Was a complete dumbo at history during my school days. Interest into the subject was nil- be it memorizing dates of our great leaders or important events in history that shaped our present. I believe it would be a similar fate with most- heaps of text to be memorized just for the sake of scoring well and not to one’s interest. I wish school picnics should have been to a few places that would amplify interest to the pile of text we had to push into our heads.
Well times have changed- thanks to friends like Glen who convinced me that history wasn't just black and white as we thought in school. With renewed interest into the forgotten subject, I used to google around on anything that struck my mind- priority being the great warriors who graced our motherland and the one who stood out was Shri Baji Prabhu- an absolute Superman in my eyes. I can thousand times read an article on him and tears of pride would flood my eyes everytime. But the final nail in the coffin came after a shared album from Jayaram- a snapshot of the memorials of Shri Baji Prabhu and Fulaji. The photos filled me not only with eagerness to visit the place but impatience as well- felt like just leaving everything behind and ride away to Vishalgad with the same sense of urgency that Shri Shivaji Maharaj had escaped to the place.
Parimal and Glen shared a possibility of being on the trip- but the possibility remained a very bleak one which meant I would ride alone- but not till I had an unexpected turn-up for company on the trip. My colleague and newly found travel bug Shamika cited interest of being on the trip- which I took not more than an excited comment that'll douse out in a couple of days... I was wrong. Her eagerness scaled new orbits everyday- though it was more for the ride rather than the destination.
Finally the day arrives and as usual all things go wrong....boss sitting late, traffic jams refusing to clear up, had to change oil to find that the drain bolt was damaged, the speedo gear had gone kaput, the HID beam position refusing to stay in one position...damn! Poor Shamika self-testing her patience with a thought bubble over her head thinking 'now he'll come, now he'll come'. In the end with all the issues solved, I finally make to Belapur to pick her up......at midnight! It was a night ride anyways- but certaintly not a midnight start one. After all the tata and bye-bye's to others and pushing my snug-fit Vemar over the poor girl's head- we move out of Belapur at dot 12.30 with stops at Khopoli to adjust the helmet hurting her newly pierced ears which had already started bleeding and another at Pune to pull-up a sweater in the increasingly cold climate. Another halt before Khambatki for tea and later at Satara to answer nature's call punctuated our ride till Kolhapur by the time which the straight roads had already taken a toll on boredom pushing sleep into my eyes. Dozing off for a couple of seconds was enough to press the panic button to take an emergency halt to flush cold water onto my face and eyes.
The straight run continues and right diversion takes us to Kolhapur and riding through the tree hugged roads lands us at historical Panhala. Breakfast was an emergency since the last piece of eatable was consumed last before Khambatki. Batata wada, mirchi wada and misal were swallowed in a hurry to fuel us ahead for site seeing Panhala. Thankfully the vast area of Panhala could be explored from one corner to the other on the bike. Not taking much space here for description of the monuments visited...you can have a look in the ride album :)
Panhala is a vast area, and I didn’t have a clue as to where was what. But then went dropping in at locations where the roads would take us.
Most seen and done, now comes the monument of which I was so eager for a glimpse.... an embodiment of bravery, loyalty and sheer will-power....the great Shri Baji Prabhu Deshpande. Every hair on the body stood up, the arrogance on his face and the two mighty swords in his hands....you simply cannot get away unaffected. A million bows Shri Baji!!!
Went around seeing places- which I didn’t find much attractive, but considering they had their own importance once upon a time- it did entice some historical interest.
As in history once upon a time, we hopped onto our horse and galloped towards our next destination Vishalgad to fire the canon, passing through some scenic views.
And finally boom goes the canon ;) We’ve arrived at the base of Vishalgad, but instead of taking the bridge shortcut- we decide to take the stairs, well it wasn’t much- but for sake of experience.
Got a relatively cheap room for 200 bucks with a common bath and toilet. Wasn’t that bad and nice spicy egg curry with rice to conclude a royal dinner and an eventful day. Snorrrrrrrrrrre.
Next morning was a walk through the serene land of Vishalgad with thoughts flying around as to how it would have been in its glorious days. Took a couple of garlands, which seeing in my hand people were hinting me the way towards the temple. But then the garlands were not for the gods- but for my Hero and I finally spot his Samadhi from a distance bringing instant tears to my eyes.
Absolute goosebumps as I step in the yard of the samadhis….offered my respect with flowers and incense sticks to the samadhis of both Shri Baji Prabhu Deshpande and Shri Fulaji Deshpande. The tears that had taken a temporary pause in my eyes during the walk since I saw the samadhis from a distance, made their presence felt again. Memories of all the stories of valour and willpower of Shri Baji that I came across right from the text books of my school days till the Wikipedia of today- rolled down with tears from my eyes. A few more minutes of prayers and a goodbye kiss to my heroes.
Roamed around a bit more seeing places on the way before we packed up to head to our next destination, where the great Shri Baji laid down his life on duty…..Pavankhind.
This time we took the shortcut bridge on our onwards journey towards again passing some lovely scenery.
Finally we reach the place. Shamika was quick getting down the ladder into the gorge as opposed to me being outright scared of slipping and falling.
The experience of Pavankhind was something else….the air around was so cold and heavy as if I could feel the spirits of all those who sacrificed their life at this very place. For a minute I could feel a battle going on around me.....soldiers screaming, swords hitting against each other, bloodshed- I felt being part of the epic battle that took place nearly three and a half centuries ago. I wonder how people fought on that very night with heavy rains. The place is such it takes effort to even balance yourself on your feet and a huge army had come marching to capture the great Marathi Emperor.
Felt so good and blessed to have been to this historical place. But then the ticking watch hinted us to move on…..Pavankhind marked the end of the ride and it was time to fly back home.
Fog started to reduce the visibility and the heavy rains lashed thereafter. We stopped at a restaurant and had the best bhurji paav ever before scampering on hot heels back home. It took around 5.5 hours to reach Mumbai from Kolhapur with a single stop at Satara for refuel.
So that was it….a wonderful and unforgetful ride.
The memories HERE
I have found out that there ain't no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.....Mark Twain
Had been to a short and relaxed ride in a group last Sat-Sun to Karde beach, Dapoli.
Some highlights of the trip:
*Bad luck struck at the start when Abhimany's LB 500 had a puncture- not one but both tyres flat. No 19" tube available, stretched up an 18"er. Lost more than an hour.
*Meeting up with everyone and Kantibhai- being his first ride he was on a safer and slower side, but then amazingly picked up to match the group's speed. Hats off!
*Sanket joining us on the move unawares- he wasnt confirmed for the ride.
*Kashedi Ghat...the ascend from Poladpur is awesome, descend has become a bit patchy.
*Group scattered on internal roads to join back again near Murud.
*Saniya Resort- though doesnt look like one- but a secluded and calm place. Worth recommending.
*Harnai fish auction- bought lotsa prawns and surmai.
*All the fish tastefully cooked to everyone's satisfaction.
*Amit Ved joining us in the night at Dapoli riding all alone through the narrow and scary roads.
*Crackers by Sanket and Kantibhai by a small bonfire- used petrol and whisky to keep it going.
*Squeezing up into two rooms- not that more rooms were not available, we decided to adjust. The lady was shocked to see such a turnout- I had only confirmed for 6 people and we were 11.
*Glen and Revel leaving early morning missing out on the unforgettable Dolphin watching.
*The wonderful and long boat ride and the Dolphins being so close all around us was the treat of the ride.
*Delicious poha for breakfast.
*A short ride on Karde beach.
*Breath-taking view of Anjarle beach and village from Harnai.
*Ride back through narrow but wonderful roads till Khed and a ridiculous lunch at Khed.
*Me somehow managing to ride back till Palaspe from Dapoli before my bike gave up at Palaspe.
*Being towed for 20 kms behind Abhimany's LB500 till Vashi to Revel's place.
An eventful ride and every minute was worth its value in the company of friends- I wish only if my bike would have held on.
HERE's the complete set of pics.