Isn’t it a wonder that we travel far and wide to experience exotic locations but the best of nature’s beauty sits right next to our home, oblivious to us? How could I even begin to explain the ever-gorgeous, evergreen Tamhini Ghat, which sits on my regular travel route between Pune and Mumbai and I almost never cared to notice?
A mountain passage on the Sahyadri hills, Tamhini Ghat lies between Tamhini and Mulshi. Until I reached there this monsoon, I didn’t know what I was missing all this while.
It so happened that one August weekend, my family decided to just go for an aimless drive a little away from the city and enjoy the weather. With the unpredictable rains, we chose to rent an outstation cab in Pune, for a safer and better journey.
About 40 km from Pune, we reached around Mulshi Lake and made a stop, when we saw a couple of families driving up from the other side of the lake. Curious, I asked them how far the road went. I had definitely heard about Tamhini Ghat but never bothered to explore, thinking, it would be just like any other mountain pass in this area. The roads in these hilly areas could be tricky. So, if you are traveling to these mountains, especially in the rains, make sure to book a cab from Pune that can navigate the hilly terrain, like an Innova.
The main mountain passage starts from the Mulshi Lake and ends at the Orchard Café in Sanswadi. This c-shaped road on the crest of the Western Ghats cuts through the mountains, and stretches for almost 44 km, offering breathtaking views of the lush green mountains on both sides, intercepted with frothy waterfalls.
More so during the rains- the entire stretch of land is an endless bed of foliage with all possible shades of green lined with sparkling streams. The only contrast was the smoky grey shades of the clouds creating a thin, wispy layer on the land. Wherever there was a little opening, a nature trail had formed with travelers exploring into the dense woods. But one needs to be careful, especially in the rains when the terrain is a little slippery.
As we got near the backwaters of Mulshi Dam, the road opened up towards a waterfall in Palase. Until now, the roads were pretty empty with a couple of random tourists like us. But this waterfall zone seemed to be a hot spot for monsoon lovers.
The rainwaters just added to the water volume, making it a roaring cascade. We stopped here to take a walk around and capture the breathtaking view on camera. The waterfall has no name but definitely looked like a major attraction here.
A narrow road (looked like a private road) led to the enclaved waterfall area, in the middle of a densely forested bluff. A lot of monsoon trekkers were getting drenched in the gushing torrent. I coaxed my parents into joining me for a good splash and it was indeed refreshing.
After spending a good amount of time, we drove further along the Ghat and were surprised to find unnamed waterfalls around every corner, each with its own exclusive beauty.
After almost 20 Km from Palase, we reached the Tamhini waterfalls, and then the Tamhini Ghat waterfalls, a little ahead. On the way back, we stopped at the Tamhini hilltop near the hairpin bend close to Hotel Annapurna. The view of the mountains and the velvety slopes below was spellbinding in every frame.
A wonderful discovery, this stretch of the Sahyadri turned out to be a monsoon gift for us. What started as an early morning drive, turned out to be a day-trip for the whole family. But I guess there’s more of the ever-gorgeous Tamhini Ghat to unravel and I am surely coming back for more.