Friday, July 10, 2009

Trek to Matheran via Garbett

Ht. : 2,625 ft. from MSL.

Range : Sanhyadri
District : Raigadh
Village : Diksal
Level : Easy

Matheran is most splendid hill station in Maharashtra, it covers an area of 8 square kilometers in Sanhyadris. This lovely spot was discovered in 1850 by Hugh Poyntz Malet, the collector of Thane district. Garbut point is located on south-east side of Matheran with grand view of the plateau below.
This time we decided to take challenge of night trek and finalized the night - 9th May 2009 (Full moon night) At the be
ginning, we planned to start our trek from Garbett and finished via PebVikatgadh, but later because of late schedule we restrict our return journey up to Dasturi Naka (Entrance to Matheran) and took a taxi to Neral Station.

Initially we all decided to catch 7:19 pm. Karjat Train from Dombivali station but couldn’t make out, as one of our member – Dipti was not feeling well but still want to come so Mandar went to see her. Finally we decided to Catch 7:56 pm. Karjat but this time Poorva ……… who supposed to catch same train from Dadar, but she missed her train and left no option to us other than leaving the train. Now the next train was almost after 45 mins. i.e. at 8:43 pm. Thus we were running almost one & half hour late from our schedule. Me & Nitin got refresh at my place as there was enough time in our hand and reached station and had a couple of vadapav and waiting for other people to come. After some time Mandar, Dipti and another Mandar join us. We drank some Cane Juice as me & Nitin was feeling thirsty because of vadapav & reached at station. Soon later Great Poorva has arrived but saved from our anger as there were still two more people yet to come. This time we decided that not to wait for any one and board the train. We all gathered on platform no. 1, took tickets andreached on platform no. 4, Where Sarvesh & his wife were already reached and waiting for us. Sagar was still standing on platform no. two and waiting for Jacob & Sweyn. We all were waiting for the train to come and finally announcement happened for the train, we could easily see the head light of the train and with in few seconds the train arrived at the platform, fortunately at the same time Jacob & Sweyn arrived on platform no. 2, by the slow train and the fun began from here. They were about to miss their Train but somehow manage to board the & his wife train. Actual scenario was very funny but little adventurous, as they were getting down from stair, at the same time train took its start and we started shouting, yelling from the train “Hey let them get down – please clear the way, they need to catch the train”- Jacob & Sweyn increase their speed, started pushing people and finally got in to the train. Looking at this, everyone from platform was get confound. Thus how our journey get started. Two more people – Chaitanya & Durk are joined us at Ambernath station.

We reached Bhivpuri station at 9:45 pm. After getting down some of us went to buy some Bisleri bottle. Everyone was carrying at least 2Liters of water bottle as there is no source of water during the trek. We started our walk at 10:00 pm. from Bhivpuri station and March towards base village – Diksal”. Some of our friends need to eat something but couldn’t as all shops & small restaurants were closed. Luckily we found one general store open, but not able to fulfill our requirement. Mandar bought one cold drink bottle to subdue his thirst or increase ?...................... I don’t know …………..whatever it is and we continued our walk, After few mins. Of walk we reached to a lake which is an artificial (Man made) The lake was huge and we had to take a turn round the lake to reach at the base of the mountain. While walking around the lake we won’t found any plantation. I think all trees and plantation would be cut down during construction of lake.

This patch of trek was very boring as you were continuously walking on Murum road with no life on either side. After a long & boring walk we reach nearer to a small village which is located on top of small hill. All dogs from village noticed our presenceAnd started barking continuously, so we decided to take a turn around village instead of going through the village. Here we lost our way for the first time. After taking a turn to village we walk more on left side, instead of right and missed our first landmark – “well”. After a small search here & there, one villager shout toward us and directed the way from distance which we couldn’t make out. Villager was either awake or wake up due to dog barking. We three Mandar, Nitin & Me walk towards villager to understand exact way. He pointed towards one tree with the help of long stick he have, where the well is located and we started walking towards said direction. Very soon that well is visible to us and we become very happy as we are now on right track but this happiness was temporary which we came to know later While walking towards well we came across to a poisonous snake. Snake was baby one but showing his anger against us as we disturb him a lot by throwing light on him. Everyone was enjoying snake and suddenly Nitin jump over & almost fall on his face, fortunately manage to save his face but leave some marks on his forehead. We decided to take water break for a while and again continued …………… After a little walk we came across to another bunch of houses & obviously dogs also. Here there was no chance of escape from dogs, we have to pass through the village as there was no other way and if it was there but we are not sure Here we lost again and it took us nearly 2 hour to get back on right track. After crossing village, instead of going on left side we walk more on right side and enter into thorny plants and dead end. We completely lost our way. We can easily able to view Garbett platue from base, also compass shows us the same direction but not able to find out the way. Only way is to reach at the top of the hill and look for the way. Till now all people are exhausted and not in a position to climb further, but the important thing was to found the way. We here still at the base of Mountain and there was still more to go. Finally decided that two of us will go further climb the hill& search for the way and others will continued later. Me and Mandar move further. The hill climb was interesting but little scary. At the top of hill we found two Mango trees & a path along the trees leading towards top. Thus how we came back on right track. Now we were more confident & happy as we found our way.Immediately we call others and very soon everyone was gather there.Every one was exhausted & wanted a break. We took rest for sometime and again continue.This climb was very interesting as path was rocky & you came across to many beautiful spots while climbing. During this climb we found one more snake. This was non-poisonous(Naneti – local name) Moonlight was making this trek more interesting by creating interesting shadows of mountains. An amazing combination of Black and white (shadows & moonlight). We finished this patch with in in a short time & reached at Garbett Platue.

The platue was huge and giving an amazing night view of Matheran towards west side. We reached platue at 2:30am. We spotted one clean place for our dinner as there cow dung everywhere. We finished our dinner & took a rest for sometime and continue our trek. Some of us wanted to rest more but we were already behind our schedule and we had to reach Matheran before sunrise. This was the last patchof our trek. This patch have small part of rocky way & more amount of walking through forest.Though it was a full moon night but because of forest there was pitch dark that one cannot see the things at a distance of two feet. While walking through forest we pass through a village. A herd of cows were seated on plane ground and their eyes were glittering.

We reached to a place where a huge stone was located this was our last landmark. The way on left side of stone goes to Matheran city , right side goes to Garbut point and middle one goes to Dasturi Naka. Here we took rest for sometime. We reached here at 5:30 am and still one hour to reach Dasturi Naka. We were 3 hour late from our schedule. Now continuing for second trek would be little difficult and most of us are exhausted and don’t want to continue, so finally decided to restrict up to Dasturi Naka and cancelled second trek.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Trek to Kalsubai Peak

Ht. : 5400 feet from MSL
Range : Sanhyadri
District : Nasik
Village : Bari
Level : Easy

Kalsubai is the highest peak in the anhyadri range in Maharashtra. Bari which is of Nasik district is the base village for Kalsubai Peak. There is a temple of "Kalsubai" at the base, a local Deity - thats why the peak is recognize as Kalsubai Peak.

We planned to catch Dadar-Amritsar Exp. from Kalyan at 12:35 am. Some of our friend (Nitin, Rupesh & Purva) caught train from Thane. Me & Sagar (Morkya) caught same train from Dombivali. Our one more friend Chaitanya was already reached to Kalyan station, ready with our tickets to Igatpuri. We were late from our scheduled but because of train was running late, we could manage to catch the same train. General compartment was full, so we had no option to get into the Reservation compartment and follow the corrupted system, thus how our journey got started.

Reservation compartment was crowded too because all other people are like us only. Some how we manage to stand in a space between two compartment near toilet and it was so uncomfortable while any one going to toilet or crossing the compartment. We were talking, cracking jokes and trying to get comfortable with in that space, this whole drama continued for next one & half hour and we reached to Igatpuri at around 2:15 am. We had to reach Bari village from here. There was no source of transportation until morning so we decided to spent around 2 hours on Igatpuri station. We ate some Bhaji & drink tea and trying to sleep, we were smart enough to carry one bed sheet each to protect ourselves from mosquito (this was from our last experience in Peb-Matheran trek) but this time trains won't allow us to sleep

Around 4 o'clock we came out of Igatpuri station and started walking towards Igatpuri bus depot. It was still dark outside, as soon as we came out of station cold started taking its grip on us. 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.Very soon we reached Igatpuri ST depot and immediately got a bus to Bari village. We reached Bari at 6.30 in the morning. As the bus left, we all got the glimpse of our destination – “the kalsubai peak” which looks very near (short) from ground but its not, which we realized later. We jokingly doubted on our Morkya (Sagar) for location. It was still shivering cold out there. Some of our friend buy some necessary stuff from a small shop run by localite, (Tapri) which is beside S.T. stand and already open at that time. Immediately we started walking towards Bari village. As we entered into the village, all dogs from village gathered to welcome us. 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 to very beautiful the temple of kalsubai at the base - the starting point of our trek. We had our breakfast at the back side of temple and again started our trek.The sun was already up now showering it tender light on every one, making everything look so gentle. As we moved much higher the farms appeared exotic.Suddenly we came across to very beautiful natural well which is completely dry and not much deep, one can easily reach up to its bottom. We entered into the well and did some photography.We would be confronted by four ladders and steps on the way was told by our leader. The trek was not that risky but we asked to observe discipline. More than the fear, there was excitement.

The trek is of 4 hours one way. After trekking more than hour we reached the first ladder followed by some irregular rocky step Now the climb was getting steeper. Very soon we reached the second ladder, of course enjoying the panorama and admiring variety of natural forms of cliff, cleft, ridge etc. The third ladder is longest among all four and very interesting as it covers a huge patch of rocks. By 9:30 am we were past the third 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 but fill of some wild flies, so initially I was skeptical to drink this water but water was very cold and clear. We wash our face, pour some water on head and refresh ourselves

We headed towards our ultimate destination now which was almost 30 minutes from the well. Our ultimate destination was above a straight huge rock, around 30 feet high. This was accessible by ladder. This was the fourth ladder. I was feeling little monotonous after climbing 3 ladders and wanted to do some more adventure, so I started climbing the rock. The rock was quite moderate to climb but after finishing three-fourth of climb I had to take support of metal vertical on which ladder was fixed.

After reaching on our summit I gave a sigh of relief and so must have everyone else. The rock top was almost flat and big enough to accommodate around 100 people at a time. There is a beautiful temple of Kalsubai. The temple is small but really stands out against the blue skyline. The view from the summit was awesome. We could see Bhandardhara lake and beautiful hills all around. It was a clear day and we could see miles around. Through out there were hills and barren flats spotted with water bodies. There was very meager sign of habitation. We relaxed here for an hour. We spotted some shed behind temple and sat down by resting our back on temple wall. We ate some fruits, biscuit and did some photography.

As we already decided to take our lunch on very interesting place which we found while climbing up, so we began our descend. While returning I preferred to take ladder than rock to avoid over adventure. The descend was proving tough for all but we were determined. Very soon we reached our decided place where we had our lunch and took a long rest and then continued our descend. After sometime we came across to a small stall of Limbu Pani (Lime water) We drank some limbu pani and again continued our journey.

We reached the base at 5 pm. And took a jeep to Ghoti from main road.From Ghoti we caught rickshaw for Igatpuri We reached Igatpuri at 6:20 pm. We ate some Pav Bhaji and Samosa in small restaurant near Igatpuri railway station.

We planned to spend night at Chaitanya’s house in Ambernath as his parents was out of station We caught Tapovan Exp. at 7:15 pm. from Igatpuri station, all seats in train was occupied. We are so tired that we decided to sat down on train floor between the gangway. We reached Kalyan station in one & half hour at 8:45 pm. Again we caught local train for Ambernath. We enjoyed dinner went to sleep. We all woke up early morning and rush to our homes as every one wants to reach office in time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trek to Peb fort-Matheran

Ht. : 2100 ft.
Range : Sanhyadri
District : Raigadh
Village : Neral
Level : Medium+

PEB fort is located at 4 Km on west side of Neral on Mumbai - Pune highway. Peb is very close to famous hill station - Matheran. It is very ideal for One day Trek but for that one should start at early morning at least 6 o'clock. Peb is also known by name called "VIKATGADH"


The original name Peb is because of temple of goddess "Pebi" at the base. There is cave on fort which was used for storage of grain in ancient time by Shivaji Maharaj.


As i said Peb is ideal for one day trek so we (Sagar, Nitin & me) started our journey in mid-night, we caught Karjat train (last train) from Dombivali station (central railway) at 1:54 am. one of our friend Chaitanya join us at Ambernath station. We reached Neral around 2:43 am. and spent around 2 hours on Neral platform. we were trying to sleep but the mosquito won't allow us we tried every trick like wrapping ourself by newspaper but failed.

At 5 o'clock we moved from Neral station had some tea and march towards our destination. Take a right turn from Neral station because Left turn is towards Matheran. After coming out of Neral station you can view Matheran and Peb fort on either side. After walking around 15 to 20 Mins. from railway station we reached to a plain ground, still in darkness, so we decided to wait for sometime before starting the trek. We started with the first rays of sun (6:30 am.).While walking towards fort you will pass through plains and streams, poultry farm and small bunglows which have liven in the nature. 7o'clock we were at the base of the hill which has to be cross to reach Peb. A high tension power line with huge pylon, guides you to a waterfall which is usually the main attraction in monsoons. Next a stream guides you to the cleft and u have to keep walking through it. After cleft soon you will find huge stone which is little difficult to climb but after crossing this, the cave will be at a short distance. Cave is huge enough to accommodate 10-15 people, a night stay would be a wonderful experience. The path towards the cave is very narrow so one has to be careful while walking. The trek does not end at this point because there is lot more to explore............the journey has just started........ Continuously walking on the same path you will come across to many existing prop like ladder, metal rope etc. to made your climb a little comfortable and finally reach the top. We reached to the top of the fort at 10:30 am. At top there are footprints of "Swami Samartha" (Saint) and continuous narrow plain surface. Previously there was just a Samadhi of Swami Samartha but now it is developed into a small temple.

After visiting samadhi we moved towards the other end of fort which leads to the return journey of trek. We had to find a shaded area and settle down to take our lunch to feed our craving stomachs. After lunch we chose to take a nap for some 45 Mins. till the sun woke us up and we be reminded of our way back. On the return journey there is also a small temple of "Shiv Ling" at the edge of mountain. Besides the temple there is a tank of drinking water naturally carved out of the mountain. We drank some water to freshen up ourselfs and filled up our empty bottles, recharging ourselves and hit our way. Over a short distance we came across to another metal staircase made out of railway track, without a midlanding and crossing its own bays. This also makes me attribute to it as one of the masterpieces of architecture i ever seen. Now....was the cross two mountains (Peb fort to Matheran mountain) over the ridge which is breathtaking.The path has to be completed in one stretch without taking rest as it is difficult and on the edge of mountain.Walking on this path will lead you to the railway tracks of Neral-Matheran mini train and this comes to the end of a trek, remaining distance is to walk along the track or along the vehicular road to reach back to Neral station.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

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