I feel very lucky being in Pune. Its like the epicenter of all tourist destinations. Beaches, forts, renowned temples (read Ashtavinayak and Jyotir-ling) ... everything is accessible with minimum of effort. Due to monsoons hitting Pune earlier than expected, all monsoon plans had to be preponed. Yes, preponed and not postponed. Last weekend, we (read Biwi, Omkar, Dinesh, Prakash and I) visited a fabulous point at Mulshi and we didn't want to waste this weekend too.
The original plan was to trek from Arthur's seat in old Mahabaleshwar to Pratapgad on Saturday. But Dinesh had to stay in office on Saturday. So we rescheduled it for Sunday. We called up a person in Mahabaleshwar to inquire if traffic to Mahabaleshwar is proceeding. The answer dampened our spirits a bit. Apparently, traffic to Mahabaleshwar it halted at Panchgani itself during heavy rain. So, now what?
Oye koi gall nahi baashaaon. We decided we will trek Rajgad. So, everyone assembled at my place at 6 am sharp (quite a surprise huh?). We stopped 16 km off Rajgad to have naashta and then proceeded to reach Rajgad at 8:30 am.
I could vividly remember my first trip to Rajgad on Republic Day in 2005. That was CoV's first official trip and what a joy that was, although it was in January when most of the greenery was wiped out and we had skipped the trek to Baale Killa. Cut to 2008.
We started our trek from a place called 'Gunjavane paayta'. It was a pleasure to be amidst such a green and misty locale. The scenic horizon tempted us to hurry up with every step.
The last section was extremely treacherous, at least when we saw it first. It was a vertical climb with a few railings for support. But we managed to negotiate it and reached the top at around 11 am.
The atmosphere around the lake was astonishing. Almost surreal.
We had tea at a place called the 'Kacheri'. There was a nice statue of Shivaji Maharaj kept over there.
Sipping hot tea along with chips was the perfect recipe for this kind of weather. Did someone say 'Kaanda Bhaji'?
But then started the fun part. We had to go up to Baale Killa. This was even more hazardous.
Kudos to everyone who pulled their weight and completed the 2nd trek successfully. No wonder that everyone was overjoyed on reaching Baale Killa.
It was even more misty and windy at the top.
After spending around an hour on top, we started trekking down, which was non-trivial. It was a long time before we came back to Gunjavane. I guess it was 5:30 pm. We reached home at around 7 pm.
One of the most enjoyable as well as difficult treks so far in my life. King of forts as well as King of treks ... RAJGAD ... !!
Cheers ... !!