An amazing Experience of my Life: Tracking to Tornagarh Fort


“Climbing is the lazy man’s way to enlightenment. It forces you to pay attention, because if you don’t, you won’t succeed, which is minor — or you may get hurt, which is major. Instead of years of meditation, you have this activity that forces you to relax and monitor your breathing and tread that line between living and dying. When you climb, you always are confronted with the edge. Hey, if it was just like climbing a ladder, we all would have quit a long time ago.” — Duncan Ferguson

Well…., Mountain Climbing is not my hobby nor I have done it before. But I had always a dream to go for a mountain tracking. These tracking are easy to heard or read somewhere, but in reality it requires lots of preparation and dedication. This trip to Tornagarh Fort came from a sudden planning from one of my friend.  Well, the idea looked pretty awesome and exciting to us. So we did a thumps up to achieve a never before experience in our life.

Now came the preparation part. As all of my friends were about to trill a new experience in their life, we all want to make sure that our preparation also didn’t lags behind our excitement. Couple of my friends bought all necessary staffs including food, first aid, torch and other handy items. As we decided to stay a night over there, so the preparation got couple of more additions like tent and other sleeping materials.

The preparation got over. We finally packed our bags with all the staffs we collected. Once the packing got over, we tried a demo to lift the bags. OMG…. We realized that everyone will have to carry at least 12-15 kgs to the top of the mountain. One said –‘It is a onetime activity guys…let’s do it.Common. ‘Climbing mountains with such weights will be tougher. Everyone realized that and made their minds accordingly.

It was also necessary to capture some information prior to the trip, and it is always beneficial to know the place in detail before you actually reach there. Here comes our search partner Google.

It is historically significant as the first most forts to be acquired by Raja Shivaji in 1643, forming the Nucleus of the Maratha Empire (Swarajya Toran). The total height of the Fort is 1403 meters from the sea level. –Source Wikipedia.

I also went through few blogs and sites about the tracking to the fort. Well, I find very exciting information. According to few, this track is very tough and only expert trackers should go for it. Few wrote that accommodation is not good, the climbing is stiff and the fort location is not safe for night stay. Hey…if you are planning for this track…just relax. Don’t confuse as we did. When you complete this article, your confusion will be over.

“Discoveries are often made by not following instructions, by going off the main road, by trying the untried.” — Frank Tyger

As we planned to stay at the fort at night, so we got bit tensed. Also it adds more thrills to our journey. We planned to leave from Pune at 1 pm at the evening the next day, to keep our bikes in the village (Velhe) and start our tracking.

The Journey Day:

All friends gathered at my place in the morning. 7 people, 4 bikes. We bought 2 tents from a dealer who gives tents for rents Rs 400 a day. Our luggage got even heavier with those tents. Finally we start our journey from Pune at 1 pm. The route was

Magarpatta – Katraj – Dalvi Vasti (at Pune Bangalore Highway) – Velhe

We reached the Velhe village by 3.30 pm. The biking experience along the countryside was indeed enjoyable. We found that there was a police chowki nearly at the end of the village from where actually the tracking path to the Fort starts. We kept our bikes beside the police chowki and start our tracking by 4 pm.

Now the real adventure was in front of us and we needed to finish the tracking and reached the top before the sunset. After half an hour of tracking, the tiredness slowly came to everyone’s face. The climate was hot and the first phase of the tracking was bit stiff. We took a rest of 10-15 minutes, had some water and start again. In the way, we met a farmer and eagerly we asked – ‘How much time from here it will take to reach the fort?’ The farmer with a very relaxed face replied ‘2 hours more.’ It seemed he does this activity daily and it’s not at all a big deal for him. We also met couple of trackers who actually climbed up the fort in the night and those guys were really moral boosters for us.

“Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.” — Theodore Roethk

A small farmhourse on the way

We climbed on and on. After some time, we reached some point in the mountain, from where the paths looked simple and easy to go. As we move on climbing, the climate becomes cooler and we feel easier and comfortable. By 7 pm we finally reached the fort after nearly 3 hours of journey. It was awesome to see the sunset on our way.

When we reached the top, it was almost dark by that time. We found few villagers and a small temple over there. We asked the villages about the place. They said we can stay there in the temple at night. However we bought the tents so, we decided to stay at our own arrangements.

The climate was pretty cool and wind was blowing at very high-speed at the top. Then we divided into two groups. The one group started to put the tents while I with the other group went for searching woods for a campfire. The wind was blowing so high that we found very difficult to set up our tents and even difficult to put the campfire. However we finally managed to do the both. One of my friend started making omelets and we had a good dinner with those omelets and the food we carried.

The night passed by with gossip and fun with the friends. When we wake up early in the morning, then the real beauty of the fort and the surrounding mountain range catch our eyes. The morning atmosphere was so breathtaking that no one expect us feel that. It was unbelievable, when we discovered that we were actually standing way above the clouds.

A Wild Beauty discovered in the morning

 

The Clouds viewd from the Fort

We had a small breakfast and then started our backward journey by 7 am in the morning. At that time the climate was nice and cool, and so we find it easy to come down. Again it took 2 and half hours in reach the village. A dog also gave us a nice company.

We came back to Pune through the other road by khanapur and singhgad and reached Pune by 12.30 pm. This road was shorter but not as good and comfortable as the earlier road via Pune – Bangalore Highway. This is how we completed one of our extreme adventures of our life.

“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” — Edmund Hillary

Few Tips:

  • Plan your trip with all information and arrangements well in advance.
  • It takes nearly 3 hours to climb up to the Fort and 2 and half hours to climb down (including 5-6 breaks of 5 mins each). So plan your timing accordingly.
  • Don’t forget to carry water bottles with you and its bit tricky too. Carrying more than enough water will add weight to your luggage and carrying little water may put you in situations of the shortage of water in the journey. So think twice in this aspect.
  • If you are planning to stay at night, carry sufficient food, torch and other sleeping arrangements.
  • Carry a first aid box because you never know what will happen in the journey. So safety first.
  • Signals of mobile towers are week but present. We managed to make some calls and send messages.
  • Put shoes and jackets and carry some ropes (at some points of the journey, it will come very handy).
  • If you are travelling in rainy seasons, be careful. The path will be very slippery.
  • You can divide the journey into 3 parts of 1 hour each. The starting 1st hour will be to climb the first hill. It is tough and steep. The second phase is easy. Here you can enjoy the real beauties and click as many photographs as you can. The 3rd phase is the toughest and you need to be very careful here. There are some points in this phase, where you need to climb 80-85 degree up. Here your complete concentration and dedication is required.
  • And finally don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful moments of your journey.

 

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” — Frank A. Clark

If you are planning for a trip to this fort, go ahead and enjoy. Also don’t forget to share your part of the story.

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Please DO NOT distribute, copy, publish or use the images or any part of the images in any way without express permission of the copyright holder.

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The city of Pune from a HillTop


Everyone in Pune are enjoying this monsoon season and so do we. Few weekends back I, with few of friends went to a hilltop nearby to enjoy the fresh air and rain in the evening. The place was so cool and the view was so panoramic. Here are some pics for you all.

 

A Trip to Puri Beach


Few day ago, with few of my college friends I have visited Puri Beach. It is located on the vast and exotic coastline of Orissa and at its south eastern region.

It is a wonderful holiday destination. This land of beautiful temples has been very charming to the tourists from all over the country who visit in thousands every year to Puri to take in the serene beauty of the Puri beach.

The major tourist destinations of Puri are the famous Jagannath Temple and the chariot shaped Konark Temple. The beach has continued to be a sacred venue for an endless number of pilgrims coming to pay homage to Lord Jagannath.

Located at a mere distance of 35 kms from the Sun Temple and 65 kms from Bhubaneshwar, the beach is an ideal place for an introvert holiday maker.

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A Trip to Bhimashankar


A Trip to Bhimashankar

Bhimashankar is famous pilgrimage destination for one of the 12 Jyotirlings in India. Bhimashankar lies around 125 kms from Pune and 250 Kms from Mumbai. On Mumbai-Pune highway after pimpri-chinchwad a road to left goes to Nashik, popularly known as Nasik phata. It will take you to Bhimashankar via Rajguru Nagar – Manchar –Ghodegaon – Bhimashankar. Another alternative road from Mumbai is via – Malshej Ghats.

We have recently visited this place on the occasion of one of my friend’s birthday. We were eight people and so we have booked one cab from Pune. Our initial plan was to go early as soon as possible as these places are very good to visit in the early morning. However we managed to start our trip by 7.30 in the morning. It took nearly two and half hour to reach our destination. This is the month of January and so the climate was pretty good, not so hot as well as not so cold.

On our way to Bhimashankar, the cool and calm countryside of Maharashtra attracted us a lot. We felt very relaxed after a long coding, testing and deployment periods in our so called IT life. Here are few pics.  

We had our breakfast at a nearby shop and then visited the temple. The temple was not so big as I expected. But what I surprised to see that lot of pilgrims from North India came here to visit as a group by bus.

Bhimashankar is also declared as wildlife sanctuary. The dense vegetation is home to varieties of birds and animals. Leopards, barking deers, langurs, sambhar deers, wild boars, shekhrus, skews (Squirrels without stripes), civet cats (jungle cat), jackals, hyenas are the common inhabitants of Bhimashankar.

Few places near Bhimashankar to see are: Ghodegaon, Dimbhe Dam, Kondwal waterfall, Hanuman Lake, Gupt Bhimashankar, Origin of River Bhima, Nag Phani etc.

After visiting the temple, we went to see the Dimbhe Dam and I must say this is one of the most beautiful dam I have ever seen in my life. It is surrounded by beautiful hills and the water was clear blue. We also saw fresh water fishes roaming feely there.

After spending a plenty of time there with my friends, we finally headed towards Pune with capturing lots of memories and photos of our trip. It was a great weekend one day trip for us.

 

At the top of Mahabaleshwar


At the top of Mahabaleshwar

Located in the misty green mountain ranges of the Western Ghats, Mahabaleshwar is an idyllic summer retreat and is blessed with some of the finest natural wonders. This place was once upon a time the most favored summer getaway for the British and one can still sense the colonial charm here. There are many interesting things about Mahabaleshwar that draw large number of tourists from all parts of India. Its scenic points, temples and a salubrious climate attract nature lovers or seekers of solitude.

As a part of our one day trip to Mahabaleshwar, we reached at its top in the morning to enjoy the cool mountain air, lush greenery, breathtaking valleys and soaring mountain peaks. Here are few pics taken at that time.

Mulshi Dam: Amidst greenery, hills, lake and waterfalls!


Mulshi Dam: Amidst greenery, hills, lake and waterfalls!

I recently visited a place called Mulshi which is in the outskirts of Pune, India. The place was awesome with full of greenery, hills, lake, waterfalls etc. It was a one and half hour drive from Pune on bike. The roads are bit narrow but are surrounded by all natural beauties. It was a great relaxation in the weekends.

Mulshi is to the west of Pune and close to Lonavala as well as Konkan region. It is the hilly region of Pune, with one of the biggest mountain ranges in Maharashtra i.e. Sahyadri.

Mulshi dam and the surroundings are full of natural beauties that include a dam, hilly region of Sahyadri’s deep forests and forts like Dhangad and Koraigadh. Water of Mulshi is used for generating electricity. It is one of the major electricity projects in Maharashtra.

It is the best place for birdwatchers and photographers. Especially during the rainy season the lush green area becomes an irresistible temptation.

If you wish to spend some quiet moments in your life in the company of greenery and scenery and if you want to set out on a one day picnic around Pune, then Mulshi Dam is the perfect destination for you.

Mulshi is very near to Pune and a short trip here can be arranged. One must enjoy the marvelous lake, the dam, forest and hilly region of Mulshi. If you are lucky then you can enjoy boating here as well. Thus, it is a newly developing picnic spot near Pune.

 

An evening at Bushi Dam,Lonavala


An evening at Bushi Dam,Lonavala

Bushi Dam is located a few kilometers from Lonavala and is a very popular weekend hangout for Pune’ites. The pictures below are taken by Samsung mobile phone when I with my few friends reached there in the evening.