A bike pilgrimage to Trimbakeshwar and Shirdi
We've all been regular visitors to the shrine of Sai Baba in Shirdi. However, no one from our group -- KillersOnWheels -- had gone there on a bike.
So on November 14 last year we decided to go for it. Our group members: Hardik, Nitin, Rachit and me (Ajay).
After leaving from Mumbai early in the morning, we were soon cruising along the Ahmedabad highway at half past six.
The speed was set and the formation was decided. We rode for around 45-50 km at a stretch till we reached Wada after passing Manor; the route to Ahmedabad is an amazing stretch but can be a bit congested at times due to the high rate of carriers plying on them.
We stopped at Wada for snacks after which we headed towards Nashik road for our first planned stop -- Trimbakeshwar.
Photographs: Rachit, Ajay, Hardik, Nitin
The ride was quite exciting...
Riding towards Trimbakeshwar is quite exciting because the road is narrow and can be quite tricky and steep at points.
Rachit and I were leading with Hardik and Nitin following us. Certain parts of the journey were quite tricky and we even had to pull over to let other vehicles pass.
We were driving at the speed of 60-70 kmph till we reached Khodale Village. The road forks out here with one going to Nashik and the other to Jawahar. We waited in the hope of seeing Hardik and Nitin. As luck would have it the two musketeers were nowhere to be seen. All attempts to reach out to them over the phone proved futile. Over 45 minutes later Hardik showed up telling us that he had a puncture that had to be fixed.
Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve jyotirlingas
We then decided to ride non-stop all the way to Trimbakeshwar. The road from here on was wide and smooth though it was capable of throwing some surprises. Nonetheless within a couple of hours we reached Trimbakeshwar. This holy place is one of the 12 jyotirlingas (a special shrine where Lord Shiva is worshipped).
By 1pm we finished our visit to the temple and started looking out for a restaurant. After a short walk we came across one that served 'unlimited lunch' exactly what we were looking for. Rachit and Hardik ate their hearts out while Nitin and I stuck to eating rice plates.
From here we headed to our final destination -- Shirdi. We hit the Nashik Highway and had crossed just over ten km when it started drizzling. We kept riding till we had no choice left and pulled over.
We did not cross 40 kmph...
When we resumed, we did not cross 40 kmph because the road was wet and we were venturing city limits.
It must've been 3.30 pm and were hoping to reach Sinnar by 5 pm so we wouldn't have to drive the last few miles in the dark.
We were 2 km away from Sinnar when we discovered that Rachit was missing. The man wasn't answering his phone and Hardik decided to ride back 3 km to look out for him. When Rachit finally answered his phone he told us he had gone way ahead and was just about 11 km away from Shirdi.
Meanwhile we still had 55 km to go and there were just about 35 minutes before sunset. We drove as fast as we could and caught up with Rachit who was waiting for us -- just about 11 km away from our final destination.
By 7pm we reached Shirdi and immediately went looking for a hotel to stay, a task that was quite difficult because the decent ones were quite expensive.
A good Samaritan approached us and pointed to a hotel called Sai Chaitanya that is run by a hospitable woman. We spent the night there and planned the temple visit for next morning.
We stopped quite a few times to take pictures
We woke up the next day and immediately headed for the temple after a quick bath. Thankfully we were out of the place in about 40 minutes -- a feat because sometimes it takes hours to just get a glimpse of the shrine.
After a quick bite we decided to rest because there was a long ride ahead.
Next morning at 10 am we cleaned our bikes, had a heavy breakfast and resumed our journey back home.
The plan was to visit the military museum and a few places of historical importance in Ahmednagar on our way. As luck would have it, the museum was closed.
We hit the road again and because it was fairly straight road we managed to touch top speeds on our bikes. The drive on this road is also very scenic and we even stopped at a few places to take a few pictures.
We entered the Kalyan-Mumbai road and rode up to Alephata (Junnar) on a non-stop rage. We were hoping to reach Mashej Ghat as soon as possible but couldn't stop ourselves from taking pictures and so pulled over quite a few times.
Riding into the fog
Mashej Ghat is a beautiful place with imposing hills. When we reached there the fog had covered the entire place making it look like something out of this world.
After we crossed the Ghat, we stopped at Tokavde to grab a meal. We still had over 100 km to cover before we reached Mumbai though it was getting to be quite dark and was raining too.
Nonetheless we hit the road once again and refilled our bikes once we reached Kalyan. From there on it was familiar turf and we reached home and felt quite happy to have completed the trip successfully.
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