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Old 23rd July 2008, 15:28   #1
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Thumbs up Trek to Harishchandragad - Two days in the company of clouds!!!

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. - Sir Edmund Hillary

Harishchandrgad is situated in the Sahyadris & is the 2nd tallest mountain in Maharashtra at 4600 feet (second only to Kalsubai).

More details about the history of Harishchandragad can be found at Harishchandragad - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This was my 8th trek to this place & each time this trek has proved to be a learning experience. This trek has become an annual feature for my group of friends. The beauty of this trek is not in reaching the summit but in enjoying the journey on the way. The summit is just an icing on the cake but the cake i.e. the climb itself is the real prize!!
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Old 23rd July 2008, 17:09   #2
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We started the journey for this trek at 5:30 am on Saturday, 12th July from Pune. We had to start early because we wanted to ensure that we reached the summit on time so that we could get a cave for our group of 7 people to sleep over for the night. For those planning to have an overnight trek to this place, the only accommodation are the 11th century caves & the temple on top. Reaching early meant that you have the choice of selecting from the caves available & not be left without a roof on top of your head for the night. This can be dangerous with the heavy rainfall that this part of the region receives. We had breakfast at a small village market called as Ale-Phata. We also did some last minute shopping for some items there.

Anyways, we hired a mini-bus & reached the base village of this fort which is known as Khireshwar. We were planning to get our cars along but having experienced this trek before, we knew that no one would have the stamina to drive back home to Pune for 130 kms on our way back on Sunday. Hence, it is better left to a rented vehicle.

Even though there were no rains in Pune, it looked like this place had received heavy rainfall. We could see fog all around & it seemed almost if the clouds had descended on the ground. It was 11 am but it looked like 6 pm with the low daylight at that time.

Post edited. Henceforth please remove font/size tags from your reply before posting.

These are some initial snaps that were taken
Attached Thumbnails
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Trek to Harishchandragad - Two days in the company of clouds!!!-dsc03505.jpg  


Last edited by Rehaan : 24th July 2008 at 06:57. Reason: merged.
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Old 23rd July 2008, 17:29   #3
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The beauty of Harishchandragad is that this trek has all the different types of terrain that you can expect in one single trek. The first part of the most tiring & this portion is referred to as the jungle patch where you have dense vegetation & a small track which you need to follow. This track is littered with stones of all sizes & is really a challenge to your feet. The humidity of this stretch was amazing with the jungle all around & it kept raining every once in a while. You are caught in a “Catch 22” situation here. Do you keep your rain-jacket on or not? If you take off your rain-jacket the frequent rains will get you wet in no time & if you put your jacket on, the humidity will start bearing down upon you & you start sweating profusely under your jacket. This is patch of about 1 hour after which we reach a point called as Tolar Khind.

From Tolar Khind, you see another path from the opposite direction connecting to your path. This other path is used by the trekkers from Mumbai. From Tolar Khind, we face a stretch called as the “rocky patch”. This patch is more intimidating to look than to experience. It is actually not that challenging to scale but the wet conditions do make it a bit tricky.

We had a mixed bunch of experienced & new guys. There experienced guys came in handy here & helped the new guys on the way up. Some even volunteering to carry the load of a fellow trekker in addition to their own load. The rocky patch last for about 15 mins (if you keep a steady rate). Then there is a patch which can be termed as the most dangerous one on this trek. At this stretch you have the valley on one side & a rock face on the other. One slip of the leg & you are history!!! We also faced small streams of water coming down in our path here. This made it more dangerous where our new guys got overawed with the water gushing down & thought that it was crazy to go any further. However, some minutes of “glucon-D” breaks & some motivational talk cheered them on & we were able to complete this stretch in another hours time.

The treacherous rocky patch & the slippery valley section

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Last edited by Jaggu : 23rd July 2008 at 17:48. Reason: Use edit within 15 mts please, also attach multiple pics in single post
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Old 23rd July 2008, 17:50   #4
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I am god freakin jealous of all you Mumbai-Pune sahyadri buggers I tell you.

Now all of the post in one go. please. no teasers

Last edited by phamilyman : 23rd July 2008 at 17:53.
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Old 23rd July 2008, 17:51   #5
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Default Some more snaps of the valley stretch

Images speak louder than words!!
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Trek to Harishchandragad - Two days in the company of clouds!!!-dsc03437.jpg  

Trek to Harishchandragad - Two days in the company of clouds!!!-dsc03381.jpg  

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Old 23rd July 2008, 18:01   #6
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Default All the remaining snaps here in one go!!!

Beyond this stretch we needed to cross 7 hills to reach our destination. This part of the journey is not challenging but it is frustating because you climb up a hill & go down on it’s side to again climb up another hill….this goes on for 7 hills in a row. There are some red arrows to guide you on this way. However the dense fog, coupled with the strong gusts of wind & heavy rains made this a challenging exercise. We also lost our way once but were experienced enough to backtrack our way & connect to the correct path.


Eventually we reached our destination after 5 hours of climbing & all the guys were soaked like soap in a bath-tub. We were just praying that we get a cave to sleep over since we saw several people already settled in some of our favorite caves. Luckily for us, there was just one cave which was unoccupied & it was just the perfect fit for us 7 guys.


Once we “booked” our cave (by dumping all our bags there)……some guys moved on to the temple to refill our water bottles from the water reservoirs at the temple whereas as others stayed back to clean up the cave to make it more hospitable. Once it was dark…there was hardly any visibility & we thanked God that we could have this cave to ourselves because it would have been a tragedy if we were left to look around for some corner to sleep in the night. We chatted for hours together & finally slept at 12 in the night.

The rains & the dense fog had made it impossible for us to venture anywhere even the next morning. Hence, we had to abandon the plans to check out “Kokan Kada” – the naturally formed rock face which was one of the highlights of this trek. Since we had seen Kokan Kada several times in the past, we skipped & started packing our stuff. We had several rounds of tea & poha (the Maharashtrian breakfast) before we started on our descent. We met a group of around 20 guys from Mumbai on the way & they knew a short-cut which would cut down the distance by an hour for us & will directly take us to the “valley & rock face” patch. We needed no second invitation & we followed them. This shortcut was through some really thick vegetation but once we realized where it ended we thought that this effort was worth it.




The downward journey through the “valley & rock face” patch was tricky, especially for the new guys. However, we had help from the Mumbai guys & this stage passed off without any incident. It is at this stage of the descent that I have seen several first-timers develop a phobia for this trek & they never have the courage to attempt this trek again.


We managed to reach the base of the fort in about 3.5 hours which was pretty good time under the conditions. We had plans to visit Malshej ghat which is close to Harishchandragad but everyone was so used to seeing waterfalls & rains during this trek that we did not have the patience to see the same at Malshej ghat.

Hence, we drove straight to Pune, with memories of this trek resting in our minds for the rest of our lifetime. I would strongly recommend this trek to people living in Maharahstra. As mentioned earlier, even after being here so many times over the years, I always learnt something new & the mountains always humble you to show you who the boss really isJ
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Last edited by Rehaan : 24th July 2008 at 06:58. Reason: Formatting tags removed.
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Old 23rd July 2008, 18:24   #7
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Nice pics Sidz and definitely the location of your trek is awesome and you made me relive the good old days of my treks during my college years.
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Old 24th July 2008, 09:40   #8
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Whoa! Some places look really scary. The climate is lovely, and the photos speak you guys had a gala time.
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Old 24th July 2008, 10:00   #9
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Wow..such spectacular countryside. There's so much to see in India!!!
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Old 24th July 2008, 12:06   #10
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Beautiful write up and nice pictures that help the narration. Looks like you had a good time. If you have any pictures of caves and top of the fort please post them.
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Old 24th July 2008, 12:19   #11
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Excellent trek Sidz. It renews my determination to trek Harishchandragad probably in November/December timeframe. I know I have missed monsoon, but still, it would have its own charm them. Phogohraphs are excellent and truely loved the way you wrote your experience.

Keep up the good work on writing and motivating all of us! Did you trek Alang? and Dhak Bahiri?

takecare
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Old 24th July 2008, 12:36   #12
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Goodness, this reminds me of Torna and Rajgad.
Great pix.
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Old 24th July 2008, 15:05   #13
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Amazing landscape and truly India is incredible. Some pictures have come out quite hazy but still we can see the beauty through it

How far is the starting point of your trek from Pune?
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Old 24th July 2008, 20:19   #14
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Default Snaps of the cave

Quote:
Originally Posted by deepaktpatil View Post
Beautiful write up and nice pictures that help the narration. Looks like you had a good time. If you have any pictures of caves and top of the fort please post them.
The first snap is of the small cave that we used this time around with 7 guys.
The second snap is of a much larger cave that we had used, when we had 18 guys with us
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Old 24th July 2008, 20:23   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rkavthekar View Post
Excellent trek Sidz. It renews my determination to trek Harishchandragad probably in November/December timeframe. I know I have missed monsoon, but still, it would have its own charm them. Phogohraphs are excellent and truely loved the way you wrote your experience.

Keep up the good work on writing and motivating all of us! Did you trek Alang? and Dhak Bahiri?

takecare
Thanks.
Harishchandragad is a trek for all seasons (except probably the summer season because you will get scorched by the time to reach on top).

Haven't been to Alang & after finishing college had planned a Dhak Bahiri trek but one of our guys fell sick on the way & we had to cancel it. I know there is an awesome rock face at Dhak Bahiri.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by mobike008 View Post
Amazing landscape and truly India is incredible. Some pictures have come out quite hazy but still we can see the beauty through it

How far is the starting point of your trek from Pune?

The base village (Khireshwar) is about 130 kms from Pune or about 3.5 hours journey by road

Last edited by Jaggu : 24th July 2008 at 20:45. Reason: Use multi quote
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