आपटी मध्ये अक्षय
हा गृहस्थ मस्त उन खात पसरला होता. वैशालीचा पाय पडता पडता वाचला.
भोर नंतर काही अंतरावर हे मातीचे धरण आहे . ह्याचे नाव मात्र समजले नाही.
वरंध घाटात माकडे मात्र खूप आहेत .
ही आहे शिवथर घळ . वरील उजव्या कोपरयात धबधब्याच्या खूणा दिसत आहेत . आम्ही गेलो तेव्हा धबधबा कोरडा ठण ठणठणीत होता .
Shivthar Ghal -
I would describe "Ghal" as a horizontal crevice in the mountain. Shivthar Ghal is 20 mts long and 15 mts broad.
This was the place where Samarth Ramdas wrote "Dasbodh". It is situated in Raigad district just below the Varandh ghat near the border of Pune and Raigad. It gets its name from the river Shivthar that plunges several hundred feet into the Konkan. At the base of this water fall and behind the curtain of water is Shivthar Ghal.
One can enter the hall where Ramdas Swami sat, prayed and dictated Dasbodh to Kalyan Swami. Shivthar ghal can be divided in three parts. One of these has statues of Samarth Ramdas and Kalyan Swami. Shivthar Ghal is a very silent place surrounded by lush green views of trees, mountains, a waterfall. No wonder Ramdas Swami was able to concentrate and write Dasbodh.
It took almost 12 years to complete Dasbodh as Ramdas Swami dictated it and Kalyan Swami wrote it down. Now the place is maintained by Shri Samarth Seva Mandal' and 'Sundarmath Seva samiti'.
The floor of the cave is made of a lot of concrete and bathroom tiles (eeks!). It does not gel with the overall atmosphere. The maintaining authorities should rather have seen to it that the place looks original. (Ain't I sounding like a real Puneri! Always complaining and pointing fingers). They make you remove your footwear and walk about 50 meters on mud. It was very hot and my feet started burning.
The best season to visit would be just after the rains or in winter. We had gone at the height of summer. So the water falls, river and vegetation had all dried up.
The locals said that one can cross the Bhatghar Dam by a Boat and reach the Sanghvi village. And from there walk your way to Shivthar Ghal.
The route that we took was Aundh-Chandani Chouk-Katraj-Kapurhol-Bhor-Varandh Ghat-Shivthar Ghal. The highway - from Chandani Chouk to Kapurhol - is excellent but there was heavy traffic (that too on a Sunday). The remaining road is good except for one part of about 18 kms from Apti to Shivthar Ghal. This road is being relaid.
Shivthar Ghal on Google earth
We were undecided to travel. It was the 40 deg Sun that made me opt for staying indoors. But then at 7 in the morning as we were sipping coffee we decided to go to Shivthar Ghal. The only information we had was that it is about 120 kms from Pune and is just before Mahad! Usually I refrain to venture without information and was almost going to turn back just short of Shivthar Ghal.
It so happenned that after getting down the Varandh ghat we saw an arch on the right side of the road saying 6kms to Shivthar Ghal. We were excited as after travelling so long on a day of 40 Deg C heat our destination had at last arrived. But the road that takes us down the mountain to reach Shivthar Ghal is so narrow and badly maintained (infact it is not maintained at all. It is a kuchcha road.) that it made us nervous. We thought of going back but couldn't, so narrow is the road! There would be no one to help us if we needed any help. If anyone wants to use that road please ensure that yours is a big group and use that road only during daytime.
There is another road thats very safe but then you have to travel another 15 kms. There are petrol pumps available on the Pune Satara road as well as in Bhor. But there is no Petrol pump or tyre service shop after you leave Bhor. Even in Bhor there is a heavy loadshedding so vulcanisation is very difficult. It would be better to carry a spare tyre. The mobile coverage was intermittent.
There are a few "tapris" in Shivthar Ghal that offer some snacks, tea and soft-drinks. Infact we also saw a board saying AC dining hall serving meals for Rs.75. Since we had our own (junk) food we did not try those outfits.
Here is the trip log and route for Shivthar Ghal. I have rounded off the kms.
Odometer reading & Location
360 kms Aundh (Pune)
371 kms Chandani Chouk
387 kms New Katraj tunnel
397 kms Universal Construction Company on Pune Satara road on the left side of the road
400 kms Reliance Petrol Pump on the left side of the road
403 kms Baneshwar Phata on the right side of the road. Keep going towards Satara.
408 kms Kapurhol. Its interesting. This place is spelt as "कापुरव्होळ " in Marathi (Devnagri) and "Kapurhol" in English on the same sarkari board! Incidentally it is pronounced as "Kaapur" (same as the marathi word for camphor) and not as "Kapur" ( as in Raj Kapoor!).
Important: TURN RIGHT about 800 meters after reaching Kapurhol to go to Bhor. We couldn't locate any signpost or milestone showing the direction to Bhor and missed the turn. But there was a U-turn allowed after about a km after Kapurhol.
411 kms Petrol pump that sells only Diesel on the right side of the road.
414 kms Bandal Nagar
418 kms Here you will find a chouk (no directions at all as usual) keep on going straight
424 kms Bhor ST standHere you will encounter a fork. Take the road to the left. (again no directions no sign boards!)
425 kms Maharashtra lodge. TURN RIGHT. about 200 meters down the road you will see a Reliance petrol pump on the left side.
426 kms Statue of Shivaji Maharaj. KEEP GOING STRAIGHT to Mahad. The road to left leads to MandharDevi temple.
432 kms Fork. A small sign on the right says TURN RIGHT TO MAHAD. Take a right turn over here.
439 kms Apti
450 kms Ramdas Swami Vidyalaya, Hirdoshi
465 kms Shirgaon
483 kms Shivthar Ghal Kamaan
Here you will find an arch on the RIGHT SIDE of the road. Take that road. Here is the beginning of agony. True to the adage of "No gain without pain" this road of 6kms tests the fitness of vehicle.
487 kms Shivthar Ghal Phata. Here you will find a hand made sign indicating that the road straight ahead to Sunebhauwadi.
At this point, TURN RIGHT to Shivthar Ghal. We took this road. It is about 2 kms downhill and narrow. So only one car can go at a time. Incase you encounter another vehicle in the opposite direction then you are in a soup. Actually there isn't any road! Just the land has been levelled and bushes cleared! This is a very lonely road and take it only during daytime. There are a lot of blind turns. It becomes very risky to encounter these blind turns while returning (i.e going uphill). We were told by the locals that there is a better road via Sunebhauwadi, but it would be another 15 kms.
490 kms Shivthar Ghal at last!
The trip was good, my Indica was even better This lady does not give any problem at all. So many trips but she has always performed excellent. On the way back we experienced the weekly bazaar at Apti village. All the vegetables were at half rate as compared to the rates Pune!
पुणे - शिवथर घळ - पुणे २६० कि.मि.
Pune - Shivthar Ghal -Pune 260 kms.