First part of this travelogue can be read at "trip-phase-i-bangalore-belgaum"
Early morning we reached Pune from Belgaum. I and Mukul realized, much to our consternation, there is no limit to being hospitable. Mani's Sister and brother came to pick us up from the bus stop. They themselves had reached Pune at around 3 am after teh marriage ceremony and now at 6 they are there to pick us up.
Uncle and Aunty (Mani's former landlords) boarded the Car and we took a rickshaw. We took the rickshaw directly to Mani's old family house. Uncle-Aunty would join us later. They had gone to Mani's other house. Here we freshened up and went downstairs. Hrishkesh (Pahadiram) was waiting along with his cousin 'Anirudha'. Hrishikesh had skipped Mani's reception party at Belgaum and had started from Belgaum early evening. So he had reached Pune almost 12 hours before us.
Anirudha is an architect by profession and for the rest of the day he and Hrishikesh were our guides and companions exploring Pune. It was there presence that made this leg of our trip more enjoyable. Just imagine I and Mukul roaming around Pune, the thought itself makes the plan so boring.
We boarded their Bikes and started for Sinhagadh. Ages ago in class 6 or 7 I had read about this fort of Shivaji. The name of the fort is in honour of Tanaji Malusare whose bravery and heroics fetched him the epithet of a Lion. He laid down his life in the battle famously known as the battle of Sinhagadh. I think I will try to blog that story some day. Our textbook noted that Shivaji on hearing the recapture of the fort at the cost of Tanaji's life uttered "Gadh aaya par Sinha gaya". In Marathi it is ""Gad ala pan Sinha gela".
On way to the fort we passed Khadakwasla. It's NDA area. Midway Hrishi's bike played tantrums. So Hrishi did a double ferry. First he dropped Mukul and me to the fort's doorstep and then went back to get Anirudha standing near the broken bike 8 kilometers down hill.
Once we reached the summit, we had refreshing butter-milk. The fort is in a very dilapidated condition; another pointer to our scant regard for history. Though Hrishi said the ASI is trying to beautify the place.
The view of Pune city was beautiful from atop the fort. Torana fort -another of Shivaji's forts- is also visible from Sinhagad. Though it being a peak summer season the place had a dreary dry look.
The highpoint of a visit to Sinhagad is the famous sweet water tank-the water so chilled, it can give you a shiver anytime of the year. In addition the curd vendors with their fresh and yummy yogurt stock , buttermilk, onion pakoda (Kaanda bhaaji) and Jzoonka-baakri (I am yet to come to term with the actual pronunciation). We tried all these things and can vouch for their taste and safety. Well I can do that because I have an ultra sensitive stomach and if I do not fall ill, the food is definitely good.
At peak sun we sat under a tree to finish the lunch and after recharging our internal batteries started for the journey downhill. On the way we had neera (date tree sap). Around 3pm we reached Hrishi's house and passed the high noon there. Incidentally his mamaji had sent Alphonso mangoes that day only. We tested those too. By five pm we reached our lodging place, picked our luggages to start onwards journey to Shirdi.
Lest I forget, we had in the meanwhile received numerous calls from Mani's sister urging us to visit their house. But we could not make it there. And anyway Mani had not reached Pune yet, so we decided, better next time.
At the bus stand we purchased tickets to Shirdi. The bus was at 6:45pm. We had an hour or so to explore the bus stand. We fooled around the place, purchased some snacks and came back to the bus depot. After sometime a dilapidated bus came to the Shirdi platform. We took our seats and tried to make ourselves as comfortable as possible.
Shirdi phase of the trip in here.