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Old 14th January 2015, 20:17   #16
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

Awesome, views are out of the world and pictures are great. Thanks for Sharing
Could you also share the route information ?
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Old 15th January 2015, 15:08   #17
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

Wonderful pics and narration…Dodge
Some of those pics look really scary and it takes some guts to reach those heights. You have rightly said about Maharashtra being blessed with Sahyadri mountains and 350 odd forts.
I also like trekking, visiting the forts, but unfortunatley haven't been able to do some challenging treks like yours. All I have done is Shivneri (via short but difficult route which is now closed), Pratapgad, Sajjangad, Lohagad and Sudhagad. Except Sudhagad, I won't really term these as treks. So, if you don't mind, count me in when you are planning your next trek. Have you joined any trekking group as such? We can form a group of like-minded trekker BHPians and have T-BHP meets at mountain tops. What say?
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Old 15th January 2015, 16:11   #18
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

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Originally Posted by mahesh_sn View Post
Wonderful pics and narration…Dodge
Some of those pics look really scary and it takes some guts to reach those heights. You have rightly said about Maharashtra being blessed with Sahyadri mountains and 350 odd forts.
I also like trekking, visiting the forts, but unfortunatley haven't been able to do some challenging treks like yours. All I have done is Shivneri (via short but difficult route which is now closed), Pratapgad, Sajjangad, Lohagad and Sudhagad. Except Sudhagad, I won't really term these as treks. So, if you don't mind, count me in when you are planning your next trek. Have you joined any trekking group as such? We can form a group of like-minded trekker BHPians and have T-BHP meets at mountain tops. What say?
I started my treks with trek groups but later stopped. I now go along with friends and plan on my own.

And we did have a teambhp meet here This might be the highest meet in Maharashtra.

http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/travel...-naneghat.html (Photologue: 5 BHPians conquer the Naneghat)
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Old 15th January 2015, 17:52   #19
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

Wow Dodge-Viper,

Thanks for the beautiful pics accompained by nice travelogue. Your pics reminded me of Lingana trek. Where we stayed overnight in a base village, which does not have basic amnities like electricity, water, drainage etc. I will be waiting for your Harichandra gad travelogue. As you rightly said, unless you do it, you are not a trekker. I know what you are trying to say and 100% agree.

I have worked with TATA Motors during 2004-06 and fortunately member of adventure club. It helped me to be part of some amazing treks like Lingana, Tel baila, Rajgad, Prachandgad/Torna, Sinhagad, Tung, Tikona, Purandareswar gad, Visapur, Lohagad. Thanks for reminding those wonderfull days and keep this thread alive

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I could not resist my self from posting Lingana picture, yes we climbed this peak

Last edited by hillsnrains : 15th January 2015 at 17:54.
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Old 16th January 2015, 16:45   #20
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

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Originally Posted by hillsnrains View Post
Lingana, Tel baila, Rajgad, Prachandgad/Torna, Sinhagad, Tung, Tikona, Purandareswar gad, Visapur, Lohagad. Thanks for reminding those wonderfull days and keep this thread alive

I could not resist my self from posting Lingana picture, yes we climbed this peak
Thanks dude. Climbed up Lingana, that's a great achievement. Specially since it requires full technical climbing. If I am not wrong that pic must be taken from Raayling plateau which is before you descend into Boratyachi naal/Singapur naal near Mohri village.
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Old 16th January 2015, 17:00   #21
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

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Thanks dude. Climbed up Lingana, that's a great achievement. Specially since it requires full technical climbing. If I am not wrong that pic must be taken from Raayling plateau which is before you descend into Boratyachi naal/Singapur naal near Mohri village.
Did you scale it?
Just out of curiosity, which is your home town/village? Which might be very close to Pune. How you are able to tell all those names exactly?

Yes that picture was taken from the plateau, before descend towards the base of Linganga. Thanks to Tata Adventure club, they have all the professional gear that required for toughest treks. We have carried ladders, ropes, gloves, hooks, utensils, water, first aid kit and lamps etc.

During my next Pune/MH visit we can catch up and share more experiences (planned for 2015 August). If possible a drive to Malshej ghat
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Old 19th January 2015, 21:15   #22
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

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Originally Posted by hillsnrains View Post
Did you scale it?
Just out of curiosity, which is your home town/village? Which might be very close to Pune. How you are able to tell all those names exactly?
Haha, been trekking past 7 years so have a fair idea about remote villages and routes. Plus Torna-Raigad is still a to-do for me. Nothing can beat the view of Lingana from Raayling plateau.

I haven't done any technical climbing yet, hence not scaled Lingana. Rock climbing is one thing which is sadly still pending .
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Old 20th January 2015, 15:00   #23
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Default Harishchandragad!

If you start trekking in Maharashtra and say like complete 2-3 treks, you will be knowing lot of trek buddies by then. So just during casual discussion where you would be sharing experiences about how you started to trek and all that, a high probability of one question popping up. "Have you done Harishchandragad?" If your answer is yes, congrats!, you are very lucky, everyone would be all smiles. But, if it turns out to be a no, then be prepared to be treated as an untouchable, or an alien, or a person not fit to be in trek society. 10001% a statement would be made, sorry don't call yourself a trekker. I have been through this. I have seen people going through this.

So why such importance to this place? There are many places which are more beautiful than Harishchandragad. But this place has one unique feature which you won't find anywhere else. If you do a image search on Google for Harishchandragad, you will find one particular photo to be in majority. What is this?

It's the almighty kokankada! A unique art of nature in which thousands of hikers fell in love. It is love at first sight. So much that I do have an interesting story and experience to tell about it (later). I can bet you on my life, you will be speechless when you see. It is no doubt scary, but you just can't let it go from your sight. You can sit there full day full night for days together just admiring it. Trust me, you have to be there to experience it. Pictures don't do justice. Every time you visit it's a different experience. I have been to Harishchandragad 5 times and I still look forward to visit at the slightest bit of opportunity. Sadly the over-popularity has taken a toll. Weekends are very much crowded. Hints of place being commercialised are now clearly visible.

Routes:

Harishchandragad can be climbed via 5-6 routes.

-Khireshwar-Tolar Khind route: Long and most treaded route. Has a rock patch to negotiate which is made easy with railings installed
-Pachnai: Easiest and shortest of all.
-Nalichi Vaat: The most thrilling. Takes around 12 hours to reach top. Involves technical climbing. Route is dangerous and full of scree. This route basically is a gully between kokankada. Not possible or extremely dangerous to do in monsoons.
-Junnar Rajmarg and Sadhale Ghat: Again less treaded, but thrilling. Good to take locals for guidance.
-Kokankada: The "are you kidding me" route. Only the bravest daredevils will do it. In short you climb the entire kokan kada vertically.

Reaching the base village:

-For Mumbai folks, take the NH222 highway. A very beautiful drive on fantastic roads takes you to Malshej ghat. Once you cross Malshej, you will see a water body on left side, which is the Pimpalgaon Joge Dam. Take left at Khubi fata. A dirt road of around 4kms takes one to Khireshwar. Vehicles can be parked at one of the many homestay hotels. For people taking local transport, catch any bus going towards alephata/ahmednagar and request the driver to stop at Khubi fata.

-For Pune folks, take the NH50 and take left at Alephata and reach the same point point as mentioned above.

I have not tried any other route than Tolar Khind route. This route takes around 4-5 hours to reach top. Parking is easily available in base village Khireshwar. You can even get breakfast/lunch on order. The initial part of this route is through a forest, hence the heat doesn't trouble you. After a 1.5-2 hours climb you reach Tolar khind. A col between mountains basically. You will find a tapri(!) here selling lemon juice, buttermilk. This point serves as a nice break point after a tiring climb. Route coming from Ratangad fort merges here.

A 5 min walk from here takes you to a rock patch. Thanks to the railings installed, this is now very easy to negotiate. Crossing this patch you come to a open area from where you get beautiful views of the base village and the dam. Another climb of 30 mins takes you to the top. Here also you will find a tapri selling excellent refreshing lemon juice and buttermilk. So you reached the top in 3-3.5 hours? No. The actual place lies another 1.5-2 hours from here. You cross 7 hills to reach there. This whole route is in open, hence the heat tires you in no time. There's a shortcut route too, which goes through forest but that just helps from heat. Less people use it and slight chances of getting confused with the route. After negotiating this, you finally come to the main part where you can see caves and a very old rock carved beautiful temple. Now, there are lot of locals which provide home cooked delicious food and tents on rent basis.

The first view of Rohidas summit from NH222

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Route till Khireshwar. Dam on both side. Beautiful views

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Pimpalgaon Joge Dam

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Interesting fort(!). That's Moroshi's Bhairavgad. Fort on a dyke. Visible while going towards Malshej on NH222

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The dirt track till Khireshwar. Easily negotiable by any car. Just needs to be driven slowly

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Forested route till Tolar Khind

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@Tolar Khind. Route seen is the one which comes from Ratangad

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Rock patch after Tolar khind. Pic was taken when railings were broken. Now it's very easy with railings re-installed

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View of dam after negotiating rock patch

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The shortcut route towards temple. After you cross rock patch and climb up, you can see 2 routes. One going straight which is a longer crossing-7-hills-route, while the left one goes through a forest and is shorter by around 30mins

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Main area of the fort. Temple, saptatirth can be seen

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Harishchandreshwar temple

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Saptatirth

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The beautiful Ganesh idol, illuminated by diyas

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Kedareshwar temple cave. Shivling is submerged throughout the year. Water is icy cold. Shivling itself is around 8-9ft high

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An interesting myth about this. The four pillars which are seen, three of them are broken. They say, when the fourth one breaks, it would be end of the world

Camping near kokankada

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I was lucky to witness a total lunar eclipse from here

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Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 20th January 2015 at 15:13.
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Old 20th January 2015, 17:03   #24
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Default Harishchandragad: Kokankada

Kokankada: A wonder created by nature. Kokankada is a concave semi-circular rock cliff which faces kokan side. Over the years, maybe due to erosion, a concave surface was formed. It's a thrilling piece of art by nature. As I said earlier, pictures don't do justice. You have to be there in person to witness it. It's HUGE, it's deep and it's scary. You cannot just walk up to kokankada and peep down. No, seriously you cannot. The drop here is approx 1700ft vertical. It is extremely windy at times, so much that if you throw any light weight object down, it will come up. There is a technique to see kokan kada. One has to sit down few feet before, lie down, and crawl towards the edge slowly. Then slowly start peeping down. For the first timers, the moment you see the drop words like %#@$, #@$&*, @$@@$ echo around. Many will get so terrified that they will find it difficult to go back. Some will start shivering, so you have to hold their legs and pull back. There is also an emperor's seat to see kokan kada. It is actually a pit on the edge in which you sit and then peep over. To get back one has to crawl back a few feet and then get up. You cannot try to get up on the edge and walk back. Some idiotic people will sit on the edge, stand on the edge. Please don't. It is very dangerous.

From the edge the Rohidas summit can be seen on the left side and Kombda peak on right. To get the entire view of the cliff one has to walk towards right.
Please excuse the poor quality of pics. Few are from my old 2008 hike. Sadly shortlisting pics was a major task.

This is how one has to see it. My first experience with kokankada

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The dangerous 1700ft vertical drop. Impossible to judge from a photo

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The concave cliff of kokankada. See some white spots on top? Those are people!

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Emperor's seat. It is scary so you need additional support

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Rohidas summit

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Kombda peak

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Rightmost end of kokankada. Look at the size of cliff!

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Interesting things happen at kokankada. One phenomenon is the circular 360 degree rainbow also called as Indravajra. It happens when there is slight mist in air and sun right behind you. You see your reflection between the rainbow. Another rare thing is cloud wall which happens when clouds get sucked into the concave part and are thrown up. It forms a wall of cloud so thick that nothing is visible. And this happens at the edge of the cliff.

My first post had mentioned about an interesting story and experience. So here it goes for the ending post:

I had mentioned that many people fall in love with this cliff. So much, that one day a person deeply madly in love...jumped off over the cliff!!! He even wrote a letter saying I am jumping off just because I love it. It is a weird madness which cannot be explained in words. There is an unusual kind of attraction which you experience standing there. This might not happen at the first time. Might not happen with anyone at all. But those who experience it, share a strange feeling of the temptation to jump. Not die, but they wish they had wings and just jump and fly there. I suffer from it. I started to feel this from my 3rd trip onwards. Sitting there a thought comes to mind of having wings and just jump and fly. I know this sounds insane and crazy but it happens and it happened with me. I realised this and from then try to avoid going near. I help my fellow trekkers to see it but keep myself away. There are lot of cliffs in Sahyadris but only at kokankada one feels this. Many call it cocainekada, since it gives a different kind of high.

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 20th January 2015 at 17:10.
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Old 20th January 2015, 22:31   #25
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Default Re: Wandering in the Sahyadris

KonkanKada - That looks really really thrilling. How much time did you say to reach here, full 12 hours or is it doable in 3 - 4 hours till the KonkanKada. On a difficulty scale, is this rated as the highest in MH?
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Old 20th January 2015, 23:11   #26
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Originally Posted by Desmosedici View Post
KonkanKada - That looks really really thrilling. How much time did you say to reach here, full 12 hours or is it doable in 3 - 4 hours till the KonkanKada. On a difficulty scale, is this rated as the highest in MH?
Nope, with normal route it will take around 4-5 hours. 12 hours is another difficult route which needs rock climbing.

Normal route is actually easy. Just the thrill part of kokankada is more.

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