Monsoons are the best. The petrichor evokes hope. The winds shoo away the leftover heat from summer. The heavy rain spells launder the past. The recedent spells are the rinse cycle before the world around turns green. And amidst all the pattering, the grey skies subtly pulls the self away from everything mundane. I even shifted my diwan closer to the window for a comfortable view.

Everytime the monsoons have lured me away from life, they’ve given me memories of a lifetime. A drenched-in-all-ways-possible bike trip to Mahabaleshwar, touted as one of the wettest regions of India after  Cherrapunji? – loved it, need to repeat it soon. The gushing Athirapalli falls and Kerala? – never wanted to return. This time, it was a quick little day trip to Lohadgad and? – well, I was not quite prepared to be so blown away by the humble countryside.

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Drizzles for company

There are always a few perks when  on a bike and not a car. The fresh air hits my body from all sides awakening me; it makes the whole experience all the more raw and adventurous. Added to that, this time around we (the husband and I) were forced to avoid the highway and take the Pavananagar-Kamshet road, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The entire stretch upto Lohadgad, a ride that takes about an hour and a half, reiterates why monsoons are the best travel season. The green hills on all sides, the meadows, the stretch running parallel to the Pavana Lake, the dam and the spill gates, the little huts and pretty private bungalows, the narrow stretch with the rocky mountains closing in – and all of this so close to our home in Pune. This was unexpected and came in as a surprise, for someone  who is still new and getting used to the city.

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When the road looks like this, there’s no turning back

All along, the rain clouds were chasing us and reached Lohadgad right in time to make our climb drizzly and fun. The streams of rain water flowing down the rocks and the steps conjured the kind of joy similar to surprise rain-washed school holidays. Needless to say, we went back to being kids with gay abandon, getting our clothes and shoes wet, muddy and delightfully brown.

A quick hike to the top (just about 500 steps) opened us to stunning views of the Pavana lake and the monsooness around. Higher up, the fort walls and steps below became visible. There are also many gates and doorways on the way to the top and this fort being a majestic 3400 feet above sea level would have surely been a difficult one to conquer. It is no wonder that the fort is considered to be one of the key forts of the Maratha empire. The Vinchu Kata point, the one that all the blogs and info sites mention is a surefire viewpoint/photo-op point. The fort itself is a beautiful campsite. It sure made me wish I had the camping gear and firewood. A reason for me to return to this place for another monsoon memory 🙂

Now please enjoy the rest of the photos, while I enjoy the view outside.

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Monsoon routes
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Pavana Lake, the hut, the gate, the path leading to the water – perfect
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The fort walls and the climb
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The view gets better as you move up
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Spot the tricolour? Salute.
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One of the cosy paths on the top.
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Reminded me of Enid Blyton’s hollow tree
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The best of the views to remember the place by
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