Friday, August 26, 2016

The Enchanting Trek Through Andharban - The Dark Forest

I opened my eyes. It was daybreak. I turned around to look out of the window and the view that greeted my eyes made sure I won't go back to sleep. I checked the time- 6 AM. As I looked out of the glass windows of the stationary bus, I realised we were standing under a green mountain  that was clad with white clouds and a lonely old bungalow stood below it. The pristine setting wasn't anywhere in the Himalayas. It was, in fact, right here in Maharashta, a little over 130 kms from Mumbai. The surprise and awe were real.

I looked around in the bus. Almost everyone was asleep; a few eyes were opening here and there and expectedly, being left in awe. I got down from the bus and walked around. It was a view to be captured in the memories in every detail.

Clouds hovering above the mountains near Andharban, Tamhini Ghat, Maharashtra

An hour passed. We freshened up and had a Maharashtrian breakfast of misal-pav and poha. We were then headed to the start point of the trek, around 10 kms away.

The Andharban Trek in the Tamhini Ghats in Pune district, takes one through 13 kilometres of descend through mountains over varied terrains. The initial part is on level ground with a few waterfalls on the way; the latter part is a steep descend through rocks ending at the Bhira Dam. The views throughout the route are breathtaking. The trek should ideally be done during the monsoons so as to enjoy a rich variety of weather, greenery and with seasonal waterfalls coming to life. 

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Rappelling down the 150 ft Dudhiware Waterfall in Lonavala

Hanging at 90 degrees on the side of the waterfall, I took a few cautious steps down, as the instructor kept saying, 'Don't bend your knee'. The wind howled against the valley, it started pouring heavily and I took slow steps at the edge of the waterfall, controlling my urge to look down. But then I slipped, panicked and hit the rock hard...

On the last day of July, I was on my way to Dudhiware Waterfalls in Lonavala for rappelling with some of my trek-buddies from the Kalavantin Durg trek. The trip had been organised by the MASK group. We left from Mumbai early in the morning in a bus and after 3 hours of travelling through heavy rains, which had completely clouded the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, reached our destination.

After a quick briefing, registration and breakfast at the base village Dudhiware, we headed to the waterfall. Walking through paddy fields, over rocks and through small streams, we reached at the base of the waterfalls and spotted people rappelling through the water down the falls. This was when I first realised the gravity of the task we had taken up and a quick rush of adrenaline and anxiety went through my body and mind.

Our first glimpse of what was to follow. Rappelling at Dudhiware Waterfalls, Lonavala

The rain had stopped and the view of the clouds covering the nearby hills that met our eyes was breathtaking. Mangesh, the head instructor, guided us through the various equipments for rappelling and the dos and don’ts for our safety.

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