Page by Bill Coles, Visiting Scientist, GMRT

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Pictures of the Scientific Dedication of GMRT

Dedication speechs and replies .
Group Photo .
If you really want to see the details try this full resolution version.

What to do when you are not actually observing

Bicycle

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.

Hike

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 of GMRT.

Narayan Godt

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.
View of GMRT from the east peak of Narayan godt.
View of GMRT from the west peak of Narayan godt.
View looking west from the west peak of Narayan godt.
View the trail (down) Narayan godt.

Torna

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.

Malshej Ghat

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.

Nane Ghat

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.
The old path is really steep.
The view north towards Malshej.
The 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.

Amboli Ghat

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.
The trail near the top of Dhakoba.
Around temple near the top of Dhakoba.

Eat

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.



Contact :www@gmrt.ncr a.tifr.res.in