This is a photologue of my recent trip to two really exciting off-roading spots near Pune – Madhe Ghat and Lingana (Railing Pathar). I also ended up discovering a really beautiful road which leads vaguely into the Bhatghar dam area. Unfortunately I couldn’t reach Railing Pathar due to time constraints and the last section seemed quite difficult to try alone so I decided not to risk it. But I shall be back and ride to Railing pathar soon. Enjoy the photologue!
The map for my ride –
I started from Pune and ended up on my ususal haunt, Panshet road. Here instead of using Pabe ghat, I used another ghat that i discovered couple of years ago which directly connects Panshet and Velhe village (via Kadve khind/pass). Velhe is the base for Torna trek as well as a regular stop for Madhe ghat and Lingana. On the way, the Khadakwasla Lake was extreme foggy. Some TV crew was shooting in the area so I suspect the fog could have been artificial as it was concentrated in just one large area where the cameras were pointed.
My helmet fogged up and visibility was quite poor, so my progress was quite slow till I started the climb for Kadve Khind (pass). The road is utterly beautiful, Panshet dam was filled up to the brim, the winter morning sun vibrantly lit up the blue water as well as the green – yellow fields and the air was cold and fresh. After quite a few photographs I traversed the narrow winding ghat and finally reached Velhe, where I devoured egg bhurji and tea.
Hotel Swapnil – My favourite joint in Velhe.
I proceeded towards Madhe ghat. The road varies from well paved to quite broken but again is very beautiful and goes through the mountains until it reaches Kelad village where you pay an entry fee to enter the protected Madhe ghat area. After the gate, there are multiple trails inside but all of them converge to ultimately reach the Madhe ghat cliff and waterfall. They have put a trailer to mark the easiest trail which even small hatchbacks can traverse. Rest of the trails are best done in an SUV or bike.
The trails are extremely fun to ride and the Himalayan just gobbles up everything in it’s path. When you finally reach the main cliff area, the view is breathtaking with a small stream heading over the cliff into the valley. The waterfall is quite impressive during the monsoon, but now it was not as great.
Many people camp here and is an absolutely amazing experience. I too plan to camp solo at Madhe ghat in a few days. Most campers had just left when I arrived. I met a couple of guys (they too were on a Himalayan) who pointed me to another cliff where they had camped and I decided to check it out. The route to the other cliff was an unused and slightly tough trail. Only off-road oriented bikes like the Himalayan or Impulse will reach here. Parts of the trail were fairly hard (especially if you’re alone) but a lot of fun and with a bit of momentum the Himalayan lapped it up quite well. Even on narrow, steep, loose climbs (and descents) I never once felt insecure. I don’t have photos of that part as I was too busy trying not to fall down. (Yes, I badly need a GoPro)
The boy at the toll gate told me that there was a road that leads to Bhatghar dam so I decided to check it out. And man! It turned out to be a good decision. The road was quite broken and the last 2 km was kind of off-road. The views were amazing! I came up to a river and I just sat there by the river’s edge listening to the flowing water and the chirping birds. It was almost noon, but it wasn’t that hot and it was so peaceful! I moved on to end up in a tiny village of just about 6-7 houses. I enquired about the dam and they said this area is the Bhatghar dam backwater area and you don’t get to see the main waterbody. The village had it’s own tiny two room school, but even that was so nice and quaint. I turned back extremely happy. Discovering such roads and untouched villages puts a big smile on my face.
I decided to check out the road to Lingana or Railing Pathar (the latter is the base for Lingana trek). Lingana is a tall slender tapering hill (hence the name, due to it’s peculiar shape) which can only be climbed using ropes and mountaineering gear. It used to be an old prison for traitors during the rule of Shivaji Maharaj. It has caves where prisoners stayed with limited water and food supply. The only way to escape was to plunge down to your own death! Grim, but it’s an interesting story and I’ve trekked till Railing pathar on foot once and I have been wanting to ride there ever since.
The initial kilometre or so has been tarred recently but the rest of it is still the same. Sandy, full of stones and proper off road. The road is much longer than I remember and I think the whole ride (to and fro) will take at least 4 hours. The last kilometre or so, unfortunately, was quite a steep climb, with many ruts and along with my time constraints, I decided to turn back and conquer it another day. But the ride was worth it and a lot of fun. The views are fantastic and the road is fairly challenging too! I can’t wait to complete the ride.
I hope you enjoyed my photologue, I had an exceptionally good time. It had great off-roading, brilliant views and moments of utter peace and quiet. If you’ve been to any of these places and have anything to share or suggest definitely don’t forget to share it in the comments. Also don’t forget to like us on Facebook.