Tamhini Ghat

My prior understanding of Tamhini Ghat was that it was a dangerous place to drive.

My wife wanted us to go somewhere to escape the heatwave that hit Pune in the month of May 2024.

May 19

I was going to give a talk about space policy at the Fat Labrador Cafe for its Policy Adda. I usually don’t talk to the Uber driver but he had come in a Maruti Suzuki S-presso. I asked him about the car and he spoke of how he tolerated it more than drove it. He said it was a wonderful city car but not one that could be taken out for a long drive. The talk of long drives led to a conversation about how only the Harihareshwar Beach was the only Konkan beach worth visiting. We spoke of many other things. I spoke about space policy. I returned home late that night but slept early.

May 20

I went to Mumbai with Rakesh in his Old Monk to cast my vote in the Indian General Elections 2024. I was discussing the conversation I had with the S-presso driver on the day before. I mentioned about Harihareshwar Beach and wondered what was the best way to reach there from Pune. This was when Rakesh mentioned Tamhini Ghat.

May 25

Through the very hot month of May, my wife and I were discussing getting an air conditioner for the bedroom. The nights seemed to be hotter than the days and she had to be at home with two infants through the night and the day. For the n th time, I said no to buying an air conditioner. It was at this time she asked that we at least go somewhere. Since the conversation with the Uber S-presso driver was so fresh in mind, I suggested that we go to Harihareshwar Beach in the morning of May 25.

We carried some clothes in hand just in case we actually did drive to Harihareshwar Beach. I was preparing my mind to face the dangers of Tamhini Ghat. We even considered going to Mumbai just before we started the car. We got a very tempting invite from my aunt. But, I put my foot down (not on the accelerator) and said we should drive up Tamhini Ghat if not all the way up to Harihareshwar Beach.

My daughter’s close friend’s birthday was one of the prompts for this rethink in destination.

Then, I put my foot down on the accelerator and we were on the way to Tamhini.

Drive to Tamhini

I had come to Pune in July 2019. By the time we got setup at our new house, it was the pandemic. After we got out of the pandemic, our second child was on the way. The aforementioned second child was not someone who was easy to take on a drive. He cried, felt uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, and wriggled out of his mom’s hands all through the drive. Contrast this with my first child who fell asleep when the car began to move.

We slowly drove towards Tamhini in the late morning of May 25. We passed several hotels which were full upto the brim despite lunch time being an hour away. We did not pay attention to these cues. We drove past the village of Tamhini. We were mesmerised by the views of the dried up Mulshi lake. There was still some water.

We saw some wonderful geological features up-hill. I cannot name them nor did we take photographs of them.

We drove for half an hour past Tamhini when we spotted a clearing with road side food places on both sides of the road. We stopped here and turned around.

Return from Tamhini

We turned back home an hour after what should have been our normal lunch time. We had not had lunch. We had seen a pair of hotels on the way to Tamhini. We decided to eat there. We drove about twenty minutes to reach there. Between running behind our second child and eating, we did not feel full but felt confident about returning home. We shot a few videos, took a few photos, and had much better conversations.

On the way back, unable to help myself, I taunted my wife to have Mutton Bhakri. I annoyed her enough times that she asked me to stop at one place I was pointing out to her. We stopped but it looked quite shady. She lost her appetite for Mutton Bhakri and I quit taunting her. The son fell asleep at this point and we drove back in silence.

Post travel

I was very calm about the whole trip despite the prior negative information that I had heard about Tamhini. The roads were good. The traffic was sparse. The drive up was awesome. It generated in me some confidence about driving here in the rains, if need be. You can never be too confident about driving in the Western Ghats.

I did some reading about the Western Ghats to understand its geology but not enough to identify landforms that I saw there.

If the rains have not started, I want to drive down to Panshet. That is the first place that I had in mind for a drive since it has a MTDC resort.

June 1, 2024