Monday, 30 January 2012

[Climbing] Mumbra 14th Feb. 2012

Date: 14th February, 2012
Location: Mumbra, Maharashtra, INDIA

My father, an avid trekker, introduced me to this place some 5-6 years back. 

If you are a frequent traveler of Central Railway in Mumbai, you must be quite familiar to Mumbra station, the one after Thane, and the inimitable Rock structure, guarding the Mumbra-devi temple. And not far from the approach steps to the temple, lies about 10 to 15 odd number of boulders, which is an ideal place for Bouldering. Mumbra is gifted with many small natural Boulders about max. 15-20 feet high.

Best part of Mumbra is that it can serve as a perfect half-day hangout. Packing a day's lunch, 2 ltr water bottle, reaching early morning, and enjoying the Rocks until sun gets overhead, and returning back around 3.00 PM would be perfect half-day hangout. Before taking the return route we threw a visit to the temple on the top of hill. 

This place has some boulders for beginners too, but its not recommended for first timers to travel alone. It is better to go with someone experienced. Here is the link to my new another visit to Mumbra. 

Friday, 27 January 2012

Trek to Tikona fort (Vitangad)

Difficulty Rating : Easy
Height: 3580 ft
Location: Malavli (Pune), Maharashtra, INDIA
Per head cost- 210 ₹

Route: Dadar-Lonavala (Express train), Lonavala-Kamshet (Shuttle train), Kamshet-Kale Colony-Tikona Peth (by road). Trek starts at Tikona Peth and a easy trail climbs to the top in 45 minutes. It is recommend to combine the trek to Tung fort with Tikona fort. 

My semester vacations had just begun which was supposed to be the best time for my projects and explore some technical aspects in tronix!!! But nothing much was happening around. Even my circuits were not showing much of intrest in my hardwork. In the first week of January, I got a call from Anup Desai, an Engineering friend, asking me to join his group to Tikona fort, Maval region. Well, I am eveready for any treks!! So we fixed a holiday for the visit.

We caught a first train in the morning to Pune Indryani Express and got down at Lonavla station. A local train was waiting for us & we started our journey towards Kamshet (Lonavla-Malavli-Kamshet). It was really nice to see the vacant  footboard of that local train which is rarely seen in suburbans!! Most of the passengers were sitting quietly, wearing sweaters, wrapped in shawls, blankets and staring at us, tryig to listen our conversation. A group of foreigners, Germans I guess, were enjoying the fine chilly morning & the picturesque of nearby forts. The renowned twin forts Lohagad-Visapur can be easily spotted from the train near Malavli station. After arriving at kamshet and getting our tummies filled with medu wada ,vada paav and cup of  coffee we approached the town bus stand. As we moved on, an amusing notice caught our eye which read...

पुणेरी पाट्या 
At the bus stop we couldn't spot a single bus, but tum-tums & jeeps all around. A nearby paanvala told us that ST would be coming in 5 min. So we waited, waited till the 25th minute was over and decided to take a jeep upto Tikona peth, the village from which the trail starts. We were startled when he told us the fare..700/-.....coz it was too much for a couple of kilometres. We asked the 6-seater auto rikshaw guy, and he told us that they dont travel that far & we will have to take a jeep. Nothing is certain about the ST buses..If the ST bus is scheduled to arrive in 5min, the bus may even turn up after 50-150 min...We were left with no choice but jeep.

Tung Fort & Pawna Backwaters

The road to Tikona peth is full of sharp curves, steep slopes & excellent for those who love adventure driving. The panoramic beauty of Tung fort & Pawna Dam to the right adds a particular gusto to the adventure.

First view from Tikona  Peth
A ~0.5 Km walk on dusty road leads to a parking lot, is the place where the actual trek starts. The trail is clearly visible and the chances of losing it are null thus making the trek pretty easy.We climbed the first slope in ~15 min. and traversed the ridge and arrived at the base of the hillock on which the fort stands.

Along the way there are many noteworthy locations which cant be missed. We came across an amusing carving of Lord-Hanuman, चपेटदान मारुती (Lord Hanuman appears to be slapping a devil under his foot). We clicked a lot of pics here, including a huge Boulder & a tree.

The Ridge climbs to the top. Tung can be seen on right. 
The places worth visiting at the top: The Mahadev temple (महादेवाचे मंदीर), चुन्याचा घाण, पाण्याच्या टाक्या etc. The fort walls are still standing and the main entrance door look sturdy too. The view from the top is amazing, as always. The forts of Visapur, Lohgad, Tung, Bhaat rashi mountain can be seen from the top. 

It was splendid experience to drink naturally chilled water from the water cisterns. The water is available on the fort throughout the year & never dries, the very reason behind building a fort up here !!!! Having filled our water-bottles, we started our descent from the fort and reached Tikona Peth. Every one was hungry & was eagerly waiting to gobble the goodies our mom's had packed for our lunch!!! The temple at the base can be used as the resting place. 

Tung fort, surrounded by Pawna Dam.
It was a perfect trekking day, spent perfectly with equally adventurous group. After coming home  I debugged my audio Amplifier circuit. I really thank Anup for letting me borrow his Nokia C5 for clicking some of the awesome pics & hats off to the old repaired F-80 for not giving any errors.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Trek to Lohagad fort

Height: 3450 ft
Location: Malavali (Pune), Maharashtra, INDIA

Lohagad is famous for its excellent Fortification, eminent Architecture and its famous 'Vinchukata Machi' aka the fortification like Scorpion's tail & machi in marathi means plateau. Lohagadwadi (Base village) can be directly approached by road or by train from Malavli station, next station from Lonavala. Once you get down at Malavli station there is a road which will take you directly to Lohagadwadi. On the way, there are many sites worth visiting, the prominent among them being Bhaje Caves.

Our first destination was Bhaje caves.

A 100 steps climb leads to the first-rate Indian Rock-cut architecture.Bhaje Caves is not far from location of Karla Caves and these are stylistically similar to Karla Caves.Bhaje caves, situated at malavali near Lonavala , pune district are a group of ~22 Buddhist rock-cut caves of First centuary BC located at the foothills of Lohagad-Visapur forts.One can easily notice the catchy features like huge dome shaped prayer hall, 14 stupas & some carvings. 

Having spent a few minutes in a waterfall nearby we started our trek to Lohagad .

Note: No need to get down by the steps again. There is a trail which descends down the slope and takes you to the main road (muddy road) we followed that route and saved a kilometer walk for us !!

Lohagad-Visapur, the twin forts share the same plateau & hence the same approach route, except that from the T junction the road to the right goes to lohagadwadi and a left turn for Visapur fort. (No chance for any wrong turns)

As mentioned earlier the approach route to this fort is damn simple; just a few 'steps' away  from lohagadwadi.

Visapur fort
(The fortification is visible from the base)
History of Lohagad:

Lohagad has a long & stirring history. It was ruled by many dynasties right from Satavahans, Chalukyas, Nizamshahi, Mughals to the Great Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Shivaji Maharaj captured the fort in 1648 right after conquering Torna.Netaji palkar was given the responsibility of looking after the fort. Lakshmi kothi was used to store the treasure raided from surat. In the treaty of purandar 1665, Lohagad was lost to Aurangzeb, under Mirzaraje Jaysingh. Shivaji Maharaj Recaptured this fort in 1670.Aurangzeb recaptured it after Shivaji Maharajs death in 1700 ; and after the peshwas it finally went in hands of Colonel prother.

Worth watching:

There are four main entrance to the fort namely Narayan darwaza, Ganesh darwaza, Maha darwaza, Triambakeshwar darwaza & Hanuman darwaza, the latter being the oldest of em' all. The main gate is also known as 'Delhi Gate'. All the Darwaza has some notable carvings on it which you can't miss. Carving of lord Hanuman on Hanuman Darwaza is its prominent feature.The Durgah, Octagonal reservoir,  few Cannons, other cisterns & panoramic view of Tung-Tikona, Visapur, Pawna Dam add to the list.

And regardless of the Rule of the different dynasties, destruction caused by the constant battles, wrekage by the English rulers, the Fort stands Strong, as tough as Iron & deserves the name Lohagad!!!!

Group photo
(Don't search me, u wont find me here, coz i clicked it)