Trip Period: 21st Dec to 24th Dec 2014
Approx Distance (To and From): 1310 Kms
Motor-bike: Royal Enfield Classic (500 cc)
Friend in the trip: Shailesh Dhamale
Trip Route: Pune > Ahmednagar > Beed > Parbhani > Aundha Nagnath Temple > Parali Vaijnath > Ambajogai > Latur > Tuljapur > Solapur > Pune
Year was about to end and my relocation to Chennai was getting closer and closer. Oh boy..! I just gave a try and messaged Shailesh about a bike trip. That crazy fellow replied..” Whenever you say!”. And it begins..
Day 1 : 21st Dec 2014 – Ahmednagar, Beed, Naygaon Mayur Sanctuary, Majalgaon Dam
As promised, Shailesh reached at our start point near City Pride cinema at 6.30 am well armed with his 2 SLRs. It was after long time we had met.
Nagar highway is too familiar with my frequent flights to Shinganapur. Smoky winter morning was not an ideal time to run. We were compelled by the cold smoke to stop and have hot cup of tea in front of mighty entrance gate of Mahaganapati of Ranjangaon. In our first official break at Saradwadi, we enjoyed spicy Misal Pav breakfast. Saradwadi became a famous halt spot between Pune and Ahmednagar with it’s famous local dishes.
And.. a fun filled mistake happened. Instead of NH 222 we turned right for SH 142 after crossing Ahmednagar city. Sometimes such mistakes have their own rewards and punishments. Let’s count what we received 🙂
To my surprise, the road started right in the mid of world known Armored Corps Centre and School of Ahmednagar. We could see tank trail routes, various army training centers. We passed right near by Tank museum which always been on my hit list to visit, but unknowingly missed the shot. After running for 20-30 kms, I realized the mistake of mistaken road but just followed my rule – no turn back! Our first Reward was to see the well known Army Training center and first punishment was to miss Cavalry Tank Museum!! Well.. the counting was just started.
Soon we entered in realm of Rabi crops of Cotton and Jowar (durra). As I always say – India is truly found in villages. We were happy..! I would mention our tea stop near a cotton farm where a young farmer was showing his skills bullocks and harvesting. The scene which we normally see in movies was live. White bullocks were attractive among green farm with white dots of cotton.. Now that’s a well earned Reward number 2.
One can see many Cotton mills on the way. Cotton, might be dropped during transportation, was spilled on the
both sides of the road..just like white rangoli. Every region got it’s leader who is loved and respected..Marathwada got Gopinath Munde..MLA, Center & State minister, a leader! After passing away of Gopinath, Marathwada people quoting him as God of Poor. They call him “Daivat“. One can see his name and pictures on shop signboards, schools, ambulances and even on the number plate of the bike..!
Till the town Ashti, road was good but it started behaving like bad boy as we neared Jamkhed town. Road started gaining altitude among the hills and becoming curvy as I like. Plateau on the top of the hills was occupied by giant windmills of Pawan Shakti Windmills company and were good company. But obvious.. we had rounds of photo sessions under the mid-afternoon sun and among the man made miracles. Reward number 3!
Our best reward was waiting for us ahead. It was getting hilly and road was vanishing in the forest. Unknowingly we had entered in unknown Naygaon Mayur Wildlife Sanctuary.. a paradise rise in the middle of the dry land..just like an oasis! As the name says, the place is famous for peacock. There are small villages which are living happily among the forest. A mighty Blackbuck welcomed use. For a moment, we were amazed and shocked to see a blackbuck in the roadside farm..looking right in our eyes. His (hopefully) dark skin was shining under the sun and horns were uplifted in a rhythm.
Best thing about my rides is people..amazing people. I found marathwada people humble and friendly. They looked excited when we told them about our Pune origin. Pune is reputed among them for being educational hub and for Pune’s Marathi language at it’s best. During our breaks at road side tea stalls, at village bus stands, we kept making new friends along with the taste of pakodas.
Beed..I am sorry say but the city was total mess up and was required immediate attention. Specially those spine breaking speed-breakers were kind of killers on already broken roads. We just passed by the city and a hunt for Veg restaurant started. Taking as a punishment number 2, we really hadn’t found any pure veg place to eat. Finally we satisfied our tummies with snacks at Wadavani, vada pav & pakoras. We already wasted almost 75 kms by extra run and bad roads from Beed till Telgaon added delay by few more hours.
Eventually we were on NH 222 near Majalgaon.. wow! feeling of being on NH is different. Soon the mighty Godavari river crossed our path in the form of it’s one of the contributory Sindphana and an amazing Majalgaon Dam right before Pathri town. Needless to say that we spent almost one & half hour enjoying the sunset. Shailesh was busy with his clicks. Refreshing movements after such a long day so far came as a reward number 4.
It started getting dark. As a special mention, let me thanks Mr. Deshmukh who runs his small tea hotel. He gave us nice treatment, guided on further path and shared his young hood’s memories. Our adventure really took him into the past and made him enthusiastic for a while. Ignoring the time, we were talking like we knew each other from years.
Around 8 pm we were in a nice Parbhani city of Marathwada. Dinner at Aishwarya Restaurant near main bus stand was unforgettable dinner – reiterated the rule to Shailesh – No Punjabi food in non-punjabi hotels. Alongwith the stomachs, we filled up the tank of the bike and marched ahead. Bikes headlight wasn’t playing well. I just followed a Jeep till Zero Phata. After turning left for our destination of the day, road became worst till Jawala-Bazar. Winter was at its best. Enjoying the cold and bad roads, we reached Aundha-Nagnath by 10.30 pm. After having bad experience at ‘Bhakt-Niwas’ which is managed by the temple trust, we halted at ‘Yatri-Niwas’, a private lodge.
It was a long day with 4 rewards and 2 punishments for the mistake! In a summation, we won the day!!