Today March 14th 2010 Vaibhav Gorde and I will go on a journey outside of Pune to see the countryside. Vaibhav has some relatives in a place called Ghodegaon. His relatives have a Mango farm in that neighborhood and a house in the village.

A short introduction.
I have known Vaibhav Gorde for about 2,5 to 3 years and we have extensively throughout this period. Till my arrival to India I have not had the pleasure of meeting Vaibhav. Excited and joyful I looked forward to meeting him face-to-face.
Our relation has extended to more than just colleagues. You could say there is a friendship created. When I notified Vaibhav about my trip to India we made the agreement to hang out together. For this Vaibhav had setup a nice road trip.

    As precise as Vaibhav can be he had a detailed plan all ready to go:

  • Pune
    • 07:00 am; A cab will pick me up from Magarpatta city;
    • 08:00 am; Pickup Vaibhav with the cab in Aundh (area in Pune);
  • Dehu
    • 09:30 am; expected arrival in Dehu;
    • 10:15 am; expected departure from Dehu to Bhimanshankar;
    • In Dehu we have visited the following sites:
      • The st Tukaram Gatha Mandir temple. This temple is not very known amongst travelers, but this will change in the future in my opinion. The temple is being created by the people from the village since 1995 and is still under construction. The temple finds it’s origin in the Abhanga-Gatha written by Tukaram Maharaj. According to legends Tukaram Maharaj put his Abhanga-Gatha into the river Indrayani. After 18 days without food and drinks the Gatha came floating back to Tukaram Maharaj on the spot where the temple now stands. The pages from the Abhanga-Gatha are carved in the marble wings of the temple and counts pages. More information about the temple can be found on the website which (at time of this blog post) is under construction.
        st Tukaram Gatha Mandir - Ingang st Tukaram Gatha Mandir - Tukaram Maharaj st Tukaram Gatha Mandir - Script
        From left to right: st Tukaram Gatha Mandir – Entrance; Tukaram Maharaj; The Abhanga-Gatha
        * Click on the images for full size
      • After this temple we went to a mountain close to the village where there is also a small temple called Shreeskhetra Bhandara Dongar. This temple does not have any special meaning as far as I know, but our visit there was also for the great view from the mountain top.
        Shreeskhetra Bhandara Dongar The view Vaibhav Gorde
        From left to right: Shreeskhetra Bhandara Dongar – The temple; The view; Vaibhav Gorde
        * Click on the images for full size
      • there was a third temple before or after lunch… check with Vaibhav
  • Ghodegaon
    • 12:15 pm; brief halt at Ghodegaon for lunch with only local dishes;
    • 01:15 pm; expected departure time to Bhimashankar;
  • Bhimanshankar
    • 03:00 pm; arrival in Bhimashankar;
    • 04:00 pm; expected departure from Bhimashankar;
    • In Bhimashankar we have visited the following sites:
      • Besides Bhimashankar there is the Bhimashankar tempel, but we did not visit that actual temple. Bhimashankar consists out of some sort of market where the car is parked and you can get anything to eat. After this marketplace you can choose a path left or right. We turned left and went down the hill to the village Bhimashankar were also an older temple exists. People travel from far distances to visit this place. It is one of the 12 most important temples of India.
        Temple in Bhimashankar
        * Click on the images for full size
      • If we also did go right we would have seen the Bhimashankar temple, but after climbing up from the village to the market we did not bother going down again :) ;
      • On the way back to Ghodegaon I had requested the driver to pull over at one of the higher points to take some pictures of the dam and valley. Very impressive!
        Dam Dal
        From left to right: Dam; Valley
        * Click on the images for full size
  • Ghodegaon
    • 05:30 pm; expected arrival time on the family farm of Vaibhav his relatives between Bhimashankar and Ghodegaon;
      On the farm I have met some relatives and workers. I was received with great hospitality, some fresh fruits and a tour.
      After some time the guys had so much fun I was also invited to come over to the house in the village. As Ghodegaon is on the way back and we were on or before schedule we did not mind. After some nice driving skills from the cab driver through the narrow streets we stopped at an alley. This is where the family was living. I was invited in for some tea and cookies. Strangely the hosts moved to the kitchen were the women were making tea. I requested if everybody would join in the living room so I could meet them also. Apparently they were a bit afraid, but perhaps they did also enjoy the visit. I did enjoy the fact I have now seen a traditional house from the inside and meeting the relatives.
    • 06:30 pm; back to Pune, but due to the fact we were on schedule we could make an extra stop at a winery. Also 2 of the relatives went with us. We had a very nice time;

Round 10:00 pm I received home and could use the sleep. It was a very nice day and the upcoming week will be busy again.