'ALIBAG" - The moment you utter this word to a mumbaikar, his mind will explode with excitement conjuring images of Sea, beaches, seafood,boats,horse-cart,water-sport etc and you can almost hear him humming Lets party all night !!!
However there is another interesting facet to Alibag. This laid back town of Alibag boasts of some of the finest Sea forts like Korlai Fort, Kulaba Fort, twin Fort of Undheri and Khanderi,Revdanda fort Little ahead of Alibag at Murud is the famous Jhangira Fort and last but not the least Sagargad fort which incidentally we are going to trek this Sunday.
|Sagargad Fort and the Vanartok Pinnacle|
This fort is believed to be in existence since ancient times i.e. during the Satvahan dynasty. However if we try to find any reference in history about this fort,then one can find it's mention in Treaty of Purander (1655 AD)under which Shivaji handed over 33 forts to Moghuls. It is also believed to have been handed over to Angre, naval chief of maratha at latter stage of history so that he don't part with his support to Shahu Chhatrapati of Satara and remain loyal to them.Later this fort was lost to British in the Mid 19th century, during that period some British Officers built retreat homes on the fort.
|Dil toh pagal hai|
It's been more than a month since I had trekked, reason being my aching heels.However when I got this invitation from my friends to do trek to Sagargad " toh mai khud ko rok na paya'.....Dil toh pagal hai , dil deewana hai.. ( I wanted to say this to the doctor who had suggested bed rest to me).The weekend wanderer spirit of mine was now in forefront "aur majal hai kisi ki ,agar koi usse rok paye" so off I was on my way to Sagargad.
There is many a slip between a cup and a lip:
I was all set to leave my house when my mobile rang and I was informed that my partner with whom I was supposed to ride pillion on the bike has backed out.For a second I was stunned ! I could see my trek plans jumping out of the window, Tick Tick ..... the mind clock was hammering hard. 'Ab kya karu " I was desperate to go, but the question was How ? , "Triple seat bike par jana bhi possible nahi" , as it is a long drive.I was adamant that I am not going to cancel my program what may come, so I informed my friends that I will meet them at the base village bike or no bike.
Journey from Panvel to Base Village Khandale:
I took 6.16 pm Panvel Local train from Andheri station and reached Panvel station at 8.00pm. I soon dashed from the station to the Panvel ST stand which is hardly 5 minutes away from the station to catch bus going to Khandale Village (Base Village for Sagargad Trek).Though I was told that the frequency of buses going to Alibag is good, yet here I was waiting for more than 30 minutes at the ST stand for the bus to come aur jab bus aayi toh dil bola oouch!! because the bus which had just arrived was fully packed already as it was coming from Borivali.I was in two minds that should I wait for the bus starting from Panvel or just get into it. Lekin bus aur ladki ka kya bhrosa, kab phir doosri aaye, ab jo mil rahi hai usi ke sath ho lo mere bhai :P
and when the bus stopped I realised that half the mumbai wants to get into that bus " Arre bhai Sachin Tendulkar nahi ja raha use bus me " Somehow I managed to get into the bus. This bus journey was really a big pain for me "Ek toh mai akela upar se murge ki tarah ek tang per Khada ", yes with hardly a toe to keep on the floor of the bus I was dangling, I mean literally dangling with the rod, hardly able to breathe (Kyo ki saans liya nahi puri mumbai ke paseene ki khushboo mujhe behosh kar deti )
imagine to travel like this for 2.5 hrs and upon that my still paining heels.Sach me Dil toh pagal hai.
|Khandale Village signboard, take left from the board|
It was 11.00 at night when I reached Khandale Village. Most buses going to Alibag stop here but you will have to inform the conducter.One cannot miss the bus stop because there is a signboard.If you are coming from Panvel or Pen via Vadkhal naka then take left turn from this signboard to start your trek.This is a motor-able road which goes through the Khandale village and it could be somewhere around 3-4 kms till the end of the village.So if you are coming by ST bus then you may have to walk this road or can take an autoriksha if available.(because raat me jab mai utara tha toh goan ke kutto ko chodkar aur koi nahi tha). Another option to reach Khandale Village is that one can come to gateway of India take a early morning 6.30 launch to Mandwa Jetty and from there the launch service have a connecting bus service which will drop you to Alibag. One can hire a auto till the end of Khandale village and can also negotiate with them for the return journey.I was lucky that my biker friends were there at the Khandale bus stop and with them triple seated I reached the end of the village where we parked our bikes at a village house.
|Bullock cart / Dirt road begins|
|The stone stairs from where the actually climb starts|
Climbing only few steps you will notice that there is a small diversion on right side just after the cemented steps. This diversion takes you to Dhondana Waterfall.
|Just ahead of this cemented steps diversion on right side for waterfall|
The water from behind the Siddheshwar temple is kind of feeder to this waterfall.
|Sagargad waterfall (Dhondana Waterfall)|
|Uneven Stone stairs|
|Left from here takes you to Sagargad and straight towards Siddheshwar Temple|
|Side view of Siddeshwar Temple|
|Stream behind the Ashram|
|Well before the Sagargad machi|
|Dirt road at the end of the village|
Little walk from here will bring you to a large a large clearing, keep walking straight further, there is full possibility that you may get confused here because from the clearing you may not find any route further but straight walking will bring you to the point where you will see large vegetation growth but enter into it ( this entry point is kind of almost hidden due to bushy growth).
|Trail hidden by bushy growth|
|While traversing you can see Sagargad Fort on right side|
|View of the entry gate of the Sagargad Fort|
|Walking through the forest|
|Shiva Temple on Sagargad Top|
|British quarters ruins|
|Sleeping under the sky ( Life ho toh aise )|
Next morning we got up at 6.00 am with sun coming out from the horizon the skyline bathed in orange.
|Orange sky line|
Its time to explore the top Plateau of Sagargad now.
What to see on the Sagargad Top.
1. Vanartok: Its on the southern side of the fort.This Pinnacle is independent of the sagargad plateau.Professional climbers climb it.The only problem of climbing this pinnacle is that it is not bolted therefore the lead climber has to risk his life to climb and anchor. In-fact our group members scaled this pinnacle today.
3.Water Pond : On the sagargad Top one finds a big pond.The water is very muddy. Don't try to take a dip in the pond because we were informed by local villager that there are snakes in it.
|Muddy Water Pond on Sagargad Top|
a) Not much fortification is left most of it has been destroyed except the walls on the northern side. However one can notice overgrowth of vegetation along the walls of the fort.
|Walls of the fort.|
After completion of fort exploration and Pinnacle climb we made our way back to the base.
I have to again struggle to get the bus back to Panvel,but managed to get a seat this time , so shut my eyes and had a good nap till Panvel . Another fantastic trek comes to end and lets get ready for the next weekend wandering.
BASE VILLAGE : Khandale , Tal.Alibag, Dist. Raigad
TYPE: Hill Fort
ALTITUDE : 415 Mtrs
Mumbai -Panvel-Pen-Vadkkhal Naka- Khandale Village.
Kolhapur-Karad-Chiplun-Mahad-Vadkhal Naka-Khandale Village
Goa-Rajapur-Chiplun-Mahad-Vadkhal Naka- Khandale Village
RAIL HEAD: Panvel or Pen
ROAD HEAD: Panvel, Pen
TREK ITINERARY : One day trek
BEST SEASON : Monsoon ( because one can enjoy Dhodhane water fall ) and winter
ALTERNATE TREK ROUTES:
1) Sagargad Trek can also be done from Bamangoan Route.
2) Second route is from Waghote Village but both these routes less frequented.