Thursday, August 18, 2005

Trip to Mahabaleshwar

I will remember this independence day all through my life as I spent it in a very special way. Clubbed with Saturday and Sunday, it was a long weekend for most people working in IT sector.

I had already planned to pay a visit to Pune. So I was there to meet my brother. Somehow, some other relatives also planned their visit to his place at the last moment. When all of us reached his place, we decided to go somewhere. My cousin suggested that we should go to Mahabaleshwar - a hill station in Maharashtra which is over 4000 feet above from sea level. We didn't want to spend much time deciding where to go so all of us agreed.

Next morning, we set off. It is about 140 kms from Pune and anybody can imagine the topsy turvy roads that lead to hill stations. The trip seemed like an adventure to me. All along the way, I could never take off my eyes from the lovely green hills and mountains. They looked so fresh after being washed with rain. I could never stop marvelling at the steep curves on the road, view of the clouds covering the top of mountains as well as blocking the view of villages down the valley. The air was so fresh and pure. Every breath was fulfilling.

While I was still busy in adulating what I was watching, we reached Panchgani - a place before Mahabaleshwar. Panchgani has a lot of those Hill-station boarding schools. One of them was where my cousin studied too. We went to a spot which is like a table mountain, that is, the top of the mountain has a stretch of flat land which is as flat as a table. This point was supposed to give a wonderful view of the valleys but the day we were there it was full of clouds. We could not see beyond 30 feet or so. We enjoyed ice-creams in the slight drizzle which went on throughout the day. At times, it got heavier and we had no other options. We didn't take any umbrellas or rain jackets. After spending some time in Panchgani , we started for Mahabaleshwar.

The waterfalls and the lakes in Mahabaleshwar were such a delight for one's eyes. A first time visitor from fertile lands could do nothing but keep gazing at the exotic locales. A lot of tourists had thronged the place because of the long weekend holiday. Finding a parking place in the small market area of Mahabaleshwar was a problem but after a little effort, we got it. Apart from people and cars, the streets were occupied by a number of Horses. Taking a horse ride seemed a popular game for tourists. One could have a ride on Sikandar, Saddam, or Shahrukh for a paltry sum ;-). However, I didn't take a ride as I couldn't find the one I was looking for. I guess, Basanti's Dhanno would have been very much in demand. Who knows she would have gone to Mumbai to shoot for the new SHOLAY. ;-)

Well, that is all about it. We picked up some Chikki, Chana packets and inexpensive Fruit Jam bottles from one of Mala's many factory outlets lined on the road. We also brought some ever-lasting memories with us. Some trapped in our cameras which are yet to come and others - fresh in my mind which let out this write-up.



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