My Realm

Meet me - know me - read my posts and try to figure me! Well I am someone who is always thirsty for adventure, someone who simply hates playing sheep(u know the types - follow the herd!). An enthusiastic trekker, who loves to travel and ever ready for one of those wierd new found sports- luv to make new friends and njoy being my family's pet :)!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Wonderful Break to an awsome Trip!

Nothing was going right, everyone was frustrated with the work and the usual routine. The heat had given way for the dark clouds and rains, the setting was perfect for an outing/trek whatever. So the plans begun, after many-a destinations; Raigad was chosen as the place togo. With many people giving false hopes of team in, we were at last a 5 member strong team set for the fort in my blue indica!

The day started at 4:30am for many but I reached the office at about 4:45, finally picking up Avik from Sus road we made our way towards Bhor via Satara road. We had decided to take the Varandha Ghat route from the 5 choices. Enroute we took a break at Natraj hotel for the usual snacks and finally after the morning activities we were heading forth to Mahad/Bhor phata. The time was nearing 6am.

Surprisingly we had an excellent marked road (Satara) and a wonderful exit which turned right into Bhor. The road that ensued was simply picturisque, green laden mountains all around us, the close vacant grounds were all green with thin streams tricking though them, the distant grey clouds lay low on the hill tops and the casual rain with the chill breeze made the environment just perfect for the road trip! All this as I drove near 80kmph on the smooth (sortof) tar road taking winding turns along rivers and green tree walls.

Post a couple of breaks (really amazing ones may I add) we arrived at a bifurcation, one led to Rairashewar the other to Mahad. So we took a right and neared the distant green mountains. The road took a gradual elevation and kept climbing through twists and turns along the mountain edge as the valley kept deepening to the left.

Inside the car, all were enjoying the mustique of nature and jokes and casual leg pulling events the entire way. Sanjay took turns complaining that he was on a heavy stomch :) Avik kept teasing him Biraja was mesmerised in nature as he kept skipping heartbeats to my break-a-neck speeds while Piyush got comfy with all this and rolled out jokes after jokes as we all went in splits and all this as I kept driving and scaring everyone inside! :)

Casual cloud bursts and thick waterfalls added to the feel, as we decided to halt at one such waterfall. What ensued was just too maazing, we all inspected the waterfall (which was pretty big and beautiful) then decided to get rid of our clothes and play water water! So then playing in the water fall, climbing all the way up and exploring the areas around was all that made up for this amazing halt, all except Avik got drenched here.

Post this we changed back to dry clothes and hit the gas. The road now kept going from one hill to another as the valley shifted from left to right and so on. Eventually we came to the high point of Varandha ghat at a bifurcation, the straight road led to Mahad while the right turn went to some other 'gaon'. Here there was this little quaint tea stall where we decided to have tea and bhajjis along with a breath taking view of the valley around. It seemed as though the distant mountains were floating aloof on the soft thick clouds that filled the valley!

Well post some photographic idiocasies we went on ahed, the time was ~10am. Some truck drives warned us that he road was blocked ahead due to some breakdown. Well we cared less and pushed on. The road kept desceding now as we headed straight for a cloud wall. In a jiffy everything went white ahead of us and the visibility dropped to a near zero! The speed dropped as the cloud kept opening at regular intervals and was eventually lost behind as we came to the breakdown point. Lucky for us nothing seemed like a break down :), we just drove through.

The road ahead kept winding down pretty steep as we lost altitude and the eardrums were belging with pressure. Soon we were at ground level and were driving stright for the Goa highway where we had to take a right for Mahad. Mahad was roughly 15kms from here, soon post some enquiries we spotted "Raigad Ropeway ->" written on a huge sign board as the road turned right again off the highway.

The road ahead was a pretty small road and again lined with trees and mountains all around. Post some halts we finally were arrived at the base of the fort road as the route ascended again through twists and turns. We finally arrived at our destination -The ropeway- at roughly 11:30am.

Sanjay was dumb struct and dead scared looking up at the ropeway. Just to add to the drama, the ropway guyz were applying some quick fixes :) to the guiding rope. Well finally at around 12:30 we were ascending up in a tin cage that housed 5 overweight champs that dangeled on a thick steel rope. The ride was roughly 5 minutes and the views it offered was amazing. Sanjay was quiet but Piyush and me were dancing around clicking snaps as Avik and Biraja pretended to look calm and composed :).

Finally we were up and made our way through some simple rock steps on to the plain fort. There was no view to be offered, as were all engulfed in clouds and the view was just about 5-10 feet. We decided to have lunch , as we headed for the "Deshmukh Hotel"(I always loved this hotel, so I decided the group have lunch here- and no one repented this decision!). Here we had amazing freshly prepared vveg/non-veg simple food.

Post lunch, we decided to stroll around the fort. Me being the experienced one, I had to lead the way. So we first went down part way the concrete steps of the Maha Darwaza past the "Hathi taki", from where we decided we explore the rest of the fort as we finalized on descending the fort on foot via the Maha Darwaza (good for Sanjay).

So we went on towards the Bazaar Peth, the steps led up as we walked in clouds and reached Bazaar Paeth. Unfortunately the view was so bad that we could bearley see anything around, from here we headed to the statue of "Shivaji Maharaj" after some photographic sessions, we headed for the court yard. In the courtyard we had to get rid of our slippers before we went to the area where the Maharaj once sat. Well after some strolling around we decded to head on to Bahavai Tok. So from here we found a new route to descent from behind the satatue of Shivaji as we headded via Bazaar Peth towards Shiv Samadhi enroute Bhavani Tok.

On the way we stopped at a cart where a lady was preparing hot tea, so we had tea as we spent 5 bucks on a pack of biscuits for a local dog :). Eventually we walked on towards the Shiv Samadhi and admired the place, the Shiv temple and the faithfull dog's samadhi and ofcourse the Maharaj's samadhi. Deciding to ditch Bahavani tok, as it offered no views we decided to head on towards Takmak tok.

We took a short cut from here towads Takmak, the route went down some steep descents to a flat walk as it led gradually up to a flat patch. To the right were some ruins and to the left a narrow inclined flat well-railed edge led towards takmak tok. We headed forth for it. Here except for Piyush and me, the rest preferred to take rest behing the open rails at the "tok" as the two of us stood at the edge of a 1000+ feet drop through the white clouds!

Here we sat for some time, talked a lot, took some rest before we decided to head back for the Darwaza. Here we took an easier route that lead straight to the concrete steps aside "Hathi taki". From here we started the descent though thick clouds and rains towards the MahaDarwaza. At the Darawaza we spent some quality time, taking rest and playing around next to the cannons and the fort walls. Finally we made our way through the Darawaza as we headed down rock cut steps.

The descent was truly beautiful. The mountain side to the left kept offering many water falls while the valley to the right was all green and kept hiding cascually behind clouds. We did stop at a waterfall where we played a lot and sucessfully drenched our selves again. Finally we halted at a tea store had some amazing hot tea before heading on. Here the rain gids decided to open the tap and drench us out in totality!

In about half hours time we were down the good route of steps and path to the tar road below. The time was ticking at around 6pm. Here we rested again before taking a quick 2 km hike on road back to the ropeway for the car.

Here we changed to dry clothes had some steaming hot pohe and tea before we decided to hit the road. Time was about 7:30pm. The ensuing drive was through dusk and dark. We did manage to blunder our way at one occation but eventually reached Mahad and took a right on the highway as we had a rough 100km drive towards Khopoli. Fortunately for us the rains were not much and there was not much dirt on the road, so I could drive at descent speeds. The drive was pretty monotonous here , just that I would break the rhythm at ocations and throttle at neck breaking speeds to get all sleepy souls awake :).

Post a few breaks we arrived at a point where a board showed "Pune ->", so we gambled our path and took a right and decided to ditch the Pen-Khopoli road. The time was now about 10pm. The drive then went through a city as we hit a tar road through the jungle where we took some rest breaks and finally headed to a board that said "Expressway 1000 mts". I was releaved :)

No sooner did we hit the expressway we decided to have dinner at the food mall there it self. So then we had dinner, all were tired now and worn out. We had some thallis and dosas and Channa Baturas. Post this the drive went via the expressway through the lonavala ghat and finally the straight stretch towards the end of the mysticall road.

We finally took a left at the Sus road dirty juncture to drop Avik. The time was now ~12:30am, from here we drove back to office where I dropped everyone and we bid our farewells and decided to ditch office on Monday as I headed back home.

I was in dream land back home at about 1:30am.

Enjoy the snaps



Blogger Prashant Varma said...

Hey Vindy,
Sorry for posting this late as I did not get time earlier to read your post. I saw the photographs & they were amazing to say the least. It would have been better if you had connected your post with the relevant snaps like you did for one of the earlier posts.
Your trip reminded me of my trip to Rajmachi. If you haven't been there, I highly recommend it to you. You will require 2 days though as it involves walking for almost 6 hours from Malavli (before Lonavala station by the local train) to the village as there is no drivable road.

8:25 AM  

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