I had travelled more that 60,000kms on my bullet. Some trips like during the Ride to Yamunotri I had covered around 2500kms. But this ride was different. I was riding with my dog – Mike to see if he can adjust to long distance travel.
Mike was a stray dog that I had adopted few months back. The total black colour of the pup just attracted me so much that I had to bring him home. During the first few months of nursing the pup all my travel plans were put to a halt. Soon the monsoon was coming. The best time of the year in Pune. I had to get out.
Panchgani was the best destination as it was just 110kms away. I had a Monday holiday so thats three days along with the weekend. This would give enough rest for Mike before we ride back home. I geared with up my Cramster riding gear and made Mike sit on the bike’s tank in front of me. Mike – ever since the day I got him was a very obedient kid. He always walked with me and knew what was right and wrong. This obedient kid just sat on the bike resting its back against me. I had put him on his bed on top of the tank which gave him a larger area to sleep.
Things I did while I was riding with my dog.
I consider myself to be more of a traveller than a tourist. I do not set tight deadlines during my journey. So when riding with my dog we took breaks at any good location and just sat there for a while. Enjoying the nature and taking in all the beauty it has to offer.
Puppies have very little bladder. So they cannot hold it when they have to go. I wasn’t keen on his whining first and he just peed all over me. From the next time I took breaks every 1hr and let him do this thing. Sometimes he might take a little longer to do this job but waiting was all I could do.
Mike ate whatever I ate. I did not carry any separate meal while riding with my dog. This helped me keep my bag light and also its a good practice for him. I do not believe in these dog foods. I’m a 80’s kid. I have seen dogs eat everything and still be very strong. These unnatural dog foods are just now being pumped into India in the last 5 years. They do more harm than any good. Whenever I ate roti and some curry, Mike will share just the roti. If its Pav Bhaji then just the Pav. The mirchi doesn’t suit his stomach unless its mutton.
Here I usually stay.
Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar are packed with great options for stay. Sadly most of them are costly. There are decent options too but hidden inside the streets. Luckily Airbnb helped me to discover one such place for the first time. Here is the link. Every since after that I would call them directly to book the place. This helped me avoid the taxes and other charges that I pay to Airbnb.
Here is the phone number of Ami De. Telling her that you got the reference from Rajendra and you might also get some discount. After riding with my dog when we arrived the room was ready. Its better to check before booking if they allow pets. This helps them be prepared and even give some help to keep the pet safe. I got a 2BHK apartment for reasonable price. The place had its own kitchen and two bathrooms. Mike was so excited to stretch his legs after the drive. His first job was to go into each and every corner of the room and familiarize himself with the place.
There was open area outside the apartment so it was easy for mike to get out and come whenever he needed. So now every place I go I have to check if its pet friendly.
Places that I saw.
Mahabaleshwar is made of red sand. So with it rains this creates a lot of mess. Wearing shoes is always advised. Taking Mike out to the points was not an option. He would just dirty himself. I had left him inside the house to rest. He was tucked inside the bed and was ready to sleep when we were about to leave.
The internet had a lot of suggestions for places to see in Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar. I am not keen when they say points. Its just a peak where it isn’t great. But then there was a place which changed my view about the points. Wilson point near Mahabaleshwar. May be it was because I had gone there during the perfect season. If it was any other time then may be all I would have seen would be dried up land and would be so interesting. I am happy that I went during the Monsoon.
Then the Lingmala falls on the way to Mahabaleshwar. The rain water which had gathered in the mountains created many water falls. But this one specially. It was perfect for taking bath as it was very low and deep. To reach the falls I had to take a deviation and drive down the hill to reach a parking area. After paying up entry fee of about Rs.20/- I ran down the stairs to reach the falls. The water was too cold and I had my camera gear. So I could not take a dip but I got to click some good time lapse and pictures.
Then I visited the Echo point just to have some strawberry cream. If you dint know, Mahabaleshwar is one the biggest places where Strawberry grows. And there is a shop near echo point where they sell the best strawberries. It is also a great point from where you can see the Panchgani Dam. I was reminded of the Jurassic Park when the fog covered the mountains.
There is also a hidden point called the Sydney point. Its located to a very popular hotel. I haven’t see many people visit this place. Whenever I have gone there I was usually alone there. This is a great place just to sit and chill. The view is great and the air is fresh.
Where not to eat.
Mapro Garden is a very hyped place. I never eat anytime I visit there. That being said its a place that I always visit. Just because its been nicely made with a great garden. Even though I was riding with my dog I did not feel comfortable taking him inside Mapro Garden. There are small restaurants which no one goes next to the Mapro garden. I choose these places because the service is faster there and the taste is great. I had some roti and veg curry and picked up some more rotis for Mike. He loved the warm rotis and just tore through them to finish his dinner. From the near by market I picked up milk packets. I can use them for the morning has Mike only has milk in the morning. Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar are very big towns. So you will get all that you need for your dog. There is no need to pack anything extra and increase your luggage.
All in all – riding with my dog was huge success. Mike understood what to expect and I know now how he reacts. We understand each other perfectly. It was trip that helped us bond. This was a mixed guide about my experience with Mike at Panchgani. Hope this helped. I am new to writing so please be a good critic and help me improve.
Thank you. Until next time.