Chatrapati Shivaji has always been an inspiration to us, so the vacation cannot get more exciting when you are actually visiting a site which tells a story of a heroic battle. Pavan khinda (originally known as Ghodkhinda) is located around 250kms from Pune and we had planned a weekend getaway around that place. We drove to “Jungle Resort” where we had our accommodation reserved. The package included accommodation, food and guided tours for a couple different places near the area.
Situated in the Sahyadris, Jungle resort is a quiet place off Amba Ghat. The keepers have preserved the natural habitat and the resort features variety of flora and wildlife.
We checked-in in the morning and went to visit a couple local places. The pristine temple of Ambeshwar and the neighboring forest made me fell in love with the place. A perfect place for meditation, Ambeshwar surroundings also provide a way to connect with nature.
We had a tour planned to Pawan Khind the following day. After breakfast, the guide showed us the vehicles in which we were supposed to travel. A 4×4 Mahindra with roof top seating arrangements made me feel like I was about to begin a hunting trip. It was raining heavily and but we still decided to sit on the roof and enjoy nature.
We made a pit stop in the western ghats and decided to do a small hike there through the lush green dense forest to get a feel of how Raje would have made his way to Vishalgad. Monsoon is the season of leeches and our guide had warned us about leech bites. Well, even that was an experience not worth missing, so we signed up for the hike. I found 3 leeches which made way into my shoes and one on my arm after the hike.
Tip: Salt usually helps to remove the stuck leach, but the blood will not clot after a leech bite. So it’s ok if some blood flows.. we have lots of blood in our system!
Completely drenched in rain, travelling for about an hour on a gravel road through the forests of the Sahyadris we reached the place where Baji Prabhu had put up an epic battle with the Mughals in the 17th century. Standing in front of the smarak I was thinking to myself, how difficult it could have been for handful of Marathas to halt the aggressive Mughal army. I was thinking how impressive a leader Chatrapati Shivaji could be to train such a heroic army of locals who had devoted their entire life for Swaraj.
[Video: PawanKhinda story narration by Tanaji, our driver, Language: Marathi]
[the audio vol in this video is low, so best heard with earphones]
The narration of the tale by our guide Tanaji took my emotions to another level. Completely immersed in the context, Tanaji was telling how Raje escaped from Panhalgad, how Baji Prabhu encountered Mughals in GhodKhinda and how he, until his last breath, fought tirelessly, with swords in both the hands until Raje reached Vishalgad. The heroic battle fought by Baji Prabhu purified GhodKinda and hence the locals started referring to it as the Pawan (pure) Khinda.
On our return journey, we stopped at a local village to grab lunch. Home cooked food by the villagers was a nice treat to our city-trained taste buds.
The state of Maharashtra is rich with such epic tales. The regions have seen such battles, the forts tell hundreds of such stories on how Raje planned, executed and expanded his empire. Such field trips rekindle the interest in history. Pawankhinda is just one such place, but visiting such places is when we realize how great our leaders were and how they kept us safe.
Pune – Ambaghat : Takes about 4/5 hrs by road. (Pune -Satara Highway)
Jungle Resort: Place where we stayed. It offers 2day or 3 day package and the package includes food, accommodation and tours to nearby attractions. Food at the resort is spicy.
Must watch: Sunset in Ambaghat, Ambeshwar temple, Pawankhinda
If visiting during monsoon (June/July) be prepared for heavy rains and thunderstorms. Monsoon brings lot of leeches so be prepared for a leech bite. Usually salt helps removing the leech.
Pitstop near Amba: Shailesh Nursery (spread over massive 35 acres)