Over the hills & far away
My journey on a bicycle to the Western Ghats of Maharashtra – Sahyadri ranges.
Maharashtra has one of the most beautiful and unique mountain ranges in the world, The Western Ghats the range is known as Sahyadri in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas. Geologic evidence indicates that they were formed during the break-up of the supercontinent of Gondwana some 150 million years ago.
We met the local people there, mingled with them, chatted with them, laughed with them, play with them and also at times cycled with them… not many cycle in these parts, but u will find occasional kids cycling in their villages.
The stay for the night was in a a small quaint village called Ambavane, where we met a small boy around 14 yrs , who kept curiously pestering us about the cycles we had.
I loved his pestering.
Surprisingly to us , he knew everything about cycles and how to maintain it etc. He boasted of having a 21-geared cycle and that he mends the puncture himself, since the next available cycle shop was 25kms down the Ghats. He made us feel comfortable in his village and served us the most delicious village cuisine.
Ashutosh is a small young village boy who lives in a small hamlet up in the mountain. He had a distinct permanent smile on his face and he made a distinct impact on us for sure.
We rode up and down the mountains and passed thru wonderful hamlets on the way.
It was a fulfilling ride, met many people of the hills, had the best food they served us, breathed the most clean and pure air and some fantastic aroma of the village cooking their meals on wood fire followed us.
Lots to learn from the people of the hills.
While cycling back into the city … the stark difference struck very hard – the angry faces, the screaming horns, the hurriedness, the smog, smell of burning rubber, the crowded dirty streets…
but with a hope of meeting some day , once again, the smiling Ashutosh … Over the hills & far Away.
– Prateek Deo
Trip date : 6th to 7th Feb 2021
Riding Kms in total : 200 kms
Route : Chembur(Mumbai) to Ambavane village ( near Amby valley)
via Khandala- Lonavala & INS Shivaji & back by the same route
Style of riding : Self supported cycling with 15kg luggage each in pannier bags
The team : Prateek Deo , Sonal Agarwal , Sumit Asrani
The word Ghat is explained by numerous Dravidian etymons such as the Tamil and Telugu gattu (hill and hill forest), Kannada gaati and ghatta (mountain range), Tulu gatta (hill or hillside), and ghattam in Malayalam (mountainous way, riverside and hairpin bends).
Ghat, a term used in the Indian subcontinent, depending on the context could either refer to a range of stepped-hill such as the Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats; or the series of steps leading down to a body of water or wharf, such bathing or cremation place along the banks of a river or pond, Ghats in Varanasi, Dhoby Ghaut or Aapravasi Ghat.Roads passing through ghats are called Ghat Roads.