Hurda Party At Rajewadi

Feb 2010 : Since some time we were thinking of going for some trek, but it was not happening. Ram suggested to come visit his village and we can also have Hurda party as well on his farm. Also per him we can trek one of the hills near his house which has a great views of many backwaters and surroundings from the top. So this seemed to be a good option and we finalized on a date and left the planning to Ram to do our kahtirdari 🙂

We decided to book a vehicle (Ram wanted to go on the bike) and spend some time at his village and come back in half day. We started early on that day though we had breakfast at home only to keep the trip short. Rajewadi is his village, which is off Pune – Satara super highway on the other side of Neera river. Its around 50 km from Pune city and takes around 1 hour to reach. We reached there by 9:00 am. This area is an upcoming industrial area and we saw many factories along internal road leading to his village. The village is small, but beautiful, flanked by hills on one side and Neera river on other.

We then went to his home and got introduced to his family. They served us tea and after small conversation, we decided to head to the fields. The day was quite hot. His farm was nearby to his house and along with other crops had the jowary planted. We picked few of the kanis from his fields but they were small and bit raw. Instead we observed that the next field had big kanis and looked fresh. So we tore down many from that field 🙂 . Grass is greener on the other side, hence proved! 😉 We took all of it to Ram’s field for roasting. We found a small canopy and started working on lighting the fire. As simple as it may look, getting a fire going can be tricky task. It took us some time to get it going and after some trail and error we were finally start roasting the hurdas.

We had brought salt and chilli powder from Ram’s place with us in puddis. Ram was roasting it one after other and once couple were done which didn’t come out that well, once the makeshift stove was hot the next batch started coming out well. The Hurda was quite good and we enjoyed the party. We then rested under the shade for some time, we would have liked to stay there whole afternoon. The winter sun was up and it was pleasant weather to just lay down. Then we decided to go for the next item of itinerary was trek the hill which was just across the fields. The hill was looking quite tall and the slopes quite imposing.

Ashk was not much in favor of trek , but as others persisted and also Ram was the one who was our host and organizer of this event, we decided to go. Though the hill was looking quite close by, from the field where we stood, it took us some 20-25 mins walk to reach the base. From there we started the real trek. Surprising it was difficult! One reason was there were not many marked trails and the gravel on the surface was quite loose and slippery. We are slipping once a while and it was making the progress slow. Also there was hardly any vegetation at the base and on the slopes for shade, though at the top there was some tree cover.

We reached the top in around 30 minutes. The top was a narrow ridge connecting the one end of hill to other. We started walking on the ridge, which was quite an adventure 🙂 After 10 -12 mins walk, where we were walking in the single file, so narrow was the ridge and there was valley on each side, we reached the final ascent. We were slipping a bit once a while and it was bit risky having valley on both sides. After covering this section, we started the accent and it was getting difficult now. The gravel here was more slippery and we had hard time getting on top. But the view from top was worth the effort and we could see far off amongst cool breeze. From here there was again small hike to the topmost point from where you can see many backwaters, but by then everyone in the group had given up. Also the section was bit dangerous and we decided to head back. Ram was unhappy that we didn’t go to the point where he wanted to take us.

The descent was even more difficult with slippery gravel. Most of the section we descended sitting down, just sliding over the surface. This where I strained my knee’s ligament, which still hurts :(. We reached the bottom in 20 mins and headed to Ram place. They had prepared lunch for us. We all sat down and had a nice home made lunch. We took some rest and then headed back to Pune. We were back home around 6:30 pm.

It was indeed very memorable experience and would definitely want to have another Hurda party some day!

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Hike To Ortega Falls

06-May-2017 : It was 2:00 pm and we just had had our lunch. I was just back from grocery and the day was progressing slowly and I was watching some documentary on Netflix and was ready for a siesta! Then I heard G! Are we going to spend this weekend at home only? Are we not going out some where? Enough of your afternoon siesta’s … You would have got the idea. So I was like yeah, lets go some where then, but where we want to go now, in the afternoon. See its raining. What a nice time for a quick nap! But G was not impressed and finally I had to get on the iPad and start looking for places to go. I was earlier thinking of going to some beach, but outside it was raining and cold and so beach was not a good idea. G and Ar were looking for some trek near by and I was like if we have to go lets go to some distance. Rain made us think about waterfall and so we decided to head for one of the nice ones around. Now there are not many waterfalls around Orange County to choose from and we were thinking of going to Holly Jim falls which is in Rancho Santa Margarita, in the hills. I did some research on it and came to know that the last 4 miles to it is a dirt road and not good for cars with low clearance. So that was dropped and while looking for more options came across Ortega falls, which is not as close, but not too far.  Looking at pictures and some information it looked a good waterfall with some hike to it. So Ortega falls it was going to be! We quickly packed the snacks (no surprises!) and left.

Outside it was quite cold, I was still thinking of home :). But we were on our way. We had the tank filled up at Costco and we were off. It is around 29 miles from out home, close to 40 mins drive. The direction you take is Pacific Park -> Antonio Pkwy -> CA-74 E. In around 20 mins we were on CA-74 E. Its a small highway of 2 lanes and it was fun driving on it as it reminded me of some drives back home in India! The road is really nice and it paces through hills and then you start climbing the ghat, which is beautiful. The weather made the ride even more pleasing. As you get closer to the top, the surrounding starts getting greener and greener and you start passing through clouds. It kind of reminded me of Mahabaleshwar. The highest point is around 2200 ft. Somehow we missed the pull up point for the falls as we kept going. Now you need to be careful to pull up at right place as there is no U turn and there is now way to go back. As we also wanted to visit the lake Elsinore which is on the other side of hills, we continued. as we started the descent, we could see the lake to our left. Its very big and quite scenic. We were downhill in 10 mins and pulled up close to lake. We would have liked to go to lake park and spend some time, but it was already 4:00 pm and we still wanted to take a shot at the waterfall. So after spending some time on lake shore, we headed back on CA-74W and started the ascent.

This time we set the direction on Google maps and not my GPS, which kind of confused us leading the point to be missed. On the way the traffic was also less, so I was enjoying the drive. We pulled at a vista point having nice views of the lake. From there we headed straight to the pull up point of falls. We could see some cars parked there and pulled over. In front of we could see the hills face and the valley in front of us. G went to the mound and spotted the waterfall in the hills across the valley. So we took out stuff and started the hike. The whole hills was green and covered with shrubs. There were few trees as well. There were many pathways and we picked one of them and started the hike. We could see the waterfall on our far right and so we figured out we first would have to descent the valley to the bottom and then climbed back up to reach the falls. The weather was good so we were enjoying the trek, under sun it would be tiring as there are only few trees for cover. We were making OK progress, but the shrubs which crisscross you on the pathway was a major irritant. Some of the shrubs are off course has either thorns or has leaves which can cause itching. So we had to be careful. As always Ar was leading the trek at many times and she was having fun. We were trying to teach her some basics of hiking and she kind of got it I think, but was reluctant to use her hands to hold rocks or trees and instead using us to hold 🙂

We reached the base on 15- 20 mins. On the way there were few cross ways and there was some arguments between I and G on which one to take. At one point we were glad to take the one suggested by G, the other one would have taken far off! But looking at so many pathways, I was bit worried about our way back as they would be causing us confusion. I was trying to remember the paths, with some landmarks, but they would still cause us some worrying moments as we shall see. As we neared the base we could clearly hear the falls and flowing water. Finally we could see the stream and took a break there. Now we just had to follow the upstream to reach the falls. Here the stones are big, like boulders and also very smooth and slipper as the water would be flowing over it at many times. We had to be careful crossing those, especially with Ar. Finally we reached the falls. It was small, but nice and I always enjoy the sound these make, which gives you peace. We could also hear noises of some people above. As going from here to the top would have been bit a challenge taking Ar with us, we decided to take the stop there only.

But I wanted to check whats up there and also see if there is any other way for us all to reach the top, I continued for some distance. I realized in sometime that the main waterfall is where we had taken break and at top its just stream flowing through the stones. Also the stones there were more smooth and slippery and so didn’t make the case for them to get here and so I scaled down. The waterfall is small, but pristine and the sound it makes as it falls over and flows over the stones is amazing. It is surrounded by think forest cover. We just spent sometime there just listening. Ar was excited to drop the small paper boat she had got from home, though she was sad it did not cover much distance. We had some snacks there, soaked in the nature for a while and then decided to head back. It was already 5:30 pm and though the Sun sets late now, due to cloud cover it was already quite dark and we wanted to be back through the maze of pathways at the parking lot before dark.

We made good progress initially and Ar was looking more confident in the hike. Finally we hit the cross road and there was a confusion on which road to take. There were at least 3-4 roads there and per my suggestion and against G’s we selected the middle road. We might have passed few meters and we stuck thick bush cover, which made we second guess my choice. Not a good thing to do! So we turned back and took the road which G had suggested earlier which was heading left. After a point it again became a crossroad and we took the one going top as we knew we had to keep going upwards. Luckily as this trail is located close to highway, we could hear sounds of vehicle in a distance and I knew we were on wrong path as the vehicles were appearing closer to our right and far in the direction we were heading. But G was persistent and so she scaled the rocks for few distance, but finally I was able to convince her. It was getting dark and I was worried, if we cant figure this out quickly we would be in real mess. So after backtracking, we took the same direction I had suggested earlier, just we used the parallel pathway away from bush.

As we kept moving and the bush really made it difficult as well as irritating, I started hearing the noise of vehicles better, we knew we were in right direction, only not sure at which point we would exit. Finally we could see cars and we were out of the bushes and what was pleasantly surprising that we had exited at the same spot from where we had entered. Now that’s some sixth sense! Ar was bit tired in the last leg, but we had made it in time. We rested a bit and headed back to our home. On the way back nothing interesting happened, traffic was low though. We were back at our home by 6:45 pm. We had had a nice small unplanned trip and G was happy!

PS: Though the waterfall and surroundings was great at the falls itself there was some trash as well as graffiti on rocks which was sad 😦

Purandar and Vajragad Fort trek

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Fort Type : Hill                                                       Base Village : Narayanpur, Pune district

Grade : Medium                                                     Height : 4472 feet

Distance From Pune : 40 kms

05-Feb-2017 : So we were in India for few weeks and I was raring to go and do some trekking and visit some forts. We were thinking about the options and preference was to cover something new, but the limitation of time and people availability had also to be considered. So after much deliberations it came down to 2 options, Rajmachi or Purandar and Vajragadh. Both were close to Pune and even though we had done Purandar back in 2009, we could not do its jod gadh Vajragadh.

Finally Purandar/Vajragadh was finalized considering the distance and the limited time we had. So the plan was to start early and be back to Pune no later than 5:00 pm. I was running a busy schedule, the previous day (4th) was Ar’s B’day and the celebrations ran late in the evening and there was only few hours to catch sleep and head for the trek. After I would be gone, later in the morning G and Ar were going to G’s place and considering all these factors and other members availability, 5th Feb was selected. The day before we had packed some food, fruits etc. Breakfast and lunch we had planned to do on the way. We had booked our friend’s acquaintance’s jeep.

I woke up early at around 5:30 am, got ready quickly and was ready to leave by 6:15 am. I thought I was late as we had planned to assemble at Ashk’s place at 6:30 am and I was not going to get there in 15 mins for sure as I was still at home! So I gave him a call and told him that I am just leaving and would be there in 20- 25 mins. Now from sound of his he made me believe that he is all padded up and ready to leave, when I reached there he was still nowhere to be seen. Later he confessed, I was the one who had actually woken him up 😉  So left home on bike and reached Ashk’s place, parked the bike and as noted earlier I and Ram waited there for long time for him to arrive.

So we were 3 of us leaving from this pickup point and the next pick up point was Undri and then Hadapsar, where 4 more of our friend’s were going to join. We took the Katraj bypass road to head to Undri. This road I knew was bad, but it turned out to be even worse now. There are so many big potholes and with road concretisation going on it was real bad. The journey which should have taken 20 mins took more than double of that and we finally picked Sam and from there headed towards Hadapsar to pick Ran and Rav. After that finally we were on Saswad road heading towards our destination and we were running quite late. It was already 8:00 am!

There are many ways to reach Purander from Pune and the one which we took was Hadapsar -> Saswad -> (Saswad – Kapurhol road) -> just after Narayanpur take the ghat to Purandar fort. The roads are now good and wide, even the Dive ghat section, since the last time I came here. While ascending Dive ghat, in the valley on your left you see the Mastani talav, which we were planning to cover on the way back, but did not happen. We were making good progress and reached Saswad by around 9:00 am. Earlier we were planning to have Breakfast on the way to Saswad at any good restaurant besides the Highway, but we couldnt spot any and also Ashok through his friend found out that there is one good misal joint in Saswad and we decided to try that. The name of this place is Chandu seth misal and he seems to be quite famous. Near the Saswad Shivaji chowk we did couple of inquiries and they guided us to the spot. It is in front of Dakshinmukhi Maruti Mandir and its nice small place.

The misal here is unique and I have never had such. So before you even take a seat each table already has the bowl, filled with shev and farsan. Onion, lemon etc are on the table. Just as you enter the hotel you spot multiple big pots having sample are being boiled continuously. As you take seat and are ready to be served, the server would get 3 buckets on your table, one having medium spicy sample, one hot sample and one tarri. He will also get Pav in plates. You mix and match the 3 liquids in your bowl and enjoy the misal. Taste wise its OK, but I liked the style! So we had garma garam misal and with our tummy’s full, we headed out. They only serve Misal, not even chai. So we found one chai tapari just besides the temple and the kaka made special masala tea for us. We even had a uncalled guest, who had tea on our expense! So we were all energized and ready to head towards the fort.

So last time we had come to Purander, we were on bikes and it was in middle of summer. Some good old memories from then, I think it was in April 2009. It was nice to be going back. But this time around we were not going to commit the same mistake (or was it, its still being debated!) as last time of parking at Narayanpur and walking in sweltering heat to the base. In fact this time we were not going to walk from base, but were going straight till the Car park near the top of the fort and explore the fort. This fort is maintained by military and so there are number of gates and checkpoints. So as we came near the main gate we saw it was still closed. There were few cars waiting in front of us. On making inquiries at the checkpoint learnt that it opens at 10:00 am, so that was only 10- 15 mins away, what a great timing! Luckily all of us had brought ID’s with us as only after verifying that they allow you in. So the gates opened in some time and after our ID’s and vehicle checked we were allowed in.

The first thing you notice is this is one of the best maintained forts in terms of infrastructure with good roads and facilities and well maintained. We passed through the Binni darwaja, passed MurarBaji’s statue and parked in the parking area. There we were asked to keep our mobiles and camera’s in the car which you cant carry further from that point, which was sad. So we packed all those things kept it safetly in the car and started the small trek. From here you get a good view of the fort’s ramparts. You also get a good view of Vajragad. The trail passes through thick cover of trees and in 15- 20 mins you reach the top near the Zhenda. From here we explored the fort a bit and headed towards the Mahadev mandir.

Here you need to pass through the designed pathways only, else you are warned by the security officials. At one location where there was a Y intersection, we were not sure which one to take so we used the lower road which was quite an adventure, we had to pass over the water tank through ladder laid from one end to other :). Somehow we crossed it and we might have gone few meters, we heard the whistle. Not to say we had to do one more round of balancing act on the ladder 🙂 and we were on right road. Soon we could see the temple on the top end of the fort. There are stone steps from the bottom to reach the temple. We took darshan and sat outside on the platform. It was around 12:00 pm and we were at the top. A cool breeze was blowing and spectacular view was in front of us. We had some snacks and fruits (apples) and had some good chat. We then started the descent and came to the base in half an hour. We then went straight to Sambhaji Maharaj’s statue and then visited Sambhaji Maharaj’s birth place. It was nice being here.

We wanted to go to Vajragad next which is historical fort connected to Purandar. Unfortunately as it is now closed to public, we had to drop it!  Yeah, second time around  :(. We had to contend seeing that majestic fort from a distance only. Then we came back to our cars to find our mobiles safe 😉 and headed towards Pune. On the way we took stop at Murar Baji’s  statue and then headed towards Narayanpur and were soon on the way to Saswad. At Saswad there was some traffic jam due to nivadnuk miravnuk (Corporation and ZP elections were round the corner). We reached Garva hotel in some time. We took some rest, I had veg pullav and lime juice and relived some old memories. Then we headed back to Pune. The traffic was slowly started building up. We first dropped Hadapsar and Undri guys and then we were deliberating to change the route (after morning experience), but did not and that decision led to some avoidable consequence (see PS). We reached Katraj by 4:30 pm. I picked my bike and was back home by 5:00 pm. Nice fort trek after long time with our group!

PS: So our picking the same route of Katraj – Undri bypass had unintended consequence. Not only we had to endure the bad roads again(which was given) but our vehicle was stopped by traffic police and our driver fined due to some documentation issue!

Aurangabad Trip – Day 2 (part 2)

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15-August-2011 : We woke up early today and took our luggage and put in the car. Today was 15 th August and we were in transit to way back. No kadhai jalebis today 😦 But never mind, it had been a memorable independence day weekend. We had hearty breakfast at hotel, did the checkout formalities and took some pics of the hotel and headed out. Unfortunately, we could hardly explore the hotel, which was quite big and had lots of activities.

Our first stop was Bibi ki makbara. It is a copy of the Taj Mahal and after seeing the original this was a disappointment, but G having not being to the original one found it interesting. Then we headed towards Panchakki which was an interesting place. It is flour mill, which runs on water. It is designed such that the flow of water, rotates the wheels and grounds the grains. Was a nice place.

From there we moved to our last item in our itinerary, Daulatabad fort, also called as Deogiri fort. This was the capital seat of Maharashtra long time ago and the fort is one of the few which are well maintained. This fort is considered to be impregnable and have been ever won through kutniti only. We reached at the base around 11:00 am and we could see the majesty of the fort from far distance. I would have liked to cover the complete fort, but G was not up to it that day and so we decided to cover till midway and hired a guide. We saw ramparts, many doors and the minar etc. It truly looked  invincible.

We were at the end of our trip and to think of it we managed to cover more than we ever thought we could. We left Aurangabad by 12:30 pm. On the way we decided to stop at the food mall which we had been told served good food. The food was nice and we were in Pune city by 4:00 pm, but after crossing Ranjangaon, the traffic started to build up and it took more than 2 hours to reach home. We were tired, but had checked out one of the long standing places to see in our list.

Trek to Mt Lee (Hollywood sign)

23-Dec-2016 : Now this trek was in making for some time, but I was not sure about the trail details etc and so it was not happening. So holiday season which starting today was a good time to go for it. We tentatively decided on this trek without much analysis on the trek and with threat of rain washing the day for today. We were to finalize if we are going or now in the morning. We woke bit late (so much for a plan) at 8:00 am and somehow managed to get out of office by 9:45 am. There are few trail heads for this trek, one located on Beachwood dr, another being from Griffith observatory. Looking at a blog,  Beachwood looked like a good option, so we decided to head there first and if it does not work out then head for other option.

We hit I5 by 10:00 pm and surprising the traffic was thin. In fact in all these time I had not seen so less a traffic enroute LA, but we were not complaining.  Due to less traffic we reached Beachwood drive on expected time around 11:00 am. This place is just off 101 and it is in the heart of Hollywood. Its an area really located amidst woods and it is so tranquil, green quite and cool, it reminded us of Pune or Satara. We parked besides the road, luckily today being weekday else it is not allowed and would be bit difficult to get here. We parked around 2800 and I had thought the trail starts around 3000. So we got our stuff and headed towards the trail. Once we reached 3000 we couldn’t see any trail around and thought maybe this is wrong way. There was a guy besides the road who guided us towards Ledgewood dr, which he uses to go to Hollywood sign.

Without knowing any better we decided to follow his advise and headed back and picked that road. Along the way we saw some really beautiful houses, nestled in thick woods. It was really steep hike and we were still not sure if we are heading in the right direction. There were few others who passed us asking the way to the sign and he were as clueless as them. It didn’t help that it was cloudy today and we couldn’t see far away. Suddenly I saw a glimpse of letters O, LL and I knew we were heading in the right direction :). We kept on the same road in about 25 -30 mins we reached the at a gate and we took right turn there. We saw the Hollywood sign up close, but some thing was not correct. We were to be behind the sign and not in front of it. It was my bad, I had not read the blog completely which I should have. I had thought I would check ones we reach there, but sadly I was not able to find the network for most part of the trek. Finally there was 1 bar on the phone,just enough to access the blog and though the details were bit vague after reading it I realized we had to continue on the Beachwood dr till the end.

So we started the decent and reached the base in no time, Ar was quite tired and even G wanted to consider going back. But we had to make a try :). So were back heading onward Beachwood dr. At around 3100 we saw a gate and knew instantly we have made to the trail head.  After just crossing the gate there was a horse table and they have some rides which take you to Hollywood sign. We took a right turn from there and started following the semi – marked trail. The weather was great, cloudy and bit cold but perfect for trek. On the way you get great views of LA. After 10-15 mins we came to a vista point where you get a good close view of Hollywood sign and also there were few stone blocks.We were quite hungry by now and Ar was also tired, so we decide to take lunch break there. We had brought in sandwich, fruits etc and devoured it in the perfect setting. Once done we started again on the trail, when G noticed a small detour on left going uphill and decided to explore for shortcut. So off she went while we waited for long time before she emerged to inform us of her discovery. So we took the shortcut, which passed through some trenches and shrubs and finally and connected to main trail.

After walking another 10 mins we reached a dead end with a old paved road running perpendicular to it. Here you have to take right and then just follow the trail all the way to top. From here the trail is bit steep and we had to comment Ar as she was pushing through. We had to take some breaks, but in half an hour we made it to the top. As always its a great feeling reaching the top after all the hard work. We finally made it on top of Hollywood sign on Mt Lee. From here you get 360 degree view of LA, along with pacific coastline. You could just stay there for ever. But it was very windy and chilly and so we dropped the plan to eat our second round of lunch there. We started the descent and just bellow the top there is place to sit which was shielded by cliff end and so was less windy and cold. We took a break there and had fruits and then started the non stop descent. On the way there were not many hikers left and we were alone for most of the time. We reached the base around 3:15 and G and AR waited near the gate, while I continued long hike to car park.

In the morning we had told Ar that we would be going to Hollywood walk of fame and she could meet Micky and Minny mouse, but we were already running late and considering the traffic situation in LA and the early sunsets in this time of the year, we decided to keep that for another day and started back home. It was a wonderful day and good start to long holidays for us. Ar did a great job hiking 8+ km with 1000 feet elevation, way to go! We had finally put behind the Hollywood sign and were ready for the next one. On the way back there was quite a bit traffic and we reached back home around 5:30 pm. We were bit tired as well, so finished the day with old favorite pizza :).

PS: After her mini discovery of shortcut earlier in the day, G was looking for shortcuts everywhere making me nervous, one of them was slope almost 80 degree ascent close to top tucked with stones, a dreadful thought going that route!

Rajgadh Fort Trek

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Fort Type : Hill                                                     Base Village : Pali, Pune district

Grade : Medium/Tough                                       Height : 4520 feet

Distance From Pune : 50 kms

18-Dec-2009 : We were in thick of trekking season. Last week only we had covered Sinhgadh and we were immediately thinking of the next fort and trek to do. Ashk suggested we select one of the forts closer to his village which is in Bhor taluka and there are many forts there. After many deliberations Rajgadh was finalized. It is one of the most important forts, the first capital of Maratha Empire! One of our friends booked a Maruti Omni, which was going to be our companion traveler in many other treks to come. We decided to start at 6:00 am and Katraj was going to be our meeting point.

All of us assembled at Katraj on the day of travel and we left as per plan. The Maruti Omni, which we had booked was one of its kind. It was very old and the ride on even good roads was quite bumpy. But it was super cheap as the renting/driving was his side business, who owned and operated a garage as well, so heck with bumpy ride ;).

The route to Rajgadh is via Nasarapur phata which is around 20 Kms from Katraj on Pune-Satara super highway. On Nasrapur phata take right and reach base village Pali. Rajgadh fort is very large and there are various routes to  reach there and so one has to select the appropriate base village. The route through Pali is the medium easy and it leads to the fort through Pali darwaja.

On the way we stopped at a hotel on  Pune-Satara super highway for breakfast. The usual fare for us, Poha, vada pav and chai. Then after taking right on Nasarapur phata, we continued on the road towards Pali village. This road is in a very bad shape, which is quite sad and travelling through our Omni was even more adventurous.  Somehow we managed to reach Pali and started our trek.

Now there are many forts, fortification of which you can see from the base itself, but this is one of those forts when even after trekking more than half the way, you don’t see the fortification. This will give you an idea of the expanse of the fort and that’s why this was capital for so many years , before being shifted to even bigger and grander Raigadh.

The weather was pleasant, not too hot or cold. After covering the initial way quickly, the pace slowed. It was bit tiring for everyone. The trek is medium tough and a long one. We had nimbu pani at few of the places on the way. Finally we started seeing the fortification and it looked the top is near, but it still took us long time to reach the top. Near the top they have added steel railing to hold onto while climbing a bit tricky patch. We reached the top in 3 hours after we had started from the base. It was tiring but a fulfilling trek.

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We entered the fort through Pali darwaja, which is a huge door. We rested there a bit, took some snaps and then started to explore the fort. When you enter through this door, Padmawati machi is near by only.There are three machis on the fort and this one is the magnificent one. This machi had military base as well as residential areas. One can see many old structures here and gives us a glimpse to the days of glory. There is Padmavati temple and lake by the same name here on the machi. There are information boards explaining various structures which ones stood there.

After taking some rest and having some snacks, we wanted to continue forward towards Bale killa, which we could see from the place where we had taken break. But some of us were tired so we decided to start back. We took around 2 hours to reach the base. It was one of the most thrilling treks we had done.

After reaching the base, Ashok suggested to come to his village, to visit his house. We went to his house, spent some time there and started back towards Pune. We were quite tired and some of us went to sleep, surprisingly on the bumpy ride back in our majestic Omni. We reached Pune city by 6:00 pm and started back towards our respective homes.

Such a great experience to visit this historically important place!

PS – On the top, we could see the Torna fort and the ridge which connects Rajgadh to it. There it was our next destination!

Sinhgadh Fort Trek

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Fort Type : Hill                                                     Base Village : Donje, Pune district

Grade : Easy                                                          Height : 4429 feet

Distance From Pune : 20 kms

Dec 2009 : Now if you are from Pune or if you have been staying in Pune for some time, then its assumed that you have been to Sinhgadh, I am not saying you would have trekked to Sinhgadh ;). This fort is the first step for Punekar to start there trekking odyssey. But I had never been there all these years and don’t ask me why. Many a times our sight eludes the things which are close to us.I personally and we as a group had made many plans to go to Sinhgadh but that never materialized. It was destined to happen only in December of 2009 only.

We made the plan and all were ready to come. We decided to go on bike, which above all made Ram happy. On the day of trek I, Ashk and Ram assembled at Katraj, Sandy, Rav, Sam and Ani joined at the Sinhgadh flyover junction. One of Ashk’s friend also joined in . The plan was to have a half day trek as few of the members had some personal work to attend to.

We had started early at 6:00 am. It was cloudy but not raining. Once all joined us at Sinhgadh flyover, we started the journey on the Sinhgadh road. The weather was great and we were enjoying the ride. We took break for breakfast at some small hotel after Nanded city and had vadapav, bhaji and tea, which was OK. It had started raining by now, so we enjoyed the bhaji and chai even more. We waited for the rain to subside a bit, but seeing that is not happening we continued any ways. Sinhgadh is around 15 km from Sinhgadh flyover and around 25 km Pune city and it takes around 1 hour to reach.

The road passes over Khadkawasala dam and is flanked by its backwater on the right side. We took our second stop there. The dam was almost full, we had some roasted corn here and enjoyed the nature. We then moved on towards our destination. We reached village Donje, which is the base village at about 8:30 am and parked our bikes near the school and started the trek.

It had started raining heavily now and we were on for a fun trek. The trek is relatively simple and has many marked trails as many punekars frequent this place. Many people visit this fort especially on the weekends from Pune city. We took few breaks on the way to have nimbu pani :). The trek was not tiring at all as the weather was cool and it was raining. The pace had slowed down a bit in between, but seeing many NDA cadets climbing the fort running, made us put in more. We reached to the top of the fort in 1.5 hours. We took some snaps and proceeded to explore the fort further.

The fort is town in itself with lot of eating joints, smalls shops etc dotting the whole landscape. The fort was completely engulfed in clouds and there was hardly any visibility. You can feel the clouds floating and passing around you. It was such a amazing site. We visited the samadhi of Tanaji Malusare, its inspiring just being there. We then visited samadhi of Chhatrapati Rajaram Maharaj. 

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After that we had a look at few bastions and fortification left there. On top of fort there is a very peculiar place, which has a reverse waterfall. Basically, the rain water falls from this place downhill but due to heavy wind in the direction of the fort, it is thrown back up again. It is a sight one has to see from once own eyes to believe it.

We then went to one of the many eating joints present there. They are famous for bhaji and fresh pot of curd. It was really tasty and we had a good time eating and talking. We sat for some time and then decided to start the descent as we had to reach back to Pune by 2:00 pm. We reached the base in 45 minutes.

We picked our bikes and started back towards Pune. It was still raining heavily. On the way we stopped over at a hotel for lunch. They had nice cottages and good ambiance. We were comply drenched in rain and were feeling bit chilly. The food was good and the service was prompt. After having our stomachs full, we continued towards Pune. On the way back we again stopped for some time at Khadkwaala with rain finally had stopped. We were back in Pune city by around 2:30 pm.

It was a good half day trek on a wonderful day to this historic fort. Finally, we had crossed the first step :).