Saturday, July 28, 2012

Bhimashankar trek from Karjat.The King of all treks

Bhimashankar trek from Khandas near Karjat.The King of all treks

The reason why I am calling it as king of all treks is because 
1) Very long walk(Almost 12 to 15 kms from base village through long and difficult route)
2) Never ending steep climbs till the end
3)All aspects of a trek is covered like Crossing ferocious rivers,walking long distances,steep climbs,rock climbing and all this through a wildlife sanctuary

Height in meters(1008 meters)
Height from Base village:(850 meters/ almost 2.5 times more climbing and 10 times difficult than Rajgad,Raigad,Sinhagad)
Total time takes for the trek: 3.5 hours
Grade Rating: Easy from Ganesh ghat and moderate to little difficult from Shidi ghat(Ladder route)
Base village: Khandas Taluka Karjat dist Raigad

Well I earlier planned Ganesh ghat the easy route for Bhimashankar and conveyed this trek plan through email to all colleagues but finally only 3 people including me were ready hence after reaching Khandas,We decided that we will be using Shidi ghat to reach Bhimashankar and that day,it already rained early morning and weather was clear hence no possibility of heavy rains till we reach the top hence Shidi ghat was finalized and the easy Ganesh ghat route was cancelled.

Also now I am looking to do Durg-Dhakoba trek soon.Reason because if I do this trek,There will be a record against my name of trekking each and every mountain continuos in Sahyadris right from Salher-Mulher-Mangi Tungi till Bhimashankar.Only Durga-Dhakoba near Darya ghat Junnar is remaining in between.

How to reach the base village Khandas

We took Sinhagad express from Shivajinagar around 6:12 am and reached Karjat till 8:00 pm
From Karjat,we took a bus till Kashele 22 kms from Karjat on Murbad road
From Kashele,we and another group of trekkers totally 8 people hired a Omni for 200 rupees(25 rupees each) till Khandas village
We reached  Khandas around 10:00 am
From Khandas,it was again a 3 kms walk till the bridge from where the trek starts
We reached around 10:45 am till the bridge
After the bridge,towards right,the road is to Ganesh ghat,straight is to Shidi ghat and left is to some other village nearby

Bhimashankar has two routes from Khandas village

1) Ganesh ghat:It is an easy route but very very long route traversing the neighbouring Padar fort and reaching Bhimashankar upper Plateau.It takes 4 hours or more through Ganesh ghat.Through this route,from bridge after Khandas,take right and this route traverses through longer way and reaches a Ganesh temple.Further there is a well.From that well,take left towards Bhimashankar.Towards right,there is a tricky road to Padar fort from that well.

2) Shidi ghat:-It is a tough route but well defined one through steep climbs up and down,crossing ferocious rivers,waterfalls deep into the forests,climbing rocks and of-course ladders affixed into rockfaces.One has to be very cautious while going through this route and not recommended for beginners.

(For more details of map routes, see the first photograph where details are given)

We started the trek around 10:45 to 11:00 am from that bridge.The ganesh ghat route was crowded and noisy hence we decided to go through Shidi ghat.Hardly 5% of that crowd were going by Shidi ghat hence it was good one.
Right from the start of that route,the steep climb welcomes you and in 30 minutes of walking,you encounter a waterfall in deep forests and a flowing river over waterfall.
After crossing this river, again the steep climb continues and after 1 hour of trek is finished,you encounter the first ladder affixed in rock.
The scene from this is immaculate from this point.You can see huge waterfalls, clouds sailing all over and greenery everywhere in form of dense forests hide and seek game between sun and clouds going hand in hand
After crossing the first ladder,there are rock patches all over hence after careful climbing of 1 hour and after crossing the remaining 2 ladders,you can reach few huts on a flat pleateau
After reaching here,you reach halfway mark.At this point,the route coming from Ganesh ghat meets the Shidi ghat route.
This point is the halfway/Interval of the trek
At this point,you can get tea/snacks and food also
From here,again the steep climb starts.These steep climbs are like a never ending story.It continues on and on.When we feel like the trek is almost coming to an end,one more steep climb is in your way and this happens almost 10 to 12 times thus the steep climbs are never ending ones
Finally after 3.5 to 4 hours hours of walking from the base village,you finally reach the open ground on the top nearby the stairs of Bhimashankar Temple(You can feel it due to huge noise because in month of Shravan,there are almost 2 lakhs devotees visiting Bhimashankar)
We started the trek around 10:45 to 11:00 am and reached Bhimashankar top around 3:15 pm.We tried to see whether we can get the Darshan but seeing the crowd,it was impossible for us till 5 to 6 hours to get into the temple hence around 4:30 pm,we moved back to Pune to reach Shivajinagar till 8:00 pm
Thus an interesting journey came to an end here

Here are the photographs

Reference Map of Bhimashankar trek from Khandas village.This is just a reference map providing general information of the trek.It does not guarantee accuracy

Khandas village and Bhimashankar in background

The Trek Route.You might be thinking that Bhimashankar is this much high only.But more than half part is not visible due to clouds.This is just 30%  part visible and it takes almost 2 hours to complete this part through difficult route.You can see how steep rock faces are there.Ladders are fixed in these rockfaces

The Shidi ghat route

The first Ladder

Anirban on the ladder

Myself on the ladder with our new trek colleague Dipti

Scene from the Ladder route.Yes you have to traverse through such narrow path and steep climbs.It is not easy through this route

This was the trek route.Somewhat difficult on the edges and on the ladders affixed in rock.Also some rock climbing was involved by this route.
Padar fort or Kalavantin Mahal seen behind

A close view of Padar fort neighbouring Bhimashankar.The Ganesh ghat route traverses through this fort and joins Bhimashankar.This fort is difficult to climb

Dipti near the final ladder of Bhimashankar

I and Anirban near during the final climb of Bhimashankar

Through the forests with clouds sailing all over

Scene while climbing Bhimashankar.Half cloudy and Half part in  bright sunshine
A view from Bhimashankar top

Finally reached at Bhimashankar after long trek of 3.5 hours

Our Trek group Left to Right Anirban, Dipti and Myself

Monday, July 9, 2012

Patta fort Vishramgad

Patta fort Vishramgad

Patta or Vishramgad (1396 meters) from mean sea level

Patta/Vishramgad fort is spread to almost 10 kilometers east to west and almost 7 kilometers north to south
Thus this fort is having a vast expanse hence many base villages

Base villages for Patta fort
1) Pattawadi, Taluka Akole dist Ahmednagar
2) Kokanwadi Taluka Akole dist Ahmednagar
3) Tirdhe, Taluka Sinnar Dist Nasik
4) Taaked ,Taluka Igatpuri dist Nasik
5) Ninvi-Girwadi Near Deolali camp Taluka and District Nasik

Patta /Vishramgad fort  is located in Kalsubai range a mountain range which emerges from Sahyadris at Alang-Kulang and Madangad forts near Igatpuri and run east-west direction till Sinnar in Nasik District 
Kalsubai the highest mountain in Maharashtra(1648 meters) is located in this mountain range hence this range is called as Kalsubai range
Patta fort is 4th mountain east of Kalsubai towards Deolali -Sinnar but geographically this fort is located in Akole Taluka of Ahmednagar

How to reach here
By ST bus,it is very inconvinient
From Akole ST bus stand,there is ony one bus around 4:30 pm to paach-pattewadi.You need to get down at a village nearby and walk around 4 kms to reach Pattawadi till evening,make an overnight stay in that village and climb Patta fort from here next day and come back
From Sinnar in Nasik,there are buses to Konambe village and from there,you need to walk till Tirdhe village and then by Traversing Avandh fort,you need to reach Patta fort in 4 hours through Dilli Darwaza(Shown in one photograph below)
From Bhandardara/Akole,there are few buses and jeeps to Ekdara village and from there you need to walk around 2 hours to reach Pattawadi and climb this fort

Thus if you want to trek this fort,you need to have your own vehicle and drive around 400 kms a day(From Pune/Mumbai).That is the only convinient way

History of Patta fort
Patta fort earlier belonged to Mughals but in year 1671,Moropant Pingle was on a mission of capturing forts in Nasik and Baglan range and thus in year 1672,Moropant Pingle was succesful to capture this fort
Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj during raid on Jalna in year 1679 rested for some time near Sangamner and unfortunately the Maratha army was siezed from all sides by Mughal army and Shivaji Maharaj was ill during that time. Bahirji Naik succesfully rescued Shivaji Maharaj and took him to Patta fort. Shivaji Maharaj stayed on this fort for around 1.5 months to recover from illness(After Rajgad and Raigad,Patta is the only fort where Shivaji Maharaj stayed for this much long time)

During Peshwa period,this fort was used as a hill station by royal families.Later during British rule,freedom fighters used this fort for their place of hiding hence it was destroyed and dismantled by britishers after year 1820.Now only few remains of palaces are seen

Following are photographs with description

Vast expanse of Patta fort seen on the way

The huge spread and traverse of Patta fort.From one end to other,it is almost 10 kms long

On the way to Patta fort,A Plateau on the way.After walking 3 kms,you reach a plateau above Pattawadi village

Cannons on way to Patta fort

Reaching halfway fom Pattawadi village

Approaching caves where Samadhi of Laxmangiri Maharaj is located

Samadhi of Laxmangiri Maharaj at a cave on Patta fort



Pattai devi temple

Dilli Darwaza the route from Avandh fort via Tirdhe meets here

Water tank on Patta fort.This water is supplied to Pattawadi village

Remains of Palace on top


Inside Palace

The point from where cannons were fired from this fort

Nearby Patta fort summit

From Patta fort summit.A very very strong wind was blowing here and it was enough  to blow away anybody

Kokanwadi village seen below from Patta fort Summit

Traverse of Patta fort towards Avandh

Near Saptateerth on Patta fort


Mahakaal mountain(1450 meters) near Ekdara the neighbour of Patta fort and Kalsubai(Not seen due to dense clouds and fog)

Close view of Mahakaal Mountain and Bitandgad(Extreme right mountain) in the Sahyadris range
Mhaiswalan ghat on road to Igatpuri

Windmills on way to Taaked in Mhais-walan ghat

Scene from Mhaiswalan ghat

Taaked village near Igatpuri

Sarvateerth at Taaked.There is one Jataayu temple and Ram temple in its surroundings.