Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Trek to Irshalgad


Once the monsoon casts it's spell, the entire Karjat region puts up a brilliant show for anyone who has the time to stand and stare. Teeming and bustling with life, it is home to everything from lush trees and waterfalls to an  incredible diversity of flora and fauna. And the best time to visit is right now. 
     It was 4:30 am in the morning, i was busy making sandwiches to relish it during my trek. It was a rather cold and humid Sunday morning and we were all set for our day long adventurous trek. Near my city Mumbai, there are many trekking options, So we decided to choose the one at Irshalgad, Karjat. Irashalwadi is a tiny village in Karjat which is in the Thane District and it's the starting point for most hikers. From Karjat railway station we took a tum-tum (rickshaw which is a 10 seater) and began our journey towards Irshalwadi which is surrounded by lush trees. We met our fellow trekkers from Nomad Hikers and had a brief introductory session. After introduction we had a quick breakfast and started ascend towards the mountain. 

The steep climb knocked the wind out of us, but the scenic view took our breath away. We saw mountains cascading waterfalls and greenery everywhere.

After about 15 mins we started gasping for our breath. Soon we nature lovers started clicking pictures of dramatic skies overlooking a green landscape, but it started raining which was a little disappointing for a photography enthusiast like me. But i love the rains and so we put our windcheaters, kept our phones and cameras safely in our bags and continued our journey. As we made our way up, civilization shrunk away below, and the landscape started transforming rapidly. The air started getting cleaner. The narrow path was treacherous at times, the rocks became slippery with rain water and the drops were sudden. Even with windcheaters on we were completely soaked.






We reached a point on our trail where i thought we had reached the summit but we were only halfway up. After walking for an hour or two, we took a break and plopped ourselves on a rock at the edge overlooking the valley. While having lunch it was raining so heavily that even our food was getting wet and water was filling in our tiffin boxes. 



The clouds were swaying so near us. We could not see anything for sometime. We continued our journey and then there came a vertical climb. This was the most difficult part. But with the help of our trek leader we could achieve this feat. 



We soon reached the summit with an unbridled view of the open skies. Irshalgad looked picture perfect, surrounded by mountains, with clouds often descending on the small hamlet. We were blown away by a strong gust of wind and the picturesque surrounding blew our mind.

 "The wind blows the hardest the closer you are to the top of the mountain". It was exactly it, the wind was so strong that we had to hold on to a rock or the ground. It was a sight to behold. As we sat down to soak in the view, it was hard to believe that beauty this stark and untouched could exist today. 



We started descend and again it started pouring heavily. The rocks were now slippery than ever. Though the steep descent took a toll on our knees, it was a trek to be remembered for a lifetime. It makes us hold on to the memory of sitting at that spot, amid the incredible but transient beauty.

As you are reading this, a natural phenomenon is painting an area into a picture-perfect postcard that you can troll into.


Getting there : Dadar->Karjat-> Irshalwadi 

Best time to visit : June-September

Distance from Mumbai : 49.5 km  

Also Visit : Matheran 
  

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Matheran

 

The car journey towards Matheran starts at 6:25 am. It's Saturday morning, the start to an amazing weekend. With soulful music in the background, empty roads and beautiful street lights our journey begins towards the hill station. We come across steep valleys that almost take our breath away. We get lucky to spot the Toy train that runs from Neral to Matheran. The climb to the top to reach Dasturi Naka was the most difficult one with our car trying to reach up an almost vertical slope. Dasturi Naka is a point where all cars and motor vehicles have to be parked. No cars or bikes are allowed in Matheran, it's one of the most eco-friendly places in India, which means no pollution whatsoever.

 
           From here you can take a toy train or simply walk.
If you get tired or don't feel like walking you can take a horse ride.
Say Hi to Horsie ! :)
 
This monkey really wanted to come inside the room. That's our hotel AC by the way.

Spotted a Wild Duck  







We prefered walking and by the time i reached home my shoes were fully red, all thanks to the red soil.



There are many points to visit in this place like Alexander Pt., One Tree Hill Pt, Lords Pt, Charlotte Lake, Echo Pt., Porcupine Pt, Panorama Point and  Madhavji Garden
View from Madhavji Garden



 I visited this hill station in November 2015. But i would suggest you to visit during the monsoons. Months like October and November are really hot to explore this place.

Best time to visit : December-February & June-September
Distance from Mumbai : 82 km by Road