July 22, 2009

Celebrate the Open Road

Mumbai – Andheri – Varsova – Thane – Shahpur – Kasara Ghats – Nasik – Sinnar – Shirdi

Shirdi – Sinnar – Ghoti – Igatpuri – Kasara Ghats – Shahpur – Thane – Varsova – Andheri – Mumbai

This is a concluding post to end this series with links to the seven previous posts on my road trip.

Roadtripping Sahyadris

As written in my first post, I had started this unexpected and unplanned trip not knowing where the road would take me. I liken it to what scientists do. Research is what it is called when they don't know what they are doing.

So I started in Mumbai and ended up in Shirdi and returned – a journey on a motorbike covering a distance of almost 590 kms in two and half days.

This journey in May through the peak of summer in the Sahyadris taught me how to meet challenges and build strength along the way. I did learn to appreciate all the more what I have, and what I do not have and above all, to appreciate good moments in a given day. It was about feeling something new at different places, watching and learning about nature, history, different cultures, and in general, to celebrate the open road that unfolded before me.

I ate local food, got sun-burnt, appreciated the good roads to cruise on, complained about the scorching heat a few times, listened to the sounds of nature, laughed a lot, and shot many pictures. There were chatty times and long periods of silence other times. Every bit of the journey was well worth it.

The feeling of freedom and anticipation of the unexpected when travelling the open roads is awesome. So, if you are a travel enthusiast like me, you need not make elaborate plans. To make such trips, you need neither wait for opportunities to come knocking at your door nor much money.

Just have the exuberance to travel, and you can create an opportunity yourself to get going. On the road even the most meticulous can let go. So let your unkempt hair fly while you gleefully scream on a lonely open road. This can be not only a good exercise for your lungs, but also de-stressing. With the right company, such journeys can be safe, interesting and entertaining too.

So, go ahead and try it. It’s real fun. Just pack a small backpack with bare essentials and fill up yours or your friend’s bike or car. No comb, no brush, no mirror, no shampoo? No problem! Forget about how presentable you are or how your hair looks, and keep moving. You'd be amazed at what you'd find on the road. Every sixty seconds spent well is a minute of joy to be cherished.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual journey with me. Happy travels.

- celine
Not all who wander are lost
~ Tolkien

July 21, 2009

Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 7

In this post:
Igatpuri – Kasara Ghats – Shahpur – Thane – Varsova – Andheri – Mumbai

The last leg of the journey was from Manas Resort, Igatpuri to Mumbai. Just 130 kms away from Mumbai on NH3, Igatpuri is a quiet and restful escape for those who wish to get away from the hustle and bustle of Mumbai city...
The effect of the hot summer on the vegetation as seen on the Kasara Ghats...
Notice the intriguing silhouette of the Sahyadri hills covered in fog as seen while approaching Shahpur...Click on the picture for a better view...
After a break at Bhagat Tarachand for refreshments, it was then a ride back through the hot summer admiring the flaming trees of Mayflowers along the way...
Soon to reach the outskirts of Mumbai...
After a good sizzler at Yoko's, it was then time to head to the Mumbai International Airport.

This is the last of the series on my road trip in the Sahyadris. I've today begun to write an additional post putting across a few of my thoughts summarising this journey. Hope to post it soon.


Previous Related Posts:

  • Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 1
  • Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 2
  • Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 3
  • Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 4
  • Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 5
  • Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 6

July 20, 2009

OSI: Inner Voice

Auli mountains at dawn - July 2008

One Single Impression is a community of poets writing and sharing haiku and other poetic forms. The prompt for this week is "Inner Voice."

What do I want?
What should I do?
What’s the right choice for me?

My inner voice whispers:

Believe in yourself
And the choices you make
Have profound faith
Give no heed to critics

Trust in your intuition
Have lucid thoughts
Be passionate of life
Live in peace and joy

Seek inspiration, inspire others
Live every moment
Tread the right path
Expand your wisdom

Fill your heart with gratitude
Resolve inner conflicts
Tune in to the magnificence
Of silent power from within.

Some of my other OSI posts:

July 19, 2009

Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 6

Mumbai - Andheri - Varsova - Thane - Shahpur -
Kasara Ghats - Nasik - Sinnar - Shirdi

and return

Map borrowed and modified

Day 2:
Sinnar - Shirdi - Sinnar - Ghoti - Igatpuri
Distance: Approx. 200 kms

Day 2 started early morning travelling from Sinnar to Shirdi and returning thus covering an initial distance of 100 kms on Maharashtra State Highway 10. Following that, for the day, it was a distance of another 100 kms or so from Sinnar to Ghoti to reach Igatpuri.

On the way back to Sinnar to reach in time for lunch, I stopped at a roadside kiosk for some freshly pressed sugarcane juice. Has anyone tried having sugarcane juice with black salt for seasoning? It is yummy!

For the return journey towards Mumbai from Sinnar, I took a detour off NH3 to reach Ghoti directly instead of passing again through Nasik, the wine capital of India. It was a peaceful ride with very little traffic and views of rolling vineyards along the way.

I came across interesting sights of rustic village life. Bullock carts were used as a means of conveyance. I could see fresh farm produce and simple village folks wearing traditional clothing – men with their white clothing consisting of a cap, shirt, and dhoti, and women with their bordered blouses and unique way of draping the nine-yard sari.

In most instances, the woman was seen walking, as their custom probably demands, a couple of steps behind the man. I do not think they would be interested to hear about women’s lib movement. Not really meaning to joke, for all I know, these very women may be honoured more by their spouses than by their urban counterparts.

As to weather, strangely it kept changing from foggy to sunny. The morning was pleasant with mist, but by afternoon it was dry, hot and sunny. As the evening approached it was again foggy and hence, you may find some shots here hazy.

From Ghoti it was a short journey and it was almost time for the sun to set when I reached Igatpuri. After an attempt to visit the Bhandardara dam area, I could only manage to view from a distance the Vipasana Centre, famous for its architectural beauty and Meditation courses.

The sunset that evening was a beautiful sight.
Chaos on the road at Sinnar market area...
On the way from Sinnar to Ghoti...
Bullock cart and the Sahyadri hills through thin fog...
A buffalo led by the locals...
On top of the lorry to follow the tractor...
Ghoti market place...
Vipasana Centre...
Sunset at Igatpuri...
....... to be continued

Previous Related Posts:

July 16, 2009

Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 5

Mumbai - Andheri - Varsova - Thane - Shahpur - Kasara Ghats - Nasik - Sinnar - Shirdi - Sinnar

Love is like wildflowers; it's often found in the most unlikely places.
~ Now, who said that?

For skies around the world, do visit Sky Watch Friday here.

Wildflowers of the Sahyadris

Do you agree that there is something extraordinary about Wildflowers? They have a resonance and beauty of their own. The fact that these flowers blossom from plants that grow defying all odds - whether extreme temperatures or paucity of moisture or other factors - make them more special.

Wildflowers give a certain character and beauty to the landscape. To feel what beauty of nature is, I have to briefly close my eyes and think of the Valley of Flowers.

While cruising through the Sahyadris in May this year, through the bright sunlight, I could recognize a few wild varieties of flowers. Those of red cotton tree (Bombax ceiba), Datura, Cassia with a variety of yellow flowers, an assortment of Lantana, Mader (both Calotropis procera and Calotropis gigantea) and different species of Mayflowers (mainly, Delonix regia) are a few to name. In spite of being a Botany student in the past, my knowledge of plants is insignificant so I’ll stop at that.

There was one type of plant that particularly caught my attention. Bush after bush and its wildflowers were distributed in the Sinnar and Shirdi region of the Sahyadris. These plants were growing in the wilderness where the parched soil was craving for rains in the hot summer months. It seemed like a species of the Myrtaceae family with conspicuous stamens but the plant did not have any fragrance.

The almost noon sun was high up and photography was not going to be easy. Nevertheless, I stopped by to try shooting a few pictures. Pleasure to share here:

....... to be continued

Previous Related Posts:

July 15, 2009

Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 4

Map borrowed
Mumbai - Andheri - Varsova - Thane - Shahpur - Kasara Ghats - Nasik - Sinnar - Shirdi

What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us
are tiny matters compared to
what lives within us.
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Day 2: From Sinnar, it was an early morning ride through fog in the fertile plains. As soon as the sun was up, the land was enveloped in bright sunlight. The road led me to Shirdi, and here are some memories of the place.
Awning to shelter the pilgrims...
A bit of chaos...
Looks of concentration to complete a transaction...
Another aged local vendor selling figs to earn his living...
More pilgrims..some look busy, some look focussed, and a child looks happy through it all...
Another holy (supposedly) and one more yawning..
Calotropis in the wild on the way back from Shirdi...
....... to be continued

July 12, 2009

OSI: Thinking

These pictures have earlier been published in my post titled Perspective.

Do you like poetry?
If you do, One Single Impression is a community of poets writing and sharing Haiku and other poetic forms every week. Here is my contribution to the prompt of this week: Thinking.

Today, I sit in my room thinking...

Why so many conflicts, disease and pain?
Grieving and suffering, who is to gain?
Why so much hate, killing and warfare?
How long can we bear, without a prayer?

Freedom, why only some enjoy its beauty?
And the rest live in fear, while in captivity,
So many children hungry and dying, not fair,
There's no peace in this world, does anyone care?

Stepping outdoors, I am thinking…

How lovely is the flitting butterfly!
The transitory clouds and the blue sky,
Beautiful flowers I find in full bloom,
Greeting me with their sweet perfume!

On the mountains I see glistening snow,
Enthralling are the colors of the rainbow,
How wonderful is this brand new day!
All’s perfect, and I run to join my friends to play!!

Some of my other OSI posts:

July 9, 2009

Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 3

Mumbai - Andheri - Varsova - Thane - Shahpur -
Kasara Ghats - Nasik - Sinnar

An Evening in Sinnar

Clouds come floating into my life...
to add color to my sunset sky
~ Rabindranath Tagore

As of now on this day, I completed a journey of 185 kms on the two-wheeler and so looked out for a place to settle down as it began to get dark.

And thus I reach this sleepy town called Sinnar where I find more cattle on the road than vehicles...

After quickly freshening up at a small motel following that long ride, I decide to go out to stretch my legs and find the sun getting ready to set...

The evening is magical and it is a captivating sight to watch the photons of yellow and orange scattered through the atmosphere and reflecting the colors on the road...

I get a shot of the delightful hues of the twilight sky with a bus in the foreground as it sped by...

I also get a capture of a BEST bus chasing it...

Finally it is back to the motel to retire for the night.

For skies around the world, do visit Sky Watch Friday here.

....... to be continued

Previous Related Posts:

July 6, 2009

Roadtripping Sahyadris: Part 2

In this post:
Thane - Shahpur - Kasara Ghats - Nasik - Sinnar

"Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend."
- Christina Rossetti

Passing through Shahpur and Bhiwandi on the NH-3, a view of the Sahyadri hills through the fog...

Kasara Ghats, overlooking the bridge at the railway intersection, from where trekkers proceed to the village of Bari to scale the Kalsubai peak...

Appreciating the precious moments of the early morning when the sky turns blue and wisps of clouds hover...

Brighter lights of another new day...

With the sun rising up, so does the temperature and here's a site of an accident through which a passerby nonchalantly walks past...

A bit of guidance and a word of caution at the crossroads from an uniformed person resting on the edge of the road...

Approaching Nasik, I can almost hear the cab driver think he could easily accommodate a few more people in his crowded cab..

A tiny village near Nasik on the National Highway Number 3...

A temple in the far distance in the backdrop of the Sahyadri hills...

An endearing sight of the Sinnar locals in their white traditional clothes with Rhododendron and Gulmohar trees in the background...

....... to be continued

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