Hi guys .. I ,Shridhar Purandare, am back with new trek menu . After AMK and due to summer season we decided to find a place to chill. Finally we got it : The great Vasota.
I received mail from Shrikant(a.k.a seedless) about plan to visit tapola. I googled and got few links where ppl just did not like it.I also found Vasota in that information. Then next was googling Vasota. Again bad news. One trekker died at Vasota while swimming in the backwaters.But the photos I found were amazing.
So we all decided to give it a try. 5 members were fixed Shrikant (seedless), Chetan (cd,ramat gamat) Sheyas and Digvijay (digicam) and Shridhar(lambada thats me).Things you will need to know about.
1. Route to Bamnoli: Pune -Satara - Bamnoli (170kms)
Route to Vasota: Bamnoli --- Boat Ride --- Met Indavali --- 6 km trek --- Separation point for Vasota and Nageshwar root ---- one way go to vasota(1km) other goes to Nageshwar(4-5kms).
2. Get permission in Bamnoli to go to Vasota costs around 20-30 rs per person.
3. Boat hiring charges Rs 1600 (return journey) Rs 200 as late charge
4. Car parking Rs 25.
5. You can not stay on Vasota fort or Nageshwar cave.Stay only possible at Bamnoli village.
6. Forest officers are strict about it.
7. Reach Bamnoli by 8am then only you can do all trek in one day.
We left Pune by 7am as pickup was arranged by CD. CD's Wagon R made our journey very pleasent and comfortable. After tea and snacks at Satara we reached Bamnoli by 10.30pm. We hurried for launch booking and forest department's permissions. It took us exact 45 minutes to complete all formalities.We told boat owner to come at 4pm to take us back on day two.
This fort is very unaccesible in Mansoon. Whole way to Vasota fort and Nageshwar is through dense forest of Javali khore so sunlight does not reach to ground on most of way. Vasota is surrounded by Koyana backwater and deep valleys so it has remained very clean and peaceful.
As it is reserve most of the jungle has presence of different animals like bear and tigers. Thats why night stay is not permissible anywhere but tents of forest department.
We left Bamnoli by 11.20 am. 1 and half hours boat ride through Koyana backwater took us to base of Vasota fort. The boat ride reminded me Dal lake shikara ride. As water is very close heat does not affect till base. Whole ride is just pleasure. Water is so clean that you can almost drink it directly without any worry.
You can perform some stunts like sitting on edge of boat or try to stand on water. Just chill pill in the boat.
At 1 pm we reached base. We gave our permission receipt to in charge at base camp. He alloted us one tent. We kept our luggage in tents and in no time we were off to Vasota. We just took 12-15 lits of water and plenty of eatables.
Whole road is like cave made of forest. You will sweat a lot on this way so do take plenty of water. Do not take any shortcuts as if you get lost there will be hard time to locate you. Until you can reach Nageshwar there is no range for any network. You can only see through for 15-20 feet in this jungle. The jungle feel can be truly enjoyed here. Try not to make noise and you may spot some animal.
There were two ways to reach Vasota. But now path through Chorvane is closed. You can only go through Bamnoli. Temple of god Hanuman is 10 minutes away from base. After praying for safe journey we went ahead.
To reach the junction of Vasota and Nageshwar it took us 1 and half hour. From here there are two ways
1. To Vasota (need 30 minutes to reach top)
2. To Nageshwar ( need 2hours to reach cave)
After 10 minutes fierce debate we decided to do Vasota first. So we climbed up to top in next half an hour. All of were so hungry that first we completed our lunch as soon as we reached top.
There are two places to see :
1. Chota Nageshwar point : You can see Nageshwar cave and surroundings view. Whole path to Nageshwar which is not covered by forest and which is most thrilling can be observed.
We spend some time to chill in cool breeze and sneaking Sahyadri.
You can also see the point where boats drop trekkers. We got to know that from end of backwater it takes 8-10 hours to reach Koyana dam.
2. Babu kada : This is very similar to konkan kada. Very steep fall of 1000 and more feet. Very beautiful. Behind that there is Old Vasota. Which is now unreachable and closed for trekkers.
As we started sightseeing clouds were gathering over Vasota. We never thought it will never rain in April's first week. But as clouds started roaring at us we tried to finish sightseeing.
On the way to babu kada there were two tanks full of drinking water. Few fellows coming from Nageshwar were so frustrated that they were not able to find water on Nageshwar and Vasota.
We covered valuables in plastics as weather started getting worse. As it was already 4.40pm and jungle gets darker very fast we decide to climb down fast. We reached junction within 15 minutes and base camp within 30 minutes.
We were so happy and cooled down. Rain came and removed heat. Jungle was totally transformed from dull to lush green in few minutes. The rain started pouring hails too. We climbed up in summer and now we were climbing down in rain.
The atmosphere was electric. We all forgot our stress and fatigue. CD took camera out even if it was drizzling.Now it was time for price: the food. We ate bread - jam, tea -jam ( tea courtesy to CD). We were so ready to sleep that nobody even bothered to make Maggy. Sleep was endless for us.
We woke up at 6 only due to alarm. At some unknown time guys in other part of tent were horrified to see Rats in tents. One sack was destroyed by the rats. They did not dare to enter our tent as Seedless was snoring like 500cc bullet.
By seeing Sun we were delighted. Because of heavy rain everybody except me were confused about trek to Nageshwar. As few kilometers path was risky if rain has affected it. I was firm to do Nageshwar in any case. Finally we were off to junction again.
We passed the junction within no time.Breakfast cum Lunch was over and we were recharged.
The way to Nageshwar from the junction is like see saw. But best of slot. Very dense and charismatic.
When we reached plateau next to chota Nageshwar we could see whole thrilling path to Nageshwar which is exposed to deep valley on one side and jungle on other.
We even found marks of bull (Rangava) on the way. We covered this distance within 90 minutes.
The cave is very clean and big. It can hold 20-30 people easily. Shivling is placed here. In last few years the cave and path which leads to cave is built and protected well.
We were praying for rain. But weather was not at all overcast. We took some rest in the cave. Cd ,I and Digi went to top of Nageshwar. Its just 50 feet steep climb. There is way to Nageshwar kund (well) from base of Nageshwar. Water there is pretty bad. But still for emergency we took 4lits of water. CD filtered it and added chlorine to make it much more drinkable.
We covered our way back to junction within an hour . Everybody was keen to get back to base camp. We were expecting to spend at least 30 minutes swimming so we hurried back to base camp. We reached base camp at 2.30 pm. We ate as much as we can to allow some time for swimming. We changed to our swimming costumes and packed bags.
We took our bags close to place from where out boat was going to pick us. I was first to enter the water. Water was very cool and clean. But after sometime the mud started coating our bodies. So we cam out of water. We decide to stop our boat somewhere near clean water for good bath.
Boat did came at right time. Now it was return journey.We ate thalipithe and kairichi chatani in the evening breakfast. It was amazing to eat on the boat ride. We used to drink directly from backwater just by extending hand. The owner stopped the boat where there was not any mud in the water. I and CD took clean bath on the banks of iland.
After two days sweet and cool trek we returned to Bamnoli. Misal and coffee were ordered and consumed in no time.
As CD was very frustrated with Seedless's jokes we all decide to treat him as he treats us. We returned back to Pune by 11pm. We stopped for vada pav at Shrival though. :)
I would like to thank CD,Seedless,Shrya and Digi for this wonderful journey.
Some New information:
1. Night Stay,Permissions to visit fort and food can easily be arranged at Bamnoli. Tents available at Bamnoli. No stay allowed at Met-Indavali or fort.
2. Ample boats are available to Vasota from Bamnoli. Costs around Rs.1600 /- for 12 people.
3. 91-231-2542766 is Western Maharashtra forest office number where you can inquire about accessibility to fort.
Now I sing off. Thank you for your patience. Do write suggestions and comments. :)
Satha uttarachi kahani pacha uttari suphal sampurna!!!
Do call or mail me for any queries.