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
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
* 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
* 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.
* 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
- Get a train for Kalyan (Central Line) from Dadar (or where ever you are)
- 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)
- Alight at Savarne, make sure you let few commuters know where you are going. Make sure u tell the conductor its NOT KHUBI PHATA
- Walk from Savarne towards Belpada, the base village