The Monsoons have a way of bringing everything to life – even the dormant yearning for long drives that stays buried through the fiery summer heat only to emerge afresh along with nature in all its vivid tints and shades of green.
We drove to Tamhini Ghat last weekend, in perfect Monsoon weather. Once we left Hinjewadi behind with all its urban glass-and-concrete, we were on the road leading to Tamhini, via Pirangut, Paud and Mulshi. The drive was slow, owing to numerous potholes in the road, and the presence of villages with sizeable vehicular and pedestrian – also bovine – traffic. However, the few vacant stretches between the villages were beautiful, strewn with wildflowers and a riot of plants. We were especially fascinated by these tiny wildflowers that painted purple streaks onto a background of vibrant green.
But the real enchantment unfolds once you cross Paud village and drive on towards Mulshi. The Sahyadris announce themselves slowly, giving you reason to kind-of-forget the annoyingly bumpy roads.
We found patches of bright yellow Smithia flowers, growing abundantly along the roadside. These definitely deserved to be admired, photographed and remembered!
Small shacks selling roasted corn are a common sight along this road. If you haven’t already, you must stop and enjoy the hot, freshly roasted corn deliciously seasoned with tangy lime and spicy chilly.
Mulshi Lake appeared serene with floating clouds, and fringed with green. It was raining quite heavily here, although it did stop conveniently, leaving us time enough to capture a few pictures before it came pouring down again.
I found this little patch of pretty purple flowers growing on the edge of the slopes near the lakeside, too.
There were others who seemed equally charmed by the green lakeside.
Beyond Mulshi, there aren’t any food stops – right up to Tamhini village at least. Which is why it’s probably a good idea to fuel up at one of the numerous dhabas or restaurants here.
Up ahead lay Tamhini Ghat and we drove further on towards it.
Tamhini Ghats reflect the magic of the Monsoons on the Sahyadris. Come the rains, and the dry, brown hills take on a verdant green, with numerous waterfalls adding beauty to the hillside. The cool, fresh air adds to this stunning transformation.
We drove on till we reached Tamhini village, after which we turned back. If we hadn’t, we just might have been tempted to continue on till we reached the Konkan coast!
We’d left Pune at 9am and it was close to noon when we took a u-turn. The drive back was faster, mostly because we were starving and visions of hot, spicy food suddenly seemed more appealing than the cloud-capped Sahyadris.
We did halt at another vast patch of flowering Smithias though. There’s always time to stop and enjoy the beauty of wildflowers!
We made it to Copa Cabana Restaurant, fairly close to home, at around 2pm. The drive ended with a much-awaited, magnificent lunch of Dum Biryani, with chilled beer for the big guy and tea for me.