In this series related to my trekking journey over years, I am going to detail out my expeditions in the year of 2003. Please refer below links for blogs on earlier trekking years.
At the beginning of the year itself, I got opportunity to venture outside of Sahyadris. I went for a business trip to Delhi, and my wish to visit land forts in and around Delhi came true. I happened to visit Red Fort and also Purana Qila, Tughlaqabad Fort. All of these forts been capital of Delhi at different times. In fact, it is said that Delhi had ancient seven capital areas or cities, of which Purana Qila and Tughlaqabad are part of it. Red Fort Lutyen’s New Delhi are more modern capital areas of Delhi.
I happened to visit Delhi recently, about which I have written elaborately here, especially about landmark of Lutyen’s architecture Rashtrapati Bhavan.
In month of March that year, I joined Yuvashakti group from Pune for a trek to Ratangad. There are more than 3-4 forts named as Ratangad in Sahyadri mountains. This is near Bhandardara near Pune. The Amruteshwar temple at the base is also very beautiful.
In the month of April, visited fort of Tung which stands tall, now by backwaters of Pavana dam. This fort has been immortalized by Go Ni Dandekar’s novel Pavanakathcha Dhondi(पवनाकाठचा धोंडी). I also have in my collection the audio book of this novel, which I listen to many times. I also happened to trace the trails on the hills in and around Pune. This has been long dream of mine. I started from Chaturshringi Temple hill and trailed all the way to Chandani Chowk via Vetal hill. i have written about hills of Pune in another blog.
After some break on trekking for few months, my next trekking opportunity came in the rains, in month of September, when I visited fort of Kamalgad near, historic and heritage laden town of Wai about which I have written here. As the country reaches end of monsoon, the top of the hills and forts turn in to literally valley of flowers. And Kamalgad was no exception. One can get a majestic view of Dhom dam from the top of the fort.
The winter season is best for trekking, and I did not miss, with four treks in the space of October, November and December months of the winter. First, during my vacation to Mumbai, we trekked to fort of Malanggad(or Haji Malang).
The fort vista from far is majestic due to its several cliffs. But the fort top is not so pretty sight due to constant rush of crowd due to pilgrimage place. Later in the winter, I made a yet another trip to twin forts of Lohagad and Visapur, which is so near to Pune on the way to Mumbai. Next month, visited fort called Chawand or Prasannagad near town of Junnar in Pune district. This is famous for its array of water storage tanks on the fort which are still in good condition. One can get a view Manikdoh dam backwaters from the top of the fort. We also were able to visit nearby Kukadeshwar temple, which is ancient temple built in stone.
Later I also visited highest peak in Maharashtra which is Kalasubai, again near fort Ratangad which I had visited earlier this year. My year ended with visit to Daman and Silvasa, erstwhile Portuguese colony, like Goa, towards north of Mumbai.
This was my Christmas vacation. During that trip, visited land forts by the creek of Daman Ganga river in the Arabian seas, called Nani and Moti Daman forts(literally means small and big Daman), which were built by Portuguese. There used to be a bridge over the creek between these forts which happened to be on the both banks of the creek, collapsed few months before our visit.