Dhak Bahiri – An Unsuccessful Attempt, Successful Hike

I had been on a hike to Dhak – Bahiri Caves in the Sahyadris. Though we planned it out as a short night trek it ended up being one hell of a long adventurous hike.

Amit, Mohit, Vikram, Varun and Me started off from Lonavala around 2:00 am at night. We lost our way initially in the city but the choukidars (watchmen) got us back on track. We had to reach Tungarli Dam and follow the trail half-way (approx 6kms) towards Rajmachi. Then take a right and hike towards Mansarjuma range. It took us 3.5 hours to walk in the moonlight with a couple of breaks in between to reach a place which looked like a village. It was breezy and so we though of sleeping for a couple of hours and hike the rest in daylight. We accidentally discovered a Hanuman temple while it was still dark and slept in it.

Lagoona Board near Tungarli Dam View of the valley @ NiGht tHe GaNG - ME Divine Intervention DSC00274 Hanuman Mandir

We got up by around 7:30am by noises around and so tried to figure out our location. We were at a village and it was good to know that we were still on the right trail. We also met another group which were asleep in a school nearby. They pointed us in the direction of Dhak vaguely and we took off so we could reach early. We were still 2.5 hours away from our base, Kondeshwar Temple.

DSC00277 Village and Rajmachi twin forts (Srivardhan and Manoranjan) in the backdrop Silver lining... DSC00282 DSC00283

What followed next was following a trail in the wrong direction for another 1.5 hours through the jungle. At a point we were totally confused and couldn’t find a distinct trail. It was then that I indulged in photographing wild flowers.

Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri

Finally, we decided to get back to the village and ask the villagers. We had already lost 2 hours, had 2 bread packs and just half a bottle of water. Back in the village, we understood where we missed the trail from the villagers and refilled our bottles. We thought of having breakfast and then continuing the hike. We had our bread with a generous serving of butter and moved ahead.

Solar panels Breakfast time

This time we were on the right trail. We could see the village, the dam, Rajmachi twin forts (Shrivardhan and Manoranjan) and a distinct trail most of the time. It was 11 by now and we were hiking in scorching heat. We followed the trail through the forest and finally got a glimpse of Dhak. There it was standing tall and a delight to our eyes after so long. Finally, we could see our destination and thus pull ourselves through rest of the hike.


Dam and Rajmachi twin forts (Shivardhan and Manoranjan) View of Dhak Bahiri Manzarjumba range View of Dhak Bahiri Rajmachi twin forts (Shivardhan and Manoranjan)

Our next stop was the Kondeshwar Temple. We took rest in the temple for some time and started off for the final stretch. We had grossly miscalculated the time needed to get here. Initially, we were thinking of reaching Kondeshwar by 6am and now it was 12:45pm. The last ST bus service from Jambivali (nearest village) to Kamshet was at 6:00pm. So, we had to make sure that we reached the village by that time.

Kondeshwar Temple and water cistern Kondeshwar Temple Kondeshwar Temple Kondeshwar Temple and Dhak in the background Inside Kondeshwar Temple Inside Kondeshwar Temple Inside Kondeshwar Temple

Most of the last stretch was through the jungle. Feels good to have vegetation to protect you from the sun.

View of Dhak Bahiri Jet Airways :) View of Dhak Bahiri Wild flowers of Sahyadri Wild flowers of Sahyadri View of Dhak Bahiri from the jungle

Finally, we reached the point from where there is a steep descent to approach the Bahiri caves. After a 30 feet descent on the right you see a big cave which can accommodate atleast 30 people. From there crossing the rocks and climbing up leads you towards the Bahiri caves.

Steep descent to Bahiri Cave Steep descent to Bahiri Cave Steep descent to Bahiri Cave Steep descent to Bahiri Cave Path to Bahiri Cave Path to Bahiri Cave Path to Bahiri Cave 1 Thumps Up :) 2 Thumps Up :)

The path ahead looked dangerous. There was a clean fall of 80 feet of the left and the inclination was around 70 – 80 degrees throughout. The footing of the rocks was a few inches at most places. Me and Amit ventured ahead, others rested in the cave. Actually, they kept a close eye on our movement and guided us along the path when needed. It was 2:30 pm and the basalt rock was hot. No way could we support ourselves on the rock face. Our fingers had a burning sensation each time we took support on the rock. The climb was getting riskier. With no solid footing along the path stopping was not an option. We somehow got ourselves to safer location where we could stand on our feet without taking support from the rock. Next up was a vertical climb and then a rope climb to top it all. Because of the lack of water intake we were more susceptible to cramps. It was then that we decided that we better stop. Lets make another attempt, next time in the morning. Finally, it was a sane decision and we carefully got ourselves back to the cave where others were waiting.

Rock face near Bahiri Caves Path to Bahiri Cave Jay Bhavani

Thats it! We headed back to the village and had some refreshments before hopping onto the ST bus to Kamshet. Journey back home was long (Kamshet – Lonavala – Kalyan – Slow train – Dadar – Borivali) and I reached home at 1:30am. All along the journey I had an incomplete feeling but the satisfaction of not doing something outrightly foolish.

DSC00354 Last BByes!

All I want to say is, “I will be back ;)”

Dhak Bahiri during sunset

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I am off on a road trip !

Remember this post few months back? >> ‘Ready for an adventure?

Time has come and I am off…

Here is the rough plan:

Alibaug to Goa – Coastal Biking Expidition

Maharashtra is blessed with 720 km of coast line. The expiditon aims to cover 500 km of on bike visiting all the sea forts on the way.

Schedule :
Day 1 : Saturday Dec 23, 2007
Early morning departure from Pune/Mumbai. Aim to reach Alibaug by 9 am. Pune / Mumbai – Alibaug – Korlai – Revdanda – Murud – Janjira

Day 2 : Sunday Dec 24, 2007
Kansa, Diveagar, Srivardhan, Harihareshwar, Bankot

Day 3 : Monday Dec 25, 2007
Harne, Kanakdurg, Fategad, Anjarle, Suvarnadurg, Anjenvel, Gopalgad

Day 4 : Tuesday Dec 26, 2007
Guhagar, Velneshwar, Vijaygad, Jaigad, Ganpatipule, Ratnadurg, Pavas

Day 5 : Wednesday Dec 26, 2007
Purnagad, Ambolgad, Yashwantgad, Vijaydurg

Day 6 : Thursday Dec 28, 2007
Devgad, Bhagwantgad, Bharatgad, Sarjekot, Sindhudurg

Day 7 : Friday Dec 29, 2007
Tarkarli, Nivti, Vengurla, Mochemad, Terekhol, Goa, Fort Agauda

Day 8/9 : Sunday Dec 30, 2007 – Monday Dec 31, 2007
Chilling in Goa!!!

Day 10 Tuesday Jan 1, 2008
Back to Mumbai.

Catch you once I am back.

Happy New Year !!!

Update: I am back. Amit has just posted on his blog about the trip and some pictures to go with it here. It’s a must read ;)

School_Friends meetup

Am back from an awesome trek to Peb fort via Matheran. It was much needed and was at just the right time. Not sure if I would be able to organize/attend any treks anytime soon. Though, it was my second time to Peb, the terrain was much different than last time.

Some highlights of the trek (straight from our mailing list):

– A Dropout Log of friends who dropped out at the last moment could have also been written. Wat say GuysNGals? though I refrain from it as I believe all of them wanted to come but just couldn’t because of unavoidable circumstances. Hope you guys make it a point to come next time surpassing these circumstances.

– Trek was amazing. We made our move from green cover sometimes as tall as 5 feet, rocky patch and the final dip in the river 3 feet deep (shallow) was just the icing on the cake.

– Since we were fewer in number, we could be adventurous which at times meant we could be fearless and be lost (momentarily) and walk the road less travelled. Need I say that has made all the difference. ;)

– Hats off to Akshat to take that extra step and accompanying us for this trek. He had an implant in his left elbow.Wish you speedy recovery from all of us.

– All along the trek belonged to Bala. I am sure he would remember it for loooOooong and because of him we would too ;) No wonder he has posted the Trek Log too.

– Hip Hip HUrray !!

– Pics from Karthik: http://picasaweb.google.com/7.kartik/TrekToPEBFortNeral?authkey=u99R3-O-8_s

– Pics from ME:
DSCN0955.jpg DSCN0958.jpg DSCN0967.jpg DSCN0972.jpg DSCN0979.jpg DSCN0984.jpg DSCN0991.jpg DSCN1009.jpg DSCN1013.jpg DSCN1022.jpg DSCN1027.jpg DSCN1028.jpg DSCN1042.jpg

– Browse the complete album by clicking on the image below:

Leaving you guys to read some post of the previous school friend’s meetups:
Mahuli
Juhu
Karnala

Karnala – Adventurous & Eventful … need I say more ? (SchoolFriends)

Once again I planned an annual meetup for SchoolFriends.It happend to be around the same time as last year and an adventure trek too.

I am sure you would love to read about it too…

What started with a casual discussion between me, dazzle, kartik and pratik, finally culminated in one adventurous and eventful outing. Special thanks to everyone who made it to the outing… (in no particular order ;-) Dazzle, Pratik, Kartik, Cherie, Sheetal, Abhijeet, Nihal, Santosh (Nihal’s cousin) and Me (too ;-) !

So what was so adventurous and eventful this time around? Oh hell yeah… everything. The planning whcih was too adhoc… we did what we wanted to and didn’t try to plan things (or try and stick to any decided plans).

Firstly, the train journey (Goregaon-Bandra-Wadala-Panel) was FuN filled and all the while. We switched trains one after another. Ppl stuck to their roles… Cherie (always gigling), Kartik (Gadget gyaan) likewise.

I had thought of hiring a TumTum (10 seater) to get to Karnala which was around 15km. from Panvel. Me and Kartik tried to get a good deal out at the rickshaw stand and fixed it with someone. On the other hand others unanimously (Yup, Cherie has the convincing power…) decided to walk our way to Karnala.

A 15 km. walk was no small deal… eveyone knew that but then I am sure everyon wanted to have Fun (yeh school_friends ka style hai bidu !) We had our share of breaks. Batata vada, sabudana khichdi, chaas and kokam sarbat were awesome at Datta snacks (near phalase phata… 3 km from Panvel) We kept on walking… and walking… yah and some more walking. Need I say it was real hot and the road was pretty dumb but we had years of gupshup to cling onto and yah the usual kheechna-kheechana to do. Oye we topped our own record of 12 km. to the Mahuli base with a rock solid 15km to reach Karnala. Just to give u an idea of the enthusiasm… Cherie and Pratik ran the last 100mt in a sprint… surprised :? !!!!

We got our lunch (batata vada and pulav along with some tasty onion slices) from a nearby restaurant and had it in the Karnala Bird Sanctuary on a circular looking stage amongst monkeys.

After taking a small break we started towards Karnala fort. Again it looked dumb to start with but soon we were on a dirt track towards the top (bcz someone directed that it would be quicker). Quicker it must be but soon we realised that it wasn’t that easy… must be bcz of the 15 km. walk we did before. Anyways it was exciting and challenging to keep us going… though we slowed down a bit. We would take pics at regular intervals all this while. Also this time around we had thick vegetation protecting us from the sun’s heat. Hey ‘Sathiya haath badha, Saathiya’ is one song which would fit very well. We made sure we all reached the top.

The view from the top was exhilarating. Most of the fortification was stil intact. There was a water reservoir at the top from which we quenched our thirst. The water was coOL and satisfying to say the least. We explored few parts of the fort here and there and were ready to start our journey back. We did the customary Jay Gunj at the top before leaving which left us completely rejuvenated to reach to the base again.

The descnt was simpler and we choose the longer (bt comparitively simpler) route this time. During the descent it was more of some coOL music (courtesy: sony erricson and nokia), some groovy moves (courtesy: cherie, dazzle, me and pratik), bum-massage and setting sun. By the time we had arrived to te base it had got dark.

If you feel that was it… then you are wrong. Nope we didn’t return walking back to Panvel… tat would have been too much. To substitue for it we took lift from a truck from the highway. Yah, it was all the more exciting to come back in the truck. We all cramped ourselves in the front of the truck… yup all 9 of us in the front. The truck driver also tried to play some bhojpuri music on our request.

We came back to normalcy (not sure of this) after reaching Panvel station and traveling back home by train.

By the way I didn’t write much about birds bcz we didn’t see any. Yup, its just a namesake bird sanctuary, though it didnt affect us much and we continued with the same zeal to the top.

So how was it? I sure missed to mention a lot of things… but that is the price you pay for not making it to the outing for wateva reasons of urs ;-)

d

Thnks once again for the people who made this possible by comming for the outing. Feel sorry for all who missed this one. Like always, there surely will be a next time ;-).

— I just pulled this from the follow-up mail I posted on our schoolfriends group.

Pics from the Trek:
garma garam chai 79 Kg !!! panvel city - 2 dumb road kshanbhar vishranti karnala fort once again karnala - abahyaranya helping us out with lunch rocky road kshanbhar vishranti entrance to the fort finding our way on the descent returning back - mission accompished thumps-up int he truck truck which gave us lift

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Updated and Archived so the postdate is not true representative of the actual post date.

Just another weekend trek, Was it ?

On October 8th, I had planned a trek to Peth (near Karjat) with friends (Sankool, Swapnesh, Hardik and Manav). Like all other treks it was awesome. Just the right weather to go for the trek! It was shady during the ascent and drizzled a little while on descent. Last year I had been to Peth-Bhimashankar overnight trek. We halted at night in the caves of Peth fort. This time it was only one day trek.

Some interesting tit-bits…

We started late (anyone cud have guessed that ;-) and Manav who is in Pune joined us from Karjat. From there we hired Vikram(10 seater) to reach base village of Ambivali. This journey was coOL and enjoyable. Lots of PJs + stories to tell eachother. On reaching Ambivali we quickly asked for directions and started out trek. None of them had an idea of Peth except for me. I just told them that they won’t believe me when I point out the fort to them. Primarily because it seems impossible at start but is pretty doable. You just need to have a trekers mindset. My favorite line is always “We trek only to a point from which we can return safely.” I say this just to make them feel comfortable. Also, I only choose treks which are comfortable to first timers. So, on the whole I make sure they reach the top (touch-wood).

The initial part of the trek is crossing a mountain and getting to the plateau from where you can get to the base village of the fort. It is only then that you get a clear view of the Peth fort. No first timer can believe we would make it to the top of that fort. There was Hardik who thought I was joking, Manav and Swapnesh knew I was serious but had no clue how and Sankool who knew I was serious and there would surely be a way to the top. Their perspectives tell you how seasoned trekers they are. We took a lot of snaps here. Next we reached the Peth base village and had nimbu pani in a house and also asked them to arrange lunch for us when we come back.

Now from the base village we started our ascent of the fort. We missed a right turn towards the top and ended up taking almost a half circle of the fort before we realized and to our luck we were guided by two females who were carrying firewood back to the village. Its fun getting lost and then finding your way back again. We were soon on the right track and were gaining altitude soon.

We reached the gate of the fort soon and did a customary ‘Jay Gunj’ which is a salute to Chattrapathi Shivaji Maharaj. Next we visited the caves. Now there was another interesting thing which is fairly unique to the Peth fort. There is a secret(everyone knows about it though..) tunnel to get to the top of the fort which is just superb. At the top of the fort it always feels amazing. You feel victorious and satisfied at the same time.

The descent from the fort was also exciting and we did it pretty quickly. This time we didn’t loose our way to the base village. Also, it drizzled just right and for the right time so it felt good. We had our lunch in the village and then just lazed away for a few minutes.

On our return journey we were quick and didn’t take a halt. We were back to the base village of Ambivali just before it got dark. We were damn tired by then. We lied there on the road for sometime just to let the feeling seep in. Then we tried to take some pictures of ourselves sleeping on the road in a formation. After a few pics we could hear Vikram ( the 10 seater ) making a vroommmm sound and approaching us. We boarded it and it took us back to Karjat station. The journey back was unforgettable as it was nice and coOL by then and the ambience was moonlight. I could not stop myself from singing “So gaya yeh zahan…. soo gaya asssmaaan …. ” ( I am sure others surely wanted me to stop.. for obvious reasons but I went on… .>!

Manav got a train back to Pune quickly and rest of us had to wait for another hour. Travelling in the train was also fuN and I started a story telling session which was quite interesting. Hardik (dukh bhari kahaniyaan) and Swapnesh also shared their own stories. By then we reached Dadar and then in sometime to our sweet homes.

Yup, every trek is truly unforgettable and unique :D

Pics from the Trek:
meter down diversion ... DSCN1136 DSCN1142 DSCN1145 DSCN1160 DSCN1162 DSCN1170 DSCN1176 DSCN1183 DSCN1185 yes! been there, done that bhojan ka samay zonked almost aLL

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TrEk ki YaAdEiN DoStOnKi zUbAaNi…

Hey… thought of writing abt the trek bt better let me share with you aLL how we (I+Friends) felt abt the TrEk…

Akshat:

Hi guys…………….

Hope i am the first to reciprocate after the treckin expeditions….not coz i am too longin or desp to be the one to begin or be the frst to comment………….but like i tried sleepin .n as i shut my eyez….wat i cld see were those descedin steps of Mahuli………found my self figurin out my way dwn those steps evn in my sleep……………..so…thought for a change i’ll initiate the chain…………….:)
Sandeep:Hi all,
This was my first trek eva… Haven’t been on any treks before… I’m
waiting desperately for the photographs…
I will write about the moments that i will recollect when i close my eyes
and which i’ll never forget..
1.My going back home as soon as i arrived to get the battery…( yaar video
ke bina trip adhura lagta)
2.Asangaon to mahuli walk… I feel if we hadn’t walked this
stretch,everyone wud have reached top with less pain…
3.Akshay mummy being so over-concerned
4.Clearing accounts all the way
5.Nikita’s screaming
6.Those breaks that we took in the shades
7.THE CALL when we scaled it
8.Touching the flag
9.Water of the Talav.. Truly heaven
10.”Nahin jaana hai” Rock
11 Lunch at the top(Frankly how many times you’ve had lunch at a height of
around 2000m)
12.The descent
13.Singing all the way up.
14.Irritating everyone wid my singing,camera and stupid comments
15.When i saved akshay and akshat from slipping(hehe nothing juss happened
i’m makin it sound more anecdotal)
16.Drawing out water from the well

Akshata:

nt sounding too cliche…….adding few words n sharing experiences of the trek……….away from civilization and modern amenities this trek was an unique opportunity to catch a peek .The experience is overall exhilarating. It din require much climbing experience……..hey n some of us proved it ;….;kudos to all the frst timers. n1 with sound health( exceptions allowed …like .akshat who was unwell) can do the fruitful climb. The bottom line is itz a mind game .Navigating thrugh steep hills u can hear our mentor(akshay) cum mommie say take baby steps……. don let urself get fatigued …………WE HAVE ALMOST REACHED……..CAN U C D FLAG…which I couldn’t figure out almst till the end of trek .alas there v see flag fluttering in the wind .here we heave a sigh of relief…..no more climbing…….n sigh of joy…..sense of reaching the height

Wise words……….during the .task never get discouraged……………be persistant to attain the goal …..seek the strength to keep ur spirits high ……..b urself………..njoy urself ………….

The attained experience is extremely rewarding and rejuvenating
One wld never know y each one climbed …………….. to‘ attain the sense of height ………….to check the mind power……………team spirit …………sense of success………. personals satisfaction ………..simply fun…… just to enjoy……of boredom…chalo kuch karthe hai….kuch kaam nahi………..
Unless u r a loner .the essence of climbing is team work……………………..…wat say guys….

When it comes to ……. never giving up…we r proud of wat we have done…

Akshay(Tats ME):

I remember repeating this so many times that “Destination for us is
only a point from which we can get back home safely” – Akky but
somewhere in the back of my mind I wanted everyone to make it to the
top and i suceeded(so what if partially). Since most of us were first
timers its always gr8 to reach the summit in your first attempt.

I knew the key to reach Mahuli summit is two-fold first is covering
the initial part of the trek (reaching the base + overcomming those
monotonous steps) and then once you hav your goal (the flag in this
case) in front u woudnt need much motivation from my side.

I remember almost each one(except for Jasmine) of you asking me how
long wud it take NOW and me replying “Not much OR Lets cover this
patch OR There is this interesting valley on the other side OR Now the
steps wud get over OR Hey we are jst getting close OR Can u spot the
Jain Mandiram there see how far we have come so soon (now this was
true… bt u all cudnt see it) OR Its nice and coOL thru the thick
forest isnt it (jst to mak u all feel better) OR briefing you abt the
terrain (u knw it always helps to knw what you are gettin into)”. But
i guess all this lies was worth it and hope you realize that its jst a
MIND GAME. Now , once you had you goal in front of you I m sure there
was no reason not to go for it.

Also you all pulling my leg by calling me all sorts of names jst workd
in you favour bcoz you wud get those few secs to think abt pulling my
leg rather that thinking how tired you were. Also, there is a nice
coOL name to call a person lik me on the trek ‘Trek Leader’ bt gud u
didnt call me with it bcoz it wud be so embarassing as Trek Leaders
are much more experienced than I am.

I must say it was so satisfying for me to do the honours by shouting
the ‘Jay Gunj’ (do chk the video for it… Sandy told me that its cum
awesome)at the top. Thnks so so much.

I had planned another trek in this week but i cancelled it bcoz this
trek has been so satisfying. I can still recollect every bit of it as
it was jst yesterday.

ManAsi:

My or rather our first trek and we all………well almost all of us completed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s a real gr8 feeling!!! And the icing of the cake was the fact that we 11 school friends were meeting together after a span of 5 year !!!!!! I wish more ppl could make it but maybe sometime…….later…………..

………like the fact tht we all cribbed and cribbed abt the distance tht we had to walk………I agree tht the distance was way too much than any of us expected but the fact remain true that half the time the cribbing was totally unnecessary……………

……………….i have never cribbed in my life so much !!!!!!!!!!!!……….but I thoroughly enjoyed cribbing frm the night before the trek, through the entire trek and till dadar station arrived while returning………..the cribbing started at asangaon station and so did the LIES(Tats for ME)!!!!!!!!!!!!

……………..lies, lies ,lies, lies , wrong facts, more lies abt the time required to reach the base and the top…………and the list is endless…………god !!!!!!!!!!!!
how can someone have the stamina to do so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hats off to u(Tats ME again) dude!!!!!!!!!!!!!

……………….the naming ceremony of our grp leader…………..mommie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

……………….the naming ceremony of the piece of rock which was a mute witness to the arguments and the counter-arguments …………if the trek should continue or not………….

……….spotting the flag and the pic taken with the flag in the background…………….

…………………some screamed because they were scared of wht they saw
some screamed coz they r compulsive screamers
some screamed for fun
some screamed to scare others
some screamed because of the lies
some screamed coz others screamed

…………………or the fact tht mommie was abt to have a big fall [ as a result of skidding on soil or trippin……..god alone knows ] on a piece of flat land as he was busy tryin to imagine mallika sheravat in tanishaa’s clothes and managing to do a “halla re halla re “……………….guys u all missed tht moment too hilarious to pen down……………we were laughin our heads off!!!!!!!!!!!

so many things to mention, yet so little time…………….but all in all a gr8 outing……………

“ The triumph of achievement was worth the effort “

Pics from the Trek:
packing my bag apunka compartment ek haseena do khiladi shikhar lunch on the top cave vistory flag descent 13 of us at dadar station

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