Let me confess something at the outset of this blog that I am no avid trekker . For most time of the year I am stuck up in some or the other thing related to college and studies and end up not joining the Razalpat gang for most of their weekend treks. But that’s not the case evrytime. I still manage to get along for a few treks. Vishramgad was one such destination.
Vishramgad is one of those unexplored forts of Maharshtra and hence you don’t find a lot of crowd even on Sundays unlike places like Karnala & Lonavala . Also the lack of public transport to reach the fort maybe one of the reason. Also you don’t find many trekking organizations taking you there. Exceptions are obvious. Vishramgad is situated in the range of Shayadri starting from Igatpuri (also called as the Kalsubai range). Towards the western side of the range are forts like Alang,Madan and the Kalsubai Peak(the highest peak of Maharashtra). Vishramgad is on the eastern side of this range. The top of this fort is actually a vast plateau from where one can get a view of the whole region. Originally named as the Patta Fort by the Mughals, it was later named as Vishramgad by Shivaji Maharaj.
It was very recent that my one month long second semester engineering exam had come to an end and I was on a family vacation to Udaipur. Just a few hours before my departure from Udaipur on Saturday ,I got a message from Tosh regarding the trek to which I agreed in a fraction of a second.
I reached station at 5.30 and to my surprise I was the only one who was standing there while Tosh was busy giving door to door service to wake up other two members of our group Saunish(aka Ramlal) and Darpit and the others were yet to reach. We were actually to go along with another group of highly experienced trekkers (atleast far more experienced than ours) who were to meet us at Dadar. Finally we managed to reach Dadar and took the Kasara local.
Since it was Sunday morning, we didn’t find much crowd in the train and could find ourselves a seat for the long 2 hour journey. The train journey from Dadar to Kasara during monsoon is quite pleasant. The train passes through lush green landscapes which are a gift to your eyes(that is after you cross Thane). After the 2 hour journey,we reahed Kasara station. We hired a jeep(which can accomodate 9 people) to reach the base village Pattewdi. Hiring a jeep from the Kasara station to the base village Pattewadi/ Pattawadi and back to the station will cost you around 2500 bucks. The base village 60 kms away from the station. It can take you anything between 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the base village depending on the climatic conditions. You will find ample of jamun trees on the way. Do stop by and try them. Its an all together different experience. The jeeps drop you exactly near the gate. The entry fee was 5 bucks.
The trek might seem little boring on the first sight of the fort since the first thing you see from the gate are the steps made of concrete right to the top of the fort. Most of us were a little upset seeing this since mostly when you go out to trek you prefer to climb raw mountains and not concrete steps. You prefer walking on green lush path rather than a well guided concrete road with railings on the side. With the resentment within us we started climbing the staris after taking a group photo. Kyunki photo toh banta hai boss.
On climbing further,we realised that its not just the stpes the whole big lush green plateau was awaiting us. That bought a big smile on our face. The plateau was really huge. As they rightly say ‘Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb’ .This is exactly what happened with us.We decided to have lunch at one end of the plateau and then start walking towards the other end. At the end of the stairs was a temple and then came the part we all had wished for and the actual trek began.
There are few experiences that open up not just your heart but also the lungs and your mind and hiking in a new place does just that. The end of the stairs and the start of the lush green patch was one such experience. The climate was just too perfect making it more awesome. Heavy rains would have made it a little difficult for us to trek(not impossible though) to both the ends but fortunately it didn’t rain that heavily. It drizzled for most of the time making the whole atmosphere pleasant. We reached one of the ends,had our lunch, rested for a while(you just cant ignore the name of the fort :P), had a photo-session and then moved on towards our next halt. The first end rendered a beautiful view of the Bhandardara back waters. During the recent restoration process,the government has built small sheds at both the ends maybe that is to mark the end of the fort territory and also to promote tourism.
Not all could make up to the other end of the fort. Some of them preferred to halt midway while the rest continued. The second end was situated on a hilly terrain. It is from this end that you get a complete view of the region around the fort. You will find windmills at various places in the region around the fort. This was the first time I had come across such huge windmill setups.
After spending some time at the top, it started raining all of a sudden.Fog started gathering quickly making it difficult for us to see. Hence we decided to start to descend before it really became difficult for us to find our way through fog. So we started descending .On our way back we came across a memorial of Shivaji which was still under construction. Halted there for a while and then again started our journey towards the starting point where the jeep awaited us for our journey back to Kasara station.
As I had mentioned earlier that it can take you anywhere between 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the base village, while returning it took us around 2 hours due to heavy rains and fog. This was by far the most awesome trek I had ever been . The trek is quite easy and the best time to visit Vishramgad is during rains and in winters. In winters you can even camp overhead if you wish to. If you’ve already been to this place and have awesome experiences to share,go ahead,the comment box is all yours. I would love to read all of them 🙂