16-Oct-2004 -- We were on a road trip to visit Nasik, Shirdi and Aurangabad. In the course of this trip, we managed to reach 20N 74E & 20N 75E. Before we embarked on this trip, Kishore and I reached 21N 73E and made an aborted attempt to reach 20N 73E. 20N76E seemed to lie northwest from the town of Jalna. Jalna was East of Aurangabad and we estimated that we would have to drive about 80 kilometers to reach it. Vinod, Kishore, Goda & I started off at 0515 hrs on October 16th and drove towards Jalna.
The drive was uneventful and fast as the roads were quiet and sunrise was at 0630 hrs. As we reached Jalna, we saw a road going towards Deulgaon Raja, the town that the maps indicated to be very close to the confluence. As we drove towards Deulgaon Raja, we saw a lovely sunrise and also noticed that the GPS was counting down and indicating that we were moving in the correct direction. The GPS indicated to the left when we were about 1.8 kilometers from 20N76E. We did not find any roads leading in that direction for a while. Finally, we found a narrow road to the left. We drove slowly down the road, but we found that it deteriorated very badly and we had to stop about 1.2 kilometers from the CP.
We parked and took all the gear and started off towards the confluence. After a few hundred meters, we saw a farmhouse and the landlord wanted to know what we were doing there. We attempted to explain our quest, but soon realized that we were not getting anywhere. We finally told him that we were tracking a satellite signal. That explanation was accepted and he sent his farm hand Suresh with us. Suresh knew the paths quite well and we moved along quite fast. The grass was moist with dew and our footwear was soaked very quickly. Here too, we passed through cotton fields. At one point, we had to climb down into an irrigation stream and walk a stretch in the water. When we were about 90 meters from the confluence, we found ourselves on the edge of a sugarcane plantation. Suresh said we could make our way through it. This turned out to be difficult as the sugarcane was tall and the leaves were razor-sharp. All of us emerged with numerous cuts and bruises. We still had 80 meters to go and had to climb a tall embankment. All of us needed help from Suresh and after we climbed down, we skirted another sugarcane filed and reached 20N 76E. It was in a cotton field owned by Prabhakar Jadhav.
We took the mandatory photographs and noted an altitude of 579 meters. As always, the local folks knew of a shorter path to return. The walk to this confluence and back was quite tiring as we had a bit of climbing and narrow paths to negotiate. On our way back, we thanked Suresh and the landlord, Mr. Jagannath Laxmanbairagi for his support. The drive back to Aurangabad was uneventful and we stopped at a roadside "dhaba" for an excellent breakfast.
We met the rest of the family in Aurangabad, packed all our stuff in the car and started off back to Daman. We passed through Nasik once again and took a small break to visit Panchavati, a location with significance in the Ramayana. We reached Daman at 2000 hrs after a thoroughly exciting trip that saw us reach 3 confluences, visit a whole lot of temples, visit Shirdi and the Ellora caves.
The successful confluences on this holiday: 21N 73E, 20N 74E, 20N 75E & 20N 76E. We plan to go back to complete 20N 73E!