Kalsubai Dobara!!

Its past July and I haven’t had a chance to go on a trek yet. Every weekend passes by with some commitment or other; finally a group discussion with friends on Thursday led me to Kalsubai peak on Saturday, 1st August 2015. This was my second trek to Kalsubai; I last visited in November 2014. This post is about my experience of trekking for the first time this monsoon season and a photo trail of the same. For details about Kalsubai trek wrt how to reach there, the map, things to carry etc, please click here.

We went through Mumbai Rangers. A batch of 10 enthusiasts hustled their way through their jobs and assembled Friday night at Dadar Station from where the bus was scheduled to depart. After casual hi hellos and getting to know each other, the journey to Igatpuri began…

Alright, some context here, 7 of us were Chartered Accountants, 5 working at same place (Ernst & Young Indirect Taxation)! Hence there were  a lot of common topics to talk on and we mixed pretty soon. Our trek leader Girish was the music director for the journey and played soft tracks throughout the way which lulled some into sleep and rest into singing them along!

Mumbai seems so beautiful when roads are clear; expressways, breeze, rains and fog – what else can we ask! After a halt at a dhaba, we reached Igatpuri around 3.30 AM and proceeded towards Bari village. It was dark but the light from the full moon reflected on the clouds and made them look beautiful. I was observing the slow pace with which clouds moved along and moon played hide and seek amongst them when some people started telling stories of bhoot pret to a worried soul. 😛 The stories spanned across India and ended at Bhangarh fort after constant pleading from the worried soul.  Its another story that the person whom we were frightening that night, in turn became a person to be feared from the next morning… 😉

After sleeping in the vehicle for a couple of hours, we had poha and tea prepared at the village and began our ascent. Our aim was to reach the top first  before bigger trekking groups (We were the first to reach the peak that day!).

Launching the next book cover of author Amish with Mihir ;-)
Launching the next book cover of author Amish with Mihir 😉

After 15 minutes of steep ascent, we reached the base temple of Kalsubai. Its for people who cannot climb the mountain for darshan. We became mowglis and tarzans on the banyan tree and unleashed the craziness within. We met Fluffy (yes, we named the dog like Hagrid would have done) here and he followed us all the way up!

Wherever you go, carry your own sunshine!!
Wherever you go, carry your own sunshine!!

The climate kept us enchanted with occasional rains, surprising sunshine here and there and constant winds; we couldnt see the peak from the base due to fog.

Greenery all around
Greenery all around

After around one and half hour of walking we reached halfway of the route. Its a big plateau like region with the backdrop of 7- 8 waterfalls!! Monsoons had turned the mountains into various shades of green as opposed to when I had visited last November. Here are some candid pics –

Aaj Main Upar!
Aaj Main Upar!
Charting the way ahead
Charting the way ahead

The way ahead was a bit difficult due to complete invisibility for sometime coz of the fog. However, as we climbed ladders which came in our way, we surpassed the layers of fog and the path kept rewarding us with natural beauty for each step we took ahead.

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We finally reached the last part of the trek, there was a small hut there and a well. Out came a guy wearing chef’s hat and apron! His presentation thrilled us. As much as we were enticed for stopping by to have tea and kanda bhaji, the peak beckoned us ahead.

The ten minute way up was totally foggy and we were disappointed that we wont be able to get any view from the top. We reached there, did darshan in the temple and waited for something to happen.  Some cloud to move and make way for the sun, or fog to go away for some time. Our prayers were heard and we caught a first glimpse of green as fog started rising up.

First view from the top
First view from the top of Maharashtra as fog clears!

As fog played the game of shadows, our warriors drew their swords out (Smartphones and DSLRs) to shoot at any possible visiblity! And began the longest photo-session of the trek…  People ran helter skelter towards backgrounds where fog was moving, jumping theri way into frames, photo bombing and shouting at their highest volume asking others to click pics 😛

Igatpuri Dam view
Igatpuri Dam view
Green mountains!
Green mountains and waterfalls!
Its amazing how the roaring wind soothes our mind and calms us down!
Its amazing how the roaring wind soothes our mind and calms us down!

The sound of temple bells echoed in eternity, miles across green lands and travelled longer distances with roaring winds!

Pray and you shall receive!
Pray and you shall receive!

 

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On our way back we halted at the hut and had kanda bhaji with tea; and tried our hands at drawing water from the well. Descent always takes a toll on toes and ankles. We could feel them getting numb.

Pausing to soak in the vastness
Pausing to soak in the vastness

That’s when the trek leader promised to take us to a waterfall if we reach down in time. The donkeys were shown the carrot and it acted as a great motivation – for we were the first to reach down to the base camp at 1 pm having sufficient time to explore around. We also got a chance to eat the carrot! 😛 Kalsubai waterfalls are very muddy but standing beneath the waterfall sends an amazing vibe of being alive right from the head to the toe! I would recommend getting drenched in the waterfall to everyone who does Kalsubai.

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As I stood beneath the waterfall, there came a moment when nothing mattered. There was no past, no future. Just the force of water drilling my head and calming my nerves. It was sheer bliss. I seemed empowered, my baggages washed away and a lighter me emerged in the present!

A video which best summarises what I felt –

Have You Felt Breathless?

We finally changed clothes in the village and headed on our way back in the bus. It was an amazing trek, friends made it all the more memorable!!

Now the aim is to trek regularly and share the experience with you guys!! This weekend we are headed to Dudhsagar Falls.

 

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