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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Nakind Tok via Kothaligad

Sunday was around the corner yet I had no intentions for going
to the trek and I  thought I would be resting at home.It was a chance chat on Facebook with Jignesh Lakhani that my trek to Nakind Tok via Kothaligad materialized.I smiled to myself  "Beta aashish ek baar fir tu fisal gaya trek ke naam
 per" and with this a small poem played in my mind.         "Ab yeah kisne likhi hai, I don't know but mere dil ka hal bayan karti hai, jab bhi mai mountains ko dekhta hoon...  kuch aise

Koi Deewana Kehte Hai , Koi Pagal samajhte hai,
Magar Dharti Ki Bechani Bas Badal Samajhte hai,
Mein Tujhse door kaise Hoon, Tu Mujshe door kaise hai,
Ye Tera Dil Samajhta Hai , Ya Mera Dil Samajhta Hai.

and I was off to new trek.

Car Drive To Base Village 
It was 10 pm when I met Jignesh on the Highway at Jogeshwari, Rest of the team members were to join us at Kalyan It was pretty long drive but shortened because of the long chat that we had, whereby we were sharing notes on treks that we did.It was pitch dark when we reached Kalyan Phata where we were to pick the rest of our team Milind,Puja and Praful.

we missed the guys and drove away

Due to darkness on the road and our deep concentration in chatting about treks, we missed these guys !!! and drove away. But luckily for us they had seen our car so they called us on our mobile and we made a detour and picked them up. "Bach gaye jaldi pakad liye warna aur ek ghante ki band baj jati " Once when all of us were in the car then it was full dhamaal.

Besure Raag

 I can never forget that series of Aashique 2 songs being played on the deck and all of us singing in chorus in the middle of nowhere, 
"Andheri Raat me Besure sath me ", 

 but to be honest Is besure Raag me bhi aapna maja hai.Itna maja ki safar kab kat gaya pata hi nahi chala.

It was 1.00 am when we reached the 
base village Ambiwili. There is this small hotel at the start of the village where we parked our car nearby and took out our mats and slept on the floor outside the hotel.Luckily for us the night was not so we were able to catch some sleep.

It was about 6.00 am when I felt something wet on my hands and startled  I woke up only to see that it was the stray dog who was licking my hand. Horrified and amused for a second I muttered something which can be explained only by a  Censor beep.

 Anyways these are the occasional trek hazard that a trekker should be ready for. 

 "Yeah toh mera good luck ki yeah Kutta nikala samp nahi. "

We got ready in the morning, Had steaming hot Poha and Upma at the hotel where we slept last night. Jignesh had made all the arrangement so perfect with the hotel guy that nothing was left to chance.He had also arranged for the guide for us. So from here we started our trek at 7 am.
On the way from Ambewadi to Peth Village on kucha road.

Ambiwali to Peth Village:
The trek from Ambiwali to Peth Village is quite simple.You hardly walk 200 metres from the road that you see a little diversion on your left side. One has to take this route and ignore the road going ahead. this road is kind of kacha road. stone laden one can say.The ascent from here is quite gradual that a first time trekker can also do it very easily. Walking for about an hour one reaches the plateau.The view from the plateau is amazing and one can see lovely Kothaligad perched high up.

Kothaligad Perched High atop.

 I am giving below pictures of the view from the Plateau 

View From 1st Plateau

View From 1st Plateau
 This plateau is a good resting point because one can feel the lovely breeze and beautiful valley view below , numerous waterfalls all around especially if you go in monsoon. From here, one must be careful because generally people go straight along the plateau because they see Kothaligad fort in front of them. Let me caution you because that route may take you to the jungle. The error is quite possible in summer especially when trail is not easily visible due to dry grass growth. One must take left turn along the road from which you were coming. A little further walk of 10 minutes and you can see the Peth Village and the Kothaligad fort behind it.

 The path opens up to the  Peth village
 and Kothaligad Fort behind it
Peth Village to Nakind Tok:
Those of you who wish to go to Kothaligad should take the route to the village and passing through the village can go upto kothaligad. You can refer to my  Kothaligad or peth Fort Trek. As our destination was Nakind Tok so we bypassed the village and took a left turn from the just ahead of the house shown in the picture above.
Bypassing the village we moved further, Keep an eye on the Wind mills on the top right of the picture. That's our Destination
Some landmarks for reference ,
In summer the hay is stacked on this log stand.

As we were walking the Kothaligad fort towered on our right side, in a way we traverse the base of the hill and move behind it to go towards the Nakind Tok. 
Kothaligad fort towered on our right side

Crossing this village one has to cross few paddy fields. This could be tricky without a guide. Therefore my suggestion would be its better to hire a guide.Due to lack of any marked trail one can only keep an eye on the Windmills ahead and move on.

 Walking towards the fields we passed this tree 

Keep an eye on the Windmills ahead and move on.

Once crossing few paddy fields ( let me be clear ki yahan agar guide sath nahi hota toh I would have never understood ke kiske khet me khusna hai aur kiske khet me guskar bahar nikalna hai ) we enter into a forest.From the Peth Village till the time we entered forest there is no climb just plain walk among the fields as shown above. Its a 15 minutes walk till the start of forest and walking for another 10 minutes into the forest we reached a water stream.
Crossing the stream 

on reaching the stream we cooled ourselves because the climate was quite humid and the sun was hitting us. The only saving grace was the forest cover which saved us the sunburns.Splashing the water on our head we felt rejuvenated to start the trek further. Just from behind this waterfall we move further till the place where we come across a small rocky slippery portion which we cross over to other side
Small rocky slippery portion which we cross over to other side 
From this point onward the actual climb starts.and a good climb of 1-1.5 hrs till the time you reach second plateau.We kept taking little breaks because humid conditions were not allowing us to zip through.while climbing at 2 -3 places we felt we will be hitting the top but nothing such happened and we were always confronted by further uphill climb. But atlast the 2nd plateau arrived and this was the the first sight which we saw.
First sight on reaching the Plateau 
  This Plateau is quite big and vast. As one enters this Plateau on your left side the Kothilgad fort can be seen and on the right side on top the giant wind mills are quite prominent.
Kothaligad Fort as seen from the Plateau

Valley View from the Plateau

Glimpse of  the Plateau Top 

Glimpse of  the Plateau Top 

Being rainy season we were lucky to come across a small water stream flowing on the top we filled our bottles and had some photography session clicking lovely sahyadri flowers

Yellow flowers on Plateau
Spending some quality time at the plateau we started moving further little ahead because our destination was to reach the Top. Our guide said that this is the top but as we could see the windmills above us

Windmills above us.

We kept pushing him to take us there. Hardly a further climb of 15 minutes and we came across a small water tank, 

walking around it and moving towards the right we climbed and we were near the Needhe or our Nakind Tok.

At Nakhind Tok/ Nedhe

Once we reached the Nakhind Tok we all rested in the shade, had our lunch, some bantering was going on between Milind, Praful and Puja.Jignesh sir all the time was wondering why cant we go further up from here.He kept asking the guide " Warti Jayla rasta asel na kaka" ( There must be a way to go up ) and believe me Kaka had this expression " Mere ko maff karo na baba "

 I must however say that it was on the insistence of Jignesh that we had reached this Point. Warna Kaka ka top toh plateau per hi khatam ho gaya tha.

 Time was 2.30 pm and It was now time to get back to the base village. But by the time we reached the 2nd Plateau the climate was getting overcast.the clouds seems to gather more thickly.The Kothaligad Fort which we were earlier able to see was getting hidden among the clouds.

Gathering Clouds

We were getting little worried that it could start to rain. So we quickly started to descend.But the rains caught up with us.What was more worrying factor for us was that it was getting quite darker in the day time and there is a portion that we have to cover from forest.Upar se hum logo ne Top per Guide ki chutti kar di thi ,Aur ab Hamari chutti hone ki puri possiblity lag rahi thi....It s quite easy to lose your way in dark.  
Sky was getting Darker

We kept our trekking speed constant without wasting time and it was almost dark when we made it to the Peth Village.I let out a sigh of relief that atleast from here onwards things will not be tricky.As the route from peth village to ambiwali is more of a stone laden way. Lekin Mai Galat Tha !!!

Its beyond description for me to explain the mood of the climate, suddendly the wind was blowing at breakneck speed, Heavens have opened up like anything and it started to rain very very heavily that to keep our eyes open itself was a task and if this was not enough the skyline exploded with threatening Lightning with thunders....

Bolo aur kuch chaiye kisi ko trek me. 

Somehow our team completed rest of the trek gradually with water flowing constantly under our feet throughout the distance till ambewadi.

Wet to almost the deepest clothing we finished the trek in pitch darkness when actually the time was just 6 pm !!!.

I want to Thank Jignesh Bhai, Milind, Praful and the brave girl Puja for been such a wonderful company in such a wonderful trek.

Thank you

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Ahupe Ghat Trek

Flashback !!
I still remember it was few months back when I was planning to do this trek to Ahupe Ghat I asked my friend would she like to come to ahupe Ghat. her first question to me was Maine yeh naam suna nai...Kya hai udhar. I was speechless

because Mere ko khud nahi pata tha ki udhar hai kya. I bluffed and said arre it has beautiful scenery, waterfalls and Upar top per say view ek dum Mast.( akir me sahyadri ke har trek me itna toh hota hai ,socha aapna bluff chal jayega ).But thanks to this query by her that I started to do my research about this trek to Ahupe Ghat. However something or the other came up and I always ended up postponing this trek
The weekend was drawing close and there were numerous plans which were doing rounds in my mind.But alas !  all my plans got smashed when on Wednesday evening my motorbike skidded and I got severely injured. 

But I was still positive that I may be able to pull it off. But on Thursday morning the swelling increased so I called off all the plans and told all my co-trekkers friends that I may not be able to go for any trek.
It was Saturday evening and my friend Harikesh called me and said

Aashish Ahupe aate ho.... Ab meri ek nazar injured tang ko dekhe aur ek trek usual Trek wins hands down and I said buddy I am in, but problem is that I am not fully fit,Harikesh however very encouragingly said hum hai na, dont worry. bas ab kya tha bag nikalo,aur ready ho jao !!!

I was given to understand that Ahupe Ghat is long and strenuous trek so one must start it as early as possible, considering this requirement I took an early train at 5.18 am from Dadar to Kalyan. It was 6.30 am when we reached Kalyan ST stand.Today we were having a luxury of car to take us to the base village Khopivali however those who want to to take public transport can catch ST buses going to Murbad and from Murbad they can catch ST bus going to Khopivali.
(Lto R) Hardik,Pankaj,Myself, Harikesh and Jayesh
We were five of us Harikesh,Jayesh,Hardik,Pankaj and myself. we all jumped into the car and zoomed towards the base village. Negotiating the crazy traffic of Kalyan it was a relief to hit the NH222 what with beautiful scenery passing you, early morning breeze and the songs of Aashiqui 2.. playing.Life set hai boss..
In an hour time we reached Murbad and just as you cross Murbad ST stand take first right turn, this road goes towards Mhase. We took our first halt at Mhase village for Breakfast.How can one resist Garam garam vadapaw and Rustic village flavour of Misal.
Stop over at Mhase For Breakfast
Finishing our breakfast we moved toward Khopivali village. From this Mhase Village we took a left turn and drove for further 20 minutes crossing Narivali( Base village for Siddhgad  Trek), Dehri (Base village for Gourakhgad Trek) and just within 10 minutes of drive we reached Khopivali, a prominent signboard is there so one cannot miss this village.
A prominent signboard
 just to the right of this signboard the village is there. We have to walk through this village
and take small left and then right and you soon realize that you are on the backside of the village overlooking vast expanse of paddy fields in front of you and Machindergad on your right side.
Vast expanse of paddy fields in front of you and Machindergad on your right side.
 The start to this trek is little confusing because to find the way from the paddy field is always a task. But one thing is there, as you can see in the picture above, right in front of you is Ahupe ghat Top and on your right side Machindergad and Gourakgad. 
Following the stream
One can take the help of the villager to get initial directions or can take a local guide.  Crossing the fields we find this stream and we walk along this for some distance and enter a shady forest section. 
Water caressing you at some patches
its a pleasant walk with water caressing you at some patches, we also found quite a few villagers specially the ladies on this trail. We later realized that they were going to the stream for cleaning clothes.Stream ka naam sunte hi sab ke kan khade ho gaye , Photo session aur masti ka full mocka milta hai na. Soon we reached the point where the villagers were washing clothes
Spot where villagers were washing clothes

Ab kya tha pani dekhte hi hum sab khud gaye 

Full fun time to get refreshed, because as the weather was sunny, with no rains at all  jumping into the waters seems to be the best moment for us.Thankfully Jayesh and Pankaj had different ideas ,they didn't want to get their shoes wet...Hum log to floater wale the isliye khub maje kiye 

Seeing us wasting time Jayesh called out and said guys lets move warna late ho jayenge so reluctantly we all came out and moved further lekin yeah kya we had hardly walked 2 minutes when we came across the bigger stream and better waterfall then the one which a moment earlier we had enjoyed

This waterfall looked better, Dil toh bahut kar raha tha ki thoda masti aur ho jaye , but keeping in mind our tight schedule in mind we just took a dip (sudar toh hum sakte hi nahi na) took some pictures but with a promise ki wapas aane ke baad pakka time pass karenge. Guys remember that you have to cross this stream and the above waterfall will be on your right side and once we crossed this stream we turned right. this detour is important because one wrong turn here and whole trek can get messed up
Crossing river with the above waterfall on the right side
After crossing this river and taking right we walk through high growth shrubs and plantation which finally leads us to lovely forest which for a change was a wonderful experience . This forest cover helped us to beat the heat of the sun.
Walk in the forest
We kept walking through this forest for some time and suddenly reached a large clearing.
Large clearing  Take right side route to trek as left diversion will take you to Waterfall.
One has to be very careful here because at this point we saw two trails one was leading towards to the right side, this trail will lead you to Waterfall (25min utes walk)and the other trail on left is the trail to be followed to reach Ahupe Ghat. Our guide left us here because he said that from here onwards the trails is well marked and its very difficult to lose the way.
Time for real trek

If you ask me the real treks starts now because as you can see in the picture above the top pinnacle is the point where the Ahupe village is.The trek gets quite demanding here because all the time you are only climbing with no respite of flat walks in between.

Climbing through rocky patches

All the time when we were climbing the trek offered us beautiful view  of Gorakhgad and Machindergad from different angles.
 view of Gaurkhgad and Machindergad on the way to Ahupe Ghat

The climb is through the forest again and all the time the Ahupe Ghat is in front of you.we were gaining height quickly because of the steep ascend 
Steep Ascend
 There was a small stream which provided us a respite in this arduous trek we quickly filled our bottles and our tummy with water from here.
We filled our water bottles here,
we finished this continuous climb and reached the Ahupe Plateau. One look around me and I exclaimed Oh my God what Beauty !!!

and I shouted loudly yaar yeah toh pura paisa wasool trek hai. I am putting the pictures below, as they say a picture is more than thousand words put together and you can understand my ecstasy.

once on the top as you enter you see lovely valley , a gigantic plateau overflowing with lush greenery and a small village. Mind blowing breeze and 360 degree view which can leave us mesmerized. 
View from the Top
View from the Top

View from the Top 
View from the Top 
We quickly had our lunch , visited the Village Temple but it was closed. Descending from this trek was a crazy affair because the young guns were sprinting like there was no tomorrow. We reached the base village by 5 pm and started our onward journey to Home.

Thank You Team

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