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.