This is second of the series of my attempt to pen down my trekking journey in the Sahyadris. I am covering, today, treks I have been part of in the year 1999. Please refer this to read earlier post of this series.
In April of that year, we went to visit Bhuleshwar near Pune on NH9. Bhuleshwar is a 13th century Shiva temple built in rocks, on the top of the hill. The hill is in fact a fort called Daulatmangal. It is a small fort, there is nothing much except the temple on it. Later in April itself, in scorching heat, took a challenge of dual trek from Rajgad to Torna fort. Rajgad is a majestic fort, and also a with huge expanse. In fact, Shivaji wanted to make this as his capital before opting for Raigad. Torna happened to be the first fort Shivaji conquered. We went to Rajgad first and went to Torna top to top itself. We stayed on Rajgad-this was my very first night out on a fort. I loved the stay, cooking food with other trekkers and having fun, talking about the forts, and the history which charged us. The trek was quite a unique in nature with this historical background and also the way we visited them. In June, during rains, went to Madhumakarandgad. It was fun traveling by state transport bus(ST bus) to base village. These ST buses are lifelines of rural Maharashtra. This fort is situated near famous hill station Mahabaleshwar about 120 km from Pune. From the top of the top, the view of Koyna dam, its backwater can be seen.
In Oct, I happened to visit Jeevdhan fort and a pass named Naneghat which at least 2000 years old, dated to Satvahana days. Naneghat is a pass cut in the sharp edge of Sahyadri mountains to allow trade. It wide enough to allow horses and men alike to pass very comfortably. At one end of the pass, one can find rock cut caves having statues of Satvahana king and queens along with epigraphs. Jeevdhan fort is also impressive massive doors and huge steps built in stones. During wars of 1857, Britisher must have bombed it, because of one can find many parts in ruins. There is another uniquely shaped hillock near Naneghat, which is called Nanacha Anghta(literally meaning Nana’s thumb) due to its thumb shaped structure.
In Nov, Harishchandragad towards east of Pune through organization called Zep which literally means a leap. We climbed this one from the base village of Pachnai. The unique attraction of this fort is an area called Konkan Kada which a semi-circular shaped cliff, which is considered as mountaineers’ paradise. We got back via another route named after a pass called Tolar Khind. The views from the top of the fort are spectacular. We stayed in a old temple for the night. This trek is moderate in difficulty, challenges your walking ability for long hours.
In Dec, I visited a sea fort called Murud Janjira with my office colleagues. Coastal Maharashtra and even Goa, is dotted with many sea forts built by various kings and rulers. This fort was lastly captured by Siddis and they never lost control over it. I had visited this fort few years back earlier, soon after I was out of college.
This was my second year in serious trekking and enriching me further. I ended up buying few books on trekking, and started following it closely. Slowly, it had started sinking in me. Watch out what year of 2K bought new adventures for me in the next blog.