Bhigwan – Paradise for nature lovers

Bhigwan is a town on the border of Pune and Solapur districts in Maharashtra. It is famous for bird watching, especially flamingo and wildlife photography. You could see flocks of hundreds of Greater Flamingos, Common Cranes, Brown Headed Gulls, Painted Storks, Grey Herons and many more.. ๐Ÿ™‚

We visited Bhigwan Bird Sanctuary on Saturday and reached Bhigwan at around 2:00 PM. Just after eating lunch, we reached lakeside, parked car near lakeside and started exploring nearby area.

A short video from Bhigwan ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚
Bhigwan lakeside

We spent approximately 3 hours at lakeside, basically we were waiting for sun to go little down. We passed our time exploring lakeside, eating sugarcane offered by villagers and had random conversations. One should carry snacks and water bottles as there are no tea/snacks stall near lakeside. Till evening, I was hardly able to spot few birds from lakeside. I almost lost the hope to see flamingos !!

Wait for the birds ๐Ÿ™‚

At 4:45 PM, we left the lakeside. All the lost hopes seems to be coming back. My heartbeats were increasing with excitement as we were going away from lakeside, there was drastic shift from zero to few to many birds ๐Ÿ™‚

Hopes coming back, birds coming back
Paradise for nature lovers

With all this excitement, I was sitting on the same spot in the boat for the longest time. I was bit afraid of boat oscillating both the sides and with each move in the boat I was trying to balance it in my mind (LOL)

Big pat on my shoulder for leaving the safe spot
Birds โค

How to reach

Bhigwan is connected via buses and trains from Pune and nearby cities. It takes 3.5 hours journey from Pune, one can travel by their own vehicle. The birding spots are 10 to 15 km far from Bhigwan’s main town. There are auto rickshaw and cabs available from Bhigwan to lake.
We preferred one day road trip from Pune ๐Ÿ™‚

Best time to visit

The best to visit this place for bird watching is December to March. Flamingos love winter season and they need less water for fishing that’s why they chose only this season to come in India. Nature lovers could visit this place in summers as well for stunning sunrise and sunsets.


Lunch, snacks, boat ride and travel by car on sharing basis – 740 INR

Also make sure that –

  • Don’t shout when you are near birds.
  • Don’t throw plastic bottles and random food in water.
  • Turn off camera’s shutter sound.
  • Carry water bottles and snacks.
  • Carry 600mm lens to capture birds as they donโ€™t come close๐Ÿ™ƒ This is the reason I am unable to post any close up shot.
Good souls in a frame ๐Ÿ™‚
Asif, Deb, Pooja and Anurag

Nag Tibba

On a random Friday snack break, I asked my colleague – Let’s go trekking !!
She replied – Let’s go!
Being novice trekkers we both didn’t know where to go! So we went to one of the trekkers, Yogesh in our team to get some idea where we could go. He suggested trekking Nag Tibba !! Till evening 4 more friends and friends of friends joined the journey.

On Saturday early morning, I was all set for my second trek ๐Ÿ™‚

Gurgaon to Dehradun
Prachi is good to go for her first trek
Suhana safar aur ye mausam haseen ๐Ÿ˜‰
Happy old man cutting extra grass
Goat Village

Just after crossing Goat village, it started raining heavily! We all forgot to carry ponchos but we had extra clothes ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ We got drenched in rain and lost in the jungle. Luckily some villagers crossed our path and offered help.

Flowers flowers everywhere
He showed us the right path

They offered us shelter, and food, and his wife shared their story. Once the rain allowed us to trek, we started walking uphill sweating. After walking for an hour, we reached the temple, Nag Tibba.

Villager’s farmhouse – We stayed at this place for a few hours.
Rains and fog
Those random stops before reaching Nag tibba
Views after rain
Nag tibba temple

After enjoying the views for a few hours, we started walking downhill. We packed our bags and left for Mussoorie ๐Ÿ™‚

Fallen leaves to welcome us ๐Ÿ˜‰

How to reach Nag Tibba

Dehradun is well connected via railways and airways from various cities. There are direct cabs and local buses which could be taken to reach the base village for Nag Tibba, Pantwari.
Delhi -> Dehradun -> Pantwari.
Due to the crunch of planning, rush, and time we had to follow the below route via random local buses ๐Ÿ™‚
Gurugram-> Delhi-> Rishikesh->Dehradhun -> Pantwari

Best weather Nag Tibba

If you want to experience snow, trek in winters i.e December to March
October to November – For lush green views and flowers.
I went in the month of July just after 1st rain in Nag Tibba, avoiding trekking in the monsoon due to landslides.

Stay options

There are no fancy hotels at Pantwari, we stayed at a villager’s home as we were not carrying our tents. It’s a small village with a few homestays.

Friends and Friends of friends

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

The Mysterious Lake With A Floating Island, Parashar Lake

Two of my office colleagues came up with an idea of trekking to Parashar lake. I pulled my laptop to find more about it. It is located approx 50 km away from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

Bhima, one of the Pandava brothers rams his elbow on one of the mountains which created a dent in land while returning from Kurukshetra with Pandavas. This dent became a lake, it is believed that Rishi Parashar meditated on the banks of this lake. Hence the name Parashar lake.

There is a floating island which keeps on revolving and changes its position at regular intervals. A team of scientists and divers came here to determine the depth of the lake but they were unable to reach the bottom. It is still a mystery which needs to be deciphered. After such incidents, the lake is declared sacred and divers are not allowed to dive inside this lake. Despite of weather the water of sacred lake remains warm and at the same level.

The journey started from Gurgaon with group of 17 amazing people. We stopped at Amrik Sukhdev Dhaba in Murthal to eat dinner. At midnight, our car broke down somewhere in Punjab. Luckily we were able to find out mechanic shop and got it repaired.

The Team ๐Ÿ™‚
Enroute to Baggi Village

We started trekking uphill, crossed a river and went straight into dense mountains. We met a local guide on the way who redirected us to right trail.

Moving up ๐Ÿ™‚

We ate light lunch in dense forest and started trekking uphill again. Most of my friends including me were trekking first time so we have taken many breaks. Thanks to Partha Sir who kept motivating each one of us. The sun was sinking down and we were still in jungle !

Evenings in mountains โค

The sun disappeared completely, we had limited torch and phone batteries were almost exhausted. We kept walking carefully helping each other. After sometime, we met a group of four friends, one girl lost the hope that she could reach campsite. She was sitting on a rock and was completely exhausted. We tried to motivate her and dragged her to campsite.

Rescue from cold

On reaching the campsite we had to choose one option for sleeping – tents or guest house. Since I had never experienced sleeping in tents before so I raised my hand for sleeping in tents. And the struggle started ! It was freezing cold, I layered socks and slipped into my sleeping bag. I was unable to sleep whole night due to cold. I lost my patience and unzipped tent. I saw infinite glowing stars all over the dark sky. I kept staring at that view for some minutes. It was mesmerizing and beautiful.

Gigantic mountains and sunrise ๐Ÿ™‚
Inside view of Parashar Temple
Mornings in mountains โค
View from top
A house in mountains
Floating lake
Priest of the temple
Playing with snow
Random villages

How to reach Parashar

We hired a private Tempo traveller from Gurgaon itself so we didn’t get into hustle of changing buses.

  • Delhi – Chandigarh – Mandi โ€“ Bijani โ€“ Kamand โ€“ Baggi โ€“ Prashar Lake
  • Delhi – Chandigarh – Kullu โ€“ Bhuntar โ€“ Bajaura โ€“ Shayari โ€“ Bagi โ€“ Prashar Lake

Best time to visit Parashar

If you are snow clad visit during winters(Jan – Feb). Monsoon is perfect if one want to see vibrant colors and floating island. I visited this place in February.

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Early Morning Ride To Sinhagad Fort

I was eagerly waiting for this day, the last day of the semester !! I was balancing my exam preparations, office work, and three hrs office travel every day. I wanted to take a break from everything so I decided to go somewhere near Katraj early morning. My three friends joined me for an early morning ride to Sinhagad. We started at 4:30 am and reached Sinhagad fort within an hour.

This fort holds a special corner in every Punekar’s heart due to the great battle of Sinhagad fort fought between Tanaji Malushree and Udhayban Rathore. During this battle, Tanaji lost his life but his brother took over and captured the Kondana fort. Shivaji Maharaj famously said “gad alaa pan sinha gelaa” which translates to “the fort is captured but the lion (Tanaji Malusare) has died.” This fort was renamed Sinhagad which became the top military outpost during the reign of Shivaji Maharaj.

We reached the top just before sunrise and spent almost 2 hrs sun-gazing and freezing these moments.

Sleepy city ๐Ÿ™‚
Just before Sunrise
Companion โค
Wait for Sunrise ๐Ÿ™‚
It just happened โค
Playing around it
Freezing moments
People just started hiking ๐Ÿ˜‰

Things to do at Sinhagad fort?

  • One could go for Katraj to Sinhagad night/day trek organized by various trekking groups.
  • Go for cycling.
  • Get close to nature ๐Ÿ™‚ Panoramic view of the landscape and clouds drifting over the mountains
  • One could enjoy authentic Marathi food, mouth-watering tangy, peppery delicacies served by villagers in small shacks. This includes fruits like Indian gooseberry, raw mangoes, guavas, berries, etc. seasoned with chili powder and salt. Along the way down, we had amla and berries.
  • If your sole purpose is to peek into the history of the Maratha Empire then you might get disappointed.

How to reach Sinhagad fort?

Pune is well connected with major cities via airlines, trains, and buses. One could catch any local bus for Sinhagad fort depending on the area. Generally, people prefer private vehicles, parking is available on the first floor of the fort.

I started from Katraj at 4:30 am and came back at 10: 00 am ๐Ÿ™‚

Best weather to visit

SummerEarly morning

Overall Expenses per person

1Mango, Cucumber, berries, etc.30
2Petrol, toll charges50

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Kataldhar Waterfall Rappelling and Trekking

Kataldharย is a big waterfall near Lonavla in the Pune district of Maharashtra. This waterfall is not very popular because it is somewhat difficult to reach the valley and needs some experience of basic trekkingย before exploring this place. Though it is a little difficult there is heaven at the end of the fall.

I decided to go on this adventure with experienced trekkers so I joined the Pune Hiking Enthusiast group which organized complete trek and rappelling. At 5:30 AM, we started from Pune and within 2 hours we reached Fanasrai Village which is the only route to reach Kataldhar Waterfall.

Base village
Parking is available at the village

Just after eating breakfast, we had a briefing session about safety equipment, Do’s, and Don’ts for rappelling down. We listened to each and every step very carefully and collected helmets, harnesses, mittens, and ropes.

Helmets, harness, and ropes

One needs to trek down to reach the Kataldhar rappelling point. We crossed small rivers and walked on slippery trails in the jungle.

Crossing a small river
Reaching rappelling point

I assumed that multiple people would rappel together! The reality was different, it was one person at a time. Since it was my first attempt at rappelling, I was a bit nervous. I gathered courage and started rappelling down. The view on top, left, right, bottom and at my back was amazing. I was drenched completely, on my left I could see the huge waterfall, on my right was endless green, at the bottom waterfall base was invisible and on top, I could see waterfall water coming all over me. The rainbow cheers me up.
After rappelling down for 100 feet, I could not hear or see anyone from my group which was mentioned in the instructions. After some 100 feet more, the rock in front of me also disappeared. It was like a natural swing amidst of waterfall ๐Ÿ™‚

Spot me ๐Ÿ™‚

After swinging for some more time, I could see the guide who detached me from the swinging rope and helped me to cross the slippery boulders near the waterfall.

I rappelled down and reached the eye-shaped cave
Kataldhar waterfall ๐Ÿ™‚
One could spot Shrivardhan Fort Rajmachi from Kataldhar waterfall
Little waterfalls โค

Post lunch, we started walking in dense forest for around 2-3 hours and reached the base village ๐Ÿ™‚

Dense forest walk
Fallen tree and fellow trekkers
Waste collected by us from the trail

How to reach Kataldhar?

It’s approximately 8km away from Lonavala. One could reach Lonavala via train, bus, etc. I am not sure if there are local buses from Lonavala to the base village. This event was organized by a group and they took care of the commute from Pune.

Where to stay in Kataldhar?

Lonavala offers all sorts of stay options or one could ask locals for shelter. It could be best done as one-day activity. We planned trekking and rappelling as one day plan.

Overall Expenses

S. NoActivitiesExpenses
1.Breakfast, lunch, rappelling, trekking, and commute1800
Kataldhar waterfall rappelling ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading. Share your experiences in a comment ๐Ÿ™‚

Torna Fort

A year back, when I came to Pune I had a long list of forts that I wanted to climb. One of them was Torna, the tallest pinnacle in the south region of Pune and the first hill fort to be captured by the great warrior Chatrapatiย Shivaji Maharaj at age of 16! The elevation of this fort is 1403 meters / 4603 ft – making it theย highest hill fort in the Pune district.

Suhana safar aur ye mausam haseen

Many people plan Raigad-Torna together as two days trek. Due to time constraints, we decided to explore only Torna. Since it was a one-day plan so we decided to start early morning at 7:00 am from Pune. We boarded a bus for Velhe village from the Swargate bus stand. The reason was just monsoon or public holiday on weekdays, the bus was not crowded and we easily got the seats. It took around 2 hours to reach the base village, Velhe. After getting down, we went straight to a Dhaba to eat Vada pavs. It was quite fresh so we packed some Vada paavs to eat later.

Velhe Village
Fresh Vada Paavs

We were all set to walk uphill. The first half of the trek is easy. The rain and sun decided to be playful which added little thrill to the trek and nature unfolded different perspectives of the same view. At the same time, it was getting difficult to freeze the views in photos.

Village view
Twinning with nature โค
Rains decided to take a break
Pathways with lush green plants on both the sides
Hardly visible Gunjvane Dam
Railings to heaven ๐Ÿ™‚

We were talking about books, life, and relationships. For some time we heard some continuous undistinguished noise and we paused for a while. We kept taking baby steps and realized its burbling sound made by a waterfall!! In excitement, we walked briskly, and then we saw a heavenly waterfall, half-covered in fog. The view was breathtaking! We spent around 40 mins at this spot, playing with water and capturing some moments. I enjoyed eating Vada paav and sitting in nature’s lap with this beautiful view.

Vada paav with view
In nature’s lap
Partially visible waterfall
Purple floweres around waterfall
New beginnings

In the second half trek, there are some rough and slippery patches. With rains, one might find it a little difficult so go slow and take a good amount of time at such patches.

Moving up and up
Rough patch
Fort entrance and stone stairs
Konkan Darwaza
Stone walls
Kothi Darwaja
Fog everywhere
Unable to see the entire fort
Vibrant flowers inside fort

At Shiva Temple, locals were serving tea and snacks. We had a cup of tea with foggy views ๐Ÿ™‚ We spent some time exploring the fort but nothing was visible after 3-4 meters so we started descending down. Walking downhill is easy, one could reach the plateau in very less time and enjoy the view of Gunjvane Dam.

Drinking tea at Mengai Temple
Purples and Greens
Descending downhill
Playful rains
Nature โค
Completely Mesmerized and monsoon tanned
Easy Descend
Green sweater for mountains ๐Ÿ™‚
Endless greens ๐Ÿ™‚

After reaching the base village, we boarded a 5:00 PM bus for Pune ๐Ÿ™‚

Good bye Torna, see you super soon ๐Ÿ˜‰
Farmer going back home

How to reach Torna

Private vehicles – Free car parking is available at the base village, Velhe.
Public transport – Reach Swargate bus stop, catch a direct bus for Velhe village

Places to see at the Torna fort?

Zunjar Machi, Budhla Machi, Kokan darwaja, Kothi Darwaja, Bini Darwaja, Menghai Goddess temple, Toranjai Goddess temple,Sadar.

Where to stay at Torna?

There are no hotels, huts, houses, or other places to stay at Torna or its nearby areas. One could carry tents and sleeping bags on their own. Torna is best done as a day-climb, where the descent is completed before the last state transport bus leaves for Pune.

Best weather to visit Torna?

Due to fog, the fort was partially visible so if your priority is watching the top view of the fort then visit during winters. Monsoon offers some heavenly views.

Overall expenses

Total :250 INR

Thanks for reading ๐Ÿ™‚

Aurangabad, The City of Gates

This time I thought of traveling unplanned so I had no checklist for places to visit in Aurangabad. I had a rough idea about places in Aurangabad through my friends, other than this I wanted to explore this city by myself. I haven’t searched for any pictures on google or read any blog for Ajanta-Ellora caves. No return tickets, no itinerary!

I boarded a bus from Pune at 9:45 pm and reached Aurangabad at 3:30 am. Zostel is 1.5 km away from the drop point so I decided to walk. I ate breakfast at CCD and then went to Zostel. At Zostel, I met a couple who asked me if I want to join them. They booked a cab for 2 days and from here I was not traveling solo.

Day 1 Ajanta

We started early from Aurangabad and reached Ajanta in 3 hrs approximately via private cab. Due to rains, the roads were damaged which made that 3 hrs ride quite bumpy but the unending greens on both sides of the roads neutralized it ๐Ÿ˜‰ After completing half journey, we stopped at a Dhaba for a tea break.

After a few more hours, we reached Ajanta. All private vehicles are supposed to be parked at the Ajanta caves complex. Thereon, it took another 30 minutes by government tourist transport to reach Ajanta Caves.

There are approximately 30 caves in Ajanta and it would take around 4-5 hrs to explore them. Without hiring a guide, we went straight into cave 1 and cave no. 2, and guess what happened! We were unable to decode paintings and rock-cut sculptures so we hired a guide to help us on the same.

Don’t worry if you could not walk, We are always there for you ๐Ÿ™‚
Caves that are older than time or millennia

There are some important caves which one should visit – 1, 2, 16, 17, 19, and 26.

Cave no. 26
Rock-cut sculptures

Our guide narrated stories behind colorful paintings, ceiling designs, rock-cut sculptures, and John Smith’s signature, who was the founder of the caves during the British rule of India in the 18th century. Ajanta is mostly famous for its age-old paintings and rock-cut sculptures but one should not miss witnessing the ceilings of the caves which represent a lot of stories like a day at the sea, and tents installed during celebrations.

Reclining Buddha
Take care of your belongings ๐Ÿ™‚

Once we have visited all the caves, we crossed the bridge and started exploring the opposite side of the caves. At this time, we were a little exhausted so we bought and ate some Kheera. Now we were all charged up to explore more! After a little hike, we reached the Saptakund waterfall, the waterfall and the view of Ajanta from the top were breathtaking. It is known as Saptakund because the water dives 7 times before meeting the Waghora River.

Saptakund waterfall
Enroute Ajanta to Aurangabad

We reached Zostel at 8:30 PM approximately. We went out for dinner and attended karaoke night at our stay arranged by Zostel. I had a good night’s sleep and my legs said Thank you

Day 2 – Ellora, Chand Minar, Daulatabad fort, and Grishneshwar Temple

Ellora caves

Cave no. 16 which is Kailash Temple is the biggest cave in Ellora, We spent around 2 hours exploring this unbelievable megalithย carved out of one single rock from all angles.

Cave no. 16 – Kailash Temple
Ramayana on walls of Kailash Temple

After exploring Kailash temple we decided to explore cave no. 1-15 followed by caves no. 17 to 34. Both ranges of caves have beautiful waterfalls.

Cave no. 34, the last cave of Ellora
Waterfall in-between cave no 17-34

We grabbed some snacks and were all set to hike Daultabad fort. This was the best part of the trip! The gardens are well maintained and the fort is clean. Once you reach the top you can see endless greens with mountains on one side and Daulatabad city on the other side. We were lucky that we visited this place in the monsoon and it was not raining ๐Ÿ™‚ Dark clouds, cool breeze, lush green everywhere, mountains, and no rains.

Daulatabad fort entry gates
About to reach the top
Reaching the top of the Daulatabad fort
A kid posing for a photo
Daultabad Fort
Daulatabad City
Sharing some love โค
Chand Minar

Day 3 Bibi ka Maqbara, Prozone

It was a public holiday on day 3 so most of the places were closed. We visited Bibi ka Maqbara in the morning. It is also known as the Taj of the Deccan due to its resemblance to the Taj Mahal. We spent almost 2 hrs strolling around Mini Taj and captured some moments.

Bibi ka Maqbara
Blues and whites
The backside of Bibi ka Maqbara
Doors at Bibi ka Maqbara

At 11 am, we booked a cab for Prozone mall. We ate lunch and some friends from Instagram here. We had great conversations and it was amazing meeting all of them in real.

At 3:45 PM, we bid goodbye to Aurangabad for Pune. By 10 PM, we were back in Pune and all prepared to head back to work.

How to reach Aurangabad

Aurangabad is a major railway station so it is well connected with other cities. It has an airport which is 10 km far from the station. It has good bus connectivity as well from Pune and Mumbai. It takes around 5-6 hours by road from Pune, I preferred the bus from Pune.

Accommodation in Aurangabad

For solo travelers, the best place to stay is Zostel. It’s very close to the central bus stand and it’s very clean. In Aurangabad, unmarried couples are not allowed in Oyo rooms but you might get some good Oyo rooms outside the city.

Best time to visit Aurangabad

I visited this place during the monsoon (August end), the weather was good and we were able to explore all places. Aurangabad is very humid in summers, and the best time to visit this place is in winter.

Bye-bye ๐Ÿ™‚

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