Category Archives: Trek

Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal: Day 5 (12 Jun 08)

This entry is part 6 of 13 in the series Himalayan Trip: Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal

Day 5, 12 Jun 08

Off from Manjhi

7.00 am,
After a treacherous and strenuous trek last day, its going to be a relatively easy walk to Dodital from Manjhi. We don’t get up before 7.00 and slowly gather courage to repack our sacks and muster enough strength to load it on our backs. Even the night’s sleep is not without effort. Every move that I made in the sleeping bag made me pant for breath! Thats how I got through the night. Viki had made Aloo paratha and we had those and left around 11.15. The trek was more of a walk on a slope, sometimes ascending and othertimes just flat. At times when we crossed two mountains, the slope divided towards the base, and we were just happy enough for the descend as we were for more climb. Along the route Viki kept informing us about the various trees, mosses and how even the mosses are loaded full in trucks and sold off. We came across 2-3 bridges on streams which were in construction phase. Viki knew some of the labourers. The streams in Himalayas are endless. In Western India people are desparate for waterfalls and streams in the mountains, over here, its just another natural feature.



1.45 pm
A board read “Dodital”, But a lake was nowhere to be seen. All I could see was the normal greenery, hills and the valley behind. But a turn and the water body manifested, like a scene from Mahabharata or Ramayana. A lake goddess suddenly appearing in front of its worshippers!

The whole scene was serene and cold. There was no direct sunlight, just diffused light, making the whole place even colder. The ‘Dodital’ lake in Hindi means the lake of Dodi or lake of Ganesha. It was surrounded by small hills on three sides and the other side by the valley from where we had entered the area. The hills were full with Coniferous trees, a small cloud hanging low in one of the hills, another side getting a light drizzle, it was very mystical. With the lawns in bright green color, the water in a dark shade of blue and gray surrounded by dark green tall trees. This is Dodital, the place visitors can only reach by a trek, no vehicles no clumsy tourists, just pure nature lovers are found here.

We decide to roam around, Taking a lot of snaps and videos. there was a small wall around the lake, just to keep people off. We climbed the wall and there was a gaurd making sure that we didn’t get into the lake. Swimming, Angling/Fishing, bathing is not allowed inside the lake. The locals gaurd it like a deity. We circled the lake in an anti-clockwise direction, moving through puddles, small streams that added fresh water to the lake from all the sides. When we reached towards the entrance side of the lake and worshipped in the Ganesha temple we reailized, that people worship first and then make a प्रदक्षिणा around the lake in a clockwise direction.

I and Vj are not entirely feeling good, both of us are nauseatic. We decide we’ll sleep off in one of the huts (an octagonal hut) which was for tourists. I had Pudinhara and we cosily slipped into our sleeping bags. We were woken by the noise Rajo, Mallik and others were making when they had returned from a more adventurous trip around the lake. They had been climbing one of the hills around with a porter and while descending both of them had slipped. Each of them trying to hold eachother for grip and both sliding hands held together, just like from a hindi movie where the hero and the heroine slide on snow, the difference here was no heroine and the snow was actually transformed into pebbles and rocks that just kept hurting the bums.

7.00pm, It was dark and raining heavily, when Viki called us for food. We had Dal and Roti. I was still a little nauseatic but better managed 1 1/2 thick rotis. The rain was just getting worse when we were inside. And after food we had to wait to commute to the other hut where we were planning to sleep. The kitchen or the other hut where we had our food, was to be used by porters and Viki.

8.30pm, We finally managed to get back to ‘our’ hut. But the rains were hard and had taken its toll on the roofs of our huts. With our engg brains and headlights, we were trying to find a dry place. But there was none. Everytime we thought that there was some space and we moved the 3-legged bed, a helpful drop would make our efforts go away. Mallik was even trying to draw a wet line around the dripping hole that would make the water flow to the other side, thanks to something called as surface tension. But the rains were hard and were not to be tamed. We finally decide that we had to put the tents inside the hut to make our night sleep dry and cosy. We had spent more than and hour and a half on this task of finding a dry place. Viki came in and started to arrange the nets. When we were getting into our sleeping bags, we were apprehensive of any leeches in our bags. Around 9.30-10.00 we finally managed to settle and bid adieu to the day, for the next day we had a difficult climb to Darwa top.

Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal: Day 4 (11 Jun 08)

This entry is part 5 of 13 in the series Himalayan Trip: Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal

Day 4, 11 Jun 08

Bebra Ghat

3.00am, Its been raining hard since last night’s dinner. I hear Vj’s voice, he seems to be screaming.. somthing.. ‘paani’, I give it a deaf ear. But soon Vj’s panic in voice was echoed by that of Mallik. This time I heard them carefully. Vj and Mallik’s tent was water-logged. Small water puddles. Mallik is agitated as their Sleeping bags are all wet, so no sound, comfy sleep. Vj calls for Amye, to check if their tent is filled with water. I’m still too sleepy to get off my bum and check our tent. Vj finally calls for me and Rajo, only then did we get up and checked our tents. Our sleeping bags too are wet on the edges where the rain cover was not adequate enough. Vj and Mallik are on an overdrive to flush of their tents from water. It all continues till 4.00am, when things finally settle down a little, so does the rain. Vj and Mallik try to get a nap after a horrific start only to the 2nd day of the trek.


5.00am, Rajo’s alarm always ready to irritate. I get out of the tent, Rajo follows. Outside Viki is preparing Aloo parathas as decided last night. Its still quite chilly, but there is enough light, we remain in our thermal wears. 5.30, we call for Mallik and Vj. Mallik comes out, tired and frustrated with the rains. Half an hour later Vj too gets up. We were supposed to leave in next hour, instead we are having a heated discussion about the immediate plan. Our original plan was to leave for Dodital early morning, but Mallik refuses to move ahead without adequate rain cover. ‘Tarpolin’ or mattresses, atleast one out of it, otherwise we are not moving ! All this happens while we are chewing on the tasty parathas. We decide to send someone back in the base village, Sangamchatti to see if tarpolin or something is available.

7.30am, Viki after finishing off his food, giving some instructions to the porters, heads off to the base village. Mallik decides to cook food, as Viki would be far off from cooking, re-treading the path. We are still moving on the grass spending time with leeches attaching to us. Viki comes back around 9.00. He comes with a news that Sangamchatti shop is closed but there would be some mattresses available in Agoda. We decide that we have to have whatever we can for the rains, and me, Vj and Viki head off back towards Agoda. At Agoda around 10.00 we discuss about our plan with Viki, He says that if rains are bad, it would be difficult to move towards Hanumanchatti ahead from Dodital. Contingency plans start to evolve, with an extra day in Dodital and Viki could take us to a nearby glacier. While all this is happening, the lovely golden sun is on the green terrace lands of Agoda, straight ahead in the distance we can see a waterfall, the puffy-white clouds moving through the mountains creating a panoramic view. I wish I had a job & home over here in Agoda. Vj pays of the shop fellow for the mattresses and we are running back towards Bebra.

10.30, The Bebra sun is now adding heat. Its starting to get sticky after all the Bebra-Agoda-Bebra journey. We decide to take a bath and a wash. While I was trying to find a place to shit, the leeches ensured that I couldn’t rest easily, with the secondary work being to pull of the leeches of my skin. The Water at the heavy flowing stream was cold, We manage to put our feet in to find them getting numb. So a full bath is out of question, we start pouring water on ourselves with the mug, ensure that every part of the body is wet, a little soap, rinse and our bath is complete. But even this was good enough to freshen up things. Now we’ve got another problem, wet clothes, which would only add to our 12kg+ load. Around 12.30, the sun is so hot, that we had to make a make-shift shelter with the black tarpaulin that porters used last night for the rains. We have rice, masoor dal and Cabbage for lunch. The ropes Vj had carried were put to good use to dry the sleeping bags, the bags were now almost dry and we quickly windup things and pack. We see a ‘doli’, procession going ahead along the trekking route.


1.45pm, All guys leave ahead with the porters, me, Vj, Mallik and Viki settle things with the land owner with tent hosting rent for his private land. Viki says there would be a little tougher climb for the starting 2 hours, and he was right to the dot! Initially it started off with climbing through the village steps that lead towards the main route, the highway for the villagers, inter-connecting distant villages in this Himalayan valley. Then the ‘highway’ itself was climbing all the time, with little or almost no descend for relaxation. As Viki had said the next halt would be at ‘chattri’ or shelter at Dharkot. It was 3.25pm when we reached the concrete platform with shed on the top. It was just at the edge of the valley, with a very exotic view. We put our bags and got our cameras working, portraits, landscapes, name it. A local family collecting fire sticks came from top and rested with us. We had them covered too, City tourists in a place like these are paparazzi for the locals, constantly digging into them. When the family left, the little girl in them said ‘good bye’, We all were shocked, I asked

‘कौनसे class में हो तुम?’

12th class!

and the family vanished in the valley. There was board of the forest dept.

* Kacheru - 2.5km
* Manjhi - 5km
* Dodital - 10km

We were reading it when, Viki said that our night stop would be Manjhi, Still 5km to climb !!! Just before 4.00 we headed towards our 5km benchmark. We were passing through the route, when Viki suddenly tracked back and said

आना गाड दूं

!!! ? We didn’t understand till, he got a Rupee coin and hammered it into the bark of the tree. It was laden with hundreds of coins jammed into the wood. We too had our shot at drilling the coins, and made sure all posed for this rare occasion. 5.00pm, We passed through a small stream of water flowing, there was another ‘chattri’ over here. As Viki put it in his accent, it was Kachori. We rested here for few mins, as the last hour was just climbing without any stops. Had some glucose and biscuits, while Viki refilled our bottles with the original water from the mountains. We passed through hills covered with trees which themselves were covered with mossy plants.


It was close to 6.15pm when we were extremely tired and we saw some signs of a village. Viki said, we were almost there, that almost true to the local’s metrology lasted for another half hour. It was 6.30pm when it was dark, a lot of haze and mist when we touch a board displaying ‘कॅंपिंग स्थल, मांझी’. The weather, our condition was perfect to cause all of breathlessness. We all were extremely tired when dropped our bags near a hut, which Viki said was a forest dept.’s hut for trekkers. My head was throbbing, it was aching, and I was exhausted. The air was chilly, I quickly removed my thermal wear and put it on. I was gasping for air, there was some rumble around. Viki shouted to move quickly and get the baggages into the hut. We were unsure of why he was panicking, he was pulling the porters’ luggage with them into the hut when he said, it was the rains that was coming hard and fast. There wasn’t a drop though, but soon, hard water was hitting the land and all of us were inside that hut trying to dodge the rain leakage through the roof. Our initial thoughts of sleeping inside the hut were now out of question. We didn’t want another sleepless night with water seeping in the sleeping bags. Viki was resourceful and helpful enough to go out in the dark and arrange for a hut of the local while we were still in the hut. It was now so chilling with the rains, that we asked the porters to prepare tea. Most of us had atleast 2 cups of black tea each, the porters intelligent enough to understand how much tea was required.

7.30pm, We were inside the local’s hut, which was neatly water-proofed with tar and tarpaulin. There was fire on the side, wooden flooring, a small hut with more than 10 people inside was cosy place to be in that weather. We rested and discussed and enjoyed Viki’s distance calculating skills when he had said before Manjhi

और १८ – १९ km है

which he then corrected and said 90m. But those 90 meters lasted for well over 30 minutes. For dinner we had dal and rice, I was feeling nauseatic and didn’t eat much. It was still raining when we went to sleep around 10.30pm. Luckily this night’s sleep was gonna be much better than last night’s.

Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal: Day 3 (10 Jun 08)

This entry is part 4 of 13 in the series Himalayan Trip: Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal

Day 3, 10 Jun 08


The 5.00am alarm didn’t really start the morning for us. After some discussions we had to cancel the Bhagirathi dip, there was news that a dentist had flowed away in the river’s rage. And we had to meet Himalayan Sherpa to finalize our start for the trek after organising for all the ration and other equipment. It was going to be the last clean toilet/bathroom till the trek ended, so after a cleanup around 10.00am we headed out with our bags with its full weight towards the main town of Uttarkashi about a kilometer away.

The office was a small 2 room place. When we entered we saw Mr. Himalayan Sherpa with another Nepali in the room, which was filled with sacks. He introduced us to ‘Viki’, Vikram Singh, who was gonna be our guide. We all sat and discussed about the trek, the ration, the porters, everything. He had a list of ration ready for us. A kerosene pump was to be repaired, but the kerosene was ready. With the ration, the complete load including utensils and ration would be around 60kg. So he advised us for 3 porters. He advised that if we could manage to stack everything and leave by 1.00pm it’d be good or else he suggested we start the next day. But we determined to start our epic trek. We headed out with the porters to collect the ration. Mallik and Rajo collected the Grocery, while me and Vj got the vegetables in place. In an hour or so we were back in the office with everything on the list in our bags. We head out to see NIM (Nehru Institute of Mountaineering). NIM was just close by but on the hill. We decided that we’ll take a shortcut, a small climb on the hill avoiding the curving roads. The climb showed us what we were into. Within no time all of us were panting. Porters who were leading us to NIM joked on our state.


NIM was typically well funded Government place. With its residential quarters, various training buildings, neatly paved roads, Road signs on place. The place was very well located on hill overlooking the complete Uttarkashi city through the Pine trees. Over there we were greeted by Himalayan Sherpa. He showed us the museum housing various mannequins in trekking, snow-climbing and various local attires. There were many trekking and mountaineering equipments on display. It was then time for food, as we had to leave by 2.00 at max. We had some horrible chowmein at the NIM canteen, which most of us just pushed it down our throats. Viki was there and said that he had arranged for the taxi that’ll drop us at Sangamchatti, the base village for the Dodital Trek. We came back down by 1.30 and started packing our bags on the Maxx jeep. We were asked if we required mattresses and we all denied, we didn’t know that it could be our biggest mistake on the trek. By 1.45 we were moving.

Trek starts at Sangamchatti

Via a curving road along the Bhagirathi river via Gangori, which is a junction to move to Gangotri, we reached Sangamchatti. It was just a small village with 5-6 huts, a govt. rest house, a few ‘restaurants’ and a bridge. When we reached around 2.30 it was raining, we moved into one of the restaurants. Here in Uttarkashi most popular dish is Maggi, followed by Chowmein and Momo. This was our first raod-block for the trek, heavy rains right at the base. Viki said that if the rains didn’t die in another hour, we’ll have to stay here and start the next day. However, it did and we all geared up with our extremely big backpacks and ready to leave by 3.00pm. With a football match style, team hug in a circle, we started off!

Everybody was energetic, everybody walking briskly with their 10kg+ backpacks. The porters had around 20kg load each. The climb was a moderate on man-made path with rocks. But it was rainy and so a little slippery. Within an hour our pace had dropped and we were walking steadily but slowly. Viki was just jumping through the path and moving ahead only to wait for us on the coming turn. Around 4.00 we took our first official stop (which means all stop, rest of the halts are sporadic individual stops). Had some snaps overthere. We met a fellow who too was moving in the same direction as us towards Agora. He worked in some Wildlife company in Delhi which makes videos, photos for Discovery and other such companies. The porters hadn’t reached and we asked Viki to ask them to be swift enough and not take too many unnecessary breaks. We moved ahead after 15 mins or so the next stop was going to be Agora, Viki said that probably we’d need to halt at Agora if we lack on our pace. Through the lovely hills, narrow lanes along the edge of the valleys full of green trees, pines, covered by blue sky, we moved with our shutters flying. Nikhil the obvious one to go off the track for snaps.

Around 5.00pm we reached Agora, which a village on the edge of hill with farming done on terrace fields. It was a lovely place with roads always having a 3rd dimension that of height that changed as we moved on it. By this time we were getting really tired as it was our first trek after a long time and that too in the thinner air as compared to Sahyadris. Viki thought that we could make it to ‘Bebra’ which he pronounced as ‘Debra’ if we move along. Bebra ghat was our first scheduled stop. So after a little break we moved on. I really needed energy, Vj handed me some chocolates. It was starting to get darker with the bright blue sky now turning into a murky blue color. We crossed through a wooden brige built right on top a valley joining 2 mountains along its edge.


The climb was now disappearing into a descent. after an hour from Agora we reached Bebra ghat, which was a small village not more than 10-20 families living along a river stream from the mountains and farming on the terrace lands. There was a small bridge on that stream that lead us to the entry of the Village, where stood a sign, ‘Bebra Gate’. It was actually at this point where we understood its Bebra and not Debra as our guide of Nepali descent mouthed. We found a good little terrace land, where we could make our tents for the nights stay. The tiredness was evident on everyone’s face when I took snaps of everybody resting. Viki was energetic to start working on the tents. Me and Vj tried to help. It took Viki around 15-20 min to setup 3 two-man tents and one 4 man tent for the porters and Viki himself. We rested in the tents, but we were worried about the leeches that we saw and some of them already sticking to Mallik who was freely roaming bare foot on the grass. Around 9.00 or so Viki called us when we were resting in dark tents, wearing our thermal wears for the colder night ahead. As the sweat started drying.. so did our heat in the body. When we were out of the tent for food, we felt like we were in Pune or something in winter. We had been eating Jaggery and peanuts, which Mallik had distributed, but still we wanted hot food. Viki had prepared Dal and Rice. It was tasty but I’d never had my food with only rice. I had to manage. Around 10.00pm we went back to our tents, hoping for a nice sound sleep, unaware of the terror that was awaiting.

Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal: Day 2 (9 Jun 08)

This entry is part 3 of 13 in the series Himalayan Trip: Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal

Day 2, 9 Jun 08


4.00am, We are up, these alarms I guess won’t let us sleep till we get back to our homes. aaah! The night’s sleep wasn’t really comfortable but helped us a lot to relax. we have our tatti and freshen up and around 5.30 we are off to Har-ki-Pauri one of the most popular ghats along Ganga in Haridwar. We get a rick which leaves us in a very busy small street, with people all round. The early morning Haridwar air near the Ganga is lovely. We roam through the ghats and pick up a spot where we too can have a dip. At first everybody is little hesitant, but as the cool water chills every cell in the body so are the nerves. Everybody is now enjoying the refrigerator like cool water around 6.30 in the morning. Amey and Rajo offer some prayers and with snaps added to our memory stick, we are back on the road, now looking for something to eat. We stop at a typical food stall with food being cooked right in front of the entrance. Thats the way it is in north India. We couldn’t miss one stall roasting Aloo parathas. And we have enough of parathas with curd and tea. We get back to the Gujarati Samaj Dharamshala and offload yet again.


Trek Rules: Always clean your stomach, have a good bath and be ready for the day with clean clothes

9.40, we check out of the Dharamshala and leave for Rishikesh in a Vikram (10 seater rickshaw). Mallik calls a person in Rishikesh who’d arrange for the next trip ahead to Uttarkashi. The distance from Haridwar to Rishikesh is around 30km which takes around an hour to reach. On our way back we stopped near a huge statue of of Shiva, where Rajo commented ..

इसके abs तोह देख !

We met with a road jam half way through. I tried to enquire about it, when our Vikram driver said..

रासता है साहब, जाम तो लगते रेहता है

We were amused by his answer, but that was nothing compared, when I asked another rickshaw driver

यह किस्का जाम लगा है?

गादियों का जाम लगा है !!!

We were laughing at that answer. I never asked any more questions. Along the way we saw an empty river bed, Mallik said that Ganga’s route has been changed at many places to facilitate water-electricity projects, this is one of it.

Around 11.15 we reached Rishikesh, we met the person whom Mallik had called, and discussed the possibilities of reaching Uttarkashi in an Ambassador. 6 of us with 5 huge bags and another tiny one all managed to get inside the car. The Ambassador’s trunk was huge enough to hold 5 of our mountaineering backpacks. Our first need was diesel, almost an hour we kept searching through the traffic in the busy streets for Diesel. But there was diesel shortage throughout Rishikesh, But at one place Vj and Amey both ventured out on streets and tried to locate a fuel pump with fuel. Finally we did get fuel where Vj had been searching. The whole Rishkesh in the queue for Diesel at that Station. We finally left from Rishikesh around 1.00pm.

To Uttarkashi

The road kept climbing into the ghats, Raju, the driver was moving his car very swiftly in the turns and the slopes. He said to us, that if a police fellow asks us about our destination at the check post, just let them know its Kunjapuri temple. Everybody was looking at eachother and smiling. We didn’t want any more problem after our train cancellation at the start of the trip. Raju’s stories didn’t help. He told us about a new lady inspector who is so strict that she and her staff can’t be bribed, if a car can’t go.. It won’t go. The air started to feel better as we kept moving above into the hills. Around 1.30pm, Narendranagar’s Ananda Resort made its appearance. It was a palace of the a king now converted to a resort/hotel. Chana dal and Roti was munched at a dhaba named ‘Himalayan Restaurant’ at 2.45. I asked the driver how much more, to which he just smiled and said

अभी तो बहुत जाना है

We moved on, the ghat just never ended.. Raju said that it would continue till we reach Uttarkashi. Around 4.00 after almost 3 hours into the ride, we reached Chamba, the first fuel pump after Rishikesh. Around Dharkot, Raju asked us to purchase ‘Khumaani’ a local Uttaranchal fruit, which tasted like raw plums. The road just waded through huge mountains, below we could see the catchment water of the Tehri dam. It was starting to get a little dark. Around 6.30 we hit a traffic jam, We could see in distance cars, trucks alike stranded on a side, Ahead all I could see was cars and I thought I spotted a land slide, to my horror was true. We got out from the car and ran ahead to see what was the actual situation. The road around 15-20 feet wide was all covered with stones, gravel. But that wasn’t stopping the vehicles, there were 2 big boulders right in the middle of the road that stopped any movement. People were already using whatever tools they had to break it. We waited for any improvement, when a Sardar driver in his truck came raging and hit the boulder with the tyres, he kept doing it, and then moved his truck over rocks and gravel, The huge vehicle swayed towards the valley but finally passed over the gravel onto plain road.. Everybody on the road cheered at the Sardar’s bravery, people pushed the smaller boulder and another mini bus moved over the rocky gravel, The bus swayed so much towards the valley that we all thought it could topple over. But it did not! It was when our driver came through the Ambassador and asked us to jump in.

जलदी चलो, अभी काफी जाना है

Raju said that it was very common to have land slides between summer and rains. We were all terrified after the landslide incident and now even the safe but edgy turns made us feel light-headed. 7.20pm we reached Dharasu, which is a junction from where one can go towards Yamnotri or Gangotri via Uttarkashi. We too were going to Yamnotri but via Uttarkashi, on a trek! Just a few minutes later everybody was ecstatic, Every body was view a snow topped peak far ahead in the distance, it was getting dark, the sky had turned dark blue with hues of orange and the snow on the peak was glowing. All of us with cameras tried to capture the scene in the fast moving car, darkness and moving car did not help us at all to get any good picture of it. The river below was big and wide, brown-gray in color with all the soil and rock it was eroding all the way. Around 8, the driver helped us to find a room for the night accommodation a kilometer away from the main town of Uttarkashi, we gave Rs.100 advance for the room and moved ahead into the town.

Mallik and Rajoba headed out to meet someone from Himalayan Sherpa, who was going to organise everything for the trek, while rest of us moved into the market to search for ponchos and raincoats. We managed to find very flimsy ponchos at Rs15 each. We decided we shall purchase them as a backup and check the market next morning for better ones. Rajo and Mallik returned after the meet and then we had our dinner at Bhandary Hotel in the main market street. 10.30, we finished with our dinner and Raju towed us back to the room where we were to spend the night. Everybody had their chargers, mobiles out for charging. There were two rooms, We managed to stuff ourselves into it, me and Vj in the smaller one and rest in the bigger ones.

Himalayan Trip: Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal

This entry is part 2 of 13 in the series Himalayan Trip: Dodital Trek and Uttaranchal

More than a month into the planning, and finally it was all set. Dodital Trek in the Uttarkashi District, Uttaranchal. Mallik had organised most of the things, from tickets to a checklist for things to carry. The epic journey was to begin with ‘August Kranti’ train for Delhi on 7th Jun 08.

7 Jun, morning I was online, idly browsing, I had watched a news on TV stating Gujjar protests had led to train disruptions on the Western line. Little did I know that it would directly affect us. Mallik came online

apni train cancel ho gai hai

Great !!! Even before our journey started, we were finding solutions to the problems. Frantic phone calls to Mallik, Vj and a decision of a flight to Delhi the next morning was made. In the evening, Rajoba, Vj, Mallik all came to my place to stay overnite, so that we could leave on time for 6.10 flight.

What follows now is a sheer binding of all my log entries in a notebook which served as our diary for the trek log, accounts, miscellaneous calculations, and every other thing that a notebook can be put to use.



Day 1, 8 Jun 08
3.00am, Rajo’s phone alarm !!, after that Vjs nasty alarm tune !! It sounded like Chimps, Orangutans communicating with each other. Only those who get up to that tune @ 3 in the morning can relate the irritation that we had with it. Its the earliest I’ve ever got up. All tried and most of them succeeded in shitting, I did not 🙁 (Not a good sign when you have a long day ahead!). We were heading towards the airport in a cab by around 4.15, wondering how the trip, trek is gonna workout. At the airport Amey was already waiting for us, a few minutes later Nikhil too made his appearance with just a big college bag ! All of us had spent the last night packing our 60 litre + backpacks, while Nikhil seemed to have just put things in place just before leaving in his 10 litre – bag with a sleeping bag dangling.

6.20, Take off, we were into the cool mumbai air filled with clouds. I was in shorts so was Vj, the other 4 in a better attire. The A320 3×3 was pumping AC’s cool air with a bit of show like that of dry CO2. Vj was the one with a window seat, dressed in black shorts (I now know why shorts are called shorts!), T shirt and cap. He was constantly muttering usual non-sense staying true to his nature, The kindof overweight Vj reminded us of the Gujarati overgrown fatso running in shorts, colorful wear, constantly muttering. At the window seat Vj tried to keep his leg on a bulge of the fuselage below and kept saying..

इस में बस की तरह पांव रखने को नही है !!!

Ne and Vj putting our hairy legs on display.. was not quite an ideal sight for the visitor making through the aisle. Shortly, there was a lady’s phirangi voice blabbering Hindi regarding the flight, it was heavy put on accent, like a desi trying to fake an American accent. Soon that voice had moved into English, that too it lost fluency! To that we commented..

साला हिंदी बोलने तो होता नही चले इंग्लिश बोलने

A relatively fat airhostess was with the phone, doing all the talking, assisted with a shorter air hostess and a hunk. The time passed by with all of us chatting, commenting.

We landed in Delhi around 8.30, booked a pre-paid taxi for Rajeev Chowk. Outside even for the pre-paid taxi, the cab-drivers were jostling to get the first visitor in their cab. At rajiv chowk there was nothing we could eat, being a Sunday, all shops were closed and it was just 9.30. We decided to go to New Delhi station via the Metro. When we entered the underground entrance to the station, there was a routine bag check going on. We were spared with our huge back packs as they had been tagged by the airport security, and the seal wasn’t broken either. At the station we managed to eat some low quality dhaba, the food too prepared in ‘sarson ka tel’ or mustard oil. With something inside our stomach we headed for India gate in a rickshaw. It was hot and humid at India gate @ 11.30, we had our first pics and our first perspiration of the 2 Week long trip. Mallik as usual found a tree to climb at the adjacent park, Rajoba followed him. Soon we were kids playing Frisbee in the park with the local kids too joining in. After a cool nimbu paani we left for the Nizamuddin station by local bus transport. 12.30pm and it was already so hot that none of us could think ahead. We decided to have some refreshments in a refreshment-self-service-cafe-shop.


Around 2.30pm , Mussoorie Express started to lead us to Haridwar. It was extremely humid, reminded me of the Mumbai heat. We tried a few rounds of ‘Rami’ until it was too hot for us to enjoy and we just went to sleep, I was lucky enough to be in the middle tier. I was at the gate for almost an hour while the small stations moved by. We reached Haridwar around 8.40, it was dark. We didn’t expect VT like surroundings, but atleast something better. However we were to find a place for the night halt, Vj knew about a Gujarati Dharamshala and we headed into a lane where every single board was in Gujarati, I felt I was in Rajkot and not Haridwar. At the Dharamshala, Vj communicated with some fellow with loads of attitude, like he owned that place. But we were lucky enough to find a room that had 6 beds and cost us only Rs.80 for the night. It was almost free! We freshened up and then headed out for food, Gujarati food was waiting for us. We had a big thaali around 9.00 and when we came back at the room, the electricity played its games. It was around 10.30 when the electricity was still behaving like a sine wave when the day long heat and journey took its toll and we were all deep into our sleeps.

Bhimashankar Trek

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 “”. 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!

Travelling Directions

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.

Travelling Directions

  • Get down at Karjat Station, ideally night prior to the climb
  • With a tum-tum early morning leave for Khandas village

Hostway Lohagad Picnic/Trek

Not always I’m a part of a picnic, probably people around me are afraid to get me into one. So this one started as a trek, and changed into a picnic/hike by the time we were about to start it :P.

The album is titled as ‘HostwayCartoons’, not just because we work in Hostway but also for the souls that we possess.

7 soldiers, myself, Mukti, Vj, Zuber, Amols(2) and the infamous Sudaani on march to seize Lohagad.

Health Warning: Not everyone reading this content is gonna enjoy it, You probably could be dizzy half the way through.

15 Dec, 07, 3.45AM:
Trring Trring …

Rutu: Hello..
Mukti: Hello Good morning, (I don’t know how can a morning be good if someone is awake @ 3.45 in the morning!)
Rutu: उठी?
Mukti: Ya!
Rutu: Vj को फोन किया ?
Mukti: Ya already did, ur’e late.
Rutu: whatever.. ( 😀 Mukti hates that word ! )

Trring Trring …
No reponse.. some time later again…
Trring Trring …

Kulkarni: हां ऋतुभाई, उठगया…
Rutu: ok..chal

I’m a bloody Alarm!, Alarming isn’t it !?

5.00AM (SHARP!)
I’m at the Dadar Station FOB, as expected nobody is present. I had called Vj when I’d left Khar, he was the Borivali platform (ya right!!!, IST). I called up Amol (the one with the Eating obsession), he was gonna reach Dadar in another 10 mins. or so with Kulkarni and the Jamkaa lad. I called up Vj again for the tickets, he said 6 are confirmed. Wasn’t sure of Zuber. After watching the mad public breezing past me early in the morning as if they’d been kicked from their homes, the Amolgroup had arrived. I headed with them straight for the Ticket counter. Another call later with Vj had confirmed that Zuber had left, and we needed 7 tickets in total for Malavali.

At the counter, no direct ticket was available for Malavali so Lonavala, a stop before, had to satisfy our fare. I had no water with me, and we headed out for the shops, Not surprisingly, 5.20 was not early for most of the Dadar TT public. Traffic, People crossing .. as usual. Got some bottles in the bag and headed straight for the tea. While having it, Vj and Mukti came from the Stairs @ Dadar TT’s mouth. All hi!, hello, Good morning (yet again ! God!! what’s wrong with people !? err.. Mukti)

5.40 Platform 2
1021 Down, Mumbai – Pune Indrayani Express is scheduled, But there is no sign of Zuber, We started to move towards General compartment. And thats when we saw Zuber, with his cap running .. As the movie plans, he was late. IST. The train arrived on time and we got in somehow. Intially we sat in a ‘dispersed’ manner but slowly the iron fillings managed to gather around the magnet, Mukti, our TP.

December, Early morning, tea, water all leads to only one direction. Susu room. Everybody had their rounds, ofcourse me as well, and others with overactive bladders. I came back easing the pressure and everybody was laughing..! I gave them the odd, whats wrong look. To that Zuber wrote a SMS on his phone and made me read it.

Sudani had put a hand on the seat to block it and another man came sat on it, Sudani’s hands right below his ass. The man even twisted, turned, but Sudani for some reason, stuck his hand under his butt, (feeling it probably!)

As if that wasn’t enough, Mukti, Vj and Zuber started with their “___ and all…!” drill. Ya a drill, cause in it, its necessary to grab any verb, noun in the conversation and append “…and all”.

Sudani feeling ass and all ‘huh!?

some random ha ha…

ass and all ‘huh!?

Vj continued and all.. Shit!! i’m influenced by that even now! Zuber, Mukti and Vj.. never stopped.. they continued with their jokes (which they consider could amuse others as well). I was sitting on the side with Kulkarni exactly opposite to me. I could see the face on his look. It was like when some interviewer asks a wrong question and expects a right answer. Kulkarni clearly in the interviewee’s position. Can’t laugh, can’t understand..! but knows something is wrong. I knew that feeling, I knew Vj since long and Mukti obviously no stranger to me.

This all continued with endless snaps and we reached Lonavala around 8:00. Again, I had to drain the extra water. We took a tickets for Malavali and ran to a neighbouring platform where a local was waiting for us. Soon it moved. Sudani sat with an old man near the gate in the shitting position, as if he knew the guy from long. I said to people.

ये सुदानी के बडे चाचा हैं, काफी दिनो बाद मिलें है।

ये गुजराती साला कब सुधरेगा? #$%#$%

8.25 or so and we alighted at the lovely little stop, Malvali. Just a simple 2 platform stop, nice and clean. we could see a small little office on the other side of the tracks. The platform bounded on the far side by the railway crossing. The 8.30 sun was golden and very gentle. There couldn’t be a better place for snaps.

We crossed and started walking along the road taking us away from the station and over the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

yeah!!! yeah!!! yeah!!!

Over the bridge, we sat for almost 15 minutes, taking portraits, Group snaps, watching the cars buzz beneath the bridge. Sudani the self-obsessed, Jamka simpleton couldn’t have enough of his snaps, If I clicked others, he promptly got his phone and snapped himself. And when it comes to photos, I can’t forget Kulkarni who with is devil’s appetite for snaps, couldn’t be away from the lens. Rajoba comparatively a shy guy (according to Mukti, diverts all his energy focusing on eating) too had some snaps. We finally moved towards the village, considering that we weren’t on some Calendar shoot, but a trek.

On the way, we saw a group of buffaloes, one of them white in color !

जो! सफेद भैंस

ya, right !!

as if that wasn’t enough to please Mukti, we had some snaps of a lovely little carcass of a rat. The climb began, more of a stony road climbing up along the hill. Suddenly Vj called,

देख मूछ वाला झाड

and as it turned out to be a Tadi tree, and all were discussing the chemistry of the ‘Neera’ drink turning into ‘tadi’. And we kept moving.

Mukti: God!!!, Ruturaj … stop adjusting your chain.

I couldn’t help it, the mechanics of my shorts’ chain had deserted me at Dadar Station itself, and since then I was regularly monitoring my malfunctioning garment. As the climb progressed, we took some shortcuts (meant to be harder) to cut the distance, as the road was a typical zig-zag along the mountain. And ofcourse, at the scenic moments (well for a Mumbaite anything without concrete is scenic) we had our shutters open. Zuber and Rajoba kept posing weirdly and Sudani snapping self portraits.

By 10 we came to a place, intersecting the two hills of Visapur (Visagad 😉 ) and Lohagad. This place is truely amazing, as the winds from back side, converge due to these two mountains and passes through this area. Hence extremely windy. Even @ 10 it was cool. We saw a small hut, and there it is. Another photo session!! Well this one was really good. We snapped atleast 30 over here and then ventured to the right side towards Lohagad. Sudani spotted small vendors in their huts selling ‘nimbu sharbat’, etc.

मुजे छाछ पिना हे

पछी हुदानी, पछी

By this time Sudani was talking a lot, He has a distinct Gujrati tone to his talk. And as if that is not enough to distinguish him, he talks fast and most of the times missing some ‘Anuswaars’.

मुक्ति चिगम खाएगी?

And we all were imitating him, talking fast and wrong. Soon we were at the steps of the fort. People enjoyed some ‘kheera’, while Vj snapped the fort from the base. Its amazing how this 2000 year old fort still retains its solid structure and walls. The steps were big, making all of us pant.

मे पानि पिउगा

Sudani continued. While we kept teasing Rajoba about his room mate, Sudani always.. interrupted.

मुन्ना को कुछ नहि बोलनेका, मुन्ना तु बुरा मत मान

The camera continued to do its work, and we were soon more than half way up where we were clicking ourselves on the wall of the fort when a monkey came from the top of the wall towards the wall, jumped down and tried grabbing Zuber’s bag. Sudani’s village instincts came up and he shooed the monkey away trying to pull his bag. The monkey had scared the shit out of Mukti and Zuber both. Ya Zuber too, the biggest fellow. He stayed away from his bag, not fearing the loss of his bag.

मैं सोच रहा हूं वो बंदर बॅग तो ले जाएगा लेकिन उसे खोलेगा कैसे?

To that statement of Zuber’s, Kulkarni for the first time laughed out loud. Kulkarni and made sure he enacted the incident and statement time and time again. Kulkarni a typical MPite is good at imitating and getting his ‘kissas’ right. Mukti never stopped laughing till we were the topmost part. Always giggling, no wonder she is always ‘wanted’ in any of the treks or meets.

On the way up, we came across a small rectangular entrance to a carved room, and people couldn’t stop trying to get the perfect moment for their Orkut profile. Vj even managed to stay upside down. To that Mukti laughed out again.

अगर फोटो को उल्टा करके दिखाया तो लोग बोलेंगे.., इसमे क्या हे

and the khee khee continued.. At the top, we had to see the Vinchu kaata, I and Vj had missed it last time we were here. I had missed it twice. So we ventured straight towards its direction, and we saw it ahead, peeking from below. Had some more snaps with that view. I had less than 170 snaps on my 2 day long Bhimashankar trek, and I’d already crossed 100 by this time. We moved along passing by water cisterns, which were full with water, till we came to a halt, there was about 7-8 foot drop, and we had to descend on the flat रोक. So we went back a little, and descended with a neat looking route along the left edge of the mountain which we had disapproved.

मौत के घाट उतारना है क्या

Kulkarni had stated, when we had initially seen that route, but that had to be it. And we reached the edge, ‘Vinchuu kaata’. Its called by its name, ’cause the whole narrow hill that continues from the fort, till it ends with a drop resembles a tail of a Scorpion. Enjoying more clicking moments on the tail we finally made a point to move back. Mukti got hurt by a thorn and the finger started bleeding. Kulkarni offered for Dettol in his bag.

Sudani: मुक्ति तमेरे पास थेपला हे ना? मुझे दे.

Sudani was cribbing since a while back for food. Kulkarni too had checked his watch. Back to the fort. On the way, as if we had absolutely no agenda, we stopped yet again at a small water reservoir where everyone snapped, dipped their heads like an ostrich.

Sudani: मेरेको खाना हे, छाछ पिना हे

Ok Ashko!!, lets eat when we get down. We then quickly descended the fort and came back to the intersecting place, where we went inside an empty ‘Hotel’ (Hut), and opened our bags. Mukti with her ‘potli baba ki’ got out a huge box full with theplas (should have seen Sudani’s face then) and bread. Zuber too got parathas.. and we started munching.. We finished with our food and yet again lazily just sat there. Sudani taking full advantage of the shade, dozed off. Almost an hour later we finally moved. Sudani still needing ‘Chaas’. But we couldn’t find it anywhere. So we decided to have ‘kokam sharbat’, and we started descending.

We found another small make-shift shade, where a vendor was selling ‘kokam sharbat’, it was close to 3.30. We sat there where everybody ordered ‘Kokam sharbat’ except Zuber who had limbu sharbat. The guy came gave us the glasses, When suddenly Mukti bursted out laughing so did Kulkarni. We were all ‘What!!?!’. To that Kulkarni narrated..

Vj ने अशोक को पूछा, पिएगा ?
पी ना…
नही चाहिए
लेकिन जब ग्लास मूं को लगाने वाला था, तब… सुदानी को रहा नही गया…
अच्छा देदे, टेस्ट

अबे साले पेहले क्युं नही पिया? गुजराती साला… khee khee

No awards for guessing whose statement it was !
We waited again for 10-15 minutes, to which Mukti again started laughing..

क्या हुआ हे, तमेरे लोग को जाना नही हे क्या?

But nobody was here for any mission, any timepass sufficed, so what if it was under a small shade somewhere near lonavala on some hill. करो TP.

Mukti: Kulkarni I don’t know if u’ve realized its more than an hour, and I’m yet to get Dettol.

Vj, Kulkarni, Rajoba had gone ahead, tired of waiting 🙂 while Mukti and Zuber trailed. Me and Sudani were clueless between the two extreme groups. Finally Sudani decided he had to move fast and went ahead. I followed. I came across 2-3 bulls grazing, and they seemed not very friendly, somehow I managed to go past them. I looked back, Mukti was scared and followed the road along a trench, trying to be as far from the bull she could be. But I saw her giggling.. And it continued till she reached where I was. She kept giggling.

तूने सुदानी को देखा? वो बैल से डरकर, भागके नीचे उस काटो से उतरा। बॅंड बजीथी उसकी !!!

She never stopped, Zuber too couldn’t control himself.

dude, सुदानी को देखना चाहिए था, फटी पडी थी, फुल ऑन

We came down, only for Mukti and Zuber’s horror, that we were gonna see the Bhaje caves. The path to cave was a steep winding ramp leading to the caves. Both were not gonna come. But I somehow persuaded Mukti, and Zuber eventually followed. At the top, there was a big group(best to be quiet about 😉 isn’t it Mukti? ). Click !! click!! and more till we finally after 5 we started to move back towards the Malavai station.

At the station we got tickets for ‘express train’ for Dadar, and waited for a Local for lonavala, which would connect us to Indrayani express. Along almost an hr long wait we enjoyed all the snaps and the photos. Its really the most enjoyable experience remembering the moments. The local came on time and we reached lonavala in 15 minutes where we again had to wait for 1/2 hr for the train to come. Our legs tired, no seat on the platform

Sudani: मे इधरहि बेठूगा

Finally the train came in and we managed to get seats after some adjustments and negotiations. As if the train ride is never complete without munching, we had to get out something to eat yet again…

We reached Dadar around 10, where everybody had to change their mindset of the Picnic/trek/hike back the troubled, crowded life of Mumbai. We got into an Borivali local, crowded as usual but empty enough so that we could stand. We were staring at eachother’s faces when.

Mukti: Kulkarni, its been more than two and a half hours and I’m yet to get Dettol.

The day ending in giggling and laughing!

Tringalwadi Trek

I had a long break from Trekking, thanks to some mosquito that seemed to have better of me at Malshej Ghat. I was yearning for a great outing, and Tringalwadi proved to be one. It began with Vj’s buzz about the hiking group, MoRonz AdEventUrz. Although being a programmer in India, I’m generally off from Orkut, and other social meetup groups, donno why, perhaps I’m shy ! Vj had spread the word in the office about the trek to Tringalwadi on 17th and 18th Nov 2007. Few other chaps, Amol[s] and Vinay were interested, so was I. The group as always was buzzing with meetups, with one just 2-3 days prior to the trek, as always I missed that one.

The time was set 8:00 PM IST, CST. The plan was to get on a N 8:47 PM local (Kasara) and there on towards the trek. I reached VT around 8.15, I had forgotten to take a Kasara return @ Khar and so hurried towards the booking counter to see long tails. I called Vj just to let him know where I was. He came back with Vinay, my office colleage and Kulkarni, one of the Amols that had managed to make it successfully. Soon I saw the AC Milan player MallikaArjun with a huge backpack, seemed like he was planning for a full month long weekend. A check on the no. of guys needing a ticket made us change our plan to get a Debit Card (for Western and Central Railways). A quick print of around 4-5 tickets and I was lucky to get off the long line.

Travelling Directions

Below the huge dial of the terminus I saw our group, with Mallik, Vj and some others (always there are new additions). There were around 10-14 of us over there, of them I new few. Bongaali babu and his other half, Janki (actually just remembered her face), Bertram. Suddenly there was a haste to move along, reason being it was already 8:40 and the N 8:47 was already rearing to go. I had few attempts to get the N 8:47 in the frame in the relatively dark enviornment for the camera. Our plans of getting an empty train from the starting Grid was all invain, as the seats were already occupied, but to a Mumbaite there is always a cutting seat. The ladies moved in their compartment, while some of us managed to get a seat in a corner.

There were few more to join in Hemant our leader for the trek and Amey. It was around Dombivali or so when the suspensions must’ve started to ease a little, and I met Hemant and Amey. Amey reminded me of Michael Schumacher. At Kalyan or later the girl group joined us deserting the already lonesome ladies compartment. There I was astonished to see the identical twins. I’m one of a twin myself, but I’ve never seen twins so similar in terms of their looks, clothes, etc. Janki was eager to do pullups with others. Her energy reminded me of toddlers buzzing… It was getting cooler with every kilometer that we moved, Vinay already had his pullover on him, deep blue colored.

Around 11.15 or so we reached Kasara. A lonely station, all that we could see were some old tankers and freight vans lazing around. Amey was quick to get to the booking office asking about transportation to Igatpuri. The fellow at the window suggested a through train from Bombay that would stop at Igatpuri, With the usual chaos, we booked the tickets and ran across the FOB to the other side, just see a through train leaving. The next train was Howrah mail in about half’n hrs time. We all were hungry and got out banana chips, and all other snacks. Mallikarjun was feasting on a cold Khichdi. We had a few snaps over there. The general-dibba of Howrah mail was full. We managed to stand wherever we could find a place. Me and Vinay were still hungry we purchased “Vada” we had thought of Vada from the Vada pav, but turned out to be ठंडा मूंगवडा. We somehow managed to gulp down the oily and hard vada. Igatpuri station wasn’t far off then.

At Igatpuri we ventured towards the Westside of the platform and enquired about Tringalwadi to the local rickshaw drivers. From the discussion, fare, etc. we were moving towards the ST Stand not to so far away. At the stand me, Hemant and Vj moved into a sleeping bus depot and managed to ask a man about the directions for Tringalwadi. There were few options, 1) to move from the left side of the bus stand into the adjoining village in pitch black darkness with a difficult road. The guy also warned us about the local Villagers. 2) To walk straight till the highway and move ahead till the टाके village. Where a left would lead us to Tringalwadi village, the base village.

We chose the 2’nd option. Along the road, we came across many future F1 rickshaw prototypes. All the budding photographers were trying to get the objects through the darkness. half an hr later we were on the highway, with big trucks booming past us. We kept a narrow file and kept walking along, we had to walk till a petrol pump, after which there was an immediate left, the “Take” village. Half an hr later we were there at the village. We had approximately walked around 4-5 kms. We took some rest at Hanuman temple with a big open space in the front. I, Amol and Vinay sat in the veranda of a small hut near the temple. Astonishingly it was warm. Vinay took a sip of water…

अबे, पानी ठंडा हो गया है, दांत अकड गए।

Amol and I laughed a lot at that funny statement,

दांत कबसे अकडने लगे ? हाथ पैर सुने थे…दांत….?

I heard some debate/hot discussion goin amongst some of our members regarding a stay in the temple till the morning or move towards the base village. I don’t know the debaters, But the outcome was that we were soon walking again on a black road, which from its feel seemed to be a tar road. As we moved into the darkness away from the lights of the highway.. It started to get colder, and with that the sky which was sepia toned around the horizon, started turning pitch black, with the stars jumping out of the darkness. We kept walking for long.. I was with Vinay and Kulkarni with Vj joining along.. Sometimes we were ahead sometimes at the back when we had to shower the nature. Along the cold walk everybody had their warm clothes, wind cheaters out. We walked for around 2 hrs or so, when finally saw a bulb beaming its bleak light through the darkness. As the bulb was getting closer we kept losing our focus on walking with our minds just focusing on how we could sleep till the dawn. At last the road ended. with huts, etc. We saw a प्राथमिक शाला hut which was locked, a little ahead we saw another structure with a big veranda, quickly everybody was pulling their sheets, etc and arranging for their sleep. It was around 3 when there was silence and only snoring and some distant dog barks.

Around 6.30 or 7 I couldn’t pretend any longer to be sleeping cosily, Whole night I was in and off the sleep. I woke up to see Ashish, Vinay warming along the same road that had led us. Vinay was literally trying to jog to raise his body temperature. The horizon was already turning orange, with the sun just around the final chicane. Yet again all the cameras were focusing on the Sun. With the fresh rays of light came some warmth. Vj got some snaps of the typical village that it was. with bullock carts, haystacks, etc. We got Bertram off from his cosy sleeping bag. He was walking like a penguin with it. Hemant was quick to get everybody ready for another move, this time the trek.

A minute later we spotted a straight long hill, the dam. A climbed a top and saw the lovely scene. Just ahead us was the lake/water reservoir spaning almost a kilometer ahead of us. And then there were the mountains, one of which we were going to scale. The reflection of the mountains was unique, with far end of the lake had ripples and didn’t reflect anything straight to us, while the central part was calm and reflected a wonderful image of the mountains. It looked like a mirage !!! Cameras were bound to be put to use over here. 15 minutes later we walked along the dam to the left into the base of the mountains and finally started off with the climb.

An hour later or so, we took a halt (“We” representing the later half of the group who was trailing to few others in the front). All were hungry and back were the chips and the snacks. The famous white bread – jam combination was being gutted. Snaps, juices, water and the group was moving… I trailed back for a “Vartak” memorial so did Vj for his own 😉 We were trailing a lot, but we did catch the others on the plateau area, it was full with the dried grass after the rains. All of us kept steadily moving ahead along the plateau and then to the right into a terrace farm. What a lovely place ! There was a small hut at the edge of the farm. Just above was another hill, me and Vj quickly climbed for about 5 minutes and reached another plateau like region where we saw Hemant and group resting and waiting for others. A little ahead was a small cave like cut into the mountains where all went in to get a snap, and MallikaArjun coming down from the rocky terrain with Vj, Amey screaming directions for the descent. Ahead Hemant had crossed the flat walk on the right and up into the final strech of the mountain with the twins following him. We too got into gear and reached the top. Over there I’d expected to see a fort, but there was nothing but a mountain top with drying grass. Nearby we stopped to fill our water resources a water cistern.

Atop we rested under a tree and were back feeding our guts. Chocolates, bread (yet again!), Glucon-D, chips, Electral etc. was on the menu. It was close to 12, when we deceived to descent. The descent was quicker than expected. Everybody was hoping for a dip in the huge water reservoir below. and as always, the nature never disappoints we found a shaded spot along the coast of the reservoir. We were initially hesitant to get into the water as the feet feet muscles had already contracted in the cold water. Eventually most of us got in. With Mallik, Anupama and Bertram blowing their lungs into the water tubes. Anupama had a bright pink flat bed on which she lazed. We were into the water for almost an hour, Hemant moved ahead into the village arranging for transportation back to the Igatpuri station.

At the village, we were munching again. The calm village in the morning was now buzzing with activity with the shops, bullock carts, people working in the farms in the distance. All had their electronics adjusting the shutters. Amey had managed to arrange for पोहा and we feasted on it with a warm tea later. However while we enjoyed that, there was a bad news.

No transportation back to Igapturi

However, Hemant and Amey manged to get a freight rickshaw “Ape” to help us to the highway where the driver promised to get us a transportation to Igatpuri. We climbed into the vehicle. With me, Bertram, Janki and Mallik at end standing on the edge with our hands clutching the top frame of the vehicle the ride back to the highway was exciting and bumpy. At the highway we could find rickshaws to Igatpuri but the driver wanted 5 plus himself per ride, and that was out of question with tall fellows like Amey in the group. The freight rick driver promised that he’ll get a jeep directly for Kasara and wheeled away on the highway, later a M&M jeep came with a capacity of around 8-10 fellows. But we were to fit all 17 plus the driver. We put all the bags on the top and somehow managed to fit ourselves in the jeep. I was at the back end. The mid row was filled with ladies and Vj at the corner and ahead the driver and few more guys.

The highway thankfully was not bumpy, perhaps I didn’t notice, I was asleep most of the time. At Kasara it was dark almost 7:00 and there was no electricity at the station. We managed to get few remaining tickets back to Mumbai and waited on the platform. 7:31 CST came and the people jumped into it before it could halt. Amidst the din we all moved luckily in the same compartment but had scattered seats. In the journey back we chatted watching the snaps. I got down at Sion station with Bertram and got a rick for Khar. The long journey inclusive of more than 10 km of walk had come to an end when I got into my house and straight for a shower and then …

ऊठ आज Monday आहे, ऑफिस मधे नाही जायचं का ?

Travelling Directions

  • Alight at Igatpuri Station
  • Either walk or get a rickshaw for Taake village
  • Walk another 3-4 kms to the base Tringalwadi village

Rajmachi and Kondana Caves Rappelling

As I listen to “Hard as a Rock” by ACDC, my mind swirls back to our “hardcore adventure” trip, waterfall rappelling the Kondana caves!!

Vj again, our PRO !!! had subscribed to a meetup group, which now has been christened as MoRonz AdvEntUrez. He’d asked me to subscribe as well. And these like minded individuals had finally got another meet organized at “Cafe Sea Side”, Bandra. I and Vj had managed to get there late eve, almost 8.30pm 😛 after office, where we were surprised to see a big group already chit-chatting and headed by our Maadu organizer, Kalpessbhai. Guess what had they been discussing !!! Plans for the movie “Sivaji” starring Rajni 😀 The meetup group had managed to find a star, or I don’t know if it was other way round. But the group had Rahul Barve, Well … a star ’cause he was into trekking, camping and adventures for the last 16yrs and was a pro. Another reason why he is a star, u’ll know soon. The group full of enthusiasts, who were kind of first-timers, hobbyists in this field of adventure. And they didn’t want just trekking, they wanted more… Waterfall Rappelling.

I don’t remember if there were any members apart from Rahul himself and Kalpesh who’d done rappelling before, but all were keen on “waterfall” rappelling. The plan that was cooking was to trek Rajmachi in the night to the Rajmachi village, stay there till the early morn, and then climb up and back down to the Kondana caves, where we’d have our rappelling session. And then head down to Kondivade village. Rahul was quick to warn/notify members about a night trek in rains and mud, a wet sleepless night and then a rappelling event. But the buzzing group couldn’t be tranquilized. They wanted it. So rendezvous at 7.30pm, Chandu Halwai, Dadar TT, 14th Jul 2007. The week between, Kalpesh had organized for a bus which would take us straight to Rajamachi trail, Lonavala and then move back towards the Kondivade village waiting for the tired सवारीs.

Travelling Directions

6.30 pm, 14th July 2007, I was waiting for Vj on the Dadar FOB. I was unsure how many of the enthusiasts were gonna finally make it. I was pleased to see atleast 1 member with Vj, his friend Keta, a bhai!!, a crazy character. She too was supposed to get some more friends, which had backed out at the last moment. I was hungry, We had “Mosambi” juice after which we headed to find Chandu halwai, Kalpesh had managed to find a shop which no one knew. He didn’t want Pritam hotel for some reason. We finally reached there, which was opposite to Metro, Regal shoe galleries. huh!!!

Kalpesh couldn’t u just say Metro/Regal shoe gal. !?”

Waiting over there was a group of around 9-10 guys, most of which I think met me @ the Cafe Sea Side meet. I recognized a few faces, one of which was Vikram who’d misidentified me as “Ruturaj, the RJ”. A casual hi-hello and I reminded him that I’m Ruturaj, but not a RJ 😀 Vj got a call from Kalpeshbhai, who said the there were about 25 people.. phew!!! quite a lot, I never expected this big team. Good!!!, could be fun. Now started the “stretching” time from the IST with people comin, calling, forgetting something… getting late.. It was close to 8.30 when we all were there, Sandipan another character with his wife, MallikaArjun and more… We moved towards the inside of the PArsi/Hindu coloney where the bus had been waiting, and finally we moved.

Inside, we started a introduction to start off a conversation. Soon, we were doing halla gulla over names, “MallikaArjun” to be precise.. People were so happy to know some Mallika was in, but had turned out to be a male, bonded with Arjun 🙂 this chap was from IIT, there was another one from IIT Kharagpur. An entrepreneur in Sachin, I guess I remember right, call center guys, a mid-aged guy in Real Estates, Venky from Construction Security (who I guess developed his interest in adventure by jumping off with a harness tied to a rope from top of buildings), people from IT, Jewelery manufacturing, it was quite a bit of फर्साण. It can’t be an Indian bus ride without an “Antakshari”, All started… Sandipan enjoying everything.. this is where our star man, pounded his every body muscle into the songs. This guy was amazing, he could start of from any point of any song and could continue till the end. Remembering every single stanza line in it. He just remembered. I was probably the opposite, I just forget every song. The ride was good, with Rahul rendering the Engineering parody of “आधा है चन्द्रमा, रात आधी” into

.5 है चन्द्रमा, रात .5, रेह न जाए तेरी मेरी बातें .5, मुलाकातें .5

We picked up some more participants, one of them Moiz, who was a globe trotter, Beijing, Ukrani, Dubai, Mumbai and so on. We picked up Rahul’s friends @ Nerul, one of them was a strong guy, Roy. Who never got into any conversation, and he never sat in the bus. Another was Zayeed, I guess I’m correct, who was called as भाईजान by his members, this guy, I was told, was the world’s youngest Bungee jumping instructor at the age of 18. There was one thing common in Rahul’s friends, either height or body physique, Rahul possessed both, Zayeed – height, Roy – exceptional physique, which was of great help to Vikram.

The bus was in the Lonavala Ghats, when it took off from the expressway section into the Lonavala exit, and then into a small lane which was only navigable for a single bus that too a small one. We moved ahead it was around 12.30-1, We kept moving on rocky road full with puddles, streams of water crossing the road. This is the route normally treaded on foot, but we were doing it in the bus, probably Rahul wanted to save the first-timer’s energy. I’m sure it was more of a Picnic to Rahul and his friends as it was for me and Vj. One point, we got down off the bus, people changing into their trekking boots, shorts, etc. Grabbing their torches, mounting head-lights, etc. Vj got into super shiny yellow pants. It was when I decided to remove my shoes and put on hawaii slippers. People were amazed to see me do that, but I knew what I was doing (probably the experienced guys knew as well).

As we moved into the darkness, with the pebbled road, full of red soil, I remembered my first encounter with Mahuli, where I and my friends were walking in complete darkness on a road which we were not quite sure of. The difference here was, Rahul and his exp. gang knew exactly where we all were heading. The road turned from bad to nasty. Full of sticky wet soil, people filling their shoes with soil, gravel and adding weight to their soft/foamed shoes by plodding through water. This was where I was lucky or intelligent 🙂 with my slippers. Only problem I faced was when we had to move on muck and wet soil, it was when the slippers stuck in them and my foot came off from it. Later I kept taking the slippers off when we had to cross a muddy patch, at times we had to plod through knee deep mud, but it was fun, I don’t know how many enjoyed that spoiling their Nikes and Adidases 🙂 I did !

Almost 2 hours of battle with mud, water and dirt, we finally reached the Rajmachi village where all I could see was 3-4 big huts, and some poles for electricity. Rahul knocked one of the hut’s door. An old man came out and Rahul had a word with him, and declared that we’d wait here in the hut till the morning before we left after a hot tea and “poha”. Somebody spotted a tap, and everybody rushed to get their feet clean and many to discover their shoes had left the tired souls in a miserable position. Almost half an hour of cleaning.. and finally everybody got in the hut, only to find a damp floor waiting … 🙁 For me even that was good enough, I didn’t even expect that 🙂 We somehow managed to cramp ourselves into that room in our wet clothes and put our seats to rest. Guys got their snacks out of their bags, Chips, waffers, ruffles, bananas, pears, apples, you name it. There was a lively debate of what pigment is Apple’s skin made of, Beta Carotene, which not many were able to pronounce correctly, “Beta cartamine”, “Beta Cart” and so on… Every group needs a “bakra” to chew on the time, and it was Venky, the Constructional Safety Engineer. Everybody was @ him. Jokes, Practical pranks, etc. We had some snaps over there, MallikaArjun was in a sleepy mood, he laid back and kept sliding into a 180 degree position, with his hard rock blaring earphones. He kept humming in a strange fashion, to which everybody just stared at him till he realized that something was wrong. Finally around 3-3.30 everybody started slipping into their bedsheets that they had managed to get. I too laid back, Rahul went outside asking everybody to be up by 4.30.

The ground was damp, well rather wet, so were my clothes, but I didn’t have any option but to sleep, and I tried, Vj too tried sleeping. He was next to me, It was around 4.00 when Vj got up, it had become quite cold and he got out a bedsheet or a towel on him. He was shivering and at times even I was. 4.30 – 5, when Rahul came in towering over us asking to wake up, I never got sound sleep and got up promptly, Rahul asked where is Kalpesh, only to find him curling in a corner. Slowly and steadily people woke up, the old man got a chai for everybody, I sipped one and then another. Soon he got steaming “poha”, which everybody liked, and then another tea. After all that food and drink, a very cold, inviting rainy weather outside, there was only one thing left, yes…. aah … never felt so wonderful before. I somehow always like it in the open, and its an icing on the cake when u’re surrounded by greenery. Soon we were ready to leave, Kalpesh settled the sums with the guy, Rahul asked him to get भाकरी, मिर्ची ठेचा by around 1.30 @ kondana caves. Close to 6 and we were moving, I was back in my hawaais.

In few minutes, we halted, where Rahul advised everybody to be careful during the slippery descent. I was asked to stay at the back, with Roy the strong man and his other colleagues accompanying him. Roy was carrying a big backpack, which I thought was around half of my weight, he later told that it was around 30-35 kgs. It was not very comfortable in the slippers but it was not that bad either as I had expected, I’m sure another trek and I’d be skillful enough to do any trek in hawaais, There were 2 guys ahead of me, who were having trouble getting down in their broken footwear. Along came beautiful scenic spots of the Karjat valley, where all halted to capture the moments. All the way I kept admiring Roy’s skill in getting down so smoothly and quickly with that big, heavy rock on his back.

Soon, there was a right turn which took us through the steps to a scenery which resembled “Jurassic Park” scene of the helicopter descending along the waterfalls, I could see a leaves, trees covering a tall waterfall, I could hear the noise of the water thrashing the rocks, behind the waterfall there was brown/yellow coloration, a little aperture adjustment and I could see that it was the cave behind the waterfalls !!!! marvellous and it was this that we were gonna rappel ? Great !!

A wash in the great waterfall was inevitable, some preferred to stay out of it, but most didn’t. How can one stay away from such a lovely nature’s call ha haa !! More snaps, and we saw Rahul and his friends at the top of the waterfall, the waterfall was around 80-90 feet high. They were indicating us something, it took a little while before we could understand that he was asking us to come up and start with our final objective, Rappelling !!!

At the top, it was beautiful. To our right we could see the valley ahead, with the trains crossing the ghats, while on my left I could see the Rahul’s friends tying ropes, harnesses, buckles etc. Rahul gave us some advise on how rappel and asked 4-5 members to follow to the final point, the mouth of the waterfall. Then started a long wait till we finally saw Venky get attached to the harness and the other ropes, We could see from the distance, that Rahul was advising a lot to him, he was the first one to go down, and all were anxious, some of the members behind me were talking about goosebumps, I was too interested to see Venky rappel than to be checking each other’s goosebumps.

The arrangement was such that there were 2 guys at the top who helped to release the rope, Rope that was released by the rappelling candidate helped him to go down, but if that feeding was fast and out of control, then it could be problematic, so the guy at very edge controlled the feed of the rope. While the other one checked other stuff. I”m sure Rahul could add more of the technical details to this !

Venky was at the very edge of the waterfall, with his back facing the cliff, slowly and steadily he backed till the edge, when the guys started to release him, and he started tilting backwards, and he slowly moved down… where he lost his footing and slipped !! and he hung lose, the guys managed to advise him how to stick the legs back into the wall and continue his descent. He managed to do that, after a 8-9 feet of descent, the cliff bent inwards and thus a lose overhang. After which he just let go the rope in a controlled fashion to get down at the base. Mallikaarjun’s was the same, the initial portion was slippery where he slipped and gained control back again. Every single descent was taking around 1/2 hr, and there were around 25 of us. It was taking long, soon Venky came back again and was with us, Vj and he laid back trying to have a nap, but the nature had something different in store, everytime they tried to sleep, it became very sunny and the heat sored… and within few minutes it turned shady and it rained hard. It was wonderful, but I found it irritating trying to keep my S3IS away from the forces of nature.

Close to 1.30-2 the last group including me and Vijay went to the final mouth of the fall. It was here where we witnessed Roy’s amazing strength. Vikram was ready to descend, and he too slipped at the very position, but this time there was something more to the chaos, somehow.. Roy was shouting/advising more than he was doin to others… Jalal another member of the of the professionals said that Vikram’s rope had intertwined resulting in a lock, which didn’t allow Vikram to release his rope and go down or allow Roy and others to simply pull him up. It was a database deadlock, thankfully there was no “kill” to resolve this issue, but it was pure muscle, Roy tied another rope his harness and went further ahead at the cliff, where he lead his hand to Vikram and tried pulling him. Vikram was about 6′ and I guess more than 90kgs. We all could see that Roy was finding it extremely difficult to pull him up. But strong as bull, he managed to pull him up and all 6-8 of us cheered and clapped. I saw both Roy and Vikram were tired.. Roy almost bending, I’m sure the extra rope must have churned his intestines. Vikram came to us and said… that he was too tired to go down again… phew!!!

Soon the rope was reset and all were going down smoothly, finally it was my turn. Rahul had advised not to look down when at the edge, but I was not going to miss that .. hahaa.. Manoj I guess checked the harness and tied all the ropes and buckles and advised me to stand in a specific position, with my legs in a “V” shape and the back facing the cliff. Roy saw me and said “U’re the guy with the slippers naa ?”, “Ya”. I was ready. I backed a little and saw the cliff with water flowing through my shoes and straight down on the rocks below. I felt like I was standing on the wall of my friend’s terrace and he was pouring a bucket of water at my legs. !!! Only difference being, the pour was continuous. Slowly and steadily I backed feeding the rope, but I could see Roy shouting at me not to feed the rope too much. At the cliff, I saw nothing but water falling down and it indeed was slippery, I was unsure where to put my feet, Roy advised me to place my left foot in a rock cut, I put it but I bent my knees to which he shouted again asking me not to bend my knees too much. Later he asked me to put my right foot below, and yet maintaining the “V” position of my legs, I put the right foot and again bent my knees, which put more pressure on the toes making me slip, Roy held back the feeding rope, and asked me to put the feet back again in the, I followed his instructions and I was firm making an angle of around 45 deg. with the wall. Now he was shouting to let go the rope and tilt more towards the backside, I did, but as best as a first-timer could do.. I also started descending, to which Roy held back my ropes advising me the right way of descending, he asked me to look straight up in the sky, and close my eyes if the water troubled a lot. I bent back more, and then started feeding the rope, and putting my feet down the wall one at a time, trying to remember not to bend my knees. I’m not quite sure how successful I was at that, but I guess I was satisfactorily good at it. A few seconds more I was at edge where the wall bent inwards, thus putting me in a completely hanging position, this was easy now, I started feeding the rope, and the my descent was faster as I knew that Roy above knew that I’d crossed the final part and was just feeding over the overhang. Below I could see Rahul holding the rope, and adjusting it so that I can land in a right area. And soon I was touching my shoes on the rock below, I could see Rahul smiling at me, I don’t know if that was for my stupid descent or the nostalgia of the first rappel that he’d experienced.

How was it ?

Fundoooo !!!!! yeah !!!!

Soon the rest followed, and I had the wonderful भाकरी and मिर्ची ठेचा. Another shower and we were waiting for Roy and the other guy to come down so that we could go back. The return from the falls was a short one, it took around 20 mins before we reached Kondivde village, where we saw a restaurant like structure. We went into it placing orders for chai, pohe, upma, etc. A quick change finally into dry clothes since the last night was wonderful as well. The bus was waiting outside on the outskirts of the village somewhere, Kalpesh and Rahul got into the tuk-tuk and got back the bus to the restaurant.

The ride back to home was a smooth one where most of us were dozing off. Rahul and Vj were still discussing plans for future treks. Rahul and his friends got off at Chembur while most of us at Sion from where we got into ricks back to our homes, tired, excited and finally dry !

Travelling Directions

  • Get to Karjat by train
  • Hire a tuk-tuk to Kondivde village