Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lonad Caves & Pise dam - Places less travelled near Mumbai

Sundays are rare and few that I get to enjoy. I had one more week off on Sunday and I didn't really wanted to wile it away at home doing nothing, Since all trekking events in summer's are night trek so couldn't join as Saturday was working for me. Dr Ajay from Wanderlust decided a half day outing to  some place less travelled and it was decided we go to LONAD CAVES near Kalyan / Bhiwandi and PISE dam. I had never heard about it before and not much information was available on net except from few who had visited the place before. Since it was close to Mumbai and was sort of day outing so I decided to join Ajay.

Meeting place was decided at ST stand close to Borivali station east at 7am, We were only 3 of us, Dr Ajay, Dr Bharat and me, As soon as we reached ST stand, bus for Bhiwandi was ready and waiting for us !!!! Took around 1hr to reach Bhiwandi in the morning. On enquiring about bus for Pise dam, we were informed it was at 8.30am. Since we had time of around 15minutes, decided to breakfast as we all were hungry. One of rickshaw wala informed about famous vadapav wala just opposite Bhiwandi ST stand. The stall person was just preparing hot vada pav and we just couldn't resist hogging on to Vada pav, Bharji pav and Missal pav. I usually avoid eating street food in summer season but then cant resist when its right in front of you and that too its famous and you are on outing !!!!! .We were so carried away with our tasty breakfast that we didn't realise that it was 8.30am and by the time we reached the ST stand, bus had left and next bus was now at 11.30am. First time I realised that buses have become so punctual that we were only 3minutes late and we had missed the bus !!!! As always our adventure starts much earlier. On enquiring about rickshaws for Lonad and Pise dam, first they didn't know where the place is and one informed Rs 500/- one way ride and other Rs 300/-. It was as if we had just landed here from some far off land ........

We enquired at ST stand enquiry counter and person was more than helpful, were informed to walk down to Vanjarpatti phata from where we would get share a rickshaw to our destination. Our rickshaw was already full with 3, surprised to hear from the driver that one can sit behind and two on front sit next to driver. You cannot get more thrilling ride even in Essel world. It was ride of around 15minutes and cost was Rs 20/- per head. We were now at the base village of Lonad. I was amazed to find huge pipelines on other side of the road. These are the same pipes which quenches the thirst of Mumbaikers bring water from Bhatsa dam all the way to Mumbai.

Another landmark for Lonad caves was just opposite to Village Janwal. Few huts below and marked road leading towards the caves. Just a walk of around 5minutes uphill and we were at the doorstep of another spectacular heritage site. Call it our apathy that we are just not bothered to conserve and preserve such an amazing heritage. The caves though small in size had three pillars out of which one remains which also has huge cracks due to construction activity going on just next to the hill, also came to know that it was earlier a quarry and they used to blast rocks.

Some really neat carvings can still be seen on the top of pillar walls. As one steps in, there is a huge hall or could have been meditation chamber. Side of the door had two tigers but were not in good shape. The cave has been transformed into a temple with Khandeshwari idols inside the cave. At the entrance of the cave on one side is carved Ganapati idol on the wall and on other side there is beautiful carving of King sitting in the court along with his ministers. That's one of the prominent carvings and the only attraction in the cave. History says these caves were of Buddhist origin but no trace of its origin has been left and is now converted into Hindu temple. There is a water cistern but its not potable and its used by devotees for cleaning purpose

Moving on we reached main road, Waiting to see what mode of transport we could get to reach Pise dam. Finally after a wait of around 20minutes we came across one tempo which was empty and agreed to provide us lift till Savad naka. Another Joy ride though it was only for about 5 minutes. Lol ....

From Savad naka, we got into another rickshaw to our next destination PISE WEIR or PISE DAM. Another joy ride with Bharat and me sitting in front with the driver and Dr Ajay sitting behind with already four occupants. It was thrilling ride !!!! with my heart pounding each time any vehicle came from opposite side.... Touchwood I was safe and sound as we reached Pise. It was welcome relief from scorching sun with roads lined with trees.

Pise Weir is one of the few reservoirs where water from Bhatsa river is transported via huge pipes, filtered and chlorinated, then piped across the city to quench the thirst of Mumbai. The overflowing water is used by the locals from nearby villages to wash clothes and fishing. The water was at low level due to summer but I am sure this place would worth another visit in rains, We sat in shade of the tree for a while, munching on the food that we were carrying. It was now around 12ish and sun at its peak, we didn't really had the energy left to do any more exploration and we headed back. It was wait of around 30minutes again for the bus but it was direct bus to Bhiwandi bus depot. From there Dr Bharat took bus to Thane while Dr Ajay and me caught the direct bus to Borivali. Except for the summer heat it was a wonderful one day trip to yet another heritage site facing the brunt of our own selfish destruction of nature. Its time for us to start conserving our nature and our heritage before its too late. Else many Mumbaikers would never even know that such a heritage site did exist so close by

With this I complete my narration of one more of my adventure trips, Hoping for rains to come soon I wish to continue my journey to more new places and pen them down in my blogs as memoirs !!!

Till then Au Revoir

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