Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bhatsa Dam & Igatpuri

After a gap of a few months, we again hit the road last weekend. This was a completely different travel trip from any that we had done before. To begin with, we left home at 3 in the afternoon - quite a change from our usual 6 AM departures! And the drive was a short one - only about 60 kms to Bhatsa nagar, again a change from the 250 odd kms we normally do.

The place is dominated by the Bhatsa dam. After visiting a few farms in the area, we had dinner at a small family run hotel in the village, before retiring for the day.

I woke up early the next morning, for a spot of bird watching. The dry deciduous forest along the road leading to the dam provided for a very enjoyable couple of hours of bird watching. The highlights for me included the Tawny Bellied Babbler, as well as good views of White Bellied Drongoes, Brown Headed Barbet (usually heard, not seen), White Throated Thrush, and a couple of Grey Hornbills.

After a brunch at the village, we left Bhatsa Nagar, headed for Igatpuri.

We reached Igatpuri after a painful drive through the Kasara ghat. I have travelled a few times along this stretch, and except for my last drive back from Saputara, have always encountered either heavy traffic, or bad road conditions along this stretch. And this time was no different, with lots of heavy trucks struggling to make the ascent. I think it is high time the authorities came down heavily on old trucks that create an obstruction for the rest of the road users.

Anyway, we finally reached Igatpuri, and after a refreshing chai, headed for Talegoan lake. The lake is an artifical one, created by a small dam. The setting is really beautiful, with the hills of Igatpuri all around, and the higher peaks of the Sahyadris visible in the distance. I had to tear myself away from this place to visit Dhammapuri - famous for its Vipassana meditation course. We were quickly shown through the center, after which we called it a day.

The next day was one of complete relaxation - spent a couple of hours on the porch, basking in the sun. The weather was extremely pleasant, because of the strong breeze. We left just after noon, had a buffet lunch at Manas Resorts, and reached home by 4 PM.

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