Thursday, December 17, 2009
Rajgad to Torna with Pradip and Murthy
The trek from Rajgad to Torna has been chewing my brain since the time I had climbed Rajgad and was shown the meandering way till Torna from the Rajgad Burj. I just knew that this had to be done. Leave presented a great oppurtunity to go to mumbai and fulfil this well...desire.
Pradip and Murthy unexpectedly decided to jump in(both are PhD Scholars in IIT,B)...while again unexpectedly the original trek partner Vivek could not get leave.
(life is sometimes like a trek..esp this trek. When you plan something out it might be possible that the original starting point may get misplaced..it may happen that the original partners get off..it might well be possible that you may have partners whom you will understimate ....but in the end given a bit of encouragement the same understimated partners will surprise you with grit and endurance)
So one fine monday nite we started out towards pune from CST(mumbai). Start at 1035 and reached Pune at 230. Me and Pradip went to find out the bus timings...at the ST stand outside Pune . We go asking ..err.."which is the bus to Velhe?" ..."..to Gunjawne"..? ..at the enquiry counter. A gruff ol man says "Satara? " from across the counter..Me and Pradip look at each other( are we speaking french at two in the morning or is it that the man is himself lost) . Anyway we consult a roadside map book and decide that the fort is in Satara district(it is not..Rajgad is in Pune District while Torna IS in Satara).So we decide Velhe is in Satara and ask the man again ....!
The man points towards a red bus..'char baje'....Cool. So we go back freshen up and promptly get back at 4 to board the bus. The conductor says that he knows where Velhe is and "no problem" ..he will get us there. Falser words were never said. After around 2 hrs of bone rattling drive..he says .."Aaa gaya"..We get down and march into darkness ...in the middle of highway . There are a few hotels around ..but no sign of any village.
A vada pav wala is just firing his stove..so we cosy up to him..ask for tea and info.
We get good tea and bad info.
He doesnt know a shit about what we are talking about. Rajgad? ...."nahin bhaiya..pata nahin".."torna...what is Torna"?. Very very demoralising I must say . I mean if u are ever stuck at a foreign destination way off your mark ..you will realise the pain and agony of it all..
But we the brave hearts refuse to take it lying down..We ask..ask and ask some more..till some bright fella tells us that ..ouiii..this is not the Velhe you want to go..this is the "other Velhe"..! OOOOOO.....he also tells us that we are some 32 kms off our mark . All bright sparks in the group light up "see we told u so..the bus was taking so long..etc etc". Hmm..bright guys , where were you when the bus conductor was downloading us in "this velhe"? ...he he
Anyway we hitch a ride on the next truck that comes along and reach Nasrapur...Then luckily a trekker takes us to Gunjawne while Murthy keeps asking "where are we going? ..Torna or Rajgad?"...And Pradip is still confused as to weather its Rajgad or Raigad...I am not pissed but kind of in no mood to enlighten the Geographically handicapped Gentlemen...
We reach a junction from where Gunjawne is around 8 km walk..No tempo..So we walk! Walk till Gunjawne and have a bit of Poha at the base hotel. The hotel offers dinner on top at exborbitant prices..but seeing that lady luck is already deserting us ..we grab the chance.Ok..We shall have dinner delivered on top..No problem.
At around 830 the trek Officially starts. The climb till Rajgad is mighty boring and gets even more boring as I ,the self styled "water footprint reducer " of the group enforce strict diktats on having a water break only after half an hour. Murthy and Pradip give me bad looks ..but I ignore. Water is precious and I intend saving every bit of it.
So we walk walk and walk ...climb a bit and Voila we are at Top by 1030 approx...Sun beating down so we rest at the temple. Pradip promptly goes to sleep while I stretch myself.
After 30nmins I give a wake up call to the group and off we are to see the Ballekilla ..Its a minor climb but Murthy is again asking "Whats on top? What is there to see?"...Well he doesnt seem to get the point...There is actually nothing to "see" here. We are here to trek the distance and reach some place which has been dead for a hundred years...So if you expecting belly dancers to welcome you with some Chaas and nimbu paani ..forget it boss!
So we do the ballekilla while Pradip promptly dons the directors cap by filming the first ever film on trekking to ballekilla on youtube.
Then we make a beeline for subhela Machi..to see the sunset. Enroute we collect some firewood and check out the needha(hole in the mountain)..
All done by sunset we walk back. Time for some tea. oops...the man below arrives with dinner. Dinner at 6? Naaahh..we are too manly for that.So we get down to lighting the fire and making the tea. While me and Pradip are fuming and smoking..the chulha isnt doing much of firing and smoking. So we fester and fester..while Murthy clicks some candid camera snaps. We have tea from a dabba and then after sometime pounce on dinner...
Dinner is as meagre as the price is high. And we ARE hungry...So no complaints.
We sleep on temple verandah at 830..Pradip is in mood for some chit chat. I am not too tired but I know tomorrow is goin to be tuff and I want my sleep.
By 1030 some monkeys and three dogs join us on the Verandah. ..along with a guy who walks in . He is hussian and he also plans doin the Torna trek.
Join us dude, we ask him...! He sweetly says yes and opens his map. Man are we thankful for the map or wat..He is our guy and we plan moving out before daybreak. Rocks get hot during the day and we have some climbs tomorrow..
615 we are out of Rajgad through the Alu Darwaja with Hussain in the tow. The sun is shining softly and we march on...
Uneventful march except for a wrong diversion and catastrophic failure of Murthys new Reeboks.
We reach base of the Budhla Machi and Hussain wants to climb now. Pradip and Murthy are in no mood while I am ok with both options. Then it strikes me that rocks are getting hot and it will be difficult. So we start the climb. Actually its a textbook climb..as regular as they come...We make it on the top of the burj.
Murthy and Pradip are shell shocked by the news that there will be no rest till we reach bottom of torna. But I had planned that unless we start early there was a chance we mite miss the bus.
So after a lot of grumblings we are on our way to the top of Torna where we plan to rest a wee lil at Meghavati temple and yeah..MOOOSTT IMPORTANT ..fill our water bottles.
That we do in due time ..but let me tell u traversing the fort is not easy and lack of any boards(so much for maratha pride in Shivajis forts)....Once we got into some blind alley and I had to literally claw my way up..
Anyway we reach the temple ..aided by two good samartians who had come to plant some trees here(yeah ..toc toc toc..these ghatis are crazy..as crazy as romans)...
Here we have a sumptious lunch of Dry amul powder, jam and Raisins ...(oh yeah we are the weirdos)..
Then begins the long walk down ..and its a looooong walk down to velhe..!Esp if you add the 6 hrs of trek and 2 hours walk down..We HAVE walked a lot.
Vlhe greets us with sole restaurant TORNA Vihar, Murthy has a Misal Pav while I and Pradip Stick to Maazas..
After a roundabout bus trip to Pune (including a trekker itinery) and lots of essentially useless disussions about cellular automata..We are back in Pune.
A heafty dinner at Shri Krishna Restaurant follows(greasy food ..if u ask me ) but clean and prompt service.
To cut a long story short..we manage a discount on the bus ride back after Pradip blows a fuse arguing with the bus arranger..and back in IIT at 120 at night
Warm bath and sleep and tomorrow we are as good as new...