Friday, December 12, 2014

A Weekend Getaway to Pune (via the Mumbai-Pune Expressway)

29 - 30 Nov’ 14:

It was 6 to 7 years back when I last visited the twin sibling of my city, Mumbai… Pune. Thus, when the prospect of visiting Pune came forth in November, even if it was only for a day and a half, it got me all excited.

Lord Ganesh in the car - India Travel
With an excited call out to Lord Ganesh, here starts our trip to Pune!

The balmy afternoon sun roiled above our car as it busily sped past the hustle bustle and skyscrapers of Mumbai to take the wide speedy roads of the six lane Mumbai-Pune expressway. The 90 odd KM long expressway (officially the Yashwantrao Chavan Mumbai Pune Expressway) connecting the two cities is the shortest road link from Mumbai making it the most preferred among the other alternative available routes to reach Pune today including the old NH4.

View of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway from the window of my car, Maharashtra India

The road conditions spanning the entire stretch of the expressway are excellent, and the sights so charming that they make the high toll charges totally worth it. The drive saw me glued to the window seat of my car gorging at the scenic vistas unfolding outside. It’s good to see nothing much of this expressway has changed in the past few years. The car still zooms past sweeping all those sights that I had fallen in love with when I had first taken the road years back. These are things I look out for and enjoy every time I hit these roads.

What are they? Well, here they go - sit back and enjoy!

THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR WHILE DRIVING OUT TO PUNE (VIA THE MUMBAI-PUNE EXPRESSWAY)

The mighty range of the Sahyadris on one side and half vegetation, deep gorges on the other side for company...

6 lane high speed Mumbai Pune Expressway, Maharashtra
Mumbai-Pune Expressway

Dark tunnels - look at the sparks of light flying around!

Crossing one of the tunnels - Mumbai Pune Expressway, India
The --- tunnel – among one of the 5 tunnels along the expressway.

Monkeys! who squeal and jump with hopeful eyes pierced through the windows of your car, feasting on the bananas received...

Monkeys eating bananas along the fence, Mumbai Pune Expressway, Maharashtra, India
Monkeys along the Mumbai-Pune Expressway

And, the changing colors of the horizon...

Sunset on the Mumbai Pune Expressway, Maharashtra India
Sunset on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway

At around 6 PM… after travelling for about 3 hours and covering close to 200 kms., the sky began changing moods. As I saw the evening sun cast its orangy gleam over the urban facade of the city, I wondered about our meeting the next day. With no fixed plans and just a day to explore ... how was she going to treat me? Were there any surprises planned? or was one day too short a time to know a multifaceted personality like her?

All answers were revealed through the events of the following day, in their own time and in their own way.

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How to Reach Pune and Other Traveler Tips.

Pune is well connected with Mumbai and most of the other Indian cities through all the modes of transport like air, train and roads. Most travellers from Mumbai, however, prefer taking the roads as the journey takes only about 2 to 3 hours (approx. 200 KM.) depending on the traffic. Hiring a cab or taking your own are undoubtedly the best options in this case.

- For those who prefer air travel instead, Pune airport is located in Lohegaon, which is about 20 KM. from the city.

- While going to (or returning from) Pune to Mumbai via the expressway, you can take a detour to Lonavala-Khandala which is situated midway through the route. So if you do have a bit of time at hand, you can try exploring a new area.

- You won’t find any dhabas or eating shacks across the Mumbai-Pune expressway, so look out for the ‘Food Mall’ located midway to have that quick bite or even a cup of coffee.



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53 comments:

  1. Mumbai Pune Express way is really good if one loves driving. We took a special trip to and froth just to test it when it opened all those years back :)

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    1. Sounds very interesting! How was your special trip? Would so love to see some of your images from those times! :)

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  2. I have traveled via Mumbai - Pune Expressway and Yamuna Expressway as well. Driving via Expressway is always good because of good road condition, less traffic which saves time and clean environment around and not to forget food joints - good to stop for a short break. Thanks for writing. Keep traveling.

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    1. Exactly! The very reasons why I love travelling via the Mumbai-Pune expressway as well!

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  3. Another interesting and informative post, that monkey is so cheeky looking.

    Sadly it seems that your posts are not always showing up on the blog roll on my blog (a problem I have with several other blogs), hopefully my subscribing will let me know when there are new posts to be read.

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    1. Sorry about the feed problem Tracy - I guess, it's a problem with blogger. The posts show up late in my dashboard feeds as well these days. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help in the matter... thanks for subscribing.

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  4. You got some interesting photos from the expressway... that looks super cool and enhanced road journey. I usual don’t like highways just being same all the ways... but this one sounds unusually scenic!

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    1. You are absolutely right - highways are same all the way so many times. I do love this one especially because it seems to keep bringing up the right kind of things at regular intervals!

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  5. Your breathtaking images are a soothing treat for the eyes. Your narrative,descriptions & style of expressions are a joy to read ! I lived in Pune 30 years ago and my house was in Ghole Rd near Deccan Gymkhana. Khandala & Lonavala were our regular beats. Panchgani was also not very distant. I reminisce about those wonderful days with misty eyes.

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    1. Ah... 30 years is a lot of time. You must be having a lot of stories to share for sure. Hope to read them on your blog, sometime! :)

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  6. Nice to read your new post, Thanks for sharing. ~ da

    ~ Have a nice weekend ~

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  7. It's a great trip.The monkey is cute. :D

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  8. Dear Arti, isn't Pune the location of the Osho Ashram? Have you been there too? He was known here in germany in my childhood as the scandal guru of the 70ies, but later, i was surprised to discover the deep insights, wisdom and humour in his books. Hope you have a spelndid december, love from germany!

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    1. You are absolutely right, Martina! Yes, Pune is house to the famous Osho Ashram. I had been there the last time I visited Pune and even though I was quite young at that time, I have vivid memories of the place - a big courtyard inhabited by marooned robed people. I wanted to visit this time as well since I have been listening to and reading Osho's teachings for quite some time now and find myself drawn to him for exactly the same reasons you mentioned - but, unfortunately, couldn't manage the time. :(

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  9. Amazing pictures, I loved the monkey one the most :P :)

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  10. Agree it is a lovely road to drive and had traveled on this many times and each time was as satisfying as the previous one, Arti:)

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  11. Oh Arti, you were in Pune and not a tinkle?
    Some nice pics you got there along the way. I find it difficult to click as I am doing the driving most of the time.
    One other option of traveling is the Shivneri bus service between Dadar & Pune which runs at half hourly intervals. Though its run by the State Govt the service is good and comfortable (Volvo buses)

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    1. Thanks for the bit on Shivneri bus service, Haddock! Never knew about it. Will surely keep that info in mind for someday.

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  12. Drive up and down Shirdi one day. Its a pleasant trip. You leave early morning 6 am and you are back by 10 in the night after Darshan and prasad.

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    1. Totally - I love my day trips to Shirdi as much as I love my weekend trips to these places.

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  13. Delightful read with lovely pics :)

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  14. Beautiful shots! I am yet to explore this expressway.

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    1. Thanks Manjulika - I hope you explore it soon... this drive is a breeze!

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  15. I had driven down to Mumbai and Pune in my Safari, all alone from Delhi. It was for a month long trip and I returned earlier january 2014. I think at one place the road sign was confusing to me while entering mumbai.

    I was sad to see that there is hardly any space left between Mumbai and lonavala as all along the road there are high rise apartments. There is no end to human greed.

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    1. That is so true, Sabyasachi and so sad too: Everything that was once an open flourishing space... these days is nothing but a reduced mass of concrete!

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  16. Very good travel article & great picture gallery.

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  17. Thank you @ALL for your encouragind feedback and kind words of appreciation - I am so glad you liked the pictures. There is more coming up - hope to see you all along the journey! :) Stick along!!

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  18. You have a good sense of writing which makes your information and images all the more captivating.

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  19. Nice pics, Arti.
    I remember taking this expressway long back (9 years back, I guess) the other way tho' from Pune to Mumbai. :) I have no pictures but it was early morning drive and it was really good. :)

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  20. A road trip is always exciting and contemplative together.... loved the way you have described it along with the pics Arti ....

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  21. Hello Arti'

    very nice post and beautiful pics...........thanks for sharing this...

    From-
    amulsharma

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  22. Nice account Arti with pictures...like that monkey... :-D

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  23. I loved the pic of Ganesha in your car. And this seems like a wonderful path for a road trip! Lovely view :-)

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  24. You've effortlessly reminded me of my own road trip on this highway, Arti.
    Lest the fact that I did take the detour to Lonavala... :)
    Nicely captured...

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  25. Been there! Nice reading this, Arti :)

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  26. Very good informative article Arti :)

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  27. Hi Arti,

    I enjoyed seeing your lovely photos of your trip - always great to see a little of your Country and thanks for sharing.
    Hope you are enjoying your week
    hugs
    Carolyn

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  28. The best part of going to Mumbai while i was in pune was driving on this gorgeous road. You brought back the memories :)

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  29. I have heard about this place Pune. It has many beautiful sights and amazing sea beaches. I will visit this place once.

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  30. The Mumbai Pune Express is very good for driving. But other than that i have experienced the monkey one.
    Thanx for the article. Loved it. Also Happy New Year.

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  31. Nice pictures. Brought back good memories. I especially remember driving from Mumbai to Pune on a full moon night. Nice pictures.

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  32. Are u are #traveller with  passion for #photography?If yes then  travel [o] graphy gives you a chance to showcase your photographic talent.  Stand a chance to win Professional DSLR Camera & other exciting prizes!http://bit.ly/1EtS2E1

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  33. Almost 12 years ago when I used to travel this road, it was full of farms on both sides. Now there is just construction and real estate bill boards...

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  34. Sounds like an awesome drive and experience! Nice captures too, Arti. :)

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