Dec 7, 2007. Friday
In the office, there was chaos about the time to meet everybody @ the VT station, even though everything was clear on “meetup.com”. In the chaos 10.45pm was supposed to be the train departure (according to us). I left for home, Vinay, Kulkarni, Neeraj were supposed to come directly. Sudani and Ashok too went home. I was @ VT around 10.15 pm when I met Vinay, Kulkarni and Neeraj. Rajoba had called that he had just left Andheri with Sudani. But we saw nobody below the Big clock, were we there on the wrong day ? 😛 ? Vinay called Mallik, he said the train departed around 11.20pm, and we were early. So we headed out into VT’s night. Amazingly the shops we banked on to get a torch, all had shut. Just a few remained. We went to Sterling got some snaps of the Deutche Bank and then into McDonalds. Enjoying burger, tea, coffee , Vinays’ phone rang, it was Mallik
किधर हो भाइ?
बस पहुंच रहे हें
We saw a big group standing with a lot of big backpacks lying below. Met the familiar faces. Sanjay Bhutani, the one who never missed any trek, Janki, Bertram, Amey, Anupama, Pali, Mallik and more. Sanjay had got a german friend of his. ‘11.20pm S’ was scheduled, Karjat. Train ride as always after Kalyan was more of monkeys jumping here and there. Vinay even managed to get on the luggage rack!
Dec 8, 2007. Saturday
We reached Karjat after 1.00am. We stayed there. Where we met another two members. I was embarrassed when I asked Saurabh
Have I’ve met you before ?
Yes, Kondana caves, rappelling
We head towards the Karjat bus stop, where everybody got their sleeping bags, and other equipment to get comfortable through the night. Me and Vinay headed towards the open land, we wanted to capture the dazzling stars above. Did a lot of experimentation with exposure, etc. and just managed to get one right!!!, Need to have a tripod ! Ofcourse had pictures of everybody lazing on the ground.
At 5.00am we got ready to move, had a Rs. 5 tea (which was only sugar, water and some tea leaves !) and searched for the tum-tums, Got one and loaded it with guys and luggage. Asked them to send another one back. We were almost 22 and needed another tum-tum. The tum-tum finally arrived and in a weired position we headed towards , The base village. A road repair work, forced us to get down and walk some stretch and again cramp into the position. Finally around 7.00am, We reached Khandas. We rested for half an hour for tea, snacks etc. Everybody was doing their own thing, Kulkarni was interested in getting hold of chicks, we even crouched below the bullock carts, etc. The prize was Rs. 10 a chick. As expected, he never even manged to earn a worth of his cigarette cost. Me and Neeraj moved into the fields for the expected. The village was lovely with huge fields with a good backdrop of high mountains of the Bhimashankar range. All headed into the fields for snaps.
By 9.00am we had started moving for the climb, the road initially was a tar road which zig-zaged through the village. We felt it was around 10-15 mins of walk till before the road ended and the stony, irregular mountain climb started. The climb was typical with lot of pictures, snaps. A little more climb and we reached the Ganesh temple, close to 8.00am. We sat there for a while and again headed up into the hills, the slope was getting steeper. Then Mallik, Vinay and some others headed crossing a steep climb on a rock ahead only to find no way ahead. Below, I saw a clear path on the right, we waited till they returned and we proceeded. As we moved higher and higher along the mountain, We came to a flat land, and to our right there was a big mountain. It was already 2.5 hrs since we’d been climbing, I said to Sudani,
मुझे लगता है, कि हमे इसके उस पार जाना है।
प्हक !!! और इतना ?
On to our right we also saw a distinct feature, a big cone protruding out of the mountains. Another hour after we were into dense jungle, shadow everywhere, This was good, as the heat had started to nag us. But it had also become humid. Around 12.00pm came a small make-shit hut with an oldman inside it. We decided to have a break and all had छाछ and tea. Munched on the biscuits, sipped the electral, Glucose, etc. An hour after, we were still climbing, walking, we came across a steep rock climb, and everybody somehow manged to overcome the heat, the hot rock and the fatigue. Amar and Sridhar kept singing melodious hindi songs, with Neeraj like a catalyst suggesting new songs. Kulkarni and Neeraj kept discussing the some Anup Jalota’ song,
मीरा होगी मगन…
नाभिः से आवाज़ आनि चाहिए, नाभिः !
मिराः होगी मगन…
To our left we saw the rock feature, the cone that we had seen from below. It was now almost level to our height, with a lovely ranges in the back. The road ahead was a little on the edge, everybody was moving cautiously. We were all moving along the big mountain that we had seen from below, and were now moving towards the backside of it, It was quarter-past 2pm when we saw another mountain ahead, But with a little relief. We saw some man-made landmarks visible, that meant Bhimashankar was now close by. yet another hour long walk and we were finally there on the top of the Bhimashankar mountain.
It was 3.30 when we moved into the small locality of Bhimashankar and arranged for some lunch in a hotel. We were waiting for a Maharashtrian thali. Everybody was tired and wanted to eat and just sleep. 😀 We finished our food and went to the lodging, it was just 2 rooms. Not even toilets. The next plan was to go to the Hanuman kund and have some bath and then to Nagphani, the tallest peak in Bhimashankar. Everybody around 5.00pm with their clothes etc went back for a walk towards the Hanuman kund, only to be disappointed, that it was a small water cistern which was not very clean. Didn’t give anybody that ‘freshen up’ feeling. So … to Nagphani, and we climbed yet again, like 6hrs of climb wasn’t enough. We reached Nagphani almost quarter to 6.00pm. And the sun was ready with its diving pose. A lot many snaps over there. Me, Neeraj, Sridhar and Pali’s friend stayed there, while others moved even higher to a small climb the Nagphani peak. I was enjoying the sunset. We started to come down in another half hour, and reached back at the lodge, to rest and laze around. The IITians, Mallik and Saurabh were nostalgic when they started playing ’28’, a Card game, with Neeraj joining them. I, Vinay and Anumpana started playing ‘Bluff’ with Sudani as the rookie. Sudani was innocently stupid enough to bluff on the wrong cards which had just been somebody else. At night around 9.00pm we were all hungry and found a hotel just next to our so called ‘lodge’ and ordered lots of Rotis, Paneer sabzi. The hot fresh roti was so tasty after a long, tiring day that me Kulkarni, Neeraj almost ate 5-7 rotis each. Back in the room all gents, without sleeping bags stuffed inside the small room, and ladies in the other one. Sleep was quick and fast.
Dec 9, 2007. Sunday
6.00am, and we all were almost awake. Around 7.00am, all had finished their early morning ‘clean-ups’, and were ready packing. Around 7.30 we head towards the Bhimashankar temple. To get to the temple, one has to climb down around 100 steps or more. At the temple leather bags, wallets, mobile phones, cameras are not allowed and hence Mallik decided to do the ‘चौकिदारी’ and rest went inside. Even within the temple, the main Jyotirling is down, about 6-7 steps down and the dark small room where the jyotirling is placed makes its presence felt. Outside we took pictures. Sudani and Kulkarni kept discussing the verb in hindi describing the re-creation of the temple. A little rest in the early sun and we headed back to the hills, and this time to descend!!, Pali and his friends decided to fork routes, they planned to get by bus. Saurabh and Amar had to leave to Pune, so that was it for them as well. A few hugs and tightening of straps, belts, etc. and MoRoNeRz were ready! It was just past 9.00am.
The descent was fairly comforting as compared the last hour of climb that all had endured. Simple, and comparatively faster motion helped all of us to get into the gear. We moved through the familiar route along the edge of the mountain. Soon we came back to the small hut where we had छाछ, yet again we had it, with few theplas, Glucose, some tea and not the least Water. What we thought as a quick descend was actually more than 2.5hrs, It was 11.30pm. We were all relaxing when I heard a sudden thump, as if some head had hit a rock. Anupama had lost his balance, and tumbled on her back and hit the stone with her head. All were stunned to see her in that position. Janki was quick to get her up and rub her head, if that was not enough, atleast 2 members hit the low wooden ceiling roof.
With the ‘eventful’ break we started back. We kept walking along the big plateau and we reached the Ganesh mandir around 12.15pm. Some more rest and we knew the rocky road leading to the trail was not far away, and we reached the bottom an hour later around 1.30pm. And started the walk, All were tiered, thirsty. Most of the water was over, only thing that helped us kept moving was that we had finished the Bhimashankar trek, and were only walking back to the village. The road was now filled with rocks and fine rocky gravel, was bit easier to walk as compared to the start. The 1.30 scorching sun was taking its toll. I was puffing Electral, Sudani too took the packet and put some powder into his mouth, only to make a big ‘eew noise and spit it away.
कया हे हये ? केसे खाता हे तू?
To that me and Kulkarni started laughing. We kept walking but the heat of the tar road never ended, it had been only half an hour and we felt we’d been walking for years together. We finally sat over a bridge and took some snaps with Bhimashankar in the backdrop. Kulkarni still had enough energy to add to his portfolio. All moved ahead when suddenly Sudani was frustrated with the long, slow walk and he started walking briskly. All we could do was just watch him go past us. A small turn later me and Mallik were laughing watching Sudani tiered and sitting on the ground some cattle. It was 2.15 and we were still walking… And then finally we saw the village, and we went inside. The village too seemed so big and vast that the place where we’d initially stopped for breakfast never came. It did finally, around 2.30 when all threw their bags and rested in the shade. Kulkarni saw Sridhar standing,
कया बात है, बडे चुस्त और fresh लग रहे हो !?
अंदर मेरी क्या हालत है, मैं ही जानता हूं !!!
Bhutani, Rajoba were giving order for bhakaris and pithla, when Neeraj saw a guy water a new built wall with a pipe. We couldn’t resist and Neeraj asked him
भाइसहाब, दीवार को पानी मारकर क्या फयदा, हमपर डालेंगे कुछ?
The guy agreed, and me, Neeraj, Sridhar and Kulkarni refreshed ourselves with cool water when we saw rest of the pack following. We changed and came back to see the food ready. The simple bhaakri and pithla tasted so good after the long trek. Amey and Rajoba discussed the returning mode of transport, And two tum-tums were arranged to take us back to Neral.
Around 4.00pm we reached Neral and were lucky enough to get a fast local to VT. The long wait till Dadar was not bad as all enjoyed the moments. As if the travelling was never to end, we had to change trains to come back on the Western line and get down at the respective stations. I got down at Khar only to realize that I still have to walk for 5 minutes before I can throw my bag.
- Get down at Karjat Station, ideally night prior to the climb
- With a tum-tum early morning leave for Khandas village