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Panhalekaji Caves near Unhavare Hot Water Springs near Dapoli in Maharashtra (India)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Panhalekaji Caves are located around 30 KM away from Khed. There are not on NH17 aka NH66, but one has to travel on the Vakavli Karanjali Road from Khed to access these caves. At the village Fanasu. The right takes us to Panhalekaji Caves and the left to Unhavare Hot Water Springs.
Panhalekaji Caves

Panhalekaji Caves

After visiting the Khed caves we traveled for around 30 KM to reach the Panhalekaji Caves. The roads are very narrow and to top it, they are not in  very good condition, so one has to drive slow which consumes a lot of time. The road will also test the car suspension. Directions to the caves are available on google maps. There are signboards at irregular intervals. 
Panhalekaji Caves

Finally at 5PM we were at the Cave premises. There was just one cave and a couple standing there. I asked the couple, " Is this the only Cave?" to which he replied, "Yes". "Did we travel for a hour's time just to see this one cave, not worth the time" I said to Manohar. 
Panhalekaji Caves

We met a local, who was trying to sell us some home grown bottle gourd, he was selling at a cheap price. But as cooking was not on our bucket list for the day, we didn't buy any from him. We asked him if this is the only cave here, to which he replied that there are more. 
Panhalekaji Caves

He became our guide, he showed us around the caves. The caves were beautifully carved and had carvings of Ganpati, Saraswati and even Buddha in its premises. Manohar told me that these Caves are a mix of Buddhist and Hindu influences. Manohar offered him Rs.50 for his services, without him, we would have not seen the rest of the caves.
Panhalekaji Caves

The caves are located very near to the forest premises, there is a small rivulet near the caves. There are trees (mango trees) near the caves. But no mangoes. It was nice and calm here. 

Panhalekaji Caves

Not sure if the rivulet had any fish in it, else one could make it a picnic destination. Camping in the shade of the trees and fish for food. This place looks un inhabited, as there was no human footprint here. 
Panhalekaji Caves

Not sure if ST buses or shared rickshaws ply on this route from Dapoli or Khed. We were not able to spot any. There were hardly any people on the road to ask for directions. Private transport is the only mode of transportation.
Panhalekaji Caves

Panhalekaji Caves
There is no provision for food and water. 
Panhalekaji Caves

The time was now 6PM, we had Unhavare Hot Water Springs next on the agenda for the day. 

Khed Caves aka Bouddh Caves near Khed ST bus stand in Khed in Maharashtra (India)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Khed Caves aka Bouddh Caves are located on a hillock very near to the Khed ST bus stand. The lane opposite the ST bus stand leads to the caves. There are no signboards near the caves, so one has ask people about the same.

Khed Caves aka Bouddh Caves

After visiting the Gandharpale Caves we headed over NH17 to reach Panhalekaji Caves near Dapoli. Just when we were about to reach Khed, Manohar spotted a signboard which read Khed Caves. I immediately started researching on the internet about the whereabouts and photos of these caves. Though these caves were not on our itinerary, they were now added to our itinerary.

Khed Caves aka Bouddh Caves

As not much information is available about the caves on the internet. We decided to ask a couple of locals about them. We approached a rickshaw driver and he gave us directions to the caves. He also informed us that they are neglected and that there is nothing much to see there. These caves are not tagged  on Google Maps.


I finally managed to reach the caves. There are houses built all around the caves on the hillock. Something similar to Jogeshwari Caves in Mumbai. There are five caves here. There are neglected and not in good condition, there is dry grass growing all over them. The cave structure are similar looking to the ones at Gandharpale Caves. Though the first cave has got a gate and grills around it as there is a statue of Buddha in its premises.

Khed Caves aka Bouddh Caves with Buddha statue in its premises

The time on my watch was around 4 PM and we had still to cover Panhalekaji Caves and Unhavare Hot Water Springs near Dapoli. 

Gandharpale Buddhist Caves on NH66 aka NH17 near Mahad in Maharashtra (India)

Friday, May 27, 2016

After visting the Sav Hot Water Springs we headed over the NH17 to reach the Gandharpale Caves just before Mahad. Again they are located in the Mahad Taluka of the Raigad district of Maharashtra. The caves are located on the left hand side and can be easily seen from a distance while travelling on NH17 aka NH66. The caves are around 5 KM away from Hotel Neelkamal (Jetty for Sav Hot Water Springs).

Gandharpale Buddhist Caves high up on the hills

A series of steps leads to the caves. There is a tiny hut near the start of the steps, that serves cold drinks and packed snacks. These steps are newly built. But not that new either. I recollect, 2 decades ago, when I was schooling,  I used to travel to Goa by bus for summer vacation, I used to see these caves then, but was not sure as to what their names were.

Gandharpale Buddhist Caves
The caves structure are similar in nature to the ones I have seen at Kanheri Caves. A narrow stone staircase similar to the one at Bedse Caves leads to the caves at large. There should be around 24 caves here.

Stairs leading to Gandharpale Buddhist Caves and NH17
The cave premises are neat and tidy, I am sure they are looked after. The caves are not in very good condition though and they have graffiti on some of the cave walls. A stupa and certain carvings are still visible on certain caves. All the caves are carved on a single hill, similar to Ajanta and Aurangabad Caves near Aurangabad.

Gandharpale Buddhist Caves

We visited all the caves and then rested in one of them. The caves offer a wonderful view of the the NH17 and the tiny villages, farms and hills in a distance.

Stu[pa and Carvings at Gandharpale Buddhist Caves

We then headed to Khed Caves near the Khed ST Bus Stand. 

Sav Hot Water Springs across Savitri River on NH66 aka NH17 near Mahad in Maharashtra (India)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sav Hot Water Springs are located at Sav village in Mahad Taluka of Raigad District in Maharashtra. They can be accessed by the Mumbai Goa Highway NH17. There are located across Savitri River. Gandharpale Buddhist Caves are closest to them and the nearest town is Mahad.

View of River Savitri

After visiting Unhere Hot Water Springs we headed off on the Mumbai Goa Highway NH17 to visit the Sav Hot water Springs which are around 70 KM away. Again we referred to Google Maps for directions and they were accurate.

On the right hand side is located Hotel Neelkamal, next to it is the jetty. Yes you heard it right, one had to cross the Savitri River to reach the Sav Hot Water Springs. Mohammad Bhai (Boat Wale) can be contacted on 9552552961.He will take you across at a cost of Rs.20 for return journey.

The jetty near River Savtri

I called Mohammad Bhai and he said  that he would be there with the boat in 5 minutes. 15 minutes passed and there was no sign of him. I called him again and he said that he is about to reach. On the other side of the river we saw a young man park a yellow colored Pulsar. We were nor sure if he is was the boatman, he was the boatman.
That's me rowing the boat

The view of Savitri River is amazing.

The boatman and his boat

In 10 minutes the boatman arrived with his boat. The boat is really small and can accommodate a maximum of 5 to 6 people. The boatman rode a pulsar to reach the jetty and rowed his boat to reach us.

We sat on the boat and headed on the other side. I too helped him row the boat. The boat ride was similar to the one I had at Arnala. The boatman informed us that the river is around 65 feet deep.

Sav Hot Water Spring

We then walked towards the hot water springs located near Sav Village. In 10 minutes we were there. It was around 11;30 AM on my watch now.

There are three hot water springs. The water appeared grayish in color from a distance, but when we took it in our palms it was transparent. Maybe grey is the base color of the pool.

Sav Hot Water Spring

We took a dip here. The temperature of the water was around 40 to 50 degrees, roughly. The heat of the sun added to the fury. We then headed over to the jetty to board a ferry to NH17.

Sav Hot Water Spring

Our next stop was the Gandharpale Buddhist Caves located on NH17 before Mahad.

Unhere Hot Water Springs near Sarasgad Fort near Pali in Maharashtra (India)

Monday, May 23, 2016

Unhere Hot Water Springs aka Unhere Garam Pani aka Unhere Kund are located very close to Pali Ganpati Temple in Raigad District of Maharashtra. The Sarasgad fort overlooks the springs from a distance.

It had been a long time since we, i.e (Manohar and me) had been on a roadtrip, so we decided to do a small roadtrip to Malvan. On the way we decided to visit Unhere Hot Water Springs.

Signboard new the Unhere Hot Water Springs

As decided we left from Ghatkopar Railway station at 5:15 AM to Unhere Hot Water Springs. The springs are located around 105 KM away. The directions to the springs are tagged on Google Maps and we referred to the same.
Entry to the Unhere Hot Water Springs

We were at Unhere Hot Water Springs at around 8:30 AM. The springs premises are located near a temple and are enclosed with walls around them and a roof atop. There are two hot water pools here, one for the men and other for the women.
Unhere Hot Water Springs

I had been to Vajreshwari Hot Water Springs in the past. We decided to take a dip in the water. The water was hot. Manohar confirmed, that the temperature should be around 40 to 60 degrees Celsius. I felt really nice and relaxed in the water after the car ride.

Unhere Hot Water Springs
It is recommended to have a dip in the water, but bathing (with a soap) is not allowed, as it, is a pool similar to a swimming pool but the water is not changed. After feeling refreshed here, we headed over to Sav Hot Water Springs located near to Gandharpale Caves near Mahad.  

Hatgadh Fort in Maharashtra near Saputara Hill Station in Gujarat

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hatgadh Fort is located on the Saputara Nasik Road. It is located very near to the hill station of Saputara in Gujarat near the Maharashtra Gujarat border.
Hatgadh Fort in Maharashtra near Saputara Hill Station in Gujarat
 We were able to see the fort in a distance, high on the hill top while traveling on the Saputara Nasik Road. One needs to get off the Saputara Nasik Road, There are no boards put up here, and the route is not tagged on google maps, so one has to rely on the locals for directions, there is a entry fee to visit the fort. both for humans and vehicles.

The entry fee was Rs.40 inclusive of all. The guy will also give you a challan (receipt) for the same. The road from here till the top, is a single lane rocky patch, maybe in a couple of months it will be replaced with a tar road. The rocky patch is complemented by the hill on one side and the valley on the other, the zig zag road stops at the main entrance of the fort. This road will test your vehicle suspension.

The fort fortification is not intact but much better than some forts I have visited, It has a small Darwaza to reach the top. There are a couple of caves near the fort entrance. A couple of carvings on the fort walls can also be seen here.

I noticed that certain portions of the fort are being restored. It is a good thing, that someone is working on the restoration of the fort, else in the coming years it might just vanish from the face of the earth.
Hatgadh Fort in Maharashtra near Saputara Hill Station in Gujarat

There are a couple of houses made of stone atop the fort premises, a couple of water tanks, which still had water stored  in them and a tomb. The view from some of the bastion, though they are not intact is breath taking.

The fort offers a breath taking view of  the surrounding, the Saputara hill station in a distance.

Was unable to find the history of this fort on the internet. If you know the history then do share it with me.

It took us around 30 minutes to explore the fort in entirety, we then headed back to the car  to head back to Mumbai. 

Faria Bhag Palace near the Cavalry Tank Museum in Iwale Nagar in Ahmednagar (Maharashtra)

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Faria Bhag Palace is located in the premises of the Cavalry Tank Museum. It is located in Iwale Nagar in the Ahmednagar It can be reached via the Solapur -Dhule National Highway.

Faria Bhag Palace near the Calvary Tank Museum in Iwale Nagar in Ahmednagar

Though this palace is currently in ruins, it might have looked amazing in its glory days. It was built by the Ahmed Nizam Shah of the Nizami Sultanate around 1583 for his son Burhan Shah. 

Interiors of Faria Bhag Palace near the Calvary Tank Museum in Iwale Nagar in Ahmednagar

The palace is two storey's tall. It has a small pond outside the palace and a similar one inside. The corridors are very much identical but they have been spoilt due to graffiti. Works of idiots who want to let people know  that they were there.  On the side the ceiling is beautifully carved. The niche in the walls to hold the lamps is also beautifully done. This structure has got lots of doors and windows so that there is plenty of light in its premises. 

Interiors of Faria Bhag Palace near the Calvary Tank Museum in Iwale Nagar in Ahmednagar

Though the weather was hot outside, it was very much cool on the inside. We felt nice walking through the corridors. 

Ceiling of Faria Bhag Palace near the Calvary Tank Museum in Iwale Nagar in Ahmednagar

Interiors of Faria Bhag Palace near the Calvary Tank Museum in Iwale Nagar in Ahmednagar

Like all good trips come to an end so did this one. we then headed over the Swastik ST bus stand to board the 1:10 PM bus to Mumbai (Mumbai Central) The bus  journey takes its toll on our legs as you have to sit in one position for long time, but the good time we had exploring the history in Ahmednagar overwrote it.

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