Tag Archives: Mountains

Chandertal Lake: Trail towards unimaginable bliss

Ever imagined yourself distraught to a level where imagining beauty has become a real despair? Ever thought of getting out of your seat and just taking the high road on the routes of the unknown? Think about all the thoughts that keep attaching you with the worldly pleasure and the ‘things’ that you want to always let go of?

Imagine a world where you find nothing but meandering thoughts about what you have gone through or what you have never wanted to worry about. Imagine a palace of the open and free skies that shall take you to your inseparable connection with this beautiful nature that you were part of. Imagine a world which sets you scot free, free of the things, people, places, troubles and all the baggage that you keep carrying with you day in day out. Imagine what a sip of fresh water down your throat can do to your soul, imagine what the touch of that very cold water on your face can do to your mind, imagine stretching your eyes across the mind numbing cold horizons of the mountains that keep staring you in your eye with the crazy stark contrast of your emotions that you really want to etch a painting that shall last long enough to impact your heart, mind, soul forever…

Chandertal Lake

Chandertal Lake

Such is the beauty of this incomprehensible stretch of wilderness that goes across the beautiful borders of your mind. Chandertal Lake, is probably the most serene and quiet stretch of open space I’ve encountered probably after Tso Moriri in Ladakh. I’m sure North East, Himalayas, Kashmir and many other places in India have similar experiences in the offing, but this place has a special memory in my mind. From the time you begin the trail to go towards the lake from the ‘No Vehicle’ zone, your eyes in congruence with your heart and soul start scanning and searching for the lake with an eagerness of a four year old! You start feeling the fresh air and the cold breeze with a chill that cuts your face with a remarkable sting, that you realize that you’re near this heavenly place and can’t wait to get there. One of the most amazing things about this trek is that at the back of your head you realize there’s snow clad mountains and in front of you, you see green pastures that eventually lead to a canvas of a well painted landscape full of water that you just want to stop thinking about everything that you have ever worried about and just go out there to enjoy the enchanting weather, the breeze, the beautiful sight of still water that you feel that you’re reborn. The quiet and the simple nature of the surroundings make you just take a nap and realize that searching your soul, your mind or sifting through leaves of your brains and heart is pointless for you feel numb, numb to a point that you’re almost empty! Empty that you experience bliss, first hand…

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Mountains Calling

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The time to wander off in the valley is here. Every year, around this time there is a deep calling that rakes within my heart and reaches out to me saying, it’s time. I have a strong feeling to always go with the flow and decide to challenge myself to walk those huge mountainous paths and whisper to myself in an enchanting manner, “How I wish I’d always live here and never go back to the buzz of the world.” It’s time that I listened to my heart and gave in to the beauty of the wondrous Himalayas.

Somehow, for the last four years, I’ve always been pulled into it’s gazing destiny and hope to keep getting attracted time and again, for the fascination will never end. An amazing amount of solace and brilliance is always breathtaking in a literal sense, that I cannot forgo that attraction and cannot choose to ignore it. So, whenever the mountains call me, I’m there… I have to find my way, fix myself a ticket to go up north in India and take the same old routes across these mountains with my backpack treading towards what I’d like to call an eternal ritual towards redemption from the routine.

I’ve been thinking of doing the Himachal this year, hoping to get a break maybe sometime soon. Hopefully if I do, you’ll certainly get to read about my plans and once I come back, about the escapade that I encountered. In the meantime, here are some fantabulous pictures of my earlier treks.

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What are the best places (other than famous ones) to visit in India?

Answer by Srinivas Kulkarni:

Trekking in the Himalayas

I’m an avid travel bloger and blog about my escapades regularlyhttp://www.srinistuff.com. I always enjoy trekking in the Himalayas,  An experience in the Himalayas itself is something that classifies as one of the best activities to do in India… Of course there are local terrains, local treks, mostly Shayadaris since I live in Maharashtra… But Himalayas is something else… A complete transition into a world that takes you to the best state of mind let alone the whole physical and spiritual experience engulfing you out there.

So far I’ve been on the J&K side of Himalayas, Leh & Ladakh part… Uttarakhand/Uttaranchal (Valley of Flowers) and Been to certain territories of North Eastern Himalayas with the Sandakhpu trek and a bit of Nepal with the journey towards various villages across the India Nepal border. It’s very tough to choose between all of these three trips. So I’d give list down a couple of treks that I did which fall among the best activities I’ve done in India. with a few images to give you an idea of how amazing the himalayas are…

Trekking in the Valley of Flowers (Uttarakhand) (14000 feet above sea level)

Starting from Haridwar, Rishikesh, we began doing some local sight seeing and exploring various aspects of Uttarakhand slowly moving towards desolation and complete bliss amongst nature. Uttarakhand in itself is a beautiful place with spirtuality integrates well with nature and the amazing landscapes and terrains find themselves accompanied with various significant mythological / religious / spiritual references from the vast history of India… All the 5 confluences while on your way towards Joshimath are something to look forward too… The beautiful Ganga river flowing all the way on your side accompanying you along on the road side. But the best experience begins when you reach Ghagaria ghat… after a tiring trek of 13kms which is more like 30 kms cause of it’s steep level of climb… From there on an early morning trek to the Valley of flowers where you could see the Himalayas at a glance is what you should enjoy the best… Some pictures of how the trek looks like…

The best time to go here would be between June and September. Ideally flowers bloom during this period and as a matter of fact, every week you’ll get to see a whole range of flowerbeds across the valley. When we went, we had a possibility of viewing a new flower that had bloomed in the valley and we were also told that in a span of 5 years, first time there was a glacier that appeared enroute the Valley of flowers.

Now that is something that sounded really amazing as this would have been the first time I’d ever get to see glacier, though technically not snow, yet something worth experiencing.

Trekking across Villages in Nepal (Sandakphu Trek) 14200 feet above sea level..

This experience was simply stunning only because of the most amazing  landscapes that we experienced on our way to the top, but also the amazing Nepalese culture that we got to encounter during our trip. One of the most interesting thing that amazes you on this trip is that constantly you are crossing borders between India and Nepal, but barring a few check posts, there’s hardly anything to distinguish whether you are in Nepal or India… Unless you have a trekking guide along with you. Which we had and a good one too. The whole aspect of the beautiful terrains  and landscapes, no connectivity and total realm of realism sinking in to each pore of your skin is something that gives you a joy that you realize is something that we people take for granted. We went in November, hence the cold weather was something to enjoy as well… Some of these glimpses will give you a better idea.

Overall this trek was a mix of both nature trail, wild mountains, and most importantly a different culture altogether. However, there are many infamous terrains in the Himalayas that I’m planning to visit, and get more experiences as these. My list of places in Himalayas would be:

1 Everest Base Camp
2. Gomukh Gangotri trek
3. Kangra Valley trek
4. Parvati Valley
6. Trekking extensively in Ladakh, Spiti
7. Dalhousie trek
8. Saur Kund and Saur Pass trek.
9. Kailash Manasarovar
10. Har Ki  Dhun.

As an avid traveler, travel blogger and trekker, I encourage a lot of people to try out experiences in Himalayas, for I can’t tell you how it is, you have to experience it yourself to know better. 🙂 Hope this answer helps people travel to India and experience Himalayas themselves…

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Wandering Thinker & a Pondering Writer – Travelogues – 4

He stopped by the river looking up in the sky… He didn’t hesitate to randomly stare at the wilderness around the place! A gentle splash of water on his exerted face… And everything seemed all right!

So he had already realized that a lot of distance from the top of the mountain had been covered. He also thought about the parts that were up ahead of this tricky journey, one that hadn’t yet actually started. After many years of trying to understand what connected him to the magic of the mountains and why he kept seeing the beautiful images again and again during the slumber of the night he realized it now… He had always been a fan of the terrain, being an avid mountaineer and generally being fond of exploring Himalayas he knew that this was going to be something he would do for sure. This time around though he had taken a huge break, a break to backpack all the way to the daunting mountains and figure out how far could he go. He already had a history of a lot of ardouous journeys that he had covered up until now. Taking across this long and tiring journey was something he had prepared himself for.

He had to get all the way to the mountains called Tahilla. After crossing a lot of mountains enroute the top most part across this no man’s land in a terrain that had not been trodden upon for many years. A glimpse of a few nomads and some local wanderers is all you could get around this part of the world. Sometimes you would go for days and weeks without coming across any soul on the land of the lost. But he didn’t worry so much about the pitfalls of getting lost… For he knew what direction he had to follow. He had instincts, one of an avid mountaineer, he could capture trails, one similar to a hunter. He had all those qualities that he acquired sublimally over a period of a decade of traveling across such mountains.  He knew that this quest of his was one of the most important. Why? he asked himself sometimes… An answer to which took him back… always to ask himself another question… ‘Why not??’

15 years ago his grandfather had died… He always was the reason for him to get inspired into hauling away across all these mountains. They always spoke in detail about the various terrains and the kind of forrests they were engulfed amongst. There were a lot of maps and epigraphs with charts that his grandfather always carried along with him. Shange, (meant Buddha) as he was named by his grandfather knew a lot of the secrets of various destinations across these terrains. Some tough, some rough and most of them always ordained with various different levels of challenge! The ones that called upon the most ardouous travellers to push the envelope and try and fight the harsh conditions to come across various hazards of a journey into the wilderness and into the unknown. Only to discover a secret and a very important key peice of puzzle that no one had solved before. Shange’s grandfather always knew that this quest was not one of the empty types. Many a times he told Shange to keep an eye on the odd things and certain trails that were easily spotted to take twists and turns. Yet, they challenged each other at points to figure out short cuts to different points. Tough, but faster to reach… Many a times when they went hiking, they always closely observed the nature around themselves. They always meticulously detailed out their plans to pick up peices of references or traces that could be useful in one of the future revelations on the journey as it traversed through these terrains. There were a lot of clues and a lot of references from various other places. One that were quite relevant to this journey of his. A treasure hunt of sorts, so to speak. And by the time he had reached the first river, he knew that the journey had now begun and it was going to be a completely different escapade from here on…

 “This is where I’ll set up my tent tongiht…. Looks good enough to camp…”  he said to himself with a sigh of exertion and tiredness that he could feel beyond his bones…

 He stopped by the river looking up in the sky… He didn’t hesitate to randomly stare at the wilderness around the place! A gentle splash of water on his exerted face… And everything seemed all right!

 

 

 

 

Wandering Thinker & a Pondering Writer – Travelogues – 3

The river, it gently strode across the path… a path along which he walked. An indication of the ever changing life around him… An indication of the grotesque way his memories surrounded him…

He had already cleared the tougher parts of the first mountain on this trek… He was on top of the mountain and could get a clear view. A clear view of the entire valley. A valley that amassed a humongous stretch of the beautiful Indus River! A river that engulfed the terrain with its misty eyed stoned somber look. One could just flow into the serenity that this river had to offer. Serenity that you see when you look at the most beautiful girl you have ever seen. That look of awe and that of a crush you have for the look in her eyes, for that beautiful smile on her face. For a moment your entire life with her flashes in front of you. That’s the exact look he had in his eyes when he gazed across the horizon to find the beauty stretching across the valley and numbingly staring back at him.

He knew he had to walk many a miles further from that point on… But he also knew that the journey had truly begun now. At the pinnacle of the first mountain he climbed, the one of many more to come on this not so expectant trail of his. A trail that he had to take to surmount all the odds. And the odds that he was up against weren’t small. Certainly not by a mile. He looked at certain aspects of this journey as a triumph yet he knew this was a very small milestone that he had achieved in the grander scheme of things. His inspiration was not just the mountains, but the journey towards a destination to unravel a mystery of the enchanted mountains… One that had so much more to reveal.

He had set foot not just to conquer the mountains and search for his soul within but also the mystery the mountains held behind its gazing eyes. A travelogue that he was ready to write once he conquered the fear within. He had sketched out a plan to ensure that his destination was reached come hell or high water. He didn’t know what journey he was on… But he knew he enjoyed it a lot up until this point… A lot more than the benevolent lifestyle he had lived under the comforts of his four walls and the general rut of life. It was time that this journey helped him overcome his fear, a fear of stagnation and total annihilation from the constant bond of the comforts attached with the meager perks of a menial life.

He had decided that if he was successful in this venture of his it would attain significant value to his much denied existence of a wanderer. His life of a relic had to begin sooner than he thought… That was the true beginning of his life… One that he had thought would never come… Going back and introspecting on the life he had been living for days, weeks, months and years till today. He had to do it… Break the rut and get on to a path of the unknown. Unknown it was, yet it had a depth… A depth of the river like he walked by…

The river, it gently strode across the path… a path along which he walked. An indication of the ever changing life around him… An indication of the grotesque way his memories surrounded him…

 

 

 

Wandering Thinker & a Pondering writer – Travelogues – 2

Without the sound of the wind in my face I’ll never know how far I have to go…Without it on my back, I’ll never know how far I could have gone…

He knew there wasn’t a chance in hell that he would give up before the destination arrived. He knew the tricky paths were going to be the most challenging ones to conquer. But it had to be done. No matter what time it took or how much of his energy went into this ordeal. He had taken this upon himself to ensure that the cumbersome path of the mountains had to be climbed. He took along his kit with himself. Packed a little ligher than usual… this way he knew he’d be able to push himself much harder than he actually could with a heavier backpack. He checked that he brought along the most essential items, like a jacket, sleeping bag, accesories and a small portable stove, some food, fruits, a trekkers knife and some water to help him with his parched throat from time to time. Not to forget a small medical kit that could come handy for the rough rides or downfalls he would be up against. Without a lot of thought put in, he had quickly made a decision to climb the mountains and endure the worst that he had ever experienced.

When he started the trek it wasn’t that bright. There was no Sun… The entire terrain was covered in fog… But it was only a matter of time, before it showed up. He looked around after a while, there was a break of light. He could see the sun hiding beneath the clouds shedding rays of light across the mountains. He could see the beautiful mountains all across. He could take a slight peek at the corner of the eye, staring into the sun which was rising up fast and then look away to the snow covered peaks that shone right up in his face. He had an expression on his face that could tell easily how much bliss he was experiencing when he saw those mountains. He knew that despite the challenge, the very fact that he’d be up there sometime was something that gave him a lot of joy… Something that told him that everything was going to be worth it. A definitive moment of confidence and exuberance showed up on his face, slowly girnning, looking up in the sky, sighing and smiling to himself he realized that it was time for the journey to begin. Slowly pacing himself and  briskly walknig across the crooked paths he started humming to himself… To control his breathing and to make sure that he doesn’t exert himself mentally. He started taking longer and slower steps as he walked on the tracks that became steeper at parts. His humming subsiding and some panting that began increasing. He hadn’t done this for a long time… Even though he had got some practice before he began ths journey, it was the first time he faced a track like this… after a long time. Nonetheless he knew this was going to get edgier and more challenging as he went further… All he could do is smile to himself and say, “It needs to be done…” There were times when he did give up… before getting up after a bit of rest and some water, to speak to himself in his mind, “It needs to be done…”  Sometimes foggy, sometimes sunny and suddenly cloudy, he got all bits of the weather, right up untill he reached the open space and the mountains curving into give a straight path without the covering mountains nearby. Suddenly it had become all clear. Suddenly there was a lot more for him to see and to experience. He loved the beautiful mountains staring right at his face. He loved the smell of the green at places and the breeze blowing into his face. He looked up in the clear blue sky and thought to himself,

“How far do I have to go? How far have I already gone?” 

Then he just looked at his compass, look up straight ahead… grin a little bit and adjust his backpack. Quickly he’d start walking again and the smile giving away his secret… A secret that kept him going always, especially in the windy mountains like these…

Without the sound of the wind in my face I’ll never know how far I have to go…Without it on my back, I’ll never know how far I could have gone…

 

 

 

Wandering Thinker & a Pondering Writer – Travelogues – 1

He dug across the path which raked in between the crooked boulders on the mountain. There were trenches, ditches, twisted turns and slippery paths to walk. The trail was the most difficult at this part of the mountain. He looked beyond the broad horizon, one that was starkly glowing in his face. The sunset across the mountains penetrated the entire region with its golden rays and the entire valley. Because of its desert like terrain the sky gleamed with effervescence surrounding the entire mountain ranges. It was hard to not keep staring in the sky and ponder upon the journey… The journey that he had taken wandering about the trodden paths of the most adverse conditions on the trek of his.

He had begun the journey when there was no Sun… The entire terrain was covered in fog… But it was only a matter of time, before it showed up. In fact at one point it was up in the sky dolling out its scorching heat, which was unbearable to him. He held his hand across his eyes touching his forehead. He twisted his woolen cap to cover his face, away from the beaming rays striking at him with an acute sharpness of its penetrating aura. He knew that the trail he had left was quite a long one. One that let him do his soul searching on his journey across the terrain. One that let him think and introspect upon his past and his present. One that told him of the heights that needed to be conquered. One that showed him how a traversal like this will help him dig deep into his consciousness. A journey that made him realize how mystically important this learning of life meant to him. A journey that helped him become what he was today…

He couldn’t judge how humongous and widely spread this entire place was.  As geographically vast and surmountable the terrain was it was nothing compared to the journey he had already finished, in order to finally reach the land which he lusted for many years. The land that he had thought about all his life. A place that was on his bucket list forever and this moment was something that he had always longed for.

But the real question was very tricky. As tricky as probably the slippery slopes he had overcome…

Why had he taken that journey? Why had he made this trek? Why?? What was he doing out there?

The quest to the soul within himself. The quest to the journey that was always in his mind…

This was his answer to that question… The answer to the question that he asked himself forever… Always, right from the time he had started traveling. Right from the time he had set upon himself the quest to wander the world, not just on the outside, but on the inside too. From the time that he had realized how his mind started reacting to the travel bug that had bit him…

An answer that changed his life …

“To traverse beyond the limitations of my mind, I travel to look upon the journey within myself.” 

The Tiger Kid of Himalayas…

Himalayas, Nepal, Jaobari, India, Travel, Mountains, Trekking,

Jaobari Terrains of HiImalayas

This was a few months back when we were trekking in the North Eastern Himalayas… The Sandakphu trek to be precise. Every once in a while you meet spirits that give you such great vision of your own life that you can’t even imagine what heights you can reach.

Buddhist Philosopher, educator & peace builder Daisaku Ikeda once said

“The human spirit is as expansive as the cosmos. This is why it is so tragic to belittle yourself or to question your worth. No matter what happens, continue to push back the boundaries of your inner life. The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome adversity and unbound hope – all reside within you.”

This story is a true depiction of how this really applies. A lot of times we are so overwhelmed by the many tasks which we give utmost importance to, we tend to forget the real reason we are here on this planet. Many times we focus on the tasks which have no underlying purpose or very little importance, that we forget what we can do if we stop thinking in boundaries or shed the limits. This story tells us how we as adults have stopped imagining behind certain boundaries and stopped pushing the envelope when it comes to achieving something.

Buddhism, Monastery, Dalai Lama, Monk, Spirituality, Himalayas

Shange Norbu of Jaobari Monastery

While trekking the Himalayas, we came across a small monastery in the Nepal side on the Indo-Nepal border. Jaobari village to be precise. We decided to visit the monastery and spend some time while catching our breath. We met the monk who lived there, Shange Norbu. Shange is another word for Buddha, he proudly told us. He gave us information about the monastery. He also told us that he teaches the kids there. We could see some kids playing outside eating some porridge in a small bowl. When we went inside, what was most striking was the utter peace and serenity which made the monastery quite blissful. Besides the striking calm, we realized that it was much warmer inside than it was outside. So that was quite a relief as we knew we had to trek a lot more and climb about 10 kms with a steep ascent.

While the others were resting, I decided to take a stroll around and click some pictures around. After getting a few shots of the breath-taking view I headed a little further, I met this kid. The kid was very playful and he was enjoying himself and doing just nothing. Generally this is probably the last point where civilization ends and the terrains start. A few houses here and there, otherwise the whole plateau after this is just mountain ranges. So most tourists who have come, would stop going further at this point while the trekkers move on to climb the magnificent Himalayas.

The Tiger Kid of Himalayas

The Tiger Kid of Himalayas

With a really nice winter cap covering his ears and a denim jacket to keep him warm, he looked very comfortable and was in his own world. His smile was innocent and his brown eyes were like deep ocean. He had a stick with him, which he held on to very closely. I took a few pictures of his and tried to initate conversation. But communication in a common language was a mystery to the both of us. We resorted to our body language and yes, eye contact… He smiled at me, I smiled back… Then he put his hands to his head.. A gesture to tell me something.  Probably, to show me that he had great imagination. Imagination that made his mind greater than the regular one. To me it looked pretty much like the thing Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory does when he stares at you and tries to get your brain to explode… But obviously this gesture had a different meaning altogether.

Nonetheless, after a few exchange of glances and communication through our eyes, he said something… something which I didn’t understand but I asked Shange to translate, who was standing nearby. He laughed when he heard what the kid said. That made me even more curious as to what was this kid saying. I asked him to translate it to me and this is what he said.

“If you go on top, the tiger will come and kill you… But don’t worry, I’ll help you and fight him off with this stick.”

I’m not kidding, that’s exactly what he said, according to the monk. Hence the laugh. But I was blown away, blown away by the astronomical level of thinking and ultimate confidence within himself. Now, I’m pretty sure, he was told stories of great white tigers in the Singalila National Park stretch of Sandakphu. One that ‘we’ know do not exist, stories of great ‘dragon warriors’, which we think are myths and kings who have slayed tigers with their bare hands. Considering that, using a stick to kill a tiger is definitely something which is easy for him, now isn’t it?? Something he believes in and in his world, that’s how the ending of this story is. Him emerging victorious and a saviour to my life. The great hero of Jaobari as I’d like to call him. Come to think of it, it could be achieved scientifically if you hit the right spots, but that’s a different point altogether.

Do you remember as kids we had so many dreams and for us boundaries meant nothing. Do you remember as kids we wanted to go to space as astronauts, we wanted to become actors, we wanted to become cricketers and a lot more… What happened to those dreams? All that was possible and for some it became a reality. For a those who couldn’t get there, well, it’s never too late…

We have to stop putting boundaries to our thoughts, limitations, and stop compromising by just saying, life is a compromise. Actually when I recollect this story, I truly feel it isn’t… As Daisaku Ikeda says, The confidence to prevail over any problem, the strength to overcome adversity and unbound hope – all reside within you. How many of you have realized this?

Conquering Mahuli Fort – 18th July 2010

It was truly one hell of  a ride that we took. A trek that we won’t forget ever in our lives. One filled with beauty, nature, compassion and so much of freshness that you would think twice about living a life anywhere else in this world. Truly, these eco-trails, nature hikes teach a lot of patience and a lot of compassion for the gaya. Indeed mother earth has had a lot of patience in tolerating our non-sense for such a long while… Sometimes I keep wondering how life would have been if there was nothing else but nature. No gadgets, no hi-fi, wi-fi.. just the plain serenity of this beauty surrounding you to the core. Think about it…

Well we decided to camp at the base the night before. So we headed off for the trek as planned on Saturday night. We got a little lost.. It’s easy to get lost before you go ahead on the Asangaon flyover. Make sure you turn left towards the Manas camp/temple. Ask for the Manas temple and you should be fine. So once we took the left, we saw the accomodation/hostel etc of Manas dharamshala. We headed ahead a straight road in the dead of the night. The silence of the eerie night was really haunting us in the pitch dark night on that day. We followed the straight road kept looking for a base camp / temple which we were supposed to look for… but damn, no clue.. So we had almost decided to head back.. when we found a bunch of say 25-50 guys just walking towards us. First instance… Shock! What are they?? Zombies??? Villagers??? Creeps?? A closer look tells us they were trekkers just like us. So finally we headed on and in 15 minutes after crossing a bridge we got to the base camp.

What followed next was chill out time, camping and some rest before we headed off in the morning. The rain had started pouring while the mountains covered with fog laid out its beauty, almost inviting us to conquer it. We decided to start at 7:00 AM in the morning. While the trek was just about 2800 feet.. the climb wasn’t that easy.. slippery muddy tracks made it a lot more difficult and rocky terrains at the top were a little tough on us. But after a gruelling stop and go trek for about 2.5 hours we certainly made sure that we conquered the beautiful fort of Mahuli.

What’s on top is amazing. The Shiva linga as expected in most of the forts of the great Shivaji Maharaj in the Sahayadri ranges was not a new thing for regular trekkers. But what was all the more beautiful was the wonderful waterfall below… So we retired there and enjoyed the beauty for a couple of hours, had our lunch on a really compact stove carried by one of our trekkers.

An experience that we would certainly remember. Certainly so, going by the pics you just saw!

© Copyright 2010 Srini. All rights reserved

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Mahuli Fort – Here We Come!

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So my friends and I needed some adrenaline to repeat last year’s Harishchandragadh experience. Around the same time we went to Harishchandragad, and it was a whole new experience for me. I hadn’t been on a long trek for a really long time. Anyways keeping that aside, you guys might have checked out the photos of Harishchandragad, this time it’s going to be Mahuli. We have planned to go there tomorrow night (17th July 2010) and it’s certainly going to be a helluva trek.

Some tit bits about Mahuli fort.  Source – But of course, Wikipedia

Mahuli Fort At 2815 ft., this is a sought after trekking destination.

It is the highest point in the Thane district. The forest surrounding Mahuli has been declared as a sanctuary. Once Shahaji Raje, father ofChatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, had this fortress under his belt.

The nearest railway station to Mahuli is Asangaon. One can catch either Asangaon or Kasara Local from Mumbai CST, which could also be caught at Kalyan Junction. 4 km walk from Asangaon station will take you to the base temple in 1-1/2 hours. 3 hours trek will take you to the summit.

How to Reach There?

Asangaon on Mumbai-Nashik highway (91) km from Mumbai. 5 km inside on to the left is the Mahuli village. The best thing to do is catch a late night train to Asangaon, and make the temple beneath the fort as your base camp. You can probably have some food out there, sleep there and wake up early in the morning and in a few hours reach the top. The people at the base camp also provide you with some food at nominal charges if my guesstimate is correct. At least, they did before. If you are the types who feel cold, esp during monsoon and planning to stay at night at base camp then I suggest take something to cover you up. Rest all is what a normal trekking routine should include. I don’t think I need to tell you guys that, if you are new to trekking 😛 Google IT guys!

History behind the Place:

The creator of this fort is unknown. In 1485 this place came under rule Nijamshahi dynasty. When Shahaji Raje became the secretary of Nijamshahi, Mughals of Delhi tried to end Nijamshahi. In 1635-36, Shahaji Raje transferred himself with Jijabai and Shivaji to Mahuli. When Khan Jaman attacked the fort, Shahaji asked Portuguese for help, who refused and Shahaji surrendered.

Shivaji took this fort from Mughals on 8 Jan 1658. In 1661 it was given back and was won again by Shivaji. In treaty of Purandar, in 1665, Marathas lost these forts again. In Feb 1670, Shivaji Maharaj tried to conquer Mahuli, but failed, Manohardas Gaud, was the in charge of the fort. A thousand Marathas were killed. Manohardas Gaud, soon gave up his position and Alveerdi Beg took over. On 16 June 1670, after two months, Moropant Pingle conquered the forts and Mahuli, Bhandargad and Palasgad became part of Swarajya. Till 1817, Shivaji’s dynasty owned the fort but later on it was controlled by the British Raj.

So we are planning to go tomorrow night 17th and leave the base camp early in the morning at 5:00 AM. That should give us enough time to spend on top and chill. Hope to have a really amazing trek. Godspeed.

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