Thursday, August 18, 2011

Jawhar - 14th Aug 2011

"When you are an avid reader, you should read a bad book once in a while....
to know why it is bad, and the others are good"

It was a long weekend, and after a pretty long time too!! As usual the tube took some time to light up and by then most of the places were already booked. Jawhar was on my mind for quite some time, and it appearing on the '52 weekend getaways from Mumbai' on Outlook Traveller flavoured the temptation a bit more. All hotels I called up in Jawhar were already booked and after lotta searching on the net, got the number of a Hotel Rajmahal and thankfully it was online booking though. Not having a menu of many choices, transferred money to Mr. V.K.Karbhari's (the owner) account to book the room. So I was finally going!!

Hotel Raj Mahal
 Wanted to do this the raw way, so got up early and caught the ST (State Transport) bus for Jawhar at 7:00 am. My non-fussy family didn't complain a bit. The ST was a 2 x 2 seater. No bookings for this bus, no queues either, when the bus, throw your umbrella, bag inside from the window and book your seats...convenient, isn't it?

En route to Jawhar, after Wada, the scenery is beautiful, as is common on all hilly areas. The last stretch of the road was a bit bad. Natures' 'GO GREEN' posters were to be seen in all shades as the bus passed through rice fields, grassy stretches and forests. On the way, saw the boards of Sajan Nature club and Diwekarwadi (camping sites - Reached Jawhar around 10:30 and wasn't very difficult to locate the hotel as it is near to the bus stand, rather opposite to it. This hotel is an economical and a decent one with good enough service, considering the place. It started raining heavily, so we didn't get much of a chance to venture out. Finally at 4:00 pm, we braved our umbrellas and walked towards Hanuman Point. Have to mention that the town of Jawhar is one filthy place, shitty in the true sense of the word. The only compensation was that my nephew hadn't seen a pig before and got exited when he saw them...Oink...oink !!!
Hanuman Point is about 1-1.5 km away from Hotel RajMahal or from the bus stand. A Hanuman temple adorns the centre of the plateau and you can see the valley below and the vehicles snaking up and down the curvy roads. When we were leaving the plateau, fog was spreading its wings all over and in the distance we could see the Jai Vilas Palace in a blur.

Jai Veer Hanuman

View from the Hanuman point

Jai Vilas Palace from the Hanuman Point
The Jai Vilas Palace is about half a km from the Hanuman Point. You can easily miss the road to the palace. Now this is a nice place to be around and so is the walk to the palace. Coming down from the Hanuman Point, take a left at the forking road with a statue. Walk for about 5-7 minutes and keep looking to your left. A narrow pathway leads left, towards the forest as you leave the highway. This path is strewn with cashew trees, if you can recognise one. I was seeing a cashew tree for the first time. All along the path, you will be bewildered to see so many cashew trees and wonder how you can see them only here and not elsewhere in the town. Walking for around 15 minutes in the midst of the trees, you suddenly see the crest of the Jai Niwas Palace. With permission from the caretakers you can walk in and along the boundaries of the palace. With a little bakshish, you can have a guided tour inside too. The guide shows you the darbar, the tribal king and queens' photos, sketches the King Mukne made himself, the tiger he hunted down, his kids room with the wooden toys, a telescope, the verandahs, the visitors room etc. The palace was leaking badly from the inside. However, from the outside, it looks nice, simple and royal. As you walk to the rear of the palace, you get to see a beautiful view of the valley below and in the distance you can see the peak of a trekking destination (dunno which mountain, but I have seen its pic somewhere for sure). 
Kaju Tree

Road to Jai Nivas Palace

Jai Nivas Palace

Jai Nivas Palace

Jai Nivas Palace

View of the valley from the Jai Nivas Palace

The only other point in Jawhar is the Sunset point which is about 1 km from the bus stand in the opposite direction of the Hanuman point. As I said before, the road leading to the points are filthy. From the Sunset point, you can watch a river gushing below and I can only imagine that it will really be beautiful to watch the sun go down here, but since it was a cloudy day, wasn't lucky to see the phenomena.

Though I enjoyed the break from Mumbai, I would definitely think twice before going back to Jawhar. Surprising that this place features in Maharashtra Tourisms' website as well!! Government...government...Anna Hazare aage badho...hum tumhare saath hai!!!

Jawhar for the travellers
  • Regular ST buses go from Thane (almost every hour), Nasik, Pune also I guess
  • Local transport - Rickshaws, Jeeps
  • Places to visit in Jawhar - Hanuman Point, Sunset Point, Jai Vilas Palace, Warli exhibition (near Sunset Point)
  • Places near Jawhar  - Dabhosa (Dabdaba falls) 18 km away, Bhupatgad fort (find info on the net), Kohoj  Hill fort (find info on the net)
  • Other camping destinations near Jawhar - Sajan Nature Club, Doctors Farm, Divekarwadi
  • Accomodation - Sunset Resort (near Sunset Point), Hotel Pushpanjali (near Sunset Resort), Hotel RajMahal (near ST stand)