Satara Trip

#1 Apr 8th, 2014, 16:05
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Having heard a lot about the Kaas Plateau in Indiamike and other sources, I decided to visit Satara during the Ganesh Festival in 2013. The trip was for 2 days on a Sunday and Monday (the first day of the Ganesh festival).

The route is the Mumbai Satara highway through the Mumbai Pune Expressway.

Our first stop was for breakfast near Shirval at Shri Ram Wada. It is well known for its Misal Pav and Wada Pav as the name suggests.

After breakfast we took the road leading to Wai. Wai is a town on the banks of river Krishna and many temples are located on the ghats along the river in the town. Wai is also on the foot hills of Panchgani / Mahabaleshwar. On the way we could see villagers selling turmeric at road side stalls among other things. The first stop at Wai was the Mahaganpati temple. There is a huge Ganesh Idol inside the temple. Photography inside the temple is not allowed. The temple looks like a inverted ice cream cone. Right next to the Mahaganpati temple is the Kashi Vishweshwar Temple. There are a couple more temples in the same compound both dedicated to Shiva.

Mahaganpati Temple



Kashi Vishveshwar Temple



The next stop was Dhom Dam. Inspite of the monsoon season there was not enough water in the reservoir. We could not go on top of the dam and had to see it from the base. However we saw a couple of vehicles on the dam which probably were of the staff working on the dam.



The next stop was Menavli. This place is a well known place where quite a few movie scenes have been shot. Swades, Bol Bachchan, Gangajal, Kaksparsh are some of them. There are two temples located in this ghat, one for Shiva and the other for Vishnu. The Vishnu temple is mostly closed and it open for some particular period. The Shiva temple is open however there was no priest in the temple.



One can also see a bell outside the Shiva Temple which was from the Cathedral of Fort Bassein under the Portugese. This is a five alloy bell dated 1707 and has a bas relief of cast of Mother Mary and Infant Jesus.



Right on the banks of the river Krishna there is a mansion of Nana Phadnavis who was one of the ministers of the Peshwas of Pune.



One can see villagers washing clothes and utensils in the banks of the river.



After Wai the next stop was in Satara. We saw the rooms in Radhika Palace and Rajtara and decided to stay in Rajtara. Both these hotels are located in New Radhika Road near the bus depot. After having lunch we moved on to see the other spots of Satara.

In Satara most of the spots that I chose to see are divided in a ‘V’. There is a common road which is divided by a tunnel. To go to Kaas one has to go straight and to go to Thoseghar one has to cross the tunnel.

The first set of places on the menu on the first day was Kurneshwar Temple, Thoseghar, Chalkewadi and Sajjangad.

Once you cross the tunnel take a left to reach Kurneshwar Temple. This is located around 100 meters on the left hand side from the tunnel. There are 3 shrines in this complex dedicated to Ganpati, Dattatreya and Shiva. Once you park your vehicle and enter the gateway one has to climb down around 30 steps to reach the temple complex. The Ganpati temple is also known as Khinditala Ganpati. This is the “Gram Daivat” (Town Diety) of Satara. The first shrine is for Ganpati, followed by Dattatreya and then Shiva.

Khindatal Ganpati



Kurneshwar Temple



Then we went towards the tunnel and drove straight towards Thoseghar. Once you park your vehicle in the parking lot, one will have to take a ticket for the person, camera and pay for parking your car. Then there is a descent to reach the gallery from which you can view the waterfalls. One will also see the road forking towards “Small Waterfall” and “Big Waterfall”. Take a right from the division to see the “Small Waterfall” and go straight to see the “Big Waterfall”.



The next stop was the windmill farm at Chalkewadi. The road is in a pretty bad condition in the last 200 meters to reach the place. When we reached Chalkewadi the windmills were playing hide and seek with us due to fog. We could see them and then they would disappear. Junior was enjoying to see them appear and disappear. My son asked me "Papa why are we waiting here. I can not see any thing". Just then the fog moved and he saw the windmill. He shouted "Papa kitna bada fan (what a big fan). I also want one in my house). There were around 4 vehicles there and I could hear one of the group say this place was better than Kaas.



After this we were on to the last spot of the day Sajjangad. This was the final resting place of Swami Ramdas the spiritual guru of Shivaji Maharaj. One has to climb around 800 steps to reach the main entrance of the fort. You can see quite a few Hanuman idols while you are climbing. We were just in time to see the sun set from the fort. You can still find people living in this fort and the main doors are closed after 10:00 pm. The sun had already set while we were in the fort. While climbing down it was dark and thanks to the street lights on the way we were able to climb down and board the cab to retire for the day.



The next day we set out early in the morning at 6:30 to go to Kaas Plateau. It was around a 45 minute drive through beautiful scenery to reach the plateau. We reached the ticket counter which was closed during the time. Without taking the ticket we spent some time in the plateau. The flowers were in bloom however we came to know later that this was start of the blooming season. More flowers would have been seen in the next few days.



We thought of returning back to plateau later in the day. We then moved towards Bamnoli lake. On the way to Bamnoli we saw a board for Vajrai Waterfall. It is said to be one of the tallest falls in India. We inquired with the locals and they informed that there in no point in going there since there is no water at the falls. One can avail boating at Bamnoli lake here. When we reached there the boating was also closed. We spent some time soaking in the tranquility. There is a Bhairav temple near by. One would find numerous bats on the trees at Bamnoli.



Bats on tree



A few views enroute to Kaas and Bamnoli







We returned to the plateau after visiting Bamnoli. The ticket counter was open now. So we purchased tickets for the people and camera. The entire plateau is fenced and they are gates at certain intervals which are open so that the visitors can have a closer look at the flowers. The car has to be parked at Kaas river and then one has to walk around a kilometer to reach the plateau. It was not crowded as we were there on the first day of the Ganpati festival. I had specifically chosen that day to avoid the crowds. I was told it was too crowded on Saturday and Sunday.

The Mrs was a bit upset since I and my sister were busy taking photos in the plateau and she was left alone with junior who would not understand why his father was taking snaps of flowers every now and then. The Mrs said that next time if she sees me leaving them unattended she would not come to any trips. In order to avoid that scenario when we went to Kalaghoda festival I handed over my old Cannon to junior and he was happy that he could imitate his papa. Seeing junior taking snaps the Mrs was with him telling him which snaps to take.

On the way back we halted at Pisani village to have breakfast and tea. We had freshly made poha and tea. While the poha was being prepared I saw a temple across the road.



On the way back to Satara one can also see Yavateshwar temple. They are 2 nandi statues in front of the Shiva idol here. In the same complex there is a Bhairav temple also.



This was a morning well spent. We were in time for lunch at the hotel. Near the bus depot we purchased Kandi Pedha, famous in Satara. Before leaving for Mumbai our last stop was the Natraj Temple. We could not take the vehicle there since the area was cordoned off. The temple was closed as is the case with most South Indian temples in the afternoon. We took a parikrama of the boundary walls and then spent time in the market.



That specific part of the town is where one can buy idols of Ganesh and decorative materials to adorn the idols. It was sort of a fair with many vendors selling things along with the idols.





Thus ended our 2 day trip to Satara. Satara should not be missed during the monsoon and specifically during the Ganesh festival when the flowers are in bloom at the plateau. It was an easy paced trip with enough time for relaxation and for seeing the sights.

This trip can be done either with Mumbai / Pune or Satara as your base. An overnight stay is a good idea. Also if you have a car is will be helpful since there are quite a few photo ops on the way to Kaas and Bamnoli like the one's posted here. One could also combine Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani along with Satara. So if one wants to plan only the place that I have mentioned here then 2 days is needed. If one wants to club Mahabaleshwar and Panchgani then at least 4 days are needed.
Last edited by aarosh; Apr 15th, 2014 at 21:33..
#2 Apr 15th, 2014, 21:09
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#2
Wonderful aarosh! It looks absolutely beautiful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by aarosh View Post When we reached Chalkewadi the windmills were playing hide and seek with us due to fog. We could see them and then they would disappear. Junior was enjoying to see them appear and disappear. My son asked me "Papa why are we waiting here. I can not see any thing". Just then the fog moved and he saw the windmill. He shouted "Papa kitna bada fan (what a big fan). I also want one in my house).


There are 5 very similar wind turbines across the valley from my house and they also play hide and seek quite a lot (this is misty Ireland!). Next time it happens I will think of you and your son .
#3 Apr 15th, 2014, 21:24
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Good report Aarosh. Enjoyed it especially the 'inverted ice-cream cone' of Mahaganapati temple. Now 'wai' has this place escaped attention so far beats me!

Thanks for sharing.
#4 Apr 15th, 2014, 21:26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Enjoyed it especially the 'inverted ice-cream cone' of Mahaganapati temple.
I think Naveena mentioned the temple's vimana as the inverted ice-cream cone in one of her reports.
#5 Apr 16th, 2014, 02:02
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Nice piece of work.....Aarosh.
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
Garhwal | Dooars | Dhabaleswar | Dabu | PURI | Gujarat | Kamarpukur-Jairambati
#6 Apr 16th, 2014, 02:07
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Nice report Aarosh....!!!
#7 Apr 16th, 2014, 02:20
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Brilliant TR.
Seeing my hometown through your pics makes me wanting to go there!

Inverted ice-cream
It was coined by IndiaNature (geeta).
#8 Apr 16th, 2014, 11:34
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Nice report and some lovely snaps there... I covered Mahabaleshwar and Kaas last year, hope to visit Chalkewadi and Thosegar post this year's monsoon...
#9 Aug 22nd, 2014, 11:55
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Hello Aarosh, Vic86m and other experienced friends. A quick query from my side.

I am put up at Mahabaleshwar for 2 nights over the upcoming long weekend (29-31 Aug). I have my car with me, which I drove last year from Mahabaleshwar to Kaas (via Bamnoli) and then towards Satara, before starting off for Mumbai. I intend to spend some good time in the hills again. Was pretty pleased to see the Bamnoli route.

Is it feasible / advisable to cover Mahabaleshwar - Bamnoli - Kaas - Thosegar - Chalkewadi and back to Mahabaleshwar in a day? Or it will be too much driving? I do not intend to take many breaks in between.

Also, to go to Thosegar / Chalkewadi from Kaas side, I see I have to drive all the way to Satara and then take a right. Is there any other way in between, avoiding traffic and enjoying the lush green hills?

If it is not recommended to drive all this way, any other suggestions to spend a day around Mahabaleshwar, away from crowds? (Though to my opinion, sitting on the lake either near Kaas or anywhere near Bamnoli is a great idea)
#10 Aug 22nd, 2014, 15:41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechguru View Post Hello Aarosh, Vic86m and other experienced friends. A quick query from my side.

Is it feasible / advisable to cover Mahabaleshwar - Bamnoli - Kaas - Thosegar - Chalkewadi and back to Mahabaleshwar in a day? Or it will be too much driving? I do not intend to take many breaks in between.
It's feasible on 29th but not recommended. Slim chances on weekends because of traffic jams. Its going to be too much driving. If you are attempting this, you can take Satara-Medha-Mahabaleshwar route while returning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechguru View Post Also, to go to Thosegar / Chalkewadi from Kaas side, I see I have to drive all the way to Satara and then take a right. Is there any other way in between, avoiding traffic and enjoying the lush green hills?
There's no other short-cut in between. I had asked this to the security guy on Kaas plateau. He said the govt is planning to build one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mechguru View Post If it is not recommended to drive all this way, any other suggestions to spend a day around Mahabaleshwar, away from crowds? (Though to my opinion, sitting on the lake either near Kaas or anywhere near Bamnoli is a great idea)
I would suggest to drive Mahabaleshwar-Bamnoli-Kaas-Mahabaleshwar. Take breaks often, enjoy the nature. Most people prefer Mahabaleshwar-Medha-Satara-Kaas route to reach Kaas plateau, hence Bamnoli route won't see traffic.

It's going to be mad rush on kaas plateau on 30th and 31st (Weekends).
Last year i had been to Kaas on second day of Ganesha festival, and enquired about "maddening rush" on public holiday on the first day of the festival, surprisingly there were very few tourist he said.

Take your chances on 29th
Regards,
Vic.
#11 Aug 22nd, 2014, 15:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vic86m View Post Last year i had been to Kaas on second day of Ganesha festival, and enquired about "maddening rush" on public holiday on the first day of the festival, surprisingly there were very few tourist he said.
We were one of the few people who were in Kaas on the first day of the Ganesh Festival last year. It was a good decision as very few people were there on that day. Even the ticket counter was closed when we reached there. Then we moved on to Bamnoli and then returned back to Kaas. At this time the ticket counter was open, we took the ticket and spent some more time in Kaas.
#12 Aug 23rd, 2014, 17:28
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Thanks guys... I think it would be better to enjoy the Bamnoli area and around the lake. It is indeed a great place. Just hoping that the roads would not have deteriorated much. Let's see... Will post some pictures once back.
#13 Sep 6th, 2014, 16:44
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So here I am, back from the mentioned trip. It was a great time to spend, away from the city hustles and crowd. We travelled straight to Mahabaleshwar and reached about lunch time. I was happy to see that the Mumbai-Pune expressway was not jammed for 6 hours (like the weekend around 15th Aug). Mahabaleshwar welcomed us with little rain, but dense cloud, even in afternoon. It was quite foggy and visibility was less.

The roads in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar were seen to be quite damaged by the rains. However, good part, we did not see many cars around us, thereby expecting less tourists.

Day was spent 'walking on clouds' and purchasing the order list handed out to us by our families.

Next day morning, post breakfast, we started off for our journey to the waterfalls we had enjoyed last year, on the way to Kaas. We had decided not to venture out all the way to Kaas, to avoid the possible crowd, but spend some good time together. The fog filled road made our journey quite slow, but with great pleasure we passed by the curving road ahead and experimenting with our handycam (I wondered what the camera could see, as I hardly could... until we reached home and rewinded the fun). Crossing over the hill to other side, we saw that there was practically no view at Shivajisagar point. The whole valley was filled with dense cloud and perhaps any new tourist would have missed the spectacular view had there been no board indication. Nearing Tapola, 4 KM before the lake, we took left towards Bamnoli...

Good part, as expected, no vehicles around to bother us, except a few locals. For most of the time, perhaps my engine's sound was the only one heard apart from the birds chirping around and wind at times. Road condition was better than last year. The huge potholes we navigated last year were not to be seen any more. However, in general, the surface of road was not as good as last year. I felt the road repairing activity was in progress, as a major part of road was filled with small gravel. I was a bit worried that my tyre would not give way in between. Luckily, it stayed with me throughout. Waving short hellos to passing-by locals and their cattle, we reached the falls near Apati village in some time and spent good time there. Practically not a single person bothering us. I hope this lovely place retains its untouched touch and does not get destroyed commercially with more people pouring in.

Below are some pictures...











#14 Sep 8th, 2014, 15:37
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^^ Awesome stuff!
Your crisp narration and pics makes me wanting to go there..

Thanks for the update on road conditions..
Sssshhhhh, lets keep this place as a secret.. Uncluttered and Unspoiled by commercialization..
AFAIK, this is Koyna reserve is no construction/concrete zone and absolutely NO construction activities are permitted here.
A casual chat with a local who was traveling with me had said the authorities are very strict about this..
#15 Sep 9th, 2014, 11:10
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Thanks Sir. It is nice to hear that the entire zone is controlled well by the authorities. Very important indeed...

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