We Gathered, We rode, We conquered: Shivneri Fort
It’s been a long time coming, a four year long wait to rid myself of the ghosts of the horrific crash that took place nearly four years ago – whilst returning back from Shivneri Fort. That unfaithful day, ended my blossoming hobby of sightseeing on my bike! But come September 20, 2009 and I was all pumped up to ride back up to the birth place of Shivaji Maharaj. Though in two minds, I decided to take on the challenge and rid myself of the fear once and forever!
Met up with my office friend Daniel and his friends at Borivali National Park. Since we were already in Borivali, we took the Ghodbunder road to Thane and finally to the Eastern Express Highway. Asked around a bit and got the way to Kalyan and then to Murbad, our first stop on the way to the Fort. The roads, winding through the lush green fields were a joy to ride on. Impeccably maintained, it was a real treat to be riding my recently serviced Bajaj Pulsar 150.
While on the way to Murbad and just after Kalyan we stopped to admire this standalone rock that was partly hidden by the clouds. Looked Oh! so amazing! Took some amazing pictures, infact all the four of us stopped to admire this lone rock. Soon after the entire rock got hidden by the white clouds, we got back to our rides and headed to Malshej Ghat. Stopped at a sightseeing point and took some more pictures. This was quite a long break for us – spent nearly 45 minutes clicking pictures and chit chatting.
We then headed out to our final destination though a few long cuts did increase our time considerably. We stopped briefly for some snacks – tea and misal pav at a restaurant in Junnar. The lady at the counter had quite some humour! She was helpful in guiding us to the route for Shivneri Fort and in no time we reached the fort. Offcourse, the entire journey took more than 5 hours and perhaps the time could have been reduced had we taken the route from Ganesh Khind, which we eventually did while returning from the fort.
Once at the fort, it was a long long trek. Took bucket loads of pictures! And thanks to the cloudy weather there was a nice cool breeze blowing across which kept the dehydration away!. Spent nearly 2 hours at the fort without breaking into a sweat!
Finally descended to the base and went hunting for food. Came across a veg restaurant on the road of Kalyan. Ordered for Thali and an extra serving of Gulab Jamun. The food was good, well cooked, not as oily as you generally find. Not extremely teekha either. For only INR 45, it was a worthwhile meal.
That was pretty much the last stop, or so we thought until the rains disrupted our ride and we had to take shelter for a good 30 mins. The unexpected rains forced us to search for shelter but by the time we found some we were already soaked! We did stop a few times after that to click some more pics – the most striking of which is the one with the rays of the sun break through the thick grey clouds (More pics on my Picasa album). Some of the pics where the clouds are kissing the top of the rolling hills are just breath taking.
Getting back home took us little less time primarily as we rode a bit faster than in the morning and more importantly took all the right roads!! Total KMs covered is approximately 380 KMs. Quite a lot for a just a second ride out of town.
Overall, a great ride. For most part, the roads were good though an odd pothole here and there played spoilsport in what was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable ride.
Here is a small route guide: Jogeshwari – Borivali – Dahisar – Ghodbunder Road – Eastern Expess Highway – Kalyan – Murbad – Malshej Ghats – Junnar – Shivneri Fort.
While coming back it was the same road though before we touched Malshej we went through Ganesh Hind. I think it saved us considerable amount of time. Though the roads are not top notch at Ganesh Hind the scenery more than makes up for the disappointing roads!
Here is the web album on Picasa with all the pics clicked: http://picasaweb.google.com/godzi.85/ShivneriFort