Unexplored Pabe Ghat – between Rajgad and Sinhagad
Pabe Ghat is perfect for bike road trip or weekend drive for Pune citizens. Relatively unexplored and hence untouched, it is refreshing drive providing great views and some fresh air.
Pune city is blessed with geography being surrounded by Sahyadri mountain range (Western Ghats). Hence a short drive in almost any direction, and you are bound to experience natural beauty. One such unexplored drive is to Pabe Ghat. Saddled between Sinhagad and Rajgad forts, it is a perfect trip during monsoon for Pune locals. Tourists generally throng the regular places like Mulshi, Lonavala and Sinhagad. But the real fun is to explore a place which not many people know about. Pabe Ghat is definitely one such place. The unexplored Ghat provides some breath-taking views of the lush-green Sahyadri mountains in full blossom during monsoon.
How we reached Pabe Ghat Viewing Point
We started at around 7:15 am and took the Sinhagad road. One can also take the NH-4 highway via Katraj but the drive via Sinhagad is more picturesque. Our group had some birding enthusiasts and hence the route gave an opportunity to spot birds. We took our first break at Khadakwasla where we had tea and packed breakfast, we carried with us. There are many Vada pav stalls here as well. The water level was quite low as monsoon had just started. Hence, some of us jumped into the reservoir waters. We spotted a Kingfisher and few Cormorants at Khadakwasla.
We soon passed the Donaje village and after driving for another 2-3 Kms we had to take a left which leads to Velhe. The landscape suddenly changed to numerous streams, green paddy fields and lot of hill peaks. Within next hour, we reached Pade khind from where we began our small hike to view point. There is small tea stall under huge canopy of tree and hard to miss sign board. Also, on weekend, you will be able to see some cars and bikes already parked here.
Trekking in Pabe Ghat
Our hike started from a small Shiv temple on our left. There is natural trail created by cattle and villagers and hence hard to miss. We followed the trail but were stumbled to see a cow blocking our way. But luckily, cow gave us way with some patience.
The trail took us through crests and troughs of few hills until we reached the highest point. The view point offered amazing views. We could see Velhe village and paddy fields on one side whereas the other side provided view of mighty Sahyadris. Rajgad fort gave us a sneak peek beyond the hills.
What a view, openness and fresh air we experienced!
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Endemic Orchid Variety in Pabe Ghat
On our trail, we observed beautiful white flowers spread all over hills. I had seen these for the first time. On further research, we figured out it belonged to Orchid Family. Its common name is Single leaved Habeneria. In Marathi, it is known as आषाढ हबेअमरी Ashadh habe-amri or चिचुरकांदा Chichurkand or चिकरकांदा Chikarkanda.
They typically grow in the open high altitudes. It is one of the first flowering herbs to appear at the onset of monsoons. Flowering: June-July.
Here are its botanical details:
Botanical name: Habenaria grandifloriformis
Family: Orchidaceae (Orchid family)
Road ahead to Madhe Ghat Waterfalls
We did not venture beyond Pabe Ghat hike but there is interesting road ahead. The road takes to a beautiful waterfall which drops for almost 400 feet. The waterfall is known as Madhe Ghat waterfall and it falls into the Shivthar River in Konkan. This drop, off the cliff, makes Madhe Ghat one of the most beautiful places around Pune. You can explore the area on the plateau and enjoy the stunning views of the Konkan valley from atop the plateau.
There is also a short hike through a ravine into the valley and you can reach right below the water falls. However, it is advised to be extremely cautious while wading through the water in the falls. Also, avoid hiking solo towards the waterfall.
Getting to Madhe Ghat
Hit the Mumbai-Bangalore highway (NH-4) towards Satara. At the Nasrapur Phata, take a right and follow the road to Velhe village and then to Kelad village. Alternatively, take the Khadakwasala Dam Road and continue on to Panshet Road at Donje Phata and then on to Pabe Ghat, Velhe village and finally to Kelad village. At Kelad village, you can park your vehicles and then the waterfall is just a short trek away!
Why Madhe Ghat is named Madhe Ghat.
There is a story why waterfalls is named “Madhe Ghat waterfalls”. Shivaji Maharaj had a brave warrior named Tanaji Malusare. He sacrificed his life while fighting a battle to recapture Fort Sinhagad (called as Fort Kondhana in those days). His corpse was carried as a Funeral Procession from Sinhagad to his village “Umarath” in Konkan through this Ghat. “Madha” in Marathi means a “Dead Body”. Hence, the name Madhe Ghat.
Travel tips for Pabe Ghat
- Please do not litter on Ghats. Please carry a bag and dump your used bottles and other items in it.
- There is HP petrol pump at Velhe village. You can fill your Tank and Check Tyre Pressures there.
- The road although concrete is not good in monsoons. Hence, drive safely.
- Carry some food + good amount of Water.
- In monsoon, carry windcheater and jacket as it can get windy and cold at the top.
- Be extremely cautious while hiking in the Pabe Ghat or Madhe Ghat waterfalls.
- The best time to visit Pabe Ghat and Madhe Ghat is monsoon (June to September). One can also visit here for star gazing during winter month. Although, there is no provision for campsite for overnight stay.