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Bicycle Tour of SATARA – 2015

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Cycling always tempt me to do something special every time more then trekking. It’s all about passion! Passion always push you to do something out of world and this bicycle tour of SATARA is one of the example!

My friend Rafi had a plan to organize cycling tour to Kaas Plateau so he created event one month back and posted in facebook. I am not sure of joining the event because nowadays I am not pedaling regularly and this event requires more preparation than any other event due to terrain and challenges. Even i wanted to visit Kaas Plateau ever since i came to know about this place. This was in my bucket list. This place was called South India’s valley of Flowers. Finally, made up mind to join Rafi for this cycling expedition of SATARA. Vidya Sagar and Abhijit Kshirsagar also joined us. So 4 crazy and passionate cyclist from Bengaluru planned our journey and decided to board VRL bus on 25th September 2015 evening at 4:00 PM.

Adventure group: Planned by Mohammad Rafi Shaik

Event date: 26th & 27th September 2015

Team size: 4 Crazy & Passionate cyclists

  1. Mohammad Rafi Shaik (Organizer)
  2. Vidya Sagar
  3. Abhijit Kshirsagar
  4. Gautham Baliga

Total Cycling distance covered during the tour: Around 150 to 155 Kms.

Cycling Tour Plan: Please find itinerary planned by Rafi for Bicycle Tour of Satara district of Maharastra below:

Leave Bengaluru around 4:00 PM on Friday evening from Bangalore – VRL Bus stop, Anandha Rao circle.

First day itinerary:
06:30 am : Get down at Satara, Fresh up and ride to Kaas Platue.
04:00 pm : Tent Camping near Solshi river

Second day itinerary:
06:00 am : Start ride towards Mahabaleshwar
02:00 pm : Start back to Satara
09:00 pm : Start back to Bangalore

Day 1 Route: Distance: 70 Kms, Elevation gain : 1350m, Elevation Loss: 1300m, Cycle Route

Day 2 Route: Distance: 80 Kms, Elevation gain : 1250m, Elevation Loss: 1300m, Cycle Route

Difficulty level:  Moderate to Difficult since it is self supported bicycle ride, uphill climb for most part of the event, rolling terrain, etc…

Nearest town is SATARA (Around 731 Kms. from Bengaluru)

Best time to cycle: Anytime of the year. If it is monsoon, ride going to be epic one!

Cycling Experience:

As mentioned, Our bus for Satara was scheduled at 4:00 PM on 25th September 2015 evening from Anand Rao cirle VRL Bus depot. After 1 week long search for my cycle rack, finally i got one compatible rack for rent. Started from my house around 2:30 PM on 25th September afternoon and reached VRL Bus depot around 3:15 PM. Rafi was already there and little tensed cos he loaded his bicycle on wrong bus. Meanwhile he arranged to get it back after long discussion with VRL crew. Abhijit and Sagar joined me at bus stand one by one. Finally, bus came around 3:45 PM. Rafi also got his bicycle which was in wrong bus. We all dismantled our disk brake bicycles and loaded into Bus storage compartment. Started our journey to beautiful Satara district around 4:00 PM from VRL Bus depot, Bengaluru.

Day 1: Satara to Mahabaleshwar – 26th September 2015 (Saturday)

Day in brief:

Taking bicycles to Satara and bringing back to Bengaluru, Uphill cycling , etc… were many challenges of this tour. After boarding bus at Bengaluru it was long journey of nearly 14 hours took us to beautiful Satara district of Maharastra. We all reached Satara early in the morning around 5:40 AM. Our plan was to start early so we can finish up ride as per our plan. 4 of us assembled our bicycles at Ganesh Travels, Satara below flyover and finally geared up for one of memorable rides of our life around 7:00 AM.

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All set for 2 days of memorable bicycle ride at Ganesh Travels, Satara

I can divide Day 1 into 3 parts:

  1. SATARA to BAMNOLI Cycling
  2. BAMNOLI to TAPOLA Boat Ride
  3. TAPOLA to MAHABALESHWAR Pedaling climb

Part 1: SATARA to BAMNOLI Cycling

Started pedaling around 7:00 AM after group photo at starting point of our Satara cycling expedition. Reached Satara bus stand and freshen up. Moved towards nearby hotel and had breakfast by 7:45 – 8:00 AM. Had Idli Sambar & Yummy Poova (Avalakki) for breakfast.

We all know there will be initial tough 7 Kms. climb in store for us while heading towards Kaas Plateau. After starting around 8:00 AM from Satara 4 of us able to reach Kaas plateau around 10:45 AM. It was 25 Km. of pedaling for us from Satara to Kaas Plateu which includes more than 70% of uphill terrain. All of us enjoyed the ride and never felt tired! Took many photos en-route and experienced scenic beauty of Sahyadris. Lovely Place! A must visit once in a lifetime :)

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Initial 7 to 8 Kms. of uphill terrain
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My MTB – KHS Alite 500 en-route Kaas Plateau
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One more pose from my MTB!
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4 Crazy & Passionate cyclists!
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Rafi enjoying the ride en-route Kaas Plateau..

Beautiful Landscapes en-route Kaas Plateau

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Finally, we reached Kaas Plateau around 10:45 AM. In Pic: Vidya Sagar
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Welcome to Kaas Plateau

Kaas Plateau: The Kaas Plateau also known as the “Kaas Pathar” is a plateau situated in the Western Ghat Sahyadri range, 22 kilometers from Satara city in Maharashtra state of India and is known for various types of wild flowers which bloom during August-September every year. The area of plateau is located at a height of 1200 mt and is approximately 1,000 hectare. The name Kaas originates from Kaasa tree (Elaeocarpus glandulosus). It has been declared as Biodiversity World Heritage Site by The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). The place has more than 850 different species of flowers and other plants including Orchids, Karvy and carnivorous plants such as Drosera Indica. This falls under the Sahyadri Sub Cluster of Western Ghats which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For more information, visit the link: Kaas Plateau

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South India’s valley of flowers – Kaas Plateau

Geographical information of Kaas Plateau

Location: 25Kms. west to Satara city

Latitude: 17degree 42′ to 17degree 45′

Longitude: 73degree 47′ to 73degree 56′

Forest: Semi evergreen moist mixed deciduous

Area: 1792 hectares

Altitude: 1213 meters ASL

Soil Type: Lateritic

Temp: 10 to 30 degree Av.

Humidity: Medium

Rainfall: 3000 to 5000 mm Av

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Exploration of Kaas Plateau begun!

Flowers of Kaas Plateau

Landscapes of Kaas Plateau

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Vidya & Abhijit posing for my camera @ Kaas Plateau

Note: This year Kaas Plateau is very bad due to Bad Monsoon in South India. Place was strongly recommended if flowers are in full bloom!

After exploring the place around 1 hour, 4 of us continued our journey of Satara around 12:00 PM. Due to long & extended weekend, too much crowd at Kaas Palteau and traffic jam pushed us to skip Kaas Lake visit.  We all witnessed Kaas Lake from the distance and moved to one of hotels at Kaas to have afternoon lunch. After having Veg & Egg Thali for lunch, continued our journey towards Bamnoli. Rafi events are always special and cheaper one! Never want to miss his events :P He had already planned to explore less explored Kaas Vajrai falls which was part of  Kaas village. After lunch we all moved little ahead and took left turn to enter Kaas village. Parked our bicycles at nearby house at village and started walk to view point of Kaas Vajrai falls. 1 and half kilo meters of easy walk took us to Kaas Vajrai falls view point. It was amazing and beautiful view of Kaas Vajrai falls which is dropping from top surrounded by mesmerizing Sahyadri’s made our walk unforgettable one :)

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Approaching towards Kaas Vajrai falls view point

Kaas Vajrai waterfalls:  The Vajrai Waterfall is just 27 km from the city of Satara, Maharashtra. It is situated near the Sahyadri hill Its height is around 853 feet (260M); The Urmodi dam project is based on this waterfall’s river. The birthplace of Urmodi River is started from Vajrai waterfall. You will experience heavy rain fall here.You can reach here, by using personal vehicle or ALAWADI Bus from Satara ST stand. Around the waterfall there are many attractions like Urmodi dam, Thoseghar Waterfalls and Sajjangad fort which attract many tourists.

For more information, visit the link: Vajrai waterfalls

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Kaas Vajrai falls @Kaas village
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Kaas Lake can be seen from the distance

After satisfying visit to Kass village, we all moved towarsd our next destination Bamnoli. We inquired lot with local people regarding route to Tapola. Actually we all wanted to pedal till Mahabaleshawra on Day 1 with Bamnoli –> Tapola –> Mahabaleshwar route but terrain of Bamnoli to Tapola made us to rethink about our plan and decided to take boat ride form Bamnoli to Tapola which will reduce our time. Reached Bamnoli around 3:30 PM.

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Resting near Bamnoli around 2:30 PM…

Part 2: BAMNOLI to TAPOLA Boat Ride

After reaching Bamnoli around 3:30 PM, we took help of boat to move towards Tapola. It was one of unforgettable boat rides of my life cos i took my bicycle too along with me. Shivasagar Lake (Water reservoir of Koyna Dam) – We need to cross this lake to reduce distance to Tapola and place is on other side of Lake. Lovely, Beautiful, Enchanting views of Sahyadri’s can be witnessed while taking boat ride at Bamnoli or Tapola. Reached Tapola around 4:15 PM and had tea at shop by the Lake.

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Magnificent Shivasagar Lake which is nearly 100 -120 feet deep according to local-ides in my camera!!!

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Few glimpses from BAMNOLI – TAPOLA Boat Ride
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@Tapola, Boat on which we had ride
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Classic view of Tapola!!!

Part 3: TAPOLA to MAHABALESHWAR Pedaling Climb

After reaching Tapola, we all decided to take ride till Mahabaleshwar which was around 28 Kms. from the Tapola irrespective of terrain & time. It was uphill terrain of 28 Kms. from Tapola to Mahabaleshwar is in offering for us. One can hardly find 1 or 2 rolling terrain en-route Mahabaleshwar. Started around 4:30 PM form Tapola.

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Initial stages of Tapola – Mahabaleshwar climb
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Enchanting Shivasagar Lake can be witnessed en-route Mahabaleshwar

Had 1 or 2 breaks  before reaching the Shivasagar view point. Had tea and witnessed beautiful sunset at Shivasagar view point.

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Beautiful sunset at Shivasagar view point

Continued our journey towards Mahabaleshwar. Finally, after climb, climb all the way till Mahabaleshwar; All of us reached Mahabaleshwar around 8:15 PM. It was 45 minutes early reach then scheduled.  All of us had great cycling experience which will never fade forever in our lives :)

Had Marati Thali for dinner and moved towards Venna Lake for night camping after lot of discussions for further plan. Reached Venna lake around 10:30 PM and Rafi searched good place for camping by the lake. We all pitched our tents and rested for the day around 11:00 PM. It was cold and gentle breeze around the place made our overnight stay chilled one!

Note: This place is famous for boat ride at Mahabaleshwar and this lake linked to dam which is called as Venna Dam.

  • Positives from the ride:  Scenic route and uphill terrain for most part of the day
  • Negatives from the ride: Expect uphill terrain nothing is negative from the ride

Cycling distance: Around 77 Kms.

Cycling route maps for Day 1:  SATARA to BAMNOLI Cycling – Satarta –> Kaas Plateau –> Kaas –> Bamnoli

TAPOLA to MAHABALESHWAR Pedaling Climb – Tapola –> Mahabaleshwar

Terrain: Moderate to Difficult since it is self supported bicycle ride, uphill climb for most part of the event, rolling terrain, etc…

Highlights for the day:

  • Beautiful Satara district.
  • Satara to Kaas Plateau 25 Kms. Climb.
  • A visit to Kaas Plateau ( South India’s Valley of Flowers).
  • Mesmerizing view of Kaas Lake.
  • Exploration of less explored Kaas Vajrai falls.
  • Boat ride from Bamnoli to Tapola (Shivsagar Lake – Reservoir of the Koyna dam!!) with our cycles.
  • Tapola to Mahabaleshwar nearly 28 Kms. of pedaling climb.
  • Beautiful sunset at Shivasagar view point.
  • Night camping on the banks of Venna Lake near Mahabaleshwar.
  • Cycling experience on Scenic & Beautiful routes of Sahyadri’s.

Day 2: Mahabaleshwar to Satara – 27th September 2015 (Sunday)

Day in brief:

All of us got up around 5:00 AM and freshen up at Venna Lake. Waited for sunrise and captured some classic morning shots at Venna Lake.

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First pic of the day!  @Campsite – Venna Lake
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Early morning captures @ Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar – Pic#1
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Campsite: Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar
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Early morning captures @Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar – Pic#2
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Memorable Sunrise @Venna Lake, Mahabaleshwar

Packed our luggage and tents after capturing beauty of the place in our cameras. Started our Day 2 expedition around 7:45 AM from Venna lake towards Mahabaleshwar for breakfast. Reached streets of Mahabaleshwar and had breakfast. I had Vada Paav for breakfast :)

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Streets of Mahabaleshwar in my Lenovo K3 Note

After breakfast, all of us moved towards Dhobi falls view point. Unfortunately we couldn’t able to explore Dhobi falls instead of that we explored Chinaman’s Waterfalls.

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Cycle parked below under the tree near Chinaman’s Waterfalls
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A walk towards Chinaman’s Waterfalls

Chinaman’s Waterfalls: Chinaman’s Waterfalls is located in the Koyna Valley, near Mahabaleshwar city. After the Chinese convicts who used to cultivate the fields surrounding these falls, the place has been named. Tourists can reach these falls via Carviali Road which are located 2.5 km away from the Mahabaleshwar city. The waterfalls can also be approached through Tiger Path Road via Babington Point.

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Beautiful & Enchanting Chinaman’s Waterfalls in my Nikon D3100

After exploring Chinaman’s Waterfalls, all of us moved towards Lingmala waterfalls around 10:00 AM. It was 10:45 AM, when we reached Lingmala waterfalls. Explored the place and visited Venna pool which was near by the falls.

Lingmala Falls: Lingmala Falls lies on the Mahabaleshwar-Pune Road. Ideal time to visit the waterfall is from July to December. From the area around the waterfall, beautiful views of Dhobi Waterfall and Chinaman’s Waterfall can be availed. The falls are ideally viewed after the rainy season when these are flooded with water, which descents nearly 500 ft from the cliff.

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Classic view of Lingmala Waterfalls

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Jaw dropping view of Koyna valley @ Lingmala Waterfalls
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Venna Pool nearby Lingmala Waterfalls

Started return journey to Satara around 12:15 PM after having snacks at entrance gate. It was 2 to 3 Kms. of climb took us Satara road from Lingmala Waterfalls. From there it was rolling terrain followed by downhill terrain of around 25 Kms. from Mahabaleshwar to Medha. I believe this is one of the scenic routes of the tour! Classic, Enchanting & Mesmerizing Landscapes are in offering. It was one of best cycling experience of my life while having downhill ride. Enjoying to the core!!!

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Valley with magnificent view of Lingmala Waterfalls from distance!

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Downhill terrain – A easy descending towards Medha
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Abhijit enjoying the ride to the core!!!
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View of Sahyadri’s everywhere!

Reached Medha around 2:00 PM and had lunch at small hotel. Started our last set of ride around 2:45 PM from Medha and reached Satara VRL bus stand around 5:45 PM. Scorching sun, Enchanting Sahyadri views, Ganesh Visarjan processions and last but not least Sunday afternoon ride on barely empty road of Medha to Satara made our pedaling interesting one!

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Closing in! Satara another 10 Kms…
  • Positives from the ride:  Literally easiest downhill ride from Mahabaleshwar to Medha later rolling terrain from Medha to Satara. Overall easiest cycling experience.
  • Negatives from the ride: Scorching sun at Satara District.

Cycling distance: Around 70 Kms.

Cycling route map: Mahabaleshwar –> Lingmala waterfalls — > Medha –> Satara

Terrain: Easy to Moderate cos downhill cycle ride of around 25 Kms. from Mahabaleshwar to Medha and rolling terrain of Medha – Satara highway.

Highlights for the day:

  • Beautiful view of sunrise at Venna Lake.
  • Exploration of less explored Chinaman’s waterfalls.
  • Early morning views at Venna Lake & Dam.
  • A special visit to Lingmala waterfalls & Pool.
  • Downhill cycle ride of around 25 Kms. from Mahabaleshwar to Medha.
  • Medha to Satara bicyle ride under scorching sun on rolling terrain.
  • Cycling experience on Scenic & Beautiful route of Sahyadri’s.

Packed our Luggages, dismantled bicycles and all of us got prepared for return journey to Bengaluru with unforgettable memories of our life which will never fade for lifetime. VRL bus came at 6:45 PM. Loaded our luggages and started to Bengaluru. Reached Bengaluru around 7:45 AM on monday morning and departed to our places.

Thanksgiving:

It was one of most memorable bicycle rides of my life because i never experienced cycling around Sahyadri’s. Thanks to Mohammad Rafi shaik for giving me opportunity to be part of this event with covering places including Satara, Kaas Plateau & Lake, Less explored Kaas vajrai falls, Boat ride from Bamnoli to Tapola (Shivsagar Lake – Reservoir of the Koyna dam!!) with our cycles, Night camping on the banks of Venna Lake near Mahabaleshwar, Less explored Chinaman’s Waterfalls, Venna river, Dam & Lingmala waterfalls, Cycling experience on Scenic & Beautiful routes of Sahyadri’s!!!

I would like to thank Mohammad Rafi Shaik, Vidya Sagar & Abhijit Kshirsagar for giving me awesome company throughout the Cyclo tour & motivating me to complete the ride :)

Looking forward for more such events with you Rafi in the future :) :) :)

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10 thoughts on “Bicycle Tour of SATARA – 2015

  1. Vidya says:

    What a blog Gautham!!! really excellent writup in detail.  It is refreshed my whole journey, thank you so much. Keep it up…very informative and excellent blog.

    Reply
    • Gautham Baliga B says:

      Thank you so much for appreciating & it is pleasure to ride with u guys :)

      Reply
  2. manoj says:

    Excellent description and explanation. It will be very helpful to us as we are planning to go this season to kaas plateau…thankyou so much

    Reply
    • Gautham Baliga B says:

      Thanks a lot for Appreciating my passion :)

      Reply
    • Gautham Baliga B says:

      Hi motoapk Good article,

      Thanks a lot for Appreciation! :)

      Reply
    • Gautham Baliga B says:

      Thanks a lot! :)

      Reply
    • Gautham Baliga B says:

      Thanks u too :)

      Reply

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