Saturday, September 3, 2011

Rajmachi,,, Longesssssst One

Rajmachi... heard about the stories of this trek from my prior TL Sandeep Ratan. I always fascinated by endurance required by this Trek, it's really a very demanding one. Four years later finally got a chance to go on this trek with my office team. Nilesh initiated for the trek, initially it was planned to go for lohgad as most of the people going for this trek were first timers. Then we had a formal meeting in conf room for the discussion :D.. later it was finalised that we will be going for Rajmachi Trek. Initially there were lot of enthusiastic people for trek and count was suppose to reach 20+ but at the day of Trek we were 10. Me, Nilesh, Praveen, Bhandari, Chits, Paddy, Sushil, Pavan, Sukhi and Mihir. As planned we were suppose to catch local from Akurdi, except Sukhi and Paddy who were suppose to board train from Pune Station.

Woke up early morning at 5am, missed Anki :-( she use to wake me up daily calling from US. But she was travelling to philadelphia so she could not wake me up. Reached Nilesh's place in indrayani nagar by 6am and we left for akurdi by his car, reached Praveen's place where we need to pick praveen and mihir. We waited for around 15-20 mins as Mr Praveen were taking bath after ages :). Finally we reached akurdi on time, Bhandari and chits were already there. Bhandari already took tickets for us, rest of the guys also joined us and we boarded the local at 7:05 am. We reached lonavala, climate was bit sunny and everyone was hoping for rain. First thing we did was to have breakfast bcoz we knew that once we start trek there will be nothing in between. So we found one hotel and everyone had Masala dosa. We also had sheera, later we left for the trek. After intial confusion we were on right way.

We enjoyed initial trek a lot, at first we halted at tungarli dam. We had good photo session, there was a guy who was doing fishing at the dam. We troubled him :) took his fishing stick and used it for getting good snaps for FB, Orkut etc etc. We moved on after 10 mins than we stopped at the waterfall, again everyone was full enthusiastic for photographs. We had fun at the waterfall, this was the place were bhandari skid for the first time :). We started the trek again, upwards the mountains, downwards from the mountains, through the grasslands, crossing the rivers , through the jungle,, this trek had every type of section you can imagine. After almost 3 1/2 hrs of trek saw huge waterfall, Nilesh took some snaps and here suhil got his shoe stuck in mud. We made fun of him and after some time bhandari got his shoe stuck in mud. It took lot of time to get his shoe out, everyone cheered as his shoe was coming out of mud :). We stayed near a small water source where bhandari was cleaning his shoe and here he got skid again ha ha :) . He has real badluck that day.

From here we could see both the forts, we moved on and after some time we found small snacks shop as we reached rajmachi village. We asked him for the way towards the fort, once confirmed we moved on. Later we reached a temple halted there for a while and started trek again. It took us 6 hrs to reach at the top of fort, it was 3 pm. Later bit of the trek was very dangerous, which made us remember our gods.  But at the end it was amazing feeling to reach the top. We stayed at the top for a while and started descending down, after some time we reached the snack shop where we asked for the way. We had Poha and tea at the snack shop, here chits and sukhi were attacked by mosquitos. We coated our skin with mosquito repellent but it didn't worked. Around at 4:30 pm we started back, as slowly we made our way forward, length of our footsteps was decreasing and breadth was increasing :D.

In last two hours of trek we took break at every 15 minutes, there were loads of funny incidents while coming back. Praveen and Paddy made me remember Vikram/Betal, Sushil who was jumping here and there while going towards rajmachi was half dead by now. Nilesh and Me might have the funniest of all walking posture. Soni brother's (Mihir and Pavan) were leading the trek now, we took rest everywhere possible. Somehow we reached lonavala, had dinner in a hotel and walked till station (this was not easy as it's sounding). Finally reached station, i was praying "God.. please local should be from platform -1" as i don't wanna cross the stairs to reach other platform but my badluck local was from platform-2. Somehow we managed and got local, i slept on one of the seat. Each portion of my body was in pain like anything, we reached akurdi station by 11pm Night. Then me and nilesh left for nilesh's house where i parked my bike, took my bike and reached home.It took me almost 15 mins to reach till lift of my building from parking :D,, security guard burst into laugh looking at my walking speed and posture,, damn me. But this trek was really amazing one, everyting went as per plan (except loads of body pain which took almost an week to recover completely) :-)


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kanha National Park & Jabalpur

Kanha National Park is very famous national park in india, it is also called as "Land of Tigers". Shooting of many documentries shown in Discovery and NatGeo are done here. So you wanna spot a Tiger,, come Kanha there are lots and lots of them. We were visiting Mandla, native place of Anki and kanha is 90 kms from here.  As there is no direct connectivity to Mandla from Pune, we went till Jabalpur via train where Anki's parents and mona came to receive us. We planned to explore Jabalpur and around on that day, we visited Chousath Yogini Temple first. It's temple on small hill dedicated to Shiva-Parvati and then there are 81 statues of yogini's around the main temple in a circle. Each yogini statue was different from another one, and statue of Shiva-Parvati on nandi in main temple was also one of it's kind. A local guide who was actually a small boy from nearby village explained us the history of the Temple, there is a nice view of scenic bhedaghat from the top. 

Next we went to Dhuadhar waterfall, Dhuadhar and bhedaghat are actually a very special place. Here river narmada pass through the marble mountains, shooting of a very famous song from movie "Asoka" was done here. There is a newly built ropeway on the river, looking at it i thought yeah mann MP Tourism is doing good,,, MP has lot of places that can be developed for Tourism. We enjoyed the ropeway ride on top of Dhuadhar waterfalls, it was a very Nice view. After exploring jabalpur we moved for Mandla. After two days staying in mandla, we left for Kanha National Park in the morning. We reached kanha by 1 Noon, Kept our bags in hotel and had spicy lunch @ Dhaba.  

Bafati uncle met us there, he was our guide in Kanha. He is also known as "Birdman of Kanha" bcoz of his vast knowledge on Birds. I was very impressed by his knowledge, his capability to identify birds is just amazing. He arranged for a vehicle for us which was a open gypsy. Ticket for one time entry for single vehicle was 1500 bucks, we also read "to do's and no to do's" in the Jungle. Some of them were very interesting, you cannot step down from your vehicle, you cannot give food to animals, don't take pics while flash of camera on etc. etc.   most interesting was if an animal attacks you.. still you cannot attack back, It is their territory. Me, Anki and Mona had a debate on that jungle rule, Bafati uncle was making fun of us he said you cannot do anything.. tiger will come.. he will select which one to eat and take you wid him :).

Entry time in kanha was 6 - 12 in morning and 3-6 in eve, we were making entry at 3 pm.  We entered through the main gate and with our vehicle almost 30 more vehicle's but kanha is so huge and there is web of so many small paths in kanha, your vehicle will be alone most of the time. I just loved the flora and fauna of the place, huge bamboo trees and various other trees on which Bafati uncle and driver of our vehicle gave us brief knowledge. As we  moved in jungle we found deers, deers and deers, place is full of spotted deers. Bafati uncle told us that more than Tiger kanha is famous for "Swamp Deer" or "Barahsingha". We spotted it as soon as we entered, this is one of the species which has got special protection.

After sometime we got separate from other vehicles and moved on different track. Suddenly Bafati uncle told driver to slow down gypsy, he heard call of peacock, this term "call aa  raha hai" we heard hundred of times in our two days stay :). It means any small animal making an alert sound after seeing an predator mostly "Tiger". Driver stopped the gypsy we were enthusiastically waiting for a glimpse of tiger. After some time we heard BIG roar from the jungle, this was the confirmation that there is Tiger out there. That roar was loud and we got scared hearing that, it indeed was a voice of King. We waited for 10 mins but could not see anything and then Bafati uncle pointed direction saying something is moving there. It was tiger but it was very far, we could hardly see him. Driver told us that there is another pathway, tiger might be close from there and may  be if we are lucky he will cross the road from there. Bafati uncle agreed and we moved in that direction. We reached there and just after 5 mins of waiting we saw the king of jungle came toward us and he crossed the road just 2 metres ahead of our vehicle. It was pleasure watching that animal in his territory. I took lot of pictures and a short video. Tiger was moving on the road then and we were slowly following him, after 5 mins he then disappeared into the jungle searching for food. Bafati uncle told us that he is a young male and about 3 yrs old.

Mann that was like dream come true watching a tiger like that, we were so happy. Later we spotted Asian Deer (Sambar), Bison and many other animals. Also spotted lots of birds, bafati uncle gave lots of information on each one of them. We were back to our hotel by 7pm, we watched small documentry arranged by MP tourism.  Next morning we woke up early as we wanted to enter kanha asap. Entered in kanha at around 7 am, explored various routes of kanha and heard roars from jungle at one point. There was call of langur, we waited for some time but moved ahead after some time as we could see nothing. We spotted fox, barking deer that day. We were back by 12 noon, told good bye to bafati uncle and after some time we were on our journey towards mandla. Kanha journey was very special and that "Tiger" really made our trip.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shivneri - The "Origin"

Shivneri – One of the most prominent forts of Shivaji era. This is the place where Shivaji Maharaj was born and got his name from “Shivai” temple situated on the fort. Mona (Anki’ Sis) and Aniket (My Bro) both had vacations so they came to our place. We enjoyed Ganesh Chaturdashi procession on Laxmi Road, sound of dhol tasha makes you mad. It’s just amazing when 50-60 dhols rock in sync, your legs automatically start shaking. Later we decided to go on some one day outing, the only place that came to my mind was Shivneri.

Shivneri is approximately 100 Kms from Pune near Narayangaon on Nashik road. As we don’t want to go by public transport we decided to go by my bike and Anki’s scooty. We left in the morning around 8 Am, after 15-20 mins of driving we stopped at hotel in Bhosari. Had breakfast and got some snacks for the journey and then we moved ahead. Nashik road is quite nice road for Drive and Anki was in full excitement as she go to drive this much. Remembered the days when we were in our school, Anki and Mona use to come in summer @ vidisha to visit her maternal grand mother. We four use to go for a walk daily in eve till nearby Hanuman Temple. 

We reached Narayangaon, had stopped for a while and left nashik road to move towards Junnar. Shivneri Fort is hardly 10 Kms from Junnar. We reached base of fort by 12 Noon. Parked our vehicles, and started our trek. Actually its a easy walk till the top as there is proper way, this fort is preserved well. There are lots of gardens on the fort, first of all we visited the Shivai Temple situated at the fort. You can view Lenyadri Hill from here, Lenyadri is one of the Ashtavinayak Shrine. We reached the top where birth place of Shivaji Maharaj, its small stone structure having two floors. It felt great to visit the Place.

We stayed at the top for a while, enjoyed the scenic from the top. After some time we were on foots for our return journey. Had Nimbu-Soda on our way back and reached parking. Return journey was also smooth, faced bit of traffic near chikhali. Reached Pune at around 10 Pm, quite a nice experience!!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

King of Forts - Rajgad!!!

"Rajgad" is indeed king of all forts in Maharstra, King himself lived here for more than 25 years. Monsoon, just thought of this word itself refresh you. In summers i used to have one window open in my office pc for IMD(Indian Meteorological Department) Site. Just to follow when monsoon is coming, once arrived, when it will reach Pune. My collegues use to tease me, "Hey frog is waiting for rains.. :-)". Coming to the trek summers crossed, monsoon came and my planning started. Me and Vikas planned to go for Rajgad Trek, Anki and Deepali (Vikas's Wife) also agreed for the Trek. As planned it was a day Trek. We were suppose to leave early morning and planned to be back by Night.

Me and Anki left from our vishrantwadi house and reached shivaji nagar, Vikas and Deepali were suppose to join us here. After 10-15 mins they came and we went ahead with journey. Forgot to mention we were going to Rajgad by bikes.  One way to go Rajgad is by bangalore highway but i choose diffrent route which goes via Pabe Ghat. We took sinhgad road and moved towards khadakvasla, had breakfast on way. After 45 mins of drive we saw some fencing near road in which very huge birds were running here and there. Those birds were ostriches.... it was ostrich farm!!! We never thought in our wildest dream that we gonna see ostriches that day,but yesss that's the fun of exploring new things you will always gonna get surprizesss . We took pics of every Ostrich present in that fence.. :).

We moved forward,, after an hour of driving we reached the ghat section. Climate was awesome and surroundings were lush green, we halted for a while to clicked some pics. We were on our bikes again, descended down via circular roads. Aftere some time we were at point where way to Torna fort was on right side and Rajgad on left. We asked local guy for the route towards base village. On his direction's we were on our way towards base village, on the way we saw one small roadside hotel. Had tea and "garma garam" kanda bhajji on the hotel, we asked a fellow traveller that how much time trek will take. He replied atleast 3 hrs to reach there and you should stay at fort at night as it won't be possible for you to come back today itself. Me and Vikas looked at each other our plan was "tai tai Phissss" even before trek was started, basically due to lack of planning and we enjoyed route so much that forgot destination. 

Neways we thought we came here for trek, we will trek. We reached the base village, parked our vehicles. We started our trek, this time destination was not fort but "Time". We had three hours so we decided we will trek for 1 1/2 hour and will return back. We had loads of fun while trekking,,played fultoo Antakshari Vikas/Deepali in one team and Me/Anki in other. Had some photo sessions on our way, Trek was nice and easy. It was drizzling  and we were all wet.We completed  1 1/2 hrs and started descending down.  After some time we were back to our bikes and moved back towards Pune. We took bangalore highway while coming back as it was getting dark. We stopped at a dhaba on our way,we had all kinds of "Bhajji",, Paneer Bhajji,, Mixed Bhajji,, Chilli Bhajji,, Potato Bhajji etc etc. Those were really delicious. Reached Pune by 10 Pm. Missed the fort but all and all it was a nice outing.


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Kille - Purandar

My younger bro Aniket was visiting us in Pune, after i got married. We two decided to go Purandar Fort. Purandar is again a huge fort, actually they are twin fort's Purandar and Vajragad.  This is the place where "Sambhaji" born and treaty of Purandar signed between Shivaji Maharaj and Jai Singh. Purandar was indian army camp for long time, now abandoned. You can also find british era building's on the fort.

You can either trek to Purandar Fort or you can drive till top as Fort is well connected by road. We decided to drive by bike till top of fort. We both left in morning form my Kothrud house, then via Chandni chowk we moved ahead on satara road. Fort is around 40 Kms from Pune, after 1 1/2 hr of drive you need to take a left towards Narayangaon. Purandar fort is on the backdrop of famous "Datta Temple" in Narayangaon. On way towards Narayangaon you will see a "Tirupati" of North, yes there is an exact replica of Tirupati Balaji temple here, Temple is very clean and Nice.

As you move ahead you will see small ghat section, and then some more old temples. These temples has classic architecture, just behind those temples you will see a Huge  fort. We drive on the circular roads to finally reach till main gate of fort. Fort was really very huge, i just loved the view of fort in the backdrop of statue of Baji Prabhu.

We parked our bike and moved ahead to explore the fort. As you walk you will see a very old Shiva Temple on right, it's Purandareshwar temple. Just behind this temple goes way to reach top of the fort. Its an 1/2 an hour trek form there to reach the top. We started small trek towards the top, it was very small pathway. After 15- 20 mins of trek, we saw an angry cow standing right ahead on the road.  As soon as she saw us she started running towards us, in no time i was on one tree and aniket on other.. ha ha,, that was kind of funny when we were waiting for cow to go.

Once she left we came down and started again, reached the Top of fort. It was really windy out at the top, we explored the fort. After some photo sessions we started descending down.  We were back to our bikes within an hour and started on our way back to home. It was really nice one day trip.


Panhala Fort - Kolhapur

Being a big devotee of Goddess "Durga" i never miss a chance to visit any shrine dedicated to her. After Marleshwar-Mahimatgad trip, i was the latest victim of Loveria, fell in love with Anki and as it was pre-written that our destiny is together. We got engaged and i moved back to Pune after spending almost an year in Bangalore. We planned to visit Kolhapur and Panhala Fort which is near to Kolhapur. It was a short trip, we planned to leave on friday night by over night train to Kolhapur, then explore Kolhapur -Panhala in day time and back again on saturday night by train.

I did reservation of Anki by train from Mumbai to Pune, and our's from Pune to Kolhapur train. Anki reached dadar station to catch train and found all the mumbai - pune trains are cancelled :) due to pipeline broken on railway line. With no option left she catch a bus, this time adventure start's even before journey was started. Bus usually takes 4-5 hrs from Mumbai to Pune and exactly that much time was left to catch train from Pune. I reached Pune station, train was on Platform and Anki's bus has reached Aundh. I thought we lost the train, after some time Anki called she will be reaching Pune station in 5 mins, train was still at Platform and about to get green signal any time. Finally she reached station and then there was confusion of "which" Platform and "where" on Platform. We were running here and there and finally got the train. Train left within 2mins we boarded it, i thought we have the blessing of Godess and thanked her.

We reached kolhapur early morning without any more surprizes, had tea and hired a Auto to reach temple of Goddess. After reaching temple we first got an hotel, kept luggage there and went for the darshan. Since there was not much crowd we got darshan easily, such an special feeling after visiting the shrine. This temple is one of the Shaktipeeth where "third eye" of devi sati has fallen.  We had lunch and catch a bus for Panhala Fort which is 15 - 20 Kms from Kolhapur.

After reading book "Shriman Yogi" i was really fascinated about various forts of Shivaji era and Panhala was one of them. Historic Panhala to Vishalgad escape of Shivaji Maharaj took place here when siddhi jouhar surrounded the fort. Sacrifice of "Siva Kashid" and Courage of "Baji Prabhu" was going on my mind as i had first look at the Fort.  Fort is very huge and still in good condition. Forts was so suge that we had to hire auto to explore it completely. Yes, you can hire Auto this fort is well connected by road.

We explored the fort, saw lot of monuments and after around 1 1/2 hrs we were on our journey back to Kolhapur. After reaching kolhapur we had dinner and boarded train and we were back to Mumbai next morning. This trip was a nice short weekend outing, Panhala Fort is worth a watch.


Mahimatgad & Marleshwar

After spending around 6 Months in Bangalore, i was badly missing all those Trekking experiences in Maharashtra. I joined one mountaineering club in bangalore but never managed to go with them. Finally on a long weekend i planned to go on trek with Trekdi Group, this time to Mahimatgad and Marleshwar. Marleshwar is famous shiva temple while Mahimatgad is fort used in times of Shivaji Maharaj to keep an eye on Konkan Region.

I asked Anki if she will be joining trek, she said yes and i did bookings for both of us. I travelled from Bangalore to Pune, KSRTC buses are really nice. It was a Bangalore-Mumbai bus, so it dropped me at katraj. Felt great on being in pune, Anki was suppose to come by train from mumbai so i reached Pune railway station. We were meeting after really long time, after that short "Hi-Hello" on dadar station.  As she arrived we directly went FC road our meeting point for the trek. Had dinner and waited for other people to join as we refreshed our childhood memories.

We started from the FC road, stopped in between to had tea. I woke up in morning, we were at Hotel near Sangameshwar Road railway station on Konkan railway line. The Place was really nice, we all had breakfast and moved ahead. Atfirst we went to samadhi of Sambhaji and then visited the Karneshwar Temple. This is the only temple dedicated to "Karna". Architecture of temple was really nice and we had great time. Then on way to Marleshwar we stopped for Lunch, hotel was near to river where we played Antakshari on full volume.

We reached Marleshwar in the evening, Marleshwar is famous for Shiva Temple. We all visited the temple and then had bath at waterfall near to temple. Mann that was really relaxing feeling having bath in Waterfall after exhausting day, Full Masti we did. By the time we made lots of friends, Darshana, Harshad, Sumeet lots more. After visiting marleshwar we reach Kundi base village of Mahimatgad. We had to stay in govt. school of the village, first of all we all prepared for dinner. Trekdi team carried one stove and gas cyclinder, our dinner was hot tomato soup and Magii (Magii Magii... ) :). It was good teamwork.

It was really cold night of Jan, next morning we wake up, had tea and left for the Trek. Trek was nice without any surprises, as we were moving up we saw two police man carrying Indian National Flag. It was 26th Jan Republic day and the were carrying Flag to host at the top of fort which they do every year. We all happily joined them and hosted flag and sang National Athem. It was patriotic feeling and pleasent surprise as no one of us expected we will be hosting National Flag at the fort.

After exploring the fort we started descending down. By 2 Pm we started for Pune. As usual returning journey is always more fun as we all know each other after all that sharing and caring. We were back to Pune in midnight, then after "Bye- Bye" to everyone and giving each other's mail id's, i dropped Anki at her freind's place and i reached at my old house in pune in pradhikaran. This trip was really special in my life and it started a new chapter.