Koynanagar, a small town in the Satara district of Maharashtra is known for Koyna Dam. Koyna Dam is one of the largest dams in Maharashtra and the largest completed Hydroelectric power plant in India with a total capacity of 1960 MW. The Koyna Dam is built on the Koyna River that originates in the Sahyadri range of Mahabaleshwar. Connected by the now severely damaged Karad-Chiplun highway, Koynanagar is an oasis of peace. Let me take you through a pictorial journey to this charming location.
My readers must have already gone through my previous post on Maneri near here and by now can sense the surrounding beauty of the place. The hills, river and the dense green cover are the perfect combination to make any place extraordinary and in Koynanagar you find them all.
A visit just after the monsoon makes it even more appealing with the small to large waterfall gushing down from any point of the hills. This year the monsoon created havoc and this particular area suffered from severe flooding. There were major landslides too in the dam adjacent areas. The signs of landslides were visible in every part of the hills with the vegetation scraped off exposing the soft soil beneath. The signs were somewhere small somewhere large but every sign of landslides were equally dreadful sights.
The floods this year probably is the other reason to be blamed for the bad road conditions. The road conditions might have rattled our bones but the natural beauty has applied balm on them. My pictures will speak for the beauty themselves. While I would mention a particular spot that was the most remarkable of all.
All the spots here were immensely pleasing but Kumbharli Ghat deserves a special mention just because of the weather settings when we were there. We visited this mountain pass that cuts the mountain range of Western Ghats joining the district of Satara and Ratnagiri on two consecutive evenings and each had a different weather setting giving us the wonderful opportunity to experience the charm.
The first day when we were nearing Ghatmatha, Kumbharli Ghat, the clouds started forming all of a sudden after a bright clear day. By the time were reached there it was close to sunset and the sky was gearing up in pretty sunset hues as the clouds were refracting the rays in the best possible way to embellish the scene. It was an overly impressive sight and feel with the strong cool breeze howling in the background breaking the silence of the moment.
The valley below showed the thin strip of the river while the mountain ranges in the backdrop layered one after the other in a pretty setting and the sky above changed colour to add in warmth to the cool surroundings. We were the lone spectator of this lovely show and felt extremely blessed for that. There was a lonely shack selling tea and corn by the side of the road with this mesmerising view in its background. It was an evening to remember for a long long time.
Entry to Koyna Dam area was prohibited but there was an opening in between the trees on the road from where we got an excellent view of the dry dam. A drive for a few kilometres ahead brought us to Humbarli waterfalls and another unknown waterfall. Here the road was severely damaged and washed away in the landslide just as what people warned us before. They said the road ahead might be closed for outsiders sighting the landslide a few weeks back. We risked driving a little further ahead of this spot to see the beautiful Shivajisagar lake from Dimba Point in the Kamargaon area.
The clouds were gradually descending with an evil intention to empty themselves at distance and the frequent signs of landslides on the way made us a little unsure to continue ahead. So we decided to get back to the known road of Kumbharli Ghat that we visited the previous evening. As we reached the spot the sight was totally different from that we saw the previous day.
There were thick clouds above us and below there were mist and patches of clouds that were ascending from the valley floor. In a matter of a few minutes, we were covered in mist and clouds and the visibility got obscured. The cool mist was moistening our exposed body parts, we felt the need for a hot cuppa. The shack came to our rescue and we sipped into the hot cup of tea while watching nothing but the dense mist in action. (Read more about our experience in such misty weather in Malshej Ghat.)
After relishing the hot cuppa and some warm sweet corn, we decided to head back to our stay. Entering the bad road zone we slowed down and in no time the rain started in full force. The daylight was already fading and the severe downpour darkened the surrounding. It was a terrible show with lightning and thundershowers. Our headlight and the pair of wipers moving at full speed could not help in our visibility.
It was pouring like cats and dogs and the busy highway was not safe to stop on the side even with the fog lights on, so we decided to keep driving till we reached our stay. With small to large potholes all filled with water and visibility to the minimum driving was becoming harder but we continued till we finally and safely reached our stay. A happy and relaxed moment after all the beautiful experience in the pretty vistas followed by a thrilling drive to end our trip.