Monday, July 18, 2011

Guhagar – A beach tucked away

Yet to register even in the frequent weekend traveler’s tourist map, Guhagar is a beach tucked away, from the prying eyes of commercialization. Featuring sugar sand beaches lined by “Suru” trees Guhagar is a pleasant getaway from the maddening crowds of the cities and a haven for the beach buff with almost 4kms long stretch of undiscovered pristine beach.
Lying south of the Vashishti river Guhagar is amongst the first beaches blessed with white sand in the 800Kms long coastline of Maharashtra. Unlike the thin film of white sand covering the underlying black sand that one  would find in the beaches north of Vashishti, Guhagar is a white sand beach true to the essence of the romantic notion of white sand beaches.
Sightseeing in Guhagar
If you can bear to leave the shades of the “Suru” trees and the turquoise blue sea behind there is lots to see in and around Guhagar. A temple town, Guhagar has scores of temples committed to various forms of Lord Shiva, The Vyadeshwar temple 100mts away from the Guhagar ST depot being the most prominent. The 16th century Anjanvel fort or Gopalgad, now in ruins, is 14kms from Guhagar ST depot. Please don’t miss out on the Anjanvel light house, a kilometer from Gopalgad, perched upon a small hillock offering some breathtaking views of the vast expanse of the Arabian sea and the confluence of the Vashishti river and Arabian  sea. 
Around Guhagar
If you are on a long holiday and want to explore this region you will find many exciting options strewn across like gems on a crown. Velneshwar and Hedvi, five kilometers from each other, is 26kms from Guhagar. Ferry across the Vashishti river and you can walk the lanes of history at the 3rd century archaeological site of Panhalekaji (24kms from Anjanvel ferry dock). A series of 29 rock cut Buddhist cave temples discovered in 1970 Panhalekaji is a delight for the follower of ancient sculpture and art. Unhavare, the village with hot sulphur springs is near the Panhalekaji caves.
Food in Guhagar
Guhagar will be a carnival if you are a sea food lover. You will find many places serving fresh seafood prepared in the rustic “Bhandari” cuisine. Visit the Hotel Rajgad for some delicious seafood, Hotel Lagoon near the ST depot is the only multi cuisine restaurant you will find in Guhagar (serves alcohol as well). There are many pure-veg restaurants serving the famous Brahmani vegetarian food. Check out the Musale Hotel behind the Vyadeshwar temple for great vegetarian dishes.

Stay in Guhagar
Accommodation in Guhagar is predominantly home based, however with the growing tourist demands a few resorts have come up.

How to Reach Guhagar
Guhagar is located approximately 300Kms from Mumbai and is 45 kms off the NH17. To reach Guhagar take the NH17 until Chiplun and follow the signboards after that leading to Guhagar. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Malvan - a seaside fiesta

A visit to Malvan has been on the cards for a very long time, but procrastination is yet another trait inbuilt in us. So after a lot of deliberations we set out for Malvan to experience authentic Malvani food food first hand.

Summer of 2011 was bidding adieu and monsoons was closing in, the weather was sultry and i had already started looking forward to the onset of monsoons. The ride through Kumbharli ghat instead of the Mahabaleshwar - Poladpur route pleasently surprising. The road was in qyuite good condition and the ride smooth. The view maybe not as pretty as the ones in Gaganbawda route was refreshing. I wondered how the hills managed to stay as greenas it was even after the scorching summer. Once we reached Chiplun I realized how long a ride I had bargained for. We were just midway after about 4 hours of riding!

After Chiplun the ride was on the NH17 and not very exciting for me. After reaching kankavli we spoke to a few people to ascertain the route to take. After confirming the route and umpteenth number of chai we continued on our ride. From Kasal we took the deviation to Malvan and in about another 45 minutes we were in Malvan.
Malvan has a series of beaches. Chivla lesser known Kolamb and The Sindhudurg fort is straight ahead of the Malvan bus depot. I decided to take a left towards Tarkarli. I continued riding to find the end of the road. The little peninsular that it was with the sea on one side and the backwaters on the other couldnt help but wonder how long are we going to have this piece of land before the sea claims it or a tsunami strikes! (only to find out later that there is an island named tsunami island off the coast from here!!)

The road ends at the Devbag sangam an absolutely beautiful place with the backwaters meeting the sea. I wished that i had carried my tent, this place could make an absolutely beautiful camping ground!! Snorkeling is done here also however you are better off doing it in Malvan. Boating in the backwaters is also a possible engaging thing that you could engage in here!! but i passed, boating is not my thing!!!

Anyways after a good nights sleep at Gananayak resort the next day we decided to explore Sindhudurg fort and Chivla. Chivla is one of the most beautiful coves in the entire stretch! This small fishing village is an ideal place to watch the sun go down.

Sindhudurg fort stands on a rocky island, known as Kurte, barely a km, from the Malavan is 510kms south of Mumbai and 130kms north of Goa.  Sindhudurg was built in 1664-67 AD by shivaji when all his attempts to take the island fort of Janjira proved futile.  The construction was done under the supervision of Hiroji Indulkar, an able architect.  Shivaji had invited 100 Portuguese experts from Goa for the construction of the fort.  It is also recorded that 3000 workers were employed round the clock for three years to build Sindhudurg.  It was the body from the Sack of Surat that went into the building of Sindhudurg.
(excerpt Maharashtra Tourism Council)

During a vacation in Malvan the must see places are Tarkarli and Devbag beaches, the Devbag sangam, Sindhudurg fort and sunset at Chivla. One thing that you cant miss out on is snorkeling here which is the one thing that would differentiate it from any other beaches in Maharashtra and make the long ride worthwhile!!

Hotels and Resorts in Malvan

Gananayak Resort - Devbag
Siddhivinayak Resort - Devbag
Aai Beach Home - Devbag
Tian Beach Resort - Chivla
Manorama Nivas - Tarkarli

Friday, June 3, 2011

Velneshwar - A secluded cove

This summer was a hectic affair for us traveling from one place to another bringing you hotels and resorts in various beaches around Pune.  Now that the monsoons is setting in I think its a good time to sit back and review the beautiful destinations that i was lucky enough to spend some quality time in!

Lets start with Velneshwar a secluded cove with a beautiful temple and an amazing beach. The beach is roughly just over a kilometer long. An arc with rocky ends at either ends. The beach is lined by coconut trees and the fine white sand beach makes it a postcard like picture.

Velneshwar Temple, is the primary landmark in Velneshwar, this ancient shiva temple like most other Shiva temples is frequented by devotees during the Maha Shivratri.

The Velneshwar beach itself is absolutely amazing and is a white sand beach with fine sand. If you are looking for a peaceful vacation away from the crowds then this is the place to head to.

Near by Attractions 
Hedvi 5 Km - a rocky sea shore, not really a beach, its a rocky stretch with a temple. You can walk around the rock and it offers some very beautiful views.

Guhagar 26 Km - This beach far more popular than Velneshwar and with far more tourist is a long stretch of beach. With few famous temples spotting the landscape Guhagar is more of a temple town.

Hotels and Resorts in Velneshwar
Jeevan Sugandh Beach Resort
A small, but clean resort overlooking the blue ocean. It also has a restaurant by the edge of the beach. The location is the biggest asset of the resort. For more details visit

Getting There

I had travelled to Velneshwar from Dapoli. From Dapoli a 37 km ride gets you to Dabhol. Ferry across the Dabhol creek to reach Veldurg. Guhagar is approx 15 km from here. Velneshwar is 26 Kms from Guhagar

From Pune

Pune - (pune Satara highway) - Bhor - Mahad - Poladpur - Khed - Chiplun - (Guhagar Route) Velneshwar

From Mumbai

NH 17 till Chiplun - (Guhagar Route) Velneshwar

Monday, April 4, 2011

A ride to the The Last Shangri - La

A distant and secluded hideaway, usually of great beauty and peacefulness - a Shangri - La, we set out on the search for this romantically beautiful notion without much of an idea of what to expect. When we were loading our bike on the Azad Hind Express, which was to leave about nine hours late from the scheduled time for the fear of the naxalites it was hard not to laugh at the irony of the name of the train - Azad Hind!!

We reached Calcutta in the afternoon and checked into a hotel near the railway station to start our ride early next day morning. Traversing the entire length of the state of approximately 600 Kms we had planned to reach Siliguri by the day end. Within the first hour of our ride we had to switch to our plan B thanks to the erratic traffic and narrow roads. The trucks on the roads reminded of old Rambo movies with its menacing looks and no one seemed to follow any traffic rules. We called it a day at Dalkhola about a hundred kilometers from Siliguri.

The road from Dalkhola to Siliguri was an absolute pleasure to ride with six lane roads and a vast expanse of tea gardens on either sides extending as far as one could see. The air started changing as we entered Siliguri and the Gorkha Land. By late afternoon we were at Jaigaon the last Indian town at the frontiers of Bhutan.

We checked into a hotel, Hotel Bhutan, and started to chalk out our plan for the week. We decided that we would visit Thimpu, Dochula Pass, Paro, Tiger's nest Monastery and Chelela Pass and if time permits to visit the Punakha valley. Getting the permits to visit these places was the next task which happened very smoothly. Couldn't help but wonder how long it would have took us to get it done if we were in India and the amount that we would have had to shell out as chai-paani. We got the permit free of charge and the permit for the bike cost us less than Rs 150!

We started our ride in Bhutan by early afternoon - Our first destination was Thimpu. The roads where amazing almost like a dream. Narrow but smooth roads with every turn gaining us elevation, we were climbing up the valleys. Like all dreams this one also had to break with the roads changing from absolutely amazing to no road at all. The bad roads continued for about 20 Kms and just like that it went back to the smooth well maintained roads. Later we found out that the road maintenance work happen through out the year as land slides also happen through out the year!!

Thimpu - All buildings in Bhutan are the traditional Bhutanese style, giving it a quaintly beautiful feel. The religious and administrative functions of Bhutan are separated, and the government buildings are housed in Tashi Choe Dzong (monastery) The Royal palace is also close by. The monastery is huge and is unparalleled in its beauty. We visited the Dochula pass which is about 30 Kms ride from Thimphu. Punakha Valley is another 30 Kms from the pass. There is a Gompa and the view absolutely breath taking.

The next day we left for Paro looking forward to the highlight of the trip - The trek to the tiger's Nest monastery. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche came here riding on the back of a tiger from Tibet. We left Thimphu in the morning and less than two hours ride later we were in Paro. We checked into Hotel Paro and our friendly hostess guided us to different places that we could visit in Paro. We visited the ruins of Druk Gyel dzong in the evening, though in ruins it is still preserved admirably. The next day morning we visited Chelela Pass, Being late winter there still was snow on the sides of the roads. The view of the Himalayas from Chelela Pass the highest point on the Dantak roads was breath taking. We returned to Paro to attempt the trek to the Tiger's nest.

The Tiger's nest Monastery is built on a cliff with a drop of few hundred feets. The view of the monastery from a distance was awe inspiring. The trek up was arduous however truly fulfilling.

We returned the next day to Phuentsholing for the long ride back to Calcutta the next day with the knowledge that the last Shangri - la is still a ride away!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Alibaug - Mumbaikar's Favorite

Josh and I almost always travel alone almost the last weekend we thought we will take a couple of our friends along, as they say more should be merrier shouldn't it?!

We decided to go to Alibaug, considering that we had been to Dapoli Ganpatipule and the other beaches in southern Maharashtra over a dozen times in the last one year it was surprising that we never even once go to Alibaug! The thought was the lone impetus that we needed to decide on going to Alibaug.

Alibaug is again a group of beaches right from Kashid to Murud, so we had to zero in on a beach from all of these beaches to spend a weekend in. We also had decide how to travel whether to ride down or use public transport. We decided not to decide on any destination (typical of us!!) and to take public transport. So we booked tickets in a train that got us to Mumbai by early morning. Never before has Mumbai been so pleasant. It was a beautiful morning and the Colaba area with its marvelous buildings looked much better with a dry forehead!!

Took a ferry from Gate way which got us to Mandwa in about 1.25 hours. There are three/four operators and there are ferries almost every hour. There even is a A/c one at 110Rs / head. The ferry people have arrangements to drop the passengers from Mandwa to Alibaug. We instead stooped at a tea stall and started talking to the villagers in an effort to decide on a place. After a few minutes of deliberation we decided on Kihim and took a six seater auto to Kihim.

About half an hours ride later we were in Kihim. Now we had to find a place to stay in. Since it was a Friday there were many hotels which were available however they had booking for the weekend and we had to stay till Sunday. After searching for about 10 minutes we found a nice place - Aahar about five minutes away from the beach.

Kihim Beach is rocky and flat. If you walk towards the southern part then you will find the sandy parts of the beach. Weather was fine and surprisingly pleasant and food was alright. The hospitality of the people here is worth a special mention, almost all the people that we met were very helpful and cordial.

After two whole days of sun, sand surf, coconuts, "tadgola", panipuri and Chinese chai we returned on Sunday by the same ferry that we had used to go to Mandwa.

Traveling Expense
Pune to Mumbai Train - 120 Rs
Mumbai to Mandwa - 65 Rs
Mandwa to Kihim Auto - 250 Rs there is a bus run by ferry operators which is free of cost

Boat Ajanta PNP Maldar  
022 22026364 22885220 22829695 Mumbai
022 22023585 22885221 22823841 Mumbai
02141 237550 237087 237464 Mandwa
02141 224437 225403 223746 Alibaug
  Gateway Mandwa Alibaug Co.
1 06.15 a.m. 07.30 a.m. 06.45 a.m. Ajanta
2 07.15 a.m. 08.30 a.m. 07.45 a.m. Ajanta
3 07.45 a.m. 08.45 a.m. 08.00 a.m. Ajanta A/c
4 08.10 a.m. 09.00 a.m 08.10 a.m. PNP
5 08.30 a.m. 09.30 a.m. 08.45 a.m. Maldar
6 09.15 a.m. 10.30 a.m. 09.45 a.m. Ajanta
7 10.10 a.m. 11.00 a.m. 10.10 a.m. PNP
8 10.00 a.m. 11.15 a.m. 10.30 a.m. Ajanta
9 11.00 a.m. 12.15 p.m. 11.30 a.m. Ajanta
10 11.30 a.m. 12.30 p.m. 11.45 a.m. Maldar
11 12.10 p.m. 01.00 p.m. 12.10 p.m. PNP
12 12.30 a.m. 01.45 p.m. 01.00 p.m. Ajanta
13 01.15 p.m. 02.15 p.m. 01.50 p.m. Ajanta A/c
14 01.30 p.m. 02.30 p.m. 01.45 p.m. Maldar
15 02.00 p.m. 03.15 p.m. 02.30 p.m. Ajanta
16 03.00 p.m. 04.15 p.m. 03.35 p.m. Ajanta
17 03.30 p.m. 04.30 p.m. 03.45 p.m. Maldar
18 03.10 p.m. 05.00 p.m. 04.10 p.m. PNP
19 04.00 p.m. 05.15 p.m. 04.30 p.m. Ajanta
20 05.00 p.m. 06.15 p.m. 05.30 p.m. Ajanta
21 05.30 p.m. 06.45 p.m. 06.00 p.m. Ajanta
22 05.45 p.m. 06.45 p.m. 06.00 p.m. Maldar
23 06.00 p.m. 07.00 p.m. 06.15 p.m. Ajanta A/c
24 06.30 p.m. 07.30 p.m. 06.30 p.m. PNP

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Panchgani - The Quaint Hillstation

In the past few months we visited Panchgani more than a few times thanks to getting you all information about new hotels and resorts. We now have more than half a dozen bungalows and resorts registered with us and the links to their websites have been uploaded in - around pune travel guide.

To be honest we hadn't given Panchgani a lot of importance probably because of Mahabaleshwar and Tapola two of our favorite destinat
ions. All this while when we had passed through panchgani the only place that we stopped was at mapros for the pizza and strawberry and cream. However our recent trips to Panchgani forced us to look at Panchgani in a different light.

Panchgani - a small town on the way to Mahabaleshwar with an unhurried relaxed charm adorning its strawberry farms, boarding schools and old British buildings is really an ideal destination to get away. Panchgani is one of the rare places that doesn't crowd anyone, yet engulf you in its own unhurried way and make you feel a part of the charm. A perfect place to be in for a romantic get away the place really has to be discovered on foot. Panchgani is set at the foot of five hills and is blessed with pleasant weather around the year. Stroll across the narrow walkways on a misty morning or while away at the bazaar - what ever that you want to do in a break free holiday!

anchgani, notwithstanding the sedate laid back vibe that it emanates is a also a destination for the adventure sports enthusiast. Panchgani is a pseudo head quarter for the parasailing activities in Maharashtra and the activity is conducted through out the year but for the monsoons. There are many trekking routes also near Panchgani including couple of forts perfect for trekking

Its no surprise to find people like Aamir Khan buying bungalows here. Its definitely not that they didn't know about Mahabaleshwar; i think the charm that this place has is just ideal that one would look for in a getaway in a hill station.

Coming to the resorts for who
we made websites, there are a few bungalows in panchgani and surroundings and also a few luxury resorts in panchgani The bungalows in panchgani like the Ridhi Bungalow and animish Bungalow are just ideal for families not to forget Wonder Woods one of the best resorts in panchgani and Sai Palace one of the most convenient amongst the panchgani hotels

Panchgani is a place that is definitely worth a visit and with the comfortable panchgani resorts and the panchgani hotels its easy to plan a trip to panchgani too!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Mulshi - An Hour from Pune

We have been visiting Mulshi ever since I had come to Pune about a decade back and relly not sure how many times I have vieited this place. Anyhow this time around I had a different purpose. As you might know we are adding resorts and hotels near pune to - around pune travel guide and in lieu with that we had visited a few mulshi Hotels and resorts in Mulshi

Mulshi has some real great resorts and we visited two of them - Lakeside verandah and Camp Temgarh you could visit their website to know more details. Lakeside verandah is an erstwhile palatial bungalow of Naik Nimbalkar by the lake and offer some very beautiful views from the bungalow. Camp Temgarh is off Mulshi towards the Temgarh dam and Lavasa and is an off beat holiday resort. You would have to experience the place to feel the beauty of this resort. The food is also terrific after all their main business is catering - the Delhi Kitchen.

Anyways for the benefit of people new to Pune beginning to explore Pune, Mulshi is one of the first places you need to start with. Just about 40 Kms away from Pune its actually difficult to believe that such a beautiful place exists so near a city. Especially after monsoons this place turns out in its whole glory. Misty hills the beautiful lake and everything looks like a fairytale book's illustration.
the route that you need to take to get to Mulshi is 

 Pune => Chandni Chowk == Take the Paud Road == Pirangut => Paud => Crompton Greaves Training Centre => Mulshi 

The website for the Mulshi hotels Mulshi resorts 
Lakeside verandah -
Camp Temgarh -

Vasota - The Jungle Trek

Its been a while since i posted anything here. If you have followed our pune travel guide you would know that we have been busy getting our readers more details about hotels and resorts around pune. It has been a busy quarter with us traveling to Panchgani Mahabaleshwar and Tapola more than half a dozen times not to forget the konkan beaches. We had camped in Dapoli on the beautiful Karde beach one of the beautiful secluded beaches amongst the dapoli beaches. For our reader we got details about resorts in ganapatipule also.

Anyway this blog is not about the dapoli beach or ganpatipule so let me come back to to the topic that i want to write about in this blog. Vasota , a lesser known fort inside the Koyna wild life sanctuary. One of the most exciting treks that i have ever under taken may be because of the legends of the place that i had heard before. Most of the stories that i heard was ridiculously unbelievable including man eating tigers, leopards coming out of bushes and even a story of a eight feet tall naked man in the forest! I dismissed the stories as bogus but even the things that we dismiss creates a kind of excitement when we actually do the thing doesn't it? It happens to me anyway, I know that its not true but a strange kind of unexplained excitement which accepts the possibility of the stories being true..anyway

Vasota is Situated on the western edge of the Satara District, covered in dense forest all the way through the trek shows you some very beautiful views of of the shiv saagar lake. Surrounded by the river Koyna, Vasota is definitely a special destination for trekking in Pune. The only to reach the base of the fort is by a boat and make sure you carry everything necessary for the trip along with you as this place is completely cut off from civilization. Prior permissions for the trek needs to be taken from the forest authorities, normally you can get that done the same day as you plan your trek.

There are two forts, juna Vasota and navin Vasota. juna Vasota on top of babukada - the second tallest cliff in Maharashtra is not accesible. There are two entrances to the navin Vasota one of which is in a dilapidated state as of now and the fort can be entered through only the second entrance. On entering the fort there is a Hanuman temple which is devoid of a roof. From here the straight path leads to the remnants of the fort. The left path leads to the Kalkaiche Thane. On the way is the Mahadeo temple and ahead of it is Machi with spectacular views of the surrounding region. You can also see the Babukada reminiscent of Konkankad of Harishchandragad. The mountain ahead of Babukada is the old Vasota.
The river camp in Tapola - Koyna Agro Tourism helped us in organizing everything for us and i would like to thank them that here - I would also recommend the place if you plan to go for this trek they will arrange the required permissions and also arrange for packed lunch from Tapola. There are a few other Tapola hotels like hotel shivneri also that you can try for stay in Tapola