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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Irshalgad Trek



Whenever I used to pass the Karjat Highway I happen to see a peak with a hole kind of thing. I always wondered what peak is it and  will I be able to go there. One day while passing from there I checked with my fellow traveler and he told me it is called Irshalgad. 
Bas aur kya soch liya ki agla trek Irshalgad hi hoga 


Few days went by and these lines of Jagjit Singh kept playing in my mind ‎'tere bare main jab socha nahi tha... main tanha tha magar, itna nahi tha..'


Luckily for me I saw this event by uth-sut for trek to Irshalgad and quickly joined them.


 So Sunday we all met at Panvel Station.This time my daughter and my nephew also joined me.From Panvel station we all walked to the Panvel ST stand which is hardly 5 mins walk.Here we met other members of the trek and we had a small informal intro and chat.Rajesh our organiser (very simple and humble person) provided us with Vadapav and hot tea so that we all are well awake to do the trek.
We took 8.00 am bus to Chouk.The bus journey from Panvel ST stand to Chouk took around 35 minutes. It was here I was introduced to a very amicable member of trek Sarita Khare with whom I had a long and interesting talk about Himalayan trekking and in no time we reached Chouk.
Crossing railway line at Chouk Station
At Chouk Bus Stop itself we had a brief round of introduction and instruction. For those who want to go on this trek the first phase of this trek starts from behind the bus stop where there is Omkar Lodge and next to that Chouk Railway station. We crossed over to the other side of Railway Station by crossing the railway track (Not recommended but kya kare majboori hai , Railway line toh cross karna padega, Kyo ki bridge banaya hi nahi hai :-p )
Walking on the other side of railway line with Irshalgad  looking  very prominent background
once on the other side keep walking straight for around 5 to 10 minutes and you come at a point where the road splits into two directions you will see one road going to right which will take you to the Morbe Dam and one road goes straight which takes you to the village . I later came to know that this village is called Irshaalwadi.which is also the base village for this trek. one has to cross the entire village and in the end you come to a watertank from where we started our trek.
Deciding our route of the trek
 Standing at the start point of trek one can see Irshaalgad and the prominent  (nedha)  needle hole kind of mountain cut structure.
initial gentle climb
We all started our trek from here which was nice and easy, Shubhankar and Akshita both first time trekker was very happy (they were thinking trek aisa hi rahene wala hai...morning walk karte karte we will be at the top) but here they were in for a rude shock because suddenly the cool walk was abruptly got converted into a climb. 
Climb was getting little steep and heat was torturing us to no end
The path from here to machi is well marked . We all started to climb but as it was June month and rains playing truant the climate was horribly humid and hot.This initial climb was making  us feel tired and thirsty my daughter and my nephew been the youngest and total novice to trekking started feeling the heat more my nephew initially was panting very hard and was desperately looking for rest at every point.Many a time shouting Chachu Rest !! Rest !!
Chachu Break !!!
We kept taking micro breaks so that no one gets tired. One thing I want to mention here that the view during this climb was absolutely fabulous on the right side one can see lovely Morde Dam backwaters and on the left side you see beautiful mountain valley and the saving grace during the climb was the gentle cross breeze which provided the relief which we all were desperately seeking.This portion of climb took us around  30 minutes and we reached the Machi or small village at the foot hold of the mountain..
View of Irshaalgad from Machi
From the village one has to walk straight till you reach a small temple.Take left from the temple , standing at this point you can see the Irshalgad peak right in front of you on the right side.However one has to traverse from left to reach the top.
To reach the Top one has to traverse from left
We kept walking through the bushes and high dry grass. There were lots of Karvanda fruit plants on the way so half the time we were plucking Karvanda fruits and gobbled this sweet pleasure with complete disdain. 
Karvanda Fruits which almost took us offtrack


" Sab log karvande dhoondne aur khane me itne busy ho gaye ki raste ka kise ko dyan hi nahi ... so for few minutes we were struggling to find our way Rajesh,Pawan,and myself went ahead to check the route it was very thorny and the way was not clearly marked . We had to spend considerable time to find the way after spending 10-15 mins of climb we realised we are on  a wrong trail.  I can still vividly remember what a sight it was with  Pramod perched at the top of one stone patch and Pawan perched on another stone patch and both thinking ki ab to is ke peech top per jane ko rashta hai...and what I was seeing standing at a distance was that there were further climb ahead. anyhow Rajesh managed to bring them down and we all descended and came to a clearing.We knew that a right turn has to be taken from the clearing to reach the pinnacle but bloody yeh right turn lena kahan se hai yeh samaj me hi nahi aa raha tha...
Micro break 
Actually even after getting down and moving forward I realised that it looked quite different than the lst time when I had come. I told Rajesh it seems that we have overshot our detour to right but luckily for us we saw the wooden ladder at the top, so we decided to move toward it but yet could not find proper way
Even after losing the way everybody is busy with the photo session !!
 but  thankfully we saw a villager who helped us and led us to the proper trail which leads us to that wooden ladder.here we encountered few rock patches but the climb was smooth and thrilling. after climbing the wooden ladder and trekking a few distance we came across a water cistern( This is a potable water so fill up your bottles here as there is no drinkable water source at the Top) 
Guys fill up your water bottles here..last spot to fill up
With in few minutes we reached the nedha(needle). This Spot is called nedhe. It is a unique hole in the rock ,which resembles a lot like a needle hole . This spot soon got converted into a photo shoot session with everyone scrambling to get a good pose at the nedhe. The wind at the nedhe is mind-blowing.  Standing at the nedhe one can see the Irshalgad  Pinnacle, one has to climb into the nedhe and move to the other side and take left traverse to reach the pinnacle.There is a water cistern almost adjacent to the nedhe but the water is not potable.Traversing we reached the top in hardly 2 minutes.The view from top as usual was simply breathtaking.The beauty of this spot is that you over look the valley and Morbe Dam Water.
Lovely View  Morbe Back Water 
 The sight is beyond description.Sitting at the ledge and over looking this kind of scene I can only exclaim "Khao toh jano" kind of thing then only you will understand the pleasure.We all collected here and had a lunch which was nothing short of multi culture cuisine.
All set for the Multi cuisine lunch
 We all rested here for a while and now for all of us it was showtime.Akhir me neeche se lekar upar tak pure trek me Rajesh ka dimag ka raha tha ki upar ja kar Pinnacle climb karege...in fact I also ascertained that he was carrying the rope with him. Yes Showtime here was Pinnacle Climb,
Free climb of the Pinnacle for me
As Rajesh was carrying rope so he got busy making arrangement as usual the lead climber has to go up to fix the rope for the climb. I took my chance  and I was itching to climb so I didn't wait for the setup and took my chance by making the climb sans the rope.


Thankfully I reached the top safely. Later we helped all the members to climb up with the help of rope.
Add caption
I may sound repetitive but the truth is that the pleasure of sitting on the top of the mountain is something out of the world experience.In the meanwhile Pawan climbed up the second pinnacle which was a mistake because it took almost an hour to bring our Spiderman down from there.
Rescue mission to bring Pawan down
Abbe isko koi neeche utaro!!
Ab uttar ja pyare!! 
Finally the time to descend has come,but before that we gave Salami to the mountains and moved forward to the base. The return journey was quick and fast.
Our Team
Thanks to all my team mates and special thanks to Ameya Mulye without whose lovely pics this blog would have been incomplete

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