15 august again
15th august again……………… But this time its with fun and joy……
The excitement levels were high as most of us were meeting almost after a year. Last year it was a trilling experience, now how is this going to turn out, all of us were thinking.
We had decided not to go for a range (we had done this last year) instead climbing a single mountain. The venue was Sudhagad. Our journey started on 13th night from Kandivili. This time it was bye bye to the red dabbas as we had hired a LUXURY bus (unlike YHAI Kandivili who oppose luxury trips J). We were 33 and the bus was for 55, so we had lavishly spread over the coaches. But in spite of the comfort the tyre got punctured ruining my sleeping plans (such traumas are not new to me). It was midnight and we were in Panvel. The bus was parked near a worn out restaurant but still it managed to serve coffee and maska pav. After two hrs the bus was given the green signal.
Morning we reached Pali. Sun had disappeared; the clouds were running in and out bringing rains. I was enjoying the weather. Astha Vinayak — Astha (Eight) and Vinayak (Lord Ganesh) naturally-formed sculpted stone statues of lord Ganesh have been housed in old temples at the places where these statues were first found one of which is in Pali (38 kms from Khopoli). After Ganesh darshan and breakfast we headed for Sudhagad. Its approx. 12 km from Pali and the name of the village is Dhondse (plz excuse the naming conventions used). We hired a porter for carrying utensils etc. The trek began at about 10.30 am. There were some new faces in the group some of them had got theirs families along, there were kids ranging from 5 to 17 age group creating a playful atmosphere some of them were from my nature study camp (I call them my kids). On the way we came across couple of river rapids that were fun to cross while splashing water over each other.
Sudhagad is about 2030 ft. above the sea level with lush green forests around. The rains were playing hide and seek and the atmosphere throughout the trek was cool. The trek was simple but we were lazy enough to walk fast. As the time passed eatables started coming out from the sacks J out of which GUL PAPDI brought by Jayant Bhai was delicious. Singing and frolicking we reached at the gateway of Sudhagad at about 4.00 pm (generally it doesn’t take more than 3 hours). Sudhagad fort has a splendid huge doorway with exquisite carvings on it. After climbing a level up we came across a plateau that looked like a wide spread lawn with small lakes resembling a golf course. Annexed is a Bhorai Devi temple, which is a bit renovated, but it still has the 17th century carvings and sculptures which I was unable to interpret.
We lived in panch sachiv wada (a house having centrally located courtyard where officers use to lived). There were mice wandering around but I dint attend them (guess I am use to all these things). The one good thing that happened to me since I have started trekking is that I have started singing (still I continue to be an awful singer L) and that’s one of the reasons why I love to be a part of YHAI Kandivili. Any trek with this group has a sangeet mehfil at the end of the day in which we use utensils as our tabla and anything that creates sound becomes a musical instrument…it is so much fun. The tradition continued this year too and was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.
It rained the entire night but luckily it stopped in the morning. It was 15th august dawn. We dressed up for the flag hoisting ceremony (its like among your dirty cloths wear something which is least dirty) but ashish looked flashy wearing a Hawaiian shirt with orange pant (he is going to kill me for this). After the ceremony we went for a walk on sudhagad. Apart from the doorway there is nothing monumental left on the fort except some remains of stone walls (must be the living rooms in those days). The stone carving are worth seeing. The scenic panorama seen from the top is spectacular. Many steep peeks of shayadris could be seen; one of them was tak mak (I am not so good with names so cant remember the rest). Standing at the edge of the mountain one could see the fortified fencing around the mountain giving an idea how huge the fort must be. Its sad that the authorities don’t maintain such structure and this is not the only one there are so many of them.
After a delicious lunch especially the basundi thanks to harshada(I must be sounding like a hogger but cant help) we winded up and left back for mumbai. While getting down I must have slipped almost after every 5 mins(I have no idea why). My adidas shoes absolutely looked grip less and the sole became green (bcoz of the moss). The new faces in the group were staring at me and were wondering, ” is she the girl who goes for Himalayan trips” and some of them were laughing coz I slipped on flat surface too.
The trip ended with good memories and a hope to see all of them next year on 15th august 2005.