I was very disappointed when my trek to Garbett had to be cancelled due to my work commitments but luckily God has made Sunday after Saturday aur meri yeh holiday koi nahi cheen sakta mujhse and as incorrigible as I am, I started checking out if any of friends are going for the trek. Well at this point, Pankaj our master blaster trekker informed me that they are planning to go for the trek to Manik Gad. so chalti gadi me mai bhi kud gaya and I joined them.
|All set for early morning train ride to Wadala
Generally when the treks are from Panvel side, I have to get up very early. So today I got up at 3.30 a.m and by 4.30 am I left my house and reached at the desolate booking counter with not a soul to be seen around, for a second I panicked and thought to myself Bhai counter chalu bhi hai kya …my logical reasoning was saying chalu hoga and thankfully the counter was indeed open and a sleepy looking clerk gave me the ticket and I dashed to catch the 4.41am train for churchgate and reached Bandra Station by 5.00 am. From Bandra Station there was this CST local train of 5.13 am, which reached Wadala by 5.25 am. Pankaj my friend who had arranged this trek had told us to catch 5:36am panvel local train from Wadala.( I hope, now you understood why so much jumping around being done by me) warna kis pagal kutte ne mujhe katta tha jo mai trains badal badal ker travel karta. Mera bas chalta toh mai seedha CST local leta.
At Wadala Station I met rest of the gang and we were all boarded on Panvel local. It was 7.00 am when we reached Panvel station. Where we were met by Sanjay sir and Mehul bhai. Both of whom had offered us their car for travelling to the base village. the group was split into two groups and we were now travelling in cars to the base village which is Vadgaon. The route to Vadgaon is around 21 kms from Panvel ST stand ,enroute you cross Indiabulls Park , one gigantic Maruti Idol.
|Enroute while driving from Panvel to Vadgoan
you see this gigantic Maruti idol on your left
Just keep driving straight towards Rasayani (17.1kms) where on your left you will see long Reliance Industries Factory and driving further for approx 2.5kms from here you will see a sign board of Manikgad and next to that signboard of Vadgaon. From the signboard you got to take right turn and keep driving straight for around 1.4kms until you reach at a dead end.
|Vadgaon signboard on the main road, Take right turn from here
As soon as you reach the base village on your left you will see a general store from where you can buys biscuits, chips, water etc and yes even ice cream. ( I actually enjoy eating ice cream after the trek). Aur Manikgad ka trek katam karne ke liye aap ko icecream toh milni hi chaiye after all you deserve it )
|View from the general store , go from the right side
Little ahead of the shop you see the Vadgoan village, you need to take the road from the right side, the one which has Maruti temple. Keep walking till the end of the village, one very distinctive thing you will note is that the initial houses are little bigger and fancy but when you reach the end the houses are more of basic kind. Is the difference due to the stature or are the poorer people tribal. I wish I could have found the reason.
|Walking towards the end of Village
We started our trek little late because our friends from Pune were so busy enjoying the waterfall nearby that they forgot that the Mumbai team was waiting for them at the village. Lekin aisi choti choti baate ho jaati hai badde badde trek me.
10:05am : Trek starts
We started our trek at 10.05 am. As we walked till the end of the village the route opens to a big field. The lush greenery and the majestic Manikgad could be seen.
|Coming out from the Village the trek opens into large green field
A little walk and we are into the climb. This initial climb is quite stiff through some muddy trial. As you are climbing you get all the more beautiful view of the green fields on your left side , do catch a breath and soak the nature’s beauty.
After walking for around 10-15 minutes you will see a diversion one going straight and one moving on the right, Ignore the one going to the right side, keep walking straight as the Mighty Manikgad is on your left side.
|Some rock cut stairs on the way as we trek towards the fort.
10.25 am (Reaching First plateau)
After the stiff climb of 20 minutes from the base we reached the first plateau where we rested for 5 minutes. Relaxed a bit and took pictures.
|Its Photo time
10:38 am ( Reached the large plateau)
10-15 mins more of a gradual climb we reached a large field. It is like the walk from the forest breaking out in open. A natural green carpet is a sight to behold. we walked through the open field , almost getting our foot stuck in the muddy field. Once you cross this field you will reach the ridge section.
|Walking through the open field to reach the ridge
10.54 am. (Reached the Ridge)
The view from the ridge is amazing , one can see the Karnala peak very prominently. we all took opportunity to click few pictures here.
Once you reach the ridge you need to move on your left where you will see a large tree . recently they have also put up a signage on this tree. Once you take left turn at the ridge keep walking straight.
|That’s the way to go my dear friend
The walk on the ridge very easy, you walk quite a distance on a flat ground with Manikgad looming ahead of you. the breeze is very pleasant. Boss jitna enjoy karna hai yahan enjoy kar lo kyo ki aage kuch aur hi milne wala hai. this flat walk lasted for 30 minutes until we entered the forest portion of this trek.
|Easy walk, enjoy it to the maximum
11.20 a.m ( Entry into the forest )
After this walk on the ridge you see more of trees with lesser open field and you realise that you are entering in the forest. The walk in the forest was coming as blessing in disguise for us because the sun was becoming hotter by the moment and humidity was killing us. (Kehne ko hum monsoon trek per nikle the…sab popat ho gaya)
|Time to enjoy the forest walk
As you walk this jungle trail lots of small streams comes on your way, at places the trail is little rocky and confusing,but keep walking straight till you reach a point where there is this large tree and a small waterfall kind of setup. one needs to turn right from here. Please be careful especially during the jungle trail as I was told that people often get lost in this jungle and they had to be rescued.
|confusing trail routes
11.52 am (Reached the diversion point)
30 minutes walk into the forest and we reach the diversion point from where we take right turn. landmark huge tree in front and a waterfall on your left ( water may and may not be flowing as its a small waterfall).
|Trekkers have put markers in forms of stones , placed one above the other
12.12 pm (Hanuman Temple)
From the diversion point we hiked for ten minutes reach the Hanuman temple, the trail go up and down but is an easy walk, We paid our respect to Hanumanji and moved on. Behind the temple there was a board on which some one had written that climb to Manikgad is just 10 minutes away and on the left.
|Hanuman temple in the jungle with the board behind
As we had hired a guide so finding this spot to climb on the left side was easy otherwise it can be tricky task. In other words here lies another point from where we can miss the trail. In 8 minutes we were indeed near to our climb point and started the climb. This climb was again stiff till we reached the flat portion of lush greenery and with nature doing its dance of joy.
|Sitting and reminiscing the Daffodil poem
I sat there and could actually empathise with the feelings of the famous poet William Wordworths, who in his poem Daffodils says and I quote
The green grass was so inviting that I felt like skipping rest of the trek. As the humidity was also taking its toll on me.(This was bound to happen because I haven’t been trekking lately and fitness levels are at abyss).Meanwhile Mehul our friend who was happily clicking my pictures felt pain in his shoulder and gradually dropped his speed. a small suggestion I would like to give, Please don’t attempt to do this trek if you are not physically fit. It indeed test your endurance.
|Enjoying the green slopes with sanjayji
The next climb from this grassy green land is a rocky trail and steep too, I was almost running out of my breath. Ek point per toh I could actually hear my heart pounding.
Par yeh kis ne kah diya tha ki jannat yu hi naseeb hoti hai,
Arre uske panne ke liye khub mushakkta karni hogi.
I stopped took a sip of a water and rested for a while, Body is getting old, I got to realise this because but my younger friends were hopping away to the top. Honestly speaking I hated this last portion because Har time lagta tha peak aagaya and then the mountain calls “April fool banaya “and you see another climb.
|Me: Sanjayji lagta hai top aagaya hai
Sanjay : Pakka na, is baar no april fool !!
1.25 p.m Reached first water tank at the base of the top.
|First water tank near the Top
I felt like a dead meat on reaching the top. Seeing the water filled water tank was so refreshing But I was soon given a rude reality check when our younger friends were waving from the top some 100 feets above. I was like Oh Shit abhi aur baki hai.
|This is the Oh hell moment standing at the first water tank.
Please look closely at small figures of our friends on top
Body was aching , heels were squealing with pain and seriously I wanted to give up but I somehow pushed myself Aisa laga ki itne paas aakar bhi na upar gaye toh hamesha koste rahenge apne aap ko. Jai bajrangbali bole aur nikal pade. Actually the cool breeze and sudden rain shower only helped me and I was finally at the top at 1.52 pm.
Nothing much is left on the top except for few ruined fortifications wall.
|Ruined fortification wall
Then there is a small gate which has a ganesh idol carved on it.
I entered through this door and came across a huge water tank. We were told that this is a potable water and remains available through out the year.(Request to the visitor to this place , please don’t throw any waste or put your feet in the water tank as they serve like a life line for a hapless trekker who may come here during the summers)
|large water tank at the top
and just little ahead there is a small Mahadev Temple.
We all sat down near the watertank and had continental lunch ranging from cakes,kakaras, idlis,bakewadi parathas,omlets. Clicked few pictures and moved on for descend at 3.00pm.
|Extravagant and sumptuous Lunch
The descend was uneventful except for the fact that our friend Mehul who had decided to give up the trek halfway was waiting for us at the ridge and with whom we all reunited and he welcomed us back with yummy cheese slices.It was 6.20 when we finally finished our trek.
Trekker Tips :
1. Start early
2. Better do this trek in monsoon, In any other season it could be very high on endurance.
3. Take a guide( Its a small cost but necessary here)
4. If doing this trek in summer carry lots of water even though the water may be available on top.
5. Stay, Food and Guide can be arranged at the Vadgaon. Our local contact was Rahul Jambhulkar mob no : 9011807551
Trek break up:
1 hr from base to Ridge
30 minutes walk on ridge till you enter the forest.
30 minutes approx walk in the forest and you reach the diversion to right side point.
10 minutes till hanuman temple
10 minutes till the next ascend on the left.
1.20 minutes to reach the first water tank on top
20 minutes to the final top.
Total time for the trek – 7hrs 20 minutes
To climb 4 hrs &
To Descend 3 hrs 20 minutes )
How to Reach:
BUS: S.T buses are available from Panvel ST stand to Vadgoan. (the bus will drop you in the market from where you need to catch auto or walk 1.5 kms to raech the base village of Manikgad)
CAR : Panvel-Rasayani-Vadgoan
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