Bhramanti Monsoon Trek Schedule 2008

Dear Friends

The Pied Crested Cuckoo is referred to as the Harbinger of
Monsoon in India. It is usually called as
“Chatak”. This Cuckoo appears days before the
monsoon.
Even though as the monsoon seems to have taken a short
break for the benefit of our city folks, Bhramanti is
pleased to present you the complete monsoon trek schedule.
We hope that the intermittent showers keep pouring on us
& we continue to savor the beauty of the blooming
nature around us.

Following are the various Bhramanti Activities this season:

June 28-29
Kamalgad fort, Wai Region
(note: this venue has changed)
2 days
Kamalgad (1375 m)

Google earth
bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/placemarks/cl-01-15-07-443991719.kmz – 23k

July 12
Leaders Meet
1 day overnight

July 19-20
Pandavgad & Vairatgad forts, Wai Region
2 days

bbs.keyhole.com/ubb/placemarks/cl-01-15-07-443991719.kmz – 23k

Aug 3rd
Surgad fort, Roha Region
1 day

Aug 15-17
Independance Day Trek
Dhakoba, Durg forts & Kukdeshwar, Junnar Region
3 days

Aug 31st
Monsoon Trail to Kanheri Forest

Sept 13-14
Kavlya fort & Shivtharghal, Varandha Region (Mahad)
2 days

As usual, we expect maximum participation from all the
enthusiasts. Lets break from our routines & celebrate
the season once again!

Wish you all Happy Trekking.

Gentle Reminder:
Request you to renew your membership if not done. You have
the option of going in for annual, 7 yearly or life
membership.

Thanks & Regards
Team Bhramanti
Rajan R (9869007082)
Kiran S (9869192064)
Bhramanti < info@bhramanti.com>

SURGAD FORT

Surgad [Mr. E. H. Moscardi, C. S.] or God’s Fort (T. Roha) in the north-east of the Roha taluka and eight miles east of Roha town, consists of a long and exceedingly narrow spur running south from the range of hills which separates Roha from Alibag and Nagothana. On either side stretch flat rice lands from which the hill is separated by a thick belt of forest. Towards the top the hill becomes a mass of compact dark basalt, almost bare of vegetation. Between it and the main range of hills on the north runs a ravine or chasm about 150 feet deep, and to the south the spur stretches into a low range of woody hills, which, after about two and a half miles, fall into the plain near the village of Poi.

From the north, east, or west, the hill is singularly bold and rugged, sheer walls of rock without a trace of masonry. Surgad can be climbed either from the north or from the south. From the south the path leads up the western face of the spur, over rocks and brushwood, to a nearly level grassy ledge, on which stands a modern temple of Ansai Bhavani. Leaving the shrine on the left the path leads to the southern end of the fort, along the face of the rocky escarpment, which is the chief and in most places the only defence of the hill. Probably the path was once provided with a flight of stone steps. A few remain at the bottom of the escarpment, but most are gone and all that remains on the rock are a few made holes. The hill-top is singular, a nearly level ridge about three quarters of a mile long and nowhere more than 150 yards broad. By this path the entrance to the fort is about 800 yards from the south end of the ridge. This part of the fort contains very little of interest. It is almost separate, a natural bastion with a. small rectangular reservoir, which is said never to hold water after the end of March. There is also a ruined temple of God Maruti, of which the plinth and a large image of the god are all that is left. This point commands an excellent view to the south and east. To the south a long wooded spur runs from Surgad close to the central range of hills, which divide Roha into nearly equal parts. From the narrow space between them, the Kundalika or Roha river can be traced east to near the point where it issues from the adjoining Sudhagad peta. Close behind this point, two hills, of no great height but of somewhat striking appearance, mark the village of Jamganv in the extreme east of Roha. North of these are two other little detached hills, close to the village of Kudli. Behind them, a series of parallel spurs stretch, from the line of the Sahyadris, north, till they are hid by the range of the hills to which Surgad belongs. Near where they disappear is the fortified peak of Kurdu or Visramgad on the border of the Manganv taluka.

Passing north along the ridge of the hill the first building is a small ruined shrine of Mahadev with a crude bas-relief of Parvati and a nandi or the sacred bull about forty yards to the south. Just beyond this is the only fairly preserved building in the fort. It is roofless, but its walls which are about two feet thick and substantially built are almost entire. It consists of one large inner room with doors on the east and west, leading into verandas, which run north and south along the building. The length of the building from north to south is about forty-five feet, the breadth of the inner room east to west is about thirteen feet, and each of the verandas is about six feet wide from east to west. The whole width of the building is about thirty feet. The shape of the walls shows that it had a pointed roof whose ridge ran north and south. This building bears the name of the Andhar Kothadi or Inner Room, and seems to have been used as a treasury or storehouse.

To the north of this treasury, close to the west edge of the hill, is a rock-cut cistern divided into two compartments by a wall of solid rock. To the east of this cistern, on the eastern edge of the hill, is a Musalman dargah or shrine said to be dedicated to Par Pir. At the south-east corner of the shrine enclosure is the tomb of the saint built of large oblong blocks of stone. In the centre is a little model of the dome of a mosque about eighteen inches high cut out of a single stone. About fifty yards to the north of the tomb are a group of five rock-cut cisterns each about twelve feet deep. Two of them are dry and partly filled with rubbish. A little to the north of the cisterns are the remains of the command-ant’s house or sadar. The plinth forms a square of about sixty feet, and is approached on the east by a broad flight of stone steps. The house had no central open Court, but was entirely roofed and had windows in the outside walls. About thirty yards to the north of this building is a slight hollow or chasm in the ridge, about seventy yards broad, a

cross which is thrown a platform or causeway. By the side of this causeway, near the edge of the hill, is another rock-cut cistern with three dividing walls. This causeway commands a wide view to the west, between two ranges of hills, along the valley of the Kundalika to within about six miles of the sea. In the southern range the position of Roha is shown by the wall of the mamlatdar’s office, and, among the peaks of the northern range may be noticed Medha (Avacitgad) fort. Close at hand, the lower slopes of the hill are adorned by picturesque wooded hillocks.

From south to north the ridge of the hill has a slight but steady upward slope. To the north, immediately beyond the platform or causeway near the sadar, is the highest part of the hill which forms the citadel or buruj. It is triangular in shape, each side about 150 yards long, the base of southern side being towards the east of the fort, and the two other sides being bound-ed by the slopes of the eastern and western escarpments. Near the south side is a small rock-cut cistern. On the south and east sides a massive wall of masonry, about twelve feet thick, bulges at the north and south-east corners, into two large circular bastions, strengthened outside by strong masonry buttresses. There are no embrasures for cannon. Near the south-east bastion, a block of stone lying on the ground within the fort has an inscription in Arabic and Devnagari. It seems to have fallen from a niche in the wall. The inscription records that the fort was built in the beginning of the second year of the command of Sidi Saheb, the architect being named Nuryaji, and the governor of the fort Tukoji Haibat. Between the two bastions there is a niche in the wall in the form of a pointed arch. The third or east side of the citadel is not protected by any wall, the rocky escarpment, which is here nearly perpendicular and of enormous depth, being a complete defence. From the northern end of the citadel a rocky path, no better than cattle-track, leads to the valley below. In fact the fort is nearly inaccessible on all sides. It seems to have been built at a time when siege artillery was unknown, for it would be easily commanded from the height on the north by any assailant possessing ordnance of any size. In February 1818 Surgad was taken, along with Avacitgad by Colonel Prother’s force [Nairne’s Konkan, 114; Pendhari and Maratha Wars, 208.]. Besides the building described above, there are several other small ruined houses. Local tradition ascribes the building of the fort to Sivaji.

Kenjalgad & Raireshwar

Trek to Raireshwar–Kenjalgad was my first trek for 2008 and with Bhramanti after a long time.

We were six of us (all male group). Trek leader – Kiran and deputy – Gopal. We met at B’bay Central on 25th night and took a bus to Wai. Reached Wai at 4am. It was extremely cold. Then took 5am connecting bus to Khavli Village reaching there about 6am. From the bus stop we walked to the Shri Navlaidevi temple (about 1.5km) from where we could get a clear view of Kenjalgad. While we were discussing on the route to take, we sighted the Kamalgad fort on the other side of the Walki river. We were informed by locals that we could do Kamalgad fort and return back to Khavli by noon and then proceed to Kenjalgad. We were very much tempted of doing this fort and hence took a jeep & proceeded to Vasole village (Kamalgad base) – 45mins journey.

We refreshed ourselves at one of the local’s house and taking directions from him started the trek around 9am. But to our dismay we took the wrong path (twice) and ventured into unknown territory. It was 12noon and we were all exhausted and terribly upset on not getting the right track. It was decided to abandoned the trek and return back to Khavli asap and proceed to Kenjalgad as per original plan. We returned back to Vasole and took the 3pm bus to Khavli reaching there in about 45mins. We started our trek at 4pm.

KenjalgadHeight : 1302mts – 4273ft
There is a proper road coming up from Khavli to Korle village (near Raireshwar) which cuts across near Kenjalgad. Korle is connected to Bhor. However, we decided to stick to the trail which cuts across the road at many intersections and steadily climbing reached Kenjalmachi village by about 5.45pm. We were very close to the rockwalls of the fort. Noting the final directions from the locals there, we climbed up to near the rockwalls and carefully traversed the rockwall. The view from here is simply AWE! The blue waters of Walki river, Kamalgad fort, Navra Navri pinnacles jutting out from the Kamalgad range and Panchgani hills in a distance. We reached Kenjalgad fort entrance at 630pm. As it was getting dark we quickly decided to proceed to the fort look around and descend to the base village Pakeroste.

After taking a few pics we got down the fort and further descended to Pakeroste village, a small hamlet and stayed overnight at the Village school. It was extremely cold at night & we were desperately trying to get into our sleeping bags at the earliest. Kiran organized the dinner and lights were switched off by 11pm.

Kenjalgad Fort (history) – Source ‘The Gazetteers Dept’
Kenjalgad or Ghera Khelanja Fort, (Wai Taluka) 4,269 feet above sea level, is situated on the Mandhardev spur of the Mahadev range eleven miles north-west of Wai. It is a flat-topped hill of an irregular oval shape, about 250 yards long and one hundred yards wide at the extremes, looking remarkably strong both from a far and near. But on ascending it is found to be commanded by the Yeruli Asre and Doicivadi plateaus about two miles to the east which are easily ascended from the Wai side, and the Jambli hills about a mile to the west. The fort forms a village in itself but has to be ascended from the villages of Asre or Khavli which lie at its foot on the Wai side. The ascent is by about two miles of a very steep climb or the Asre-Titeghar bridle path can be followed for two miles and then a tolerably easy path leads due west from the pass another mile on to the fort. The fort is a black scarp rising vertically from the main ridge which is hogbacked. The scarp is one of the highest in any of the Satara forts and reaches in places eighty to a hundred feet. The only entrance is on the north side up a set of a hundred steps running parallel to the line of the scarp till within four or seven feet of the top, when they turn at right angles to it and cut straight into a passage leading on to the top. The steps are peculiarly imposing and differ from any others in the district. Thus on entering, the scarp is on the left and there is nothing on the right till the passage is reached, and invaders ascending would be liable to be hurled back over the cliff. At the foot of the steps is a bastion which evidently flan

ked a gateway. There are remains of six large and three small buildings, all modern. The head-quarters or kacheri is only marked by a large fig tree. The only building thoroughly recognizable is the powder magazine on the west which is about thirty feet square with strong stone walls three feet thick and seven feet high and three feet of brick on the top. The walls of the fort were originally of large square cut blocks of unmortared stone, but were afterwards added to in many places. They are in most places fully four feet thick and including the rampart about eight feet thick. There was a parapet of lighter work mostly ruined. The fort has three large water tanks about forty feet square and six small ones for storage of water and grain. But there is no living spring inside the fort. The largest tank is in the southern face and is quite thirty feet deep. The tanks were emptied when the fort was dismantled by blowing up the outer sides which were formed by the ramparts and letting the water empty itself down the hill side. On the west is a sort of nose projecting beyond and a little lower than the main ridge of the fort, also strongly fortified. There is a narrow promenade on the ridge at the foot of the scarp and on the north side is a large cave with excellent water and partly used for storage purposes. The village lies about 300 feet below on a ledge of the northern hill slope. To its immediate west is a dense temple grove of jambhul and anjan. The village of Voholi, on the north side of this range, the inhabitants of which were part of the hereditary garrison, is in a hollow to the north-west. Khelanja fort is said to have been built by the Bhoj Rajas of Panhala who flourished in the twelfth century. Its remarkable strength was noticed by Mr. Elphinstone who says it could scarcely be taken if resolutely defended. The guns on the Kenjalgad fort opened fire before surrendering to the detachment sent by General Pritzler up the Wai valley about the 26th of March 1818.

Raireshwar – Height : 1398 mts – 4589 ft
27th Jan – wakeup time was 6am, and we finished all our chores by 10am and departed from Pakeroste to Raireshwar. It took us about 1.5hrs to reach the ladder point below Raireshwar. It may be noted that within the next 6-8 months Pakeroste village will be connected by road to Khavli & Korle greatly helping this remote village with better amenities & development. Getting back on the trek, we carefully climbed the ladder & traversed the small rocky patch with the help of a fixed rope ( both placed by villagers) thus reaching Raireshwar by 12.30pm.

The Oath of Independence – at Raireshwar
Raireshwar is well placed in the Maratha History. The Raireshwar Teple houses a ‘Pindi’ and a brass mask of Lord Raireshwar (Shiva). When Shivaji was seventeen, he decided to transform what were till then simply games to a reality. He and his friends encouraged by Jijabai and his Guru Dadoji Kondeo; decided to take a formal oath to free the country from the shackles of Muslim tyranny. This was done in the year 1645 in a dark cavern housing a small temple to the Hindu God Shiva (locally called Raireshwar). Here Shivaji and his select band of teenaged Maratha friends slit their thumbs and poured the blood oozing from it on the Shiva-linga. By this act they declared a blood-feud against Mughal tyranny. This was the beginning of a long and arduous Maratha-Mughal struggle that went on for the next century and a half to culminate in the defeat of the Mughals and their replacement by the Marathas as the dominant power in India when the British came into the scene.

After paying due obeisance at both the temples there we proceeded to one of the villagers house to rest. We spent about ½ hr there and then proceeded back to the ladder. We did not have much time to see around (leaving that for next time) and proceeded back to the ladder and further on hastily descending the mountain to reach Vadavli village in time to catch the 330pm Vasole-Wai bus. We reached Wai around 430pm, but could not get a connecting bus to Mumbai hence had to proceed to Pune and take a connecting bus to Mumbai, finally reaching home at 12 midnight. All in all, it was a good trek, very good team, excellent rapport was developed during the trek and great teamspirit was displayed by all members.

Keep Trekking,
Dinesh Nair

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