will end in another 10 kms and from there we have to hike to Ahumpe for 2 kms. This made us think. We confirmed with another villager and he was also not positive. Riding 10 more kms on this kind of roads (rather no roads) and returning back will definitely cost us around 2 hours. So we decided to ride back to the road from where we took the diversion and proceed toward Junnar. We tracked back to the main road and this entire venture has cost us a good one hour. But we didn’t regret as the beauty of the forest and nature we saw there was worth it.

Ride from here till Junnar was a bit boring as we were on normal roads i.e. pretty good state roads and were experiencing oncoming traffic. Reached Junnar at noon and stopped by a hotel for lunch. Had good food and we were having a chat before we started back. While relaxing a guy from the Hotel asked us if we were from South India seeing my tee shirt which had Munnar written on it. He said he was from Mangalore. He asked about our ride and we told him that we were proceeding to Malshej. He asked us if we were not going to NaneGhat which was 28 kms from here. Malshej was also 28 kms from here but on a different direction. NaneGhat was straight from Junnar and we had to take a right for Malshej. He said there is a road from NaneGhat to Malshej which was 12 kms and NaneGhat should not be missed. If we visited NaneGhat we will be doing 12 kms extra. Little did we know what was in store for us!
So adding NaneGhat as our next stop we proceeded towards the road which the guy pointed us to. As soon as we were riding away from Junnar the road condition worsened and roads narrowed down. There were hardly any vehicles on that road. Just saw one bus which we overtook and few motorcycles which were all doing triples. As we went ahead roads became worse. Soon there was no sign on road all that looked like road was full of stones. With rains slush was filled here and there. Soon it was a bumpy ride for us. I had Michellin Sirac on the rear and it held well. Subbu’s bike was running on stock tyres and not to mention almost out of life rear tyre!

Follwed by some 7-8 kms of stones there was the next part which was full of slush. There was no traction on the tyres and we had to slide through the path. This continued for some 8 kms before we were back on some decent roads. In this route we had overtaken a splendor doing triples. Note this as he will be coming again in the log. On the decent stretch the roads led to a bifurcation. No sign board was there to NaneGhat. No signs of human being. But we were not inside forest this time. Soon the splendor guy appeared and we asked him which was to NaneGhat he pointed towards one road and proceeded in the same road. So we again overtook him and waved hand for guiding us. Again another bifurcation and we were waiting for him to come to guide us.

Here Subbu got down and was checking his rear tyre. The twist for us had come- a puncture of his rear tyre! We were in middle of nowhere, the closest town where we could find a puncture shop was some 25 kms away and we had to pass through the treacherous route again! We did not carry extra tube. Soon I asked Senthil to get down and stay with Subbu while I search for some help. I rode back and came to a junction where there was a bus stop. After enquiring people there they told me that down the road there is a village named Anjanawali which was 3 kms away and there is a guy who could fix puncture. Was happy to hear that and proceed toward the village. Didn’t notice my odometer reading and was riding. After few mins of riding on the bad roads found few settlements on either side of the road. I thought that this must be the village and asked few people. They said there was no guy who could fix puncture and I needed to proceed further on the road. I asked another guy and he said the neatest puncture shop is 14 kms away. 14 kms in this kind of a road will take me half an hour atleast. But we were left with no options so rode back towards the direction to which the guy pointed me. Soon reached the same bus stop from where I took the diversion in search of Anjanawali. Subbu and senthil had pushed the bike and were resting in the bus stop. I told them that the nearest place to find a puncture shop is 14 kms away.

While waiting at the bus stop they met the splendor guy again who said confidently that there is a village named Anjanawali on the direction where I proceeded first and there is a guy who will fix punctures. So I had a doubt if the village I went and enquired was Anjanawali or not. This time Senthil hopped on with me and we went in search for the village. I noticed the odo reading and at 3 kms we found a small village. There was an old rusted board which read Anjanawali . The patch which led into the village was just slush mixed with wastes and rubbish. Maneuvered through the slush and found the first house in the path and there was a man standing on the entrance of the house. It was a small hut kind of a house. I asked him where could I find the guy who fixes the puncture he said it was him. Was very happy and told him that the bike is 3 kms from here and has rear tyre punctured. He was reluctant to come along at first and asked us to bring the tyre to his house. Later he hopped on to my bike and he said he would come along to remove the tyre and return back to his house to fix the puncture. So Senthil was left behind at his house while we bring back the tyre.

Reached the spot where the bike was stationed removed the rear wheel and brought it back to his house in the village. He fixed the puncture and we needed to go back and fix on the bike. So all this while Subbu was alone waiting near his bike. Senthil was alone sitting at the puncture guy’s house and I was riding with the guy up and down. So all three of us were alone and we were in our own worlds of thoughts. I was thinking of the village so remote so lonely and so poor. The people there are very helpful and kind. Contrast to the people we live along with in the modern cities and metros. Senthil was thinking about the standard of the life the people in the village were leading, without electricity as we enjoy 24X7, without a tv, without the luxury which we expect in our modern life.

Finally after fixing the tyre back on the bike we three, Subbu, that guy and me rode back to his home to pick Senthil. When we reached his place he offered tea for us. We accepted it immediately and went into his low roof home. It was built with bricks but not cemented. Floor was made of hard clay and the house had just two small room. His family included his wife and their four children. Two of them were going to school and rest two were below 2 years old. None of them knew hindi expect the guy. His name was Ramchandra , he was working as a sepoy in the gram panchayat. We had a nice conversation and sipped one of the best chai we have ever had. When I clicked the pics of the kinds along with their parents and showed on the screen on my cam the smallest kid of the lot uttered the word ‘ papa’ it was the cutest thing I have heard!!!

By now the time was around 7 pm. It had been raining throughout right from when the puncture happened. We were shivering when we were back on the bikes. Good thing was that there still some sun light left. Ram guided us to another route to reach junnar which was 10 kms longer but roads existed unlike the route which we took in the afternoon. So we riding on the new route and we were coming across people only every 20 mins. After an hours ride , asking people whenever the road deviates to make sure we are on right track, still we did not reach Junnar which was 40 kms from the village. By now the daylight had vanished and the headlights were the only source of light. It was pitch dark and we still didn’t see any signs of a town like Junnar. And now people movement have also lessened. The worst thing happened now, we reach a forking road and there was no one nearby to ask which one goes to Junnar. About 10 mts down the road there was a building. Subbu went to ask someone from there and I was waiting at the road itself in case someone passes by. Subbu had a horrifying experience we was walking towards the house when he saw an old lady standing at the door of the house with a lantern in her hand. Subbu had his heartbeat stopped for a second when he saw her. She started shouting when he asked about the route. Her husband came and told us the route and shut the door. Meanwhile I saw a motorist coming and asked him about the route too. We were back on roads after this terrifying experience and after some half an hour of riding we reached Junnar!!! It took us 1.5 hours for the 40 kms. We had dinner on outskirts of the town and were back on saddle by 9. Now we needed to catch the NH17 all the way till Pune. NH17 during the night is infested with truck. We maintained safe speeds and reached Pune by 11 pm.

It was ride with full of experiences. The ride made us realize that we should not crib about a lot of things in life after seeing the people in that village.


Sam Jose said...

Good machi .....

Subbaraman(karthik) said...

You missed the part of Subbaraman having an accident!!!