Approx Distance (To and From): 1450 Kms
Motor-bike: Hero KARIZMA ZMR (250 cc)
Friend in the trip: Lalit
Trip Route: Pune > Ranjangaon > Ahmednagar > Aurangabad > Jalna > Shegaon > Akola > Amravati > > Mehkar > Lonar > Sindkhed Raja > Ahmednagar > Pune[divider]
A good reason to ride
“Pine walon ko Pine ka bahana chahiye”.. a famous bollywood song twisted bit for us..”Ghumane walon ko ghumane ka bahana chahiye” 🙂
Rashmi Ghogre – a team-mate, colleague & friend. I felt so happy by looking at her marriage invitation for two reasons. She got a good life partner and I got a reason to bring out the bike on the highways again. 2nd Feb @ Amravati. I asked Lalit and got ‘YES’ response without any delay. Cool.
1st Feb 2014: I reached around 6 am at Pramod Gatlewar’s home where Lalit halted for a night. Pramod, just like Lalit & Rashmi, a friend from my first job. Thanks to Pramod’s wife – Arachana ‘Vahini‘- for that hot break-fast of pohas in the early morning. We got all set with our riding gears, jackets, bags for a KARIZMA time.
Until we got out of Pune city boundary, it was a regular drive. To start with, we had nice 20 minutes break at Wagholi and then the real fun started. Wagholi to Ranjangaon, non-stop ride at 100 km/h was amazing. After day-trips like Mumbai & Shani-Shinganapur, Lalit was thrilled for his first ever longest bike ride.
Lalit was observing Ganesha parayana for a week. He needed to read ‘Ganesha-Geeta‘ at least 3 times a day. Well.. He could never find a better place than Maha Ganapati Temple to have parayana. While Lalit completed one round of Parayana, I wandered around the temple.
One of the Ashta Vinayakas (Eight Ganeshas), Maha Ganapati of Ranjangaon is important pilgrimage place of Maharashtra. This simple temple was built by Peshwas. Newly constructed Mahadwara on main highway is mighty and attractive. A garden around the temple wall is beautiful with lively statues of farmers and animals. I must say that the garden could have been much better if maintained well.
Our next stop was at ‘Anand Dhaba’ – my all time favourite spot for food on Nagar road where we satisfied our stomachs with Punjabi dishes 🙂
Highway was smooth running until we crossed Gangapur toll plaza. The target was to reach ‘Shegaon‘ for night halt which sounded easy till we reach Jalna at 8.30 PM. We discussed lot with local public & our maps over tea-biscuits, our dinner, about the route. And finally I took one of the best WRONG decision.. I will not call it as ‘Worst’ as it gave us such a amazing thrilling experience which we couldn’t had through right decision 🙂
We took left turn and headed to Shegaon via Chikhali. As we drove ahead, the road started showing it’s magic of being invisible! Waghrul, Deulgaon Raja, Deulgaon Mahi.. village by village night was getting cold & darker and road was getting worst. Apart from those sleeping villages, nothing was live on the way. February’s cold night on the lonely highway (Oops.. just a way), two idiots & music in the ears.. it wasn’t too bad!!
Oh my god! we found a light of hope in the form of a highway tea-stall at 1.30 AM. Smile & relief. Hotel guys were trying to keep themselves warm around fire.. we just jumped from the bike & joined them. Indirectly, they were laughing at us for choosing this road and directly, I was joking at ourselves for all this painful fun 🙂
Fun of night riding, rather driving among the potholes, was on till 3 AM. We felt better at Khamgaon when we found us again among man made jungle after the real one. Hats off to Lalit who could bear all this in his first ever long journey on bike!!
Even in the night, Shegaon was giving us a feeling of calmness along with the surprising cleanness of the town. Around 510 kms long day ended with a plan to woke up in 2 hours, we had reach to Rashmi’s marriage in-time which was real aim!!
At Shegaon & Amravati
2nd Feb 2014: Lalit woke up on the first alarm bell at 4.30 am, got ready and went to temple for his parayana. I was supposed to be in the temple at 5.30 am but couldn’t open my eyes. We got late by 2 hours..my mistake 🙂
Shegaon temple built in read marble, amazingly carved, cleanest and well managed. Darshan of Shri Datta and Shri Gajanan Maharaj was one of the best joyful moment of the life. ‘Pandharpur of Vidarbha‘.. yes it is! Biggest temple trust of Vidarbha region attracts devotees from all over India. Admirable management of the temple impresses you without any doubts. Golden pillar near temple adds a touch of beauty to the entire campus.
Five vices of human being lust(Kam), Anger(Krodh), Temptation(Moh), Jealousy & Hatred (Matsar) and Ego(Ahamkara) are the reasons of all pain and sorrow. You fly above all these senses in the presence of divine soul and the calm surrounding of the temple.
I was happy and wanted to spend more time in the temple but had to leave. We got another town to reach. Even with couple of hours sleep, we were feeling enthusiastic for sure.
Anand Sagar is a must watch tourist attraction maintained by the Temple trust. Artificial lake, amazing temples, lush green lawns and fountains. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stop at the place and had to satisfy just by watching the mighty entrance 🙁
Dhule-Nagpur highway – a National Highway – was not in good condition as expected. But the highway gave us real feel of vidarbha and it’s people. Though we kept our speed highest with minimum breaks, we realized that we couldn’t reach in time. Well.. then what was the hurry? We had good breakfast and must needed rest at highway dhaba 🙂
Pleasant surprise – Amravati City. This tiny town is clean and well organized. We reached Amravati around 12.30 pm. and had to find a place to get ready for marriage function (we definitely couldn’t go with riding gears). After exploring (kind of) the city for 40 minutes, we found a lodge. Quickly, we had second bath of the day, changed and reached to the ceremony place.
Wow.. Rashmi was looking beautiful and happiest ever. Couple was receiving greetings at reception. That big cute smile.. Rashmi noticed us in the crowd and called us on the stage. It seems her husband already heard our stories from her. It was a nice wedding. Both received us well.
Hungry tummies were feeling happy with smell of marriage feast. Food was representing Vidarbha and was yummy! Tummy full buffet compelled us to relax, I had a quick nap as well even in that crowded hall 🙂
Happy married couple was busy in those rituals and further doing. We decided to leave at 4.30 pm. “Mission accomplished”!!
Bike, now it was her turn to get refreshed. Oil change, air check must had made her happy lady too! Via Karanja, Mehkar, we headed towards Lonar, our destination for a day. The road was far better. Lalit started feeling asleep, in-fact, he had a quick nap on the bike itself. Way to Lonar goes through a jungle and a fox greeted us by crossing the road. His (may be her) eyes sparkled in that dark night and frightened us for sure. We started countdown for Lonar… 6 kms…5kms…4kms.. oh gosh! Finally reached to Lonar town. We stopped and halted at the first hotel on the road. Cool.. tired poor guys slept well that night!
3rd Feb 2014: Wonderful morning at wonderful place. After having a quick breakfast of Kanda-bhaji, we started. Nothing was well planned & researched, still we found an amazing place through discussion with locals.
Daitya Sudan Temple
Daitya Sudan Temple, a hidden gem, is placed in the mid of the town and lost in the cement jungle. This beautiful Hemadpanti style temple dates back to Chalukya Dynasty. Amazingly ornamented walls depicting stories from Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata keep you lost in those stone marvels. Ignored art piece is somehow standing on its feet.
Daitya Sudan is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The idol – standing atop a demon – is made of an iron ore that look like stone adding an extra edge of mystique to the place. Shankha, Chakra & Gada of standing lord were giving proofs of his ultimate powers!
Air of calmness around this marvelous beautiful temple puts you in a mood to linger, stare and appreciate what you are looking at.
It was like a feast for me. I started capturing those masterpieces in the camera. Awesome.. just awesome! Daitya Sudan’s mythology is connected to Lonar Crater Lake. We spent almost 2.30 hours in the temple, most of it was consumed by my photo-shoots 🙂
Lonar Crater Lake
With satisfied appetite by this wonderful temple, we headed to the nature’s wonder, the Lonar Crater Lake. Must say that the lake and surrounding sounded mysterious. Steady water surrounded by lush greenery.. a true science mystery!
Lonar crater lake is a saline soda lake which was created by a meteor impact during the Pleistocene Epoch. It does followed by various folk tales and myths too.
Gomukh Temple is placed on the rim of the Lonar Crater Lake. This beautiful temple has a Gomukh (Cow’s Mouth) which flows a perennial stream. No one know from where the water comes and where it goes further. Gomukh stream falls in a Kunda where pilgrims take the holy-bath.
Though we already a bath in a hot water at hotel, I couldn’t stop myself from removing my clothes (lol). It took a while to gather a courage for getting into that snow-cold water, I finally did and so Lalit too!
Wow.. we kept enjoying that stream for more than half an hour. Refreshing experience!!
Our ride further was more lively and lovely too. Nice village road, farms around and wonderful people. Everything was perfect for a good mood!
At Sindkhed Raja
We reached a town which was no where on the original plan – Sindkhed Raja – birth place of Rajmata Jijabai – mother of great Maratha warrior & king, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj!
Among the numbers of monuments, we visited the palace of Lakhuji Jadhav, Jijabai’s father. Grand entrance of the palace proves the legacy of that period. Beautiful statue of Jijamata is placed in the recently created garden outside of the palace.
There is room of Jijamata’s birth which now has a statue of Jijamata with her son Shivaji. The entire palace is ruined and need utmost attention for sure.
A story of stolen Canon
Once entered the gate, a small museum welcomes you with lots of archaeological pieces, sculptures which date back to Chalukyan period. Among all, an ancient canon attracted us! Small but mighty in the look, it is made with 5 different metals and weighed 85 kgs .
Today – 24th Dec 2014 – when I was in the middle of this travel story, I read an heart-breaking news – “Historic metal canon of Sindkhed Raja stolen on 24th Dec 2014!!” Ohh.. my god! I felt upset with this brutal play with the history for few paper notes of money! The news became worst because a birth anniversary of Jijamata was on 20th day after this incident!
Well.. while giving finishing touch here on 26th Dec, I read a good news “Stolen Canon Found“. Good Job Maharashtra Police!
To summarize – all our monuments need care and security to sustain our history!
To our surprise, a tall mighty statue was showing up as shadow in the afternoon sunlight besides the highway outside Sindkhed Raja. It was ‘Jijau Srushti’, recently created monument dedicated to Rajmata Jijau. Entry gate of this place is well decorated and tall statue of Jijamata. Jijau looks lively and kind. Due to time shortage, we decided not to go inside.
On the other side of the road, another huge statue is standing in an open ground. The statue looks aggressive with Sahyadri mountain range in the background. We spent almost an hour in the surrounding.
Sun was all set to get set. Jalna, Aurangabad, Ahmednagar.. we were running toward home. Tired but happy..we reached sweet home around 12 am!!
Wonderful journey of bike ride ended but fantastic journey of dreams started 🙂