There are always dozen of answers ready for our usual question: "बोला, पुढची भटकंती कुठे?" This time we were tired with the tough trek of the "कलावंतिण दुर्ग... फक्त एक चूक आणि...खल्लास...!!!" and we were looking for the relatively simpler yet some serene trek which will be quite away from the city and will also give our new members a chance to see the सह्याद्री miracles without loosing their interests due the tiresome trek. The weeklong vis-a-vis with the भटकी टोली we zeroed on the fort Chavand.
How to reach: Pune- Narayangao-Junnar-Chavand
Time to travel- 3 hrs max from Pune
Distance from Pune- 105km
Base village- Chavandwadi
Ways to reach the top- Shidichi Waat from AshramShala.
Water availability: Not known to us, But anyone carry the water which will be sufficient for one hour trek.
The regular members were me (Pankaj), Santosh and Sourabh. The guest members were Huzefa (nowadays he's quite regular now), Jarron, Sachin aka Sachchu, Suresh (the one who couldn't make to the top in Torana trek) and Vikram aka Vicky (remember this name for some reason, and you will lol subsequently reading through the blog). Hats off to Vikram who was with us on the trek in the morning after a night shift in the office.
All were set in the cars (this time the machines were Maruti 800 and Baleno) after picking everyone from different places within the city. All of us introcuced each other (esp. guests) except the one who preferred to be on phone call being an very important call of his frend (off course girl). Later we discovered that he was on call for almost one and half hour and once he switched to the another phone after screwing the battery of the first one. After a couple of treks in that region (Junnar and around) we were well versed with the route and particularly the fuel and food joints. Everything was going as per the plan till we full'ed our fuel tanks. When we asked the guy at fuel station to check the tyre pressure of our M-800 we were actually seeing the pressure going down from 23psi to 11psi. None of us were clear about the intentions of that guy whether he was filling air from his compressor to car tyres or charging his compressor with the air from our tyres :). The regular food court स्वामिनी was as usual serving us our favorite मिसळ पाव and the steaming tea at a reasonable price. Being only single mouth'ed our good "phoney" friend also preferred to have a breakfast with us rather than a phone talks and got introduced to us.
But with this breakfast and tea was not sufficient for our पेट की आग after we climb up the fort. So as soon as I saw bananas on a roadside I yelled to Huzi to stop car and made Santosh to buy few for us. Reaching Chavand was real visual retreat for the sight after sub-standard approach roads.
Once we parked the cars, those too exhaled a sigh of relief on those roads. We started our climb up from the आश्रम शाला in the Chavandwadi village. Getting up was a little bit difficult task in the first half, being a slippery soil part till we reach the steps. The fine rock cut steps with the railing on side was no more relief for the guest members. Their excitement ended when they saw the written message on the rock "शिडीवर वजन देऊ नये" making them aware of the risk of the dancing railings. All we have to hold support was the mere that railing, which was tied with the merely thin steel wire. When regular trekkers managed to be at top within 40-45 mins the guests, too, were not far behind, as they were merely 10mins late. Reaching top was the "on tp of the world" experience and there was some fortification remaining there. Seeing the dwarf banana trees on the top we too realized that we need to share the load of Santosh and none was left behind to grab those bananas. After a roam around we realized that this trek was fairly simple than our previous experience and still there is more than a half day for us left.
Someone tossed the idea of Naneghat (नाणेघाट) and everyone supported, keeping in mind that no one is going to come back this far from the city to see that serene palce. Though few of us had already seen the place before (An affair to remember... Naneghat Trek- Episode #1, An affair to remember... Naneghat Trek- Episode #2 and An affair to remember... Naneghat Trek- Episode #3 ) but it has been always "the place to be" for us.
Reaching Naneghat was the "Dakar Rally" for us to drive with almost zero road. Our pilots did a very good job (round of applause please...!!!) to reach there. Our deal of the day was fixed up by Santosh with 2 full गावरान chickens and भाकरी with rice, that too in 600 odd Rupees at same Pansare uncle's (the one who helped us in the our previous Naneghat trek) home in Ghatghar village near Naneghat. The cave at Naneghat was as divine as it should be (probably well maintained by the trekkers like us, but uglified at the few spots by writing the names on the walls). The small hill at the top of Naneghat gives you a scenic misty view of the Jivdhan fort, Konkan region and the famous नानाचा अंगठा (Nana's thumb), वानरलिंगी aka खडा पारशी. Everyone in the guest members were stunned to see the place and that hawk eye view of the valley down.
Once we returned to the Naneghat village everyone was drooling for the chicken and all of us टूट पड़े on that, except Suresh and Sourabh satisfied themselves on घासफूस lunch. When we were having our lunch Pansare uncle's doggy was not the happy fellow and started to irritate us in between. The our complains made uncle to shout "विक्या, गप रे..." (Now remember when I asked you to remember one name...if you don't go back to first few lines and read it once. :) hehehehe...).
Reaching back to Pune was also horrifying experience for the drivers to drive on a two lane road and opposite vehicles always speeding by us with theie high beams right penetrating our eyes for an unwanted glare. Still Huzi and Sachchu managed to bring us back in Pune single piece. Thanks guys, you rocked.
All images of this trek are available at the links:
As usual "बोला, पुढची भटकंती कुठे?"