Monday, January 14, 2008

Satara, Ajinkyatara, Thoseghar and Sajjangad

New Years Eve saw us headed out to Satara, on road. We left Mumbai at 3:30 PM, crossed Pune around 7 PM, and were in Satara town by 8:30 PM. We checked in at Hotel Maharaja Residency, and had dinner at their in house restaurant. We strongly recommend this hotel as a comfortable place to stay when visiting Satara, but do remember to book in advance!

Satara is a small town about a 90 kms to the south of Pune, enroute to Kolhapur. The high ranges of the Western ghats are just about 20 kms to the west, which is one of the reasons for visiting this place.After breakfast, we left for Ajinkyatara fort, which overlooks Satara. The hill on top of which sits the fort was suprisingly green. Also surprising was the complete lack of people at the top, even though it was a Sunday. The entrance to the fort is through an old gate, but unfortunately, nothing much remains of this fort. There is a modern looking temple to Lord Hanuman inside the fort, and some great views of the countryside around, but nothing much more.

We then proceeded to Thoseghar waterfalls. Credit where it is due - the road leading to it was in a good condition, with clear sign boards. The authorities have also created decent parking space off the main road. From the parking space, the waterfalls are a few minutes walk, again through well wooded countryside. While the amount of water passing through the falls was not heavy, the setting was quite awesome. The falls are situated in a steep U shaped valley, with the main falls at the apex of the 'U', with smaller falls on one side of the 'U'. On the other side, a viewing platform has been created for observers to enjoy this wonderful display of nature. I can only imagine the sensation if one were to observe these falls at the peak of the monsoon season.

Along the way, we took a diversion to view one of the many windmill farms in this region. It was great to see the effort being invested in this green source of energy, and one can only hope that this investment brings in worthwhile returns for the entrepreneur.

We had a typical local lunch at the restaurant beside the parking lot, and headed for Sajjangad fort. This fort assumes significance for being the residence and samadhi of Swami Samarth Ramdas, Shivajis' guru. As such, it is a well frequented place. The entrance is through a steep series of steps. Once inside, there are a few old structures, which includes Swamijis' residence and a couple of temples. Once again, being on top of a steep hill, there are fantastic views of the surrounding Western ghats. We were fortunate to view a beautiful sunset from the ramparts of the fort.

Thus ended a fruitful day of sight seeing around Satara.

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