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 :)!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Dehydrated from Bhimashankar to Siddhagad!

Having trekked up to Siddhagad the last weekend with Addy via Narivali up a wrong path and having gone to teh peak and back down, it was decided by me that the next time I come to this palce I would not scale the peak just reach till siddhagdwadi stay at the quiant and friendly village have a refreshing bath at the well and return back.

Well, 2 weekends hence, I was to return back to Siddhagad. This time the path to be taken was via Bhimashanker, and according to the locals at Siddhagadwadi it was presumably just a simple descent for about 4 hours.

After the ritual dropouts only Amit and me were to rock the heat down the trek.

We met at Mayfair(Wakedewadi) at roughly 5:20 and rushed down towards the Shivajinagar ST stand. To out good omen we got the 5:30am ST bound to Bhimashanker just in time. We had to stand till we reached Bhosari from where we got sme place to sit. Cramping out huge bags with the sleeping mat was point of attraction for many of our fellow commuters. Soon we went past Ked ->Manchar eventually took a left towards Bhimashankar. The ST conductor said we had to get off at Kondhawal phta to reach Kondhwal village. So eventually after twisting and twinging the rugged landscape we got into the dense forested section where we evetually alighed at Kondhwal phata.

To out dismay this was a pure tar-road walk all teh way to Kondhwal. Well so we carried along through the road under teh winderful shade of trees and eventully walked into the open and were marching on teh back carpet under the scorching heat. Evetually after a few misses and snaps we spotted Kondhwal village. The village lies to th eleft side of the tar road and cannot be spotted easily from a distance as its hiddent to the left.

Here, at the village, we met one Mr. Pandurang Dhamse who was a suppositedly some chief forest staffer. Had some fresh sweet tea and good time talking t loacals. The village was vibrant for there was an engagement cermony that day. Soon we left the village and took directions for our march towards Siddhagad. We were told to reach this place called "Bhatti", which is offtrack the main path to the left of the bridge. The indication to realize that we were in "Bhatti" was a forest machin /watch tower. Here we did the grave mistake of assuming Bhatti to be a village and that the machan would be easily visible from the track.

SO back on the tar road we continued our steady march towards Kondhwal, which we were told we would reach in about 2- 2 1/2 hours time. Soon we spotted another village to the right and this too was a part of Kondhwal village. Thr tar road eneded at this village and then we were walking on a broad well defined dirt track. All the way we kept meeting a lot of villagers walking towards Kondhwal (they were from "Ahupe" village) to attend the engagement ceremony. Everyone kept asking us where were headed for, where we were from, why we walked so much etc. etc. We wished we had a recoreded message that kept playing back the answers :D.

By now, Amit was geting really tired and his legs started to take a toll for all the tar road walk we had undertaken. His unter shoes were just not the right footware for tar roads. So post many rest breaks we eventually came to this rocky bridge. But not having spotted any Machan from here we though we would have to walk along for more time. So we continued our hike and eventually reached this hillock as the route took a right and the path started to vanish under the thick bushes and trees adn wines. I pursuaded to carry on, but Amit said this might not be the one and we decided to head back to the bridge.

Well so we backtracked and spotted a lot of cattle near the bridge, from here we took a right and walked towards a rocky fence (this was something like a marked boundary), soon we spotted the machan hidden behind a line of trees in the open ground in front of a litte pond. We were totally exited and knew the village would be somewhere nearby. Soon we we started walking along the rocky fence and realised theer were many such fences going criss cross. We hunted a lot but could spot any village or villager! Eventually we were geting tired and the sun was geting too hard to handle, so we decided to walk back to the machan and have lunch either atop the machan or near the bridge and hope to spot someone who could help us with the directions.

Once atop the machan, it was a lovely feeling siting across this pond and geting a fair view of the surroundings. Here we had our lunch, and decided to go back to the road and wait for someone. By now, we started to contemplate on what our plan of action sould be, should we not find the path. We decided we would return back to Bhimashankar and get down to Khandas teh following day via "Shiddi chi waat". We were also contemplating on various possiblities of a viallage near by, but the place seemed so isolated, and not one human in sight but just some cattle. The cattle made us confident that we spot someone. Just as we were thinking of these possiblities, out of the blues we saw a shepard walking down the ground and towards us. He was smiling and waved his hands as he saw us. Boy were were overjoyed! Soon he came up the machan and said that we were actually on teh right track, and that "Bhatti " was not a village rather just a name for this entire place! WE soon learnt his name was Mr. Lokhande and he was from the "Ahupe" village. For us Mr. Lokahnde was an angel in disguise, had we not spotted him we were to go back to the road and we would never have spotted anyone!

Soon we were done with our lunch and had a very friendly guide with us, hge agreed in showing us the path till a point from where we could never go wrong. The path basically was to walk towards a pinaccle we could see ahead to the right and take the path to the right of the hillock and walk into the jungle towards a well.

Well our guide led the way and we followed him till the well, from there we walked around the well not to the left! and got out into a clearing and from took a right path that led into a jungle. From here we bid farewell to our guide and took the path via the jungle. The path was through a thick jungle, we spotted monkeys and also I guess I heard a barking deer, the path was straighforwards and it climbed up a little till we came to another clearing and through another jungle and were out and could see the rocky footh path going down and a litle dirt track towards the left.

We were stading at the mouth of the valley. Far far below was the village of Uchale and Narivali (noe of them were visible ) and the valley was just too deep, I lost a breath and skipped a couple of heartbeats as we watched in awe down this amazing ravine! We were actally standing at the mouth of a waterfall that went down to Sakharmachi.

From here we took the left dirt path that went down the waterfall. The path was too rocky and we could just image what a site would this be in the monsoons. The descent was pretty steep but was also very comfortable. Soon as we were descending I started geting second thoughts if were along teh right track, as I soon realised we were going towards Sakharmachi and not Siddhagadwadi (at this point I was not aware were were on the right track, and had to take left and traverse mountains to reach Siddhagadwadi, though I did know we had to traverse a lot- but I was not sure it was such a long traverse). Again we started contemplating things, Amit said maybe we had to go down and them climb back up. I was dead sure, this was all wrong and that there would be no ascent involved afer this descent!

So as we were relaxing at one point and discusing on teh next course of action, we met our next Angel! :). WE met this person descending behind us. Hi name was Mr. Bhagwan and was from Uchale and was returning to Uchale. HE said we were on teh right track, and that we had to take a left at one point and that path would lead straight towards siddhagad traversing via a couple of mountaings. We were releived and he gladly showed led us down teh path and towards the point from where we had to take a left. This left was a camoflourged left (I mean it is easily visible, just that its not an obvious left turn!). Here we bid farewell to our Angel no. 2 and too and the path to the left.

The path was straighforward and just as rocky. Soon we crossed onr waterfall and started circumventing the mountain that held "Damdamiya dongar" . "SakaharMachi" was clearly visible from here, and we counted our lucky stars for not returning to Bhimashankar or not going down all the way to Uchale!

Here the path was mostly shady and through a lot of trees, all teh time te valley was to the right and the mountain face was to the left. Soon we crossed another ravine and took a brea at one nice shady spot. Here we had some fruits and soon continued the hike. Afetr a turn Siddhagad made its majestic presence known in a distance, we were releaved and instantly recharged for the hike ahead. Soon we could spot "SiddhachiLingi" as we crossed another ravine (the water fall path we had taken the last time to get up to Siddhgadwadi). The path was pretty straightforward and soon we came to this flat patch where we got rid of our backpacks and took a moment and relaxed- we were on the Siddhgadwadi Patthar with Siddhachi lingi behind us the path ahead went to the main entrance for Siddhagad the valley below went all the way to Narivali and the distand mountain on the other side of the valley held "SakharMachi" !

Soon we walked along teh path and reached the dilapitated steps to the fort entrance to Siddhagad. Once inside we too a right and the broad path went ahead. To the top on teh left was the "Narmata Devi" temple (it basically looked like an old shed. We decided to visit this temple the next day morning. By now I was sure I would not be climbing upto Siddhagad as my shoe soles were way, as for Amit he was pretty tired. We countinued the walk and soon saw a lot of kids playing around breaking mangoes, as we finally reached "Siddhgadwadi".

Here we met Nemade family (We knew them from the last trek), and decided to set camp in the quadrangle of a neighbouring house (no one stayed here now). WE relished on some amazing tea and had a good talk with "Gangubai Nemade", she said "Tanaji", her son, was away for some marriage and other men in the village too were away for various marriages. She also said that the "baba" who stayes partway up the steep climb to the Siddhagad top was away, as he was unwell. We were sogging wet and tired from the long hike, so we decided to have a refreshing bath at the village well. We took along a bucket with a rope tied to its handle to fetch water from the well. Taking bath against the distant sunset with the hazy pinacles of Gorakgad and Damdamiya visible in a distace was an amazing and totally recharding experience. Amit declared he would climb siddhagad the next day morning.

Back at the quadrangle, we laid out our sleeping mats and had some refreshments. At about 8pm We had an amazing dinner of "Dal Bhat and usal" at "Nemade's" house. The food was delicious and pungent :). The village dog, cat hens etc kept roaming around as we had food and had a great time chatting with the members of the house.

Soon dinner was done, and we retreated back for some rest. It was half moon, and the view was excellent. Also the clouds had come in from the Bhimashankar side into the valley. Had some night-photographic moments post which we discussed on teh practicalities for the next days trek. Afetr calculating teh timings it seems it would be about 12 mid night by the time we reach home if we attempted the Siddhagad peak climb, so we decided to ditch the hike.

The night was vibrant with the costant noise of the buffalos muching their grup, farting and what not. Well eventually the sleepy village went al quiet and we were awake the next morning with the alarm at about 6am. The clouds were low in the valley and it was an awsome site! Clouds everywhere, soon we were done with our morning rituals and had some refreshing tea. Post this at about 7am we decided to head back to Nariwali. Amits legs were pretty stiff, and it made our decission easy not to atempt the peak climb.

Dejected and yet satisfied we walked back to teh fort door, on the way we payed a visit to the "Narmata devi" temple. It was an old delapitated hut with lots of rock stones stewn around, all had ancient inscriptions of them. Having taken a look around we headed down to the door.

From here the descent was the immediate left from the door and went down and at times along side a waterfall and it crossed the waterfall a couple of times. Here we spotted a lot of monkeys playing around and saw the Siddhagadwadi grow in hight for every foot of descent. In about an hour we were at the base and on open land, from here we walked along teh left path and eventually we came to a broad path, soon in about abother half hours we came along side rehabilitated village of Siddhagdwadi - " Siddhagad pada". Here we sat uner teh shade of a tree and had our breakfast and tok some timeout to relax. We payed a visit to the village, and Amit got lucky to spot a village pet peacock. We refreshed ourselves a the village pump, and carried on the hike back to the village of Narivali.

In less than half hour we came to the village and we walked past the concrete roads and acros a huge field to the main road where we stopped at a little shop for some refreshments. Soon we got a jeep which was overful with humans :) and in half hour we were at Mahsa. We had to wait for the 12:15 ST from Mahsa to Karjat, finally got the bus to Karjat. From Karjat we took an ST to Khopoli at about 1:30pm. Here we had lunch at a local hotel and then from Khopoli we got an ST to Lonavala at about 2:30pm. We did have a long halt at Lonavala, so we decided to buy some Chikkis etc from the Market. From Lonavala we got the 4:20pm local to Pune-Shivajinagar.

Finally we were back to Mayfair by about 7:15pm and back home by around 8pm.

It was a fantastic trek, a trek to cherish for a long time to come!

Enjoy the snaps!

These were the time lines and expenditure for the trek:
The Trek Path (descent portion from Sakharmachi waterfall to Siddhagad wadi)

Travel : Pune - Bhimashankar
Trek : Kondhwal Phatta -(3kms)- Kondhwal -(4kms)- Bhatti -(~4kms)- Siddhagadwadi

->05:30am : bus from Shivajinagar to Bhimashankar. (~90/- per head)
->09:20am : reach Kondhawal phata
->10:30am : reach Kondhwal village
->11:00am : leave from Kondhwal village
->12:50pm : Lost near Bhatti
->13:15pm : spot the machan
->14:45pm : March via Bhatti towards Siddhagad/Sakharmachi descent (50/- for the help)
->15:20pm : Reach the mouth of the Konkan valley
->17:20pm : Reach the Siddhgadwadi plateau.
->17:50pm : Reach Siddhagadwadi base village.

Trek : Siddhagadwadi -(~5kms)- Narivali
Travel : Narivali - Mahasa - Karjat - Khopoli - Lonavala - Pune

->07:00am : Start from Siddhagadwadi (100/- for stay + dinner)
->07:15am : Visit Narmata devi temple
->07:25am : Start the descent
->08:15am : Reach the base
->08:45am : Reach the rehabilated Siddhagadwadi village, have breakfast.
->10:15am : Start off from the village
->11:00am : Reach Narivali
->11:45am : Reach by jeep to Mahsa (7/- per head)
->13:30pm : Reach by ST to Karjat (30/- per head)
->14:30pm : Reach by ST to Khopoli (11/- per head + 78/- for lunch)
->16:30pm : Reach by ST to Lonavala (10/- per head)
->07:00pm : Reach by local to Pune(Shivajinagar) (13/- per head)

Total expenditure ~550/-
Total travel expenditure ~161/- per head.

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Blogger Yogesh Naik said...

Nice write ups.... Ur detailed account of your marathon bike ride was even more nice... came across your blog through a search on "Karwar"... All the best..

3:39 PM  
Blogger Sumanta said...

great bro...its enthusiastic boosted me to plan for similar trek...

12:01 PM  

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