I got up around 7.30 am. The weather was as it was expected to be. It was raining. But it was not that foggy that time.
Our plan for the day was to go to Kaas Plateu. But given the brake related issue of the vehicle and weather, I was not sure whether to undertake that trip. So, I decided not to disturb sleep of wife and daughter. The idea was, once they got up, we would take call depending upon the situation.
I spent couple of hours sitting in the verandah with few cups of tea enjoying the rain and the wind. Wife and daughter They got up around 9.30 am. By that time weather has become foggier.
So, we decided not to go for Kaas Plateu. Instead of that, we planned to few nearby attractions. The idea was to shorten the driving time and spending more time in the resort and enjoying the weather.
We finally went out at 1.15 pm. The destination was Lingmala waterfall.
The Mahabaleshwar-Satara road was full of potholes/craters. It could have been hardly called a road. It was wrapped by thick cover of fog.
After going few kilometers, we left Mahabaleshwar-Satara road and took left turn for Lingmala waterfall. It is easy to identify the turn because there was a signboard on Mahabaleshwar-Satara road showing the direction. The road was narrow but surface condition was quite good. There was thick vegetation on both side of the road.
This road actually connects Mahabaleshwar-Satara road and Panchgani-Mahabaleshwar road like a third arm of a triangle.
Yesterday, while we were coming to Mahabaleshwar, Google Map was advising to take this road. Had we taken this road, our distance would have been shorter by few kilometers. However, we had decided not to take this road and stuck to the main road. This road was through the woods and therefore did not have any street light. There WAS no habitation along this road, no vehicles used to pass through this road in night. There would have been no one to help us had we taken this and subsequently faced any problem.
Lingmala waterfall was not exactly on this road. There was an entry gate on the road for Lingmala waterfall. One has to park the vehicle near that entry gate and then has to walk a bit to see the waterfall. For visiting the waterfall, one has to buy ticket at the entry gate which costs Rs. 20/- per person.
Though there was no designated parking zone adjacent to the entry gate, the road was quite wide near the gate and therefore, offered enough parking space for the visiting vehicles. We parked our car on the opposite side of the road, bought the tickets and started walking for the waterfall. It was 2 pm by then.
Initially, it was a downward walk. The walking track was well-paved.
After around 5 minutes; walk, we reached near a stream. It was decently wide but shallow. Waterflow appeared to be forceful. There was a narrow bridge on the stream. There were paved walking paths on both sides of the water stream in forward direction. We were bit confused whether to remain at the same side of the stream and cross it. There was a tea-seller there. We asked him about which track to take. He told that the track on the other side of the stream would led to the view point for the main waterfall. The track on the same side of the stream would lead to a smaller waterfall.
We decided to go for the view point of the main fall first. So, after taking few photos of the bridge and the stream, we crossed the bridge and continued our walk.
Initially, the track was horizontal along the bank of the stream.
Then gradual ascent started and the stream disappeared from our sight gradually.
On our right-hand side, there was steep hill and on the left-hand side, there was deep gorge. Multiple water streams were coming down from the hill on the other side of the gorge like silver ribbons. At multiple points of our walking path water was flowing across the path. Vegetation all around was fully blossomed. Hills on both the side were completely green. Mother nature was at her very best. We were living the moment.
After walking for around 15 minutes, we reached the view point. It was an uphill walk but not too steep and therefore enjoyable especially at that weather.
From the view point, Lingmala waterfall was looking magnificent. It was a three-stage waterfall with an overall height of 500 ft. Because of heavy downpour in Mahabaleshwar area in last two months, the waterfall was at its gushing best.
From the view point, Venna valley at was also visible albeit. It was bit hazy because of cloud covers.
We were there for around 10 minutes. By that time, rain did start. The valley as well as the waterfall went behind the cloud. So, we started our return. With the hindsight, I think that we were at the view point at nick of the time.
We came back to that bridge again and then took the walking trail along the other bank of the stream. After a walk for 2 minutes, we found a waterfall which is short in height but quite wide and gushing. A big water pool has been formed at the bottom of the waterfall. This is the point of origin of the Venna river.
Venna river is a tributary of Krishna river. Starting from Mahabaleshwar, it meets Krishna river at Sangam Mauli located in eastern part of Satara city.
The authorities have erected wire mesh along the pool in order to ensure no daredevil venture into the pool. The current there would be quite strong I guess. In fact, the walking trail has gone further forward but wire mesh has been erected on that path to so that nobody can go further. Later, I saw some photos on internet showing people in the pool. Probably, post monsoon, when force of water comes down, people are allowed to access the pool.
After spending some time there, we started walking back.
We came back to that bridge in few minutes. By that time, we were quite drenched. Because of the wind, we were finding the weather chillier than what it actually was. A cup of hot tea/coffee was must in that condition. The tea seller was still there. We took three cups of tea from him. Each cup of tea costed Rs. 20. The size of the cups were on smaller side. But given the weather, the price was well justified.
On enquiry he told us that the waterfall as well as Venna river got fed by Venna lake post monsoon. Typically, till March, waterflow continues. After that waterfall and the river dry up and thirstily wait for advent of monsoon.
While having tea, the child within me woke up all of a sudden. I decided to go down to the stream. My wife was vehemently opposing the idea. My daughter was tacitly supporting and encouraging me. She couldn’t take an explicit opposite stand of her mom for obvious reason.
The current of the stream was reasonably strong. However, I stayed within my limitation and did not venture beyond ankle deep water. With age, body has lost its flexibility. I was not sure whether I would be able to maintain balance if I ventured deep. I stood in the ankle-deep ice-cold water for few minutes, had a smoke, took some photographs and got photographed.
By the time we came back to the entry gate, it was 3 pm and we were feeling quite hungry. After getting into the vehicle, the first thing we did was to make us dry as possible using the towels. Then we searched for the restaurant “Little Italy” in Google Map about which I read some good reviews in Trip Advisor. Google Map managed to locate it. However, it could not convincingly guide us on whether we were required to come back to Mahabaleshwar-Satara road or we should move forward towards Mahabaleshwar-Panchagni road. We decided to move ahead towards Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani road. After few minutes, we realized that we were going in opposite direction. By that time, the road has become quite narrow and it was not possible to reverse the vehicle. So, we continued towards Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani road.
After driving for 10 minutes, we hit Mahabaleshwar-Panchgani road and took left turn towards Mahabaleshwar. After some time, we saw the restaurant “Garden Ice Cream” at the left side of the road. The restaurant also got good reviews in trip advisor. So, we decided to give it a shot parked our vehicle there. From the outside, we could not see any visitor inside and therefore became doubtful about availability of food at that time of the day. Then a waiter came out. He told that food was available.
The restaurant was quite spacious. It was neat and clean too. The sitting area was divided into two section. Since, there was no crowd, it was up to us where to sit. We chose a table in the outer section. In the inner section, there were few elderly local gentlemen, probably the owner and his friends and acquaintances. They were sitting around an oven and were taking warmth of burning coal in a chilling afternoon.
We ordered for Corn Pakoda, Chicken and Plain Rice. The service was reasonably fast. The taste was quite good especially that of Corn Pakoda. We enjoyed our lunch thoroughly.
Since our dresses were wet, we decided to head back to our hotel straightway from there.
Today the entry toll collection point was manned and we paid Rs 170 as entry tax. It would remain valid for 10 days.
Then we reached Venna lake. Venna Lake used to be a favourite spot in all our last visits. My wife and daughter used to enjoy boating and horse riding there. However, this time, both of them refused to get down from the vehicle on account of inclement weather. I got down alone to take some photos of the lake.
Venna lake was looking completely different from what it used to be during our previous visits. Water level was touching the rim. The colour of water was muddy. The bank on the other side of the lake was not visible because of clouds. At a distance, cloud and water had merged to form a singular texture.
We came back to Club Mahindra Sherwood around 5.30 pm. We spent the evening drinking coffee, followed by few pegs of Vodka and dinner. Sitting inside the room, we could hear the sound of gushing wind outside. I came out occasionally for smokes and realized that the Rain God was yet to be exhausted.