Beyond Hinjewadi

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After a long time, we went for a ride to a destination we had not been to before. Our friend, Raja, has a one acre plot on top of a hill at Jawal.  Jawal in Marathi means close. And what helped is that there is a tar road going all the way to the top. At 35 km from my place, it is close, but not all that much. The route we chose took us via Sus, Nande, Chande, Ghotawade and Rihe. Must thank Google as we got less traffic. Quieter rides are enjoyable – and safer. Took a half an hour break for breakfast near Ghotawade. Caught up with Gajanand, an IT professional who works in Yerwada and stays at Pimple Gurav, who was also cycling in the vicinity.

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As you approach Hinjewadi from the Ghotawade side, you take a left near Dana Axles to take the Rihe road. What I liked about the road was the gradual climb – the good news being that the ride back will have some freewheeling. We reached the base of the hill by 0900 hrs. Our friend Giri looked at the hill – did some mental math – and decided that he will be late for his lunch appointment if he accompanies us to the top. Raja bhau had got along some seed balls for planting on the plot. The rest of us had no choice but to soldier on to the top. At the gate of the property, we were hoping we could get a lift to the plot. Alas! we were the only visitors that day. There is a jeep parked at the property by the developer, but that was out for some nursery related work. 

The road was semi-tarred. And the gradient averaged 10% plus. The funny thing about roads on hills is that the inclination increases as you reach the top. Possibly a function of how a hill erodes over time. So after cycling half way, we decided to walk the rest, cycles in hand. Was almost 1030 by the time we reached. The effort was rewarded as we were greeted by clouds at the summit. 

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Raja had got along a hundred seed balls – of a variety of trees. These were thrown around the plot – taking care to leave out a space where Raja wants to build his cottage.  The next day I met Neha Singh, who runs a foresting NGO, who had doubts about the efficacy of seedballs. She feels that digging a small hole with a stick – and plonking the seed in it is better. Or saplings for that matter. Hope to resolve the seedball dilemma in a few months – when Raja makes his next trip to the plot. There seemed to be a lot of crabs already making their home at the plot. A good idea would be to do some trenching which will help water retention. And help the crabs become more comfortable.

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The ride down was quite jarring. Hand muscles are the ones that get exercised quite a bit when you go downhill on such roads. We topped up our water bottles from a stream en route. The journey back was uneventful. Kamlesh, who had got his electric cycle along, must have enjoyed the ride a little more than the rest of us. Was home at 1330 hrs.

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