Friday, February 15, 2013

Travelogue 8 - Trek Naneghat-Jivdhan Fort- February 2-3, 2013

Even before coming to Mumbai I had googled trekking destinations in the vicinity. It was after a year being here and almost three years of last trekking experience; I was about to trek Naneghat and Jivdhan. We started early Saturday morning, reaching Kalyan by local train. From Kalyan, we took the state transport bus heading to Junnar. Bus would drop us at base of Naneghat. We had planned first to trek Naneghat (750 m), a mountain pass in the Western Ghats (near village Vaishakare, Malshej Ghat, Junnar in Pune), by the evening and next day do Jivdhan (1145 meters). Almost half an hour of journey our bus broke down. All my plans seem to be in jeopardy; luckily we managed to get in other bus. Anyways, we reached the post around 2 o’clock, and realised we had forgotten to bring torch and adequate water.
Hill walking is like a meditation cutting yourself off from the city life and immersing in lap of nature. One can contemplate bits and pieces of life, walking up and down the mischievous terrain which is quite similar to that of life. Sometimes, you are following the right trail and one wrong turn disappoints you. At some places, the pinnacle seems just above you, however, after climbing one understands that it was just a mirage, curves of hills playing tricks with you. What you see may not be the best hill offer, but best of your ability at specific moment. As I said hill walking is for me is time for introspection, deliberation and contemplation.
In beginning, I was exhilarated and confident, however, within 20-30 minutes I was breathing heavily, realising no fitness regime and bad life style with age was coming back to me. Even on such an early stage of trek I was dragging myself and promising myself to build up endurance, once back. Due to less rain in Maharashtra this year, the natural habitat was dry and hot with sun on top. Unable to enjoy beautiful views, I was gasping for air. Taking breaks every few minutes with heavy chest and cursing myself, this was proving to be one of the most difficult treks ever, even though I had been to tougher destinations.
In the middle of no-where, over our heads were high voltage power-lines coming from one side of horizon and disappearing into the other side climbing the hill. In a few minutes, we could hear a buzzing sound; first I thought it was chirping of birds, however soon I realized that it was rather sound coming from these wires. I was wondering the extent of exploitation by man to hedge a comfortable life and this irritating constant buzzing sound possibly disturbs birds and animals. In cities, I had not heard the sound of these wires may be due to noise of population and other noise pollution. We were walking in middle of wires running parallel on each side, the noise became a nuisance. Sorry, to write a too much on it, I hated the meddling with nature.
We had finished two water bottles in an hour and half. There was no sign of any other trekker, only faded trails, still air and amazing sight which I was hardly noticing given tiredness. I would have given it up, if we were a larger group or i was alone. Two hours must have passed when we heard human chatter, hopefully not far ahead of us. My friend climb up, it was great relief that they had given us some water and informed a water source was not far. We hurriedly reached there, drank and splashed water on ourselves and started again for top. By the way, we had a taken a longer way doing a round of dried waterfall.
Once I reached Naneghat, it was spectacular panoramic view, I felt relaxed disregarding the gruelling journey. Historically, Naneghat was a used a tollbooth for using the pass between Junnar and Kalyan, and inscription in the cave at top indicates the work of Satavahana rulers and their a powerful woman ruler Naganika mentioning names of gods Yama,  Indra, Chandra and Surya and cute beautiful temple of lord Ganesha in cave.
Strolling through the Naneghat pass and then climbing hills on the side, standing on the cliff and enjoying the tranquil nature and stimulating views, it was dark before I released. I was completely lost in the place. Around 8, we found a house of Santosh Shinde, rather he found us, as we standing in dark guessing what to do. Post dinner at his place and offer to sleep at night, we headed for a late night walk. I ate for first time – home cooked bhakri, nachni with peethla and pejholi.
What followed would hard to forget for long time now. After across the cave, and four man made big water hole, we sat on edge for few hours on a joint. While walking back after few seconds I released something happen. My right leg, slipped in the last water hole, which was way of the symmetrical line of other holes. My foot hit the water, I could remember hearing the sound of splash. My left hip had hit the floor, fortunately left hand got hold of a iron railing outside. Intuitively, I flung myself out of the hole. Within, seconds it all had happend. When I came out I released, that i had fallen and was out too. Friend walking behind me, released it too after I was out. Hip, knee arm and ankle were paining terrible, however we laughing loudly on the way this occurred and how i was came out.
After this unasked for risky adventure, i decide to stay at Santosh’s place for night and see in morning if I can go further. Day two, I woke up early. Sat on hill top and stretched for some time, it was so tranquil I was wishing to live there forever. The breeze was soft, casual and calm. Eyes were absorbing stimulating nature in flawless morning the sun light. I hovered there for hour or so.
Leisurely, walked to Satosh’s home for Marathi breakfast. Around the same time, three guys came in asking for tea. They had climbed after sun, were not sure to go back or do Jhivdhan too. With in no time and short conversation, we all decided to do it together.
Around 9:30, we started for Jivdhan, first headed for other direction to have a look at the small lake near the lodging and then carried on with trek. We had to aim for Khada Parsi (aka Wanar Lingi) (a 130 m high pinnacle) which would help us reach Jivdhan. After some time, we were in small patch for dense jungle. Finally, after losing our way again, struggling, getting help from people at top, we were able to reach to top. On all the sides, we could see ghats and peaks. Btw, here yet again i had small fall between rocks, guiding the way. The place was appealing and .
Once upon a time, there was Shivaji maharaj fort on Jivdhan (3754 ft above sea level); one can only imagine the strength, strategy and valour of Shivaji and his army to make provisions at difficult places. I had read that one can have full panoramic view of peaks - Harishchandragad, Chavaand, Ratangad, Naneghat, Manikdoh Dam and the entire Junnar plateau. However, I was enjoying the site, not knowing one peak from another. We cooked soups at the top and ate Bhakri-thecha packed by Santosh.
After wee hours at top, we started back, on the way back from sides towards Ghatgare village; my shoe cracked negotiating the awfully rough rock patch. We had to slip and crawl our way down. After shoe giving way, I had to carefully manage the steps, lest I slip and fall. Almost around 4 we reached the village, filled water bottled and ran to catch the jeep for Junnar, base town for Shivneri(birth place of one of the greatest king Shivaji), for there we reached some fata (crossing). Rest was easy, though one of us got separated, as in he was quick enough to get in right bus, while we were busy buying fruits.
Travelogue 8 - Trek Naneghat-Jivdhan Fort- February 2-3, 2013

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Ravindra Vikram Singh रवींद्र विक्रम सिंह ரவீந்திர விக்ரம் சிங் રવીન્દ્ર વિક્રમ સિંહ రవీంద్ర విక్రమ్ సింగ్ রবীন্দ্র বিক্রম সিং ರವೀಂದ್ರ ವಿಕ್ರಮ್ ಸಿಂಗ್