Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra

Tripoto
14th Jul 2018

Dusk is just an illusion because the sun is either above the horizon or below it.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

So, it all started with a plan for Goa but as they say it has to cancel, after all Goa it is. I wanted a small vacation for so long but again unable to find a companion and decided to make a solo trip anywhere in southern part of India. Fortunately one of my friend from school was posted there on INS Shivaji, one of the best location as one can imagine and he was happy to host me. I made my bookings two weeks prior to my travel for Delhi-Pune and return Mumbai-Delhi along with my stay at Panchgani Zostel which is said to be the largest container hostel in India.

Day 1

Flight from Delhi to Pune takes around 2 hours and much cheaper. I stayed at my friends place, however hotel prices slash during peak monsoon.

Photo of Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL), New Delhi, Delhi, India by Ajit Sharma
Day 2

"And the earth itself. It smells different in different places. But its loveliest fragrance is known only when it receives a shower of rain."- Ruskin Bond, Rain in the Mountains

Photo of Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Rainy day and got more companions from Pune added for our local sightseeing. Rain, clear road, good company and long drive, what else someone can ask for?

Photo of Pawana Lakeside Camping, Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Pawana Lakeside Camping, Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Fog clears and again make its way with gushing sound of wind.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Every place has its own beauty.

Photo of Mumbai - Pune Expressway, Kumbhivali, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Roam around anywhere and you can spot people enjoying the monsoon.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Lakes are water bodies are everywhere that you don't need to look for any specific place to hang around.

Photo of Aamby Valley, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

INS Shivaji base, very lucky to visit where only few people have access to.

Naval boating lake

Photo of INS Shivaji Lonavala, Pune, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Day 3

Road to Tiger Point

Photo of Tiger Point, Kurvande, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Its about 30 minutes drive from Lonavala to Tiger Point, but fog and rain can surely slow you down.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Chilling weather and drizzling water, guess what comes on mind!

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Again 15 minutes downhill there's Tata Lake which is worth spending some time.

Photo of Lonavala Lake Waterfall, Bhangarwadi, Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

At the end of another day you might need a nice classy hangout. Downtown there's a place German Bakery, great enough to get some drink or food. And if you're visiting on Saturday then you can catch some live music too.

Photo of German Bakery, Takve Kurth, Tungarli, Lonavala, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Day 4

When in Lonavala or even nearby this place, Bhushi Dam is a must visit. It attracts major tourists, specially couples, and even you go alone you'll have some good time for sure.

You can spend as much time as you want until 5:30 pm. You may run out of energy but still won't get bored.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

And remember to take the exit from backside instead, you'll witness some of the nature's beauty.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Now I don't want people to feel jealous but take a look inside the campus of INS Shivaji where civilians are not allowed unless you know someone.

Photo of INS Shivaji Lonavala, Pune, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Weather changes are very frequent and surprising.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Days comes to end but rain never stops.

Day 5

Next day, I left base early in the morning for Panchgani, through Pune.

INS Shivaji Main Entrance

Photo of INS Shivaji Lonavala, Pune, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

I planned for Panchgani same day, however thought of spending the day seeing whatever Pune has to offer. Train is easily available every 30 minutes and takes around 1:30 minutes to reach Pune.

Photo of Shanivarwada, Kasba Peth, Pune, Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Situated in middle of the city at Somvar Pet, it is 15 minutes ride from Shivaji Nagar railway station.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

And most importantly the place is not crowded which makes it good place to hang out.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Another 5 minutes walk from Shaniwar Wada is Dagadusheth Halwai Ganapati Temple which is over 100 years old and locals say that the wishes made on Mouse's ear which is placed in front of temple comes true.

Photo of Dagdusheth Ganpati, Budhwar Peth, Pune, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

The Ganesh idol is 2.2 metres tall and 1 metre wide adorned with nearly 40 kilos of gold and insured for sum of ₹10 million.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

And don't worry if you are not able to visit all seven wonders of the world, Pune got it all under one roof.

Photo of Seven Wonders Dream Park, Pratibha Society, Sivadarshan Poorgrasta Vasahat, Parvati Paytha, Pune, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Seven Wonders Dream Park, Pratibha Society, Sivadarshan Poorgrasta Vasahat, Parvati Paytha, Pune, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Don't know if there is any cave comes under wonders of world, but sure enough it will provide you roof in case of heavy rains or crouching heat.

Statue of liberty , U.S.A

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Also, I don't know when this statue came under wonders of world, maybe they wanted to show the major attraction from the world.

Stonehenge, U.K

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Coliseum, Rome

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Pyramids of Giza

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Taj Mahal, Agra

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Leaning tower of Pisa

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Eiffel Tower, Paris

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Having few hours in hand and no idea where next to go, I decided to visit a temple which can be seen from any part of the city and it happens to be Parvati hills.

Yes, upon reaching there I was amazed by the scenic beauty and decided to spent some more time there as I got quality companion those who helped me throughout the day. Almost whole city can be seen from this place and it is totally worth watching sunset which is mere a textbook thing now.

Recently I read about India's biggest container hostel which is set up in Panchgani by Zostel and it is only 3 hours away from Pune. Every hours bus runs from Swargate bus stand and you will have some scenic experience if you are daytime travelling.

Photo of Panchgani, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Zostel is around 3 miles before Panchgani at Dandeghar, they will follow up on this once you make your booking.

Photo of Zostel Panchgani, Main Road, Dhandeghar, Dandeghar, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

And its not just a one-day-stay-place. One could use this itinerary before getting started.

Day 6
Photo of Zostel Panchgani, Main Road, Dhandeghar, Dandeghar, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Zostel Panchgani, Main Road, Dhandeghar, Dandeghar, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Zostel Panchgani, Main Road, Dhandeghar, Dandeghar, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Zostel Panchgani, Main Road, Dhandeghar, Dandeghar, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Zostel Panchgani, Main Road, Dhandeghar, Dandeghar, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

This place is on the edge of the hill, you'll surely get the trill of exploring this place.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Its a architectural beauty in itself, look at it.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

And look at its interior. The common area where you'll have access to different games

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

You can ask them for trek or cycling also and Zostel will arrange it by themselves at very affordable cost. Since I was running short on time I decided to go for cycling only.

Photo of Panchgani, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

And the places we discovered was unimaginable, take a look.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

This place is literally in the clouds and you don't have to time lapse to see the effects, you can even feel it in the still image.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

The wind so strong that one needs to hold onto something, wind that is carrying away the clouds and chances are very rare to get a peek on the Sun.

Photo of Sydney Point, Dhandeghar, Panchgani, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Sydney Point, Dhandeghar, Panchgani, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Sydney Point, Dhandeghar, Panchgani, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Sydney Point, Dhandeghar, Panchgani, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

And cycling way back to hostel is much easier since it is a ride down hill.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

On the way back to Pune I got a ride, that's the beauty of spending time in a hostel and making new friends.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Its a clear and straight expressway connecting Pune to Mahabaleshwar if anyone plans to visit further.

I reached Pune by evening and then took train to Mumbai for my return to Delhi. It only takes 3 hours to reach Pune and then another 4 hours from Pune to Mumbai.

Day 7
Photo of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Area, Fort, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

And the first thing I wanted to see is the famous CST. Well I can say that it looks much better than they show it in TV.

I was planning to see a bit of Mumbai but was short on time and decided to see whatever comes in way to my hostel in Mumbai.

Photo of Haji Ali Dargah, Haji Ali, Mumbai by Ajit Sharma

One thing to be noted that, taxi fares are sky high in Mumbai as compared to other cities I visited, and if it is night time then you have to pay some extra charges too.

Photo of Bandra Worli Sea Link, Mount Mary, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Bandra Worli Sea Link, Mount Mary, Bandra West, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Hopefully nobody wants to miss the Bandra-Worli Sea Link, even if it cost some extra bucks.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

And again headed to hostel for rest which is nearby Airport and budget friendly too.

Photo of Arma Hostel Qube Stays, Government Colony, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Arma Hostel Qube Stays, Government Colony, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Arma Hostel Qube Stays, Government Colony, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Arma Hostel Qube Stays, Government Colony, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Arma Hostel Qube Stays, Government Colony, Bandra East, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

Hostels are the new cools, they are trendy and its fun to meet new people every time and listen to their stories.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma
Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

So, it is end of another trip and last thing I saw in Mumbai is Airplane traffic. Well, heard about Mumbai traffic anyway, lol.

Photo of Mumbai Airport (BOM), Mumbai, Maharashtra, India by Ajit Sharma

And as soon as flight took off, I could see the whole city, the coastline, famous landmarks slowly vanishing away in heavy clouds.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

Well, I was planning for Goa but god always have the best plans for you. I have met so many new people that I haven't met in last few years.

Photo of Solo bag-packing through Lonavala, Pune, Panchgani and Mumbai: Monsoon Gateway of Maharashtra by Ajit Sharma

A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

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