A Ride into the Past

11th Apr 2015
Photo of A Ride into the Past 1/5 by Bhaskar Indrakanti
Panshet Dam, Pune, Maharashtra
Photo of A Ride into the Past 2/5 by Bhaskar Indrakanti
Bird’s-eye view of the tortuous roads to Panshet D
Photo of A Ride into the Past 3/5 by Bhaskar Indrakanti
A view of the expansive Panshet Dam
Photo of A Ride into the Past 4/5 by Bhaskar Indrakanti
Fare thy well...
Photo of A Ride into the Past 5/5 by Bhaskar Indrakanti
Panshet Valley besotted by the morning Sun

A wanderer is one who tracks his destination based on the mappings of his heart. Some find solace in the gentle caressing of the sea and the sun-kissed beaches whereas some look for it at the crest of an unnamed mountain. It means that one does not need to visit a popular exotic location in order to get away from the banality of daily life but just a flicker of an idea to do something out of the ordinary and do it with the people from your inner circle.

Panshet Dam provides you with such an experience where you see nature in all its glory, where the wind is relentlessly nestling you in its brace and the Sun sets with a beautiful promise of a sunnier tomorrow. Panshet Dam, also known as Tanajisagar Dam, is constructed on the Ambi River of Maharashtra and is just 50 kms from the erstwhile Peshwa fiefdom, the city of Pune.

We were in our class discussing right about nothing and that drove us crazy! The mundane attitude toward life was rampant here and beyond and so we scrounged the internet for places to visit near Pune and after much deliberations we decided upon Panshet Dam for the sole reason that it was inconveniently far from the city, something that added to the mystery of the place. That evening we donned our riding gear, made reservations with a campsite resort in the Panshet area and vroomed through the city and onto the Sinhagad Road, eponymous to the historic Sinhagad Fort.

The ride beyond the familiar was an inexplicable one with the Sun on our backs and the approaching night watching over us. The flexuous nature of the roads was a test of patience and determination but the journey was an experience that had no equal not only because of the warmth that exuded from nature’s womb but for the company of the people we were in. We rode in shifts as the terrain can be a tricky one and in about one and a half hour we reached the campsite only to realize that they had no reservations registered in our name as the campsite was going through renovations. The night was dark already and hunger pangs had rendered us all thoughtless. After much negotiations we were able to convince the interim management of the campsite to provide us with dinner which was, for the record, absolutely delectable. We then tried to push our luck and asked if we could use the grounds to build our own fire and stay for a couple of hours so that we could recuperate and be on our way back. They agreed graciously and we got down to it immediately.

 The irregularities of our plans turned out to be a blessing in disguise as we came as close as we could to a completely raw experience where we had to fend ourselves against the cold winds and the relentless creatures of the night. Under the starry sky, we gathered around the fire and chatted for hours and before we knew it, dawn was upon us. The scene was no less than picturesque and with the rising sun, the view we witnessed was branded on our souls for eternity. It was nice to actually see nature in all its glory; the sun steadily climbed the sky and brought the valley to life. If I were ever mesmerized by a sight, it was this.

The time for us to be on our way had come and so we thanked the campsite management for their involuntary but splendid hospitality. The ride down seemed as fresh and novel as the ride up. The view of the dam and the gushing water was one to behold which instilled us with respect for the achievements of mankind and the magnanimity of nature.

On our way back we saw the majestic Sinhagad Fort resting atop a cliff of the formidable Bhuleswar Range but we didn’t stop to visit it; maybe because we were already so overwhelmed with the surrealistic beauty of the Panshet Valley.

This was an excursion that we undertook in the spur of the moment without realizing that the moment will stay with us for the remainder of our lives.