Satara (Sajjangarh, Thoseghar, Chalkewadi and Tapola)

In the long weekend of 2nd Oct we decided to go nearby places which we haven’t been to yet. Satara is a district close to Pune but was mostly overlooked by us when planning for any vacation with old age adage that paas mein hi toh hai, kabhi bhi dekh lenge (it is close we can visit any time). So this time I planned to explore places around it. I chalked out itinerary to visit Satara, Tapola and Raigarh. Satara is a town and around it are a Sajjangarh fort, Thoseghar waterfall and a huge wind-farm Chalkewadi. Tapola is located at backwaters of Shivaji Sagar lake formed by Koyna dam. This backwater is 70 km long and Tapola is almost at the tip, 30 kms from Mahabaleshwar. Raigarh is the fort which was Shivaji’s palace where he was anointed as Chatrapati or King of “Hindavi Swaraj”.

Rolling hills on the way to Sajjangarh, Thoseghar, Chalkewadi

Rolling hills on the way to Sajjangarh, Thoseghar, Chalkewadi

On the first day, we started for Satara in the morning by 9:30 AM and comfortably reached our hotel by 1:00PM. After lunch we set out to explore the sights. Sajjangarh, Thoseghar and Chalkewadi are on same road around 25-30 km from Satara which was very convenient. The drive was very enjoyable with gentle ghats and rolling hills, greenery and view of valley right after monsoon.

We passed by Sajjangarh, Thoseghar and straight went to Chalkewadi to check it out first. I wasn’t expecting much but it turned out to be quite something. After passing Chalkewadi village the windmills made their appearance. After climbing a little bad road we came to a plateau and then realized why this place finds its name in travel guide books. There are hundreds of windmills dotted on the landscape. We parked our car under a huge windmill which was making whooshing sound on even mild wind.

A huge windmill overlooking a valley

Several windmills dotting the landscape

Wild flowers on the plateau

The surrounding was quite pleasant with mild sun, breeze and small wild flowers. Its rare that we city folks find ourselves in such open surroundings, hear the sound of wind. I was not satisfied standing under a single windmill so drover a little further inside. There are no paved roads and surprisingly no one around. Look at some boards it seem some of the them belongs to TATA power. The place is quite photogenic if somebody can do justice to it.

Windmills up close

Only if we could hook up a wind mill on the cars!

In the interest of time and setting sun we left the place and came to Thoseghar waterfall. Its a narrow and tall waterfall and still had lot of water left. It has couple of streams creating a small pool at the bottom. One needs to climb down a little to get to the vantage point. After customary photos we left came back on the road.

Thoseghar fall with a pool at the bottom

The main stream

another stream and the valley

There was a local tea stall selling “gavti” means “grass” tea. Its a special herb tea which was quite refreshing. After that we left for Sajjangarh and was hoping to catch sunset from the fort. The fort sits on top of a hill and could be viewed from same level from adjacent hills. From parking its a small climb to the entrance. The fort is home to Swami Samarth Teerth and has a temple, ashram, pupils and proper Deeksha kendra. Beyond the temple precincts lies what I was looking for, the open space and view of the sunset. At the tip of the fort there is a Hanuman temple. The sun was about to set and we watched it in all the hues gently.

Sajjangarh from a distance

Main entrance

Sun rays at another gate

View of the Shivaji Sagar lake on sunset

Visitors soaking in the sunset

Sunset

Next day we started for Tapola. The route goes through interiors through gentle hills and winding roads and the drive is enjoyable. The famous Kaas plateau is also on this road. There was sizable crowd and long parking so we did not stop. We had visited Kaas plateau last year. We went past Kaas plateau and came to Kaas lake. Its a serene lake with clear water. Good place for picnic and splash water on each other.

Kaas lake

After spending some time we went beyond on the road which is a winding road. Soon we could see the backwaters of the Shivaji sagar lake. We stopped at several places to take in the view. The road has almost no vehicle.

Kaas-Tapola road

Lake view on Kaas-Tapola road

We reached our resort which is on the edge of the lake. The lake shore is dotted with resorts which also provide water sports activity and have cottage or tented accomodation. We had opted for a tented accommodation which was decent. After lunch went for water sports. The have provision for water scooter, kayaking, paddle boat and motor launch. I tried kayaking and went a little deep. The water is gentle and calm and it was nice being in the middle of the lake holding still. Life jackets are provided.

Backwater at Tapola

Kayaking at Tapola

Ride on motorboat is also available

Dark clouds engulf Tapola

In the evening it started raining which played a little spoilsport. I was looking forward to view the sky from this clean surroundings but alas. I made certain enquiry and figured that Pratapgarh fort is doable in couple of hours while going to Raigarh fort. It is around 15 km from Mahabaleshwar towards Raigarh. So, next days plan was fixed.

10 Comments

  • Archana Ravichander says:

    Roopesh,

    Is October the best time to visit these places? I feel so from your pics and description! The place looks cleanly washed and ready for visitors to come and see its true form!
    I have not seen windmill farms in India, though I have heard about it a lot these days. But I have seen places near Bangalore (That is where I live) where they manufacture windmill parts in bulk!
    However, I did get a chance to visit one farm near Amsterdam where they have several small and big windmills installed and used for various purposes.

    Chalkewadi looks really photogenic, the Thoseghar falls looks awesome too.

    Thanks for touring us here.

    Best,
    Archana

    • Roopesh says:

      Hi Archana,

      Late & post-monsoon is the best time to visit these places or for that matter entire western Maharashtra. Monsoon would be too wet and inconvenient but if you could brave it has its own charm. I am novice in photography so imagine what a better photographer would do justice to the place. Wait for the next post for more photogenic location!

  • Uday Baxi says:

    Dear Roopesh

    A very nice post. I liked the kayaking part. You had really gone some deep in the lake.

    I generally flip in the water whenever attempted at it.

    Regards

    • Roopesh says:

      Hi Uday,

      Thanks for comments. Even I was afraid a little initially as I don’t know swimming but as water was calm and wearing a life jacket, I could go deep.

  • Venkat says:

    Roopesh, thanks for transporting us live to beautiful Maharashtra. Sajjangad, Thoseghar, Tapola all look so photogenic in your log. Your car looks stunning in beige, contrasting the green backdrop of Chalkewadi. The places look awesome in your snaps. Like Archana, I too would like to know are the post-monsoon months of Sept & Oct ideal to visit these places. Also, would like to know about the staying options in and around Satara, Mahabaleshwar & Tapola. Would be nice if you provide info. on the places you stayed in with regards to budget, safety etc.

    • Roopesh says:

      Hi Venkat,
      Late & post-monsoon Sep-Oct is the time to visit these places. There are plenty of options in all the places. Satara has few hotels as its not a tourist location per se. We stayed at hotel Rajtara which was ok. Mahabaleshwar has plenty of options, you can refer to TripAdvisor. At Tapola, we stayed at Tapola River Camp which was also ok.

  • Naresh Sehgal says:

    Hi Roopesh,
    Nice informative post. Pictures are full of greenery and natural beauty and are very captivating. Location is little unknown to many. Thanks for making it familiar with fellow ghumakkars through this post.

  • Arun says:

    Nice post supported by lovely pics.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Long time Roopesh.

    I did Mumbai – Pune – Tarkarli (just shy of Goa) during mid August by road since everyone said that Monsoons is the time. Aug was right since it was not in the middle of Ghats-Monsoon but not too late as well, and it went well. It needed much less of bravery then what you took us during your coastal Andhra trip leading to Bastar.

    Here’s a link for others, assuming my comment is instigative enough to warrant a read
    http://www.ghumakkar.com/bastar-chhattisgarh/

    The pics remind me of our journey, what soothing scenery all through the drive. Not a lot has been written about these gems so it was heartening to read this. On to next part now.

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