Saturday, November 4, 2017

Girinagar – Beautiful, Verdant, Unpolluted, Pristine Paradise Near Pune

Yesterday afternoon – I received a letter (by snail mail) – inviting me to deliver lecture for a training programme. 

Around 33 years a ago – in the mid 1980– during my first tenure on Instructional Duties as Faculty (called “Directing Staff” in Military Parlance) at the Institute of Armament Technology (IAT) located at Girinagar (on the verdant forests in the foothills of Sinhagad overlooking the picturesque Khadakwasla Lake) near Pune – I was among the “Founder Faculty” of a course we started on a state-of-the-art Defence Technology area of study. 

This annual course (of a few weeks) was a grand success and continues till today. 

Since then – IAT invites me every year to deliver a lecture for the course – and – I try my best to come and deliver my lecture – wherever I am located. 

After retirement – I have settled in Pune – and – it is easy for me to go across to deliver my lecture. 

I felt good as I read the lecture invitation letter (with our penchant for renaming institutions – IAT was renamed DIAT – then MILIT – and – the letter had come from it’s latest avatar – MILIT – of course – even IAT was the second name – the original name of the institute being IAS aka Institute for Armament Studies). 

This morning – I sent my acceptance by email (yes – an email reply to a snail-mail letter). 

Then – I went out on my terrace to enjoy the morning sunlight. 

The sky was clear  the visibility was great  and  I could see the silhouette of Sinhagad Fort clearly from my balcony (in fact  as I write this  I can see Sinhagad quite clearly – but soon – because of the haze over Pune – visibility may go down).

Looking at the mighty Sinhagad Fort evoked in me fond memories of that pristine paradise called GIRINAGAR where I spent the best years of my life as faculty at IAT/DIAT. 

So – today – let me delve into my blog – and dig out some Girinagar Memories for you to read.

Dear Reader: Here is a small post about GIRINAGAR – I wrote this around 9 years ago – during my last stint at Girinagar.

Pristine Paradise near Pune
A Nostalgic Memoir

Tell me  which is the most beautiful, most pristine, most unpolluted and most verdant place in Pune...?

I’ll tell you – it’s a lovely place called “Girinagar”.

Pune has changed – for the worse.

The pleasant, salubrious, tranquil, stress-free, easygoing, cozy, affable Pune – that I once lived in  no longer exists.

Yes  the Pune I once lived in – it no longer exists...!!!

Every nook and corner of Pune has suffered the ravages of “modernization”.

Except one place – GIRINAGAR

Yes  there still exists a pristine paradise in Pune – a Pristine Paradise called Girinagar.

With the mighty SINHAGAD Fort towering as a Sentinel  Girinagar is a fascinating place located on the slopes of the hills adjoining the cool blue Khadakwasla Lake.

The view from the Girinagar ridge is amazing.

You can see backwaters of Panshet and Varasgaon dams in the distance  and close-by  down below  your eyes are soothed by the serene expanse of the Khadakwasla Lake held back by the mighty dam.

If you stand on the Girinagar side of Khadakwasla lake (on the western bank) – the metamorphosis at sunset is enthralling.

The dance of colours  on the waters of the lake  from yellow to orange to crimson to blue to grey  and then  a still darkness – I have not seen a more magnificent sunset view anywhere else.

In the mornings  as you climb up the hills  cleansing, refreshing, revitalizing and invigorating your lungs with the clean unpolluted pure fresh air  you look in the distance  and you see the heavy layer of smog settling down over the city of Pune  and you know how lucky you are to live in this paradise called Girinagar...!

When the monsoon arrives  and it starts raining  the sensuous mist envelops all around  everything is a soothing green  and the atmosphere  the environment  and the ambiance in Girinagar is simply magnificent!

Truly a “pristine paradise” in Pune...!

Pune may have changed  but time stands still in Girinagar. 

All the green hills in Pune may have disappeared  but lush green verdant hills of Girinagar still stand strong.

Yes  Girinagar remains the same as it was in 1984 when I first visited it 

(Some old timers tell me it is the same since the early 1970s).

I spent more than a total of 12 years of my life in Girinagar  in three tenures – in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

And  every time I came back – I realized that though the world outside had changed dramatically  Girinagar remained the same  as if time had stood still  yes  it seems that time stands still in Girinagar.

In the evenings  I often stand in my tall balcony high up on my 9th Floor Flat in Rohan Tarang in Wakad  and I see in the distance  the silhouette of Sinhagad Mountain outlined vaguely against the fading light of the setting sun  and my mind harks back to nostalgic memories of my unforgettable days in Girinagar.

Even right now  on a Clear Bright Feel-Good Monday Morning in Pune  with the air so pure  and the weather so pleasant  with a cool breeze blowing softly  the Visibility is excellent – yes  the visibility is so good  that  from where I sit on my desk in my study  as I look out of the large window  in the distance  I can clearly see Sinhagad Fort with its two mammoth towers (the TV Tower and the Microwave Communication Tower at either end of the towering mountain ridge)  and the unique Potato Point at the southern tip.

I miss Girinagar  the beautiful picturesque surroundings  the lovely people I made friends with  the huge “Bhoot Bangla” in which I lived  the long walks we took in the hills  the boating and sailing in lake  the strolls on the “chowpatty on Khadakwasla lake  I miss everything  as I fondly recall my days in Girinagar. 

Now – I am looking forward to spending a day at Girinagar – reliving nostalgic memories – after I finish delivering my lecture.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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1. This is an updated version of an article I wrote almost 9 years ago in early 2009. I last visited Girinagar last year in 2016. It was still the same pristine paradise I have mentioned above. Some places never change.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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