Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Raireshwar Aswalkhind Kamthe Range Trek

Diwali was at an end. The plan of 24th October to Raireshwar-Kamthe trek was missed due to miscommunication between me and Madhukar Dhuri Sir.

On 1st November dear Madhukar messaged me to decide plan for raireshwar - kamthe trek on 5-6th November. I had taken freelance work during that period and knew it will be finished till Thursday and we can do this Pilot trek.

My buddy Abhijeet also was ready to join this trek. We immediately made whats app group to share the information and plan. We decided to reserve seats in a wai bus to avoid inconvenience during the time of traveling. On the day our journey started towards wai, we were 5 in total. Myself (Rahul R Basankar), Madhukar Dhuri, Abhijeet Gunjal, Namita Damle, Kalpana Nande were in the bus.


All the things to be carried got divided in-between all of us. Everyone was really excited to cook nice tempting khichdi for next day dinner in Kudali village.

Myself, abhijeet and Kalpana met at kurla S.T Depot at 10 pm. We were boarding 9:30pm Mumbai Central- Mahabaleshwar bus. When we entered the bus it was smelling so bad and I thought a man who is sitting beside me wearing bad smelly dirty socks. I donno what it was whether it was a vomit of someone or a stinking socks. I just got up and sat next to abhijeet at the back seat. Madhukar dhuri and namita boarded at CBD. Our journey started to the wonderful trek of Raireshwar to Aswalkhind.

Determined, well planned and a strong spirit to accomplish this one was rushing through our blood. We reached wai at around 3:45 am. Madhukar dhuri called jeep wala Mr. Sameer to take us to Raireshwar.

Kenjalgad at 6:15am

We already started to feel so cold and everyone was wearing jacket and buff. It was very cold air outside. But the jeep was covered from all sides, so the journey was so very comfortable and warm. We reached Raireshwar Khind at around 5:30 am. As we came out of the jeep we saw the sun was rising at the horizon and the most beautiful forts kamalgad and kenjalgad wear resting in "Gulabi Thandi" in front of us. What a peaceful morning, cold air in our lungs, relaxed beats and we were absorbing that nature and its feel in our body. It seemed like a meditation.

Kenjalgad in horizon from Raireshwar

It took us only 10-15 minutes to climb stares to reach on top of the raireshwar fort. After reaching the top, it was already light and the two forts Kamal and Kenjal rising up in an orange shade. Great feeling. After taking bunch of selfie we started moving ahead. It was a big day today as we wanted to get down to kudali village and watch Durgadi Killa.On the way to the raireshwar temple there was a water pond which accumulates natural water flowing through the mountain. Madhukar insisted on filling our bottles right here as village people also collect & drink water from this source. Why to bother villagers, lets fill here only, Madhu said. Absolutely perfect thought and we decided to do the same. Moving further suddenly from a distance we started hearing an enchanting shahnai music. And it was so amazing feeling at that point and all surrounding became absolutely alive in those vibes.

Raireshwar Vadi

A warm welcome on the fort to us. At first we thought there will be a wedding ceremony happening on the fort. But when we reached near a temple it was the music played on loudspeaker as a morning prayers.

Raireshwar Temple

Raireshwar temple, where Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj took the oath of Swarajya. It is said that maharaj cut their finger and took the oath by dripping blood on shivling inside temple. After, visiting temple, we came to shivaji Jangam's house to have a cup of tea and breakfast before we start our trek.

Initially, we were uncertain whether to go from Paathsheela Nakhind Side or from Dhanivali. At 8am we started walking towards a village Dhanivali. A small boy came with us to put us on a correct path towards Dhanivali. He asked us to take a route which goes on from top of front mountain. I and abhijeet walking ahead and after 15 min we were on a trail which was running from left side of the tekdi. Madhukar told us we are supposed to move from right. Again we started climbing us through the bushes making way to the top to see the village dhanivali at a 3 km distance. After clearing bushes for some time we reached on a trail which took us on a perfect path which was going towards Dhanivali.

Neche field near dhanivali village and paathsheela

Group pic: Dhanivali. Madhukar bought new asus phone and selfies were getting clicked frequently at a free cost.

On the way we got to see beautiful Nira-Deoghar Dam merging at the horizon in a blue cloudy sky. Moving out of dhanivali we came across Suresh who said he is a guide and works with lakshman his brother for trekkers. Recently they have cleaned all the bushes and made path towards Paathsheela. In dhanivali, villagers do farming of Vari and nachni. After doing some chitchat we started descending towards Nivgan village through leaving behind dhanivali through a khind. We got see a beautiful range of Nakhind and Paathsheela, Nira deoghar dam, Durgadi killa.

Dhanivali Village from top point On raireshwar

We started making our way through dense bushes. It was a descend consisting of 3 ridges. The sun was at 12'o Clock.

Descending from dhanivali

We were moving down as fast as we can. But namita and kalpana were considerably slow as their toes wear getting hurt on the descent. Managed to tackle this steep descent and we got down on a last ridge from where we could see village houses. It was 2:24pm when I checked. We decided to have lunch and then move ahead.

Dog followed us till nivgan village

There was a dog who was following us from raireshwar. He was so tired and exhausted, frustrated poor dog went and sat into an accumulated water in small area to chill himself. He almost ate 3 eggs, and 5 theplas which indicates he was so hungry. Cute dog. After having food we all took rest for 15 min. At 3:30pm We started our last descend of the day towards Nivgan village. At around 4:15 we reached Nivgan. After inquiring about Kudali village we started walking on a tar road. Kudali is at around 6-7 km from nivgan village. Thankfully we got a jeep which dropped us to kudali village. We had to drop our plan to Durgadi as it was already late to go there.

We met Kondiva Pol mama. They greeted us and asked we can get fresh and stay in a hanuman temple for a night. We sipped hot tea and it was rejuvenating. We took a walk around village and inquired about next day route towards Aswalkhind. You can see a v shaped col at south-west from kudali village. There was a meadow on which madhukar namita Kalpana did some exercises to release backache. Abhijeet and I was making fun out of them and passing jokes. It was getting dark and we had to go back to village to cook our dinner.

Kalpana and Namita cooking khichdi

There was no light on that evening in village. We started setting up "chulha" to prepare khichdi for dinner. It was dark and we took out our headlaps. After gathering some stones and collecting some wood, we set that up on fire. Kalpana, Namita, Abhijeet and madhukar really were enjoying this task. I brought all different masala's. About an hour after our khichdi was ready. Next time I will definitely carry Papad and acchar for a taste. But still we served ourselves that hot khichdi and it was testing yummy and nice spicy. In that cold night what else would you love to eat!A hot serving of khichdi filled our whole day's appetite. Our stomach was full and went asleep in our warm sleeping bags till morning.
Next morning we recorded a temperature of 16 degree celc. The night still went to cold and after 3am I was unable to sleep. Madhukar was snoring badly too. Abhijeet acted smart and didn't bring any warm clothes which he had to pay for whole night. He was desperately trying to cover his body into sleeping bag but he failed. It was fun to see him striving for sleep. hahaha!!
We thanked Pol family for all support they gave us. We packed our rucksacks and after having tea we marched towards mighty aswalkhind at 8am. The trail was so nice. Our trousers were getting wet while walking through wet rice farm on both sides. Sun rays were giving us warmth in that cold morning.
After walking for about an our we entered in the dense zone of forest. Here we crossed a stream and went ahead. We kept walking and walking further for about 20 minutes on the trail. We saw a bifurcation into a water bed but across that there was absolutely no route except thorny bushes. As we were hungry by then and decided to have our breakfast. After breakfast we started ahead again on the same trail. We could see the mountain on right which we had to go across. But the trail took us into a direct access to col of Nakhind. We reached a point where the route ends and enters into water bed. We have to cross the stream and climb on the right side mountain. to get on aswalkhind trail. But the trails ends there. Now what! We started exploring options through bushes. But no! We have lost the actual crossing somewhere behind. And that was the big time loss we had to bare on this important day.

Cross river bed to go to Aswalkhind

Madhukar realized he had Jignesh lakhani's GPS route map. He immediately located our position and we all realized that the actual diversion is behind there, where we came into an open big river passage after walking through dense from village for about an hour. We started moving back again. While coming back we passed the diversion, where we had breakfast. Walking back further we came into the big stream and there we found the actual path which goes directly into the aswalkhind. Happy and relaxed we started moving towards the col on a perfect path after more an hour's delay.

  After crossing river bed, straight trail goes to aswalkhind. You will see rice farm on the way.

This route is very dense and we saw pug marks of a wild animal at the river stream. We even saw a small plant right beside the trail watered. We could only imagine a single plant can only be watered by some animal's pee in that dense forest. Abhijeet and I both were walking ahead and we were alert and carefully walking keeping an eye on every movement in the dense jungle. After climbing for 45 min we finally reached aswalkhind. So much cool wind flowing though the col, fresh air made us feel good and enriching.

Aswalkhind start point

There were 3 big boulders at the start of aswalkhind. From this point you will definitely get a view of Nakhind hole. After some photo session we started descending aswalkhind at 1.15pm. Namita and Kalpana were walkins slow due to descent. Abhijeet and I was walking with our pace ahead and waiting for them to join us. It wasn't really hot. Good weather, less humidity.

We were arranging stack of stones for route marks in a distance. Abhijeet and I was irritated not because we had to wait for people behind but because since we started descending aswalkhind we were continuously bitten by mosquitoes and were making us cover our faces and hover our hands to bhagao them. At 2:30pm we reached a open patch. Aswalkhind was finished. From left side there was stream of water flowing and a waterfall was there on right side into the valley. Abhijeet and I sat there to wait for kalpana and other team.

Beautiful!! What we see in our front is magnificent wall of a mountain and Aswalkhind at north end. We named it ECHO point. We realized it when we gave AO call to the team behind. Our sound was bounced almost for 20 seconds in that silence zone of valley. Mesmerizing beauty of sahyadri mountains.

Descending from Aswalkhind

The only reason to face the pain of doing ghat route is that only. Its not easy but it gives immense pleasure when you face this path. We waited for almost 40 min till they reached this point. At this point it was already 3:10pm. We discussed and realized its impossible to get last bus of 4pm from kamthe to poladpur. Now the only option is to hire a personal jeep and pay higher to get to the accessible range. There was no way we could fasten up the pace of namita and kalpana as they were already tired.

We kept moving further. Here on the way we saw many big almost 3 inch spiders right in the middle of the trail. We had to clean their net and make a way through. Also you will see a patch in trail where we saw many butterflies of various colors. Now the descend was almost over and it was almost a flat range. After some time we reached at a gradual descend trail and we saw houses and people down the valley on the right. After few minutes we were climbing down and entered into Kamthe village through farms. It was 5:15pm by the time we reached down. After coming on tar road we inquired for a jeep and they said there is shop where you can get a jeep.

Kangorigad in backdrop from Kamthe village

On the way you will see Kangorigad standing to west. It is easily accessible from Pimpalwadi village. We walked almost for half hour to reach to the shop. There we asked for a jeep. They charged us Rs 700 to drop us to Poladpur. From there we hired a private vehicle to mumbai as all the buses were full because of sunday.
I was happy on the successful accomplishment of this exploration, even though it is delayed a bit. But got necessary information for our ( 24-25th december trek.
Thanks to the whole team who made it happen. Abhijeet, Madhukar, Kalpana,Namita. Hope to see you soon on another adventure.

Join us for our upcoming trek to Raireshwar - Aswalkhind - Kudali - Kamthe - Vadghar - Kangorigad - Pimpalwadi 23-24-25 December 2017

Also, visit our facebook Socials for more information.

Important tips:

*high endurance trek

*carry ample amount of water and food for backup

*If you are new to the route follow GPS or take help from village people

*make sure you decide your targets and have backup plans if things doesn't work out as planned.

*Carry mosquito repellent

*there can be wild animal's on way to Aswalkhind, be careful and alert

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