It so happened that our last trek to gorakhgad was very memorable, specially on 2 count first it was a trek which we did on our own and secondly the cost to each person was very petty. This prompted me to the thought why not let us have a group where we all gather and have fun and enjoy our passion of trekking rather than follow a commercial route. So on this noble premise I started my group call Weekend Wanderer which incidentally is also my pseudonym.Our trek to Kothaligad was our maiden outing.
Initially we had planned a small group of 8 -10 ppl for this trek but it so happened as everyone got the news that we are going for trek the numbers started swelling and we ended up with a team of 26 members.
Now the Million dollar question was where to go for trek . I was very clear that the first trek has to be simple. Few of my friends suggested that we should do Chanderi but I was little apprehensive as Chanderi for a first timer could be dicey prospect. Anyway we narrowed down our choice to Kothilagad/Peth as this trek is not very long and not too difficult so all in all a good trek for beginner.
One of my co-trekker said kya sir simple trek rakte ho kuch difficult lo na” so I explained to him and said “Raja kabhi kabhi dal chawal bi ka lena chaiye roj roj biryani nahi mangni chaiye” and the trek was on !!!
The night before the trek I had butterflies in my stomach Saala puri raat tension ke mare neend hi nahi aayi, Ki agar subha utha nahi to sab gali denge aur bolenge organiser hi gayab hai. Sharp at 3.00am I was wide awake made few wake up calls to Nikhil and Subhashji.4.30 sharp Nikhil and Pooja were there at my place. I felt this is good sign dost log time per hai.We had targeted to catch 4.42am local to Dadar but were there before time to catch 4.39 local. At Vileparle station Subhashji were to join us, but unfortunately the train came on the other platform and Subhashji was on another, still I managed call out aloud and meri pukar sunkar subhashji jumped from his platform and made it to our train I thought Wah kya start hai . We all regrouped at Dadar and then from Dadar we took 5.37 am Karjat local.Enroute all members kept joining us and as usual it was Sunday Reunion.
It is always fun to catch up with old friends, each one narrating some trek tale. Few of the members were new to me but I think it was a matter of few minutes ki sab janam janam ke dost lagne lage.
|janam janam ke dostwala scene at Karjat Platform|
Never ever I have seen such a cohesive group and the best part of this trek was that though I had not written on the event ” If you miss the train you miss the trek” then also each and every member was there in the same train 26 ppl all together!!! ( Do log to ticketless traveller the, Bole kya aashish train kaise miss kar dete) I said to myself Wow!! Agar agaaz yeh hai to anjaam hoga hasin for sure( If the beginning is such then end will definitely be beautiful).
|Unlimited Group photos me se yeh pehla group photo|
We reached Karjat station at 7.44 and because Mayur sath me hai toh boss photo session to banta hi hai.
We all moved out of the station and decided to catch 8.30 ST bus to Ambivali but then on second thought I felt jab maje kar hi rahe hai to kanjoosi kyo kare chalo Tumtum karte hai and we hailed a tum tum stuck a deal with him and hired 3 tumtum for 26 of us so that we all can go in comfort
|Idlis for Breakfast|
After stuffing ourselves with Idlis and gulping hot masaledar tea we had a intro round which was full of masti that the whole thing has to be conducted all over again.Koi lawyer tha(Ramya)(did I hear someone say divorce lawyer) toh koi private me kam karta tha(I mean in a pvt Co) toh koi 8th ki ladki lagti thi (jyoti) Intro round kum aur pagal khana jyada lag raha tha.
We started to trek moving from the hotel following the tarred road as it was going but just little ahead one must take left turn and follow this new way .
|Stone laden road….You simply cannot miss mumbai roads wherever you go !!!!|
This road is not tarred but kind of stone laid way. The walk from here is nothing but a gentle climb.While walking you can see lovely mountain range
|view from the road on the way|
Walking on this road for around one hour we reached the first plateau. Reaching plateau generally take 40 minutes lekin hamare log to sab photo ke bhookhe so har panch minute ke baad kabhi group photo toh kabhi apna profile picture. Kabhi Kabhi sochta hu yeh photo ka bhukhar FB ke karan to nahi.
|Ek photo FB ke naam bhi|
Thankfully we reached our 1st point of break per yeh aur baat hai ki photo ke chakkar me is se pehle 25 break aur ho chuke the.
|Everyone wants to catch the Heaven|
Once we reached the plateau everyone lost their sanity few of us wanted to touch the heaven toh lage jump marne and in this melee I too lost my mental balance and turned into James Bond akir me itne haseen chekre jo sath me the..lolz.
We rested here for a while, few guys had Nimbu pani, few hung around. Koi masti me laga hai ,Anjali,ramya,divya,jyoti,anusha all had extensive round of photo session. Atmosphere pura ka pura charged up tha !!!
|Fooling around at the plateau|
You can have a lovely glimpse of Kothaligad from here ( plateau.)
|Glimpse of Kothaligad from the plateau|
For first time I have to do the dirty work of reminding everyone to move forward. Dushro ke sath trek per jata tha to mai unki problem tha, Bechara organiser mere ko chilata rahta tha ki chalo ab bus hua photo baad me nikal lena” but today we were on our own hence sab ko bola Bhai ab immandari ke sath aage nikal lo warna shaam ko late ho jayege.
|Approaching Peth Village ,green fields on both the side and Kothaligad right in front|
Moving forward on the way we came across few streams, few green field and soon we reached the base village of peth.Everyone of us took a short break here, again some masti and photos and we moved on
|Masti at Peth Village|
Refreshed after this break at Peth village we started our trek further. For the benefit of my reader let me tell you from here onward the climb is little steep and you gain height very fast.The route is well marked and one has to cover a long rock patch.Rameya and Pooja found this portion little challenging but kudos to both the ladies that they managed to overcome their fear and moved forward.
|Rameya fighting the way forward|
|Pooja has Question here but ek muskutahat ke sath arre aur kitna aage chalna hai|
Once this Rocky portion was covered by everyone we reached the cave. The Cave here is big enough for 40 to 50 ppl.
|Caves at Kothaligad good enough to shelter 50 ppl|
|Carving on pillars in the caves|
First we decided to have our lunch here but because this cave is full of bats so the idea was dropped.Adjacent to the cave is a small temple and few water tanks.Sadly this time I found the water was dirty in all the water tanks so not advisable to drink.The caves has some interesting carvings on the pillars.
Now comes the best part of the trek the spiral stone stairs right next to the caves.This is indeed a very unique and interesting portion of Kothaligad because sitting at the caves one will wonder how do the ppl reach on the top but as one moves through this spiral stairs which are no less then 2 feet ..Kabhi Kabhi sochta hu kitna tras hota hoga purane jamane me roj roj yeh stair chadne me. Sometime I also wonder whether the Moguls were tall that is why the steps were so huge or was it to keep the enemy at bay. Whatever may be the reason meri to hamesha asi seede chadne me waat hi laagi hai Kya kare apni height choti hai na
The final climb to the top is very thrilling and once you reach the top suddenly you can feel the cool breeze caressing you and you forget all the hardship of the trek.The View from the Top is mesmerizing and one can see innumerable peaks like Padargad,Karnala,Bhimashankar range and many more.
All of us lied down on the grass at the Top and enjoyed our well deserved lunch.
|Lazing after well deserved Lunch|
Here I want to add Rameya because of height Phobia could not make to the Top but she showed lots of will power to make it to the caves. To her credit I can say she missed the top by hardly 20 steps.
After spending some time at the top we all started our descent. The descent was not very tough all of us made it easily to the peth village where we rested for a while and moved gradually to Ambivali village.
So all in all a successful maiden trek as a group for Weekend Wanderer and to celebrate our success the heaven opened up in the evening and it rained very heavily. All of us rushed out of the hotel shelter and danced in utter pleasure under the downpour.
|Weekend Wanderers rocking in rain|
Mumbai me hote hai to chata doonte hai barish se bachne kiye and here sab ke sab Suru ho gaye Barsaat me tak dinadin.
|Barsaat me Tak dina din|
Mostly my blog ends with this comment that we took the tum tum back home lekin dost abhi thodi si kahani baki hai. This whole motley of crazy crowd “Jasise gaate hui subha me aaye the waise hi Shaam ko gaate hui tum tum me ja rahe the.”
It was 6.00pm when we reached Karjat and CST local was at 6.30 so we quickly got wadapav packed ki chola train me kha lenge.But the Karjat local was very crowded so like a true trekker sab ke sab station per Mandi dalkar bhaite gaye and what a rocking time we had ,enjoying wada paw with no care of the world. We all enjoyed like nobody’s business and to top it all we had Cadbury Chocolate kyo ki abb kuch meeta to banta hi hai na bhai.
|Amit and me serving everyone|
Train journey was another madness no place to stand also lekin Weekend wanderers ki Battery Khatam hi nahi hoti hai…Everyone was singing till Thane.
Some one asked me “yeh log thakte nahi I said Sir Yeh log Jannat se return aa rahe hai!!!”
|Thank You All|