Nighoj Potholes – A Nature Marvel

We woke up late and had a list of things to be done on the weekend. Weekend can be three things : complete rest with a favourite movie in the home theatre, lots of work with a filled to-do list or WANDER ! We negotiated with the to-do list and he decided it is the best time to hop in the car. I looked here and there, attempting to convince myself that the work can be postponed and filled up our ever-ready travel kit ! Hats, sunscreen, cold water bottles and a snack box ! Top Gear and onward and forward we headed to Nighoj Potholes. There are so many places worth visiting around Pune. This one was on the list since long. The phenomenon of naturally created potholes on the Kukadi river is a masterpiece of nature. Nighoj is a small village near Ahmednagar around 90 kms from Pune. Realising that many funny looking city people with camera- straps on their necks and hats on their head visit this area, the villagers have made it into a small tourist park with a nice and clean parking area. The GPS takes us perfectly to the entrance. Sometimes we feel that we rely too much on our best friend (Of course the GPS) But we ought to trust our best friend !

As in most cases, our dear car is the only one parked. We have been lucky to experience beautiful locations away from the chirpy crowd. May be because we were over-ambitious to visit under the 2 pm sun of an April afternoon ! 

It is a warm gesture to build a gorgeous entrance with a paver-blocked road to the parking by the gram panchayat. The villagers usually do not care who comes to visit the place and why do they come. They are busy in their daily routine and leave you to explore the place undisturbed. One amazing thing that I liked about Nighoj. I feel places like these should have some nominal entrance fees which can help the gram panchayat to maintain them. Allowing access to such awesome locations free of cost fails to emphasize its value in the minds of immature people – the ones who loiter such places.

I had read about it earlier and was pretty excited to go on this bridge built specially for viewing the potholes. “The child in you” is always excited to go to such places – especially a bridge that moves ! Yuhooo !The suspension bridge, blue in colour is inviting when you get its view from far away. A small walk from the parking from beside the temple leads you to the bridge. It was not much crowded but we waited for the few people to leave to get a perfect shot of the bridge.

The natural erosive action of the water flowing forcefully in the river is said to have resulted in huge pothole like structures in the riverbed. This phenomenon is visible only in the summers when the water level goes down and the sun creates fascinating shadows. Innumerable potholes big and small appear to tell you a story. A journey of the river for thousands of years. You can easily go and hide in one of the huge potholes.

We can take a nice trail along the potholes from one side of the riverbed. It is an amazing walk, almost a small hike indeed, being careful not falling into one of them ! 

The steps leading to the river surrounded by “kund” (is what the villagers call the potholes) We heard stories about some baba’s performing religious rituals and paying offerings to the ‘kunds’ for betterment of their clients ! This is an integral part of life at country side.

It is said that experts from all over the world come here to study this natural marvel. This is supposed to be the largest in Asia according to Geologists. National Geographic has even made a documentary on this nature’s marvel. They say that these rock-cut structures are a result of the water current activity over thousand of years. 

The view of the potholes in the background of the vehicle-brigde along the river Kukadi. The bridge looks beautiful almost like a film- location. Nothing is visible with respect to the potholes from afar but a beautiful canyon opens before us when we go the place.The Malganga tample on the banks of Kukadi river with the suspension bridge in the vicinity. The temple of Malganga devi is considered very auspicious and every year over lacs of worshippers visit the temple for devi yatra.

The potholes seems to be artistically made. Each one is different. The variety in the form of shape, size and structure if mind-blowing.

My favourite pothole. The smallest that I saw in my little trail. It is saddening to see people writing their names and loitering in the marvellous geographical venue. This offence should be punishable by law ! Alas !

The small pebbles carried by the river got stuck in the water current and the rotations carved the rock to create the potholes ! Imagine the strength of the current. 

The temple at the banks of the River Kukadi protecting “Ranjan Khalge” which is an alternate name for Nighoj Potholes.The villagers believe thar this phenomenon is caused by God. An all-time favourite question of mankind. Isn’t God Nature? and Isn’t Nature God?

An awesome thing which we saw was the connected taps near the temple. None were leaking and all were functional. Indeed a step towards progress.

The visit would have been incomplete without this ! Ganne ka Ras (Sugarcane Juice ) The place isn’t very fancy. There are almost no eating joints. That is what keeps it clean to the degree that it is. A small sugarcane-juice joint is all what we could find open in the vicinity of the temple in the afternoon. The exact thing we needed after the trail in the scorching heat.

The road on the way back. We randomly stopped by to admire the shade of a giant tree. In our busy routines we often forget to appreciate small beauties of nature. The shade of the tree ! Such a divine experience it is to halt under the shade of a giant tree while driving in the sun. Sitting under the tree sipping cold water and feeling the breeze. These are the moments that rest with you forever . These are more precious than buying an expensive something. Aren’t they ? Few will agree. We are in that minority. Proud members…

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