After a long search on where we can plan a day trip from Mumbai in peak summer we found out this place called ‘Nighoj potholes or Ranjankhalge’. I had never imagined that such not so popular place could be Asia’s largest potholes site.
We started our journey from Navi Mumbai on a sunday morning at 9 am. It is in Ahmednagar district about 200 km drive from Mumbai and 90km from pune. We took Talegaon exit on Mumbai Pune expressway and drove towards Chakan. From Chakan best way to reach Nighoj is via Pabal but we missed that turn and landed up on a road which was non existent. And it was fun. While coming back we went via Pabal as we had our good share of adventure for a day in our sedan. Except for this other roads are good and picturesque with pomegranate orchards and onion farms along the road. We reached Nighoj at around 1 pm. Villagers refer to the place as ‘ Nighoj Malaganga kund’.
These potholes are a riverbed of Kukadi river. There’s a canyon, 2km in length which reminds you of grand canyon. It is barely visible from a distance. As you go closer, the view is incredible. It is best seen in summer as the river is dry. There’s a small suspension bridge over it and Malaganga temple on the banks of the river.
There are many theories behind it and one of them is that it is formed because of vigorous circular motion of the pebbles in the water in rainy season creating cavities in the basalt rock or because of heavy rainfall water coming from highlands with such force giving rise to such rock formations.
Geological teams from all over the world come here every year to study the phenomenon of their formation.This place is truly a geological miracle.
I wonder why this is not popular with the tourists. All you see is devotees who come to visit the temple. There’s ghagar miravnuk (procession) every year in April. When we visited it was not well maintained. May be we went just after the procession. Since it is not popular with the tourists there are no facilities to stay, restaurants or toilets. Just a few places selling sugarcane juice and cold drinks were there. We had carried our lunch with us which we had in car before reaching nighoj.
We spent 2 hours there in scorching heat. But it was windy. Noon time is best to take pictures. Make sure you carry a bottle of water with you and wear comfortable clothes and footwear. The edges of the riverbed are smooth and curvy, walking might be tricky. In afternoon time the riverbed becomes too hot to touch. Some potholes are big enough for an adult to fit in.
After visiting this beautiful place we stopped by pomegranate orchards and onion farms and met some local farmers. They gave us some pomegranates and 10kg onions and refused to take money. It was the best gift we have ever received. Meeting such lovely people was the best part of the trip…..that’s why we love roadtrips! Journey is always more enjoyable that the destination. No doubt this destination was also amazing!!!
Best season to visit: March to May as the riverbed is dry……but I would love to see it when water levels are high. Next time we’ll come back here in monsoon to see water gushing through these rock formations.
Other places of interest nearby: Morachi chincholi, Ranjangaon.