Name has been derived from the funda of barcamp which means an unplanned conference. Yes! Bartrip means an unplanned trip :) (I coined it:D) . Thats what we had last weekend. An unplanned trip to Mahabaleswar/panchgani and pune.
Friday afternoon Vidit and I was discussing about this Hackathon that was being held in pune on saturday. We thought why not club this participation with a day's trip to pune. But after checking the details we noticed that it was for 2 full days and so our trip would not be possible. Great! then lets cancel the hackathon and go to pune for full time masti :). We started calling/pinging everyone to find out details and to check who all are interested. Initially it was me, Vidit, Rakesh and Aditya. Then Nitin also agreed. Adi had to drop the plan becoz of some personal issues so only 4 of us were left. Then Vidit and I convinced Gaurav and Ketan too. And Nirnimesh joined with a very short notice. So finally we were 7 of us. Rakesh had booked a qualis. Vidit and I enquired with Tarun about where all he went and fixed the plan.
We started in the evening at around 10:00 o'clock. After a night long drive with few stops on dhabas for tea etc we reached pune in the morning around 9:00 o'clock. On one of the dhaba we came across a tarzan boy who was hitting a dog consistently :D. It was mostly raining all around with lots of greenery everywhere. Some of us didnt even sleep and chatted for long hours accompanied with mild music from Gangster and Bluffmaster to name a few. We were welcomed by Asheesh at his place. The apartment complex was prettty cool. The weather offcourse rox in pune. After freshening up and 'checking mails' we went for breakfast. While waiting for others, Gaurav and I went for a small walk inside the township and came across some good eye-tonic. There was a small swimming pool also beside the tennis court for entertainment in the township.
After a good south indina breakfast in which we ate lots of Vadas and Dosas we started our way to Panchgani. It was really raining very badly. On our way we stopped at a Shop as Vidit and Gaurav went for shopping for stuff that matters. There were some landmarks on the way with very funny names like 'khadi machine' on the way. The journey was pretty cool with rains all around. The roads outside pune are also good and unbroken (unlike inside pune).
At one of our stops we came across someone who we thought of offering a lift. But that someone boarded a bus and we followed it for pretty long. Well! the bus offcourse couldnot cope with the speed of our Qualis so we went ahead. Our next stop was close to a very green hill which some of us thought of climbing. Rakesh and Nirnimesh climbed it to a good height whereas Gaurav and I came back from half way. Climbing a hill is not as difficult as coming down. I was wearing slippers and offcourse they were slipping every now and then ;). One bad slip and I would have saved a lot of energy which I used while coming down. Call it outsourcing to Gravity ;) . Nitin's slippers broke down on his way up so he came down pretty early with Ketan. In the mean time Vidit was busy clicking pics for all of us. After coming down we were bidding goodbyes to all the vehicles and the people inside but it looked like they were not interested and so were giving us curious looks. Huh! these serious people. Guess both of us were thinking the same thing - 'these people are crazy'.
We reached panchgani after asking the way to lots of people and every one had similar answers - "yahan se straight fir left se right' or 'seedha, ek dum seedha' (even if there is a deadend :D). Well! thanks to all the direction-tellers we finally reached the intended place. These hillstations have a funny taxation policy. Not just the vehicle but they charge money for every person entering. Panchgani - 20rs for vehicle and 10rs/person. Huh! god bless tourists. The first place we went in panchgani was 'sydney point'. Dont know why such a name, but place was out of the world.
The place has nothing, only a small hill top with a railing to stop people from falling directly. But beauty is not in the view, its the endless and unstoppable wind that makes it worth visiting. The wind was so furious that it could have thrown anyone imbalanced. Unlike others who take the road to reach the top of the sydney point, Me and nirnimesh took the path (not the road) less travelled. It was a direct way up the hill made of rocks and mud. We could have directly fallen down had there not been a metal pipe which I guess has only been put there to save lives ;). We held that pipe and climbed up and reached more than 10 minutes before others.
It was not raining heavily, but wind was making up for it. If the rain hits your face rather than your head, it becomes really difficult to stay put. We were being thrown around by the ferocious winds and the rains but even though the pain, the experience was worth staying for. We stood at the corner and faced the wind/rain head on. Fully drenched , we still stayed and laughed and shouted and photographed :).
After coming down we went to the market where we ate very sweet corn and great espresso coffee in a small restaurant. Hot samosas from a nearby halwai added to the experience. Our next destination was the 'table top' which every one was eagerly waiting for and it was indeed worth the wait.
Table top (or table view) is really a great place. The top of the hill is more than few football grounds put together in length and width. No hills were visible around this one. It looked like we are at the top of the world. After walking few steps and reaching the corner we could see the other small hills. While we were in the middle we were seeing something funny on the corner of the hill. There was some small fountain type of thing at the corner and water was coming out of it on the hill. It was like a reverse waterfall. We didnt quiet understand it. It was only after reaching the point of that phenomenon we realized what it was.
The rainwater that was falling down the hill from corners was actually blown off by the wind on the reverse direction, and it was coming back on the hill like a water-climb (derived from water-fall :D). It was really interesting. As we walked around we came across people playing Football on the football ground at the top of this hill. Yes! a football ground on the top of hill. People really have a sense of humour.
In few minutes it started raining pretty wildly and all the football players left the hill with a big family that had come to see the place (big as in 10+ ppl - thanks to family planning). We 7 were the only people left on the hill. There was really no place on the hill to hide. Only grass and small shrubs covered the whole hill. Special thanks to the rains that we couldnt take any photo on the hill :( . There was a big triangular hill touching the table top as looked from distance. We thought of going till there. Human sight is really very weak. What looked like hardly a kilometer away was more than 3-4 kms away. After going through half way, getting tired and drenched in rain we thought of going back. Nirnimesh who was leading the way with Rocky and me had fallen straight down once already. We still decided to go on and on. Gaurav, myself, Nir and Rocky were the first few to reach the end. The funny thing was that it was just a corner of the same hill and was totally disconnected from the triangular hill we wanted to visit. We cursed for a while made few stupid poses and started back. The rain was in opposite direction which we didnt realized while going forward as it was hitting our backs. Now it was hitting our faces, so it became all the more difficult.
On our way we got strong doubts of whether we will be able to reach home, but we did. We were the survivors :) . We celebrated our survival by having 2+ cups of tea each on the dhaba who gave us a grand discount of 4 Rupees for charging us 7rs a cup and taking 14 glasses of tea. We tried to dry up ourselves which was a herculean task and took a hotel in panchgani itself. The hotel was decent enough - Summer palace (summers? in mahabaleswar).
The morning was beautiful with a little bit of sunlight. Our wet clothes were packed in polythene bags which we had taken with us (thanks to Tarun and Raj for the warning). Vidit was really amused with the photograph he took of Nirnimesh bathing. We had a nice big breakfast with bread-omlett and poha with Tea.
The way to mahabaleswar was equally good. There were small waterfalls all over the place and it was raining real bad. We hired a guide who took us to Kates/echo/needle point. Kates point is named so because a daughter of a british guy died there when her horse went mad (what a story). Its called needle point because there is a big needle like strucutre at the corner of the hill which also looks like an elephant trunk. Nature is really funny to have so many interesting structures all over the place (remember the Santro car rock behind IIIT hostel). The waterfall close by was very inviting and so we decided to pay a visit. We entered the waters and crossed the waterfall to reach the other side. It was pretty exciting. After playing in waters for sometime we decided to start off for pratap garh fort (its hard to remember the name, I referred it as paharganj and pitampura all the time during the trip).
The pratapgarh fort was pretty interesting with lots of great intellectual architectural pieces in it. The twisted stair case because of which it looks like a straight wall and to avoid Elephants from climbing up, the watchtowers from which one guy could take on 600+ armymen at once, the suicide point from where betrayors were thrown down in a closed bori, the shiva statue (made by pandit nehru), and the slippery stairs. Everything was coool. The visibilty was pretty low due to the strong fog which reminded me of the winter tution classes at early morning 5:00 few years back.
On our way back to pune we had plans to stop at a waterfall. We stopped at two of them. One for purely photographic purposes and the other for bathing. The waterfall was real cool. It felt like stones were dropping right on our heads and it was really difficult to stay under that for long. That was our last encounter with waters so we dried up and changed to take our way back to pune.
On our way to pune we came across a very beautiful road which was in the middle of green grounds at both sides. There were hills visible around and a tunnel which we had just crossed. The place was too good so we stopped for a while. The road was pretty wide and one could easily touch 120+ on it. It was all clear of traffic mostly so we had a small football game also ;)) . After some good time we started again towards pune.
We had our dinner in pune at a bakery and that was our last stop. The next was only on a dhaba for driver's dinner where we played with the football for some time. The star player was Rocky with his strength filled leg which was boucing the ball in all directions. His head butt sent the ball across the road in total dark.
Reached home at 6:00 o'clock after a speedy drive (thanks to the driver) . It took us only 8 1/2 hours to come from pune to hyderabad. We were really tired after a nightlong drive and a pretty hectic trip that we slept in the morning. I got up at 10:30 to go to office :) . The next day I slept for full 13 hours in the night to get over the tireness.
Looking forward for another trip like this one. By the way! this was a very trip 2.0 :) (couresy nirnimesh).