Ratangad To Harishchandragad Trek.
Participants: Deepak Deorukhkar & Kiran Sarode.
Duration 3 Days. Dated 14th Aug 2003 night to 17th evening Aug 2003.
Left Mumbai - CST by the Mahanagari Express at 0015 hrs. Reached Igatpuri
station at 3.15 am & walked to the ST stand. Had sleep amidst mosquitoes
& left for Shendi by the 5.00 am by Pune ST bus. Reached Shendi at around
6.30 - 7.00 am.
It was quite cold & had that long-awaited tea. After enquiring, we found
that the boat to Ratanwadi was under a major repair. The only way out
was to either walk the 18-km distance or take a jeep. Fortunately, we
met a small group of 7 trekkers wanting to go to the same place! Made
some basic purchase of provisions like vegetables, rice, pulses, etc.
Finally started with the jeep zooming & reached Ratanwadi within an
hour. Had breakfast & started for Ratangad at 10.30 am. Had to cross
the river 2-3 times. Plenty of water in this flowing river. Reached
the junction at higher up from where the route branches off one to Harishchandragad/Ghanchakkar,
second to Ghatghar, & third right upward to Ratangad. Reached Ratangad
by 1.00 pm. Cleaned the cave next to the Temple. Just 2 of us in this
fort. Lit the stove with some difficulty. The cave was filled with clouds.
Cooked Flower Cabbage & Rice & had good lunch though missing on the
salt which we simply forgot to carry! Took some rest. Meanwhile we heard
conversation of few people nearby the Temple, but never bothered to
see! The noise disappeared & again it was silent except for the water
falling from above the caves & the hussle of the wind blowing from time
to time. Finally, at around 5.00 pm, a group of 4 trekkers came in.
It was an end to our solitude. Best thing was that we got a share of
the salt, which they simply didn't forget to carry unlike us, &
enjoyed our supper (potatoes + rice) more than the lunch.
Got up early the next morning. Prepared tea & alongwith with some
light snacks, left the cave for
around 7.30 am.
Descended to the junction mentioned above continuing on the track taking
turn to the right. We had to locate the Katrabai Pass from where we
could reach the Kumshet Village. It was a difficult time getting the
reference of various hills since they had all disappeared amongst the
clouds. Numerous crossing trails needed to be ignored. Deepak had to
use his conscience to locate the proper path towards the pass. Had to
climb this Katrabai hill. It was almost the same effort as was for climbing
Ratangad from the junction. Reached the top at around 10.00 am . Good
view from there. Had our breakfast. Could see the Kumshet village at
the base of the Vakdi pinnacle on the other side of this Katrabai Hill.
Started our descend towards the Kumshet village. On reaching there,
had a small chat with the teacher in one tiny school of this village.
Then with the Vakdi pinnacle on our left, we left for Pachnai village.
Had to climb down the plateau & then cross the Mula river. The only
possible crossing point was to be near the village Payalichi wadi. With
the help of one of the kind villager, we crossed this river. Again climbed
up a small hill to reach village Pethyachi wadi. We had our lunch there.
It was 2.00 pm. Proceeded towards Pachnai. There we missed a shorter
route & instead proceeded all the way with Kaladgad on our adjacent
right & then Nakta on our right. The route then turned towards the left.
We reached Pachnai at around 5.00 pm. Met one of the groups whom we
had seen at Shendi. They were kind enough to share there tea with us.
Then after those refreshed moments, we left for Harishchandragad. We
were at the Harishchandra Temple before 7.00 pm. Searched for some space
to leave in. The 2 huts were also abandoned by the 2 villagers which
were their monsoon routine & they shifted along with there cattles in
the caves above. We went in the caves & requested one of them for little
space for 2 of us. With great comfort, they accommodated us & ensured
all catering services! We hurriedly had good bath in the adjacent waterfall
& massage too due to the force of falling water! Now, after that 11
hours of growling walk & climb, we were all set for a real treat with
first ordering for the traditional "poha" then strong ginger tea. We
took a small nap & again ordered for dinner. Had couple of glasses of
butter milk & went for a pleasant sleep. This cave was extremely cozy.
Got up next morning at 7.30 am. Had tea, breakfast, & packing a full
litre of butter milk along with us, off we left for Khireshwar at 8.30
am. Took a couple of snaps of the flowers & plateau on our way towards
the famous Tolar Khind. Just having left Khireshwar, we got a jeep which
reached us to the Khubi phata. Here immediately we got a ST bus for
Kalyan & enjoyed that last descend thru' Malshej ghat.
Quite a memorable trek!!
Written By: Kiran Sarode