Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lohagad - Nature at its best - Rejuvenate yourself

It all started with me and my friend Mahendra, talking about how the weather in Pune is perfect for a trek.  We have been talking about doing a trek since one year now, but because of some or the other reason, never managed to actually do it.  But this time, I really really wanted to do it!  After some initially talks, we decided to do a trek to Lohagad

I asked around to see if others were interested.  Total 12 people agreed for the trek.  We decided to start at 0630 hrs on Saturday and come back by afternoon.

Staring from 2000 hrs on Friday evening, I started getting SMS'es from people saying they cannot make it.  By morning, I was thinking it will be just me and my wife who will be going for the trek :).  But in the end, we were 5 adults and 4 kids (all of them 8 years old) made it!

As planned we started off at about 0630 hrs.  I had been to Lohagad in the past, at that time, there were no shops at the top, i.e. no food and no water at the top.  Hence, we wanted to have heavy breakfast before starting.  We tried a few good restaurants but none of them were open that early.  Finally, we settled for a dhaba type place to have breakfast.  Although the ambiance of the place was not all that great, the food was good!  We had Misal, Poha and Tea.  After filling our tanks, it was time to hit the road again. 

We reach the base village Malawali at about 0830 hrs, it was a good surprice to see a very well organized pay and park facility at Malawli.  We parked our vehciles there and started the climb.

The Way Up:

Right at the beginning of our ascent we saw two waterfalls.

As we climbed up, breathtaking views would unfold in front of our eyes.  The natural beauty on the way was simply amazing.

A few images to illustrate what I mean

At one point right over our head we saw a big rock which looked like a gigantic ship.  It would immediately remind you of the famous scene from "Titanic" where Leonardo and Kate are standing at the tip of the titanic to feeling the breeze.
The snaps does not do justice to the view that we saw!

For the first time in my life I saw blue beetles
After walking some more, we saw another natural miracle.  We saw a big rock hanging by the side of the cliff.  The rock and cliff would be attached only at the ends.  The space between the center of the rock and the cliff formed a shape which looked similar to Shiva's third eye!  Its difficult to explain, a picture would clarify things.
Finally, after about 1.5 hours of walking and enjoying the natural marvels, we reached the base of the Fort.  There we were greeted by our ancestors
There are lots of monkeys in and around the Lohagad fort.  They were waiting to get one opportunity to snatch anything that looked like food. 

There are proper steps created to go from the base of the fort to the fort itself. 

During the monsoons, small stream of water keeps flowing down the steps.  On our way into the fort, we saw a small lake formed by the back waters of the Pawna dam.

On the way up, we saw ruins of few small cannons.  We tried to lift them just to see how heavy they were, but they wont move even a inch!
A few more steps and we saw a gigantic Maratha gate!  It had massive chains and sharp spikes all over it.  Needless to say that one person cannot open or close the gate.  The spikes made sure that, it would be difficult even for a fully grown elephant, to break open it.
Last few steps, took us into the fort.  No one wanted to walk any further without having a bite.  We decided to stop there and have something to eat.  We had carried lots to eat, Sandwiches, Chips, Sabzi Roti etc.  When we were half way through our lunch, one monkey located us and came extremely close to us, looking for an opportunity to snatch something.  We reacted quickly, we put everything back in the bags and started walking.  5 adults and 4 kids against 1 monkey, believe me, monkey was not at all afraid of any of us.  In fact he was actually trying to scare us.  We had to finally give him a peace of sandwich.

We decided to move ahead since we could not continue our lunch at the same place.  After walking for 5 min we saw a Dargah and a small pond, we decided to finish our lunch there.
After lunch, it was time to sit and relax and do nothing absolutely nothing!  Cool breeze was blowing continuously. 

I was at "peace" with myself! 

I was not thinking about anything, nothing absolutely nothing at all!  Not thinking about the city roads, traffic jams, home, projects to be delivered, meeting the deadlines, nothing! 

My 10 gallon head was completely empty.  Simply, sitting and enjoying the natural beauty.  I have to admit, I had not felt like this for quite some time now.  I am not a person who would keep thinking and worry about stuff, but still the feeling that I got at that point was beyond anything that I had experienced before.

In the movie The Pursuit of Happyness, right before he gets the job as a Broker, Chris Gardner says,

The next day, after work, we just went to the beach. Far away from anything, everything, just Christopher and me. Far away from buses, and noise, and my constant disappointment in my ten gallon head, in myself
At that moment, I was able to understand what he was talking about.  What is that feeling and I can tell you one thing, it surely feels great!  That moment for me was the best moment in the entire trek.  It was totally worth it!

After relaxing for about an hour or so, we decided to explore the, West side of Lohagad fort to see The Vinchukata(Scorpion Tail).

On the way to Vinchukata one has to climb down an almost straight wall made of rocks.
It was pretty steep, but in the end I did make it.  From the tip of the fort you could see the entire landscape.  There was no obstruction.  On one side you could see magnificent Sahyadri range and on the other side you could see the Pune-Mumbai express way.  Clouds were passing right through us.  Its was simply beautiful!

Later, at about 1400 hrs, we decided to start our descent.  While coming down one of our friend, twisted her ankle.  Luckily, it was not that bad.  After some rest she was able to walk normally.  We reached the base village at about 1545 hrs.

It was trek a wonderful trek with breathtaking views on the way and at the top.  But the most important USP for me were, those moments at the top when I was at peace with myself!

I would strongly recommend everyone to do treks on a regular basis.  Oh! almost forgot, all 4 kids did manage to do the entire trek by themselves.  No one had to carry them, in fact the kids carried their bags all by themselves!

If 8 year old kids can do the trek without any problems, so can you!  Go for it, I can assure you, you will return completely rejuvenated!

PS: To view all pictures visit this link
Have some Fun!