Mumbai being such a busy place, it saps more out of you than you can give!! Working day in and day out, makes one's life monotonous and boring. Thinking about going to the park, or thinking about taking a walk has become some kind of distant dream to us. As of today, we are not thinking about a quiet walk.
Me and some of my friends planned for a terk to one of Shivaji's fortress rajmachi, to beat this hopeless tediously unvarying situation. For reaching the base village, we had to travel to by train to reach Karjat station, outskirts of Mumbai. For reaching Karjat, we had to catch an early morning train. Some of my friends reached the station on time, but we could not get the tickets on time to get into the train.
We had to skip that train. The next train was after one hour, hence we had already lost 1 hour. We boarded the next train and reached Ambernath, from where a friend joined us. Ambernath is on the way to Karjat, so waited an hour for the train at Ambernath. Due to some freak traffic signal malfunction, we had to wait there endlessly, as the next karjat train was one and hour late!! So "Amber"nath was looking like "Red"nath.
Finally we got into the train and got to Karjat, from where we made a Fat-Fat, that is an auto-rickshaw, to the base village. It was almost 10 am by then. We started the climb, with all energy, but did not know what to expect. There were arrow marks painted on the rocks all the way, showing us the correct directions. It did not rain very heavily as expected.
The climb for some distance seemed to be flat, until we reached phase where it was some what steep. Slowly we started loosing energy and also the drive. Suddenly atleast I had to request my feets to move forward. We had not even completed 30% of the climb. All we heard was that, it was a 3 and half hours trek. We were almost 1 and half hours into the trek, we saw people descending. Quietly we had a word with them. There we realized, that the guy who predicted the climb in 3 and half hours time was a buffoon, with a strong body built, but not that much head room.
Just when we thought, we have gone half way, we gasped at the enormity of the climb. We were giving up. We thought we would never make it. I have to say, for once I thought, we will never make it to the top. Then we made it a point that we will climb till a certain time. If by then we could not have reached the top, we would descend.
On the way we came across a beautiful cave. The cave itself, was quiet a marvel, which we never expected. A wonderful waterfall just adjacent to the cave, made our trip a memorable one. After spending some time at the caves, we again started ascending. I was wearing a lousy and slippery shoes, which made my ascend slippery coupled with the monsoon and sliding mud. We some how made it to the top. Hurraaayyy!!
The dal rice that I had for lunch at the village at the top of the hill was the best I have had for quiet some time!! The descend was quiet a slippery experience, as I fell many times. Hurt my back, and ankle. As they say descend is always easier, we made it down in two and half hours. Lost our way, but some how made it to karjat station. When we returned to the station, again it was a long wait as the train we had to catch was after 1 hour. But caught a long distance train, and reached one hour earlier. The 1 hour we lost in the morning was gained at last in the evening!!
The snakes and crabs on the way was a treat and fascinating to watch. But the mosquitoes and the humid conditions aggravated our problems both during ascend and descend. The time permitted us to make it only to the village. The fort was still half an hour away, which we could not make it. Next time we will try and make it to the top. The saying holds true-"When the going gets tough, the tough get going"..........