Saturday, October 9, 2010

Tornagad beckons !!!

Other forts and trekking destinations
Jaigad | Karnala Fort | Korigad | Kothligad | Korlai FortPratapgad | Rajgad | Ratnadurga | Tikona | Torna | Vijaydurg

Torna Trek – 02nd Oct 2010
The Wanderers
• Soumen Da
• Nikhil Bhau
• Nagesh Batata
• Yashwant Yo
• Chida Chal na
• Pravin Charsi
• Jitesh Gujju
• Kaushal Major
• Shibu loan waala
• Nitin cameraman
• Vineet trekker
• Sonal – Sonal ladke ka naam hai

          'Batate ukadli ka' - ye bol bolke Nagesh ko Yashwant aur maine poora 2 week pakaya...there was more to come. The new innovation about this trip was cooking.The Wanderers were on a Khichdi expedition to Torna. Nagesh had just come from Somalia, so pohe, chai, maggi, khichdi, sandwich, tandoori, ukadleli batati, farsaan, maybe eggs too was on his menu...phew!!

          He was toooo excited about the khichdi and he had discussed the khichdi menu with everyone possible, almost everyday; to the extent that our office users and maybe the watchmen too had become aware that we were cooking up something. He had thought about all aspects of the mighty potato; its size, weight, look and feel, diameter, circumfurence etc. etc. but when he was given the actual list of ingredients by me, he conveniently omitted, forgot, had a memory loss, or just became stupid and the bloody *ucker forgot important items on the list. He never forgot the POTATOES though.

'Batate ukadli ka Nagesh'


          Then came the 2nd most important decision of our lives - choosing our vaahan. Here also Nagesh participated and his views were changing every day, then every hour - bloody unreliable gaay. Yashwant kept saying...'kashaala tya Nagyacha aiktoys, topya lavto to'.

          After verbally bashing him, initially we were going by bus, then train seemed more convenient, then bus again, then came the question of catching it from Parel or Thane?? Aaaaaah!!! Aadhe idhar jaao, aadhe udhar jaao, baaki ke g***d marao!! Finally, Thane - the city of lakes was considered as the meeting spot to catch our Asiad bus. Meet at 11:00, if possible catch bus at 11:30 or then last bus at 12:30. Everyone came by 11:45 and after getting introduced to the new fellas, when the bus finally arrived, the 12 wanderers swarmed it like an army of bees. The bus conductor neither gave us any concession, nor gave a half ticket for Chida. Everybody wanted to sleep but only few of us dozed. Chida slept with Nikhil as his bed, hope he didn't wet the sheets. Half the way, he was sitting like a hen ready to drop a egg, coz he was feeling cold.
          On the way we saw Dehu cha Ganpati. As usual Chida came up with a unique question, Ganpati idhar hi rehta hai kya? Nikhil said - nahi raat ko ghoomne jaata hai. We reached Swargate at 5 a.m. and our jubilance (sarcasm, guys) knew no bounds to hear that the 1st bus to Velhe was cancelled.

'Batate ukadli ka Nagesh'.

          Left with no option, we caught a bus to Cheladi as the Sun God started showering his divine rays. On the way, we were mesmerized by a blanket of orange flowers all along the highway. It was truly beautiful; natures' blanket always is...there was more to come. From Cheladi, we cramped ourselves into a Trax, Sumo, whatever and in INR 20 each, our driver Manya snaked us to the base village Velhe where we had our breakfast of Misal paav and chai.


'Batate ukadli ka Nagesh'.


          Ahead, the mighty Tornagad beckoned us and like adazzled child we got lured to its call. We started our trek at 08:45 a.m., only to realise that 2 of our guys were missing. While we were looking for them and shouting Yo Yo (Yashwants identity call), Pravin and Yashwant were being chased by an angry bull cause they were answering natures call in his dare they!! After their narrow escape, we started our ascent in the scorching sun. We had just covered some distance when we were called back by Nitin and Vineet and asked to wait. Sonal needed some rest as he was feeling giddy and needed Hamdard ka tonic Cinkara. We all felt exhausted in the initial lap itself. The entire climb was completely uphill with very few plains. Half way up, we could see the railings and knew that these were the rock patches and the real adventure was still to come. Below on the right hand side, we could see the Gunjawane dam (i suppose). After some rest, we walked though narrow paths with dense vegetation on both sides. It felt like walking in a sugarcane field, though I'v never walked in one before. Chida did some drill exercises on the way. The scene and the feeling as usual was beautiful. Charon taraf pahad hi pahad, clean crisp air, no pollution, no vehicles, no crowd. We were completely dehydrated and our stock of water was soon diminishing. Paani...Paani...Paani...abe dhakkan aage dekh waterfall hai. Tornagad quenched us by providing us this water body. It wasn't a Niagra falls exactly, the shower being very limited, but the water was very very very sweet. No matter how much you drank, it was not enough.


'Batate ukadli ka Nagesh'


          We wet ourselves, filled our bottles and while Major did his extra bit of stunt as usual by climbing to the source of the fall, Vineet gave a demo of this unique water pain reliever course:
Pre-requisite: Slog in the sun, walk walk till you drop, become completely exhausted.
Process: Talk a bottle of water, pull your shirt up from the back and pour the water on your scorching back and let the pain ease out.
          Vineet and Nitin did it and looked at ease, so we believe them :) Then came the rock patches. Not very difficult, yet need to be very carefull. One mistake and I don't need to tell you what can happen. One crossed, then the next, and the next...phew...aur kitna!! Then came the rocky stairs which were more damaging to our legs. Finally came Bini darwaza, and a little ahead passing through a tank (taake), we climbed to Mengai Devi temple. It was a neat little temple which can easily accomodate around 20 people. This was the destined place for our night halt. We paid homage to the Devi and thanked her for keeping us safe, booked our space by keeping our luggage, rested for a while and then ventured out to take a bath. To find the taake where we were going to bathe was an expedition in itself. We first went through a wrong route and then when we finally located the pond, didn't know how to reach it coz their was no visible pathway. Finally, trying through 2 different routes, we made our own pathway and reached the pond. Sonal saw a snake in the pond but that didn't deter us from bathing there as the water was cold and we were too tired reaching to it...Aaya hu to naha ke hi jaoonga. We got down to our basics and one by one drenched ourselves in the cold water...real fun...Nagesh was shivering and was about to fall in the pond while pouring water on himself.

'Batate ukadli ka Nagesh'

          It was really refreshing!! Going back to the temple, Vineet and Nitin got down to our lunch (Maggi) preparation while some dozed off, and others smoked and chatted. The Maggi was made really well and we hungry souls feasted on it. While we were having food, Chida got up in a drunken state and maybe forgot where he was and was saying...'Jaaneka hai'...i guess you know where..
          After a small nap, Majors adrenaline started pumping and we all ventured towards Zhunzhar machi. On seeing the small iron ladder going down, we could guess that this was not going to be easy and we had heard and read that there were dangerous rock patches on the way. Standing on the ladder is like floating in the air as you can see the valley vertically down below you. Pravin, Jitesh and Chida decided to stay back and the others went ahead. The rock patches on the way are really frightening as you can see the entire valley below you while you are getting down. You cannot afford to make a mistake, but the experience is really thrilling. Once down the rock patches, we went to the summit of Zhunzhar machi, its chor vaats and also saw a nest with 4 eggs in it. Don't know whose eggs they were, reptiles' or birds'. Another photo session and we were on our way back to the rock patches, climbing it this time....huhuhu...vichaar karoonach lagte.

          Next destination was Budhla machi but since it was getting dark, we decided against it, but Major being our Shahenshah with rope and all on his shoulders, akele hi nikal pada...
andheri raaton me...sunsaan machi par...
julm mitaane ko...ek shahenshah nikalta hai....
usse log Majorwa kehte hain...
          After going for a distance, his analytical evaluation was that we should not go ahead as it was getting dark and the road ahead had rock patches and was dangerous....abe humne kuch alag bola tha kya?? Koi isse samjhao...
          The sky was on fire, and the reddish orange tint was simply amazing. A canvas of colors was being painted by the great artist, The Almighty which had yellow, pink and blue in the form of flowers, green dominated the mountains and a fiery vermillion sky. Couldn't have been better. Thank you Lord for showing these spectacles which we never observe in the city. Last time we has seen a rainbow on Tikona, this time the sunset was really amazing. We got some fantastic photos of the sunset. Nitin captured the sunset brilliantly and one of the photos he clicked is now my desktop wallpaper. Kudos Nitin!!

'Batate ukadli ka Nagesh'.

          We returned to the temple, it was already dark by then and got down to the most awaited activity...khichdi!! There was not enough water, so Yashwant, Chida, Pravin and I went with our torches to get it from the taake behind the temple as it seemed to be the only potable source. Pravin fell, Yashwant slipped, followed by Chida and me. The preparation of the Khichdi actually turned out to be a rigorous event as our estimations went wrong. For 12 people, the amount of daal and rice we had brought was much more than required. On top it, Nagesh's potatoes added to it and the thing was going out of control. We then decided, we need to chuck some of it and prepare the remaining bit. However, it finally turned out to be okay according to some, good according to some and mast according to others. The khichdi plan was ultimately a success and we feasted on it. Everybody was tired and it was cold outside, so we let our shekoti plan be a plan only and got into our sleeping bags, mats and put ourselves to sleep. There was complete darkness in the temple, you couldn't even see your hand.

          Day 2, we got up early, prepared chai and got down Tornagad in about 1 1/2 hours after carefully dealing with the rock patches. We also got a ST bus from Velhe to Swargate immediately. In the bus, Chida couldn't stop his kidaas and was assaulted by almost everyone and was almost gang banged. The bus driver was finding it difficult to drive with all the noise we were making. Then somebody suddenly remembered it was my Birthday and everybody wished me. Let me not talk about the rest of the journey as it was a disaster and I spent my entire birthday tanning myself in the hot Pune sun and watching the Pune bus-stops and railway stations. Anyway, Yashwant and Sonal left by Shivneri, Nagesh, Vineet, Nitin, Shibu and Major left by train and the less lucky guys viz. Pravin, Jitesh, Chida, Nikhil and me finally caught a bus at 6 pm. My nice nice nice friends bought some pastries for me and celebrated my birthday at the Food Mall as we were ogling at the pretty Puneri girls. Finally Neeta helped us reach home by around 11...arre Neeta Volvo re...
Reached home, had a much needed bath, cut the Black Forest cake my family had brought alongwith Sahil, my nephew, ate food and was dead on bed.
          Another adventurous weekend came to an end. Till next time, adieu!! There is more to this space...

Nagesh batate??….jaoon de…