I recently did an amazing 200 km ride visiting 4 forts around Pawna Lake from Pune. The plan was simple, explore as many new roads and off road trails circumferencing the Pawna lake and visit as many forts as possible. No trekking of course, only riding. Trekking four forts in a day is definitely not my idea of fun!
Pune – Lonavala – Awesome early morning ride from Pune to Lonavala. It was the first time for my Himalayan on the highway. The bike performed flawlessly. I rode in the 80-90 kmph range and it just purred along. I gave it a bootful once in a while to overtake at about 100 kmph. I could feel the Himalayan raring to go even at that speed. I had just completed 1000 km so I shall wait a few more kilometres to ride upwards of 100 kmph. I had taken the wind screen off my bike and forgot to put it on before this ride, so the wind blast was quite bad, but fun nevertherless.
Lonavala serves only one purpose in my rides – delectable breakfast at Ramakrishna! Idli-wada sambar and a superb strong filter coffee later, i was off to Tungi Fort.
Lonavala – Tungi Fort – This is where the real fun begins – The Aamby Valley road. This road is a Meccah for us bike nuts. Twists and turns with really good tarmac. The Himalayan took on these on-road duties extremely well. Great handling and fun to ride. It was sunny when I left Lonavala and as soon as I started climbing, the scenery changed. Fog and drizzle made the ride picture perfect. I took on a few random off road trails and had a bit of fun in the dirt.
Some Off-Road Action!
The left turn for Tungi fort is just ahead of Cloud9 Hills Resort. Just follow the signs for Club Mahindra Tungi Resort. The surface becomes rough and the road is narrow, but on the Himalayan its fun to rip around these roads. Soon the fort was in my sights.
After taking a few snaps I turned back and tried out as many off shoots as possible to find some good off-road trails as well as to get a good view of the Pawna lake. And I did!
The off-roading required to reach the view!
Tungi Fort – Tikona Fort – Take the road going along the lake to a village called Javan. Basically follow the road to Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat and Spa and keep going till you reach Javan, then turn left. This road is incredible. Mostly smooth tarmac, narrow, full of twists and turns with quite steep climbs. Its any rider’s idea of heaven. The views are fantastic too!
Beautiful roads. Very steep ghats!
Tikona Fort – Bhaja Caves – Ride along with the majestic view of Tungi fort encircled by the blue waters of Pawna lake. Turn left at the T-junction at Kale towards Dudhiware Khind which is an amazing pass cut into a hill. You ride in between huge walls on both sides. Its quite exciting. Immediately after the pass take a sharp right towards Lohagad fort.
Dudhiware Khind road.
This is a popular trekking route and the tarmac sort of ends. Both me and the Himalayan were smiling. I rode from Lohagad fort to Visapur fort standing up comfortably on the foot pegs. I am slowly getting accustomed to it and I must say it does give much better control on loose surfaces. Road surface past Visapur fort is quite decent. Extremely narrow, twisty and steep downhill to the base of Bhaja caves. I was tempted to climb up and visit the caves, but the crowds put me off slightly. Some other day perhaps!
Zoom shot of Bhaja Caves and a Waterfall.
Bhaja Caves – Pune – Time for the home stretch. Ride to Malavli, cross over the Expressway and the train tracks to the old NH4 and cruise back home! Hot lunch awaits!
Hope you enjoyed this mini-photologue. Have you ridden this or a similar route? Have you got any information about great unexplored roads? Definitely let me know in the comments below. And remember – Keep Wandering, Keep Driving and Keep Eating!