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