The Grand Sahyadri Odyssey -1


As 2015 began, we listed all long weekends of the year. January's last weekend was the first. Vivek & Kaka were exploring options and I was determined to make best use of this weekend to complete my target of 24 forts for this year. So the ambitious plan came up.

The original plan was

Saturday: Sudhagad, Sarasgad & Stay at Surgad base
Sunday: Surgad, Awachitgad & Stay at Ghosalgad base
Monday: Ghosalgad, Talagad & Caves of Kuda Mandad & Back to Pune

This plan was going on in my mind for long time and I had shared with a few people as well. However it had never worked out. So it was the time to do the stuff.

Vivek & kaka accepted the plan happily & we were set. However, like all my plans, this one too needed changes at the last minute.

Vivek had to back out last minute due to personal reasons. I had traveled to Mumbai on Friday & returned late in the night hence the departure was delayed.

On Saturday afternoon, we (Kaka & I) left from his place and headed to Sudhagad. Runtime decision was made to stay overnight at Sudhagad & descend at the earliest in the morning.

We were at Sudhagad base: Thakurwadi at about 6 PM. We put on our hiking shoes & started off immediately.

3 village girls accompanied us till Ladder. It was getting dark fast now. The route ahead was a simple one & near the bastion Govt has constructed stairs now. Finally when we got to the top it was about 8:15.
 
When we reached to the Pant- Sachiv Wada a group was already there. They already had their dinner and had the fire still on. During the chat they mentioned that they had climbed down all the way from TelBails. We Cooked Maggie for dinner and slept off quick.

In the morning, the other group acted as hosts and served us tea. Later they descended towards Patachapur & we decided to explore Sudhagad. The Twin Pinnacles of TelBaila were dominating the skyline in the morning. It wass definitely a mesmerizing site.

The MahaDarwaja is a replica of the Great King's Capital's (Raigad) Mahadarwaja; hence we were keen to go there. We left our backpacks at Mami's place. It was a short walk from the Wada. And we explored many Hero Stones near the temple of Bhorai Mata.

The MahaDarawaja of Sudhagad is constructed in Gaumukhi (Circulatory) Format. I was thrilled to the core.

Soon we returned to Mami's place & requested her to prepare tea for us. She very happily served us tea. She is one of the most genuine people I have ever met in my life. Such a minimalistic approach... God if everyone becomes like her this world will become heaven in no time. Good things come to end soon & thus we had to bid adieu to her & return to base.

We decided to have lunch at Pali and climb Sarasgad & Skip Surgad.

It was about 2 PM when we reached Pali & found a place which serves very good homely food. We overate thus rested there for some time.



At about 3:30 PM we started climbing Sarasgad only to realize that we had underestimated its height. The steps of Sarasgad could be a subject of another blog post. After a quick discussion we decided to descend before it would be really dark.

Once at base we drove to Medha base village of Awachitgad. The vitthal temple there provided us shelter for the night and the people around the temple were again an example of hospitality. They helped us set up the chulha & also supplied some firewood. We prepared hakka noodles for dinner.

Next morning we set off for Awachitgad along with Mama from the nearby family.


Awachitgad is a small fort and still has most of the fortification intact. When we reached top the Forest department had already hoisted the tricolor. We sang our National Anthem before starting our descend.

Now it was time to explore Ghosalgad. A small kid of 5th standard did a job of guide for us and we went to the top in no time. This fort was probably built only as a watch tower. There isn’t much to explore here. Hence we descended. The entire task had taken only about 2 hours of our time.

Now we drove to Tala village. I had to surrender to nature & sit back in the car. Hence, kaka with company of a local guy went ahead to explore the fort. He returned in about an hour's time & we left for our homes.

Picture Credits: Shraddha Mehta & Sunil Deshmukh