Trek To Visapur

Planning for Trek

Last year when I had published my blog “Trek To Lohagad“, I had mentioned it was my ninth visit to Lohagad. On reading that  Praphulla my friend, had suggested me to visit Visapur the next time. According to him, it was beautiful, huge & since it is not as easy as Lohagad, there are very few people visiting this fort. I had decided to visit this fort last year itself, but somehow could not do it.
Finally, this year we had a plan in place. Last month, just while mingling around with my friends, Hemant came up with an idea about trek. I already had Visapur in my mind for quite some time, so based on my suggestion and everybody’s convenience, we agreed for a trek to Visapur on 14th July.

Food mall

A break taken at the food mall on the Mumbai Pune expressway

The Actual Trek

We started at around 5:15 in the morning, with Prasad leaving from his home with his car. Hitesh who stays at andheri, had come to Prasad’s place so as make it easier to leave early in the morning. Both of them left home at around 5:00. Sachin was the first one to be picked. Followed by Anand, Hemant and Me. By 6:30 we had refueled our car and were cruising on the highway. Our next stop was Airoli, where Nilesh was waiting for us, next was Amol at Kharghar. Amol was late by few minutes. After his arrival, we had some sandwiches which I had carried. Usually we take a break for snacks, but this time we wanted to save on time, hence carried some stuff with us.

Starting from Kharghar, our next stop was supposed to be Kumar Resort, Lonavla. Kshamesh and Chetan were coming from Pune, and Kumar Resort was to be the meeting point. We had planned to take the route via Pawna lake to reach the base village for Lohagad/Visapur. But Kshamesh and Chetan were quite late and hence we decided to take the customary Malavli route, since it saves on travel time from Pune.

Visapur Foothills

The Lush green carpet at the foothills of Visapur

We reached Malavli at around 9:15. A little late though, but quickly started our ascend. We had our breakfast before reaching Malavli, but Kshamesh and Chetan who came from Pune, were hungry. We assured them of having Pohe once we reach the foothills of the fort. 🙂 The first half of this trek is common between Lohagad and Visapur. Only after reaching a plateau at Lohgad village, the two go there separate ways. This section of the trek is reasonably easy, but we had some hiccups. Prasad, who is quite used to such walks due to his house in his village, was gasping for air. He was finding it very difficult to breath. We made him rest for some time, and then proceeded further. In monsoon the climate over here is quite pleasant. The lush green grassland seems to have occupied the entire area. Clouds cover the entire area upto the horizon, with occasional holes from where the Sun god peeps in.

We reached the Lohagad village from where we took left leaving behind majority of the crowd. As per our information, we were required to take this left and walk for around 15 mins. There we had to search for the entrance to the fort. We followed the trail accordingly. In between we took a tea break and also garam garam pohe. 🙂 Having Pohe is considered as an important milestone for most of the treks in Sahyadri. The trek doesn’t seem to be complete without this traditional Maharastrian dish :).

Pohe break at visapur

Tea and Pohe break at visapur

Anyways, we continued on our trail looking for the entrance to the fort from the south end. But somehow we missed it. Unlike Lohagad, there are very few people who trek to Visapur. Hence there was hardly anyone whom we could have asked directions for the fort. The trail too was marshy at times, with our feet sunk half foot inside the mud. We realized that almost the entire fort has passed but still there was no sign of the entrance. We saw some people on the fort. We waved our hands asking for direction. They acknowledged by asking us to go on the other side. Apparently telling us that we are on the wrong side. Few of us were getting impatient. But still, we continued. On reaching on the other end of the fort, we saw some huts and children playing around. They told us, there is a small trail which leads us to the fort, but suggested us to take them as guide. We turned down there suggestion and proceeded on our own, this time on the other side of the fort. This decision cost us almost an hour. To our disappointment there was a path after every few meters; and we were not sure which one to take. Assuming that all of them would ultimately lead us to the entrance; but it didn’t. We kept on trying different routes, and each one had a dead end. The forest is quite dense over here. With tree branches covering the paths, sometimes having sharp prickles or cactus. We tried almost for an hour but with no success; to add to our plight, we had exhausted all the water which we had carried . Finally we decided to take help of those kids whom we had met. Fortunately, even after an hour of trying, we were not far away from those huts. 🙂 Hemant went back and got two of those kids with him. The kids had also got another group who had sought there help. Both the group had agreed to pay them fifty bucks each.

From then on we were on the correct track. In fact after a while, we noticed that at regular intervals, someone had marked the rocks along the path with directions to proceed towards the fort. In another half an hour, we had reached the steps to the fort. By 3:30 we were on the top. 🙂 Finally!!

About the Fort

After resting for few minutes, we proceeded along the forts perimeter. The fort is huge, with the plateau almost double the size of lohagad. Not much has been written about this fort, but this fort did exists during the Nizamshah reign. It kept changing hands between Nizamshah and Mughals, until Chatrapati Shivaji bought it into swaraj. It was during the Peshwa era that major restoration was carried out. The perimeter walls of the fort were built in the 18th Century. There are quite a few water cisterns on the fort. The perimeter wall is almost entirely intact, with its height and width varying at different places. There are two building like structures, probably a palace or storehouse. Just before the entrance at the north end you will find couple of huge caves. Again this might be used for soldiers to rest or as a store house. There is a huge carving of lord Hanuman; Also, there is a huge manual grinder which is still in good shape. The bastion at the north end has an old gun. One can see the Mumbai-Pune express way from this end.

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We had about an hours time before we start our descend. We started with the northern most bastion, the one facing the Mumbai-Pune expressway. We then moved on to the other end. The view from the south end is breathtaking, The entire Lohagad, at a lower elevation could be seen from here. The fortification of Lohagad with its seven bastions appear more beautiful when seen from Visapur then probably from Lohagad itself. Just left of Lohagad, in the background, one can see the fort Tung, with Pawana lake separating it from Fort Tikona. Since the climate was quite foggy, we were not able to see Korigad from this point, which otherwise could be seen behind fort Tung.

While roaming around on the fort we met two guys, who had taken a different route to climb the fort. Apparently this route appeared to be much shorter than the one we had come from. So while coming down we came along with these guys. The rain god had bestowed mercy on us throughout the day when we were in difficulty. But while descending, it came out with all its guns blazing. Offcourse  it did cause us some inconvenience, but the fact that we had reached the fort had boosted our morale and we made our way down to malavli village in around one and a half hour. Well, this is how one of the most exciting trek of my life was carried out. For so many years I saw Visapur from Lohgad, this was the first time I saw Lohagad from Visapur. 😉

Trek to Visapur

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Trek To Raigad!

Finally the date was finalized. 17th July! This was a long overdue Trek for me with my college frenz! Po2(Prasad) & Kesto(Ketan) had done all the arrangements. I received a call @ 4:00 in the morning. It was Tara(Sachin), he said the car would be coming to my place in 15mins and it did! ….. and thus begins an exciting journey to Raigad!

The Journey Begins

The First car started from NalaSopara from Swapya’s (Swapnil) home, they picked Tara & Tari(Yugandhara) and came to our place. Me (Panga) and Pangi(Sangeeta) were late a bit ;). But we did start at 4:30!

Po2 with his car picked Babu (Nikhil), Andya (Anand) and Chingya (Hems)!

We refueled our cars and our first halt was at Thane. Kesto and Nilu(Nilesh) were waiting for us. We took our next halt near Panvel, where we had Misal Pav. After many small halts for photo sessions n all we finally reached the base of the fort @ 1:00 in the afternoon. We had to wait for our other frenz to come from Pune.

During a break @ Panvel

About Raigad

We started the trek @ 2:00.  Before going any further, let me just brief u bout Fort Raigad! It was Chatrapti Shivaji Maharaj‘s Rajdhani (Capital) from 1674! The amazing fort is at the height of 2700ft. The total area on the fort is more than 100 acres. It is star shaped with three machis. One is known as Hirkani’s machi. second Tak-Mak-Tok. Third is towards Fort Torana.

The Trek

SHivaji maharaj's Statue in front of the bazaar peth @ Raigad

Going up to the fort is quite easy on normal days. But today it was raining like nything. we were hardly able to c 10 feets ahead and as we were going higher it was getting colder! After around an hours walk, we reached the Maha Darwaza We reached the top in @ around 4:00. Visibility was nex to nothin. we made our way to the Darbar. It is a huge hall which people say was decorated with gold and silver. But the british took everything away. They torched the roof. Here we saw Maharaj’s Sinhasan.

Then we went to Bajaar Peth. Its a huge area with shop like structures on both the sides. Behind is the area where horses n other animals were kept. From there we went to Tak-Mak Tok. It is a cliff from where criminals and thieves were thrown down in the valley. The valley below was not visible. n we were required to hold on to the railings as the wind was too strong.

Shiv Ling at the temple on Raigad

From there we went to the third machi i.e. towards Maharaj’s Samadhi. there is a Temple of God Shiva near the Samadhi. Just behind the temple is the Samadhi. Opposite the samadhi is the samadhi of Maharaj’s Pet dog. Legend says that he jumped into Maharaj’s cheeta and sacrificed his life..

Megdambri- Shiv samadhi near the wagh darwaza at Raigad

We could not go further down towards Wagh Darwaja as it was getting late. So we started our way back. Though we were not able to c the entire fort, the effort for going up there, so close to nature and shaking hands with our rich history, was worth it. While coming back few of us came back in on the Rope Way. Swapya, due to some miscommunication came down the fort alone. 😦 The rest of us came back taking the same route. We came back to our rooms.
Everyone of us was tired. But we had this feeling of Fulfilment. Mission Complete. 🙂 Har har Mahadev!