The leader shall lead and be ready to be led by Anonymous. Even as I write this today, it’s motivating.
We met at the Overnight trek to Sandhan Valley with Treks and Trails India. Also, I am quite sure you must have already read the blog by now. After doing the math about when to go, time difficulty level, accessibility she made the call. The only request being “I shall lead”
We at Treks and Trails India welcome the change of guard. As decided we all gathered up on route till Vashi flyover and left for Lohagad. Yes, it’s the same fort known as the backbone for Swaraj. Lohagad name means Iron Fort. Did remember that Lohagad boast of one of the best architectural entry gates of the forts in Maharashtra?
It said by experts that the gate of the fort is the weakest link in a fortress. Secure the gate and the fort is secured. Treks and Trails strongly recommends an aerial view of the Mahadarwaja. With the design and fortification at Lohagad, it’s a fort worthy of its name. If time permits one should also visit Bhaje caves and Karle caves.
A quick breakfast at Lonavala food court – HPCL outlet and I guess was the ice breaker. For today the manager was not a manager; an officer was not an officer, no official rules, no SLA to keep. This breakfast break charged every one of our one-day adventure treks to Lohagad fort.
As the access to this fort is very easy with the new tar road built right till the entry of the fort Lohagadwadi. Makes it a must visit for all in any season. As we drew closer, the trekker within us had awakened. We changed the original plan to drive till the fort base instead start trekking from the base village. A discussion we all shall cherish in the years to come. Before we began our outing at Lohagad Fort, we had a small talk about our glorious past. How the fort was handed over in the treaty of Purander, the loot from Surat was kept here before being given to Mughals. The past rulers at this fort had fought war and battles – however the British were given charge to Lohagad fort without a gunshot fired.
The four doors at Lohagad are Ganesh Darwaja, Narayan Darwaja, Hanuman Darwaja and last of all the Maha Darwaja. These doors even today after 400 years still have Carving on them. For instance, Hanuman Darwaja has a stone carving of Lord Hanuman, Ganesh Darwaja has of Lord Ganesh.
A two-hour opportunity is sufficient to go round the fort once. For those who seek adventure furthermore, you can always visit the other end of the fortress known as VinchuKata Machi from here you can see the Mumbai Pune expressway as the shape is like the claw of a scorpion so the name. At the summit as we enter you first see a Darga a Muslim shrine. We also come upon a temple of Trimbakeshwar Mahadev. On the west side, you can see a vast lake. We also come across a few water tanks.
At the summit and after the selfie and groupies we all waited, for we saw the rains approaching and wanted to get wet. For once it was you do not have to worry about your laptop getting wet, the bank notes in our pockets your makeup in place. The rain gods did not disappoint us — the best shower of rain for the day. Every inch of us was wet. We rejoiced to our heart content. A secret for those who came in late this was the first time a team outing of this magnitude done. In the past, it had been a company sponsor outing but today spending your own money to get wet at the summit of Lohagad was awesome. This time the rules were different. No smoking no hard drinks breathe of fresh air. The uniqueness of this group all belonged to the same multi-billion corporate house Government of India undertaking but from different departments. All coming together was itself history made.
To top it all, we have a great lunch spread – homemade rice thali, with thecha and buttermilk. The trek back to the base village we stopped at the waterfalls for some more adventure as the showers at our home had become boring. With the number of people enjoying at the waterfall, it had become a difficulty to identify if our entire group was there or not. The chilling water running down our spine was fantabulous (Fun + Marvellous).
The thought to ponder upon on the way back after this excellent trek, If Shivaji Raje himself stood Maha Darwaja
Will he welcome me? Am I a worthy subject, for his fort all over Maharashtra being in ruins and total disarray.
What is the need for the hour?
We should take up Fort conservation on a massive scale. If I have to think that Fort conservation is the job of the local government – then it’s my mistake. These ancient stones are telling a story. Of our rich, varied heritage which we all need to protect for the generation to come.
Last but not the least we had Rasagulas at the parking before we could proceed to Mumbai with awesome memories that would last a lifetime. A desire to trek yet again.
Special thanks and appreciation to Somalee