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Friday, April 4, 2014

Days turned to weeks, weeks turned to months but our plan of going to Kalavantindurg was not turning into a trek. I was only looking at its pics.

Finally I put my foot down and decided to make the trip. We decided on Thursday to go for the trek on Saturday in the morning. For a change this time we were going for real.

Kalavantindurg and Prabalgad in a distance

Nimish, Nelson and his friend Titus accompanied me for the trip.

We decided to meetup at Kurla station on the harbour line. These guys were late so we couldn't board the 5:58 am train as decided. We had to then board the 6:28 am train to Panvel.

Now we were 30 minutes behind schedule. I only hoped that we don't miss the bus to Thakurwadi from Panvel ST Bus Stand.

The journey to Panvel was a laugh riot as we sat discussing our previous trek mishaps. Finally at 7:17 am we were at Panvel.

We headed straight to the bus stand to check on the bus timings to Thakurwadi. The bus was scheduled to leave at 8 am.

We decided to have breakfast in the form of vada pav outside the bus stand. The vada pav was amazing. After we finished them we decided to have bhajiya. But our plans crashed when we saw him sneezing near the batter. Eeooo.

Now I am re thinking why the vada pav was so tasty. Eekks. We had tea and went on, on our hunt for packed chips and biscuits to have on the fort.

After gathering our food stock we went on our search for water. I had 2 litres of water, Nelson had 1 litre, Nimish and Soumil were nil on the tally. We didn't get any water, we decided to head off to board the bus else we might miss it too.

We boarded the bus at 8am and it departed on time. The ticket was just Rs. 60 for the four of us. The driver rode the bus as if we were driving a formula one car on the narrow curvy road. Finally in thirty minutes time we were in Thakurwadi.

Thakurwadi was a small village consisting of around 20 houses. There is no hotel over here. We were hoping that we find food and water up the hill as we were short on it. We had a few chips packets with us and only 3 litres of water.

Hills and Valleys from up here
We started our journey after taking instructions from the villagers. Soon we were on the wrong track. Trekking in the thorny bushes and dried water bodies. It was now two hours and the time was 10:30 am and we were still in the wilderness. Finally we managed to get on track.

It was a proper trek path leading to the top. Not sure leading to which hilltop. Though there was no sign of any human nor any sign board there, we still decided to trek on. We saw a couple of bikes and 4*4 vehicles parked there, they though empty boosted our confidence that we were now the right path .

As we were climbing uphill the view was getting better . Finally we met two boys. We just inquired with them if we were on the correct path to which they replied that we were.

The boys told us that there is a short cut from there. Short cut 30 minutes, long cut 1 1/2 hours. We decided to take the short cut. Another blunder. The short cut was at a 70 degree angle on loose soil , no doubt , that we reached the top faster but it did test our stamina and reduced our water supply.  It took its toll on me for sure.

Finally we reached the patch where both the long cut and short cut meet. We rested there to for some time. I gathered energy to take me to the top.

Our next stop was at the place where a local was selling thand gar nimbu pani. Cold lemon water. 10 bucks for a glass. We had a couple of them. We inquired with him in regards to directions to the fort. To this he replied that in another 15 minutes we would reach the village. There is a hotel there that caters to food water and lodging. Impressive.

Hanuman Temple carved in the rock
There is a Hanuman temple carved in the rock.

We then headed off and reached the hotel in 30 minutes time. The climb was easy. Whenever a villager gives you an estimate of time do add another one hour to it, to be on the safer side.

We met other fellow trekkers here. Some who had spent the night here exploring both Prabalgad and Kalavantindurg .

We refilled our water supply here, inquired about the food and then headed off to see Kalavantindurg. The time was now 12 noon and the sun was doing what it does the best. Heat up. We were feeling the heat.

We located a cave on the way up. Though it was a man made one, one has to crawl in. We didn't crawl in as it smelled awful and to top it, none of us had a touch.

The climb started getting steep. 60 degree climbs over rocks and loose soil. Finally we reached the place, the meeting point of Kalavantindurg and Prabalgad.

A cave on the way to Kalavantindurg
My body gave in. I couldn't climb further. My stamina was over. I didn't have the energy to go further. We had reached the place which had steps cut in the rocks to reach the top. The one I had seen in photos.

Nelson and I decided to stay back while Nimish and Soumil decided to go on. A rocky patch and the steep 80 degree climb via the steps cut in the rocks.

The best part is that the steps camouflaged with the rock. So you couldn’t figure where they are from the place where we were standing.

Nimish and Soumil headed off to the top. They told us that they reached the rocks on which the flag was posted. They couldn't climb as it was huge and steep.

The return was scary as per them cause of the steep steps. With fear dangling over their heads and with a lot of precaution they made it safe and sound down to join us for some snacks.

They were so shit scared that they didn't take any snaps up there.

As the time was around 1:30 pm we decided to head back to the village to have lunch. I had a hard time getting down due to the loose soil and small stones. But we managed to get to the hotel by 2:30 pm.

We had lunch there in the form of pitla bhakar along with potato vegetable, pickle, salad and papad in our thali. Similar to what we had in Panhala Fort in Kolhapur. They also served gauti chicken. Though we didn't try it. The food was yummy and tasty. When you are tired anything edible is tasty.  The lunch bill totalled to Rs.360. Water is served free of cost, even refuelling is free.

After a heavy lunch we decided to rest for around 20 minutes. We decided to kick start at 3:15 pm. "No short cuts guys" to which they readily agreed. As it had taken its toll on our legs.

Checked with fellow trekkers and they told us that the climb to Prabalgad though not steep but was long and winding. It is a plateau with no fortification but it was huge. They told us that it would take us an entire day to see the entire fort.

We departed on time though we went down slowly. The journey was fun and less stressful. Finally we reached the base.

There were wonderful bungalows constructed there. Nelson immediately said that he wouldn't mind retiring and spending time here.

We looked up towards Kalavantindurg to see the place where I had given up. The divide between both forts. Prabalgad looked massive from here.

We then headed off to Thakurwadi village to board a bus to Panvel. We confirmed with the villagers and they informed us that the bus is at 6 pm. The time now was 5 pm on my watch.  

We sat near the temple, watching the village children play. The children played in the mud, constructing roads for themselves with mud and small rocks which they towed in a handmade wheel barrow.

The time was 6:15 pm and there was no sign of the bus so far. It was also getting dark. We could only hope that the bus comes, as that was our only mode of transport to Panvel station.

Finally we heard the sound of the engine in a distance; we kept our fingers crossed hoping to see the bus to take us to the station. And there is was, our prayers were answered.  We boarded the bus at 6:45 pm.

We reached the bus depot at 7:20 pm. The return ticket cost us Rs. 60. The cool breeze let us take a short nap in the bus. So was feeling a bit refreshed.

The moment we reached the bus depot we raced to the railway station to board the train. As it was a Sunday we knew that the trains would be crowded and they were, to top it they were running late by 20 minutes. I boarded the 7:50 train to CST to alight at Vadala to board a train to Andheri.

Finally we got into our respective trains to take us home. I reached home at 10 pm.

I was a little disappointed with myself that I couldn't climb Kalavantindurg. I take this as a challenge to climb both Kalavantindurg and Prabalgad in my next trip.


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