In these pandemic times when travel for a child is restricted, having a day filled with fun with nature without the worry of overcrowding becomes a blessing. We found this gem of a place after a suggestion from a dear friend last week. Nestled among acres of marigold and lilies in full bloom, teak trees and a variety of crops there is Mahur dam. The dam is situated next to Mahur village which is located in Purandhar Tehsil of Pune district in Maharashtra, India. It belongs to Desh or Paschim Maharashtra region. It is situated 25km away from Saswad and 45km away from Pune. It takes around 1 and a half hour from Pune. The roads are amazingly good barring the last 10 minutes or so. Mahur is a small village with a population of around 3000 with its own Gram Panchayat and School.
According to the history of this dam, this huge tract in the Western Ghats was, till the mid-1970s, was barren and untended. Even vast expanses of tended lands did not guarantee a harvest worth talking about. Then Vilasrao B Salunke, then a young engineer who owned a factory manufacturing precision instruments in Pune, stepped in. With the help of the villagers, Salunke not only brought water to the parched lands, but also instilled confidence and the will to survive among the people. He set up Gram Gaurav Pratisthan ( ggp ), a voluntary organisation, to prove a simple fact: success can be achieved with very little resources. Today, ggp is involved in 55 water harvesting projects in 25 villages of Pune. Mahur Dam is one of them.
We left Pune at around 10 am after a hearty and lazy breakfast and reached the dam at around 11:30 am. It was a beautiful day with clear blue sky and moderate temperature. We visited two parts of the dam. One which has direct entry point above the waterfall where there are various streams and clear water collections. You can relax here, dip your feet in the cool water or just wander around the place. Though there is no overcrowding here, it is by far not at all deserted. Villagers come with their sheep to graze; you may find a bunch of village kids playing around or villagers working in the nearby fields.
The second spot which is absolutely gorgeous (described by my daughter “as if in a movie”) is the Renuka (Mahurjai) Temple. It is situated right next to a waterfall. We had our packed lunch here while marvelling at its beauty. It is bit tricky reaching here since, there is no direct road from the dam and you need to go around the village chowk. The waterfall is surrounded by hills and sugarcane fields.
We left at around 3:30pm and reached back home at about 5pm. Since the road back home is through agricultural lands, you can find small pop up stalls on both the sides of the road by famers in the evening. They sell fresh produce like carrots, cabbages, leafy vegetables, papaya, chiku and guavas.
If you need to take a quick break from the hustle bustle of city life then this is one of my recommended places around Pune. We though are sure to visit again soon!
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