I haven’t trekked much in the last 2 months. A reason for that might be that it isn’t Monsoons yet (my favorite season for trekking). Anyways, this Sunday was fixed for the trek to Ajoba Hills, which has been in my list for some time now.
Quoting from the wiki – Standing at a height of 4511 feet in the Sahyadri range of the Western Ghats, Ajoba Hill is one of the highest peaks in the Sahyadri ranges. Situated in the Shahapur Taluka at the base village of Dehene, the Ajoba Hill is considered sacred due to the local folklore that this was the place where goddess Sita stayed in an Ashram during her exile and separation from Lord Rama. Halfway through the climb up the mountain is located the “Valmiki Ashram” and the cave here Goddess Sita stayed with her two sons Luv and Khush. The hill got its name from the term “Ajoba” which means grandfather in Marathi – a term that Luv and Khush used to address Saint Valmiki. It is also believed that Saint Valmiki’s Samadhi in the hill increases in size every few years.
Know that feeling when you just can’t let your life halt. You just want to keep running. Keep exploring. Keep ticking out the items from your “to do” list.
Well !! I know that feeling. Earlier this year, I had gifted myself with a promise and list of treks for the upcoming monsoon season. Though I was not able to sweep the list completely clean, I still managed to explore most of the places from that list. Or should I say “we” rather than “I” – coz “I” stands tall but alone, but “we” always stick together to the very end, even though it has to lie a little low. I find pride in having few awesome friends who have always stood up to chose a rough outing in hills over lying warm and cozy in their bed on a lazy weekend morning. We have somehow managed to continue being in NITIE even after passing out (Passing out as in getting our degree and stuff, and not “PASSING OUT” :P)
Anyways, monsoons have gone away now – Much to my dismay, but one can only wait. Kothaligad Fort Trek was our last trek this monsoons. A small fort (just over 3000 feet) situated near Karjat – A relatively easier trek compared to what we had experienced earlier in the season – Still, somehow, it marked a perfect goodbye to the Rain Gods.
Let me take you through a photo tour of this trek.
The pinnacle you see at the top – That was our destination
For some unknown reason Monsoon is making us wait more than expected. And the only option that we are left with is to seek for it.
From hills to hills, we have been spending last few weekends in our quest for the divine rain. This time, the destination was Khandala – To the trail to the Duke’s Nose, also known as Nagphani. The name of this place in Western Ghats is credited to the shape of the cliff which is like a hill or a thumb, sometimes resembling a snake.
Compared to the Rajmachi, the Duke’s Nose Trek was relatively easier – The fact that it was day and the path was well marked to the pinnacle. And for more than a single reason, this trek in Khandala was more about the journey rather than the destination.
“Just follow the rails” was what the old lady said to us. And so we did. We followed the rails. Without thinking about where it was leading us.
There are times like this when you don’t know where you are going and neither do you seem to care.
Where do you expect a guy to be on a Saturday night? Breaking the hell loose, partying in some club, owned by the ecstasy of weekend, right? Well it was a little different for me this time around. Saturday, 11 in the night. I was standing on the edge of a really steep hill side. Rain was in it’s full form, as if in a hurry to announce the arrival of Monsoons. The wind was picking up, making every step a task in itself. The jungle around us presenting different surprises in the form of crabs, snakes, toads, lizards and fireflies. And to top that, it was pitch dark. Zero visibility, with torches being our only ally.
This was the moment that defined this weekend of mine and marked one of the best treks I have been part of. Let me take you to a quick tour of how the Rajmachi Trek was amazing in its unique own ways and made it for us a weekend to remember.
A view of Rajmachi from a cave near Srivardhan fort