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Harishchandragad Monsoon trek -Vrangers

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Adventure, fun, love for nature and fuelling the hopeless addiction of exploring
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on Monday, 19 September 2011
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We started out for this magnanimous hill fort around 12.00 mid-night from Kayan ST Bus Stand. It took us nearly two and half hours to reach Khubi Phata. The distance from Khubi phata to the Base village called Khireshwar is nearly 4 kms.

We started out on the uneven path from Khubi Phata, amidst the heavy fog, and the path was faintly visible to our eyes. Armed with torch and heavy bags we strode on. On both sides, there were dense clouds, even the Dam water lake was not visible.

We reached the base Khireshwar village around 4.30 a.m. and from there we started our climb to Tolar khind. Before reaching Tolarkhind we crossed the dense forest area where the leopards roam around in night, So it is always advisable to be in group rather than moving alone ahead or staying back.

We had our breakfast at Tolarkhind with self made Vegetable Sandwiches, I mean we sliced onions, tomatoes, applied butter and home-made chutney, and finally we all relished it.

Again after 10 minutes break we started off. There was a fantastic rock patch, it was really adrenaline pumping patch, not so dangerous except at some places where it was quite slippery, but the view from the top of rock patch was astounding. Nevermind the danger of falling, anyone would be tempted to fly away to capture the scenic beauty.

After the rock patch we had to cross seven hillocks to reach the destination. The picturesque view of different coloured flowers doesnt even make you aware that you have passed those hillocks so fast. There were carpets of white flowers, yellow flowers, purple and blue inflorescence on different hillocks. As if we have entered valley of flowers. The path is simple not much tedious, we just kept on walking and walking enjoying the fog covered mountains, the cascading waterfalls, the flowing streams, the chirping birds and noisy woods,till we saw the crown of Harishchandreshwar temple. We all got in, and settled ourselves in the caves that were located behind the temple. They were quite clean infact. We earmarked the spaces that we required to sleep, since it was peak time of the season and many groups frequent this place, so it is always better to reside in one as soon as a cave is found empty or else it becomes a problem to locate a place to rest in night. The harishchandreshwar Temple has got beautiful carvings on its walls, being very old and some sculptures can also been read. It is said that Sant Changdev stayed here for some time in 14th century and completed his manuscript - 'Tatwasaar'. The Nandi and Shivling in the temple are really wonderful. The fascinating thing about this temple is that it has been carved out from a single huge rock. There are entrances from all four sides. On the main entrance there are sculptures of faces. These are faces of guards of the temple. On the left side of the entrance is a Devnagri inscription. On left side of temple there is a well- built lake called "Saptatirtha". On its bank there are temple-like constructions in which there were idols of Lord Vishnu. When we visited it was not there, after going through many sites, I found that they were shifted to the caves near Harishchandreshwar temple.

Since we reached around mid-noon, we rested for two hours and started off for konkan kada by three p.m., We had tea which was arranged by Ananda in the cave by some villagers, set off to Konkan Kada, it was raining heavily, and because of that we couldn't get the view from top. Although, we enjoyed by strolling around, getting ourselves clicked, singing and dancing amidst the heavy fog, it was heavenly experience. Due to the concave shape of the cliff, any particle which was thrown from edge would eventually got thrown up by the winds that crash to these cliffs. So, I had fun by throwing some grasses into the edge and swishhhhhhh it would fly high enough to disappear in thick fog. It was the most exciting part of this trip.

We descended to our dwelling by 5.00 p.m. had our simple, tasty filling dinner of Rice, Bhakhri, Pitti and slept by 10.00 p.m. Nilesh made a small bonfire to keep us warm, it was very cold as the night set in. I wrapped myself with Ananda's jacket and Rubens sleeping bag took care of my legs. Its lesson for me, next time I will go prepared with blanket to save myself from shivering to death. LOL. Saturday got over and Sunday was about to start.

We got up around 5.00 a.m. - 6.00 a.m. We aborted the plan to visit Taramati peak because of dense fog that surrounded each and every nook and corner.

After finishing of with breakfast of Kanda pohe, biscuits & tea, we visited some caves, in one of them, there was huge Lord Ganesh's Carving, some of these caves are used by trekkers to reside during night. There was Kedareshwar Cave on the right side of Harishchandreshwar temple. In this cave, there is huge Shivling, which is completely surrounded by water. The total height from its base is about five feet, and the water is almost upto the length of our shoulder and it was icy cold. Locals say, that the water is present throughout all season. Ananda and Jay swam across to pray almost sending shivers to me in that chilly monsoon time. There are four pillars on four corners of the ling. One pillar is full, other two are in 3/4 and 1/4 condition respectively and last one has almost vanished. There are many sculptures carved out on cave walls. Due to fog, it was not clearly visible.

We started packing our bags ready to bid adieu to this wonderful place. Got ourselves clicked, did some photoshooting, and back to return journey. We descended fast. By 2.00 p.m. we were at the base Khireshwar village. We had our lunch there and got a Jeep to load ourselves and reached Khubi phata. From there we came to Kalyan via ST bus. By 7.00 p.m. I was in Mumbai.

This was the Best fun filled and memorable trek till date. It will be cherished for long time.

Link: https://picasaweb.google.com/solarisonya/HarishchandragadTrek

BY Sonya A.


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