Taljai hill trail run : pune




Taljai hill trail run: 28th February 16


We are in Pune and for a Sunday run we are looking for a new place to run.

Earlier we ran in the Pune university campus and it was good fun. The food at the university canteen was an added attraction at the end of run.

Till now I have run inside

1) Pune university on

2)Bhopdev ghat,

3) University to pashan route  .

4) Pune half marathon ( BMCC ground-senapati bapat raod-university signal-pashan route and back )

Sheila has done 10km on NIBM inclines.

I am looking for a new place.

Soon the  search ends at Taljai hills.

It is a mini forest within a city . Only memory I have of these interconnected hills is of my long trek from back side of Fergusson college to padmavati –taljai hills .this was long ago when I was studying in Fergusson college.

taljai map


We are a bit late. For known running routes we are used to start even when it is dark. This being the first time we reach  taljai hills well after a good sunlight.

The entry which is at steep incline is full of people and there is a small market kind of atmosphere.

The road leading to this point has cars parked on one side and parking is an issue if you arrive  late.

I drop Sheila near the entry and again drive down to find a parking slot.

There are stalls ( three wheeler tempo: carry-park-sale-pack up and go back ) with fresh mahableshwar strawberries , fresh vegetables, herbal health related items etc.

We decide to explore later and enter the taljai nature park.

There is no entry fees, no monthly joggers pass etc.

Bless pune !

Pune always inspires and impresses me. Traditionally puneites ( punekars ) are sensitive, proactive citizens when it comes to cultural, spiritual, musical, nature oriented initiatives, exploring nature and mountains.

A colony garden ( a local garden ) can have exotic theme of seven wonders of world or even 4D or 5D theatres with entry ticket as low as Rs 20 ( which in any Mumbai mall will  cost  you 100 to 250 rupees )

You can even see a musical fountain in a small garden.

All these are done in truly local level by some sensitive nagarsevak ( elected member of municipal corporation ) who happens to be in a good company of sensible citizens.

As compared to this many cities have huge gardens {delhi has a lot of open space  (as it can grow in all the directions )  with huge amount of investment but you cannot see the experimentation which puneites do within their limited resources and space.

And yes there is no boasting or marketing to promote this at even state level. All is done in very down to earth manner.

Taljai hills development is also on the same lines. Of course there are boards thanking the political mentor/s for his/their roles, but once you see this mini forest you admire the cleanliness and virtually no litter policy of everyone involved.

I see couple of runners doing the warm up/stretching exercises. ( once you are a runner , your eyes can automatically spot a fellow runner )  we go to them and asks for the  typical running circuit within the nature park/forest.

“ when you take this road on the left you will get an inside loop of  1km reasonably good stretch  for running. “

“ but we intend to do 10 km “

“oh then you will have to be careful as this is a rough trail route, you can join us after sometime as we are going to do a walk-run sequence today “

We politely decline the offer as we want to explore the place with our pace and style ( rather than disturbing their schedule ) and come to a spot where initial warm up can be done.

Soon we are running. The trail is really rough at many places. One has to be careful with stones, uneven surface and yes people as there are many walkers at this hour.

We remain slow till we see the inside loop .

It’s not a loop rather a curvy one km trail which at times  runs along with boundary ( beyond which buildings and residential areas are seen)  and comes back to the same main trail road.

The route is without any stones or uneven surface. It has little inclines in-between .  We like this stretch. At times we have run in a  single line as trail becomes small in width or at times there are people ( either we overtake them or cross them )

At the main junction we decide to repeat this loop, so we run back to our first entry point and come back. This gives us 3km plus garmin distance.

Once on the main trail route we are again careful.

On right side I see a water tank and tap arrangement. Oh time to refill. One develops a good sense of appreciation for these kind of facilities if you are into running, trekking, exploring nature.

The main trail road has some right turns for internal loops so I keep inquiring couple of times till the time we reach to the final bisect. Here the straight trail goes to wadgaon side on singadh road. ( the opposite side entry to this forest)

We take the right turn as we want to do the right trail route so that we can explore the maximum and try to complete our 10km target.

The trail road is now little better as it has less stones, but after couple of kilometers we reach to inclines and at some stretches trail full of stones.

Cleanliness is one thing which you appreciate the most. During our run we could not see a single plastic waste, no water bottles thrown here or there. There are places where there are dustbins and even water storage facilities.

During the stretch we also run on the trail with fairly good width as if it is the trail highway of the forest.


Again we are at bisects and are informed “ this goes to padmavati and the right one will go to taljai main entry “

Soon we are approaching taljai entry (our starting point ). On the way we see some manmade projects.

A water conservation pond, a green nursery kind of covered area. Some constructed area for orientation programs  .


By the time we reach back to our starting point we realize we have to do around 3 km to complete our 10 km target.

Rather than taking the known route we decide to do internal loops and we take the internal trail which is steep down. Soon we are on very small trails where hardly one person can run, you need to do some zigzag to avoid the bushes. There is no one except us during these exclusive runs.

We keep coming to internal bigger trails where we see a family doing group exercises and even playing cricket. Cricket amongst so many trees can have good mix of trees doing ‘rebound fielding ‘to ‘finding the ball’  kind of difficult task .

Beyond 8.5 km we remain on small trails and it happens.

“ we see a huge peacock “

‘This forest is a natural habitat for peacocks and we are committed to their conservation’ : is one of the board at the entry.

Till now we could not see a single peacock. May be it’s typical Sunday rush which has made peacocks more shy and alert.

By the time I am able to click some photographs the peacock has gone.


It’s interesting to realize that this darshan (sighting ) is happening at fag end of our run.

( from an article by Vimla Patil ( September 2010) : More recently, yet another experiment in breeding peacocks has resulted in stunning success right in the urban complex of Pune. 34-year-old Dr. Ajay Kulkarni, a nature lover, has made Herculean efforts for 15 years to create a sizeable population of peacocks in the midst of Pune, near the Paud-Taljai areas, where there are forests.

Kulkarni’s idea first took seed when he saw three peacocks while walking along the hill. He decided to feed them. Well fed and cared for, they laid eggs and the number expanded gradually. Today, more than 350 peacocks can be seen along the hill, in addition to other birds. “Looking at the success of the project, we can hope to create a tourist destination if we get the required permissions,” says Dr. Kulkarni, “A grove with thousands of peacocks can be created. The peacock is our national bird and such a grove can work wonders to increase tourism to this area. Meanwhile, residents and regular walkers around the Taljai forest have not only planted and watered trees but also created water reservoirs and fed the peacocks. Such community efforts are unique and must be emulated by all so that similar miracles can happen all over India to save many species of animals and birds and to make India a nature-and-wild-life-rich nation.”)


Soon Sheila announces 10k done (as she is wearing the garmin ) we drop our pace there and there only and start walking. Since we are in the inside loop area, we need to climb upwards to reach the main trail road leading to taljai entry point.

We complete our stretching exercises at the same spot where we had done our warm up.

Once outside we realize the majority of local produce marketers have gone and now it is more of food joints which are in action .

There is one vegetable seller, one pure cow ghee seller ( a police commando now with rural police posting: helping his maternal cousins from urlikanchan , selling the ghee whenever he can get spare time ) and one herbal health product seller.

We have a healthy bhel with sprouted items followed by sugar cane juice and coffee.

It seems that in the evening this area must be becoming a khau galli ( foodie street ) cum small entertainment zone .

There is a swimming pool and health club at this hill top. It is open for all, but you have to become a member.


One interesting feature at the entrance of the club is an open gym facility open to all ( no charges )


Oh we could have done the post run stretching here on these machines: is the first feeling but we realize that area is not shaded and we are quite late.

We buy the cow ghee and leave the area.

We are happy as we have done a tough 10 km run.




marathon on taljai

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