Sunday, 7 June 2015

A Pathway Of Bright Fireflies - Shrivardhan Fort 2015

Fireflies, weekend, trip, forts and a lot of history. It was a beautiful post summer start monsoons period and a night trail scheduled to Rajmachi, a beautiful village on a hill top. When I initially came across it I was super excited. And then, I asked my friend who I haven’t met in nearly a year (I know man Sid, we need to do this more often!) Siddharth if we could make it. After a lot of cribbing and all of his +1’s backing out, cause I alone am not good enough for him (Hahaha.) He finally decided to come with me even though he’s really been the one who was asking me about my trekking plans and wanting an invite (Hahaha, kidding man. You are my broo.) I then spoke to Mayyur (Wild Rangers Founder, and my new treks organiser buddy. Great guy!) and confirmed us both. And there was no point throughout my week when I did not look forward to going for the trip. I love the wait, and the excitement that comes with planning your next trip. Its something people should do more often. It will really light up your week.

It was finally Saturday and time to go! I met Sid to catch a train. I got a little late (Okay, maybe a little more than little.) we missed the Chennai Express (No not the movie, it's a name of train! I know right? What are the odds.) we took the next one, luckily Wild Rangers, know people do happen to get late, so did give us some options of later trains. After reaching we soon took rickshaws and reached the base point. We started our walk after the round of intros. 36 people or so I think it was the group, and people from different walks of life a few first timers and many regular trekkers. It was a dark cold summer night, and you could feel the warm breeze pass you by. We initially started seeing a few fireflies. And then we saw so many, way too many. There were patches there lighting up trees and bushes with these beautiful beings. You’d never see light in such a pure form. Its like a glimpse of beam and then bam gone and back again. I have never really seen fireflies before and this was surely a special part of the trip. A must go too if you are a nature lover.

It was a lot of walking and climbing nearly 15 kms from the base point (This is what Mayyur claims.) took us roughly around 5 hours with short halts for snacks and getting some air. Its not that hard of a path initially. The last few kilometers however is quite a task, with rocky sides and uneven levels. Also steep rising paths, so one needs to really climb and strain their legs to be able to proceed. Still I’d say this would be between a medium and easy trek and just requires a good amount of endurance. We walked and walked, we could see the beautiful mountains sleep and the thin silver cloud linings cover their beautiful peaks. The night past us by, and early we reached sat down, and Mayyur points at spots where we could crash. And bam, we were gone. There’s nothing like a good few hours of sleep after a lot of walking. We then soon woke up in a few hours and started our walk towards the fort post breakfast. Its a nice walk with a good patch initially with stairs from the village, there’s also a temple that comes on the way. There’s then the rocky patch and a bit of a climb. Shrivardhan Fort is one of the two hill forts that constitute the Rajmachi fortification, the other being Manaranjan Fort. At 3000 feet above the group it was the taller of the two peaks. Other than a rampart there is no visible construction. It was probably used at a watchtower for the Sahyadri region. There are two water tanks at the top of the hill but one of them has an iron pillar in it. It is built in Maratha style, and the entrance of the fort is semicircular in shape. A cave, belonging to the Buddhist period can be seen there. The fort provides picturesque views of Lohagad, Visapur, Tungi and Korigadh. A temple, dedicated to Shri Bhairavnath, is located between Shrivardhan and Manoranjan forts.

Once we reached up, and explored it surely seemed like a mighty well kept fort of that time. Spread across the entire top of the mountain it seemed to showcase what our culture and traditions are about. There are flags and major end points and patches with pillars, stairs and remainings from the past. A great place to visit if you love history and architecture.  Also Note to all people deciding to go to the fort during summer, do take a lot of water. Cause there is not much water up there, and the heat really does get to you after a point. So yes, don’t forget. (Sid, back me up.). We ended up drinking water from one of the water tanks. Yes Mayyur did try to filter the particles (Oh my, as I type I realise what circumstances tend to make you do.) with a cloth. And did taste okay, which I think anything would taste like at that point. So then we had it, I’m still alive so is Sid and the others who had it, and we didn’t fall ill. But really you don’t want to be taking that risk. So take care.

We soon head down, had some nice nimbu pani and the temple point. And then head down further and reached the village. We enjoyed some nice desi lunch. Oh the red spicy thing, and papad, bakhri, rice and baji, what else could man really need? (Loved it.) We then had to make a choice to either end the trail by taking a cab back to the station or descending back down towards Karjat and visiting the Kondana Caves. So since I did do Kondana Caves recently, and because Sid needed to get to a friends function we did decide with quite a few others to call it a day, even though it wasn’t a easy decision and we really wanted to cover the entire trip with the group. I don’t regret the decision one bit though it was what seemed best to do in the circumstances. And I did check with Mayyur about the Caves after, apparently the heat go to the rest and it wasn’t as much fun at all. (Of course I wasn’t there. But still :P). So that was the end a ride back in a car from the path we walked all night filled with conversations. Then a bus to the station and a train ride back home.

This was quite a quality and well planned trip. Props to Wild Rangers and all those who were involved in making this happen. I am really looking forward to my next trip.

Pictures of the Fort  (Shrivardhan Fort 2015) :
Show some love to Wild Rangers too and Mayyur:
This is Mr. Happy (Or you can call me Al) signing off, until next time.
Have a great day, and an adventurous weekend! :)                        
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Alvin Anthony

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