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Published: January 7th 2008
5th Jan 2008
Destination: Malshej Ghats / Shivneri Fort
Trippers: Diago (Me) & Savio (My Best Buddie).
Gear: Helmet, Gloves & a Jacket (Damn!! I forgot my glares!!)
Route: Dockard rd - Dadar - Thane - Kalyan - Murbad - Malshej - Shivneri
Distance: 150 kms to Malshej & 190 kms to Shivneri from Bombay.
Expenses: 1200 bucks including food, stay, bike servicing & oil change.
Another week closing to an end & the blood rush was unmistakable as the weekend beckoned a relaxing time that lay ahead. 😊
I had just finished a night shift & caught a few winks in a BEST bus on my way to Savio's place in Dadar. We reached my place by 11:30 a.m. & a couple of fried eggs, a hot cuppa tea & a quick shower later we were on our way on the open inviting highway! Mom enquired where we were off to & after telling her we were going to spend the weekend at a friends place at Borivali we hit the road. We set off on my Pulsar towards the Nashik highway & 50 minutes later we were out of the crazy Bombay traffic.
Our first stop was just on the outskirts of Thane at one of the many "nimbo-soda" (lime-soda) stalls along the way. It's 5 bucks for a glass of refreshing lime-soda which is quite a thirst quencher..& they use the old fashined "marble-soda" bottles...The ones where the cap is instead a marble...Haven't seen one of those in a LONG time...No! The ambulance behind my bike is just a coincidence, they didn't come for us :p ...
It's a 20 minute ride on the Nashik highway & then look out for a major crossroad from where you have to take a right towards Kalyan. Since our stomach's were rumbling, we stopped for some grub at a local dabha which had a garage nearby. We also got the brakes & bike checked out as it wasn't riding too well...Turns out the oil was all black & had to be changed ASAP or else we would've been in BIG trouble with the engine seizing!! A little servicing of the bike, some spicy chicken masala (gravy) with Chicken fried rice & 3-4
thumbs-ups & we were on our way. We stopped at Murbad as we needed to find an ATM & a petrol
pump SOON!! We were pleasantly surprised to find Citibank & UTI ATM's in Murbad as it's quite a small village. A quick cash withdrawal & 300 bucks of fuel later we continued on our journey.
The road from Kalyan to Murbad is ok but the ride from Murbad to Malshej is a dream! The roads are quite smooth & the scenes along the way quite therupatic as it's nature at it's best with green trees, brown hills & open spaces all along the way. The climate was quite cool by now as it was evening & the sun had set sometime back. 28+ hours of being awake was getting to me & I needed to crash somewhere soon (not literally!!) as It was getting dangerous to ride in that condition. Another couple of cups of tea & some biscuits & we started the climb on the Malshej Ghats...It's a beautiful ride & provided one doesn't ride
like a maniac, it can be a very pleasant experience.
The Ghats are a little dangerous as proved by a couple of accidents we saw along the way. We passed a couple of trucks that were completely on their sides
at very sharp turns & hopefully no one was hurt in either accident.
We reached the top of the Ghats & after crossing the Ganpati temple & a small tunnel finally reached Malshej & checked at the MTDC hotel if there were rooms available. Apparently there were none & neither was tea as it was dinner time!! Go figure...Me thinks MTDC sucks & are grossly over-priced for the kind of service & food they offer. Anyways, we rode for a couple of minutes & just down the road from MTDC, we got a decent room at a new lodging place for just 200 bucks!! Too tired to even think about anything, I crashed & slipped into dreamland.
Woke up at about 8 a.m. & after freshening up, we rode towards Shivneri the birthplace of the Maratha King Shivaji. There's a very nice place to stop for Bhajiya's & breakfast that's about 15-20 minutes from MTDC. It's to the left of the road after the Ganpati (yeah, another one) temple that overlooks a huge lake.
Ready to take on the world, we started on our way to Shivneri. It's approx 30 kms from Malshej & there's a
Ghat to cross to get to the town of Shivaji's birthplace. The road after the Ghats to the Shivneri fort is a biker's dream come true! Awesome roads & hardly any traffic or cattle to spoil the scenery.
We parked the bike at the entrance of the fort & continued on foot. It's a 30 minute walk from the entrance to the actual birthplace of King Shivaji & there are a few locals vending their wares & eatables along the way. Try the nimbu-pani at any of these vendors..Dunno if it's the water of the place...or the extra ginger in the mix, whatever it is....It's amazing...& very refreshing. The views from the top of the hill were really breathtaking. We took a few pics of the historic fort & then began our climb down.
Stopping every hour or so to stretch & give the bike some rest is a good idea & will only make the trip more enjoyable so we stopped again at the Ganpati temple on the Malshej Ghats & had some cool kakdi (Cucumbers) from some local vendors. You can't miss this temple as there are "warnings of falling rocks" around this place.
Beware of the extra HOT spices that the locals use in almost all their foods!! We stopped at a bar to have some grub & the Chicken Biryani was EXTRA-HOT with chillies added to it like there was no tomorrow!! Yeah!! Another recommendation....PLEASE DONT DRINK & RIDE / DRIVE!! We have enough maniac truck/bus drivers to contend with on the roads already.
We stopped at a nimbu-soda stall on our way back too (just before Thane) & stretched before we began our last leg of the journey back home. Dropped Savio at Dadar & arrived back home, eyes all red from the highway breeze & mind filled with all the beautiful images of the past 24 hours. Have been to Malshej a few times before with friends & the place just keeps getting more beautiful everytime I go there. If you are looking to have a nice peaceful de-stressing time with your friends / girlfriend, it's the place to be as it is very serene & time seems to crawl at Malshej...What better place to be with your loved ones.
Oh Yeah!! & one of the best parts....Not many tourists... 😊 Although during the
monsoon season lots of local tourists make this place a not-so safe place to be as these groups mainly include drunken youth on bikes or cars.
Truly recommended for a biking trip in a group.
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