Monday, October 22, 2007

Harishchandra Gadh Trek...A Memorable experience! (part-4)

(Before reading this Blog, I would suggest (who has not already read previous three parts) to read my earlier three blogs on the same subject and view the pictures in order to enjoy this Blog fully...)

How fast that night in the cave got over and what a sleep that was which every one of us had experienced that night! I got up at around 08:30 or so when most of us had already awaken.
We were supposed to go to the second highest peak called 'Konkan-Kada'.We all who wished to visit this place got ready and started the walk. It was a pleasant morning and the route was green and beautiful!

It was not very difficult path (actually it was almost same as the path we had traced through the night but we found it easier because now we could see everything around with bare eyes and at night nothing was visible!)There were shrubs which we had to clear from the path to go ahead using our hands and we had to climb up and down to reach our destination.
There were some honey-bees accompanying us who scared some of us, though they didn't sting anybody.

There were some amazing flowers with colours we had never seen before in city life. Some very tiny and others with many petals! So many different insects also I observed on the way! It’s a human tendency to share the joy of seeing something new or marvellous.I also shared this joy with my new friends on the way!

We clicked some wonderful pictures. On the way came a few rivers also. After walking for about half-an-hour or so we reached 'Konkan-Kada'.

It was a wonderful place with amazing beauty and at a height of around 3800 meters from ground level. You should see the view from there to believe me! It was breath-taking! Some of us slept on the edge to have a closer and clearer view of the valley down there.

There was a mountain range around the spot we were at. On the left hand side there were water falls on the mountain visible while on the right hand side there was maidan like land which extended up to a few kilometers or so and in front, far there were other mountains clad with green trees and shrubs.

The peculiarity of this place was that if you throw some light-weight object from there into the valley, it didn't go down. Gravity Failed! That object would go up in the air and return to you! We threw many flowers and leaves which behaved in this way. We were amazed!

Also one more strange thing we observed was that clouds we could see coming towards us but surprisingly they had to return from a distance and they could not touch us or even come near us!

There must be some scientific reason behind both these phenomena bur they really left us in Awe! We clicked some snaps of the beauty around as well as of ourselves individually and in the group. We spent a good amount of time there and started going to our cave back following the same route by which we came.

After returning, previous night's dinner group had now started preparing lunch of 'khichdi' for us! I wanted to have darshan at the temple so made a group of 4-5 guys and started walking towards the temple. It was an ancient Shiva Temple where beautiful scenery was there surrounding the temple. The climate was cool.

There were: a small shivlinga, a ganesh idol and a big nandi carved out of stone. When I was clicking the pictures, a few friends met us there and suggested us to go to a nearby cave housing a huge Shivlinga.

We just went there out of curiosity but it turned out to be the best attraction of our trip. There was a huge Shivlinga (may be 8-9 feet in height) surrounded by water completely. There should have been four pillars around the Shivlinga but only one of them was in shape. The other three were already completely or partially broken.

There was darkness in the cave. It was scary as there could be snake or any other harmful animal/insect in the water but what gave us courage I don't know! We removed our T-shirts and jumped into the water of the darkness filled cave and swam to the Shivlinga. We offered water onto Shivlinga.

It was 'Ekadashi' day and my friend Swapnil who is a good singer also, sang a very nice prayer for lord Shiva and we swam for a little more around Shivlinga and then came out of the cave. There was one more fascinating experience near this cave.

I had dipped my feet in the stream-water just outside this cave. There were some Sucker fishes that immediately came near and gave me a free pedicure session! They were trying to suck something on my feet but God knows what they would have got! I was feeling ticklish! It was a nice feeling!

We returned to our group and narrated them the shivlinga episode, had our lunch of 'khichdi' and then started our return journey.
Return journey was also amazing. It was very pleasant day. Rain was coming and going, as if playing with us!

We enjoyed the beauty of Mother Nature in abundance! Yellow, white, lilac, pink all different coloured flowers, green grass and green moss, flowing pure water, rocks, trees, birds, dragon-flies, honey bees ,cactuses etc. made our return journey memorable.

After walking for about two hours or so we all stopped at a common point where we saw the spectacular view of clouds-clad green mountains and suddenly a Rainbow was formed in front of our eyes that was literally moving!

It went from one direction to the other and in a few minutes completely vanished! Rain started and we again started our return trek. Now came back those difficult patches which we had cleared yesterday evening.
We were walking in groups of 7-8 people or so at regular distance from other groups.

This one incident I will never forget in my life! There was this steep slippery wet rock at an inclination where your one step u don't put properly and u would straight away go into the deep valley.

One of my friends crossed it carefully. Another friend was midway and he slipped...there was a clear noise of him slipping but God was there with us. That fellow must have worshipped him in the morning and he came at his rescue! The guy's bag held him up or God knows what!

But he didn't completely loose balance and was stuck right where he was standing. My friend who had already crossed that patch was scared to death! So were we! Another friend who was ahead me instructed the guy in trouble not to move at all and he went ahead and helped him get into proper balance and made him reach the other end safely.

We all were relieved. We all remembered God then! We had seen somebody coming out of a dangerous situation, may be death?! We all walked silently for sometime.

Next came another difficult patch which was making way for water to flow through the moss-ridden rock. It was not exactly as scary as the difficult patch we just crossed sometime back. I was in my own thoughts trying to cross these slippery rocks carefully and Thud! My world was revolving! Dhadam!

I could not even understand what happened and I was lying in awkward position with the help of my hands, my legs up and the face down! I had fallen! Luckily the spot was not very dangerous which could have taken me straight into the valley but falling on slippery rocks on a mountain is scary! Ask me that! My heavy bag, camera pouch every thing fell with me, became dirty! But I too was lucky like that another friend of mine who had just seen death so nearby! And my hands supported me from falling further and I stopped there only. My friend with me shouted at me for stepping in the wrong manner (but I could not realize what had gone wrong. Still I don't know!) And came to my senses and untwined my legs which had entwined as I fell. Now I was afraid.

Every step I moved further was with a kind of fear and extra caution! Yesterday I had not felt any fear while crossing all these dangerous patches but now after falling I was scared! Same 5-6 dangerous patches we crossed and we reached the base of the mountain, the jungle where we had to walk for another two hours or so in order to finish our trek and reach 'Khireshwar' from where we had started our amazing trek!

This time we were hopelessly tired! Yesterday when we had started our trek, while passing through the same jungle we had experienced completely different set of emotions! But now we had tired! Darkness was also setting in. We increased the speed in order to cross the jungle before it was completely dark. But Time was speedier! And complete darkness set in before we completely bypassed the jungle. We had to use torches and walk for another half an hour or so to reach that small hotel in Khireshwar where dinner was awaiting us!

We finally reached there! Our 'Harishchandra Gadh' Trek was over! We had so much fun and a completely unforgettable once in a lifetime kind of experience of an over night trek!
(It was very late so we could not have got transport for Mumbai so we had to reach khubi-fata by the Puneri Friends' bus and got lift in a lorry carrying flowers to Mumbai! What an experience! We returned to Kalyan at about 12:40 in the night but the last train for Dadar had already gone and we had to reach thane somehow, from there to mulund and from there to our respective homes by auto-rickshaw!)
Some experiences are like precious jewels in your life...This trek was one such unforgettable experience...!!!

(Finally...The End!)

Those of you who really liked this blog and want to see the complete set of pictures (around 190) please visit :
Harishchandra Gadh Trek

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Harishchandra Gadh Trek...A memorable experience! (part-3)

The third phase of the Trek was the most thrilling and a bit scary too! Scary because the night had already begun here at 07:00 PM only and it was so dark that one could not even see the person beside him or her without the torch! And that too in a Jungle on a mountain where any creature could come and meet us on the way!

All of us didn't have torches so we were walking in groups with those having torches leading the respective groups.The path of this third phase was not very difficult (this we could make out on the next day in sunlight while returning back through the same route!) but darkness had decided to harass us! Unlike the previous portion of our trek, now there were more than three groups and distance between groups also was uneven.

At some spots there was building up a queue as it was very dark and those spots were very slippery or a bit difficult to cross while at certain other spots there was nobody around except those group members. These group members were scared wondering why others were not visible or audible(!) in the vicinity?The way was such that there were many hills, up and down, covered with thick bushes at some places and small streams were flowing at some other spots.

We had to walk through those streams. It felt so good when that cold water touched the feet! And you should listen to the musical noise the flowing water was making. Rain was going and coming as if to check our status whether we all are safe and sound in that forest in the darkness of that beautiful night! I was enjoying whenever I had to pass through bushes.

These bushes were covering the whole path so that while crossing through them you have to use both your hands to make the way! It felt so nice.

I felt truly adventurous doing this act feeling like a Hollywood movie hero! (Remember Jurassic Park??!!) He...He...He!!! I don't know why but I was not at all scared, neither in the evening nor at the night.

I had heard the comments of my friends walking with me and also had seen expressions on the faces of some others clearly indicating that they were scared! But I was not scared a bit! Infact I was enjoying that adventurous journey as a true Nature-Lover!

I made many good friends enroute. And interesting and strange thing here was that I couldn't even see the faces of those new Friends I was walking with! I could just hear them! Like I made friendship with a brave girl Ashvini (brave because she was having no fear at all and had lot of trekking experience. She was leading us at difficult points and gave us many tips as to how to put steps in right manner, how to move ahead etc.) who was beautiful too!(That I could make out only on the next day when I saw her in sun-light!)

I am very fond of singing and keep humming most of the times! (Most of my friends know that and get bugged when I start singing out of the blue!) But during this journey many friends joined me in singing! (Like Ashvini also did!) I also played some very good numbers on my mobile which many friends walking with me enjoyed very much!

Some songs were so apt at that instant in that kind of ambience that they were truly reflecting the mood of those songs and that of Nature around! The journey was thus made interesting by the music and the songs by us! Many people were falling, some were literally crawling and some others were having a difficult time even walking!

But the Overnight trekking was being enjoyed by all of us for sure! Many times the group ahead, had to stop for hours to catch up with the other groups lagging behind. Those were the moments when we got to chitchat with other group members and know each other better. Overall it was great fun throughout the journey. We had climbed up and down approx. 9 hills and crossed some 4-5 streams.

Finally there came a starlight maidan kind of patch of land and we could make out that now our final destination - the cave where we were all supposed to spend the rest of the night - was nearby. At around 2-2:30 in the night we reached the cave.The cave was small but spacious enough to accommodate all of us(around 40)! We all settled and some of our trek members/organizers got engaged in cooking dinner for us! They were so enthu and energetic!

Most of us were like, now we want to just lie down! And these guys started cooking Potato-Onion subzi and Soup for all of us! I really appreciate their efforts in making this wonderful trek memorable for all of us in every possible way! Kudos to Trek-Di group!!!

So in an hours time our dinner was ready! We had soup and the Subzi with the Rotis (already distributed in the afternoon). It was delicious! Candle light dinner in the true sense as there were a few candles lighting the cave (and a few torches too...So u may call it a Candle-cum-Torch Light Dinner)!

As soon as the dinner was over we slept! You should have seen how we all fitted ourselves into that cave! Everybody had got their sleeping bags, mattresses, bed-sheets etc. Night passed in a flash! And that was an amazing sleep I had, after so tiring a journey!

(Read the description of some beautiful moments at Konkan-kada we visited the next morning and the return journey with more pictures in my concluding Blog of this Trek series...Till then chao!!!)