13th Feb 2005
I checked with my friends on their availability to join in and finally Poonam and myself froze on to going for the trek.
We started our journey from CST station, Mumbai at 11.00 pm on 12th feb’05. Our initial destination was Kasara. From Kasara we had to reach Bari village which was the base via Igatpuri. We took the kasara local at 11.20 pm from CST station. We were 17 all together. There was a initial breaking the ice session which did not take much time and everyone got pally soon.
We reached Kasara at around 2.30 am . We had to reach Iagtpuri from here. There was no source of transportation until morning. We decided to walk up to Kasara highway and get us a lift to Igatpuri. Everyone around was sleeping by now and we the adventerours were on the move. We started walking towards the kasara highway. It was pitch dark by now. We were blessed with a rich blanket of stars. Thousands of stars scattered in the vast expanse of the sky. All special in their own way. We started moving in the pitch darkness on the winding roads with our torches as the only source of light. After more than 5 minutes we didn’t even need the torch lights. We reached Kasara highway in the next 20 mins. Some members in our group tried their best in getting us a lift. It was difficult that someone would offer lift to all 17 of us at a time. There were many vehicles going on the either side. When there wasn’t any vehicle, the place would get pitch dark and we couldn’t even see who’s standing next to us. Just you and yourself with the nature. That’s when I experienced total tranquility in the midst of so many people which is impossible to find in city life. Though this experience is momentary, but to last. The excitement was building now, but still we did not have any luck with the lift. After almost an hour a truck driver got convinced into offering us a lift to Igatpuri. We 17 of them somehow got into the truck. Most of us in the cabin next to the driver and others in the carriage behind. I opted a royal seat and sat on the engine. Well it was better then getting squeezed. We reached Igatpuri highway and then walked down to the bus depot. I always wanted to see Igatpuri , but we reached before dawn ,so I couldn’t much get the feel of the place. We reached Igatpuri ST depot and immediately got a bus to bari. village. We reached Bari at 5.30 in the morning. Our bus light was the only light in that area, as the bus left we were orphaned with even that. The cold started taking its grip on us. We sat at a nearby bus stop waiting for the dawn. We were to start the trek at 7.00 am .In this break we refreshed ourself. A localite runs a small shop here and you can get tea, coffee and some breakfast items. The localite lit fire for us to keep us warm. Then came the awaited dawn. The village which was engulfed in darkness set into a beautiful frame now. Everyone was charged up now and set for the trek. We had another formal introduction then and a session of do’s and dont’s. We started our trek from the base village Bari. The village was one of its kind. It was small, but neat and systematic. The houses were small but well maintained. There were meadows all over ranging from shades of tender green to golden. We passed through the narrow winding roads into the fields and reached the starting point of our trek As we moved much higher the plantation appeared excotic. The village huts stacked in on side of the frame. The sun was already up now showering it tender light on everyone making everything look so gentle.
We would be confronted by three ladders on the way was told by our leader. The place was risky and we asked asked to observe discipline. More than the fear , there was excitement. I got a second thought whether” Will I be able to make it?” But I already knew the answer “ I will”.
The trek is of 3 hours oneway. After trekking for more than 45 minutes we reached the first ladder. Now the climb was getting steeper. With little care we reached the second ladder, ofcourse enjoying the panorama and lots of lovely wild flowers on the way. One shouldn’t miss the wild flowers as they are rare ones .The second ladder covers a huge patch of rocks .By 10 am we were past the 2 nd ladder and moving up further. After sometime we reached a well, a fresh water well, having water throughout the year. Its a shallow well and the water was clear enough. I was skeptical to drink this water( the same city people’s attitude). We were exhausted on our quota. I eventually drank this water as beggars are not choosers. The water was indeed fresh and refreshing. We filled in some water for our further use(drinking only???).
We headed towards our ultimate destination now which was almost 20 minutes from the well. Our ultimate destination was above a straight huge rock. This was accessible by ladder. This was the 3 rd ladder. After reaching on our summit I gave a sigh of relief and so must have everyone else. The rock top was flat and big enough to atleast accomadate around 100 people at a time. There’s a beautiful temple here . This temple is of Kalsubai a local deity. The temple is small but really stands out against the blue skyline .The temple dates back in history. The view from the summit was awesome. We could see Bhandardhara lake. Hills like Alang , Malang & Kulang which are the most difficult to trek. Mahuli peak on one side. It was a clear day and we could see miles around. Through out there were hills and flat barren flats spotted with water bodies. There was very meager sign of habitation.
We reached the base camp at 5 pm and freshned up at a well. We had already missed a bus and the 6 pm bus was our last option to move out of Bari. The 6 pm bus came but left without us as it was full. By this time tension started mounting in some of our group members if we would be stranded for the night. To my surprise everyone was eager to be in their office the next day. Next day was valentines day and possibly no one wanted to held for no obvious reasons….well these are my guesses. After almost trying for an hour some group members could convince a tempo guy in to leaving us till Kasara. We had only had one and a half hours in hand and the journey f rom Bari to kasar takes minimum 2 hours. Moreover there are ghats on the way. Our train to Mumbai was scheduled at 8.40 pm. The tempo guy promised into taking us to kasara by 8.30 pm. That’s when the real last moment adventure began. We 17 of them somehow jammed into the small tempo. We had a out of pocket experience traveling in this tempo. The tempo guy rushed us cutting across other vehicles and crossing speed limits on ghats and there we were at Kasara station at 8.30 pm. Thanks to the Tempo guy, we weren’t aware when the next local was scheduled. Evereyone was down on stamina by now , but thrilled by the tempo drive. The members started departing at various stations depending on their convenience with a deal to keep in touch.
Though, the after trek muscle pains remain for a day or two, but the every moment of this trek is a good memory now imbibed in to this mind for the rest of the life. After all what’s life without an adventure?
The Highest Place in Western Ghats(sahyadri) & in Maharashtra.
Ajoba, Ratangadh, Katrabai Wall, Naneghat, Jivdhan, Kirda Alang, Mandan, Kulang, Aundha patta, Bittangadh etc. On the back side of Kalsubai one can see a panoramic view of Bhandardhara( Wilson Dam).