Tamhini Ghat is a mountain passage which cuts across the Sahyadri range to join Pune and the Kokan region. Located on the crest of the Sahyadris, it is famous for its natural beauty—with high mountains, green valleys, lakes and waterfalls.
One drawback for anyone going to Tamhini from Magarpatta is that, unlike Varandha Ghat which is accessible via Katraj, the route to Tamhini requires one to make a full round of Pune city, over to Chandani Chowk and then to the Ghats. The road is too narrow and though we did not feel it in the morning, while coming back there was a huge traffic jam.
From Chandani chowk we went towards Mulshi Dam and continued on our course. The road was quite bad for a large part of the journey and was almost non-existent at some places. The view started getting increasingly good, with towering mountains crowned with thick clouds and lush greenery all around with just the right amount of mist, to make it look beautiful without obscuring things. At one point we came across a wall-like cliff of mountain from which many waterfalls were cascading down, making it an incredible sight.
We stopped at a place where a huge waterfall opened out right on to the road, making a loud gushing sound. There were not too many people around, so we strolled about a little, got a great view of the valley below, and took photos till it started raining again.
The journey back was a little difficult as the visibility became very poor with the combination of rain and fog, but by the time we reached Lavale, the rain had stopped so we decided to go to Lavasa—which was 30 km further.
Lavasa is a privately managed and planned hill city which, upon completion, will consist of a number of towns spread across seven hills of the Sahyadris. While the ecological impact is a controversial question, the town is nonetheless beautiful.
The road from Lavale to Lavasa is beautiful and better maintained than the one to Tamhini. We passed through stretches of greenery, and a few small villages before reaching the dam from where the ascent started. The road got steeper and was ridiculously vertical at some places, so much so that our humble Indica started coughing and sputtering. When we reached the gate of Lavasa, the fog was so thick that it looked like late evening during afternoon. It was drizzling and visibility was quite poor.
Lavasa is going to be an impressive city once it’s completed. The town hall area, a beautiful promenade along the lake, and the colourful houses look like they’re straight out of a town in Europe. There are even a number of shops and good restaurants, which offer a refreshing change from the surrounding wilderness.