14-15 May 2005
15th May 2005 Successfully climbed Siddhaadh Lingi.
Route Taken: Col Between Lingi & Siddhagadh
Height: 185 ft.
Lead Climber: Kaivalya V.
Summiteers: Rajan R, Kiran S., Hemant M, Rishi
After our attempt to Kakadmaal Lingi in March 05, we were supposed to attempt Siddhgadh Lingi too. But unfortunately we could not reach Siddhagadh due to the fact that we had to reach back to Mumbai Home for next day office.
This time we decided to attempt the pinnacle only. Our travel plan went very well to finish the climb & Return back home in 1 & half day beating the summer heat by trekking after the sunset to & from the Siddhagadh. We could able to trace the Panther's Pug mark on the way, Barking Dear , Shekhroo(Big Sqireel).The Climb
the col descend towards Kakadmall side. Tree can be used for Anchoring.
Verticl climb of 25 Ft then walk over the scree towards the Bolders
area where rope can be fixed to the tree for anchoring. 2nd Pitch: Vertical climb of 15 ft
& then walk over the scree for another 35 ft. Rope can be fixed to
the tree for anchoring towards left side.
11th Aug 2002
It's a real man soon (monsoon) these days in Mumbai & All over Maharashrta. The day Chief Minister declared draught area in Maharashtra due to no rain; the next day rain started continuously till today. Add on to this the Maharashtra Govt. asked for a grant of Rs. 1000/- Carore for the draught relief to the Centre. Now most of the Mumbaities must be thinking that the amount proposed to get for the relief may be utilised for the flood relief, such a heavy rainfall!!!
If you forget all these botheration & decide to enjoy the day their is no way better that to go for a trek in the Sahyadri range of mountains. Offcourse their should be some exception like many people wants to get relaxed in the home watching TV & sipping Tea but in the polluted mumbai's air, some may want to see movies along with the friends once again in the polluted air, etc etc. So as per me or Like minded people monsoon trek will be ideal way out to spend your weekend which will give you something better than described before. You will get atleast next 2-3 days freshness, sense of achievement, you will know your limits & level of cooperation. For nature lovers; they will hear & see various colourful birds which makes the nature more beautiful. For photography; sky is the limit if one can see in the monsoon.
Siddhagad is a fort in the Murbad/Kalyan region. You need to reach Narivli either by local State transport bus which starts from Murbad or by any other vehicle. It's better to reach early around 7-8am & start the trek. It's a well known square massif, standing very prominently away from the main range. Facing towards Siddhagadh on the left one can see Gorakshgadh & Maschindragadh. One can reach the fort from Kotwal Smarak. Two freedom fighters (Bhai Kotwal & Hiraji Patil) was shot dead at this place by Brtishers on 2nd Jan 1943. In my mind I thought this trek will be a kind of tribute to those freedom fighter on the nearest eve of the 55th Independence day (15th Aug 2002).
The trek was organised by Sahyagiri, we were 16 in number. Due to heavy rainfall though we could not able to reach the balekilla but we enjoyed the rain very well & had lunch at Narmata Temple which is at the base of the fort. The temple is ancient & in the verge of getting no trace of all well carved idols & all. We did little survey around the temple. We had reestablished a pillar stone which was rolled down on the main route from the temple. After lunch & little rest in the Temple premises we started our returned trek journey from another safer route than the one which we took while ascending. On the way while crossing the ghat little we had been to a place little above the pass where a broken canon exist & which was supposed to be a point from where the canon attack has to happened. On the other side of the point one can find the deccan plateau mountain range & down the konkan area towards Murbad. The sudden clearance of the fog gave us a clear view of the mountain range on the left side which was supposed to be Goraksh/Maschindra range. While returning from the route towards Kotwal Smarak needs to find out which is along the running stream
While returning I found one of the local guide putting the rappers of the toffee in his pocket which I suppose a very nice part of this trek. I hope if such kind of awareness happens everywhere then definitely such places will remain intact & clean.
16-18th Aug 2002
This was a pre-expedition Trek. The aim was to get a hake of long walk as a kind of touughning trek. Myself & Laxman our expedition leader was the one who were finally participated in this trek out of three.
We departed from Dadar by local train to kalyan station & then to Murbad by state transport bus (we call it as lal dubba). We took rest at the bus stand till next day early morning departure to the final base station village Narivali. We started at 8:00am from the Narivali village to Siddhagadh. On the way we queried all our trek route to the villagers who mate us on the way. Fortunately all our queries satisfied upto the mark. Only changes we made is instead of reaching to Sakhar Machi we took a route which leads to Siddhagadh main gate. Then took little time to visit the Narmata Temple & had our breakfast to recharge for the main trek.
Just after leaving the Siddhgadh main gate (out of two routes one goes to The village & other towards Bhimashankar), we found a small plateau which was as per the villagers supposed to be the stable. A small carved Temple shape stone one can find. One can get a closer look of Siddhagadh Lingi from here. Little ahead on the way we found a small door shape cave on the wall of the siddhagad. We were supposed to reach a ghat from where we need to reach the route which came from the Ahupe Ghat. On the way we had an excellent view of the Nature God which was playing the hide & seek game using the fog. Once you can see the complete white out & suddenly a washout made us jubilant by the view of greenery claded mountain which looks like a fresh clean cloth. One can feel the clean atmosphere. I told Laxman these views can be drunk by eyes only, Camera is not sufficient. I kept my Camera aside. That's it.
On the way we found a stoned route marks & both the side two man-made small lake with a watch tower made by the forest department(Bhimashankar Sanctuary). This was a good site, initially we couldn't able to see the watch tower which was 20 ft away from us due to fog. I thought this was a better place to have lunch sitting on the watch tower. But latter we changed our mind to look for another place to sit. Little ahead we found a Four wheeler mark on the grass. Then finally we reached the route which came from Ahupe Ghat & goes towards Bhimnashankar. Here we decided to refuel our energy by having Lunch. We sat on the road since their was no sign of rain. After 5 min. we get to know that our decision was wrong. Suddenly the rain started like pouring. Still we continued our lunch on the road with umbrella as a protection. But their was no way to get the protection from the rain by these artificial protection. Within 2 min. I got wet due to the rain. Suddenly one village lady popped up on the road like an horror movie, at the first glance when I looked out my umbrella it was shocking since after a long stretch she was the first person we saw. As per the mountain manners we greeted her & asked to share our food. But she refused & submerged in the fog once again like the horror movie. Then after we started to reach a village Kondwal from where a tar road starts. On the way we got to see a beautiful Water fall. Their were few Nature lovers came to see this beauty like us but by the luxurious car.
We carried our journey further. As soon we enter the road which join the Bimashankar road Laxman told me to watch carefully for the "Shekroo" ( A Wild squirrel which can be seen only in the jungle out of Asian forest). This squirrel is not like normal squirrel with strips(black & gray) but the (orange & white) little longer than the normal squirrel with hefty tail full of hairs. As soon he told me & what a great experience to get the glance of pair of these squirrel. Initially we were confused like what to do! First we observed them & latter I took my camera to cache them. They were male & female roaming around their newly build nest which is quite sufficient to accommodate three. We spend some time to observe & then move out to Bhimashankar via the pass which meets at the road which is coming from Talegaon.
We reached at 4:30pm at Bhimashankar with a satisfactory feeling & tiring too. After Tea we searched for a shed to spend a night. Latter Next day visited Bhimashankar Temple which is one of the Jyotirlinga out of 12 in India. Latter after breakfast we started our return journey to Khandas via Shidi route. We crossed 3 ladders & little climbing down from a 20ft rock. Generally trekkers use this route to reach Bhimashankar & descend via Ganpati Ghat route. Since descending via shidi(ladder) is a risky business but we did so as an expedition practice.
On the way between Bhimashankar & the ladder which
leads to Khandas we found 4-5 tea stall (we call it as tappery) serving
the by passer. It's business opportunity for all these villagers but
unaware of how they are making the surrounding place dirty by throwing
all the plastic rappers on the mountain. We did our best effort to
convince one of the fellow to clean the place. Then from Khandas via
Karjat we reached Mumbai. On the way we were sharing our experience.
Both of us agreed that missing a route didn't happen which would have
given us more pleasure. But we were very much happy to accomplished our
aim as this was the pre expedition toughening trek.
This trek was organized by The Nature Lovers. I was the Leader of this trek. Which means I am suppose to take moral responsibility of this trek whaterver happening to it. I thought as usual this will be loaded with no. of people. But this was one of the trek full with unsurety & uncertainity. Nobody except my two friendes turned up. We were waiting for a group till the time last 12:45am train leaving CST. Even we expected people at Dadar St. & the last hope was at Karjat St. Then for me it was like normal experience since in my treks generally participant will be 4-5. So I have decided to go my way to complete this trek. Add on to this actually I was suppose to visit a girl's place (marraige proposal). So since it was planned that I was the Leader of this trek, I did disappointed my parents & attended the same. As well at Karjat station first time in my trekking life since from 1990, I never seen a TC, but as I told about uncertainity this is one of them. At Karjat Bus Depo their were another uncertainity waiting for us & is like this, the local home where we were suppose to take 2 hr. rest till the ST bus arrival was having TV set. A nice English movie was on & it was another entertainement to us. Our two friends Canute & Shailesh was very much happy with the comfort since it was unexpected in such a trekking programe. Though it was first time for Shailesh to attend this trek with me he was very much excited about the whole seen. For us it was like discovery of unexpected uncertainity. So for us "discovery" was the buzzword for the whole trek. Another important thing happened to us is that while finding the root of this fort we reached a place above the left of Padar fort which is another exciting site for photograpy. One can see the Lingi peak top from this place. We saw a water cistern from top at base of lingi pinacle. Since it was 1:30pm we spent our time in enjoying the trek rather than going back via another actual root to the Padar fort. While climbing down the mountain we saw one cave which is at base of the lingi where we were suppose to go. We had our food in lovely man made shade facing to the lingi pinacle & on the back side the sahayadri range. It was a nice experience; having our brunch to reenergies with some cold breeze of padar. It was an indication of the summer to us for our future plannings of trek in this season. One of the member Mr. Canute was very much admiring the summer since got the heat uncomfortness more. Though it is always a good idea to start early morning for trekking if you really want to enjoy. Since we may get a good look on the birds as well the change of temp won't be a much botheration in the morning hr. One can make a note of this in their trek planning. Apart from this we had a very good photograhy session directed by our new freind Shailesh.
From Mumbai take last train to Karjat (12:45am)at Karjat Bus Depot catch a ST bus to Khandas early morning at 7:15am. One can start from Khandas via Ganapati Ghat to the top. It has one big caves & water cisterns. While leaving Ganesh Temple one can reach platue of Bhimashankar & then a root from well on right side takes you on the top. A straight root goes to Bhimashankar. This is also called as Kalavantanicha Mahal. It is spread over east-west. The east side connected to the Bhimashankar massif.
The quest for adventure never dies and one wants to experience more and more of it. The Siddhagad-Bhimashankar trek was one such event. Filled with challenges and excitement as mentioned by our trek leaders. So all set for it, we a team of 23 Bhramanti’s, started from Kalyan on 23 rd July at 12.30 a.m. Took a ST bus till Murbad. The ST bus took us to murbad in 45 minutes. We had to veil away our time till 5.30 am in the morning, that’s when the first bus to Narivli-base village to Sidhagad was. A fellow trekker, Milind who works with MIDC made arrangement for overnight stay at his company guest house. We took the 6.00 am bus to Narivli. The entire way was scenic and I just couldn’t take my eyes off it. We reached Narivli in next 30 minutes and halted at a local school. We could see Sidhagad standing as a gigantic wall in front of us. Standing next were Gorakhgad and Machindragad dwarfed by Sidhagad. We had our breakfast here .At around 8.30 am we started our trek. All geared up, enthusiastic, not aware what level of hurdles and challenges lie ahead, though our leaders very well prepared us in advance for the same. We reached Sidhagadwadi and the actual trek started from here. Siddhagad is huge and has got many extensions protruding out in the form of plateaus at different levels and angles. The top of Sidhhagad is also a big plateau. We were to cover Sidhhagad and Bhimshankar in our two-day trek. Siddhagad and bhimashankar are placed distant and on a clear day one could get a good view of sidhagad from bhimashankar and vice versa. We were to take a circular path starting from Mumbai to Murbad - Narivli - siddhagad - bhimashankar- Karjat and back to Mumbai.
Our schedule for the first day was to cover Siddhagad and reach Bhimashankar base village. The climb to sidhagad appeared easy first; the surroundings were too scenic. Everywhere there were shades of green, water gushing through brooks through the fields and on the ways, streams swollen and flowing in full force, clouds stooped low, now there and now gone. There were many waterfalls on the way. The rain came as a boon and things appeared all the more pleasant. Soon the path became rocky, and dense. We were supposed to keep moving without taking breaks as we had a long way to cover in limited time. We had to climb sidhagad and move across the range to Bhimashankar. We reached the first plateau in almost 1 and half hrs. Here we rested for a while. This plateau gave a beautiful view of the land below, far and far we could see flat land and sun had highlighted them, we were high up and this place was a little dark because of the passing clouds. We kept moving and there was plethora of waterfalls on the way. It was quiet a sight. The hill seemed to be combed by waterfalls.
As we kept moving the ways got much stepper and rocky. Now
we had to take every step with effort. The way got narrower here and
the vegetation denser. The ways were zigzag and at times seemed to be
lost. The sound of the flowing waterfalls was soothing the flow of
water was tremendous. After quiet and effort we were confronted with a
big waterfall that was too compelling and we couldn’t resist our self
in enjoying it. This was the best part of the trek. We were very near
to the plateau now and from here we were to start moving towards
Bhimashankar which was a very long walk .We took another break on the
plateau and started our walk towards Bhimashankar. We were to cover a
big plateau. At one point of time we were lost because of the clouds,
everything around seemed duplicated. After much efforts of nitin,
Krishna and milind we could come out of the puzzle. We were asked to
move as fast as possible as we were a little behind schedule. It was
almost 4 pm by now and our destination was almost 2-3 hours walk. We
kept moving without breaks. Pravin became our panditji and kept
offering us prasad of glucon-c from time to time.Krishna served as our
motivator. We kept walking under the open sky. The road was fairly
good, which could also serve for vehicles. There was no sign of
inhabitation in the 3 hours stretch we walked from Sidhagad plateau.
Just tress and hills, offering amazing mountainscapes. The road was
fairly straight, so we could cover it faster. After much of a walk we
came across a villager who said the nearest village is around 15
minutes from here. We were all the more motivated assuming it to be our
destination, but our leader mentioned that’s not our destination for
the day. But we were still happy to confront some form of life like us.
We were running out on time and soon it would be dark. The villagers 15
minutes were 30 minutes for us. We reached a beautiful, sleepy village.
Seemed like the place has frozen. There wasn’t much activity around and
we could hardly spot any villager. This was Kondhval village. We went
and sat at the local school. It was undecided whether we were to
stay there overnight or move further. Everyone was tired after a long
day, we walked almost 10-11 hours. Started from Narivli at 8.30 am in
the morning and now it was 6.45 pm . Our leaders went and spoke to the
villagers and made arrangements for our overnight stay at the local
school. The temperature had dropped down now and the rain was on
through out the day. We settled in this place and our next task was to
cook dinner. Subendu took the charge of cooking our meal. Everyone
contributed in a small way towards the initial preparations. Our
dinner- Khichdi turned out too good, and we were given a bonus of
achar, salad and papad. Following dinner we all sang a birthday song
for Reshma and enjoyed the cake. And in no time everyone was in bed. We
had to resume our trek the next day at 7.30 am .
After around 2 and a half hours walk we reached bhimashankar. Bhimashankar, which is declared as a sanctuary, is a dense forest, but is also accessible through proper tar roads. Bhimashankar has a carved temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the 12 Jyotirlingas of the country. A fair is held here annually during the festival of Mahashivratri. The entire way to bhimashankar was foggy. There were lots of tourist vehicles here. The attractions of this sanctuary are Shekhru- big Squirrel, Barking deer, the smallest and the biggest breed of deer in the country, porcupine and some varieties of butterflies. I was lucky to spot only some butterflies, but no one was able to spot shekhru, who we all wanted to see. Everyone was freezing now, we went and had breakfast of kandapoha, vadapav- oh! it was heaven. Now we all got more energized for our further challenges. After taking darshan at Bhimashankar temple, we started descend.
We had two alternates to reach Khandas village, either by Ganpati ghat, which would take us 3 and half hours, or Shichichi vat, which would take 2 and half hours. Taking in to account the rains and the risk factor, our leader suggested we go by ganpati ghat, which was a less risky as compared to Shidichi vaat. At one spot the road went narrower parallel to the valley and there was no support on one side, just a deep valley filled with clouds .It looked as if the earth and sky has gelled into each other, only a white curtain appeared in front of us. We could hardly see few meters from us. The scene was breath taking. With careful steps we moved ahead, now across highs and low’s and across flat lands dense and damp. There were very huge rocks along the way. The tress were so big and dense that they formed another cover below the sky and rain could hardly reach us and so could light. I remembered some of the adventure jungle scenes from Hollywood movies. Never before experienced such a place. It was all set so differently, but still so good. We kept moving without breaks; kept going on and on, after almost an hour we reached a small flat land from where we could take the Shidichi vaat or ganpati ghat. We went through ganpati ghat.This place was again so beautiful, most of the walk was across flat lands and the forest land was covered with brooks and we walked wading thru ankle length waters. There were big old creepers meshed up at places and otherwise huge trees. The cover of tress gave up at one point and we could see the open sky and the hills we crossed. There were numerous waterfalls. Milind showed me Shidichi vaat with the help of his binoculars. It was of course a risk to take that way at this time of the year. The Shidi (ladder) stood at 90 degrees and the entire way down looked almost perpendicular to the base. On the other side we could see padar gad standing bold. We were unfortunate , not to see naagphani as the hills were covered with clouds most of the time. We almost moved parallel to bhimashankar and across padargad. We could hear a dog’s bark , but as there was no sign of inhabitation near and far, Mukhtesh and me concluded that we heard a barking deer. After more than 3 hours, we reached the base. The view of hills from the base was very picturesque. Padargad overlooking Bhimashankar and the paddy fields in foreground. From here we had to reach Khandas to further get to Karjat. By this time one can imagine what must be our condition, we walked for almost 10 hours on Saturday and today we were walking from 9 am to 7 pm , with little breaks. But of course we had to reach back Mumbai on time preferably before midnight . We reached the first nearby village and took a 10-seater rickshaw to Karjat, which took us another 1 hour. Our train to Mumbai was at 9.38 pm . Finally everyone assembled in the train, no one showing traces of the pain and difficulty undergone during the 2 days, but perked up to sing and reach back home merrily. The entire way back in the train was exciting and everyone was screaming and singing at the top of their voice, as if the trek has just begun. Everyone enjoyed their best the Hawa–hawa ai hawa song. I finally reached home at 12.30 am and sooner or later did my fellow trekkers.
This trek taught me some great things, that “of course there are no shortcuts to beautiful places”, “that everyone was going through equal amount of pain, so stop cribbing to yourself”. All that starts well ends well. A great experience and a test of endurance for everyone of us, no doubt.