Archive for October, 2009

My First Trek!

It happened way back in 2006 when myself and my dearest friend Harshal, another avid trekker set off to Harishchangragad for a trek. This was my first face-to-face encounter with the sahyadri range.

I was excited and so was Harshal. All of my previous night was spent thinking how thrilling would our trip be. We set off early in the morning, took the first train from CBD Belapur and by around 10:30 AM reached Khireshwar, the base village of Harishchangragadh.

Had some wonderful “jhunka bhakar” from a local hotel or “dhaba” as we all call it and set off towards which was one of the most beautiful experiences of our life. Walking through the jungle amid voices of birds chirping, the wind blowing and overall the fantastic spectacle of mountain range just made us go crazy by each step we took towards the top.

The smell of the sweet soil, wave of the gentle breeze, the blueness of the sky and the silence of the jungle made us actually feel what serenity was all about. Talking to the trees, cracking stupid jokes and making fun of each other we marched through the arrow marking which was supposed to take us to the fort. The way was a bit confusing and for first timers it was way too confusing; no wonder we got lost twice in the jungle.


That was it. Harshal had got bad…..very bad cramps and that was the start of our drag towards the fort. It was way too difficult to get to the top in this condition as the height and distance was way too much. We dragged on and on and until 4:30 we had just reached a quarter of the whole path. Finally we decided to take some rest and then take whatever comes as it is. Some water, wafers, biscuits and off we were again in full flow to the top.

We probably had no idea as to how long the distance was but as time passed by we just started getting more and more nervous. A single noise would send a chill down our spine as we knew that the fort was somewhere in the Junnar area where man-eater leopards from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Mumbai were dumped into. Every single movement made us worry and made us more nervous second by second. It was nearing 6:00 PM and the sun was setting down. This was enough to make us panicky as we had forgotten to carry a torch along with us. The only light with us was Harshal’s Sony Ericsson W550i flash light which too was going down on battery. We carried on and on and on but there was no trace of any fort or any person around. Fear had gripped us as we found it difficult to trace the arrow markings.

Finally a small dim light emerged from somewhere behind; an indication …probably god sent ….that we were nearing our destination. It took us 8 long hours to reach the top, something when we look behind just wonder how did we do it. We were joined in for company by a team of 3 very nice guys Rajendra, Rahul and Rajesh from Pune. Nice guys….?….Yes nice guys….coz we had no food with us…all our wafers and biscuits were all over. How foolish were we in thinking that we could manage 2 days only on wafers.

The weather was cold and chilling as wind blew across the cave where we were staying. It was dark and everybody was tired and so naturally sleep gripped us all. Very soon we were fast asleep. This was the first time ever that I was sleeping in a cave; some place where I do not belong to, some place that I cannot think of living my whole life. But yet it was sublime and safe and I felt secured.

The next morning I woke up to see where we actually were. My eyes popped out, heart filled with happiness to see a sight something unimaginable and unthinkable. To be frank…I was saying….”Dil garden garden ho gaya”…..lolzzzz. It was only then I realized that we were in one of the many caves that were built during the rule of Raja Harishchandra. The fort had a Shiva temple and a lake and was in ruins. I really felt bad looking at the sad condition of the fort. I was helpless and so were the others, but we were really amazed that this structure was still standing tall for centuries. So what if it was in ruins; so what if it was not in good shape. The most important part was that it was there to tell a story. A story of its past glory; the story of the people; the story of the king and most importantly the story of the “Great Maharashtra History”. Oh God…I was in the middle of one of the most beautiful peaks in the Sahyadri range.

After taking a quick bath at the Shiva temple we along set off to “Kokan kada” one of the most famous sites of the Sahyadri range. As we neared it we realized how nature played its balanced act of being subtle and dangerous. We were more than thrilled to be there, as this was something we were longing to get close to.

Then….all was over. We set off to the base and in 4 hours flat we were down at the Khireshwar eating very “poha” made by our chef Rahul who ran catering business for IT companies in Pune. I took just 4 hours to get down whereas 8 hours to get to the top, probably because of inexperience. We really had to push really hard in order to finish this trek. But one thing is for sure; that we had learnt a lot about what needs to be done and what not.

Its been 3 years since my first trek and since then there has been no looking back. The sahyaadri website is just a small part of what we feel about this great range. This is just the start. There’s a lot to be done yet. We just wish if you could join us on this beautiful journey and see this range from our eyes.

Thanks a lot!


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