Posts tagged ‘Trek’

Rajgad : King Of Forts/Fort Of King

Rajgad is a fort which is quiet close to Pune and we all just got free from our semester exams so we all decided to go to Rajgad for a one day trek.

Team :

Sushant Bhosale (Me),
Prashant Chaudhari,
Tushar Tapkir,
Rahul Konde.

Date : 4th December 2011

Place : Gunjavane, Velhe, Pune

Map of Rajgad

Route : Swargate(vis ST) -> Gunjavane

Time from base village : 2 hours.

Difficulty : Easy

History :

This fort is built on the hill called “Murumb Devacha Dongar” Rajgad boasts the highest number of days stayed by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on any fort.

This fort has witnessed lots of historic events, including the birth of Rajaram Chhatrapati, the death of Shivaji’s Queen Saibai, the return of Shivaji from Agra, the antyayatra of Tanaji Malusare to his Konkan village, the burial of Afzal Khan’s head in the Mahadarwaja walls of Ballekilla, the strict words of Sonopant Dabir to Shivaji, and the Khandoji Khopade episode. The diameter of the fort at the base is 40 km making it difficult for anybody to lay siege to it.

So here goes . . .

We started off at 7:30am in the morning. We were supposed to meet at swargate at 7:30am, me and Prashant were in time, Rahul followed after about 10 mins, Tushar was late and joined us at 8am. We inquired about the bus to Gunjavane, it was at 9am so we had time to kill. We all went had a light breakfast, boarded the bus at 9am and we were at Gunjavane by 11am. And we started the climb by 11.30.

Way to reach the top of Rajgad is an easy one, one doesn’t have to take a lot of efforts to reach the top but just walk. Just 2 hours of walking takes you to Padmavati Machi through Chor Darwaja. While climbing you can see the Fort Torna on right hand side.

On the way to the fort, just before the Chor Darwaja, there’s a small rock patch, but it has railings on the side so it is fairly easy to climb this one.

Fort from the Base.

Padmavati Machi

Small Rock Patch

As soon as we entered into the fort we were welcomed by the beautiful view of Padmavati Lake.

Chor Darwaja

Padmavati Lake

View fort Torna from Rajgad

On Padmavati machi there’s a Temple of Padmavati devi, a cannon, samadhi of Saibai (Mother of Sambhaji Raje and first wife of Shivaji Maharaj), two water tanks with edible water, and there’s the Rajwada.

Padmavati Temple

Cannon

Saibai's Samadhi

Remains of Rajwada

Bale Killa from Padmavati Machi

Directions on the fort.

Rajgad is a very big fort. We had to see the whole fort in just one day because we weren’t ready for an overnight stay, but Rajgad is a fort which needs complete two days to explore. Since we had to get back home in one day only we decided to skip Sanjivani Machi and Pali Darwaja.

The way to Bale Killa is a little difficult one, but again there are railings on the side of the rack patch making it easy to climb.

Gate of Bale Killa

On Bale Killa also there’s a Rajwada, Sadar and Daru Kothar. There’s a water cistern called Chandrakor Talav, named so because of its crescent shape.

Chandrakor Talav

Remains of Rajwada on Bale Killa

There are quite a few Beehives on the way to Bale Killa, so everyone must maintain there distance from those. When we started to climb down the Bale Killa some fool had disturbed a beehive and there were bees all around us. We had to literally run down the rock patch to avoid being bitten by bees.

Way to Suvela Machi

Suvela Machi

Chilakhati Buruj

Fortifications at Suvela Machi

Wagha Cha Dola (Eye Of The Tiger)

There’s a spot at the Suvela Machi called Wagha Cha Dola(Eye Of The Tiger) also known as Nedhe. Its a natural hole in the mountain. One can cross over from one side to the other.

After seeing the Suvela Machi we returned back to the Padmavati Machi and started our climb down. We started our descend at 5:30 and we were at Gunjavane by 6:15. Last bus from Gunjavane to Pune is at 4:00 in the evening and we missed that bus so we had to face some problems getting back to Pune. But we managed to get a Trax back to Shivapur from where we took a ST to swargate.

This was my second time climbing the Rajgad and I enjoyed it alot. But I was a little disappointed cause I was not able to see the whole fort, but we are planning another trip to Rajgad, this time a stay over trek, may be in next few months.

Peb (Vikatgad)

Some of my classmates went to Peb (Vikatgad) in July and when I saw their pics on facebook, I (actually we all) felt  like doing this trek.

Team :

Sushant Bhosale (Me),
Prashant Chaudhari,
Aditya Shelar,
Tushar Tapkir and
Amogh Lale

Date : 21st Aug 2011

Place : Neral, Karjat, Raigad

Peb (Vikatgad)

Route : Pune Station(via Train) -> Neral -> Fanaswadi(via Rickshaw).

Time from base village : 2 hours.

Difficulty : Medium

History :

Not much is known about the history of this fort.

So here goes. . .

Me and Prashant left for Pune Station early this time because we were supposed to catch the 7 am Sahyadri Express to Neral. Neral is small town just 2 stations ahead of Karjat and surprisingly Sahyadri Express is the only train that halts at the Neral Station. We reached Pune Station by 6:35 and took the tickets for 5 of us.

This time Amogh had agreed to bless us with his company. We bought the tickets and called Amogh only to hear that the boy was still sleeping. The train also halts at ShivajiNagar Station, so we told him to board the train at ShivajiNagar. The train was delayed by 20 mins at Pune Station itself. So Amogh easily boarded the train at ShivajiNagar station.

It was pleasant ride from Pune to Neral, train took about 3 hours to reach Neral, By 10:30 am we were in Neral. We had a little breakfast and then took a rickshaw to Fanaswadi, its a 10 mins drive about 2-3 kms, you can even take a walk.

View of the fort!!!

The trek kicks off from Fanaswadi. The start is a little confusing or at least it was to us, because of thick vegetation the road wasn’t visible. Just remember to follow the big electric poles.

Wrong Way along side the stream.

Electric Poles

The climb is tiring but very beautiful. It has dense vegetation and being the rainy season we had to walk through some patches of dense forest. Upon walking further we came across an hollow tree, classic creation of nature. JUST AMAZING!!!

Hollow Tree

Further ahead again there is a confusing turn, either you go straight or turn right. The correct way is to go straight. It gets confusing because of small waterfalls on both straight and right side and its hard to tell which path to take.

What awaits further is long but easy rock patch. The patch is very easy to climb and you’ll be on top in no time.

View from the rock patch.

After here we had to cross some small rock patches where water were flowing but steps were engraved on the rocks to make it easier to cross. In 10-15 mins we reached the cave on top. We met Mr. Athalle (known as Athalle sir), we had heard about him from our friends who visited the fort just last month. Athalle sir has been living on the fort itself from last 30 years. He is an IIT alumna and has done specialization in plumbing. He is the guy responsible for the beautiful cave and temple on the top of the fort. Very interesting guy to meet.

Cave on the fort.

Me and Athalle Sir

The cave has been maintained in a very nice manner. The walls have various shlokas painted in Sanskrit.

Inside the cave

Effigy of Shivaji Maharaj

Shivling

We sat there in the cave for some time and then started our walk further. Up ahead we noticed an square opening in the wall, we were told that there is a 5ft*5ft room ahead through that opening. The opening was very small so none of us ventured in there.

Opening in the mountain.

And from the cave only you can see the steel steps built ahead to climb the wall. These are the steps which you would see pop up in Google image search if you search for Peb trek.

Steps

Water Cistern

There is an eating place on the top, where you can order and get food.

Eating Place

There are two sets of steel steps you need to climb down on your way towards the railway track. Yes railway track, there is a toy train which runs between Neral and Matheran. This train has a stop for Vikatgad. On our way back we had to reach this track at point NM158 and walk on the track to the point NM134. NM134 is the point where road to Matheran meets the railway tracks, from where we could get a ride back to Neral.

Steps Again!!

View from the top of the steps

We spotted a snake.

Once you reach the tracks you have to take a left. If you take right you’ll reach Matheran.

Train Tracks

Walk on the track is a very pleasant one, we got to see some of the best creations of the nature.

View from the tracks

View from the tracks

There are quite a few waterfalls as well on the way to NM134.

Water The Fall

And finally NM134 came and we saw the road. We took a trax back to Neral.

NM134

From Neral we took a local to Karjat and from Karjat boarded a train to Pune. The ride back from Karjat to Pune was hell. The train was jam packed and we came standing all the way from Karjat to Pune, its a 3 hour train ride, after a whole day of walking.

Kille Prachandgad (Torna). . .

I am now in Final Year of my engineering and I’m lovin’ it, because I now get three days off in a week. And three days off means an excellent opportunity to go on more and more treks.

This week we decided to go to Torna(also known as Prachandgad).

Team :

Sushant Bhosale (Me),
Prashant Chaudhari,
Aditya Shelar and
Tushar Tapkir

Date : 31st July 2011

Place : Velhe, Pune

Torna

Route : Swargate(Pune)(via ST bus) -> Velhe

Time from base village : 2 and a half hours.

Difficulty : Medium

History :

This fort is believed to have been constructed by the Shaiva Panth, followers of the Hindu god Shiva, in the 13th century. A Menghai Devi temple, also referred to as the Tornaji temple, is situated near the entrance of the fort.

In 1643, Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort at the age of sixteen, thus making it one of the first forts in what would become the Maratha empire. Shivaji Maharaj renamed the fort Torna, and constructed several monuments and towers within it.

In the 18th century, the Mughal empire gained control of this fort after assassination of Shivaji Maharaj’s son Sambhajiraje. Aurangzeb, then Mughal emperor, renamed this fort Futulgaib, in recognition of the difficult defense the Mughals had to overcome to capture this fort. It was restored to the Maratha confederacy by the Treaty of Purandar in 1776 between Marathas and British East India Company.

So here goes. . .

Me and Prashant left from our place for swargate. Our direct bus to swargate had already left so we had to change buses at Pune Station, which delayed us a little. This time Aditya and Tushar(surprisingly) were a little ahead of time and he was constantly calling us. They told us that the bus for Velhe was gonna leave at 8 and it was already 8.

Once we got out of the bus we literally ran into the Swargate bus stand only to discover that these guys were sitting in comfort. Then we inquired about the bus and got to know that the bus was already on the flat and ready to go. We got into the bus and started our journey to Velhe.It was a nice ride from Katraj ghat to velhe.

Once we reached, I have to admit, I had the best Misal Paav I ever had in my life. It was just perfect. I would love to do this trek again because it’s the first fort won by Shivaji Maharaj, because it’s the highest fort in Pune district and because of that Misal Paav.

Then we started climbing the mighty Torna. Its the highest fort in Pune district. The way to climb takes a left turn from a big well. Just ahead there was beautiful stream coming down. The real trek starts from this point onwards.

Me, Aditya and Prashant at the well.

Beautiful Stream

View of the Fort


The way to the top actually crosses from three small peaks, so its like climbing one peak, then the second and then the third before actually reaching the hill that houses the fort. First three hill are easy to climb but they require you to walk alot.

Way to the top

Once we reached the final hill, we saw a big rock patch in front of us. This rock patch is a little tricky but its been secured with bars on the sides so it feels safe to climb.

Me, Aditya and Prashant at the Rock Patch

As we continued, the path took us into dense forest and after sometime we were standing below one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen. We refilled our bottles here and only 10 mins of more walking took us to Kothi Darwaja.

Mesmerizing Waterfall

Kothi Darwaja

From Kothi Darwaja we enter the fort and further we reach another big door called Bini Darwaja. This door lead us into the fort. There was hardly anything visible as there was a lot of fog. Then also we scouted a little bit.

Bini Darwaja

Bini Darwaja

Konkan Darwaja

Fortifications

As compared to a number of forts, Torna has large amounts of remains. There’s Mongai mandir, Daru kothar, and Torneshwars mandir.

Tikona : The triangular fort. . . .

Its been almost two weeks since I’ve been to Tikona (also known as Vitantgad) but I didn’t get any time to pen it down. It was one of the most great and easiest of the treks.

A day before the trek almost 7 people said that they’d come for the trek but only 3 showed up. And once we all were at the Pune Station, we decided there was no point turning back. So we went anyways.

Team :
Sushant Bhosale (Me)
Aditya Shelar and
Tushar Tapkir

Date : 17th July 2011

Place : Tikonawadi, Kamshet, Pune

Route : Pune Station (via Lonavala Local) -> Kamshet -> Pavananagar (via Taxi) -> Tikonawadi (Base Village) (via Taxi)

Time from base village : 45 mins to 1 hour

Difficulty : Easy

History :

Very little is known about the origin of the fort. Malik Ahmed Nizamshah of the Nizam dynasty conquered the fort in 1585 and aanexed it to the Nizam territory. In 1657, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj brought the whole of Konkan, which had been Nizam territory, under his control when he conquered Tikona along with the forts of Karnala, Lohgad, Mahuli, Songad, Tala, and Visapur. This fort was a strategic nexus: the centre of control for the entire Pawana Mawal region. In 1660, Dhamale family one of the Deshmukh from Maval region was charged with ensuring the security of fort Tikona. Jaysingh invaded the region in 1665 and the local villages were by Dilerkhan but the forts held out. Tikona fort was surrendered to the Mughal warrior Kubadkhan, who had attacked the region together with Halal Khan and others, according to the Treaty of Purandar signed on 12 June 1665. Kubad Khan took over the fort on 18 June but it was later recaptured by the Marathas.

So here goes. . .

We had decided to meet at Pune Station by 7 or 7:15 in the morning. I reached station by 7 and Aditya followed. Tushar was a little late (as always). We hopped on the local to Lonavala. It was’nt raining when train left station so it was a great view and a decent train ride to Kamshet. Its the station immediately after Vadgaon.

Once we alighted the train at Kamshet, we came out of the Kamshet station and boarded a private taxi to Pavananagar. It was a Jeep actually and driver had crammed a large number of people in there. In that commotion I lost my cell(more on that later).

We had a little breakfast at Pavananagar. It wasn’t the best Misal Paav but it was good. After breakfast we boarded a PikUp to the village Tikonapeth. Its the base village for fort Tikona.

Once we got down at Tikonapeth, we saw a concrete road leading into the village. Which was our way towards Fort Tikona. We immediately started our trek as it had started raining mildly. But soon the concrete road ended and we found ourselves walking on a very muddy road. It appeared that it had rained heavily there last night or yesterday.

Muddy Road

The way to the top is from a big banyan tree. That is where you leave the muddy road and start your ascend to capture that beautiful triangular fort. The way to the top is very easy and short. You are on the top in no time. A small gate which first appears to be a cave welcomes you into the fort. The next gate is Vetal Darwaja.

Small Gate

Vetal Darwaza

Me and Aditya at Vetal Darwaza

The view of the village from top is just mesmerizing. The plush green paddy fields look very beautiful.

Paddy fields

Upon walking further you come across a big Hanuman sculpture, its known as Chapetdan Maruti. Ahead there’s a big cave where there’s a temple. We went on a Sunday so there was a lot of commotion there and large number of people were in there sheltering themselves from the rains.

Chapetdan Maruti

The cave

The Shivaji Trail

After climbing for another 5 minutes we came across another gate which led us into the Bale Killa. This gate was accessible through steep stairs which were slippery.

The Stairs

Gate

The Team

Great Climb

Into the Bale Killa

On the Bale Killa there’s a temple of Lord Shiva and obviously Bhagava(Flag of swarajya).

Temple

Bhagava

We didn’t stay long on the fort and started our descend. Once we were in Tikonapeth we followed the same way back to Kamshet and back home.

Fortifications

Tikona was our second monsoon trek and we had a blast. Its small and beautiful.

Ratangad Trek

So finally our 3rd year final semester exams came to an end. And we all decided to go to a trek.
We started to look for a spot and finally decided to go to RATANGAD!!!!

Almost all the websites we saw suggested the best season to go would be between September to February, we figured how hard would it be??? As it turns out it wasn’t the easiest of the treks. But it was a nice experience.

Team :
Sushant Bhosale (Me)
Prashant Chaudhari
Tushar Tapkir
Vishal Salve and
Rahul Konde

Date :    19th and 20th June 2011

Place :    Ratangad, Ratanwadi, Ahmednagar


Route :    Pune, Shivajinagar (via ST) —> Rajur (Ahmednagar) —> Shendi or Bhandardara (via private taxi) —> Ratanwadi (Base village) (via private taxi)

Time from base village :    2 hours

Difficulty :    Medium

History :

This fort does not have any historic significance. It was captured by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and it was one of his favorite fort. Shivaji Maharaj loved this fort because of the natural scenic beauty surrounding the area.

Ratangad is said to be the origin of Pravara/Amrutvahini river. The Bhandardara dam is constructed on this river.

Ratanwadi, the base village, has an Amruteshwar temple which can be traced back to the Hemadpant era of the 8th century. There’s a natural cave on the top of the fort called ‘Nedhe’ meaning the ‘point of the needle’. It’s a 10×60 feet natural hole in the mountain which is supposedly caused by wind erosion.

So here goes. . .

We started in the morning at 6:00 am, we all were supposed to meet at the Shivajinagar bus stand. We were supposed to catch a bus to Akole at 6:30 am as the MSRTC website said but when we reached the bus stand, the we were told there is no bus to Akole at 6:30 am but there is one at 7:30 am so we had to wait for an hour. Bummer at the start of the journey itself.

Then we waited, when till 7:20 there was no bus one of us again went to inquire and was told there’s no bus at all. God bless MSRTC. But there was a direct bus to Rajur where we actually intended to go, and to our luck when we were at the inquiry counter the bus driver of the Rajur bus came there and told us that the bus is scheduled to leave in 10mins and is parked on the other side. So we picked up our stuff and ran towards the bus and finally we were on the bus to Rajur.

It took about 4 hours for the bus to reach Rajur. Once we were in Rajur we immediately came outside the bus stand and started looking for a vehicle to reach Shendi/Bhandardara. The environment was a little chaotic it being a Sunday, the market day. There are private taxis in Rajur which’ll take you to Shendi on seat basis for 15 bucks.

We were in Shendi by 1:00 pm. Once in Shendi we enquired about launch or boat to reach Ratanwadi but were told that the launch is not available all round the year and it is only available after the rainy season is over. It was almost lunch time and we all were famished so we decided to have lunch at a local restaurant.

After lunch we started looking for a taxi to take us to Ratanwadi. One of the guy was ready but asked for Rs. 400, we bargained a little and finally we convinced him for Rs. 350. And finally we began our journey to Ratanwadi. The route to Ratanwadi is pretty rough but it has the most beautiful view of the Bhandardara dam’s back water.

We were in Ratanwadi by 3:30 pm. We decided to visit the Amruteshwar temple the next day as we were already late and had to make it to the top before sundown. We started our trek at about 4:00 pm. Local kids take Rs. 200 to be your guide and they accompany to the top.
NOTE :- If you don’t have anyone whose been to Ratangad then it is advised to take a guide. As the terrain is very confusing and especially in the rainy season because of the fog the actual fort is not visible from the base village. There are very good chances that you would be lost. So hire a guide.

View on the way

We thought it must be a simple, straight way to the top. We decided not to hire a guide but we weren’t aware of the terrain. One of the villager told us that their are arrow marks on the road which we could follow. We saw the first arrow, which confirmed we were on the right path.

But after the first arrow I guess we lost track of the correct way and strayed on some other hill. After climbing for half an hour we were on the top and there was no further way visible. We went to one of the corner of the hill and spotted some other trekkers on the hill in front of us and realized that we were on the wrong path. We came down the hill and during our descend the rain started to pour as hell. In just 5 mins we were completely drenched and as far as our climb was concerned we haven’t even started yet.

When we were finally down Tushar and Prashant suggested to go back to the village and climb in the morning. But that was not a viable option as we were already wet and we had to make it to Pune by evening next day. Going back would have spoiled the entire schedule. So somehow me and Rahul convinced them to continue.

Arrow

We continued in the direction where we saw the other group of trekkers. And finally we spotted another one of those arrows confirming the right path. However we didn’t come across the other group. We continued the climb and this time we decided that if we don’t see an arrow for long we go back to the last one and trace the route correctly.

Ladder

Finally after walking for about 1 and a half hour we were at the base of the two ladders. It was raining and it was almost sundown so we climbed up the ladder which by the way is in very bad condition. On the top of the ladder, there is a rock patch which is very thrilling to climb. But as I mentioned it was raining all day there was water coming down the rock patch. We all were scared a little as it was very dangerous and with water flowing down, all the rock swere very slippery. But somehow we all made it to the top by quarter to seven and it wasn’t completely dark yet.

On the top there are two caves. One of the caves has a temple and another one can be used to spend the night. The cave is in very good condition and it is not open, it has a gate like opening and is covered from all the directions. The gate even has a grill which can be closed after dark.

Cave

Foggy View

There was fog all around, the visibility was so low that the fence of the hill also not completely visible from the cave. So once in the cave, we decided to make fire as it was really cold. Prashant had brought a bottle of Kerosene and we found wood in the cave. But to our bad luck the wood was wet. Prashant and Rahul tried but were not lucky in getting the fire going. We all were carrying Top Ramen packets, our plan was to cook on the top. But no fire, no cooking.

Vishal and I were carrying tiffin boxes so we all ate and went to sleep. We hung a bed sheet on the grill in order to prevent the wind from entering the cave. The blowing wind was carrying a lot of mist into the cave. But the bed sheet we hung did help a little bit.

Everyone went to sleep but I couldn’t sleep, it was really cold. Finally at about midnight I went to sleep but couldn’t sleep for long and we all were awake by 4:00 am in the morning. The topic of discussion was how to climb down the rock patch we came from. Climbing down that patch was going to difficult than climbing up because of impaired visibility.

Prashant and Tushar again tried to light the fire but failed. They were playing with the wood and the kerosene for about 2 hours before finally giving up. Prashant was planning on cooking.

After they gave up at about 6:30 am we gathered all of our stuff and packed it into the bags. We went out to see the fort but it wasn’t a good sight outside, the fog had gotten thick. Since our cave was on the other side of the direction of the wind we weren’t aware of the wind speed. Once we were on the clear top of the fort the wind was blowing so fast that if you jumped you wouldn’t land at the same place, the wind would displace you by a foot or so. It wasn’t a pretty seen and it was still raining. So we decided to skip the fort seeing (nothing was visible anyways).

We went back to the cave, picked up our stuff and started our descend. And fortunately all of us made it down the rock patch and the ladders as well safely. I had to carry two bags down as Vishal was not able to carry his.

Our luck hadn’t changed the next day as well cause climbing down we again lost track of the road so it delayed us a little but finally we were at the base village. We went to the Amruteshwar temple.

Amruteshwar Temple

There we told one of the boys for the breakfast, and when we were at his place we also inquired about the getting back to Shendi. They told us that there was no other way than to wait for some taxi to arrive from Shendi, which had very less chances of happening as it was a Monday. We went to the bus stand and waited there. The teacher from the school had the phone number of one of the drivers and arranged the transportation for us. The taxi guy dropped us directly to Rajur, cost us another 480 bucks. You know, what the weird part is that the distance from Rajur to Shendi is 20 kms for which they take Rs. 15 per head. And Ratangad is also 20 kms from Shendi for which they charge Rs. 400 per taxi, as it is the path less traveled.

From Rajur we took a taxi to Akole, from Akole an ST bus dropped us to Sangamner. We had lunch in Sangamner and since Sangamner lies on the Nashik-Pune route there are buses which ply frequently. And by 11:30 pm we were in Pune.