Tag Archives: Sahayadari

Ritz to Rajmachi – Off-roading Adventure

Foggy Morning

These are one of those trips that you always wish you had taken a while ago, and at the same time, not taken at all… Many a times we’ve been trekking to various destinations and most of the times, we take a car to the base-camp… Earlier it was a bike and now it’s a car, thanks to my friend Swapnil… His Ritz I must say has done a lot of miles in the couple of years that he’s been on the road with it. Long stretch of lands across various states to weekend getaways that have been really bumpy and super sleek at times. From grazing dirt tracks inside villages of Vidarbha to stretching a two day trip all the way to Indore and back to Mumbai.  And of course, the Alibaug, Kashid, Murud-Janjira is something which has become a routine. Lonavala – Tiger Hills is of course a destination which we do most of the times in the monsoon, but this time around we did something else… And of course, this had to be the brainchild of my ever enthusiastic best friend, also my college mate Swapnil himself. For those who don’t know him yet, well, we’ve been friends for over 12 years now and right from college both of us have been auto enthusiasts, me being the lesser one and almost every other time just being on the listening end of his aspirations and stories from various rallies, so much so, that I’ve taken up interest in Formula 1 only cause of our animated conversations and his total interest in the sport which he rubbed on to me way back in 2001.

Most of the times our trips have been adventurous, luxurious, crazy, tiring and bewildering… But none like this. It was a Saturday morning and Swapnil, Mangesh and I decided to leave early in the morning on this trip in his Ritz…

Swapnil & Mangesh

“Let’s take this baby all the way up to the basecamp.” That’s what Swapnil said…

“What?? You really hate your car don’t you?” was my first reaction…

Apparently not… Now this could certainly be a good exercise for Maruti guys to test their vehicles and maybe build an entire campaign around it… Anyone seen the Woodland shoes ad?? 😉

For regular trekkers, they take a 15km hike to the basecamp or most of the times we get people bike it up till the base camp. Of course, the villagers or people who have to go back and forth, might at the most have Jeeps which can take them that far, especially during the rains…

For a Ritz to go up there…. Was quite a task, a task like most others, which we always end up achieving… This is where we went and boy o boy, don’t ask us How??

Bumpy rides, dirt tracks, steep turns and a whole lot of rocks and stones to test us… This was quite a ride. There were uphill and downhill roller coasters on our way, so much so, I couldn’t shoot or take pics. Steady is not what I could expect at all…

Most of the time it didn’t rain throughout our uphill journey and we finally did reach one spot, where there is a small stall. That’s not even the base-camp. A guy usually cooks Maggi, Bhaji-Pav and stocks loads of biscuits and other snacks. Well, since we reached this spot at around 7 AM, we had to wait…

As luck would have it we discovered, there was a small waterfall near this place… But we had to go down to really get below / under the water and it was a downhill slope and had to trek down a few yards to get there… Well…. IT HAD TO BE DONE!

That's where the falls were...

…And when we say ‘IT HAS TO BE DONE’… we 99% of the time mean it…

Well, It had to be done... 😉 so...

So, anyways, that’s just the half of it… We haven’t even got started… Thankfully, by the time we were done with playing around the waterfalls, getting soaked in that foggy morning and enjoying the cold water and by the time we came up… the guy from the hut had opened his shop… What more did we want?

Mr. Kekda Khan

Certainly not this crab to bite us… 😛 Meet Mr. Kekda Khan, who happily posed for my camera.. Add to that he was really enthusiastic when the camera zoomed on to him. So much so he did the Kekda Dance, moving his claws up and down…

Maggi... Never fails you... wherever you go

But yes, eating HOT Maggi early in the morning is certainly what we wanted… Well, that’s what we thought at that time…. We really didn’t know what was in store for us…

So we move ahead and head towards the base-camp… Lo behold… There was this huge rock on the road… Mangesh said it wasn’t there last week. He’s a regular trekker and was there by foot last week. It was a landslide and there was very little space for the car to squeeze through… On the other side of the road was a cliff… and it was also blocked by rocks, if not as huge as the one fallen, at least huge enough for us to make them budge…

“Every problem can be solved…” That’s always our motto when we go out on these adventures…

We tried moving smaller rocks, whichever we could squeeze through and tried to make some space… Well, it was a little better than before, but not enough to let the car go by… If nothing else, the car would just go down the ravine or scrape some metal on the huge rock… Now, that’s something we didn’t want to happen. Add to that, it was a muddy track, so couldn’t quickly skid through that part.

Then we took on the task to move the bigger rocks on the side… Tried sliding it, lifting it… Reminded me of that episode of Dhani Tackles the Globe, where he goes to Scotland and lifts huge rocks as part of a competition. Heck you might even have watched Worlds Strongest Men doing these antics for a living… But we certainly weren’t them and we needed some one else to help us out on this…

What more do you want?? Of course, we needed a few people to help us… There were a couple of guys who came from the other side… the village or the base camp, but they were villagers who were going to work in town… We sure didn’t want their hands dirty 😛

As luck would have it, just like our most other situations, we met a bunch of trekkers who thankfully agreed to help us out… And within a jiffy, we moved most of the huge rocks making enough space for the car to go by…

Between a Rock and a Hard Place...

What happened after that is not for me to tell you in this off-roading chronicle, but certainly this experience was quite different from most of the trips we’ve ever taken. Have you ever been in any such situations?

Share

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

Share

Mahuli Fort – Here We Come!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Share