The score is 3. This is my (our actually) 3rd trek with Treks and Trails India trekking group Mumbai. The addiction continues with some night treks planned in December. Rekha Adodra accompanied me to this one and it was an adventurous trek and a funny one too. For start I forgot to reserve tickets in train. So we traveled unreserved standing in general class all the way up to Lonavala. The coach was jam packed nothing less than local train. That was 2 hours of journey standing without moving after just 3 hours of sleep a night earlier and just before the climb up of 2800 ft trek.
I couldn’t dare to disclose what was coming up to Rekha 🙂 Next we missed our connecting train to Malvali station having to take an auto with 6 other guys. Rekha sat in my lap on those bad roads fully pressing on my bladder 🙂 Guess those rickshaw makers never heard of shock absorbers. Every pot hole was an attack.
Bhaje Caves Lohagad Fort Trek Lonavala
We started the climb towards Bhaje Caves. The visuals instantly washed away all our stress. The weather was apt. Dark clouds all over but not raining. Greenery all around with handful of waterfalls intercepting the bushes. As beautiful as Kanheri Caves in Borivali, Bhaje were more intricate. Am sure it must be the same Monks who carved these ones out. There are also Karla Caves nearby which we couldn’t visit. The sight from the meditation rooms was mesmerizing. It was so much amazing to be able to behold and touch something that was carved out by Buddhist monks more than 2000 years back.
Further up on our way was a mountain shaped like a ship which cannot be missed. A mixed background of clouds and blue sky made it even more photogenic.
Next on the list was the Fort itself. A difficult climb by the standards of us lazy bums. But with every ‘2 feet’ step we climbed, our minds started getting obsessed with history. Exploring such a rich history made us wonder all the time and left us in awe. Could I have been part of this history in my previous incarnations? Could I have been part of this making? Could I have been part of this struggle, this fight, this victories and defeats?
Lohagad Fort Trek Lonavala
Then there was a tomb and couple of Dargah on the top. And we thought the walking and climbing was finally over. We were completely exhausted by then and wondered if we had strength to climb down. Apart from 2-3 vada pav since that morning and few glasses full of water with Electral powder, we had nothing. It was 2 pm and we were desperate to settle down and eat. But then if there are no challenges, it’s not a trek.
The climax was yet to come. And there it was. At the edge of the peak. The famous ‘Scorpion’s Tail’ I had heard of it but didn’t remember it was here. I have never seen anything so natural yet unrealistic. So randomly created yet very much symmetric. I started applying logic. Started making a Nat-Geo animation in my mind. What kind of Geo-Thermal activity could have caused this creation. It looked like a great wall built by humans from the top. Seeing the tail, our hunger to explore immediately took over and we were amongst the few who wanted to go further to cross over and reach the tip of the tail. And that we did.
Lohagad Fort Dargah
Exhaustion and a slight muscle/joint pain didn’t do us down. We still wanted to take the tougher path on our way back. After a while, it was normal way down to the base of the fort.
The lunch finally came at 5 pm. A delicious, homely, local, Maharashtrian ‘Rice Flour Bhakri’ with rice and that watery dal. We weren’t sure if it was the hunger and fatigue that made the food taste so good. I finished all of it. Rekha as usual didn’t venture into it and instead survived on ‘Theplas’ cooked earlier night. As per Theory of Gujaratis, Theplas aren’t meant to have an expiry date.
Finally we had a bumpy ride down standing in a tempo with all girls at the back and all boys falling on them when speeding onto steep slopes.
The adventure didn’t end there. No train reservation remembers? So after waiting for 30 minutes for a Mumbai bound ST bus on Lonavala Bus Depot, we finally boarded the bus so delightedly. But our happiness was short lived when we found there isn’t going to be any seat until 1 hour to Kalamboli. So we shamelessly sat down on the floor and instantly went to sleep.
This trip made me think. Do you really need 2 weeks and over thousand dollars for a memorable trip? Try @Treks and Trails India for an answer!!
Author: Alpesh Adodra