Category Archives: Trek

Tung or Kathingad Fort Trek

Dec 29, 2012

A quick 30 minute climb from the Tung fort’s base to the very top by 9.30pm. Then one of the five elements made us run back to the base. It took less than 15 minutes to be back and into the car.

We spent a lovely night at Lions Point, Tiger Hill. Had food and were back at home next morning by 8.30am.

Photos

Tung Trek Dec 2012

Travelling Directions

  1. Take a left from the Expressway for Khandala
  2. Head towards Lonavala and take a turn to Aamby Valley
  3. Take a left at Ghusalkhamb for Tungi (you’ll see boards for Mahindra Resort)
  4. About 10 km from the turn, you’ll see a small board (left turn) for Tung fort

 

Sondai Trek

Aug 19, 2012

Mallik’s visit to Mumbai would’ve been pointless without a visit to the newly crowned UNESCO Heritage Site, Western Ghats, our beloved Sahyadaris.

The destination this time around was a simple one, Sondai fort Trek. Close to the Morbe Lake Dam, near Karjat. This place had its own little lake dam, the Vaverle Lake Dam.

The participants were Mallik’s rock climbing group buddies, Ritz, Farzheen, Sneha, Aditya, Meenaz. Me and Vj were just the climbing pals, the rocks seemed to shun us everytime we tried to overcome them.

Mallik stayed overnite with me, and we picked up Vj early morning from Bandra Station. “Picked up”, yes, this was the 5-star trek of ours, a direct car commute to the base of the village. Others joined us at Kalanagar junction and we headed straight to Dutta Snacks, at the Panvel junction. A lazy lavish hour spent there having Batata Vada, chai, etc. My first trek with Farzheen, and the pit-stop at Dutta snacks made perfect sense.

Another 15 minutes, and we were at the chowk junction. The rains were lashing hard, we thought that it was the first time this region including Mumbai was getting the heavy downpour of the season. At Sion junction, it was just 6.30am and it was already flooding. A left from Chowk/Karjat junction and few more minutes in the now decaying road conditions took us to Borgaon junction where we took a left and then wandered towards the Vaverle village, all in a car!

The country side was green, with every single green hue visible with the unsaturated grays of the hovering clouds simply dousing over the hills. The Sondai fort-hill was hidden behind the fluffy puffs. A small climb on top of what seemed like a wall opened up gasping landscape of a lake being nurtured by small hillocks on each side.

The actual trek itself was a small 1 hr climb, mostly including trail walks. At the top we had some more food, thanks to Vj and Mallik’s bags which contained loads of tasty food and lots of Katchi beer ( छाछ ). At the base, the lake awaited us, I was the first to get into the water body, which welcomed me with warm water. The sight was simply irresistible for others, and soon everybody followed.

Almost half-hour into the lake, and still all hesitated to move out. Mallik had already left. It was Mallik’s call for Maggi that put everybody in dilemma. A hot maggi on a rainy afternoon after a dip in the lake was something that nobody wanted to miss. We had maggi and other restover food in a small hut where another group was playing with an air gun and trying to determine whose pellet went longest in the pool! No wonder we miss out on so many of those shooting medals.

Back at the car, we got into our dry wear, with RD Burman’s songs blasting through. On our way back we halted at a restaurant in Nerul for snacks and then back to our concrete and mortar.

Travelling Directions

  1. Take left at Chowk junction for Karjat
  2. Another left at Vaverle or Borgaon


View Larger Map

Photos

Sondai Trek Aug 2012

Ratangad Trek

I love my state, Maharashtra. Recently had been to this lovely little trek (only 2 hours for climbing) of Ratangad, BUT … BUT a very long way to the base village, Ratanwadi.

The path to Ratangad was showered with the lovely hills, mountains en-route through one of the loveliest lakes in India, The Bhandardara lake (Wilson Dam). The road winds through the Igatpuri range, first roaming around some of the virgin hills and then through the emperors, starting with Kalsubai. The pinnacle with a small hump at the very top, a very distinguishable feature, keeps overlooking your ride/drive right till you climb Ratangad.

The base of the mountain, Ratanwadi is a small village of not more than 200 dwellers. It has an ancient temple, Amruteshwar along the banks of the Bhandardara lake. The village itself is on the opposite end of the Dam, hence about 1/2 hrs boat ride from the dam or 20km of ride from the Dam. The lake at the village provides with perennial water supply and free natural swimming pool unmatched in its beauty, surrounded with peaks of Kalsubai, Ratangad.

From the top of Ratangad, one can view the adjacent magnificence of the Sahyadri Range, next to Kalsubai are Alang, Madan, Kulang mountains (one of the difficult climbing routes – for guys like us). On the otherside is the intimidating “Ajoba”

Ratangad Pics



More Ratangad Pictures

Travelling Directions

  1. Get to Igatpuri Station (Central Railway)
  2. An early morning bus to Bhandardara (around 5.00am)
  3. Boat ride to Ratanwadi

Kothaligad Trek

With no treks in monsoon, one was due, Rajoba planned for this relatively simple trek to Kothaligad for 11 September 2010. We were to meet @ Dadar’s ticket-window spot around 4.40am and board a train for Karjat around 4.58am.

For the first time all made it on time, I was happy. But Vj was still worried, Hanjoo, the President of my ex-company was yet to make it. Rest all of us, Vj, his wife, Deepak Airy, Vijay Gupta, Anshul Pandey, Digvijay Singh, Amol Rajoba were present. Manas couldn’t make it as he was late to get up. Me and Vj ran to get Hanjoo @ the cab junction, while others moved for the platform. When we reached back @ the platform, the train had already left, and the next one was at 5.37am. So we called Manas and checked if he could still make it. He did without a “cleanup” !
At Karjat station, we grabbed a ST bus for the Ambivali village. This was the base, from where our trek was to start. 1.5hrs ride to Ambivali village with everybody managing to catch hold of some sleep. We started our journey from there to the base of the pinnacle, the Peth village. This was about another 1 hrs walk, climb through a very rocky road.

The climb/walk was more of fun, as everybody with their respective stamina, and passion for photography, or should I say for Orkut-ology or newly Facebook-ology were trailing behind. Hanjoo the eldest of us, was quick. We navigated through most of the shortcuts, cutting straight through winding roads and take you up earlier, but not without extra-climbing. We split in 2 groups (naturally) with quicker and the slower. The quicker moved around the green meadows waiting for their compatriots, while the compatriots reached the Peth village!

Pinnacle of Kothaligadh with base village Peth

At the Peth village we had a few refreshments, a cold drink bottle costing almost 1.5 times that of the MRP! There we hired a kid to take us to the pinnacle, where there were caves. Another 1 hr climb, this time really a climb, no walk! we reached the caves with relatively clean area. The गांववाले must be keeping it clean. But the other parts of the cave were stinking with Bats! so horrible the smell was that we could hardly breathe. We decided that we would have our food/lunch over here. Vj and his wife started pulling out the ‘Wax Stove’ and Maggi noodles, while others helped in getting water, arranging Newspapers to sit. Hanjoo was restless.. didn’t know what to do. The kid, Anil, said there were 100 steps that lead from the cave to the top of the pinnacle. Hanjoo said, “I’ll be back” and started climbing, while I kept asking the kid if there was any place where I could swim or have bath with good clean water. After checking a few cisterns infested with toads, frogs, rats, etc. I dropped my plan. I decided I too must go through the inner-carved steps out into the open. Each step was about 1.5 feet tall, almost reaching the knee, after some panting I was there! Open ! Hanjoo was checking out the beautiful Sahyadri. It wasn’t very windy out there, I decided I need to remove my Tshirt, others who had followed me to the top too copied … few of us without our T-shirts with our President! shirtless! enjoyed the breeze which teased us.

After a small thought of Manas, Hanjoo that beer should’ve been a great companion @ the top, we moved down having our staple trek food of Bread, butter, cheese slices and the Hot Maggi. Around 3 we started our descent from the caves and reached to the base of Peth in 30 mins. From there one the climb down was little boring as it was a rocky road. Around 5 all were there at the base near the bus stop. We waited near a “Hotel” few had tea. I enquired if there was a hand pump or something where we could clean ourselves, A villager said there was a big pond of fresh water, but if we made to it, we would lose our bus ride back to Karjat. Plan dropped! 🙁

The bus arrived around 5.30 pm, and we reached Karjat around 6.40pm. Manas the only guy without a return ticket had to run as there was a Fast train already waiting to release its brakes. We just managed to grab it and reached Dadar around 8.30pm. Home sweet home was by 8.45pm.

Travelling Directions

  1. Get down at Karjat Station, Central Railway
  2. A ST bus or Tuktuk to the base village of Ambivali, 1.5hrs of ride
  3. There on 1.5 hrs of climb to the pinnacle’s base, Peth village

Approximate Time of Trek: 5-6 hrs from and to the base village of Ambivali

Harishchandragad via Nalichi Vat

Here is another blogpost about my Harishchandragad trek via nali chi vaat. I’ve kept a different idea of writing this blog post, its more of the thoughts zooming out as I jot down the trek. This writeup moves in and out of present and past tense.

This post is somewhere between the normal blog and far away 140 chars tweet.

Fri, January 8, 2010

* Karjat train for kalyan, sandwiches Mallik brought
* reached Kalyan about 9.00pm
* bus for Nagar , dropped us at Khubi phata instead of Savarne as both the conductor and the aspirants dozed off!
* took 2 trucks back to savarne, my truck driver advised to stay near the police chowki and be aware of the villagers at savarne
* almost 12.30 when we reached @ savarne, Mallik, Rajo and Vj followed after 10 mins
* decide to sleep near the police chowki, in our sleeping bags, till the alarm rang at 4.45

Ruturaj's Album

Sat, January 9, 2010

* got ready, and started to move in the dark to find ‘Walivare’ or Belpada. Asked a old fellow in Savarne, continued towards a plateau like hill, crossed it, and down, to walk further following a white tank.
* at 7.0am Belpada well, also saw the concrete road that came around the plateau (could’ve saved our climbing efforts)
* refilled water bottles and cleared the ‘stomach bottle’, and started for the Nali by 7.45

Nali

* Meet a thane group, enroute to Nali
* our first stop is around 8.48 at the ‘Big step’, have boiled eggs, watermelon, yes Mallik managed that in his ‘super’ heavy bag
* the first group cross us till we have our food, Mallik is panicked! need to get ahead of them in the nali, otherwise we’re jacked
* nali.. starts soon

Rock patch #1

* rock patch one, a first group, from trekdi.com is seen ahead pulling bags, etc on a rope-line
* we soon reach there, Mallik climbs ahead, throws a rope, and pull bags
* others too climb ahead, Swati is a confident climber!

* the treacherous terrain starts, with loose crumbling rocks, no good hand holds or even foot holds, the base is full of small pebbles, sliding down

Rock patch #2

*the trekdi group is busy lining up their equipment and anchoring stuff. Mallik is quick to climb and go ahead, Rajo follows without a bag, the bags up are called up..
* I tie Swati a bowline, and she starts ahead confidently and moves up, next is me, I too tie a bowline and move ahead.
* Bad scree above, rocks fall one big one falls about 15cm in diameter falls on Rajo’s head, he ducks, but still scratches his spectacles and falls bang! on his right knee, more rocks follow, rajo runs towards me, I somehow manage to keep him anchored !
*Vj comes in at the last. All 5 of us are out while trekdi is just begining to start actual ‘people ferrying’. Advantages of a small group in such terrain.

Rock patch #3

* further moving up, and things get worst, extermely bad scree, loose footing! And we are at the final patch 3, trekdi’s local / village guide throws rope, Mallik climbs ‘commando’ style pulling the rope with the bag, sits, hoists our rope, and asks Swati to be next, Rajo is unable to tie the bowline or even a endman’s knot.. finally ask him to tie a ‘desi’ knot and Swati moves up! very confident. मल्लिक कि बहन जचती है!, Bags are ferried up. Rajo is next, then its me. Vj tries to come with the bag, but is difficult, so sans bag!

Rock patch #4

* then cross a kind of ‘dangerous’ traverse to the right, and back to left towards another side, move ahead and see which seems like another patch where ropes could be necessary.
* Mallik says, this is definitely land-slide, cause last time when he was with Mei and Sanjay, this wasn’nt a problem, either ways we move up again with the same pattern of ferrying bags and the people, that was patch 4, Mallik says that this is officially the end of Nali

Konakan Kada

* little ahead, there is another a little dicey maneuver, we adopt a similar pattern for Swati, while rest of us make with our bags.
* with that we are almost just below the final konkan-kada’s reach, but for that we have to climb a litle of 10 mins and we’re at the exhaustive expanse of the kada, we wait there rest for a while and move out to explore the kada, Vj and Swati the first timers for the Konkan kada and they need to see more of that than rest.
* Move up to the hole near the edge and enjoy some time over there.

Harishchandragad Temple and bath

* Finally leave for Harishchandragad, its another 20+ minutes in the hot sun, feels like we’re not really walking but as Mallik states ‘zombies moving’. Another small hill to climb, which is a big big pain!
* The pain pays off, when we finally reach the temple, its just 3.00pm, we’d started our journey around 8.00am, its been 7 hours since Belpada and around 8.5 hours from Savarne. The sole of my legs are really hurting, Mallik is tired to death, and nothing different for others.
* We keep our bags near the cave in the temple, and finalize that as our night-halt point. Then we leave for a dip in the cistern
* its extremely cold as we expected and I barely manage to be there for a minute inside, Mallik and Rajo do 3/4th round around the shiv-ling and come back, Vj is last for everything, after all of us are out, he finally goes in and stays there for about 5 mins
* All are extremley hungry, we decide for some tea first. Mallik cant have enough patience to wait for the tea and then have hot Maggi soup.

Food

* At the cave, Mallik prepares for the soup in the kadhai that Rajo got with Vj’s wax-stove. But we wonder how we’d have it,
* I decide to check if I can borrow some glasses from the tea fellow, and end up purchasign 5 plastic glasses from him.
* We start with bread, mayonnaise and cheese slices as we wait for the soup, after teh dip in the cold cistern, our bodies have cooled down, and the early Jan air is cold around 4.30pm. * The soup is read, me and Mallik gulp down it hot! aah ‘Bliss’ as we both agreed, Swati is wasteful in losing the ‘heat energy’ of the soup, while me and Mallik are gulping the hot liquid as it goes down heating our throats, inner linings of the gullet which we can feel and rather enjoy that feeling.
* also eat chocolate cake and chocolate cake roll, Most of us are kinda full, but me Mallik and Rajo are eager for some more heat down the gullet, and I make sure atleast 2 maggies or Top Ramen noodles are prepared to satisfy our lust for piping hot gulps. Vj is full, but manages to have some maggi, and soon all the maggi has met its destination, the stomachs.
* we move out again to wash hands, fill water bottles, when we see the trekdi public standing outside

* as opposed to inital plan, there wont’ be any dinner, this was all, All that we now needed was rest. Rajo had asked a local to arrange for some firewood, and he starts teh fire with Swati right in the cave ! A decision that all repented later as the cave is full of smoke, and everybody is tearful, we wait for about 0.5 hrs till the cave is warm, we wait around edge of the cave listning songs on the mp3 player, where its not that ‘tearful’ atmosphere.

* Finally around 8.00 we start preparing for sleep, while Swati curses us to be boring to sleep so early
* Rajo asks me if I’m interested in ‘paani maarke aanaa’, I agree and we move out to see a very beautifully lit starry night outside
* We call Vj outside and we try some snaps, before we finally go to sleep.
* 5.00am is the alarm time set

Sun, January 10, 2010

* Rajo’s alarm rings, he wakes up Mallik, Mallik is just ‘hmm.. uthgayaa main, still lying’ Rajo sleeps back
* 5.30 am Mallik’s alarm rings, and we finally wake up
* 6.45 we move off for Khireshwar via tolar khind, Rajo Mallik is just surging ahead, while rest of us are just following, Vj and Swati lagging behind.
* At the tolar khind rock face, Vj is angry that he still has to carry his load of ‘Maaza’. So finally Mallik has a sip or two and then he leaves us behind while he races ahead alone, he’d go to Hotel aishwarya and get ‘pohe’ prepared.

* we continue easy, a big DRDO group is coming up, Hi, Hellos, greetings fly by!
* around 9.00am we are @ the hotel, enjoying Pohe, Now I need to download
* after the ‘weight-lessner’ we take a very bumpy jeep ride to Madh, and then walk to Khubi phata where we spot a bus

* home is still not close by, as the ST stops @ Murbad probably for lunch break, my lunch was @ home when I reached at 2.45pm

Travelling Directions

  1. Get a train for Kalyan (Central Line) from Dadar (or where ever you are)
  2. Get a S.T.(State Transport) bus for Nagar, make sure its going from the Malsej Ghat (I don’t think there is another route though, just to be on safe side)
  3. Alight at Savarne, make sure you let few commuters know where you are going. Make sure u tell the conductor its NOT KHUBI PHATA
  4. Walk from Savarne towards Belpada, the base village

Siddhagad Trek

Monsoons had just arrived and we couldn’t resist the first one of the wet season, Siddhagad. Located near Murbad, between Gorakhgad and Bhimashankar, it was a good outing for us, Vj, Mallik, R.A. Jo B.A, Sneha, Swati and Kudrat. We could’ve hiked the final Balekilla, but as we were on a tight one-day schedule, we had to reach up to the cave atop the Siddhagad machi and return back.

Siddhagad Photos
Siddhagad Photos

Travelling Directions

  • Get a train for Kalyan Railway Station (Central Railway)
  • A ST bus to Murbad
  • Another ST bus to Narivali
  • A walk starts which converts to a trek soon – towards Siddhagad

Approximate time of Trek: 6-7 hrs (including the return to the base village)