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Thursday, 3 September 2009

Sudhagad

Sudhagad has been on my mind for a long time. We had in fact set out for Sudhagad with some kids last year but due to traffic we ended up in Karnala.

When one of my friends expressed her decision to go to valley of flowers and that she needed a practice trek, I decided that Sudhagad it would be. There were 2 girls and me. Both the girls had not much experience of trekking in the sahyadris. So I somehow convinced my friend Shantanu to join me as he could be of support to me.

We took the 445 a.m. bus from Mumbai Central ST Stand and got off at Wakan Phata. from there we got a 8 seater ricksha to take us to Pachchapur from where the trek starts. We had some light breakfast at Wakan before we started for the base village.

We started the trek at around 9 am. Considering that the place is slightly cut off and distant from Mumbai I was not expecting a crowd here. But when we started we were surprised to see a huge group of Gujrati jains (around 250 in number) waiting in a queue for their turn to start trekking.

Well we were stuck. We were not able to decide whether we should let them go ahead of us or whether we should overtake them. The climb was easy but there was a continuous gradient which made it a bit tiring. The new ladders were very sturdy and it was very windy.

We took breaks in between. I ran out of sugar (suddenly felt blacked out) so stopped for a dose of glucose powder. Finally we reached the top at around 1115.

The peak was really huge. There was a plateau at the top. Also there was a beautiful view on all the sides. The view of the Tel Baila range was spectacular. There was a nice lake which captivated us to the point that we spend at least an hour sitting on its banks. My friend Shantanu being a very good photographer took some nice angles from his camera. After a while we started looking for the wada where we could have shelter to have our food. We also wanted to visit the Bhoraimata temple which was near the wada. This Goddess is the ruler of the ghats and is very much revered in the region. It is believed that the temple was consecrated by the great Rishi Bhrigu and has been there since ancient times.

The fort has a huge history to it. In fact this fort had made it to the final shortlist of Shivaji Maharaj before he chose Raigad over sudhagad as the capital of his kingdom. It was not difficult to see reason for the shortlist. The place had a breathtaking view of the whole area. Hence it was strategically located and from here one could observe any movement in the whole area. The plateau on the top was huge enough to accomodate a city. Potable water is available the whole year round. What more could anyone ask for.

The darshan of the goddess was also an experience in itself. When I entered the temple, I really could feel the power in there. The vibrations were really powerful and there was a strange sanctity to the place. I prayed for restoration of my health (I rarely pray for myself) and promised that I would offer a saree if I was cured completely.

We had our food and it was already around 230 by then. We were to return by the other route from Dhondse. However someone mentioned to us that the route was tougher. Also the last bus from there was at 415 and with the pace of our group we had no chance of getting that bus. So we returned by the same route that we took to go uphill.

Coming downhill was a huge effort. Not because it was tough but because the girls who were part of our group had a fear of heights. It took us more than 3 hours to come down. A bit more than what it took for us to climb.

Finally we reached the village only to realise that the next bus to Pali was only after more than an hour. We were lucky to get a lift from another trekking group to Pali from where we took a ST to Khopoli and then a train to Mumbai.

After a long time, we had a trek using public transport. It was reminiscent of the old times when we used to trek only using public transport.

We have come a long way since then. Earlier all of us were students. We didnt have enough money and there were times when we have even travelled atop cargo in trucks, and saved money for our extra vadapavs.

Now we are earning and are more accustomed to a luxurious lifestyle. Our lives have changed. Our conveyance to trekking points have changed. But treks are still the same fun

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