After a brief lull last weekend, we were off on another trip today, this time to Nighoj and Wadgaon Daryabai-Velhabai, a 250 km round trip from Pune. We decided to leave late in the morning, and by the time we exited the city traffic and hit Nagar Rd, it was well past 230. We were 8 of us, including Sanam.
After another 45 min at Shirur for a late lunch, we took a left off the highway, passed through Ralegaon Siddhi - the model village - and the small town of Parner, and reached the Swayambu rock cave temples of Wadgaon Daryabai and Velhabai at around 430. As you climb down the stairs into the temple complex, you are met by dozens of fearless and scary monkeys, so make sure you aren't carrying anything that might look like fair game to them!
By the time we left from Wadgaon, the sun was starting to go down, and we knew we were rushing against time. We returned to Parner, some 20 kms from Wadgaon, and then took an immediate right to Nighoj, ignoring the route my MapMyIndia navigator showed - a further 10 km or so back towards Shirur, before turning right towards Nighoj. We saved 15-20 km with the shortcut, but the road quickly got pretty bad - a couple of times simply disappearing into a wide running stream with a very gravelly bed! No problems for Samara, but in a sedan, I would definitely have second thoughts doing this trip!
We reached the beautiful rock cut formations (deep crevasses and potholes) in the river bed at Nighoj around 615 pm, in the dying moments of twilight. It was too late for photography, and we regretted not having made it just a wee bit earlier! Finally, it was Samara to the rescue again, her Xenon lights flooding the scene sufficiently bright to have a good look. Photos are still less than interesting, so here's a stock photo of the place, so you have an idea what I'm talking about.
By 645, we started for Pune. The road from Nighoj to Shirur, around 25 km, is really bad, although we hardly felt it in the Endy. The bright Xenons are also terribly effective, illuminating as far as you would ever need to see, ensuring there are absolutely no rude surprises.
A quick stop for dinner for some amazing chicken masala and egg omlette, and then while I was immersed in my own trip, trying to focus on the last 75 km to Pune, the gang went beserk in the cabin, screaming in unison with Samara's speakers belting some of the most popular numbers.
Sanam enjoyed thoroughly - and also got a big lesson, which I hope she will remember for ever. A bunch of young men and women can have a great time, and get high on friendship and life, and you don't need drinks, drugs or cigarettes to do that!