With Eid falling on monday, we would have two full days of chutti. Faced with extreme boredom we planned to head out somewhere. It was a tossup between Shivneri Fort & Panshet. With Hemant vetoing the fort with as much intensity as China did India for the UNSC seat, it was Panshet that won. The “We” consisted of Anuj, Anshu, Hemant & Me, with Raghav being in Mumbai & Soni refusing. The departure time was set for 8 AM, but being what we are, we got up at 7:30. :)… miraculously we were out by 8:30!
Had breakfast at Mayur Colony [Loni Dosa] after which we set our course for Panshet. The route was pretty simple, head onto Sinhagad Rd., past Khadakwasla, towards Sinhagad Fort & turn right when you see the sign telling you to do so 🙂 [If you don’t then you will end up at Sinhagad Fort & that we had already done!] From there it’s another 20kms to Panshet. The drive was the best, comparing to Mahabaleshwar & Matheran. Mahabaleshwar made us work the gears going uphill, & Matheran was not as scenic. This was a perfect mix of the two…the climbs were gentle, the road was smooth with minimal traffic, & we were surrounded with lush greenery throughout. Riding pillion, unfettered, I was completely mesmerized by the beauty. With my custom playlist [created esp. for the trip] setting the mood, I was simply in another world altogether. Glorious.
On arriving in Panshet, we followed the signs that led us to a small place that catered to tourists[food/water/entertainment]. It was pretty secluded & there were hardly many people at that time.
The main attraction was “water sports“[if you could call it that!] in the form of Paddle boats *bleh*, Motorboats rides, water scooter, Speedboats & Kayaks. We settled on Kayaks deeming the others ‘unworthy’ of such a trip. It was then that we got an FYI from Anshu that he & water were not really compatible…infact he had never been in water that was more than waist deep.
Thankfully there was a Kayak that held two people so Anuj & Anshu went on that, with Hemant & me going solo [another FYI :I am a pretty good swimmer, have been so for quite sometime & completely at home in water. All thanks to mum’s constant hounding :)]. So on went the life vests [damn bulky things I must say, made movement difficult 😦 ] & we climbed into the kayaks. Its one funny boat! You sit with your legs stretched out & if you want you can lie back too [atleast normal ppl can, Hemant could barely sit stretched out, let alone lying down :p]. You have some holes beneath your heels & your bum, I suppose its to let out the excess water that you bring in while paddling, the kayak stays afloat as its made of hollow plastic. You have a two sided paddle that you row with alternating bet. left & right [or would ‘port’ & ‘starboard’ be the correct terminology?:p].
It took us some time getting the hang of it…the trick is to dip in the paddle deep, stroke, pull, repeat on the other side. Soon we were rowing like pros! [well almost :D]. I had taken a coupon for half an hour but it was so much fun that I extended it to one hour. We horsed around, raced each other [Anuj & Anshu won 😦 ] & had all sorts of fun!
Hemant went ashore to get the camera & took our pictures. While he was getting back on the Kayak again, he fell in the water! The best part? The camera was strapped onto his life jacket & that too took a nice dunking!! That kind of cut down the excitement & a few mins. later we were out of the water. Hemant was sad as there was’nt a photo of him on the kayak. He took out the batteries & the memory card & set it to dry. Will have to give it to the service center & hope it has not taken a major hit. The photos that had been taken were on the memory card & I was pretty confident that they would be OK, & they are.
As he was already wet, Hemant decided to take a planned plunge into the lake. Anuj followed him, on his return Anshu gave in & he too stepped in. Though he did’nt know swimming, the life jacket kept him buoyant & soon Hemant was teaching him how to swim. The heat was making the water look so very inviting that I could’nt resist :). Soon it was the three of us in the water & anuj was ordered to take the pics :). Swam around, splashed, taught Anshu & floated along enjoying the cold water against the hot sun.
It was almost an hour later that we got out & changed. Everyone was VERY well tanned leaving Hemant very distraught! [I have made peace with my skin tone knowing that it cannot get any darker, so have no concerns whatsoever :D]
It was now 2pm & the only thing we had eaten was the dosa in the morning. All the activity brought on the hunger pangs [Rowing is not an easy thing! Our arms were burning with the effort . And they are still sore at the time of writing this!] so we decided to have lunch at ‘Preet-da-dhaba’. After taking a couple more pics, we bid farewell to the place & headed back.
Reached Preet-da-dhaba in half an hour & after the scrumptious lunch, topped with the heavenly lassi, all we wanted was to lay down & sleep. Somehow we made it back home [approx 4:30 ]& after a nice cold shower I fell on the bed…& did not get up before 11!
Overall a day VERY well spent! Went to an offbeat place & did something new. One awesome experience the beats the hell out of the regular khadakwaslas, lonanvalas & the khandalas.
That’s how we do it!!
P.S:With this trip my bike has crossed the 10,000 Km mark ! [And about time too!]