Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Kondane caves (Karjat)

                       Buddhist caves of Kondane situated on the mountain of Rajmachi (Karjat – Lonavala region). The Kondane caves enclose sculptures, vihara and stupas, specimens of ancient Buddhist architecture. Although there was an earth quake in the early 1900s many stupas, the front entrance and the floor of the caves were damaged. But what remains intact is the beatuful Chaitya that welcomes you to the rock cut caves that were created around 200 BC - 100BC.

                       The base village for Kondane caves is Kondhivade which is also the base for Rajmachi trek. It’s a 30 mins ride from Karjat station to the base village. We could see Dhak Bahiri and Palasdhari along with other mountain ranges on the way. There is nice river flowing by the village where you can have lot of fun after finishing the trek but be careful as its quite huge and can be risky at times. We enquired a villager for the route and started off for the trek.

                       Weather was very pleasant and the mountains were covered with fog. We could even see the Karjat – Pune railway route which climbs over the hills opposite to Rajmachi. Soon you will come across a board sign on left sign which says Kondane caves. The route goes from the right side of an Emu farm. The route now starts climbing up gradually and is nicely arrow marked. You can’t get lost here and hence there is no need of taking any villager for route guidance. After walking some distance you will come across 2 small streams from which one is quite spacious and has a nice waterfall.

                        We reached the steps of the Kondane caves in one hour. Route for Rajmachi goes from the right side of the steps. Its arrow marked and can be easily spotted. Rajmachi is a flat plateau having a small village and twin forts of Shrivardhan and Manoranjan.

How to get to Kondane Caves : 
Take a rickshaw (You may charged Rs.150 - 200) from Karjat to Kondivade village and from Kondivade proceed to Kondane or Kharvandi village as from both these villages the Kondane caves are a one hour walk.

Fort Shivneri

                       Shivneri fort is one of the famous fort of Maharashtra. It is also the birth place of the famous Maratha king Chatrapathi Shivaji. Shivneri fort is located near Junnar village. Shivneri fort was constructed before the birth of Shivaji. Shivaji's father, Shahaji was working in the army of the sultan of Bijapur. The Shivneri fort was built with the support of Shahaji. Shahaji wanted to protect his family during the time the war. The boundary wall of Shivneri fort is built in such a way that the enemies cannot enter into the fort. There are seven strong gates through which we need to cross to reach the fort.
View from top 
                       Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj was born in Shivneri fort and spent all the childhood days in this fort. He was actually trained with all the skills on this fort itself. We can see the statues of Shivaji wih his mother, Jijabai. The height of the top of the fort is 3500ft above sea level.
Fort map

Some of the attraction places in and around Shivneri Fort :

1. Badami Talao: This is a small lake at the center of Shivneri Fort

2. Goddess Shivai Temple: There is a small temple of goddess Shivai inside the fort. Shivaji was in fact named   after this goddess.

3. Water springs: We can see two famous water springs inside the Shivneri fort. These are called as Ganga-Jamuna. The water is available here throughout the year.

4. Shiv Janmasthan: This is the birth place of Shivaji. It is considered by local people as religious place and also called locally as Shiv mandir.
Birth place of  Raja Shivaji
Inside view
How To Reach Shivneri Fort :
  1. From Pune :   We can reach Shivneri fort from Pune City which is the nearest city. There are a number of state transport  buses available from Pune City. We have to board a bus at Pune railway station of Shivaji Nagar bus stand in Pune and reach Junnar.
  2. From Mumbai/Thane : Shivneri fort is 161km from Dadar(Mumbai) or 131km from Thane. We need to go along NH 222 (Road to Malshej Ghat) and leave it after passing Pimpalgaon Joga Dam. From Junnar Shivneri fort is located at 2 km distance.

Friday, 1 July 2011


                       Matheran a hill station nearest to Mumbai, lying at 108 km away. Matheran truely is Maharashtra's one of the most beautiful and well maintained hill station. The availability of road and railway have made it accessible to all people irrespective of their age. Also the ban on motor vehicles inside Matheran have helped to preserve its beauty and keep intact its natural touch. The presence of hotel's and lodging boarding facilities have made it possible to have a multiday stay in Matheran and thoroughly enjoy nature's beauty.

Waterfall (On the way to Matheran)

                            Matheran is situated in the Matheran range of sahyadris at a height of 2516 feet. To reach Matheran one has to first reach Neral. Neral is well connected to Mumbai by rail and road. From Neral Matheran can be reached by a narrow gauge railway or by taxies. Railway function normally in summer and winter sseason but there is only one train to Matheran in winter.
                       Matheran has 38 points at which can get a glimpse of nature's beauty. However to cover most of these points requires atleat one night stay in Matheran because some points are far away from each other. Point seeing in Matheran is quiet easy due to the presence of sign boards and map. Maps are also easily availbale in Matheran and can be used to plan your point seeing.

Starting point
Some of the points are.....
  1. Echo pointOffers a panoramic view and allows you to enjoy the echo's
  2. King George point A must visit point in monsoon as it offers a beautiful view of the waterfall formed by the water overflowing from Charlott Lake. One can even reach he mouth of the waterfall with care, strong wind prevents the water from falling down and throws it back.
  3. Charlott LakeIt's the only water source atop Matheran nad it provides water to entire Matheran.
  4. Louisa Point It offers a beautiful face on view of the waterfall seen from the King George point.
  5. Panorama pointAlthough quiet far from Bazarpeth it gives you a panoramic view(that's why it's named as Panorama point) of the Sahyadri ranges.

Starting point of waterfall

How to reach : Matheran is 108 kms. away from Mumbai by road via Neral--Karjat and  21 kms. away from Neral, is where you transfer to the toy train. You can reach up to neral by train (Central railway). Pune is 120 kms. away. Taxis are available from Neral to Dastoori car park (You need to leave your vehicle here as No vehicles are allowed inside Matheran and ponies are the favoured means of transport).