After a long long time I got a chance to go trekking again on 22 Nov. Sankshi fort is located near Alibag, off the Mumbai Alibag highway. Difficulty level is easy to moderate, but it involves about an hour of walking.
Article on Sankshi fort from Maharashtra government website.
The name Sankshi is said to have been derived from a chief named Sank who is traditionally believed to have been the lord of the fort. See below.] (T. Pen) also known as Badr-ud-din, or Darghaca Killa from a tomb or dargah of the saint Badr-ud-din at its foot, lies within the limits of Nidivali village about five miles north-east of Pen. read more...
We assembled at Panvel ST depot at 7AM, waiting for others to join in, and finally left Panvel at 9:15 after having breakfast at a restaurant across the road. Since the bus started from Panvel, everyone got seats, and I dozed off to sleep.
We got down at Balavali Phata and marched towards saint Badr-ud-din's dargaah. The route is cool and covered with dense trees, but full of giant spider webs. The photographers among us took half an hour to capture the arachnids and buffaloes on camera.
We reached dargaah in less than 2 hours, relaxed and moved towards the Sankshi hill. There's a GI water pipe that runs to dargaah at the base of the hill from a water cistern at the top of the hill. Some walk in the jungle, struggling with the itchy bushes, a rock patch and we were at the top. After exploring for half an hour, we came back down to have lunch at the old dargaah structure that looked beautiful and wise in white color.
Trek to Gorakhgad can be counted as one of the most luxurious treks in the Sahyadri range. We left Mumbai on Saturday 4th July 2009 at 2300Hrs. It rained heavily whole day so many participants dropped out at the last minute since the train services were badly affected. As a result, the bus we hired had several seats empty and lots of place for us to sleep.
We took NH-222 from Kalyan and stopped at Dehri. Trek began at 3AM in the moonlit sky with torches. In about 2 hours we reached the base of Gorakhgad mountain and started climbing upwards in the light of dawn.
After exploring the top, taking pictures, having breakfast and walking in the clouds we were back to the highway before noon. After Gorakhgad we switched to picnic mood and started our trip to the scenic Malshej ghat.
Your votes are invited for selecting the best photos from this collection of pictures i took in year 2008. Last year was very eventful and i ended up with filling my flickr account like its no one's business.
To vote for the pictures you like, simply visit the Nominees collection and vote for the photo by marking it as a favourite or leaving a comment there. I'm biased, all food pictures got nominated automatically.
Monsoon treks for the year 2008 started with a rather exciting trek to Kalavantin durg(pinnacle). Kalavantin durg, located very close to Panvel, is a medium difficulty trek, but the rains make it more challenging. After the first rains fell in Mumbai, we planned to trek Kalavantin durg on 8th June 2008. We all gathered at Panvel bus depot to take the 7AM bus to the base village of Thakurwadi. Since it was getting late, we then decided to take six seater auto rickshaws to Thakurwadi instead. After negotiating with the autorickshaw drivers they agreed to take us there for Rs. 200 per SixSeater rickshaw. The distance is about 17Kms form Panvel.
While reaching Thakurwadi village, look out for Zoia resort, there's a road which goes left from there, and after walking about 1 hour on it one can reach the base village, which is very close to Kalvantin hill. We however went a little ahead and took some other route and got lost. After a little help(paid) from local kids, we managed to find the actual broad village road which led us to the village at the foot of Kalavantin pinnacle. From here we found our own way through the jungle. One thing to make sure is that the shoes are good, since the jungle path becomes extremely muddy and slippery because of several groups who might be ahead of you.
After climbing for an hour more, we reached the notch from where there are steps dug out in the rocks to climb the pinnacle from its southern end. The force of wind is freaking awesome at this notch, and throughout the climb. After a while, it started raining and the whole scenery was covered with mist and fog. Really awesome view, but photographing it was rather difficult. After climbing the topmost pinnacle of Kalavantin durg, we climbed down. Several people slipped and fell since the entire route was made muddy and slippery due to a rather large group which came and returned before us.
We had lunch at the base village, and returned to the ST bus stop at Thakurwadi village, after dumping the plans to visit Prabalgad.
After a break of 4 weeks, and having done Kalvantin, Mahuli and Avchitgad, it was time to go for another place we hadn't covered. Jagdish planned a trek for Sagargad and Siddheshwar temple on 20th July. Sagargad is a hill fort located in Alibag region, 1 hour walk from the popular Siddheshwar temple and math. As usual, we all gathered at Panvel ST bus depot and took a bus to Alibaug. Siddheshwar temple is about 2 hour walk from the base village of Khandale.
After taking some rest at Siddheshwar temple we moved forward towards Sagargad fort, eagerly waiting for rains showers. And it did, just around the entrance of the fort which is now in ruins. In its time, this fort could have been a prominent center of power, as can be seen from the strong walls built over a rather larger area of the flat mountain surface. Apart from a ganesh temple, there are a few man made ponds with water and green sprawling gardens on the flat mountain surface.
A rather fascinating sharp and pointed rock structure named Vanartok lies at the edge of Sagargad's hill. Vanartok, or Monkey point is a popular destination with professional rock climbers. After drenching in rains and taking several photographs of lush green scenery, we all had lunch. The usual theplas, murabbas cakes and ladoos followed.
And since it was Jagdish's birthday, a round of gifts, and photographs with him holding the gifts followed We had planned to visit the waterfall on the return journey, but didnt know the route to the waterfall. Nevertheless, we walked back to the base village Khandale and took ST buses back to Mumbai. All in all, a weekend well spent.
End of May, the long pending get together happened. On 29th May evening we left for Goa in a Volvo. Night was spent sleeping and singing. After the long journey on Mumbai - Goa national highway we reached Goa next morning and headed towards Diwar Island. Checked in Devaaya Resort and relaxed. Had party whole night, with lots of chicken and booze.
Panjim, the capital city, is a city of churches and beaches and there are ample opportunities of photographing both. Next day a couple of us hired a few bikes and went off on a beach visiting spree.
All in all, a trip well spent. Goa is fun place to be at.
Peth fort is a small garrison fort in the shape of a submarine, ~20 kms off from Karjat. We took a bus, and two autos to reach the highway near the base village. March being a hot month, made sure that we ran out of water sooner that we thought. We reached the base village of Ambivali by noon or so, and began climbing the hill.
In another hour we reached the cave carved out of the rock and relaxed for a while, and started cooking lunch. Some of us explored the garrison fort, while others cooked food. Peth fort is located at a strategic location and control over this fort meant having an eye over entire valley. That explains the several battles fought between moughals and marathas.
We descended down around 6PM and headed back to Karjat station and took a train back to Mumbai.
Unlike past two years, this new year was fantastic. We went for a two day trek to Kulang Fort. Located in the Sahyadri ranges near Igatpuri, Kulang fort can easily be classified as toughest to climb of all (took us close to 7 hours on foot from the base village).
To make sure we start up early in the morning from the base village and cover maximum distance of walking in plains, we reached the base village of Kaluste the day before by shared jeep from Ghoti town(located on Mumbai - Nashik highway, and reachable from Igatpuri station). We left the base village Kaluste by 6:45AM and headed towards Kulang hill. Crawling through jungle, eating and sweating, we reached the top by 2:15PM. Squatted the cave, ate some food and later shot the last sunset of 2007 from the highest point.
Kulang, due to its height, offers breathtaking views of all nearby mountain rangelets. And due to clean atmosphere and current season, night sky is awesome too with everything from shooting stars and satellites visible. Best time to visit is after monsoons(rock climbing becomes dangerous due to mud and slippery rock surface)
Couple of weeks back we went for a trek to Vitandgad, commonly known as Tikona Peth. Its called Tikona (Pyramidal) due to its peculiar conical shape. Trek to Vitandgad can be classified as an easy trek which can be completed in half a day.
Since we had some more time at hand, we visited Pavana Dam and nearby Bedse Caves. All in all, a day worth spent.
After attending Freed.in, we took a bus and ran away to Manali to escape the delhi heat. The 19 hour bus journey started around 4PM in the evening with everyone buying random stuff to eat and drink, fixing the music system, clicking pictures of random people and objects, listening to gora crack random jokes and searching for a good dhaba to have dinner.
Next morning we all woke up in himachal pradesh, drooling at the awesome himalyan mountains and the gorges. Next day was the trip to Rohtang pass to see the fresh snowfall. High altitude (well, compared to Mumbai), freeezzzzing atmosphere, super chilled breeze, it was all there.
Solang valley is a small place 18Km up the hills from Manali city, with half a dozen resorts and facilities for rope-way and para gliding.
After taking a dip in near boiling sulphur smelling ground water at vasistha, it seems my hair fall has come down considerably - or is it just my figment of imagination
Trip to manali was sure fun. Now let us see when do i get to go to laddakh.