Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kamshet - a quiet time by Uksan Lake

18th Apr 2014

Camping by the Uksan lake

And finally! Yes finally I pitched my tent in the outdoors for the first time. It was a great feeling assembling it in not more than 15 minutes. The location was much more than apt. Under the shade of a swaying tree, by the clear rippling waters of the lake, with a view of the distant mountains, watching the odd egret takeoff from the serene water surface and not a soul to bother; our camping stint was more than a success.

Kamshet is a small hidden village on the way to Pune from Mumbai after crossing Lonavala, to the left of the old Mumbai Expressway. It is a peaceful getaway from the city humdrum if you prefer lazing in a hammock, reading a book by a water body, taking a short walk into the forest, waking up to the chirping of the birds. As you leave the highway behind, you are welcomed by the Indrayani River to your left. Getting through the market place would pose to be a small hurdle as cars and bikes are parked like stray cows and disorganization seems to be the only organized way as people walking in the middle of the road turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to your presence. Once through the market place, lined sugarcane fields welcome you, grazing cows give you an uninterested look, thatched huts sing of the village folklore, flock of sheep are being lazily disciplined by the shepherd, bullock carts carrying loads of sugarcane throw open a canvas of the true village life and what it does is bring a joyous smile to your lips.

Uksan Lake
Uksan Lake
Our destination was Uksan lake for the day. You need to ask for the road to Govitri or the Nane road. It is around 10 kms from the Kamshet marketplace. It is actually a small dam with a secluded, clean and placid lake. Some beautiful bungalows are built around it. Even in the summer heat, a cool and refreshing breeze didn’t make us feel the heat. Some beautiful bungalows are built on the periphery of the lake. Other than these, there is accommodation available for travelers like the Native place and adventure facilitators like Nirvana who offer paragliding activities. A walking excursion by the lake or the nearby forest should be a good adventure affair. The lakes’ water is very clean.

Kondeshwar Temple
A little before you reach Uksan lake, a road leads to the left which takes you to Jambivali village and Kondeshwar temple. This is an old Shiva temple and behind the temple is a clearing in the forest which is a good picnic spot and also gives access to a waterfall and some small ponds. From here you get a panoramic view of the forests and the nearby Dhak Bahiri mountain which also is a trekkers delight. The temple was on my itinerary but due to time constraints could not make it.

Soaring in the skies
Kamshet is known for other reasons too! If your desire is to soar like an eagle, with your heart pumping wildly and yet enjoying the sights below, to feel the power of the wind as you cut through it, to have a birds’ eye view of the landscape; all you need to do is land up at one of the paragliding adventure homes here, Nirvana or Native place being one of them. For a ten minute tandem ride in the skies, it would cost you INR 3000. There are accommodation facilities too but they cost extra. We were unlucky not to see any gliders or maybe were at the wrong place. The forests of Kamshet would definitely be a birders paradise too since we heard different calls and hoots from the winged fancies.

Places nearby:
  • The hill stations of Lonavala and Khandala are not very far.
  • The famous Karla, Bhaja and Bedsa Buddhist caves are at short accessible distances (by a vehicle of course)
  • The visually mesmerizing Pawana Lake and Valvan dam are nearby too.
  • There are many trekking options. The Forts of Tung, Tikona, Lohagad and Visapur are on different sides of the Pawana Lake. Dhak Bahiri is another option.

 Some more photos
Placid waters of the lake

The next drifting wanderer

Enjoying the fresh breeze

Some meditation by the peaceful waters

Sandwich time