Panchgani - A late evening ride

After making several rounds of Khandala ghat, it was time to head somewhere south. The next destination on the list was Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. A place well known for breathtaking vistas and strawberries. The former would make you fall on your knees and beg for several wishes to be granted. I'll try to resist those until the monsoons set in. But the latter was making big news (even on national TV). With record growth of strawberries this season, farmers were distributing them to visitors for free. They were even inviting visitors into their farms, and letting them pluck the strawberries of their choice and feast on them.

I'm no strawberry fan, and I was lucky enough to have made it to Panchgani just before the crowds flocked in. The ride was again on a weekday. I made it to Tableland just on time for a sunset. However, a thick layer of clouds blocked the sun's view.

I was too eager to try out some low light and night photography. Being a weekday (wednesday, to be frank) Tableland was empty!. Just a few groups here and there, who were just about to depart as they day folded. All the tongas and the jeeps were making their way back, and I was the sole guy heading deep into the open flatlands.

I spent a few hours at Tableland, trying to capture some good shots every now and then. However, strong winds and dust storms forced me to retreat. I had started off directly from office and had come unprepared for such weather conditions. I had the wrong jacket and my helmet had the wrong visor. After gazing the sky for sometime, I went to Mapro to have dinner. After a round of veg sandwich and icecream, I decided to head back.

Well, as usual. I couldn't. Not so soon. It was around 9pm and the sky looked fantastic. I headed to Harrison's foley, which again had no one. The views from here were breathtaking. The stars were shining bright and the moon had an orange tint. I spent 30 more minutes lying down on my bike watching towns below with little gleaming lights, and some sparse vehicles making their way down the ghat.

The ride down the ghat at night, with very little traffic felt really good. I was soon dashing my way back home, cruising on triple digit figures through Khambatki tunnel. The weather and the winds felt just right. At around 11pm I was home. It was time to hit the sack and head to work the next day.

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