Note: This post of a bike tour which we did in March 2012, which I am posting in September 2019. (I had no clue that it was sitting in my draft & how I forget to publish the post). In 7 years a lot of development might have taken place and some situations or things, etc might not be apt in 2019.
On 10th — 11th March 2012 we (Me, Nilesh, Saurabh, and Jogi) went on a small bike tour to Jejuri. The plan was made 2 weeks before which was only finalized the day before we leave that is on Friday 9th March, when Nilesh called me at 8 pm and said we’ll be leaving tomorrow at 6 Am. But then at 10.30 PM he again called to tell me that the tour was canceled. Saturday, 10th March morning around 7.30 when I was enjoying my weekend sleep, Nilesh called me and said get ready we’ll leave at 11.30 AM.
Finally, at 1.10 PM four of us started the tour. The actual plan was to leave early morning, so we can visit more places but now we decided to make the plan during the journey itself. We had no clue by what time we’ll be reaching Jejuri and where we would be staying overnight, etc. At the Panvel petrol pump, we decided to take the next halt at Karla at the base of Ekvira Temple. We were enjoying the ride while witnessing the forts which can be seen while on the way. I was very excited when the Khandala Ghat started. I could remember the days when we used to travel by bus or car on the old route (Now normally we use Mumbai — Pune express highway). The curves, the steep incline were too exciting for me. I was thinking to take the express highway route which bikers can also use for a patch 10 KMS but Jogi had a different plan in his mind, and he decided to ride through the old ghat. That route was more exciting, thrilling, and we all were enjoying on that route. We reached Karla by around 2.45 PM, we went till the halfway and parked our bikes there. It just took 15 minutes to reach the top from the parking spot. In just 20 minutes we were done with the Ekvira Devi darshan. We were starving, so, we decided to first have lunch, and then proceed towards Jejuri. We had our lunch at Tejas — The Dombivilikar Dhaba and at 4.30 we started our journey toward Jejuri.
We continued moving on the old highway instead of taking Pune — Bangalore highway. Because of that mistake, we enter Pune city and got stuck in traffic. We lost around half-hour looking for the direction to Jejuri. After asking the directions at 6.50 PM we started the final 50 km journey towards Jejuri. In the meantime, one of our friend Pravin whose village, Shergaon was 14 Km from Jejuri arranged for our stay in his house. It was already dark and now we were riding on a route which was not at all familiar to any of us. The road was not that good. We were moving along the road at a constant speed and soon we realized that we were crossing a ghat. The sharp curves, honking trucks, light beam directly coming on eyes made the ghat road scary and tough to ride at night. Finally, at 8.20 PM we reached Jejuri where we took a halt to know the route Shergaon (Pravin’s village). After riding for around 45 minutes on an almost deserted route we reached Pravin’s village. On the entire 45 minutes journey we could see people only when we came across small villages base down the road. These people were the only hope for us in directing us to the right path. We got a warm welcome from his family, and we had a typical village dinner.
While on the way to Shergaon we crossed Morgaon which is famous for one of Astavinayak Ganpati temple. So, we decided to visit the temple the next day morning before heading to Jejuri. The morning in the village was very beautiful and peaceful. His family was insisting us to see their farm but as we had a long journey ahead we decided to skip the farm visit. As planned we first visited the Morgaon Astavinayaktemple and from there went to Jejuri. (Request / Suggestion: Pls don’t visit Jejuri on Sunday’s. There are 2 darshan “Q“ one paid and one general. The general ‘Q’ people are kept stranded for hrs as the paid ‘Q’ is then given the priority)
We were done with everything by 1.30 PM and decided to start our journey towards our next destination Shirgaon (Parti Shirdi) which is near Talegaon. We all were hungry, but we decided to have lunch after we reach Pune. While on the way Saurabh came up with a plan of visiting “Katraj Snake Park.” So, we took the Katraj by-pass route and around 3 Pm we reached Katraj. The one thing we did as we reach Katraj was lookout for a good hotel to have lunch. The “Purepur Kolhapur” restaurant where we had our lunch, severed very delicious food.
The Katraj Snake Park is worth visiting as it has a vast collection of snakes, reptiles, birds, and turtles. Even we got a close glimpse of Leopard and a bear. They also have a pair of White Tigers. Be ready to spend at least 2-3 hrs to explore it completely. We did it in a little hurry as this visit was unplanned and we still had a long journey ahead.
From there we went to Shirgav (Prati Shirdi) our final destination. We rested for 15 minutes and then were ready for the return journey. The old Mumbai Pune highway is well-marked and is safer to drive as most of the vehicles use Express highway. We were just accelerating and enjoying our ride. Nothing like descending the Khandala ghat in the evening, when the sun is about to set. The view is awesome and the route is fantastic. We took a couple of short Tea halts until we reach Panvel.
By around 9.30PM we reached Thane. The total distance covered on the tour was 489 km from Thane to Thane. It’s one of the best & unforgettable bike tour we did.