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Meet me - know me - read my posts and try to figure me! Well I am someone who is always thirsty for adventure, someone who simply hates playing sheep(u know the types - follow the herd!). An enthusiastic trekker, who loves to travel and ever ready for one of those wierd new found sports- luv to make new friends and njoy being my family's pet :)!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bike ride to Chikhadara -Part 3

23rd Dec:
The night was calm and possibly full of roars from black Romans... Woke up with the alarm at roughly 7am and got down with our routine. No one was in the mood to be up eventually we ordered our tea. Looked like all except me were in the drowse of a mood. Tea arrived, eventually at ~8:15 Nachi and me took a stroll down the road to the nearby little hotel(New India Cafe and Nashta House), where we had our next share of tea followed by some amazing pohe. The place was like a typical hill-station, many tourists were getting off buses and other getting ready for their morning stroll. I amused myself playing with a little pup. It was chill, the sunshine gave some much needed respite from the cold.

Back at the hotel, our riders got down and we were chatting with the hotel folk asking for places to see around. They shared enough info and we decided on doing some sight seeing first followed by the Jungle Safari. All of us, then visited the little hotel again for a round of breakfast...(~9:30am) pohe, wada, misal, daal wada all with rassa and tea was the menu. Chit chatted a bit and returned back to our hotel. The chicken too could not cook-a-doodle with a cold down their throat. We spent some time down at the lobby as others took turns to get fresh for the day.

The hotel staff had indicated that the dormitory would be vacant that day and we decided to take a look. It was on the terrace but was untidy. The view from up there was wonderful! The rates for the dorm were similar to that of our rooms combined, hence we continued with our rooms.

By 11am we were all attired and ready to stroll. Except Nachi's thunderbird all vehicles took the road and "BhimKund" was our first halt, which was 4kms from where we were. We rode along a presumed direction but then eventually were riding along a clean straight road which later went down a ghat, after some 11kms of riding I decided on stopping the procession. We were in the wrong direction for sure and also my fuel was indicating "not good for fooling around". Thus we turned around and when we saw the board "4kms Chikhaldara", we stopped and what seemed to be a sort of view point, decided it was our Bhimkund and made all sorts of mockery and enjoyed the views. It was a clean and clear day and the views and spirits were high.

We then rode in the direction of the city again and spotted the board for Bhimkund (we had actually ridden past the right turn had taken the following right ). Following the boards we went along nice smooth roads and eventually came to a halt at what seemed to be a hight point for the start of a ghat road as we spotted many buses parked along the side and a school picnic was making way off the road down a slop along a walk way. Assuming this to be a parking lot we parked our vehicles and strolled down the slope. It was a simple walk down which eventually went over a little footbridge along the side of the hill and eventually walked down to the same road where it came to an end at a vantage point.

Truly speaking we could have ridden down till the point.. well alas we were here. Where the road ended there was this huge triangular vantage point with a parapet wall running along the valley side. The valley was deep and beautiful, much bigger than what we proclaimed to be our BhimKund. We spent some time around the vantage point and later walked past it and trekked down the slop to what seemed to be the start of a water fall from a little natural water reservoir (kund... possibly BhimKund). Spent some time fooling around the spot and in awe of nature. In some time headed back to the vantage point where Amit played with some school kids who ran off in fear! :). There is a notice board indicating the history behind the place it basically said "Bhima had beheaded Rakshasa Kickhak and flung his body down this vally and washed the blood off his hands in a little pond which is now called 'BhimKund' and since the event this place was called KichakDara (dara as in dari in marati) and with time it became ChikhalDara". Knowledge++. Eventually we trekked back along the hill slope to where our bikes were parked. Maneesh had no idea we had to walk this far and came all attired in protective gear and helmet (he looked like an astronaut teleported right off the moon).

We got on to our next spot- "Malvia Point". This was not too far from where we were. Simply retraced the route and took the boards indicating to Malvia Point. The road eventually ended and we had to go though some really bad paths (it was simply carved off the hill ) -which was no more than dust and rubble and too slippery. Maneesh slipped off this road but fortunately at extreme slow speeds. The path ended when we felt we could ride no further. A small walk down the dent in the hill and we were at another vantage point, which was just some distance from BhimKund- The views were similar. We could spot Gawilgad fort in a distance. Spent some time fooling around before heading back.

Devi was our next spot to be seen, We eventually got off the dirt track and made our way towards Devi with Mandar and pillion Nachi heading the route. We reached Devi which seemed to be like a little temple with a huge pond along side it where they had boating and horse riding activities and was heavily crowded. We simply rode past towards GawilGad fort.

The fort in a distance seemed to be pretty huge with a mega big entrance. Post some discussion we decided to enter the fort and sped a few minutes. There was possibly a college trip that had come on a visit here and hence the crowds. The fort was in ruins with just the bastions intact. We walked some distance inside and could see how vast the this fort was ... seemed to be over a kilometer wide. After some time we explored a little more before retreating back to our vehicles.

Here we met a gentle man who on seeing the bullets asked if they were 500CC and continued to say that no other vehicle could ride this far. On getting knowledge that 150 and 350 CC too made it till here ,he chose silence and walked off. Another couple of people asked if the bullets were running on Diesel, on denial they simply gave an awkward grin and walked off. Well diesel meant more fuel efficiency and thus the query.

By now the clock was ticking at ~13:15pm and we decided to ditch any other spots of interest to lunch. We pre-decided to have lunch at Satpura resort. So off we rode in the direction, Now we could see the roads we had taken the previous night... it was wide but the turns were pretty actute and dangerous for the dark. Eventually we were at Satpura and were directed to the dining area. Soups, Waradi paneer, zhunka, bhakri curries made up our lunch. We relished on the mouthwatering food, sure it was a bit spicy but was amazing. Post lunch spent some time around the resort lazing and chit chatting and deciding on what is to be done next. Jungle Safari it was- but what about fuel!?

My CBZ, Maneesh's bullet and Amit's pulsar were showing not so good indications. A visit to the nearby petrol pump indicated no fuel till 30th of December! They were selling fuel in black but we decided against the same. The nearest place to get fuel was Paratwada which was some 35 kms from here (the same route we had mistook as the BhimKund route in the morning), but also we had to do Jungle Safari which was 25 kms down the road in the other direction at Semadoh. The clock was ticking around 3pm and safari was to close by 5pm, so the taking Chikhaldara-Paratwada-Semadoh was out of the question which was some 80kms away and would mean missing the safari. So it was decided to take a risk- ride down to Semadoh have the JungleSafari then ride on to Paratwada, where we fuel in and then come up to Chikhaldara. It did seem pretty weird to go all this far just for fuel, but it had to be done and fast too.

So back we got attired and back on our steeds to leave the place towards Semadoh (714.5kms, 15:30pm). In a few minutes we reached the checkpost where we were asked to take tickets again, since the tickets were valid only on a daily basis. So 210/- lost again and 20 more minutes gone. With all this done we eventually rode down the curves through the jungle in broad day light. The jungle was beautiful and thick. It did have a few straight stretches but many were curves, one could ride at a max of ~60kmph. We rode more or less in a file spaced far apart. There was some road construction work going on (we did observe this the previous night too), the only bad patch. Also with a string of mud lying along the central part of the road meant we would automatically cling to one edge of the isolated road. Eventually we got fairly low and the distance reading for Semadoh along the mile stone kept decrementing. A fence appeared along the 2km mile stone to the left and we rode past the checkpost near the Forest Dept. Guest house. We regrouped at this point and rode inside the guest house premises. (739.7kms, 16:30pm)

The place was neat and big. Quick inquiries with the concerned officials revealed that we had to arrange our own vehicles since the forest dept vehicle was away on duty. The official asked us to act fast in booking a vehicle at Semadoh(which would be very easy) since the safari would stop at 5pm (basically he said if we reported past 5pm the safari would not take place.). The safari was to cost 120/-. Amit and me wasted no time going to the Semadoh village looking for a vehicle. Villagers pointed us to a place where we could book a vehicle, and people from that place pointed us to another (hospital) where we could meet a person who would arrange the vehicle. We reached the spot and inquired for the person who came and said he would reach the Forest dept. guest house in 15 minutes before 5pm. He charged 500/- for the hire(a green Maruti Van).

Back at the guest house we informed the officials of the same and once the driver arrived we were appointed a guide who with a smiling face joined us all inside the van. Amit, Mandar, myself, Maneesh and Nachi sat behind while Dhanya sat with the guide and driver in the front seat. The van drove in the direction of Dharni Phata for some 10 kms before taking a right to a checkpost where we had to show the JungleSafari booking receipt. Some cars and vans were coming out in the opposite direction, The road was nothing more than a dirt path that went through the thickets for about half an hour. We were told we would eventually enter Semdoh from the other side.

All of us were pretty exited and were expecting to see some animals around this part. The guide purely believed in smiling at his customers and preferred chatting with the driver. The driver believed in chatting with everyone , Dhanya believed in pep talk with his new found companions and the rest of us believed in making non-sense talk when none of the informed ones pledged to talk with us. So we had our laughter riot. The only information we got and that too from Mr. driver was that all trees were "Sagwaan wood trees". The guide even on questioning felt too shy to open his mouth. Duh!

A passing vehicle in the opposite direction indicated that there was some animal or something in a distance , but our informers believed otherwise and took us rocking and shaking though the dirt path past streams and over streams. All we saw nice thick foliage in various shades of green and brown. Not one insect in sight- we at least could spot monkeys on our ride along the tar roads! Not even a cat or dog in these parts!

We reached another checkpost which marked the end of the safari and meant we would be on tar roads again. At the exit a couple of motorists (possibly new to these parts) inquired in "Yahan se shortcut hai kya?" pointing towards the trail we came from, to which Dhanya in all frustration answered "Haan haan .. dhikhe chaar bade bade dhike" extending his hands out of the window proving his point. We got into a laughter frenzy and it was fit we simply could not control, we still keep giggling about it till date. The poor motorists decided on following us all the way to Semadoh instead :).

The driver said that one can spot bears if not tigers, but that was possible only during the summer months when animals would come down to water holes near the trails. He said that at this time with thick foliage, even if an animal was nearby it would be camouflaged. So much for tigers we drove back to the forest dept. Here we completed all formalities. But one thing is for sure, the place is thickly forested and beautiful!

At roughly 6:15 we departed from the place to the Semadoh village tea hut for some tea. A group of bikers from some near by village were here and the cold in all its might was here as well. Some gulps of tea later we rode off in the direction of Paratwada which was along the state highway. The cold was relentless but the roads were good. It went straight at occasions and twisting and twining at others, the high beams from heavy vehicles in the opposite direction was an issue, so we would simply stop and let the vehicle pass. Riding on for many kilometers later we came to a ghat section and went on to a descent along curves, we could spot a huge cluster of city lights in a distance -possibly Paratwada city. In some time we took a halt along a straight road and inquired for directions to Paratwada and followed the directed path.

The city of Paratwada is huge and seemed like a modern city from what we saw. There were many petrol pumps but none of the residents believed in following a queue system. Mandar and me tanked up at an Indian Oil pump while others did the same at HP petrol pump (784.5kms, 19:56pm).

Post tanking up we were in for another blunder from Dhanya, who went missing- but not for long. We utilized the time in getting the appropriate directions to Chikhaldara. We were to go via Dhamangaon to Chikhaldara up the same road we mis-took in the morning. In ~30minutes we rode off.

We went in a single file, the initial stretch was straight and eventually went along twists upwards. Enroute I took a halt on the ghat since I just could not control the cold and had to clean up my nose! Riders went up some distance and Nachi and Dhanya came riding back in search of me. We had a hearty laugh later when I told them the true reason :). The ride was pretty event-less with us riding past various little village boards and eventually via twits up the ghat to Chikhaldara. Here we had to pay an entry fee - This we were told was the Govenment fee and what we had been paying earlier was the forest dept. fee. We were pretty irate with this and gave them a piece of our mind, but there was nothing they could do either. Eventually we reached our hotel (817kms, 21:20pm).

Back at our hotels freshened ourselves up. There was some function going on in the near by public hotel- loud unheard blaring music. We like the tunes and were dancing to it! Soon we decided to have dinner at Satpura resorts and rode off in that direction. It was very cold and unforgiving. We were all wrapped but the cold still got to us. We had dinner indoors and had ordered similar food as afternoon. It was sumptuous. Post dinner rode back to our hotels in the dark and ice-cold climate.

We decided to leave by ~7am since we would have the forest dept. formalities to complete on the way out. By now my bike was showing signs of bad exhaust notes... I was not sure what it was. We slept off at ~11pm, the next day we would be riding via Madhya Pradesh and stay somewhere near Ajantha. It was a long day and demanded some sound sleep- which we did get for the night!

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Blogger Aj said...

The normal doggie with extra large shadow is tooo good. Don't have patience to read entire write-up of the ride, but this dog surely rocks.

6:06 PM  
Blogger vindy said...

Yes.. it was a very sweet pup... poor guy had one broken hind leg. And it posed very well for this shot :D

11:32 PM  
Blogger vindy said...

Yes.. it was a very sweet pup... poor guy had one broken hind leg. And it posed very well for this shot :D

11:33 PM  
Blogger Nachiket Joshi said...

We're planning ride from pune to chikhaldara this sat..join in if you want to re-live the experience...:-)

3:11 AM  

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