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Kochare Camp

Date: 26.12.2002 to 1.1.2003 

Participants: Milind Gyani, Dharmesh Desai, Suvarna Jadhav, Yagyadeep Singh Nayyar(Jalandar, Punjab)and 13 others:Students of Nirmala Niketan College, and members of the College's nature club, "Nirmal Nisarg".

Activities: Trekking, rock climbing, rappelling, jummaring, judo, river crossing, Burma bridge crossing, rope knots and fort & beach visit.

Forts visited: Vijay Durg, Dev Gadh, Nivti Fort, Sindhu Durg, Rangna Fort (Prashiddha Gadh), Mahadev Gad.

Region: All these forts are lying near the sea infact most of them are Sea forts like Vijay Durg, Dev Gadh, Nivti, Sindhu Durg. They were basically build for the protection from any kind of enemy infiltration from the sea route. This area is typically known as Kokan.

Our Journey: We started from Dharmesh's place (Dadar) at about 11.00 pm (26.12.2002). The next morning after crossing Poladpur, there was dense fog for about half an hour or so and it was difficult to drive for our driver.

We reached Vijay Durg rest house in the morning (27.12.2002). Visited Vijay Durg fort, the fort is, luckily, in good condition. In the evening we reached Devgad fort. Devgad is a small fort compared to Vijay Durg, but has a very scenic location and houses a lighthouse. We were allowed to go on top of the lighthouse after buying tickets and were briefed about the working and importance of lighthouses. Thereafter we went on to see Kunneshwar Mahadev temple, en-route to Khochare, our camping site for the next 3-4 days. The main feature about this temple is its scenic location and the fact that it was build by a Muslim trader, who was saved by Kunneshwar Mahadev from a sea-storm. We reached our campsite (Village Khochare, Dist. Sindhu Durg) in the night, which was actually Suvarna's house ( Camp Koast, Jadhav Estate).

The next morning (28.12.2002) was a morning, which I may not forget easily, because, as soon as I got out of my tent to have morning tea, I saw Hornbills!!! I am fascinated about hornbills as it is the logo of BNHS & I did my first Himalayan trek with BNHS. In the pre-lunch session we visited the Khochare village and saw prawn farms, a school, established on 1.1.1857 and a banyan tree spread over about two & a half an acre of land. In the post-lunch session we did a short trek from Nivti beach to Khavna beach, and saw the sun set from Khavna beach. Thereafter, after dinner we introduced the participants to ascending techniques (jummaring).

On day 4 (29.12.2002) we took the participants to nearby rock field and introduced them to bouldering and rappelling. Post lunch we visited fort Nivti and the nearby lagoons.

On day 5 (30.12.2002) we trekked to Rangna Gad also known as Prasiddha-gad from Village Narul. The trek from Narul is about 1 to 1hrs. 15 minutes for a regular trekker. The trek is very scenic; the view from the fort is also excellent. This fort is in Kolhapur district. There is a temple and a small lake on the fort. Trekkers can stay in the temple; the water from the lake is drinkable. Thereafter we visited Amboli a hill station and Mahadev Gad, were we missed the sunset by a couple of minutes. We also visited Savantwadi.

On day 6 (31.12.2002) visited Sindhu Durg (Sea fort), the fort after which the district is named as Sindhu Durg. A fort in good condition, but it may not remain so if it continues to be neglected the way it is. There is a whole wadi (village) in the fort. It is the only fort, which has a temple of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj. There are 3/4 sweet water wells in the fort; the fort has a 'branched' coconut tree. The two most important aspects of the fort are that this fort is situated bout 2-3 kms in the sea and the boats take approx. 20 minutes to reach. The other being that this fort has the original foot and handprints of Shivaji Maharaj. We reached back to our campsite and there was a rope knots session followed by judo session wherein Suvarna threw Dharmesh all over the mat.

Thereafter, had our badakhana at about 11.p.m., welcomed the new year and started our journey back to Mumbai at 2.30 a.m. on 1.1.2003. The most wonderful aspect of this area is the natural beauty, for myself I was impressed with the variety of birds that I saw and the diversity of beaches. We reached Bombay at about 6.00 p.m. on 1.1.2003.

Written by: Milind Gyani

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