Omus’s Weblog

Politics, Trekking, Environment & Personal

Mahuli Fort, 29th December-2013 January 12, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — omus @ 11:10 am
Mahuli Fort

Mahuli Fort


Lord Bhairoji’s Tour of Rajasthan-17th to 19th Jan 2013 June 12, 2013

Rajasthan Tour-17th-18th-19th Jan 2013

Rajasthan Tour-17th-18th-19th Jan 2013

When: 17th, 18th & 19th January-2013

By: Travera

Total distance: ~ 1000 kms

Overall Road quality: Good. Best one is Agra-Bikaner highway. Average speed can be 60 km/hr



Maharastra religious Circle: 13th-14th April-2013 June 11, 2013

Maharastra- Religious Circle

Maharastra- Religious Circle

Dates: 5:00AM 13th April 2013 to 6PM 14th April 2013

Map Points: C: Shani Signapur ; D: Grishneswar/ Ellora Caves; E: Shirdi ; F: Trimbakeswar

Route: Airoli -> Pune Expressway -> Pune -> Ahmednagar -> Shani Shignapur -> Aurangabad -> Grishneswar (Ellora or Khultabad  -> Vaijapur -> Shirdi -> Nasik -> Trimbak -> Nasik -> Thane -> Airoli

Total distance: ~800 kms

Overall road quality: 80% was good to very good (~70-100km/hr); 10% was ok (40-70 km/hr) ; 10% was poor (<30 km/hr)

Vehicle: 7+1 Innova.

Toll paid: ~Rs. 500

Places Visited: Shani Shignapur, Grishneswar(one of the 12 Jyotir Ling) , Shirdi Sai baba temple , Triambakeswar (one of the 12 Jyotirling)

Other places of interest:

Mountain views along Pune expressway (Matheran, Lonalve); Old capital city of Daulatabad with its decaying forts & tombs; thousand years old Ellora caves, grape vineyards of Nasik.

Somewhat off route: Ajanta caves near Aurangabad.

To complete all these 3 days are must.

1)      Navi Mumbai – Pune via Expressway:

–          Toll of Rs. 165

–          Eateries/Toilets only near Toll gates

–          Cannot stop on expressway. So cannot really enjoy the scenic route.

–          Huge truck traffic.

–          Average speed: 80-90 km/hr

2)      Pune -> Ahmednagar -> Shani Shignapur:

–          4 lane divided highway, so average speed: 60-70 km/hr

–          The road are infested with Dhabas & eatery options. So eating, refreshing should not be a problem

–          Beware of surprise speed breakers

3)      Shani Signapur Temple:

–          It is the only temple dedicated to Lord Shani

–          Saturday are usually crowded & can take an hour to complete the temple rituals.

–          Oil, teel (sasam seeds) are usual offering to god. Oil is spread over god in an engineered fashion via small tanks & pumps.

–          I advise to take only oil, as other offerings are not allowed on god & so are kind of waste.

–          As the temple popularity is growing, some hotels, lodge etc. have mushroomed. Also have restaurants which serves mainly thalis & snacks.

–          Parking, Bathroom, toilet facility are available near the temple

–          Free shoe stand is also available

–          Beware of shops asking to keep shoes in their stand, as they charge a premium while selling other stuff.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES (but don’t expect high class standards)
Restaurants to eat YES (again don’t expect variety)
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist YES (again they are very dungy)
Shoe stand YES (free just near entrance)
Time taken <1 hr on usual days. Saturdays may take bit longer
Tourist guidance YES & NO. office is there, but officials may be missing
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Not sure
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 6/10.


4)      Shani Shignapur -> Aurangabad -> Daulatabad -> Grishneswar

–          4 lane divided highway, so average speed: 60-70 km/hr

–          The road are infested with Dhabas & eatery options. So eating, refreshing should not be a problem

–          Beware of surprise speed-breakers

5)      Grishneswar temple:

–          One of the 12 jyotirlings of Lord Shiva.

–          It is not as that crowded as other Jyotirlings

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES (but don’t expect high class standards)
Restaurants to eat YES (again don’t expect variety)
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist Did not find
Shoe stand NO (free just near entrance)
Time taken < 1 hr
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Not sure
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 3/10

–          The whole tourist circuit of Aurangabad, Daulatabad, Ajanta & Ellora caves & Grishneswar temple can take 2 days.

6)      Grisneswar -> Vaijapur -> Shirdi

–          SH-39 is kind of a patchy Village road

–          Average speed is like ~30 km/hr

–          Stretch especially between Grishneswar & Vaijapur is bad.

–          Hardly any dhaba or eating option

7)      Shirdi:

–          One of the most visited religious site in India & supposedly second most richest temple in India.

–          Number of visitors are increasingly exponentially year on year with increasing popularity of Sai Baba.

–          With this growth is coming chaos of typical Indian religious place. Number of hotels are exploding, restaurants are exploding & do the number of touts.

–          Bus stand is near temple & there are number of hotels to choose from within 2 km radius of the temple.

– A railway station has started in Shirdi & daily train from Mumbai is there. Also some long distance weekly connect it to various parts of the country. But still, road is preferred means to reach Shirdi. Buses connect with all major surrounding cities like Pune, Nasik, Mumbai, Thane, Surat etc.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay YES of all standards. If not booked online in one of the temple trust’s hostel, it’s worthless to try in real time, especially on peak day/ season.
Restaurants to eat YES. Plenty of options. Near Gate No 2, good looking options are there.
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist YES
Shoe stand/ Cloak room YES (Both near Gate No.2 of temple). Mobiles not allowed (deposit near gate No 2)
Time taken Anywhere from 1 hr to 6 hrs
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February)
Non Hindus entry Allowed.
Cautions –          Beware of touts thru out the town-          Worthless to take flowers, as it never reaches god-          Use shoe stand, instead of shops. They loot like anything.-          Bargain hard on purchases
Some tips –          Best time to go early morning or night-10PM (last) aarti-          Go on weekdays-          Free aarti is better than 300 Rs. aarti (My opinion)
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 5/10

8)      Shirdi -> Nasik -> Trimbak

–          2 lane highway

–          Average speed 40-50 km/hr

–          Passes through heart of Nasik. So all facilities available in tis route.

9)      Trimbak (Trimbkaeswar)

–          One of the Jyotirling & thus holds religious importance among Hindus. It is one of the three sites to hold world famous religious gathering of Kumbh Mela.

–          The village circles around a temple & a pond, supposedly birth place of Indian peninsula’s largest n longest River, Godavari.

–          The picturesque temple is surrounded by hills & give a hint of Kedarnath (in Uttaranchal) style location.

Parking Facility YES
Hotels to stay Basic. For better options, Nasik is the place to stay
Restaurants to eat YES , but Basic.
Toilets/bathrooms for day tourist Should be there near Pond (bathing place)
Shoe stand/ Cloak room YES (near entrance of the temple). Mobiles not allowed
Time taken Anywhere from 1 hr to 3 hrs. On festivals, it may take a day
Tourist guidance NO.
Best time to visit Monsoon or Winter (June to February). Monsoon will be very picturesque
Overall Tourist/Pilgrim friendly 5/10

10)   Nasik -> Thane -> navi Mumbai

–          Lovely 4 lane highway with dividers

–          Average speed: 60-70 km/hr

 Overall: the religious circle can be easily done in 2 days (except seasons n festivals). It can be clubbed with sight seeing in Aurangabad, Ellora caves, Ajanta caves to make it a complete 360 degree tour.



–          Respect people’s religious belief & traditions


A weekend trip to Alibag & Kashid…2nd & 3rd Feb 2013 February 5, 2013

Matru ka mandola at Kashid Beach

Matru ka mandola at Kashid Beach

Alibag is fort cum sea destination, just ~70 kms from Navi Mumbai’s Airoli. It is Mumbaikar’s THE destination for the weekend & holiday’s.

Kashid is again a sleepy, but beautiful beach town further south of Alibag & is perfect for a peaceful weekend.


Route (1): Mumbai or Navi Mumbai- Vashi- palm beach road-hit JNPT road (Uran Road)- Chimer- NH-17-Pen- Vadhkhal- (Alibag road) Poinad- Alibag-Kurul- Nagaon-Revdanda-Wandeli-Kashid

Approx driving time: 2/2.5 hours. Toll: two times: Rs 25+15

Alternate route (2): Mumab/Navi Mumbai- Thane Belapur road- Panvel expressway- Nh-17- Pen- Vadhkhal- (Alibag road) Poinad- Alibag-Kurul- Nagaon-Revdanda-Wandeli-Kashid

Approx driving time: 2.5/3 hrs Toll: Rs 25 + 15

Navi Mumbai to Alibag-Kashid

Navi Mumbai to Alibag-Kashid

Route-2 will have traffic for most of the part, so route-1 is a preferred route, as traffic will be least with some descent quality of roads, only exception being the 17kms stretch of NH-17, which frequently have traffic jams.

But for route-1, you need Google map app in your phone for guidance (or need to ask localites : very few in numbers), as there is hardly any civilisation is some 30 Kms stretch. Also guide boards are missing in critical junctions.

For route-1, it’s better to get all necessary supplies like water, light snacks & fuel for vehicle.

 Best & the most convenient way is own personal vehicle. Road is quite good for a bike trip as well.

– Public transport (buses) is few & not the best for a holiday mood. Trains are there only till Pen & so from there one has to hire taxi.

What to take along with you?

– Bathing/swimming costumes (with spares) for sea bath.

– Ball, volleyball, football for sea sports.

– Sun screen lotion for beauty conscious people

– Sunglasses, cap for style.

– Polythene for carrying wet clothes or saving valuable from getting wet.

– Extra polythene (in good numbers) to segregate your garbage

– Camera, money & some vacation spirit.


A sleepy town which gets hyperactive on weekends & holidays because of tourist traffic coming from Mumbai & Pune. There are two main attractions of the town: beach famous for sun set & fort which stands in middle of sea, but still is quite accessible by foot. Many Bollywood films have been shot here.

There are quite a number of hotels & resorts, but booking in peak season (& extended weekends) starts months before.

Facility available:

– Town has all that would be a needed a tourist town, but all in short supply.

– ATM, restaurants, hotels are there. Sanman restaurant is famous for local Malwani cuisine (fish is staple food)

– Public toilet & bathing facility is absent in beach

 What to do in town?

– It’s good for a day trip. Besides beach walk, one may enjoy a horse ride on beach (Rs 100 per person on sharing basis)

– Sunset is what Alibag is most visited for. So beach is crowded in evening.

– It has got few water sports option, but it’s not worth.

– In low tides, beach recess by some 2 kms, leaving wet solid sand, with photogenic sand patterns. This is when one can walk to fort Colaba.

– Fort Colaba is some 400 years old fort built by Marathas to defend against enemies coming from sea. It is some 1 km inside the sea & is assessable bare foot or by horse ride during low tides. The fort is worth spending few hours.

– Alibag beach water is not for bathing, first because of pollution & second because it is very silent. The sea got hardly any powerful waves coming.

– Magnetic observatory (2 kms from beach) is another place to visit, if time permits.

– If want to get away from crowded Alibag beach, just head north or south wards & you will get less crowded sea shore.

– Eat in Sanman restaurant, famous for Malwani cuisine. For non-vegetarians, sea food is must here.

 Alibag-Kashid stretch:

– Explore Revdanda fort

– Korlai fort

– Wandeli beach


Rocky part of Kashid Beach

Rocky part of Kashid Beach

– Just head 32 kms south of Alibag & you get a beautiful & very pleasant Kashid beach.

– The Alibag to Kashid stretch is dotted with sea resorts & sea facing hotels. Roads is descent, but only when it is not crowded.

– Kashid also gets filled up in weekends & holiday season. So booking in advance is good.

– Kashid has got relatively more options (& better) for stay, compared to Alibag, so it is better to do a night halt in Kashid, rather in Alibag.

– ATM is rare & credit cards mostly un-acceptable for obvious reasons.

– There are many beaches in Kashid & one can easily avoid the more crowded beach. The best one is one near Kashid Beach villa.

– We stayed in Sai krupa guest house (rating: 5/5), near Kashid beach Villa. It was neat & clean with excellent home-made food & service. They charged Rs 1200 for 5 people in one big room. It has got parking, hot water & eating facility. 

Hotel Sai krupa, Kashid

Hotel Sai krupa, Kashid

What to do in Kashid?

– Water sports, Bullock ride (Rs 100), Camel ride(Rs 100), Horse ride(Rs 100)…it’s all there on menu.

– Water sports like water bike, Banana ride (150per person) etc. are available.

– Dirt bikes are also available.

– Do Bargain all these sports & rides.

– Eat on local Malwani cuisine & sea food.

Further south of Kashid, is another beach resort called Murud, whose details will be given, once I visit. So till then happy vacation & safe journey.

OUR TRIP (2nd & 3rd Feb-2013):

Who all: Me, Manish, Ganesh, Abanish & Shivraju.

In? : Ganesh’s horse: Tata Indica

Trip Meter: ~250 kms.

Driving time: Saturday-4:00 pm to 6:30 pm: to reach Alibag. Then 8pm to 9:15 pm to reach Kashid.

– Night halt in Kashid (Hotel Sai krupa near Kashid beach Villa)

– Ate (not me) some mouth watering fish (Pomplet & kasturi) & Malwani thali.

– Next day played Beach volleyball (rented ball for Rs 50 per hour) for 3 hours & then bathing. The beach was neat & clean with relatively calm sea waves. Biggest advantage, it was less crowded & so very peaceful & neat.

– Lunched again on Malwani thali & started towards Mumbai by 2:30 PM. Reached our destination in Airoli by 5:30PM.

– Overall it was a very relaxing weekend with friends, with only one regret: I couldn’t avoid littering by my friends.

– Overall 8/10 to this vacation (would have been 10/10 had we not done littering). THANKS YOU friends, wish such more in future.

The troupe relaxing in Kashid

The troupe relaxing in Kashid


 1) Alibag is getting dirtier n dirtier because of our Littering habits. Please avoid littering. Segregate & use dustbin.

2) Roads are narrow with frequent patches, so drive responsibly

3) Boozing is okay, until you are on your own. Littering after boozing, creating nuisance is not a sign of a civilized person. Please avoid. It is a big problem in whole of this stretch.

4) Please respect local food, customs & traditions.



Agarwal Packers n Movers….a Review January 3, 2013

A snapshot of packing

A snapshot of packing

This blog is about my experience with Agarwal packers & movers.

Overall rating: 8/10. They may be costly, but it’s worth the house hold valuables.

My recommendations: Highly recommended

My shifting details:

–          From Bangalore to Navi Mumbai

–          Total expenses: Rs. 19000

–          Total baggage: 28

–          Major items: 32 inch LCD TV, Disassembled 5 X 3 feet TV stand, 6/4 disassembled bed, LPG Stove. So NO refrigerator, NO vehicle, NO washing machine, NO other valuable items.

–          7 days free storage in destination, there after Rs. 150 per day. If negotiate well, they can make this free as well.

–          My items remained in there (Navi Mumbai) go-down for 2 weeks

–          Customer service, call ratings: “Beyond my expectations”

–          Timely delivery. My items reached Navi Mumbai within 3 days.

I had done my research in internet for shifters. And so I had minimal expectations from all. From research, Agarwal packers got maximum thumps up from their customers, albeit just 30%. Rest all scored from 0-20%. So I decided to get quotes from top two: Agarwal packers & Leo packers. Both of them quoted more or less same (around 17K), so I decided to go for Agarwal packers (although marginally higher) & boy they at least did not disappoint.

–          Super packing, with special care for fragile items

–          Super 5 layer packing for Television (last one a wooden layer)

–          Synthetic packing all 28 items (see photo)

–          Well numbered, for easy tracking of items

–          Good team work, where each individual knew what they had to do.

–          Within 3 hours they had emptied my house while taking & also while delivering

Some cautions/advice to be taken for better service:

–          Talk politely & friendly. But do negotiate on quote.

–          Tell truth while asking for quotations. Don’t hide any item. They may trouble, if something major is found during packing & was not told.

–          Tips to shifters for some reason are expected.

–          Better do packing of dresses etc. on your own. They can kind of dump these items.

–          There are many fake shifters of same name (I found 3 on internet), so beware. Below is link of original:

–          Flammable items like match sticks etc., liquids which may spill are not allowed.

–          Give a thought while assigning insurance value to items. (3% of quote is compulsory. Further division of 3% amount is left to customer…so give a thought on division carefully)

Overall, I am very much satisfied with their service. Although a bit expensive, I still recommend it highly over others, as extra cost is worth the valuables you own.


Omus web Blog: 2012 in review January 2, 2013

Filed under: feedback — omus @ 12:44 pm
Tags: , , ,

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 68,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


NH4 or AH47…My Mumbai Entry December 26, 2012

On way to Mumabi fron Bangalore

NH4: Bangalore-Mumbai: Photo in Belgaum, Karnataka

This is the blog about my bike trip from Bangalore to Navi Mumbai via NH4, which recentlyhas been renamed as AH47 . The highwayconnects two metropolis city: Chennai & Mumbai.

My journey: Bangalore to Mumbai ( 12+ 6=18 hrs of biking).

Driving time: 12+6 =18 hrs.

Total distance: 950 kms

Bangalore to Mumbai is part of Golden Quadrilateral & so throughout it’s a 4 lane highway, with some exceptions. It is to be remembered, NH4 from Bangalore to Chennai is not part of Golden Quadrilateral, but nevertheless, that section of road is also superb, of which you can find more details in my blog:

Bangalore-Mumbai-NH4 route

Bangalore-Mumbai-NH4 route

Coming back to my journey from Bangalore to Mumbai on my Avenger 200cc, it has my personal record of travelling maximum distance in one day: ~750 kms from Bangalore to Satara. It took me 12.5 hrs. of driving from 5:30AM to 6:00PM.

I will describe the whole leg of journeys in sections:

DAY1: Bangalore to Satara (~750 kms-12.5 hrs.)

1)      Bangalore to Tumkur (~90kms-2 hrs.): With completion of expressway, once a hell road has turned into a sexy driving experience. But it’s best to drive early morning, when traffic is least. It’s not easy to exit for food or toilet or fuel.

2)      Tumkur to Chitradurga (~150kms:2.5 hrs.): Again a very sexy road with most part became or becoming 6 lane highway. Good thing is that the village section of the roads cemented on both sides, there-by increasing safety. Also good nos. of skywalks have been provided for pedestrians to cross the road.

3)      Chitradurga-Davengere-Ranebenur-Hubli (200kms-3.5hrs): Here some construction is going on, to convert to 6 lane or provide safe underpasses & so frequently service road turns into highway. Nevertheless, the service roads were also good enough to drive 40-50 kmph speed. Nearing Chitradurga, one can see miles of wind farms, a good site to see in India.

4)      Hubli- Belgaum (100 kms- 1.2 hrs): Hubli bypass is a 2 lane highway & got decent traffic because of industrial areas in & around. But once out, a very sexy cemented highway starts. One can easily zip on 100kmph. I was on outskirts of Belgaum around 2 pm (against my plan of 6pm). The new Karnataka assembly of Belgaum, is standing right on highway & is a sight to watch the majestic palace like building in middle of vast grassland. After having lunch & some rest, I started towards Kolhapur.


Karnataka assembly-Belgaum- right on NH4

5)      Belgaum to Kolhapur (~110kms-1.5 hrs.): Again most part of the 4 lane highway is cemented, allowing good speed. This is where my mobile went on roaming mode, as I crossed over to Maharashtra. Quality of road somewhat is somewhat inferior compared to that in Karnataka. Anyways I reached Kolhapur by 4:30PM. I was remembeing all that famous Kolhapuri: Chappal & veg Kolhapuri. I decided to continue towards Satara.


My lunch in a highway Rajasthani dhaba on a jute khatiya

6)      Kolhapur to Satara (~130kms-2 hrs.): I started from Kolhapur targeting to stretch till Pune. But as sun went down & heavy traffic on road, coupled with some inferior quality of road & drive fatigue, I decided to drive till Satara & stop for the day. I reached Satara by 6:15PM & stopped on a highway hotel (Raju hotel: Rs. 600 per night).

 DAY 2: Satara to Navi Mumbai (Nerul) (~220 kms-6 hrs)

7)      Satara to Pune (~100kms-2hrs): I started around 6:30AM, a foggy chilly morning in Satara. As I was close to my destination, with lot of time in hand, I decided to drive lazily & get some feel of Maharashtra. I was amazed to real estate development in & around Satara, which I think is because of Mumbai-Pune proximity effect. After having a heavy breakfast on Maharashtrian dish of Missal-Pav & Poha, I continued my journey & reached Pune around office going hours of 9 AM. I was expecting lot of traffic in Pune, but because of no signal on bypass, I zipped through the city & reached on other side of Pune by 10 AM.

8)      Pune to Nerul (Navi Mumbai) (~120kms-3.5hrs): Bikes are not allowed on Mumbai-Pune expressway & I had to stick to NH-4. But it turned out to be a good one, as there was hardly any traffic on road (as all traffic went to expressway). I would suggest all to drive on NH4, if speed driving is not the requirement + it saves lot of toll money. At some part quality of road is inferior & also some part is a 2 lane highway. Nevertheless, this is a picturesque part of the whole journey, with hills, tunnels to be crossed. I think, in my career of Biking, it’s first time I (personally) drove in a tunnel. There are 3 tunnels on way from Pune to Mumbai. Also one passes through the Bollywood made famous, “so called hill stations” of Matheran, Khandala, Lonavala. I reached Panvel, entry point of Navi Mumbai by 11:30AM. Now traffic starts getting worse here, with some bad roads & signals & some careless driving.

Most interesting part happened here, when I entered the expressway in Panvel, & then after entering 100 mtrs, there was a board reading “No-Entry” for 2 wheelers & living 4 wheelers. It was like putting ladies toilet board inside the toilet. Foolish authorities.

Like a long distance train slowing down just before the destination, I also decreased my speed to 20-30 kmph, as I had to search my way to Nerul. Finally I reached my friend’s house around 1:30PM & most interesting incident of my 950kms journey happened here. My bike won’t start in-front of entry on my friend’s housing complex. I had to pull my bike for last 60 meters ;-). GOD is indeed Humorous, but he is GREAT.THANK YOU GOD.

I will remember this journey for following reasons:

–          It marked my entry of Indian city of dreams, Mumbai.

–          My personal record of driving longest in a single day (750Kms surpassing 650Kms of Dec-2009)

–          When authorities give warning of “No-entry” after you have entered expressway…Ridiculous.

–          My bike won’t start & thus I had to pull it for last 60 meters of the journey. Thank God, it didnot happen in between the journey.

On a highway dhaba- near belgaum

On a highway dhaba- near belgaum

Cemented NH4..also seen is Belgaum's Karnataka assembly.

Cemented NH4..also seen is Belgaum’s Karnataka assembly.