I was at my hometown Kolhapur, for Rakhi and another function at home. Since my sister had decided she will leave for Pune on the Wednesday, we had planned a visit to Kaneri Math on Tuesday (2nd August 09). However, this totally got changed, as my father informed that Marleshwar visit is possible in one day. My sister suddenly changed her mind and said, Kaneri math can be visited any time, therefore let’s go to Marleshwar if it can be done in one day.
Within next 10-15 mins I made phone calls to my aunt and uncle who also agreed to join us for the picnic. It required another 2 hours to have everybody gathered at my home take a quick breakfast and for us to leave for Marleshwar, in our Wagon-R.
It had rained a little bit in the morning and it was already sort of late for us to finalize and to leave for Marleshwar. We started our journey with some packed food items and water. The route from Kolhapur required to climb up the Panhala ghat and then take a right turn instead of entering the famous Panhala fort. Many people might have heard of Panhala, as it
is a fort which has now been converted into a beautiful tourist spot. The ghat drive is a beautiful one and less risky as the climb is not so difficult and since it was a weekday and not holiday, we found the road to be completely empty. Although I like Panhala a lot, I had many visits to Panhala in the past so didn’t find it so exciting. As we continued on this road, in some time we started passing through some villages after the ghat, one being a taluka place called “Shahuvadi”, where we bought some garma garam vada pav. Then we came to a place called Amba. It was my first visit to this place, and we had a small break here as the weather was looking extra ordinarily beautiful. It was raining slightly, we were standing on a narrow road, from where a few Jeeps and ST buses were passing. If a left turn is taken from here, the road takes you to Pawan Khind and Vishalgadh. Pawan Khind is the one which became “Pawan” with “Bajiprabhu Deshpande’s” blood, earlier this khind was called “Ghod Khind” This is the place where Bajipradbhu fought with Adilashahi forces, to
ensure that Shivaji Maharaj safely escape and reach to Vishalgadh while escaping from Panhala Siege by Siddhi Jauhar.
After a small break we continued on the straight road to Ratangiri. After we left Amba, we saw another ghat. Now this ghat was exciting to me, as it was my first visit to this place, it has long stretched mountains on all the sides which were covered with a lot of trees on them, then some small waterfalls here and there. Again the considerable difference I noticed here was that being a weekday there was hardly any traffic on the road. Also, there were not many shops or chai taparais which you usually see on any tourist destinations. We stopped at the top here to click some quick photos. My niece (Aditi - 3.5 yrs old), was very happy to see such a place, she made us to take her to one of the waterfalls in this ghat where we got a little wet.
On this ghat itself, one has to take a sharp right turn, which takes you to Marleshwar, but since none of us did know, we didn’t take this turn, and we ended up taking up a long
Photo taken on the way
route. However, we didn’t regret taking this long route, because it took us to a few more beautiful places. We continued driving till we reached Devrukh (I think this is a town place in Ratnagiri district), and after enquiring there ; some local people told us to go straight for another 4-5 kms till we see a diversion and a milestone which gives us direction to Marleshwar. In next few minutes we saw the milestone, which indicated that Marleshwar was another 32 kms (not exactly sure but it was 30+) to the right. It was Konkan and we had started feeling the humidity in the air. From here, when we were driving, the ghats never ended till we reached to the final spot. Ours was the only vehicle on the road, we neither saw any two/four wheelers nor any people on the road. As we passed by, the ghat had started looking more exciting, with a lot of sharp turns, a lot of up and downs, but I was surprised and happy to see the condition of the road. Believe me, in that remote place the roads were really good condition. The greenery was all over the places, the mountains were surrounding us from all the sides and all of them wearing a covering of big and dense trees. It was completely looking like jungle everywhere. I was told that in the night, I might also see the wild animals here but we didn’t see any, except for two big peacocks while on my way back. Wherever I used to drive, I used to see the road only for few feet on front and back side of my vehicle, and the remaining road was hiding in that dense forest and mountains with sharp turns. It was really really exciting.
Finally we reached to the temple base. We could see a welcome board and some cars parked there. There were few small hotels, where people were standing and having some light snacks and tea/coffee. As I had not seen any vehicles while coming I was wondering which route did those cars took to reach here. It had rained before I reached to the there, so I could see that the road was wet, then the unique fragrance of wet soil was cheering us. We saw a lot of steps going upward, but couldn’t see the temple yet. The place was like the center inside those forest filled mountains. There was a sound of flowing water coming from somewhere, so I decided to find out, went to one of the hotels (these hotels are open from two sides, on one side, it’s the flowing water and on the other side, the parking lot), and then I saw that huge flow of water, making a lot of noise coming from somewhere, I captured some photos and videos, it was still not visible where this water was coming from.
We started climbing the steps, seeing the shops on one side and the mountains on the other side, with many small waterfalls. We could also see some monkeys jumping on the trees. As we progressed, we saw a small entrance inside the cave with a metal name plate of the place. This cave is on the right side, in those mountains, which contains several “shivlings” inside and what you see straight in front of you is a big waterfall, which will make you feel that the milk is flowing there and not the water. The entry to this waterfall is closed during monsoon, so we couldn’t go there but we took a lot of photos and video shoots here to cherish the memories. We spent some time here, took the Darshan and got down.
We reached to the base and the heavy rains started, so we spent some time in one of the hotels there watching the rain, and when the rain stopped, started our back journey. This time we had decided that we will find out the shorter route, and we actually did. This route was even better, the road condition wise and also the surrounding wise. We saw, a lot of rice farms, a river, a bridge in that forest like place, and some small Konkani homes. It was so beautiful. On the way, when I was driving on these ghat roads, I heard people from rear seat, shouting, “Mor- Mor”. They had actually seen two big peacocks. By the time, I slowed down and stopped, those peacocks had disappeared and after waiting for some time, I saw one of them at a far distance. I felt bad as I couldn’t see them from close distance and capture them in photos. Then for me, the next stop came when we saw a rainbow in one of the fields. I decided to get down and capture the pictures unsure of whether the rainbow will come in pictures, but it did come. .
Finally we reached back home around 7 pm from while driving through the fogged ghats of Amba and Panhala.
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