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Old 4th November 2008, 16:33   #1
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Default Rajmachi re-rediscovered..!!

Was extremely bored with the Diwali festivities, the cracker menace and the overdose of lights, diyas, sweets, love and affection, relatives & friends who find time to come around only during Diwali.
Not to forget the continuous flow of grinning baksheesh seekers whose list is longer than my list of friends & family. The postman suddenly arrives with a heap of letters which he 'just found' at the post office. The kachrawala asking if there is any 'extra kachra' that needs to be disposed off. The watchman cleaning my car extra clean and suddenly recognizing my face after a whole year of amnesia and shooting that extra ' salaam saab, sab theek hai saab'. The list of wannabees is endless.
Anyways i decided to hit off to Rajmachi, which is the only place I can think of for a one day getaway or an overnight campsite thats closest to Mumbai. My buddy Abhishek found time to join me for this one and so I had some company with me this time. Having never been there before it was a trip he was looking forward to.

I picked up Abhi(Abhishek) @ 930am on Thu after Diwali and we headed out of the city. We reached Lonavala at 11am and decided that instead of entering Lonavala which is bustling with crowd all through the year, we should hit the mountains.
We had basic supplies of water, lots of biscuits and chips and some juice which would suffice for a day.


The entrance to Rajmachi just off the Mumbai Pune expressway.
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The foothills.
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The weather was dry and warm in the afternoon with almost no breeze.
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There is still plenty of greenery though. Abhi showing the way ahead.
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We stopped for a foto opportunity and discovered a puncture on the right front rapidly losing air. For the next 20 minutes we tried in vain to open one of the nuts which was jammed and refused to open. Add to the fact that TML has provided a pathetic wheel spanned which does not hold the nut well enough and the angled spanner is no good on a jammed or over torqued nut. It just slips and slips and slips furthur.
20 minutes of struggle later another Safai pulls up behind us followed by a Sumo. Since we had blocked the road not expecting any traffic and on a flat surface to jack up the vehicle, no one could pass.
So we used another spanner from the older TCIC safari and 5 more minutes of trial later it opened. We replaced with the stepney tyre and as a gesture of thanks used the compressor to inflate their 2 underinflated front tyres. Then we shot off ahead after giving the inquisitive helpful bunch of guys some info on the portable air compressor.

The site of the puncture
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A local shepherd who came to check us out and subsequently left.
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The scenic route near the Shiva temple.(i 'forgot' to click the temple though)
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Upon reaching the temple we removed the punctured tyre to fix the puncture. Found a fat sharp shard of broken glass slotted at the end of the tread on the inner side of the rim. Used the tubeless puncture kit to fix the flat, pressurized it and checked for any furthur leak. The tyre was good and went to the stepney.

The other folks who had also come to the temple were mighty impressed at the feat which was done in 10 mins while they visited the temple.
then we washed up at the pond at the temple, had some snacks, cleaned up our mess and let for the gaon to have some tea.

Some pics while heading back to the gaon.
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Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 4th November 2008 at 16:40.
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Old 4th November 2008, 16:45   #2
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Thanks, Jay.
Rajmachi was a favorite destination for day treks for our group of friends. But it has been over 15 years since my last visit. The post brought back fond memories. Hope to see more pics from the top of the fort.
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Old 4th November 2008, 16:52   #3
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Dude...

this sure is a discover for me atleast, have been to lonavla many a times but never really ventured to this place, it was always the bushy dam and the booze @ fariyas.

good pics! seem to enjoy your travologues!
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Old 4th November 2008, 17:02   #4
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Hmmm, another interesting one coming up

Jay, the alloy caps now cost as little as 219/= each, do replace your missing ones
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Old 4th November 2008, 17:06   #5
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Superb shots and nice get-away for a day surely. Love the way your Safari is standing on 3legs in one of the pic.
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Old 4th November 2008, 17:08   #6
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Jay waiting for more to come
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Old 4th November 2008, 17:11   #7
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Nice trip. Lucky you had some guys coming after you. These things can get pretty desperate sometimes.
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Old 4th November 2008, 17:32   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RGP View Post
Thanks, Jay.
Rajmachi was a favorite destination for day treks for our group of friends. But it has been over 15 years since my last visit. The post brought back fond memories. Hope to see more pics from the top of the fort.
Yes we did trek up to the fort. I will be posting that shortly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajesh Rawal View Post
Dude...

this sure is a discover for me atleast, have been to lonavla many a times but never really ventured to this place, it was always the bushy dam and the booze @ fariyas.

good pics! seem to enjoy your travologues!
Thanks. Lonavala has become like another crowded suburb of Mumbai. Almost everybody is there almost everytime. Outlook traveller has published a book-52 weekend breaks from Mumbai- it should be available at any decent bookstore. It might help if you are looking for less crowded fun.

Quote:
Originally Posted by suman View Post
Hmmm, another interesting one coming up

Jay, the alloy caps now cost as little as 219/= each, do replace your missing ones
Suman, i tried that. but the quality of those caps is really CHEAP. Got them as Diwali gift for the Safari. 2 of them flew off 2 days after i fixed new ones. That too while driving in Mumbai when the tyre hit a trademark Mumbai pothole. They fix nice n tight when you fit them, but no telling when they will fly off. Ive given up on those caps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by anup7649 View Post
Superb shots and nice get-away for a day surely. Love the way your Safari is standing on 3legs in one of the pic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hurrycane12 View Post
Jay waiting for more to come
I will post some offroad pics towards the end. we were stuck. Those pics are much better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Nice trip. Lucky you had some guys coming after you. These things can get pretty desperate sometimes.
Yes we were a little desperate since we dint want to lose precious trekking time. The option was to jack the tyre without removing it locate and fix the puncture and then proceed. I would then have attended to the jammed nut in Mumbai.
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Old 4th November 2008, 17:36   #9
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The best use of a SUV...
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Old 4th November 2008, 18:21   #10
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Wow jay different season and a really different look for this place. Beautiful I love the way your pics puts out what it wants to say.

Quote:
Suman, i tried that. but the quality of those caps is really CHEAP. Got them as Diwali gift for the Safari. 2 of them flew off 2 days after i fixed new ones. That too while driving in Mumbai when the tyre hit a trademark Mumbai pothole. They fix nice n tight when you fit them, but no telling when they will fly off. Ive given up on those caps.
Well this problem can be solved by using the plastic file lock...well its usually used in the airports to lock your bags so that they arent opened up. You do get it at some local accesories shop. This helped me solve my bolero wheel cap which used to fly.
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Old 4th November 2008, 19:00   #11
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Default Continued from where i left off

Tyre fixed, snack done, we then head to the gaon for some chai after which we park the Safari and trek up to the fort.

Some basic info for those who have not been to Rajmachi before>
Rajmachi is just off expressway after the Lonavala exit. There is a road going down towards left before you hit Lonavala town. Its approximately 16 kms up to Rajmachi. It is a very popular trekking destination. Over the years, the erstwhile trekking path widened enough to accomodate a tempo or suv.
Still, the best way up is to trek. There is a small gaon(village) on top where locals rent out rooms to trekkers and tourists. The best time to go is monsoon & winter.
The motorable road ends at the gaon. From there one can trek up to the forts. There are 2. one is on the left and one on the right. The one on the right is more frequented by trekkers due to the better view from the top.
Having camped overnight on many occassions I can comfortably say that the place is safe for both men & women & kids camping overnight.
The trek from the gaon to the fort is around 30 minutes if done slowly. It is very slippery in the monsoons, but the fun and excitement quotient is far greater. The view too in the rains is impeccable even otherwise. The trek from the base too isnt very steep. On many occassions I have met elderly people 55 & 60+ doing the route with reasonable grace. Its best to camp at the campsite overnight, to entirely absorb the beauty of the place.

A good way to enjoy the trek if in a group, is to trek at night on a moonlit night. Maximum 6 hours from base to gaon & it is SAFE.
There is a Shiva temple at the top, 1km from the gaon. There is also a big pond with water throughout the year with a very good view.

Those intending to drive up till the gaon MUST have an suv. Some sections have big rocks not doable by car. In the monsoon 4x4 suv is a must. There is no breakdown assistance available anywhere except lonavala.


Some pics while going from the temple to the Gaon.
Rajmachi re-rediscovered..!!-dsc00915.jpg
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After chai we trekked up to the fort.
The begining of our trekking route.
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Some caves on the way. It is very upsetting to see stupid tourists leave their signatures at such sites. These caves although not artistic, have a beauty of their own considering that these were built centuries ago with extreme finesse. Abhi is all smiles though. He is just too pleased to just be there.
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The view of the mountains mid way up to the fort.
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The view of the fort from midway.
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Abhi showing how steep the slope is and the thin winding trecherous path on the way up.
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Abhi on his way up
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Shot this pic with max zoom. The view of the campsite with some kids playin. Its quite a long way down though.
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To be Contd...

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 4th November 2008 at 19:12.
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Old 4th November 2008, 19:09   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maddy42 View Post
Wow jay different season and a really different look for this place. Beautiful I love the way your pics puts out what it wants to say.
Well this problem can be solved by using the plastic file lock...well its usually used in the airports to lock your bags so that they arent opened up. You do get it at some local accesories shop. This helped me solve my bolero wheel cap which used to fly.
Thanks Maddy for the tip. I will try to find that lock.
Yes indeed the place has a different look after the monsoon, and a different smell too, and both are pleasing.
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Old 4th November 2008, 19:57   #13
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The view of the adjoining dilapidated fort.
Rajmachi re-rediscovered..!!-dsc00981.jpg


Abhi shooting to his hearts content.
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The peak of the fort is furthur up as can be seen here.
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The road below shot again on max zoom. Its really far down there.
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The fort is now in ruins.
Another set of caves. These were left clean and untouched. It is really clean and very cool inside the caves. It makes for an ideal place to camp in summer. There was evidence of the place having been used by quite a few people and was left clean for others.
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Abhi looking at the gaon & the temple pond... which follows
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This is the temple pond. The temple is shrouded by the mountain and the trees. There is a sheer drop on the left of the pond.
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The gaon & the pond in the same frame. They are approx 1km apart.
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This is the topmost part of the fort. Abhi attempts to show the heights he can reach.
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The view from the top is much too beautiful. It provides a 360* view of all the mountain range around. The wind is very strong almost everytime that I have been there.
I was unsure how to capture such a 360* view by camera. We spent around an hour enjoying the sound of the wind and the beautiful silence of the mind forced upon us by the huge mountain range all around. Shot a lot of pics too which did not do any justice to the view.

We then headed down to the campsite and drank our fill of water from a tap provided by the village for the campers.

The view of the fort from exactly below. This is a lower portion of the fort and the place we trek to is higher to the right of this mountain.
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The ride that got us up there.
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A natural formation carved out of the mountain leading to a deep gorge.
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Then we drove off from there to offroad a bit with 4wd.

The road ahead.
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Abhi still in high spirits.
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Some pics as we head ahead looking for some 4wd fun.
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To be contd..!!

Last edited by jaysmokesleaves : 4th November 2008 at 20:02.
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Old 5th November 2008, 08:09   #14
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There is a small detour that goes up a small hill. The road is full of gravel and small pebble stones making it very slippery. The route is used by all those who come to offroad in the monsoon. After the rains huge craters are left behind on the slpoe which is full of dry pebbles making it extremely slippery.
On the onset, by the looks of it, it does not look too steep or undoable.
However, as you walk up you realize that it is extremely slippery as even the feet slip on these slippery pebbles.

However, I decided to go ahead with it.
The first hill below was done in 2wd with tons of wheelspin.
Rajmachi re-rediscovered..!!-dsc01034.jpg
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This was followed by the bigger hill. By the looks of it, I was 200% sure not to make it all the way up. There are 2 huge craters after making it 80% uphill. These craters have been caused in the monsoon by many vehicles trying the climb. Now all the mud has washed off and there are 2 huge boulders immediately after the craters on both the left & right side. This along with the super slippery pebbles, makes it a recepe for a stuckup.

Below is the pics of the stuck up. Used 4L all the way to where you see in the pic. But once we hit the boulders, we were stuck. Furthur trys only resulted in more wheelspin.
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We slowly made it down in 4L in reverse. Still slipping at times on the way down. Thought of a few more trys but we were fast losing light and also geting very hungry. the chips, biscuits and juice were not sufficient after the short trek. So we turned back to return another day. I now have a feeling that we did not try enough and were just too hungry and wanted to get out of there. Add to the fact that Abhi was completely perplexed about the whole thing. I dont blame him. It was his first time to anywhere offroad in the mountain. At the time of the stuckup, he was in the passenger front seat leaning forward with head near the dashboard. Later he told he that he was trying to put his body weight in front to prevent the car from sliding back.
We both had a very hearty laugh at that.

This is a parting shot of the slippery hill as we left.
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Rajmachi re-rediscovered..!!-dsc01042.jpg


By the time we reached the base, it was dark. We grabbed a quick bite at Kamats and then headed for Mumbai.
Fully satisfied at a day well spent, I look forward to doing the trip again some time soon and probably camp overnight at the fort.

x x x x x x x
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Old 5th November 2008, 08:56   #15
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As expected from you now, a great (mini) travelogue and amazing pics!
Enjoyed every bit of it! Only, it finished too fast!
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