Trek to Tikona

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A little late though, today I have decided to complete the post on our trek to a small fort called Tikona. As has been the trend, we start discussing about treks with the onset of monsoon. Accordingly, we came out with two possible destinations for our trek, Tung and Tikona. Tung being very easy, our friend Praphulla suggested us to go for Tikona. So we finalized on the latter. The date for the trek was 25th Aug.
As per plan Vishal and Siddesh(Sid) came down all the way to Vasai, so the three of us started from Vasai in my car. Mandar(Mandy), Vidya, Devendra(dev), Shraddha and Khyati came in Mandy’s car from Kandivli. We met at Ghodbander and proceeded further towards Navi Mumbai. We picked up Samir(Bhai) and Mukesh(Mukya) on our way. Mukya made us wait for some time but he got us some freshly made “Aluwadi”, “Jalebi” and “Samose” :). So it more than made up for the time lost.

Fort Tikona as seen from foothills

Fort Tikona as seen from foothills

We had targeted to start the trek by 9:30 -10:00, but we were running late by a huge margin. We took the Karla exit on the expressway and proceeded towards Kamshet on the old Mumbai-Pune highway. At Kamshet we took a right turn towards Pawana nagar which is around 15 kms from Kamshet. Tikona Peth (Base village) is around 7 kms ahead of Pawana Nagar. No one amongst us had been to this place before, so finding our way to the foothills cost us some valuable time. The road from Kamshet till the base village may be just 20-25 kms, but is narrow and not in a good condition. Finally we reached the base village after 11:30. A villager allowed us to park the cars in his backyard and so, we started our trek only after 12:00. The trek as such was easy, but after driving for almost 5 hrs, we were feeling a bit tired.

After walking for some time, there was a board giving directions towards the fort on the right hand side. This is where the ascend to the fort started. The climb is gradual with some minor rocky patches. The atmosphere was amazing, it didn’t rain even a bit, the sky was clear with the sunray’s  falling on the lush green grass around giving it a kind of glow. The afternoon sun was shining on us too but the cool breeze was more than sufficient to offset it. After ascending for  around 15 mins, we were able to see the Pawana lake which is close to the fort.

Steps leading to the main bastion of the fort

Steps leading to the main bastion of the fort

Khyati, amongst us, was the first one to get exhausted, so she decided to rest for a while. Mukesh was waiting with her. Rest of us continued with the trek. Shraddha, who was probably on her first trek, was most excited and was leading everybody. On our way we found a cave followed by statue of lord hanuman near a cave.  In just about 45 mins we had reached base of main bastion. We had tea from a vendor and relaxed for some time before advancing for the final leg of the trek.

The final leg had some 100 odd steep steps which are to be climbed. Unlike our normal steps these were a tad tricky. There is one wire on the side wall throughout the length of the steps. One has to hold on to this wire while climbing the steps for going up “safely”. We took 10 more minutes to reach the pinnacle of the fort.

Standing on the top, you get a spectacular 360 degree view of the surrounding area. Pawna lake surrounds the fort from Western and Northern side. There is a valley on the eastern side whereas a cliff connects the fort with an adjacent mountain from south. Beyond the lake on the northern side we can see the twin forts of Visapur and Lohgad forming a formidable wall. Fort Tung, which is surrounded on three sides by Pawna lake can be seen on the west. Korigad lies to south western side of the fort, but it could not be seen due to heavy fog. There is also a small temple on the fort.

Cliff on the other side

Cliff on the other side

We had some snacks which we had carried with us and after some sight seeing we started our descend from the fort. It hardly took us 45 mins to get back to our cars. We started our return journey at around 3:30. While returning back, we took a different route. We took a left from Pawana Nagar. This road runs on the perimeter of Pawna lake for almost 8-9 kms. The road was narrow , quite curvy and full of potholes, so our speed was well in check. The view along the route was breathtaking. It goes pass Lohgad and further into Lonavla city. Since we had not had our lunch, we took a break at Mcdonalds on the Expressway. It was dark by the time we reached Airoli. I was feeling a bit worn out, so Vishal drove my car for the remaining part. We reached Vasai station by around 8:30. Mandy, meanwhile had reached Borivali. So, this is how we completed our small but tiring trek to Tikona! 🙂

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Exploits at Kaas – Valley of flowers

About Kaas

Located 26 km away from Satara, Kaas (Location on Wikimapia) is a huge plateau stretching for more than 10 kms, with amazing variety of flowers and wildlife. This place is a paradise for photographers. The best time to visit Kaas is September to October. The plateau lies on top of a huge mountain. It is surrounded by a huge water reservoir formed behind Kanher dam, on almost three sides. Sajjangad, abode of swami Ramdas, can be seen on the left side of the plateau. Kaas, because of its high altitude, appears to be the highest point in that area. surrounded by valley from all sides. The ghat leading to Kaas from Satara, is quite narrow and appears to be risky at times, because of its steep curves. The reservoir and the forest surrounding it is a natural tranquil for nature lovers. The prominence of this place is increasing every passing season.

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Our visit to Kaas

We happened to visit this place on 2’Oct 2011. We were not very sure about the time of the visit. Most of us thought its quite late in the season, and we would be missing the peak time when the blossoming is at its maximum. But most of these speculations turned out to be incorrect. The plateau was huge, and covered entirely with lush green natural lawn. There is no sign of man made constructions anywhere around. The serene atmosphere of the dawn along with the fresh aroma of early morning dew was mesmerizing. Just saying ‘this place was beautiful’ would be an understatement. It was very very very very beautiful. It amazed us to no limit. It was our sheer luck that there was mild drizzling just a couple of days back which lent a new lease of life to the flowers. Well, some appreciation to our whole team ;), we got up early at around 3.30 – 4.00 and were at the venue before 6.00 in the morning because of which we could capture the early morning dew on the flower petals. There were quite a lot of people already at the venue. Most of them were photographers and nature enthusiasts. Its good to see how these people appreciate the nature. Their affection for nature was quite visible in the way the were moving around admiring the unending stretches of flowers. There were a few who were literally spending hours just to get one good shot of the flower. Well, even we were busy trying to capture as much as possible in our cameras. Never mind the quality of images, but we did our best. The place offers ample variety flowers and that too in huge numbers. When seen from a distance, these flowers give a distinct color to that place. A few variety of those flowers can be seen below.

For those who are planning to visit this place, September to mid October is the right time to visit. Satara is the nearest city to this place. You could find many hotels in Satara. With respect to the venue, try to reach there as early as possible. Primarily to experience the early morning freshness. But apart from that, parking cars is also a major issue at Kaas. We were lucky enough to find a place for our cars, but people coming later on had to walk a couple of kilometers from the parking lot.Local authorities have made provisions for a state transport bus from the parking lot upto the plateau. But those are too crowded to carry delicate items like cameras and lenses. Apart from the above, please carry sufficient amount of water and please keep this place clean. There were quite a few people littering around throwing away chocolate wrappers etc. This place is quite huge and cannot be cleaned every now n then. Also try and avoid stamping over the flowers. For more pics on Kaas, please visit my album Kaas- Valley of flowers Driving Directions for Kaas: