Page by Bill Coles, Visiting Scientist, GMRT
Email will be forwarded to me.
Pictures of the Scientific Dedication of GMRT
Group Photo .
If you really want to see the details try this
full resolution version.
What to do when you are not actually observing
The area around GMRT is excellent for bicycling. It is pretty flat,
there are lots of roads, and the traffic is light. Both the farming
areas and the forested areas are very attractive. Since it is often
warm, you might want to plan early morning and late afternoon rides.
Pay some attention to the time of darkness so you don't get caught
on the road without a light.
Map of roads and trails around GMRT.
There are many really good places to hike in the Sahyadri range around Pune and GMRT.
The guidebook "Trek the Sahyadris" by Harish Kapadia is very good and provides detailed
maps. Maps are a problem otherwise. Few of the people you ask will know how to get to
any of the trailheads without one of the maps in this book.
There are also a number of local hills that are easy to get to and provide a good view
The prominent hill a few km west of the GMRT center is Narayan Godt.
It is about 600 ft higher than GMRT itself and provides an outstanding
view of GMRT and the surrounding area. There is a very steep
band of rock near the top, but there is a good trail with steps cut
into the rock. You can make a return trip from GMRT in 2 hrs, using a
bicycle to reach the small temple at the base of the hill, but it is
better to allow 3 hrs and visit both peaks. Go north from the GMRT
entrance < 1km to the canal. Follow the canal road west 2 km just past
the road to W1 and cross the canal on a bridge. Follow the track north
to the small temple about 200 ft higher than the canal. Lock your bikes
near the temple and follow the path straight up the hill. It switchbacks
and crosses onto the top at the saddle between the two peaks. There are
(at least) three large cisterns cut into the rock at the top. The trail
is exposed to the south and can be very warm at midday. Try to go early or
late and take plenty of water to drink.
of GMRT from the east peak of Narayan godt.
of GMRT from the west peak of Narayan godt.
looking west from the west peak of Narayan godt.
the trail (down) Narayan godt.
The forts Torna and Rajgad south of Pune are extremely impressive. We have visited
Torna and will go to Rajgad if the opportunity occurs. The trail head is about 2 hrs
by jeep from Pune, so this is a full day expedition. The Torna trail is very
straightforward and the objective is always in sight. However it is a stiff
climb, and a bit exposed in places. You will need shoes with non-skid soles.
Allow about 2hrs up and 1.5 down. Take lots of water. You can easily spend 2 hrs
on top exploring the fort.
This is a very broad valley leading to a steep drop to the Konkan plain. However there
is a major highway going through the pass, which limits one's enthusiasm for the area.
There is said to be good hiking on either side, but it is something of a project to
get there. The drive is quite spectacular.
This is a relatively broad valley, somewhat like Malshej, but the road is really bad
and there is absolutely no traffic. It takes 2 hrs 10 min to get to the Nane Ghat from
GMRT by jeep. You will be pleased to get out of the jeep by that time. There is a public
bus to the village Ghatgar near the end of the road. From Ghatgar it is 3 km walk to the
edge. The drop is indeed impressive. Furthermore there is a trail down that has been used
for at least 1000 yrs, and shows signs of that in the form of caves and cisterns cut into
the rock. The area around the ghat is a broad bowl of alpine meadow. It is an excellent
place to walk in a kind of "Julie Andrews" style. You can choose where and
how far you want to walk and your objective is always in sight.
The bowl slopes gently upwards to the rim, which
is a 1000 m drop to the plains. Be careful in the fog. There are peaks to both north and
south which are mentioned in the guidebook, and look like good walks. However local
knowledge will be required. Go to Ghatgar and get a guide.
old path is really steep.
view north towards Malshej.
view south towards Bhimashankar.
Amboli ghat and Dhakoba and be seen clearly.
steep_hillside showing the denser vegetation. Most of the area
is more open.
view of the drop to the north of the pass.
The Amboli ghat and the peak Dhakoba to the south of the ghat are very fine walks.
The Amboli valley is much narrower than Malshej or Nane Ghat and more heavily forested.
There is little choice about walking, you have to follow a trail.
The trailhead is about 1.5 hrs by jeep west of GMRT. Get an early start if possible
as thunderheads may build up in the afternoon.
We did it in the monsoon season when water was pouring off Dhakoba all the time. The
book mentions a steep shortcut from the pass to Dhakoba. It is not passible in the wet,
and would only be feasible for experienced climbers in the dry. Take a jeep to the village
of Amboli and continue to the end of the road. There is a house at the road end, and the
man who lives there will guide you. He is good and a guide is very helpful. You will have
some trouble following the paths on Dhakoba without help because there are lots of them.
However if you get an early start and plan to spend the whole day, you can explore them
yourself. If you go alone during the rainy season take a compass and be sure you remember
the trails on the way up, because fog can set in very quickly.
The trails start at the road end and continues west. It climbs a
steep little cliff and then flattens out. There is a fork in the trail here.
The right branch goes to the pass (Amboli Ghat), and the left to Dhakoba.
The right hand trail climbs slowly and you will reach the pass in about 35 min.
The far side of the pass is very impressive. WIth a guide you can
shortcut to Dhakoba around the sidehill but if you are alone it would be better
to go back to the fork. Either way it will take about 2 hrs more to reach the
temple near the west end of Dhakoba. The top is quite flat with light bush and
lots of meadow. There is a good view to the south of Durga Killa from the temple.
You may well meet people hunting crabs on the top. (that's right, crabs)
The Amboli Ghat
The west face of the pass is really
steep in places.
Water pouring off the
east face of Dhakoba.
trail near the top of Dhakoba.
temple near the top of Dhakoba.
The food in the canteen is very good. Remember to purchase coupons at 11am tea time
or you will be begging the cooks for a free meal in a language you don't understand.
They are also willing to show you how to make certain dishes.
A cooking lesson in the canteen.