Saturday, May 31, 2008

Pune to Mumbai

On 30th of May I set on journey to Mumbai from Pune. We started from my place in Aundh in Pune at around 10pm in the Maruti Baleno. 10km off we hit the Mumbai high way and few more kilometers we reached the Mumbai Expressway Talegaon tollgate to start our fastlane heading to Mumbai. First stop on the way was the HP Filling station. While the tanks got filled we emptied ours and catch up a bit a refreshments to keep ourselves awake for the journey ahead. The Mumbai Pune Expressway is India's first six-lane concrete, high-speed, access controlled tolled expressway which pressed into service in April 2002 after four years of planning and four more years of construction. The expressway spans a distance of 93 km connected by five tunnels, with the longest one almost 1km long and is called the Batan tunnel. The ventilators in the tunnel resemble the 30000 HP GE Jet turbine engine.
The most amazing part of the expressway in addition to this being among the most ambitious of its kinds in India is the scenic ambiance of the western ghats that can be seen on the way. As we drive past Khamshet, Lonowale, Khandala, Khopoli a series of curves and bends of the ghat roads gradualy unfold. Yes these ghat roads are more tamed than the usual ghat roads I am used to, but never the less its still thrills to drive down the roads. The speed limits specified is 30km on these Ghat section but 70kmph is easily doable. The regular freeway speed limit is around 80kmph though 140kmph is easy.
Towards mid-night we started heading towards Panvel - Kalamboli section to drive towards Navi Mumbai. As we started entering Vashi, felt very uncomfortable and I sort of withdraw into the confines of the car as the excitement of the Ghat roads and the long drive instantly waned out. A few more minutes on the Thane road, Mulund then entered Powaii. Driving past the Hiranandani Gardens reached our place in Fiorello, Nahar Amrit Shakti, Powai. The city of hopes and aspirations keeps calling me at the most unusal of circumstances and situation. Looking for good time in Mumbai..

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