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Old 28th November 2010, 22:01   #1
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Default Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort

Trekking keeps us fit.
But most of us do not find the time to do it.
I was doing it everyday during my childhood. Of course, it never occured to me that I was trekking.

My house was in a valley and all around there were small and big hills and mountains.
My school and parish church were at the top of a hill behind our house.
So we had to keep climbing the hill every day to go to our school.
It was not that difficult, because the height of the hill was not that high.
As kids it was a long leisurely walk. Enjoying the pure air (there were hardly any motor vehicles there then) and nature around us.

It was slightly dangerous during and after the rains.
Numerous springs would be there. Those were our source of drinking water. We washed our lunch boxes in that water.
But they also helped mould and moss to grow. Many streches of our walking trail would become slippery. We had to watch our steps during those days.

Yet we would sometimes slip and fall.
If that happened on our way to school, it would make us happy.
We had to go back home to change our clothes. And there was a chance that the second pair of uniform was not dry yet. Yippee. That meant we could stay at home on that day. On some days my mom would dry the uniform over the fire. I would refuse to wear them. Because they smelled like smoked trousers with an intense smell of the smoke from the firewood.

The initial stretch of this path was a small trail. It was actually the path created by the water gushing down the hill during the rains.
It was only wide enough for two people abreast at its widest points.
At some points, we were in mini gorges, with the walls on either sides going upto a good height. These mini gorges would be quite dark with hardly any sunlight. It was scary walking through those areas. We would scurry along then.

At some points we had to jump from one boulder to another. Sometimes we had to clamber up rock faces.

Well, duing my last visit home, in the summer of 2010 all that changed.
This narrow stretch of trail had grown wider over time.
During my childhood, people would not even take bicyles up that trail.
But over time, differnt vehicles had started going up the trail. They started with bicycles, powered 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers and finally 4-wheelers.
And during the last summer, they asphalted the road.
May be that is progress, may be that is not. To me that road has lost its rustic charm. Today it is like any other road. Only that it is narrow and only one 4-wheeler can drive through it.

Then I moved away from my home. On and off I lived around hills and mountains.
Walked and trekked long distances. Sometimes upto 50 km a day.
And then I started working. Moved to places where there no hills nearby. Moved to cities. Still I used to walk long distances. It was always a long walk home after the last movie show at the cinema. There was no more trekking.

And then I came to Maharashtra. But by then I had a family.
And my association with long walks and treks became more and more distant.

They faded away from memory.

Last week our group in the bus started talking about a one day outing.
Names of different places were suggested. Finally one place was chosen.

The blue sky beckoned us.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_011.jpg

-Biju
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Old 29th November 2010, 11:04   #2
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Default Maharashtra, the land of Forts

Maharashtra is blessed with a lot of forts. I read that Maharashtra has around 350 forts. The large number of forts may have been necessitated by battles or threats. I have no idea now. But it has kindled an urge to study the history of Maharashtra in depth. If any of you know of a good book in English to learn the history of Maharashtra, let me know the details.

With most of these forts situated on top of hills, trekking opportunities abound. To get to the top of some of these forts, you require a lot of hours of trekking, some good equipment and they have to be done over 2 days. But some of them are a lot easier to do. You can climb up to some of these forts in 2-3 hours. These are the ones you start with, to learn more about trekking. What to do and what not to do.

We decided to take one of these easier to do forts in the close vicinity of Pune.

The gateway to our fort
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_030.jpg

-Biju

Last edited by pjbiju : 29th November 2010 at 11:07.
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Old 29th November 2010, 11:20   #3
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Good start Biju and very noce photographs. You've got me hooked to this thread.
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Old 29th November 2010, 11:27   #4
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Nice start Biju, Waiting to see the magnificient views through your eyes. Maharashtra is one place I would love to explore.
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Old 29th November 2010, 12:40   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laluks View Post
Nice start Biju, Waiting to see the magnificient views through your eyes. Maharashtra is one place I would love to explore.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SafeDrive View Post
Good start Biju and very nice photographs. You've got me hooked to this thread.
Thank you Lalu and SafeDrive.

Back to the trek now.

The youngest of the group was all of 4.5 years old. We also knew we had to carry water and food. So each one was expected to carry a backpack with enough water and food for themselves.

We got up at 5:00 a.m. I finished my ablution and then went down to wash my car. Meanwhile wife was busy preparing vegetable biriyani for the group. The group consisted of four kids (4.5 years to 9 years old), four ladies and four men. We started from home at 7:00 a.m. and drove towards Hadapsar and from there towards Saswad. We crossed hundreds pilgrims coming down the dive ghat.

We stopped just before Saswad for a light breakfast and then pushed off from there towards Narayanpur. Just before Narayanpur village, we branched off towards our destination - the ______ Fort. After having driven 50 km from home we were at the base village.

The villagers told us that we could drive up. The road going up the hill was freshly laid. But then that meant giving up the trek, well, at least most part of it. So everyone voted in favour of leaving our cars there and then walking up the hill.

"Just follow the electric poles" was the route direction given by the Gramin Positioning System or villager. And it is just a 30 minutes walk. He emphasized.

Cool.

With a smile we started off. But to our left there looked like a proper trekking path. And we were walking off in a direction where there was no proper trail visible. "No, do not take that. Just follow the electric poles" GPS reiterated. OK. We follow the electric poles then.

The village after we took our first few steps. You can see the electric poles on the right side of the frame.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_004.jpg

More to come after my lunch.

Last edited by pjbiju : 29th November 2010 at 12:43.
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Old 29th November 2010, 13:09   #6
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Hi Biju

Nice start to your trek to Killa (Fort) Purandar (?)

i had been on a trek in 1989 to Purandar Gad along with my friends.
We had driven from Pune. I was riding my Bajaj M80. We had also done Bhor and Bhatgar in a day which started at 5AM and ended some time around 10 PM.

In the convoy there were couple of bikes, scooters and ofcourse my M80 which was recently bought.
we had driven through Saswad to foot hills of Purandargad then after the trek/lunch we started toward Bhot-Bhatgar and then in the evening returned via Katraj ghat back to pune.

Some of the good memories were brought out by your thread. Thanks.
unfortunately i do not have any pictures as we were not having any cameras those days.
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Old 29th November 2010, 13:30   #7
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biju good start there man, for a minute I thought you were gonna be writing something about kerala and its beauty. That said, Maharashtra is interesting in its own ways and am staying glued.

Quote:
My house was in a valley and all around there were small and big hills and mountains.
My school and parish church were at the top of a hill behind our house.
So we had to keep climbing the hill every day to go to our school.
It was not that difficult, because the height of the hill was not that high.
As kids it was a long leisurely walk. Enjoying the pure air (there were hardly any motor vehicles there then) and nature around us.
Quite true about kerala, coz during my last trip to Vagamon and it's surrounding areas I experienced something on the same lines.
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Old 29th November 2010, 14:13   #8
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Default Purandar Fort and some history

Thanks Riju and Star. Yes it is about Purandar Fort.

I tried to find out more about this fort after coming back home. This fort is an important piece of history. Today there is nothing much left of the fort. For serious trekkers this is not even on their list.

Purandar Fort is at 4586 ft (1398 m) above sea level. To put it in perspective, that is about 117 m shorter than Yercaud.

The history of the place as given at MAHARASHTRA TOURISM, The Official Website of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, Govt. of India - PurandarFort
Purandar is about 40kms south-east of Pune and some 10kms south-west of Sasawad. Preched on a gigantic mountain mass, its height above sea-level is 1398 metres and about 700 metres above the plain at its foot.
It really comprises two fortresses: Purandar, the stronger and more important of the two, and Vajragarh, small sister for t situated on a ridge running out east of it. Purandar has two parts: the upper or Balekilla with precipitous sides all around and the lower part or machi about 300 metres above the plain. On the north side of the lower part there is a broad terrace comprising the cantonment area of the fortifications. There are many monuments, old and new, on the terrace. Towards the east of the terrace, beyond a narrow ridge, lies the fort of Vajragarh, also called Rudramal.
From the cantonment are of the terrace a winding path leads to the upper fort. The approach is commanded by the Dilli Darwaza, the main gate. The most important monuments, on the summit of the hill is the old temple of Kedareshwar.
The history of the Purandar fort goes back to the 13th century. The Bahamani Sultans in the 14th century built here some walls and bastions. From 1484 AD, for about a hundred years, the fort remained in the hands of the Nizamshahi rulers. In 1596 AD, the fort was given as Jagir to Maloji Bhosale, grandfather of Shivaji. However, Shivaji had to struggle very hard to establish his control over the fort in 1646 AD. In 1665 AD, Purandar was besieged by the mighty Mughal forces under the command of Jai Singh and Dilir Khan. In the ensuing battle Murar Baji Prabhu, the gallant commander of the fort, was killed. Shivaji, under a treaty, had to surrender to the Mughals his 23 forts, including Purandar and Vajragarh. At the lower fort a statue of Murar Baji Prabhu has been installed in his memory.
Purandar was recaptured by Shivaji in 1670 AD Later it became a favourite retreat of the Peshwas. Purandar was captured by the British in 1818 AD. During the Second World War, the British kept here the German war prisoners. Dr. H. Goetz, one of the German prisoners, thoroughly studied Purandar and wrote a monograph on it. After Independence there also functioned a National Cadet Crops (N.C.C.) Training unit at the top.
So it has a lot of historical significance. And we tread the path that once the great King Shivaji walked. It has witnessed battles and blood. According to the information on wiki "To prevent Purandar fort from falling, a man and a woman were buried alive under one of the fort bastions to appease its patron deity"

Shivaji used to be one of my childhood heros after having read stories about him. On our way to school, often my brothers and I would take on the characters of our heros. We would jump on our imaginery horses and would gallop down the hill side on our way home from the school.

The silhoutte of the fort from the Dilli Darwaza
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_042.jpg

One of the small part of the fortification that still remains intact at the top. It always intrigues me. How did they haul up these large stones to build the fort?
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_066.jpg

The Church built by the British. Unfortunately, there is nothing left of the Church inside. People have scribbled all over the walls inside.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_039.jpg

The bare windows of the church which once may have held together art in stained glass.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_041.jpg

-Biju

Last edited by pjbiju : 29th November 2010 at 14:32.
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Old 29th November 2010, 15:16   #9
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hey biju,
nice start,
waiting for more.

Btw, Purander fort is at higher level than Mahabaleshwar.
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Old 29th November 2010, 15:20   #10
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Default Missing moments of beauty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StarVegabond View Post
...
I had been on a trek in 1989 to Purandar Gad along with my friends.
We had driven from Pune. I was riding my Bajaj M80.
...
In the convoy there were couple of bikes, scooters and ofcourse my M80 which was recently bought.
...
Star, I remember seeing a lot of M80s in Pune. They were quite popular over here. And I am sure you would have enjoyed the ride on your newly bought M80. They are now doing a disappearing act in Pune.

--------------------

These days we are always in a hurry. Our speed of travel has increased. From walking, we progressed to bullock-carts, bicycles, 2-wheelers and then onto cars and finally onto planes.

As a kid, I did know almost every tree that lined both the sides of my path to School. I knew where every boulder was on our path. During the rains, water would be gushing down the path and we could not see the boulders and steps. But we knew where to put our foot.

Then we increased our speeds. We started going faster. The trees became blurred images. I no longer knew which tree was where.

We increased our speeds again. From our cars we hardly even see the trees. We only see our destination and the stones displaying the number of km to our destination.

Walking has its benefits. It lets you take in everything around you. You become a part of your surroundings. You will see things that you generally never notice. It is when you walk, you look around in disbelief and say "what a glorious world we are in". It brings into us a belief that there must exist a power that is beyond our comprehension.

The walk up the hill showed me a lot of beautiful things.

Trees kissing each other
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_045.jpg

Leaves and thorns
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_057.jpg

Cactus
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_023.jpg

Flowers and Distant hills
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_012.jpg

Yellow Flowers
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_014.jpg

More Flowers
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_009.jpg

The Stem
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_010.jpg

A flower that is seen everywhere
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_007.jpg

Reaching out
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_055.jpg

A beautiful bug. I could not get it to pose for me.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_052.jpg

A peep into the valley from near the Church.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_107.jpg

-Biju

Coming up: More blue, more trees and more beauty.

Last edited by pjbiju : 29th November 2010 at 15:33.
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Old 29th November 2010, 15:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
Star, I remember seeing a lot of M80s in Pune. They were quite popular over here. And I am sure you would have enjoyed the ride on your newly bought M80. They are now doing a disappearing act in Pune.
Guess what.. My father bought me a M80 in 1989 for some RS 10500/-. I used it all through my diploma as well as engineering days, later on i sold it in 1993/94 for approx 10000/- That guy used to give some 60 KMPL within city. It was known as poorman's Yamaha RX100.

Nice pictures there biju, they brought back some forgotten memories
Baaji Prabhu is an inspiration for every Mararastrian. Shivaji is a hero for every Indian (male) child, just like Jhansi ki rani is for girl child.

From the pictures i see that you are more inclining towards portraits and macros.

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Old 29th November 2010, 15:59   #12
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Default From Atop the Fort

Nothing much of the fort is left to see. I guess battles brought destruction to the fort.

Some structures still left
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_088.jpg

Another one
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_068.jpg

The road going up the hill
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_074.jpg

An interesting tree
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_069.jpg

Another tree at the top
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_098.jpg

The whole area is full of shrubs. And there are a few trees.

A commonly seen plant. So simple, yet so elegant.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_077.jpg

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASHISHPALLOD View Post
hey biju,
nice start,
waiting for more.

Btw, Purander fort is at higher level than Mahabaleshwar.
Ashish, thank you for this information. I know you may have a lot of information on the Maharashtra Forts. After this which is the next fort that is the easiest to do?

-Biju

Last edited by pjbiju : 29th November 2010 at 16:11.
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Old 29th November 2010, 17:25   #13
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Default What to do and what not to do

After the Dilli Darwaza, close to the parking, there is a well where you can get potable water. There is a small shop/house that provide things like Tea, Biscuits etc. I think they may also prepare food if you tell them in advance.

What you should not do while at Purandar Fort
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_103.jpg

Unlike the usual picnic spots, we did not see a lot of plastic bags/bottles etc. strewn around. But there were still a few. People finish off their chips etc. and then throw the packets away. I hope one day a sense of cleanliness (outside of one's home) will be in every Indian.

Eucalyptus tress near the parking. Have you ever seen a tree with a curved branch like the tree on the extreme right in this photo? I have never seen one.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_101.jpg

Going up the second part of the climb
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_058.jpg

-Biju

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Old 30th November 2010, 10:32   #14
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Climbing also gives a good workout to the thigh muscles. Unless you are into cycling or climbing regularaly, you will be in for a painful surprise the next day. The thigh muscles ache so much, that it becomes a challenge to walk normally. With every step you take, the muscles tell you "you lazy fellow, you have not let me be me. See what strings I pull and make you squirm in pain".

The shrubs, some with thorns, gave us a good scrubbing down. I was also stung by a tiny insect, that I barely saw while picking up a blade of grass. Though it was tiny, it had a needle like sting.

The sun played hide and seek which was a blessing for us. It was not that hot or humid. A large hat would have been very helpful. The little ones had to be helped along at some places.

We had our breakfast midway through the climb. It was not crowded, but we were not alone. There were a few cars and bikes at the top. We also saw two foreigners climbing up to the fort. There were also villagers, presumably from the nearby villages doing the trek. But the number of people doing the trek from the base village were not many.

Again, I saw a lot of beautiful things to photograph. The sky was deep blue with beautiful cloud formations. So I had to get the sky into the compositions . Pune City does not get to see blue skies often. May be these villages are lucky. There is very little pollution around this area and they may get blue skies more often. Most of my subjects were trees and shrubs and grass.

Another tree at the top
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_071.jpg

Canvas of nature
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_078.jpg

Having clambered up one of the last vertical stretches before Dilli Darwaza, they are waiting for the others.
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_024.jpg

Indian Coral Tree (Murikku in Malayalam). I have never seen this tree before around Pune. They also bear lovely flowers. We had some big samples of these back home. The leaves of these are a favourite feed of rabbits (at least in Kerala)
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_104.jpg

Another close up of the Indian Coral Tree
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_105.jpg

The flag and the tree at the top of the fort
Back to mother nature and a piece of history : A family trek to Purandar Fort-purandar27nov2010_097.jpg

-Biju

Last edited by pjbiju : 30th November 2010 at 10:40.
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Old 30th November 2010, 11:18   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pjbiju View Post
After this which is the next fort that is the easiest to do?
If you are with friends and not with family and kids,
then try harder one like Rajgad, Torna, Raigad, Jivdhan etc,

with family and kids,
try Shivneri, Panhala, Pratapgad, Sinhgad, Raigad by ropeway.
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