When you reach the Khadakwasla dam from Pune city, most people typically take the route to the left, which goes on to Sinhagad or the Panshet dam, both lovely, must-do cycling destinations. However, to the right of the dam, is a far more scenic, backwaters route, perfect for an easy ride with no particular stopping point. Watch the video below where I cover this route, stopping at, “Bird Watch Point”, in a village named Sangrun.
Some quick stats, before we delve into the details of this route. The typical route length from the center of Pune along the backwaters to Mutha and back ~ 50-80km. Read on for some of the possible variations:
- Instead of returning the same way, take a right at Mutha, return via Chandani Chowk ~ 75km
- Or, at Mutha, head onwards to Lavasa for a one-way distance of ~ 70km
- Head on to Panshet dam, cross over, and return along the other side of the lake ~ 90km
Cycling along the backwaters is idyllic – roads are not too wide and in a good state of repair, there’s ample tree cover, and most importantly, not much traffic. This is in contrast with the road on the other side of the lake, a similarly scenic route, but with more motorized traffic to deal with, you’re also typically not as close to the water body as you are on this side.
You can try going off-road all along the route, but I haven’t had much success, as most of the paths closer to the lake can’t be ridden for too long, you either hit water or dense vegetation. Still, worth trying, and let me know if you find a good route, please!
The backwater route offers several stopping points, like the villages of Kudje, Mandvi, and the bird watching point at Sangrun. There are couple of climbs as well, like a truly superb climb to the Jarsheshwar temple. While riding, you’re either seeing the Khadakwasla lake on one side, or mountains on the other – saying this is a scenic route, especially during the monsoons, would be an understatement.