Monday, August 31, 2009

Korigad trekking--- Full 2 Chill


I, Shridhar Purandare ,am back with one more trekking treat for travelers and that place is Korigad a.k.a Koraigad.

We did this trek twice in 2008. Its very awesome trek for beginners.

At a Glance some information about Korigad ....

Trek Korigad
Alias -
Type Hill Fort
District Pune
Height above mean sea level 3050 feet
Base Village Peth-Shahpur/Ambivali
Minimum Duration 1 Day
Region Lonavala
Transport Reach Lonavala by train or S.T. Then by a local vehicle (Jeep/tempo) reach the village Shahpur (~25 km).
Time to reach the top About 1 1/2 hours from the Shahpur
Water Availability Water is available on the top
Best season to visit Monsoon
Sights to visit Korlaidevi temple, Ganesh temple, Caves, Lake, Ambe Valley View From top ...
Difficulty Rating Simple
Shelter Caves half way to the fort

Now time for some history about the fort :

This fort was incorporated into his kingdom by Shivaji along with the forts of Lohagad, Visapur, Tung and Tikona in 1657. On March 11, 1818, Col. Prother tried to take over this fort but even after a prolonged siege could not make any headway. Finally on 14 March, by igniting the stored ammunition by means of a loose cannon ball he succeeded and this fort went to the British.

I and Dhawal sneaked through Pune to reach Peth- Shivapur via Lonavala which is the base village . Fort has stairs all the way to the top. In Monsoon water flows over the steps and walk becomes amazing.

Caves are there in the middle which can accommodate 10-15 people.

Caves are accompanied by temple.

When you will reach the top you will get mesmerized by the beauteous surroundings.
There are two small ponds. You can enjoy swimming here with caution.
Do not go to end of the pond.

Natural swimming pools covered by lush green border completely refresh your mind.

There are few canons around the fort. Forts area is pretty small so you can roam around in an hour.

Best benefit is that you can see all Ambe valley City from the top. If you have a binocular then its a treat !!!!!! You may spot some celebrities roaming around.

Views are so awesome and wondrous that you forget the time!!!!
Make sure you do not go to edges of the fort. Which are not that strong.

Chilling in the pool, Roaming in the fog, Admiring Sahara Ambe valley City and getting soaked in the rain is the routine you should follow on this fort.

Your return journey to Pune will be a heaven ride as it will pass thorough some of the finest points in Lonavala.

As always you can contact me for queries and information. Comments/Suggestions are expected. :)

Shridhar Purandare

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tailbaila Climbing - My First Climb


I, Shridhar Purandare ,am back with one more trekking and rock climbing destination for travelers and that place is Telbaila.

This will be my first photo blog. We did this trek in Nov 2008. First of all I will provide you with some preface of Telbaila ...

Region : Mulshi
Height : 3322 ft (above MSL)
Base Village : Telbaila

Telbaila is basically a watch tower built to guard over the Sahwashni ghat near Pali. Very good rock patch for amateur climbers.

We left early morning for TelBaila with our bikes. Not knowing the road condition ahead we were enjoying the Ambe Valley Road.

Few such boards converted our grinning faces into full scale laughing riots.

We started our journey to the base. We just hovered discovering the route. Then decided to lay out our own route. So we fixed straight line between us and the base and followed that line.

Laughing, teasing, casting insults, clicking the moments and admiring landscapes we moved on.

As it was my first rock climbing trek I was pretty much excited. I was leading our way to base.
No matter what blocked our way we climbed up through it.

After canvassing the climbing route of left inner wall , I decided to lead the climb.

Climb was medium on the scale of toughness. With help of my height it was easy for me.

As everybody else I also was feared of falling. But with adequate safety we made sure that the fall will be safe. I climbed up further and we gained most important part of climbing confidence.

It was huge achievement for me !!! Adrenaline rushing through my body it was great fun ... My friends were continuously cheering me from bottom and all important supporting me with the rope.

Now it was time for second guy Dhawal to climb up... He is very strong in climbing and climbed up easily while I was evaluating my climb.

Next mission was to descend down. I was very comfortable with rappelling so it was piece of cake for me.

After everybody came down safely it was time to celebrate. "Hip Hip Hurrayyyyyyyyyy" ...
" Woooooooooooooooooo" Jubilance could have been easily seen on our faces.

We spent some time clicking ravishing looks of Sahyadri range. You glare at Konkan region from the top.

Now it was time to move back to Pune. Accomplishments were endless, freshness that this trek provided us was eternal and memories were gratifying.

When we looked back it was feeling that I can not describe in words ..You only can understand it when you do it... ;)

As always you can contact me for queries and information. Comments/Suggestions are expected. :)

Shridhar Purandare

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ratangad - Mystic Peak of Sahyadri


I, Shridhar Purandare ,am back with one more trekking destination for travelers and that place is Ratangad in Ahamadnagar District.

Here are some details about the place before you will get baffled by the beauty of it.

Type Hill Fort
District Ahmadnagar
Height above mean sea level 4255 feet
Base Village Ratanwadi, Samrud
Minimum Duration 2 Days
Region Igatpuri
Transport By road :
From Pune 220 kms Route : Pune -(140km by Nashik highway)- Sangamner (by kolhar ghoti road) -Akole - Rajur -Shendi - Samrud -Ratanwadi

By rail: Igatpuri station then take bus to Bhandardara and jeep to Shendi or Ratanwadi
Time to reach the top Ratanwadi route : About 3 hours from the base (easy)
Samrud route: About 4 hours from the base (medium)
Water Availability Water cisterns are available at the top
Best season to visit July to December
Sights to visit Darwajas (Gates), caves, nedhe (natural hole to the hill), Amruteshwar temple, Bhandardara lake.
Difficulty Rating Simple to medium
Shelter Caves at the top (1 small for 3-4 people and one big cave for 10-15 people)

Few interesting things people do not know about this area:

Ratangad was captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji Raje Bhosle and was one of his favorites. The base village Ratanwadi has a beautiful Amruteshwar temple which is famous for its carvings.It is around 1000 years old dating back to the Hemadpant Era Roughly from the 8th Century. The fort is origin for the river Pravara / Amrutvahini . The Bhandardara and Nilonda dams are built on this river.

Indian mythology has said that, once Agastya Rishi meditated by consuming only water and air for a long tenure. Due to his incredible devotion, Lord Shiva appeared, blessed him, and left a stream of Ganga that is now known as Pravara River. Locals say that treasure looted from Surat is kept on this fort.

Our experience:

This was not my first time to trek in Bhadardara region. I have done Alang,Madanm,Kulang and Harishchandra gadh before. With the experience I knew it would be no more than paradise.

Team members: Dhawal(aka Bona), Aditya(Abu),Rahul(Lancer),Prashant(ex Builder) and I(Lambda).

All of us are profound trekkers so we were not worried about Monsoon clouds. We decided to climb up from Samrud route and descend by Ratanwadi route.

1st august 09 :

After few treks you will take not more than few minutes to pack you sack. Make sure that you take as less luggage as you can and en wrap all things with polythene.

We left Pune by 10.30 pm. Nashik highway is pretty well maintained. With few stops we reached Sangamner by 1.30am. Mosquitoes kept us awake till 6am.

2nd August:

Staying at Bus stand, Using leaves of trees as Toilet paper,Drinking water from any source you may find,not caring about how people look at you when you wear shorts and carry big sack, maintaining uncomfortable position on bike or in ST bus for hours, sleeping in most uncomfortable place as if you are sleeping on your bed, traveling when rest of the world is sleeping are few habits of Trekkers wait wait... and even after all this enjoy the beauty of nature to the fullest makes trekkers special.I am proud to be a trekker.

With the route described above we drove to Samrud village. Yashwant rao , local villager help us to park our bikes safely and prepared lunch for us. Rice chapati ( Tandalachi Bhakari), Cabbage and Thecha(recipe made from chilly) made the menu.

It was an awesome experience. By 11pm we left for Ratangadh. We took off some time to see famous Sandhan valley. We bathed in the icy water. Yahswant rao was leading us as the path is very misleading sometimes.

After chilling for half an hour we moved ahead. Yashwant rao showed us various Ayurvedic plants like Hirda( for Cough). Surroundings are grand. You can spot Ajoba, Alang,Madan,Kulang and Kalsubai on the way. Waterfalls welcome you after every few minutes. But most of these waterfalls are subject to good rain.

Cliffs similar to konkan kada also can be seen. This route takes some skills. We also spotted smallest poisonous snake in the world – Saw Scaled Viper . Nature always will test your mettle.
But it gives miraculous beauty in return. Fresh air,foggy atmosphere,clean water,peace and joy every bit of these is priceless. Prashant was inches away from this snake.If you behave well with it then everything is fine.

As we moved further to top of Ratangadh wind speed increased drastically. We crossed tryambak darwaja by 4pm.

Some steps before that makes the trek interesting. These broad and tall steps and take every chunk of your stamina. We went to top to see the Nedhe (Natural hole in the hill). On the way to it wind started flowing at 60-80kmph. I literally had to bend toward wall while walking. At one small patch it was partially successful to blow me off the track. Luckily my grip and Dhawal saved me.

The Nedhe is beautiful and wind flows through it. On a clear day views from top are marvelous.
We were somewhat tired now and headed to cave.

On the way we saw Kunda (Water tank) which is source of Pravara river.

When we reached cave the seen was not that good. Small cave was occupied completely and big cave was covered half by one group. So we occupied place in front of cave door. After unloading sacks and other stuff we were ready to go for crab hunting.
Yashwant rao took us to different areas of fort for hunting. We roamed around covering Kalyan Darwaja and few more water cisterns. We also saw water tank where treasure is hidden (according to Yashwantrao).

After one hour we were able to catch 4 crabs. Two of them were big and and two small.

With successful hunting we came back to cave for cooking. Dhawal and prashant were looking dull and uneasy. They slept till 8pm. We started preparing for dinner. Crab Curry,Maggy Rice,Bread Jam and other snacks made the menu. Vegitarian ate rice while we wiped out Crab Curry and rice. Visibility was decreased to few feet level by that time. Cool breeze was making us shiver time and again.I went to bed by 9pm.

3rd August: We woke up by 7am and hurriedly started return journey. 7 hours tiresome bike ride to Pune was still remaining. With some ladder fun initially rest route was piece of cake for us.

Within 90 minutes were cruising and were just 10 minutes away from Ratanwadi. I decided to cool down in the spring while others were taking snaps.

Ratanwadi has one of the most exquisite surroundings in Monsoon. I was endlessly clicking pics for 15 minutes. Epitome of sculptures, Amruteshwar temple which is about 1000 years old still facinates the tourists.
It is surrounded by rice farms and springs. Indrayani is the rice brand grown out of this area.Jeep was waiting for us to take us to Samrud. With heavy lunch we left for Pune by 1pm. With the prestine environment around driving was a pleasure.

One thing to mention here : As the forts are becoming more and more accessible to people who are not matured enough to go there, plastic pollution is on the rise on moost of the forts. Same is the case with Ratangadh. Public need to be tought about trekking manners which are very simple.

Few Lines about Trekker's manners:

1. Do not throw plastic/undegradable waste anywhere on the planet
2. Plastic includes Beer bottles/Water bottles and polythene too.
3. Do not use your carving skills on the walls/doors/caves of the forts.
4. Make sure to not bring people who do not follow above manners to forts.

We reached Pune by 9pm and readily dispersed to sleep tight.

As always you can contact me for any queries/information. Comments/Suggestions are expected. :)

Shridhar Purandare

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