by Mandar Kelkar
The rains offer the best reason for anyone to make a quick getaway. So this time we planned a trek to Duke’s Nose after planning and Whatsapp Chat discussions. The trek was conducted by Backpack Outdoors, a trekking club. For 150 bucks I thought it was a good deal. The train to catch was Sinhagad Express. At around 5:30 am in the morning we gathered at Shivajinagar railway station. Everyone was dressed in typical hiking attire with shorts, three fourths, loose jerseys, rain ware etc. I could see the excitement in everyone’s eyes. We reached at Khandala at around quarter to 8. It was an awesome climate and I was feeling just like the Shahrukh Khan who was just arrived in the railway station in the movie “Main hoon Na”. We decided to have some snacks. After having tasty Dadpe Pohe and a hot cup of tea we were ready for the trek. There were two routes to reach the top, one is normal traditional route and other is Jungle route. We took jungle route. It was drizzling a bit. We started walking on the rail track which was not functional and heading upside hill. After a 30 minutes walk from green woods and slippery slopes we reached a Waterfall. The view from there was amazing. There were clouds below and above us. We could see farms, villages, waterfalls and Expressway far away. After having fun for some time in the waterfall we started off again towards Dukes Nose. The trek was scary for girls and especially for a 16 member Emirati family but everyone was enjoying the adventure. We kept reaching grassy plains along the mountain’s slope where we relaxed, took snaps of the mountains and valleys. The last few hundred meter path towards the Duke’s Nose is quite challenging. The path from the flat terrain to the top is very steep and has 4 rock patches – where little climb is necessary. Once you reach the top, you will be astonished to see a small Shiv Mandir built there, and the Shivling alongside it. I was very happy coz I was the first in our group to reach destination. The rain had increased. Fog was everywhere, visibility of the terrain has decreased, and this gave a spectacular view. We had our Lunch under an umbrella with peanut butter bread sandwich, parathas and biscuits. It was too much enjoyable. Then after having few group photos we again started walking down the climb and got the route of Lonavla Railway station. In this way the best time was happening in this awesome rainy weather. Then we reached the railway station and enjoyed the famous cuisines of Lonavala chikki. It was great to have it right there in Lonavala itself. It was great experience after all. Then we caught a train back to Pune and I was returned exhausted on Shivajinagar railway station. It was a truly memorable and refreshing trek.
Lohagad – Visapur Forts & Bhaje Caves Trek
Date: – 16th June (Sunday)
Contribution: – Pune – Rs 150/- (Pune -Pune)
Cost includes: –
Pune: – Transportation by local Train, Breakfast, Evening Tea, Bhaje caves entrance fees and expertise.
Cost Excludes:- Lunch and anything that is not specifically included in fees include.
Lohagad was one of the most important forts of Satwaahan period, which takes us 2000 to 2500 years back. This fort was build to keep a watch on Nane Maval, Korbaarse Maval & Andhra Maval regions. The fort hoses many old constructions and much of its fortification is still intact.
Lohagad has a long history with several dynasties occupying it at different periods of time: Satavahanas, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizamshahis, Mughals and Marathas. Shivaji Maharaj captured it in 1648 CE, but he was forced to surrender it to the Mughals in 1665 CE by the Treaty of Purandar. Shivaji Maharaj recaptured the fort in 1670 CE and used it for keeping his treasury. This fort was used to keep the loot from Surat. Later in Peshwa time Nana Phadanwis used this fort for living for some time. The four large gates of Lohagad are still in good condition and are definitely a must see. Historical records show that in the later Peshwa period, Nana Phadnavis (1742-1800 AD) built several structures in the fort such as a big tank and a step-well (bawali).
Bhaja Caves are a group of 22 rock-cut caves dating back to 200 BC located at Bhaje village near Lonavala, Maharashtra. The location of the Bhaja Caves is not far from the Karla Caves, which are stylistically similar. These are carved in the same mountain on which fort Visapur is built. The Bhaje Caves are on a major trade route of the past that ran from the Arabian Sea eastward into the Deccan region, the division between North India and South India.
Visapur Fort is larger and at a higher elevation than its twin fort- Lohagad. Within the fort are caves, cisterns of water, a decorated arch and old houses. These two roofless buildings surrounded by outer or veranda walls said to have once been Government offices. The ruins of a large stone-built house are known as the Peshwa’s palace. In addition to a huge carving of Hanuman, there are also several temple dedicated to him scattered all over the place. Hanuman (or Maruti) was likely the patron deity of Visapur fort.
Grade: – Easy
Endurance: – High
6.00 am – Assembly @ Pune railway station main entrance, below the Clock
6.30 am – Departure by 6.30 am Local Train. (Sharp)
7.30 am – Reach Malavali and Walk towards to Bhaje Village.
8.00 am – Tea & Breakfast
8.30 am – Start walking towards Bhaje village and explore Bhaje Caves.
9.30 am – Start trek to Visapur. Reach the top & explore Fort
11.30 am – Start descending Visapur.
12.30 pm – Start Lohagad Climb
2.00 pm – Reach Lohagad Top & Explore fort
4.00 pm – Start to Descend to Bhaje village & have evening Tea.
6.15 pm – Reach Malavali to board train to Pune.
For Registration please transfer Rs 150/- per head to the following A/C
Bank Of India, Kothrud Gujrat Colony Branch
A/C no- 052320110000298 (Current Account)
IFSC code- BKID0000523
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Transaction Details; Name; Age; Gender; Phone/Mobile Number; Email ID, Add
ress, Blood Group & Emergency contact person and Contact number to email@example.com
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Akshay: 09768882299 (Mumbai)
Team Backpack Outdoors