Morgiri 29 November 2015

Tung as seen from Morgiri top
It had been almost a week that I was sitting back home and not doing anything. I would have been darned to sit home even on the weekend.

When chatting with an old trek  bud, we came up with a plan to a nearby mountain which offered some good amount of adventure. It was about 930 in night when the plan finalized. I packed my daypack and tried to sleep but damn Facebook...

As decided, Sagar called me at sharp 415 in morning, I was already up. With little morning chores, I was ready to leave. In few minutes, I heard the thumping bullet and I walked out of my home. With a quick tea break near highway, we rode off towards Paud. With the fog and cold it was evident that winters are knocking in. It was early morning there was very little traffic on the roads. We came across a few enthusiasts cyclists and bikers roaring in different directions.

Ahead of Paud, we took a turn towards village Javan. The road was narrow and dusty at places which passed through farms on both the sides. At Javan, the road diverges one goes to Tikona Peth and other one leads us to Tung. The road from here was intermittently good. Around 20 kms ahead, there is small a road which turns left and goes towards the base of the hill.


Morgiri as seen from Morve Village
It was almost 8 AM when we reached the base village Morve. We spoke to the guys at the office, parked the bike, handed over the riding gear and started the trek. One could see the flag outside the cave and on top of the mountain. The forest near the cave looked very dense. We asked the guy for the directions as well. I had earlier came with another trek-bud about a year back, however we hadn't been able to find the way. Today I was determined and well equipped with information from fellow
trekkers. Also, this time we had entire day to explore.

Breakfast 
The guy at the office had mentioned that they were trying to build the way but it was a major fail. The remnants of road were telling the same story. We hiked further only to see the road vanishing into forest. We marched ahead on the vanishing road. The path actually was through waterfall ( Nalichi wat in Marathi). Then again some signs of attempts of road construction. It was about 845 AM when we were about to enter the forest. Since we hadn't taken any pitstop apart from the quick tea break we decided to have breakfast and proceed further. The breakfast consisted of yummy egg sandwiches.

Here on wards, we moved into dense forest of Karvi and few other indigenous trees. We could see some path which ended too quickly, so we just marched into the forest.

Suddenly, something pricked my left elbow. I didn't know what it was but since we were walking into real thick forest. My first thoughts were if it was a Bamboo Pit Viper or something venomous. I was wearing full sleeved Tee which was not torn and nor it was stained with blood. But it was a throbbing pain. So we stopped. I pulled

my sleeve and checked. The spot was hot but no bite marks or anything. Sagar said there was a Lime Tree; thorn of which must have pricked me. After a quick stop we moved ahead. Now it was Sagar's turn to scream. A thorn had pricked badly into his thumb and broken in flesh. I tried pulling it with tweezers but I was scared that I might hurt him more in the process. I gave him a safety pin and he managed to take out the broken thorn and covered the wound with a band-aid. After a brief rest, we again got on our way. Now we were out of the forest and on a traverse path leading towards the Cave of Jakhmata.
Jakhmata cave
Jakhmata Cave is small cave with a carved water cistern. There are few more cisterns nearby. One can reach mountain top by climbing a small yet very risky exposed rockpatch of less than 2 meters. Sagar climbed like an expert and I was awfully scared to take on that patch. Like a good leader, Sagar assisted me in climbing. There are a few steps carved out on the rock. The Mountain top is a small plateau with a one more water cistern and offers a 360 degree view of nearby area.

Ameya's team on the Rock Patch
One can spot Koraigad, Tung & Tikona easily. On a clear day, many more must be visible. We spent some time on the top admiring the Mother nature's beauty and started climbing down. The middle plateau is very large and can accomodate couple of cricket stadiums. Another team, of our friend Ameya was climbing up hence we waited till all of them managed their way to summit.
The area near Jakhmata Cave is a small balcony, therefore, sagar and I decided to cross the jungle and have lunch on the plateu below the cave. The route from the cave to the plateau is a well trodden path through the jungle.

Once on plateau, we opened our tiffin and had lunch. Post lunch, it was a easy trek downwards. Before 2 PM, we were near the bike and my first thought was, "Oh Shit! I am going to be home before 4." Sagar had something else on his mind.

While getting ready for ride again, he suggested we take another way and look for some ancient trade route. I was obviously excited. So from Morve village, we rode to Ambavane near Korigad. It was pretty exciting to see the same fort from a distance and almost same altitude and from the base on the same day. We had quick tea break here and then we headed off to Mazgaon on Lonavala Nive Road.

Mazgaon is warm little village. We parked and inquired about the route. The elderly of the village tried to demotivate us and said," You guys are late. It would be dark by the time we reach the cliff and it would be impossible to climb down." But they also mentioned that, few hundred meters away there are two houses and the route goes beyond that plateau. We said ok and left.

When we spotted the houses, we decided to explore the possibility. It was about 3 PM and we had time till 545 PM (Sunset). So roughly 3 hours at disposal. We took our chances. Parked the bike at one of the houses and handed over bigger backpack and just carried some water and food and survival kit in smaller bag.

Sagar and Anaghai fort in background

The plateau was covered with dried grass. Well in time, we reached the cliff, and with no local guide available, we could spot Anaghai fort from top but not the route we were looking for. Sun's position indicated that we should head back immediately. We took that advice and rode off towards Nive. The road is terrible. It was reminding me of Ladakh! Absolute offroading it was...






Hats off to Sagar for his energy and will power. His thumb was injured yet he was balancing the bike without letting me fall. After Tailbail fata, we took a quick halt for photos and post dinner at Mulashi, we returned home.    

Distance covered: 186 kms

Route: Pune - Pirangut - Paud - Javan - Morve - Ghusalkhamb - Peth Shahpur - Mazgaon - Salther - Bhambarde- Nive - Tamhini - Mulashi - Paud - Pirangut - Pune        

The Ride
Photo Courtesy: Sagar Mehta

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