In this blog-third of the series, I am intending to narrate my trekking experiences for the year of Y2K. Please refer to earlier posts in this series.
Though I had gotten opportunities to travel way south for work this year, I had to wait till May for real trekking opportunity when I went to Raigad in Kokan region. This fort is unique place in the history of Shivaji as it was his capital and had spent close to 15 years of his life here. There is a rope-way as well built recently which is what we took to reach top. We climbed down by foot though. This is majestic fort, with lot of monuments on the top still in good state. One can easily guess how this fort could have been during its hey-days.
Later in July, visited fort called Tikona towards north-west of Pune. It got this name mostly due to its triangular shape. It is a tiny fort for ascend. Once you reach the top, you van view vast expanse of backwaters of Pavana dam. The peripheral wall is intact. On the far side, one can spot fort Tung rising sharply in the skies.
In Aug, I visited hill fort of Panhala near southern Maharashtra’s historic city of Kolhapur. This place is all green in rains, with clouds at your steps. Panahla is also famous for Maratha king Shivaji’s escape to nearby fort Vishalgad, with help of heroic efforts of his general Bajiprabhu Deshpande. The drama, BTW, happened during rainy season in 16th century. I could not visit the place(actually a pass in the mountains) where the battle took place, is now called Pavankhind(which means holy pass) during that trek, until 12 years later when visited that place while we were on luxury trip with friends and families to a resort in that area.
In the month of October, I joined my club, to visit a fort called Vairatgad which is off NH-4, approximately 100 km south of Pune. It is a massive fort, with good amount of walking to reach the top. This fort is considered to be dated as back as 11th century, built by King Bhoj. One can see water tanks carved out of the black stone filled with water, many a times, with green colored water, due to moss grown. This is common feature which can be noticed on most of the forts.
Later in December, visited black buck sanctuary called Rehekuri Wildlife Sanctuary near Pune in the Ahemadnagar district and nearby village called Morachi Chincholi which is famous for colony of peacocks who are looked after by villagers.
The year Y2K ended for me with this trek. The times were changing. So far, me and my trekking buddies were all for frugal trekking, to get that real feel of keeping it raw. It also gave us good exposure of village life as we would stay in villager’s huts many a time, eat with them. We also would prefer public transport as far as possible. The focus now, started shifting towards saving time during treks, we started taking private vehicles, and also engaged into trekking to forts much farther from Pune. More about that in next blog as I take you through year 2001.