A light drizzle that continued from late morning till early evening brought the pre monsoons in Pune.
“Ata bagha Tamhini Ghata che thaat“(Now see the beauty of Tamhini Ghat) announced the Marathi newspaper soon after the pre-monsoon showers came thundering down on the parched soil and justified our on the spur decision of driving along Tamhini Ghat.
With some Idli(steamed rice dumplings) and chutney as breakfast, we left home but had to drive through the office bound traffic of the city. No sooner had we left the chaos behind, the rain gods smiled a bit too generously….
I do love rains…I do but only if I am not the one who is getting wet! I love the different shades of green….emerald, olive, lemon, mint, juniper, shamrock that paint the trees, the shrubs, the mossy growth and the weeds and the rain washed leaves dance brightly….. I like that black tar ribbon of road glistening in rain.. just like the new skin of the black serpent…
What I do not like however is wetting my curly hair in rain!! It becomes all frizzy, tangled and gives me a headache…. So while my husband and daughter waited for a safe spot to stop the car and drench in rain….I was totally happy to enjoy the deluge from within the car…
A drive on Tamhini Ghat road is popular with driving enthusiasts in and around Pune. Tamhini Ghat road cuts across the Sahyadri mountain range connecting Pune to Konkan. The picturesque mountains, the lush green valley, the gushing river, the brimming lakes and many big and small cascading waterfalls are tempting and make the drive worthwhile..
Enthusiastic people had stopped to bathe and frolic near the waterfalls that were near the roadside. A pot-bellied man with minimum clothing oblivious to my camera enjoyed his waterfall bath….the fall was good enough to be photographed, so I had to carefully avoid the man in my picture frame!!
At times the rains were so heavy that we missed out views of mountains and lakes because of the mist. It is inadvisable to drive in rain at late evening on Tamhini Ghat road so even though we wanted to stay but we chose to drive back to Pune sooner only on a different route….via Mahabaleshwar and Mapro Garden!
Mapro Gardens is a garden park in the hill station of Panchgani, Maharashtra, close to Mahabaleshwar. Besides being known for their strawberry produce and hosting annual Strawberry Festival, it is a popular tourist destination.
Along with a separate chocolates making plant, Mapro Garden has large covered area for Orchid and Tiger lily plants, lotus pond, strawberry cultivation field and not to forget a huge restaurant area.
Mapro produces crushes, jellies, jams, syrups, squashes, dessert toppings and fruity chews (pates de Fruit) and when we are in Pune , a trip to Mapro Garden is always on cards. The crushes and fruit bars is a must buy item on our list and so are their sandwiches, pizzas, shakes and coffee. During the strawberry season, farm fresh hand-picked strawberries with a huge dollop of cream and strawberry ice-cream is a popular dish of the restaurant.
When we drove back from Tamhini Ghat towards Mapro, the rain as well as the stormy winds had increased…. the trees swayed dangerously and it was difficult to see beyond few meters.The temperature had dropped and we had not equipped ourselves with jackets for outside car weather!
I felt bit chilly and gulped down two mugs of hot coffee as soon we reached Mapro and placed our usual order of grilled veggie and cheese sandwich and veggie pizza.
Mr Pizza Guy ‘Santosh’ was working at brick oven doling out pizza after pizza for the waiting customers.
Soon, our pizza and sandwich was ready. We had deliberately eaten less breakfast at home, to work up our appetite and stuff ourselves with these….
With our hunger for sumptuous food and a wonderful drive satiated, we made our way back to Pune for our last few days of summer vacation…. back from the open air beautiful environs to the city life of traffic, pollution and chaos…
Next year, hopefully the monsoon will arrive on time and we would plan more such trips…