Jan 02

While 2010 new year weekend had a disastrous start with a miscalculated and unsuccessful trip to Raigad fort and the Pune zoo the following day, 2011 new year weekend was exactly the opposite. We went to Daman and Silvassa for a 3-day weekend and it was a great mix of lot of stuff – beaches, forts, water sports and even a lion safari!

places to see near pune daman

places to see near pune silvassa

Then, we went to Pataleshwar Cave Temple and Ayappan hill temple near Dehu Road. These two were on the radar for quite some time as we had passed these two temples en-route to many other places.

places to see near pune pataleshwar cave temple

places to see near pune ayyappan hill temple

The first big trip of 2011 was a weekend trip to Murud. This set a nice precedent for 2 more trips to the Konkan region over the year. The murud trip had many beach visits including Murud beach, Kashid beach, Aakshi beach and the imposing Janjira sea fort (post pending!).

places to see near pune murud beach konkan

places to see near pune murud janjira sea fort

The next Konkan trip happened soon after, with a 3 day trip to Diveagar and Harihareshwar. The Diveagar beach is one of the best on the coast (among the one closer to Mumbai/Pune) and the coastal drive from Diveagar to Shrivardhan is too beautiful to be described!

places to see near pune diveagar beach

places to see near pune diveagar beach

places to see near pune harihareshwar temple beach

In March, i went on a trek to Tikona fort along with colleagues. We started pretty early in the morning and it was a good decision as it got very hot by around 10. The trek to tikona fort is moderate, but offers wonderful views of the surrounding areas including Lohagad fort and Pavana Dam. Also, the final ascent on the stairs is wonderful.

places to see near pune tikona fort

Then, we had a get-together of friends at Splendour Country club. This was my second visit to the place (post pending!) and it is quite a mixed bag. The condition/cleanliness of the infinity pool depends on your luck, but the location is awesome.

places to see near pune splendour country club

There was a weekend when Vidhya and Akshara were out of town. So, i went on a local sightseeing trip to places which Vidhya might not come along. I went to Shinde Chhatri – architecturally good , bur was undergoing renovation, a butterfly park about which the lesser said the better and then to Chaturshringi Hill Temple, a gem of a place within the crowd of the city(posts due!).

places to see near pune shinde chhatri

places to see near pune chaturshringi temple

Saturday was gone and i went for something more adventurous on the Sunday – a trek to Kalavantin Durg (post due!). This turned out to be most exhausting day of my life. But, not because of the nature of the trek. It is an awesome trek and the final climb on the rock-cut steps (some more than a metre high) is mind-blowing, particularly for the slightly-acrophobic ones like me!

places to see near pune kalavantin durg trek

The monsoon had arrived and it was time to go-green! Our first monsoon trip was to the ever-enchanting Neelkanteshwar temple. If you have never been there, make sure you do (not in the summer though). A place straight out of Amar Chitra Katha, you can not only admire the natural beauty of its location, but also learn a lot about indian mythology.

places to see near pune neelkanteshwar temple

Though very scenic, i try to avoid lonavala and its surroundings during the monsoon as it gets very crowded and insane. A trip to Korigad fort where i had pass through Lonavala reaffirmed my faith in avoiding the place. Korigad fort though was a revelation. Relatively easy to climb and in midst of nature, it was a wonderful trip with friends.

places to see near pune lonavala lions point

places to see near pune korigad fort

No monsoon is complete without a visit to Tamhini Ghat and thoseghar waterfalls. I have been so many times to these places and yet, i am not tired of them. The visit to tamhini was, as always, combined with a visit to the broken roads of Chalkewadi windmill farms.

places to see near pune tamhini ghat

places to see near pune thoseghar waterfalls

places to see near pune chalkewadi windmills

Then came a visit a beautiful temple in a beautiful place – hadshi temple. One photo of this temple on some forum convinced me to pay a visit and i wasn’t disappointed and neither have been all the people to whom i have recommended this temple. I have been there twice, once during the monsoon and another time just after – on a clear and sunny day.

places to see near pune hadshi temple

places to see near pune hadshi temple

We tried yet again on 15th August to go to Raigad fort, but our calculations proved wrong once again with a 3.5 hr wait for the cable car. So, we had to return (for the second time) with just a view of the cable car and the mighty fort beyond the horizon.

places to see near pune raigad fort

But, all was not bad with the trip. We came back through Varandha ghat and we got to see the best of what Varanda is famous for. Outstanding greenery as far as the eye can see and more waterfalls than we could keep count of!

places to see near pune Varandha Ghat

places to see near pune Varandha Ghat

Then finally, in October with some meticulous planning, we were able to see the king of all forts, Raigad fort (post due!). It was worth the wait, as this fort is an exemplary example of the might of the Marathas. The amount of history within the walls of his fort is amazing. We had combined a trip to Raigad with another new destination on the konkan, Karde beach.

places to see near pune raigad fort

places to see near pune karde beach

End of 2011, beginning of 2012, lots to look forward too. Starting with a trip to Rajasthan, courtesy my company. So, what’s in plan – Malshej Ghat, Bhadandardara, Ganapatipule or Goa, some lesser known temples around Pune, Shivneri fort and more…

written by Rajaram S

Dec 30

If you are looking for a good weekend trip out of Mumbai/Pune, Daman is a nice option. It has a bit of everything – a clean (and calm) beach, hangout place for families, free flowing alcohol (for those interested in wiling away the weekend drunk), nearby hill station (Silvassa), old forts and much more.

moti nani daman fort church beach

First a lesson in Geography! When we started research on places to go for the new year weekend, one of my friends suggested Daman & Diu, which was immediately lapped up by all as a visit to an Union Territory seemed as exotic as Kilimanjaro for all of us :-) And so began the process of finding out the details. A simple google search gave the usual suspects – Daman Fort (moti and nani), Diu fort and some gardens. Next, we moved to Google maps to plan the exact itinerary based on the distances. Having zoomed on to the forts in Daman, i next typed in Diu fort. I was in for a shock. the maps applications zoomed out and kep on scrolling westwards and over the sea (and lots of sea!) and finally zommed into the Diu fort. I kind of blamed it on google. It was then i realized that Daman & Diu, though being a single entity in terms of a UT are hundreds of kilometres apart – 600 kms apart by road and around 300 by sea! If you already knew this, be proud. If not, be happy that you learnt something new :-)

Where is Daman and how to go there? Daman is to the north of Mumbai and it would take (approx) 3 hrs from Mumbai and around 7-9 hrs (depending on how much you get stuck in Mumbai traffic) from Pune.


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Beaches in Daman: There are two beaches in Daman, Devka beach and Jampore beach. An amusement park is also there at Devka beach, but we found that most of the play-area items were broken or in a condition that you wouldn’t want your kids to go near them. We went to Devka beach a little after noon and the water had receded a long way. This was the first time i had ever seen the effect of tides. I had never seen a low tide before. Devka beach is a very rocky beach and not considered safe for swimming or wandering into, particularly during high tide.

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

Jampore beach is a much better option. A very clean beach with soft sand, Jampore beach also has many sporty things to do. We went there early in the morning and the light was just beautiful. The water was still coming in slowly and it was amazing to watch this.

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

Mirasol lake garden, a few minutes drive from Devka beach, is a nice place to spend the evening with family and kids. There is also the Mirasol water park next to it. The lake garden is an artificial one with all the elements of so-called paradise – a lake, many bridges on it, boating and even a swan boat! There is also a toy train going around the garden.

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

Daman is split into two by the Daman Ganga river- Moti Daman (big) and Nani Daman (Small), though Nani Daman is much bigger than the moti one! Moti Daman is entirely inside a fort, a beautiful one. Driving inside the fort is like driving inside a movie set. The portugese influence is very visible in the architecture in the dwellings inside the fort. Driving on the narrow road outside the fort will take you to the lighthouse. We went a bit late in the night, otherwise, you can climb up the light-house for a wonderful view of Daman. Jampore beach is close to Moti Daman. Both the sides are connected by a bride. You can also take a boat ride from one side to another.

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

The pier/sea front on the Nani side is beautiful. The main highlight is the fort of Nani Daman right next to the river bank. The church of Our Lady of the sea is the main building inside the fort.

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

The boats anchored on the river banks change position based on the tide. When we were there (around evening), it was low-tide and all the boats appeared beached on the river bank.

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

There are many sandbars which get exposed during low tide and you can take boat-trips to each of them. Depending on the distance you want to travel and also whether you want to get down on the sandbars (more time), the price ranges from INR 20 to around INR 50 per person. We just went for a short 15 min ride into the sea. The evening breeze was awesome and we also got good wide-angle views of both Moti and nani Daman

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

moti nani daman fort church beach

and of course, the last sunset of 2010 on the Arabian Coast. This should also go down as my first encounter with the Arabian sea as i don’t remember anything from my only prior trip to Mumbai (when i was in 2nd class!)

moti nani daman fort church beach

written by Rajaram S

Jun 23

Ayyappan Hill temple Dehu Road pune

You don’t need to be either a mallu or a religious person to visit the Ayyappan temple. You just need to be a person like me looking for some new scenic place to visit on a weekend! The Ayyappan temple in Dehu Road is a beautiful temple in a beautiful location. If you have never been to one before, this will be quite an experience seeing the rituals and the way things are done mallu style.

Ayyappan Hill temple Dehu Road pune

This temple is on top of a small hill near Dehu Road. Since the land surrounding the hill belongs to the army, photography is not allowed in this area. This place is popular with joggers and other runners who walk/run upto the top of the hill (through a trail or the road). The view from the top is unhindered on all sides and thus iit is also a popular hangout place for the people in that area.

Ayyappan Hill temple Dehu Road pune

How to go to Ayappan Hills from Pune(Magarpatta): Go towards Koregaon park, the Shivaji Nagar, then NH4 (old road to Bombay). This automtically goes to Dehu Road (a few kms before the toll or the Big Ganesha Statue). Anyone in Dehu road would be able to guide you. There is a State Bank of India ATM/Branch. Next to it is a road going in from the main road. This road climbs up to the top. It is a steep but easy climb for any car.


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There is another hill temple closeby, It is the Murugan Hill temple. Though it is called as Murugan hill temple, there are many dieties here including Hanuman, Balaji & Sai Baba.

Ayyappan Hill temple Dehu Road pune

Ayyappan Hill temple Dehu Road pune

If you drive on through Dehu Road, you will meet the bypass road coming from the left (the one to use to go Expressway). If you continue straight on,
you should see a left turn going up to a small complex on top of a hill. You can either drive to the top or climb a dozen steps to reach the teample. From thsi temple, you can also see the Ayyappan Temple across the road on one of the hills (though it looks quite far!).

Ayyappan Hill temple Dehu Road pune

Ayyappan Hill temple Dehu Road pune

This is a good evening trip for a few hrs, as it takes around an hr in traffic to reach Dehu Road.

written by Rajaram S