Sunday, 30 November 2008

The trek

Dear All,

Last Saturday I had been to Mahuli Fort which is a mountain fort situated at the mountain top nearly 3000 feet above sea level. It was a tremendous experience.

We started at around 11.15 from Dadar. We caught the Kasara bound train at around 11.30 and many joined us in between. It was a family trek and we were 18 people total.

On Saturday, the railway mega block was there for weekly track repairing as usual. So train was halting every now and then. So we had enjoyed the playing cards. I must mention here that my all relatives and I are mad for playing cards. We are nearly gamblers only.

We reach Asangaon station at 2.00 a.m. and we found that many trekking groups are resting on the station. Asangaon is a small village and a single platform in the station.

But we decided to walk. It was around 2 KM on the railway track which was quite thrilling experience since in rainy dark night when you can’t see far, it is just a luck that you could hear the train is coming and have a chance to jump out of railway track and take a resort of nearby small space parallel to the rail track. Of course, we were ensuring ourselves by touching the track occasionally that rail is not coming towards us. But even the train running on the adjacent track was fearful.

To our luck, not a single train came towards us while we were on the track and we reached the rail crossing from where we started walking on the rough road. Now the road was safe but we have to take care that no frog or any other wild insect stamped by us.

Also we were totally wet till now. And around a walk of 3 KM we reached the Lord Shiva temple which was our base camp. Some of us were very new to trekking and therefore never had gone through such hardships. So we decided to wait until the first light of the day.

But idle sitting in temple was another devastating experience since we were ready food for the

mosquitoes and other insects and also since we stopped walking so our body which was warm was until now reminded us that we are wet and the cold started working on us.

Fortunately within an hour there was a first light of the day and the nearby hut of the preacher noticed us and served us hot tea. Drinking it, we felt like having drunk the nectar.

Then we started walking towards the fort. Here I must tell you that mountains in Maharashatra are made up of Basalt rock which formed after the lava cools down. The rocks are thick and they do not break easily but when they break they are sharp in nature. Also the mountains are like Grand Canyon, steep in nature. In rainy season due to heavy rain, the road is slippery; the soil is mucus being wet and the rocks are with thick moss. Walking must be careful.

The other special about these forts is the way to the top. Sometimes, it is secretive, sometimes puzzle, sometimes when you reach the top if you do not turn left or right, your next step will be straight into 2500 feets down in the valley full of thorn. This is basically tact to defeat the enemy in guerilla war.

Mahuli is the fort middle in the range of Bhandar Fort and Palas Fort. The other two forts are called subforts which are to defense the main fort and if the fort is in hands of enemy then like a last minute resort.

At the beginning some of us lost the path since there is no specific sign but later we joined others and we all were walking in the different groups since some of us have heavy luggage, some of us were fat, some were aged, some of us did not have practice of walking and some of us were professional trekkers.

Sometimes we have to make a chain or pull others as the path was difficult and was through thick forest.

Still the rain was heavy and it took around 3.5 hours for us to reach the top. Though we were exhausted walking wet on the slippery and rocky path, reaching the mountain top was a marvelous experience since we were in the clouds and the ocean of the cloud was around us.
Though we did not have an opportunity to see fauna, we do have an opportunity to see various floras. According to the study, Sahyadri Mountains contain more than 330 species of butterflies, 1800 species of plants, 100 species of frogs and more than ten species of bats.

On the top we bath in the waterfall and changed clothes, and had lunch. We had mini cafeteria with us. My brother himself carried 6 Kgs of fruits, 30 boiled eggs along with his clothes. Everyone was carrying heavy food as walking ignites the demon in our stomach.

On the way back, we met a German tourist who came with her husband and 5 year old daughter. We really appreciated their visit since mountaineering in rainy season is tiresome and very hard especially for the children.

While coming back, we were so exhausted that we did not carry water. But now weather had changed and we were dehydrating below hot sun. But in the way there were small water ponds or water channels thankfully.

But walking downwards was quite easy but some of us slip and had a small injury. I slipped in such a way that I rolled and my sit was struck against a rock harshly. Fortunately it wasn’t fracture.

On the way for nearly an hour, we enjoyed water bath in the river at the base and came back to home at around 7.00 p.m.

We were so tired that we nearly collapsed in the bed and slept like a well fed baby for nearly 14 hours. Next 3 days, while sitting and while getting up, we were recalling the sweet memories of the trek. There was pain even raising the hand high. We were walking like a duck pulling our own legs.

But truly speaking it was a nice experience. The fresh air of mountains really gave us a new energy and it freshened our life also, removing the dull cobwebs of routine life. It was like oiling our rusting mind.

The Mahuli fort trekking is suppose to be comparatively easy. I was just thinking how it will be to go for the trekking on the tough forts.

I’ll say that when you come to Maharashtra, do not see Gateway of India, Jijamata Garden or Siddhivinayak temple. The true Maharashtra lies into mountains. It is the real beauty.
Be familiar with this heavenly Experience.
Just for fun:
A girl from the plain region who never seen a mountain in reality once came with us to Raigad, a mountain fort but little less difficult and having stone steps to reach the top.

Our conversation:
Q.: Do King Shivaji used to come here?
Our answer: Yes.
Q.: How often, once a month or once a year?
A.: Frequently
Q.: How? Riding on the horse or sitting in the palanquin?
A.: On the elephant.
Lesson of the day for me : To work hard on obesity since my luggage sack was carried by others for sometime. I was really feeling guilty rather ashamed.

The song of Maharashtra (Maharashtra Geet)
The link : Jay Jay Maharashtra Maza, Garja Maharashtra Maza

Let my Maharashtra victorious, roar that Maharashtra is mine.
Reva, Varda, Krushna, Koyana, Bhadra, Godavari (rivers) …
The earthen pots are taking the water of unity (from them).

Let the horses on the bank of river Bheema drink the water of Yamuna (Let the Maharashtra should win the kingdom of Delhi at the time of King Shivaji).

We do not fear `O’ the roaring cloud. We, with our life, answer the hard rule of the sky (Rain havoc or Drought). The lion of Sahyadri Mountain range snarls that King Shivaji is mine; there is only sound in every valley that Maharashtra is mine.

The caves of pride are curved on the black chest (of rocky mountain); the iron fists are playing the sports of death. Maharashtra was boiled in the sun's heat of poverty and wet into sweat of destiny; still it is diminishing for the honor of the nation, it is the Maharashtra which is still saving the kingdom of Delhi.

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