Nighoj Kund is 90 Km from Pune, Maharashtra in a village by the same name. Spreading across just 2 Km or more, the river Kukadi has carved out potholes that resemble a Martian landscape.
The river stagnates at this stage to a shallow level, exposing the potholes on either side. It’s not a deep gorge as one can see during the summer, but the kUnd is part of the attraction, the main characteristic here is the potholes.
We had learned so much about Nighoj Potholes, and Jayesh of Western Routes always announces group visits there, only during summer. These potholes are visible barely for less than two months.
The monsoon fills up these craters of all frames and sizes may not be advisable to visit them to see the potholes.
My first impression when I recently visited Nighoj Kund was a bit disappointing. I anticipated a more expansive coverage of this geological marvel, the potholes are centuries old, and these basalt rocks are geologist’s enchantment.
During acute summer the landscape changes drastically giving it the otherworldly upshot.
I could not avoid dropping off into a bathtub like a hole, sunbathed for quite a while. Some of the larger outcrops of rocks were layered in distinctive subtle shades, some even had shells embedded in the sediments.
It’s worth watching your step while examining the strange outlines of cavities that the river etched as it swished and swirled around these basaltic rocks for centuries.
The Nighoj Kund area is quite easily maintained, and considering its interior location in the village some of the smaller holes were filled with hay dump and a few plastic bottles.
Luckily the two Devi temples alongside the Kund safeguard the cleanliness initiative. The main Devi temple that towers above the kind has an interesting story, there are 9 such temples in the hamlet. According to the priest at the temple, goddess Devi carved out the gorge with her mere elbows.
The temple compound provides the much-needed shade, do venture out here early morning, as the afternoon sun is unrelenting. We barely covered the Kund opposite to the newly constructed bridge. An ancient bridge could be viewed at a distance now abandoned.
During the height of monsoons the gorge fills up to prodigious levels and jumping into the gushing river makes it pleasurable. The potholes are completely submerged to form the riverbed. The incredible summer lunar landscape disappears only to appear until the succeeding year. These potholes and riverbeds are a mute testimony to our past and hold secrets of the river as also ecological insights.
Nighoj Kund can be combined with temple visits nearby. The famous Ganpati temple and Devi temples of Nighoj. On your way out a fort built by Shivaji’s cousin is worth holding back for a quick look.
Friendly villagers are quite overwhelmed by visitors to the hamlet, they will even tempt you to their homes for a meal and witness bullock cart (it’s not banned here) race on festive occasions.