Pune – Igatpuri – Bhandardara: Weekend Ride and Camping

After completing the 1st free servicing of my R3, It was time to plan an outstation ride. I had seen many riders posting pictures of the Myanmar Gate at Igatpuri and hence I decided to check it out. Not only that, there is also a Vipassana Center which I was curious to learn about.

I discussed the plan among with my rider buddies and Sameer joined in with the idea of camping at Bhandardara! And it became a Ride + Camping trip.

Riders:-

  1. Sameer : Honda CB650F
  2. Hrishikesh Kamat Yamaha R3
  3. Ketan : Hero Honda ZMR
  4. Balu : Yamaha FZ 2.0
  5. Avinash : Rotational pillion to Ketan and Balu
  6. Rushikesh : Yamaha R3

Route:-

None of us had given a serious thought about the route to be honest. We decided that on the day of the ride, we will check Google Maps and plan accordingly. All of us agreed on one thing, the route to and fro should be different. We eventually ended up following the below route:-

Pune Igatpuri Bhandardara

Day -1 (Saturday):-

The start:

All 6 of meet at Shell Petrol pump Wakad and we started at 7. The ideas was to take a break at after crossing Lonavala via the old Mumbai -Pune highway. With just a short tea break, we quickly made our way and got to a the point where we had to make a call. Should we ride till Thane and take the Thane- Nashik highway or should we take the Lonavala-Murbad- Asangoan road?

Google baba suggested that the second route would need less time and none of us wanted to get stuck in Mumbai suburb traffic. We took this road and all the hell loose broke.

The road was under construction on one side and only one lane was open. The surface of this lane was also scrapped upon and riding on this road turned out to be a task! Tired of riding over it, we took our breakfast stop at Murbad and we got to know each other well, as we all were riding together for the first time. Sameer made a good point here that we should reach Igatpuri by 2 and then start for Bhandardara campsite by 3 so that we can reach there during day light.

The road till Asangoan was a mixture of single lane, bad road surface or absolutely no road. There was also an instance of a collapsed bridge leading to an alternative pathway through the forest. Not and an ideal first trip with my R3 I thought. Making our way on this broken patch, Sameer, Hrishikesh and I were riding as one team while Ketan, Balu and Avinash were not to far behind us.

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As soon as we got on to Thane- Nashik highway, we clocked some much needed high speeds runs and reached Myanmar Gate at Igatpuri. After photography session and understanding the details of Vipassana centre, we had our leisurely lunch at Greenland hotel nearby on the highway.

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From here, Hrishikesh rode solo to Nashik (and then to Pune the same evening). Rest of us started our journey towards Bhandardara for champing.

The road between Igatpuri and Bhandardara was full of surprises. All of us were cursing our decision to take the Murbad-Ansgoan road and thought that the rest of the interior road will also be the same. We were however welcomed with neatly laid concrete double lane road, negligible traffic, fast sweeping corners with the back drop of beautiful mountains! All of us agreed, this was among one of the best routes anybody of us had ridden.

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All of us were enjoying it so much that we ended up losing each other’s tail and then missing a few important turns. Quick consultation with locals helped us to get back on the route and we regrouped again. The last 15 km or so till we reached the Camping spot was again tortures due bad roads and incorrect directions by Google Maps.

The Camping:

The camping spot was right beside the lake. There were around 50 tents put up there. Our host for camping was Mr Shivram (87968 15328). It his family run business. We paid 1000 rs for below services:-

1. Evening Tea

2. Barbeque (Paneer, Potatoes\Chicken)

3. Dinner (Veg\Non-Veg) with Bhakris

All the above is homemade by Shivram’s family.

4. Tent and Clean Blanket

5. Western style washrooms that were available near his residence which is approximately 1 km from the Camping spot

6. Next Morning’s Tea and Poha

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We had a great time chit chatting and then called off the day by 12 pm. Sameer woke sometime during the night clicked the below photo.

Next morning, Ketan started by 8 as he had to attend a training session. Rest of us started at 9 after having tea and Poha. Since Avinash was quite well versed with area, we just followed him till we got on to the Nashik-Pune highway just before Otur.

Once on the highway, Sameer and I decided to ride together, while Balu and Avinash was another team. The journey from here back home was supposed to be easy-peasy until I dropped my bike for the first time at a petrol pump! (More on this on another artcile)

The result of this fall was, my R3’s the clutch lever and gear lever were deformed. I was in state of shock but quick thinking by Sameer and we rode till a small garage. Here, we got the gear lever straightened but didn’t mend the clutch lever thinking that it might break off. This incident caused a 30 min or so delay. To relax, we stopped for afternoon lunch. I know Sameer from past 10+ years but this was the first time we rode and had a meal together.

After much catching up on life, we started again making our way through heavy traffic on outskirts of Pune and we reached our respective homes by 3 pm!

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