After a long gap of almost three years, I ventured into one more life time experiences in the Sahyadri’s. This time it was Naaneghat. Trekking has always stimulated me and gave that peace and fun all together, when I allow myself to be one with the nature and get as deep inside the nature as possible.
After the gap and lot of restrictions due to my back problem, my confidence level had gone drastically down and wasn’t really sure about trying myself against such tough test. But then these are the times you can prove to yourself and gain that confidence back. Naaneghat did exactly that for me. Off course I took all the precautions and remained as realistic as possible in terms of adventures, that I can take up on my way.
A point to point bus journey adds a bit of comfort to the trekkers, considering the efforts they have to put up in climbing the peak, they have embarked on. A bit of luxury and cohesion of a group and off course the musical tug of war, exposing many of the talents within trekkers. Those "Marathmoli" and inspiring songs, take you directly into 17th century and you actually start feeling like one of Shivaji Maharaj’s brave knight, sent out on an overnight mission of capturing the most difficult fort with your entire valor.
After starting at 1 am sharp from Vasai road we reached “Vaishakhare” at 4 am via Bhiwandi Phata, Kalyan and Murbad. After taking a nap for one more hour, we got into the business of making tea. You can’t really rely on local hotels here at this hour of the day and hence VAC had all the necessary arrangements. But then we got little too loose and lost some time out here. Started the trek at exactly 7 am, after reverberating to the tunes of " Praudh pratap purandar, kshtriya kulavatans, gobrahman …." and creating that environment and emotion of inspiration as well as joy.
All these treks do give me a vicarious experience of reliving those moments, that Shivaji’s "Mavale” lived few hundred years earlier, that urge, that ecstasy, that confidence of a tiger of Sahyadri’s, that genuine love for mother land, the feeling is difficult to capture in words. I don’t really find enough words to describe that, off course the reason can also be my limited vocabulary 🙂 but even then any genius in any language may probably be able to capture those emotions.
The whole of Konkan drapes itself with eye-soothing greenery during monsoon and every place becomes a picnic spot. As we landed on to the top of the Naaneghat Platue, clouds had already hijacked the place and we were prisoners to the thickness of clouds and heavy wind. We had plans to have a birds eye view of the surrounding area, including Kukdi river and the lake, the other peaks like Thakoba, Gorkha – Machindra, Bhairav gadh and the distant Harishchandra gadh. But alas, all those plans were tarnished and we were left to the mercy of the cloudy weather.
A person at a distance of 5 feet was not visible. The foggy experience was interesting and something, I had never experienced before. The combination of heavy wind, rain and thick fog gave an experience of "lost in nowhere". After reaching the cave at Naaneghat, as we crossed the actual pass and reached the Platue, I could see nothing but the fog and the heavy wind was literally dragging me along.
Somehow after balancing myself and getting used to the fog, I was able see the huge stone vessel, a Ganapati temple, a small hut and few cars. I was aware that there is road path from the “Nagar” end to this pass, but never expected cars to come so far. A feeling surged through my mind, that the distance that we covered with huge efforts and took 3 hours and struggled with the weather so much, people can reach the same peak comfortably sitting in their cars and experiences the same beauty as us. But then buddy, the effort that we had put, gave us that sense of accomplishment and what’s the fun in reaching a destination that does not have an interesting journey.
The stone vessel and the cave had been there for last 2000 years and one can see “Brahmi” inscriptions on the walls of the cave. This pass which connects konkan to deccan platue has been in use since 200 BC. This route was developed during Satawaahaana period and served as trade route between Kalyan, Naala Sopara in konkan to Pratishthan (modern day Paithan), the capital of the Saatwaahaan dynasty. The stone vessel was used for collecting taxes during this period.
Naaneghat looks like a thumb from distance and is called as "Nanacha Angtha", few privileged could have a glimpse of that thumb in the midst of the those mighty clouds. “Vanarlingi” was much more prominently visible. This rocky pinnacle serves as an attractive challenge for the rock climbers and an amazing view is guaranteed when you reach this 150 meter high pinnacle.
The opportunity to listen to few of the vadval punch lines (folklore of vasai) was a joy. These are few things of antiquity that you happen to stumble upon unexpectedly, but gives you a joy equivalent of meeting an old friend or reaching a place where you have spend considerable amount of time in life.
During our way up, we saw the Murphy’s Law in action. You may take all the care to make sure things turn out well, but then things that have to go wrong they would always go that way. Sheetal had picked up her old shoes, which she had got for our US trip and considered to be good quality shoes. But then looks like they had decided to take an early retirement or rather were not meant for the tough route of Naaneghat.
In a less than half an hour of our way up one of them had left its “sole”. The other one too gave way at much later instance. This slowed us down a lot and gave a good chance for Suhas to torture me for not giving my shoes to my wife. In fact we lost our way up and took a little while to get onto the track again. Nevertheless Aditi, Sachin and Suhas helped a lot and made sure we reach the top, under all those circumstances.
Subodh gave us good company during our way down, because climbing down is always more challenging and chances of slipping and stepping on a loose rock are more. Heavy rains and the gushing water through the rocky route aggravated our challenge. We were back to our base camp in another 3 hours, a bit tired and happy about the whole adventure.
The “Malshej ghat” is equally beautiful and lot of people enjoy the nature along with cold water and hot drinks, a relatively cheaper enjoyment. Well having completed the trek to Naaneghat few minutes back, we were having more sense of achievement though. Immersing inside the roadside waterfall is definitely a fun, but not as satisfying as soaking yourself in nature and getting deep into it with 3 hours of challenging route.
Nitant proved to be good "bakra" for leg pulling. As is common in all the cultures, every eligible bachelor goes through all this at some point of time. We had ample pranks, jokes, songs solely devoted to his bachelorhood and his search for bride. You can imagine how creative people can get, in these kinds of situations and when we had people like Yogesh and few others in the gang, it proved to be a good entertainment for all.
The tunes of some of the famous Marathi inspirational songs, "Bhaavgeets" and "Lavnya” made us nostalgic about those AM/MW days when radio was really a part of everyday life and I remember getting up in the morning to nice "Bhoopali"’s and "Abhanga"’s of Ajit kadkade and Lata Mangeshkar, as my mom used to put on those "Suprabhat Geet"s as early as 6 am in the morning.
The highlight of the trek was 4.5 years old Krish. He did the trek without much help from anybody and along with his daredevil dad, incidentally sharing the same name as mine. Never did he got tired and probably was more enthusiastic than many of us. A strong trekker in making, I would say.
In all one more interesting Sahyadri experience, close to the nature and taking me back to in our brave and inspiring history.