Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gargoti- Mineral Museum

Gargoti is the only museum in the country which houses such a vast collection of crystalline minerals; is owned privately and is conceived by Mr.K.C.Pandey, an enthusiast who has been collecting from last 30 years.

The Museum is set in a beautiful, fully airconditioned building and is a must-visit location for all those who love nature. The museum is divided into two galleries- Minerals from the Deccan Plateau and The Prestige Gallery displaying the best national as well as international stones.

How to Reach and Visit timings:
It is located on pune Nashik Highway, approx 25Kms before Nashik in MIDC area near Sinnar.

There are clear directions and Welcome Arch if you are travelling from Pune. Do check out recent timings. When I had visited back in 2007 this it was open 24 hours all days a week.

Can’t remember exactly but there was some 250/- ticket. It’s a guided tour the guide explains you in detail about all the rocks and where they are found.

Website: http://www.gargoti.com/

At its grand entrance we are welcomed by a tall statue of Mother India and there are two huge Ganpati statues, one in quartz and other in single jaipuri rock. The museum houses the collection of Zeolites and it said that some of the Zeolites are more precious than Diamonds.

There are various specimens of diamonds, cut stones, light green cubical apophyllite, crystals of yellow calcite, blue-green aquamarine and Punes own cavansite.

There are some stones which shine in dark while others are hidden like treasure inside rocks.

It amazing to see simple oval stones with varied designs from Narmada- called Narmade che Gote. A souvenir shop selling mineral specimen, necklaces and other decorative items is attached to the museum.

It’s simply amazing and worth visit this marvellous museum.

-December 26, 2007

Monday, August 10, 2009


Vairatgad is majestic fort and I would put it as mini Torna. King Bhoj of the Shilahar dynasty built Vairatgad in the 11th century. During Shivaji's period the fort was used only as a military station. Shivaji Maharaj conquered the Wai region and included Vairatgad and Pandavgad in his kingdom. The British captured it in 1818.

Way to reach from Pune -
1] Travel by NH-4 towards Satara, take a right turn towards Wai-Mahabaleshwar on NH-4. Just before Wai, take the left turn to Satara. The regular way is through place Wyajwadi/Vyajwadi which is 4Kms from the turn. But as per local the route is difficult.
2] 10 minutes away from Vyajwadi is Shankarwadi on the same road to Satara. 2-3 Kms muddy road leads to the base of the fort. This route is easy and takes around 1.5 hours to reach the top.

We started at 6.30 PM and had a heart breakfast at Ramprasad @ shirval. I just luv their vadapav. The beauty of Kolhapur Highway is mostly seen in Rains. Lush green fileds on both sides, Greay-white clouds blanketing the Mountain tops and you can zoom on the highway. Its a lovely and scenic drive. The locals a Vyajwadi guided us to Shanakarwadi and we took the turn.

From base you have to climb a steep adjoining mountain and reach the khind between the range connecting Vairatgad and the small hilltop. The climb is pretty steep and slippery. You can easily avoid the last climb as there is travesre to reach the khind. A road from Mhasve village joins here from other side.
You have to keep climbing and will come across 3 plateus. The view is awesome from here. The second Plateau has teak jungle and you have follow the trail to the third where small bushes start.

Once you reach the top you have to follow the right side trail. There are couple of water cisterns on the way. The trail ends at the flight of steps. A road from Vyajwadi joins here. You directly reach the top of the fort. Top of the fort is actually very small and there are remnants of old buildings. A hanuman temple welcome you and right across it is a huge pond.

At far end on the left is temple of Shiva from where you a get beauriful view of the road that you climbed. There are few more ponds in between both the temples.

A easy walk along the fortifications will take you the eastern cliff. From the top one can get a view of square'ish shaped Pandavgad across the plains, Dhom Dam, Wai town and Pachgani tableland. It takes approximately one hour to see the fort. We visited Mhasve Vadache and clicked the famous Banyan Tree pictures and turned back to NH4. Few minutes away we stopped at Virungala to have Thalpit. We returned back by 4PM.

Excursion- Mhasve Vadache
If you continue on Wai-Satara road you will reach Pachvad village which is around 4 Kms from Shankarnagar. The Road again meets NH4. From this turning point, follow the side lane road on right and take a right turn. 2-3 kms there’s again a right turn to Mhasve village. Before the village you will notice a rusty fenced compound with overgrown grass and huge Banyan trees spread across a large area. It is said that they cover an area of almost an acre. The main Banyan tree had decayed and fallen down but over year the offshoots have grown into new trees.


They say there’s another after the village ends but it is smaller. If only the local authority take care and promotes this it could be nice offbeat location to enjoy. A nice cozy park around this natural wonder with small dhaba or tea/coffee Vadpav stall will do wonders for this dotted village.

-August 8, 2009