I was still recovering from the disappointment of cancellation of my trek to Matheran via Garbett Hill and over that this feeling of spending my Independence day confined to four walls of my house. I therefore decided enough is enough and whatever may come I am going for trek to any place. Luckily, in all this criss cross spectrum of emotion I got this call from Sadhana to join her on the trek to Asherigad Fort. As this was going to be a Pilot Trek so I did my study via google and on independence Day I was ready for this trek.

Me and Sanjeev waiting endlessly at Virar Station

We had all decided to meet at Virar Station to catch 8.30 am Local to Palghar. As I always try to be on time so was at Andheri Station at 5.50am and Sanjeev also joined me from here, Both of us managed to catch 5.58 local and the result of the same was that we were sitting at Virar Station at 6.45 am !!! Now spending time till 8.30 am was a task for us hence we decided to take a walk outside the station whereby we had tea and did some morning walk and in the process were witness to Flag hoisting events in 2 schools.

 Around 8.00 am Bhushan and Om sir joined us at Virar Station. As it been independence day we were again witness to another flag hoisting ,standing next to Railway policemen and Women Saluting the Flag and singing our National Anthem at the top of our voice. What a way to start our independence day !!!!

Sanjeev,me,Bhushan and omprakashji…ST bus to Mastan Naka

 Local train to Palghar as usual was jam packed .We reached Palghar at 9.10 am and came to ST stand just outside the station from where we were to take bus to Mastan Naka ,we took bus to Ounda.

Picture taken from ST bus on the way to mastan naka

 We were told that this bus goes via mastan naka and we were all boarded on it.

Picture taken from ST bus on the way to mastan naka

 This bus journey was very endearing for me on 2 count , first was that the Scenery en-route was fabulous

Picture taken from ST bus on the way to mastan naka

 and secondly I had this very interesting conversation with the bus conductor.

It is my very bad habit of striking conversation with strangers but then this is what I enjoy about trekking the most that you see new places, meet new people and it enlightens you to newer understanding and you end up as new human being.

We rarely get this opportunity to have a little personal chit chat with people around us.This bus conductor was quite friendly. I kept asking him questions,I told him that I want to know something about his personal being. He said this conductor job is quite hectic and the salary paid is paltry 3000/- per month.I was surprised to note that he was a graduate.Now what is happening in our country even after 66 years of independence.

When I asked him his name he said Rahis Shaikh.so I jokingly said ki maa baap ne nam to bahut sochkar rakha hai…Rahis bi hai (Rich) aur upar se Shaikh bi ab yeh aur baat nai ki paise duniya ke aate hai tumhare hath per lekin nikal kar ST management ko chale jate hai..both of us laughed on the joke and in the meanwhile Mastan Naka also came.

Breakfast of wapapav and tea  at Mastan Naka

As Sadhana was running late so we had to pass the time hence we decided to have a breakfast of wadapav and tea here.From here we were suppose to go to Khodkona Village. which is a base village to the Asherigad fort so we started checking out with the Tumtum Guy. 

8 seaters for infinite people..Way to go India

There was this mini tempo kind of thing in which 8 ppl can sit comfortably but some how nothing less than 14 to 15 people are adjusted…( Is this independence?)

Bhushan and me cramped behind and watch om sir in the front next to driver behind the grill…

It was hardly a 15 mins drive and we were dropped on the Highway and from there we walked to the base village

Walk to the base village

 which could be a distance of 1 or 1.5 km but this walk is very pleasant with greenery all around you and the lovely river water flowing.

River along the way

 to reach the base village one has to cross the bridge over this river and go to the other side.

Crossing the river from the bridge

Moving through the fencing even jumping over them, paddy fields etc we reached the village.

Moving thru the Paddy fields
Jumping the fenses…

 Here we took some general direction from the villager.However let me tell you that once you are on the trail the route is well marked. During the initial portion the walk is majorly through the forest.
( please keep mosquito repellent handy). We passed a small stream , after walking for around 30 mins the walk slowly turns into a gradual climb.

Walking through the forest …resisting the mosquitoes

 Major climb here is through rocky section. on the right side one can see water stream flowing.This climb was atleast tiring for me , probably because it was not raining today and the atmosphere was too humid.

Heat and Humidity taking its toll…

Anyways after covering all this rocky portion we came to a small plateau where we rested had water and moved on . 

Catching my breath

After climbing little distance we came across 2nd plain land  flush with greenery breeze blowing very hard

 I simply didn’t want to move from here.We rested again, had a photo session and moved on 

photo time
1st rocky patch

From here again one has to move through rocky section with stone cut stairs leading the way and finally to reach the Top Plateau we come across a narrow section of path with literally vertical climb, though small but definitely it gives you the high of trekking.

Vertical climb…The highlight of this trek

In few blogs I had read that there is a ladder here but friends i have put the pictures for you to clarify that don’t be misguided there was no ladder. Completing this climb we almost reach the top with just few rock cut steps to go by and then again the walk  through the high grown grass. 

walk through the thick grass

We explored the top for a while, there are many water tanks

water tanks at the top

 and the top plain has a lovely water ponds I think could be three in numbers.

Ponds at the Top

 we took the opportunity to refresh in one of them. The other water pond was covered with lotus flowers

Pond with Lotus Flower

 and third one was lying idle.

There is a small temple sorry to say very dirty and ill maintained 

ill maintained Temple

and just above this temple lies old  neglected cannon. 

Old neglected Cannon

Nothing much of fortification can be found at the top except few pieces of damaged fortification which reminds you about the presence of Portugese/british raj here.

Old relics of Portuguese/British origin  

 We had our group lunch in this open plateau surrounded by lovely sahyadri range,ponds lush greenery and fantastic breeze to accompany it. Well what an independence day we had !!

Flag Hoisting

 Now the most important thing Flag hoisting , Yes I truly felt elated holding the tricolour in my land and shouting aloud Bharat mata ki jai. Shivaji Garjana. after this small session we started our descent and in no time reached the Base Village. 

Reached the base village in the evening

Today being independence day I wanted to enjoy my Independence in an unusual way so i requested everyone that we will try to travel not in pvt or public transport but will hitch a hike from an unknown stranger and therefore we stood at the Highway hailing passing by Lorry, Tempo etc

 and as luck was with us and in hardly 5 mins we got a lift from a lorry Driver who was travelling to Goa. We were 6 people who all jumped behind the driver and were on the way to Mumbai. 

sadhana and me sharing the seat next to the driver

Initially we asked him to drop us till Mastan Naka but as we befriended him , He suggested that why don’t we get down at Virar phata instead of Mastan Fata ..Ab andha kya mangta ..Do ankee...so we all immediately agreed. Here my second chit chat started with the driver whose name was Mohmed Akram, He was from Shrivardhan on the western coast. 

Humara hum safar Mohmed Akram…

we shared our trekking experience with him and he shared his personal thoughts, he spoke of his family, How his kids are looking forward to his visit at home for Eid. We shared our biscuits with him and he humbly said sirji aap logo ka karz kaise uttarunga…I said Dost yeh karz nahi hai… mohabat hai…woh uttari nahi jaati  balki bhanti jati hai…

It was 6.30 when he dropped us at the Virar Phata and when we offered him money for his effort he said Sir yeh mere liye ghali hogi…aap logo bas aise hi fir mil jane ki dua karo !!! and he drove away.

Here a thought just whizzed through my mind  and I had a question for all those who talk of caste,religion , where did you see the walls of religion here. 

Well I got my answer that’s what we call Independence !!! 

                  Yes an undivided nation

There is a video journey of the above mentioned trek by my friend Sanjeev ..do check out

Thanks to our Team of Sadhana,Sanjeev,Shashikant,Anil,Bhushan,Raviraj,
and om prakashji

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Hi, I am Aashish Chawla- The Weekend Wanderer. Weekend Wandering is my passion, I love to connect to new places and meeting new people and through my blogs, I will introduce you to some of the lesser-explored places, which may be very near you yet undiscovered...come let's wander into the wilderness of nature. Other than traveling I love writing poems.

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