My tryst with the Sahyadris

After an intense assignment I was tired of staring at screens it could be my phone, kindle, tablet or laptop. I ached to feel some breeze on my face with a faint fragrance of wild flowers and dry grass. After one of my friends, Shalaka told me about this trek, I just couldn’t stop myself for signing up for it. I’m glad I did.

After the deadline chases during the day, the chaos spilled in to the evening because as usual I hadn’t packed. I knew not what awaited me at the mountain, perhaps I chose this to be best for my first trek.

Later during the night, as the wheels turned and the bus moved I was sleepy from the day’s exhaustion. I couldn’t have stayed awake if it wasn’t for everyone around me singing and chatting and I am glad they did. Their energy was infectious and despite being under slept, I was a part of the merry making.

I couldn’t help wonder how beautiful the night sky looks when we pulled up at a dhaba for chai. I’d always known that Mumbai is a city that never sleeps but the Dhaba that night, was something else. Tourists flocking seats waiting to be served some midnight (more of early morning) snacks, the sweet smell piping hot chai and sound of the buses pulling up in the parking lot looked like a great start to a journey ahead.

Day 1:

What can you say about a day that runs into another? That it was tiring? That you’re sleepy? Ah well, I remember being fresh as a daisy!

My day started after a power nap in the bus. We pulled up in front of this small house and marched towards the backyard.

Set against an lush idyllic foothill, this was supposed our stop for breakfast before we start scaling the mountain. Hens and chicks, cattle, puppies and dogs made sure that it was the quintessential country house. Playing with an adorable stray puppy was one of the best things that could have happened that morning.

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This is where it all started.

We had to climb an asymmetrical rocky flight of stairs but the incentive would be great, I reassured myself. On our way up we passed this stream of water that has cool potable water and on a sunny day, that is what we needed before we made our way further up the mountain.

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A much needed halt at this mini oasis!

 

It took us two and a half hours to complete the trek and while I pushed myself ahead with every step I took, I realised, this could be like Jack from Jack and the beanstalk. I could steal a lot of moments of joy and cherish them once I was back.

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One of the coolest trek leaders: Jaal

We reached the our camping site. We were to halt at the Konkan Kada. This is a cliff that faces to the western coastal region and hence the name. I dunked my bag onto the ground and made my way to the dining area for some quick lunch. Ah well, I’ll speak about this beautiful cliff in a bit.

On a languid afternoon, lunch in a hut made entirely of mud and wood with a woman sitting by the wood fired chulha slapping bhakris one after another  on the pan is something that took me away from the chaotic metropolis.

Lunch was rustic and simple yet power packed like it should be. Bhakris (break made of barley or cereal), jhunka (chickpea flour mixture tempered with spices), steamed rice and daal. I mopped up all that I could within 10 minutes to go visit the Konkan kada that I had already read and researched about (such a nerd!)

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I’ll never forget how I felt the first time I was here.

It’s funny how sometimes, we let our fears get the best of us. I could, I felt blood gushing to my head, excited hell yeah, scared hell yeah!

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Sun saying good bye!

I looked at this cliff differently the second time I went there. The cliff was still as high as it was but my perspective was slightly different now. I watched the sunset!

So how did a relaxed afternoon turn into a poetic sunset you ask?

Between my first and second visit to Konkan Kada, we trekked up the highest peak on this mountain: Taramati.

So the trek was quite fun with an ample amount of adrenaline. Scaling the mountain was task and I felt like Jack scaling the beanstalk all over again!

I remember reaching the peak with all sorts of thoughts crowding  my head. Once I reached up there and looked at the world spread below me as far as I could see I knew I was happy. I heard a voice say “What an amazing view” only to realise it was me.

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Some views are worth the climb
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I couldn’t help pose for a photo here.

The mountains, breath-taking views, warm afternoon breeze, amazing people around, I don’t think a siesta would have been a better option!

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Obligatory mountain-top selfie!

After the adrenaline had worn off and I was tired, sitting here was something that got me close to peaceful silence I longed for. I saw the sun set among the clouds one of the most beautiful sunsets; it was almost poetic.

Anyway, after an amazing sunset we came back to our tents. As the sky got darker into the shades of black and the wind got colder, we huddled around the bonfire singing, laughing and merrymaking.

We went to Konkan Kada again once the moon had risen. I’ve always wanted to lay below starlit sky and I gave into the temptation when I saw stars scattered around the light while the moon passively hung onto earth’s orbit. Listening to the winds gush past my ears was the best thing I’ve known here.

I was exhausted and so I retreated in my tent while I heard the others singing around the bonfire.

If you read this and you think you want to come here, I should tell you about how cold it can get. I shivered almost all night so be sure to take enough warmth with you.

Day 2:

I woke up equally happy in the morning to a sound of Shalaka calling out my name.

The Konkan Kada drenched in sunlight seemed like an unexplored territory.

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That is how our tents looked.

From the remotest point to where we stayed, we strolled, walked and skimmed the rim of the cliff looking at it anew as Sai engaged all of us in his session of history and trivia as effortlessly as he’d tell a story.

After returning we packed up and headed for breakfast. Post which we headed to descend the mountain. On our way back, we were to visit this cave that has a shivling surrounded by ice cold water and four pillars around. Only one stands defiant of time. It is said that each pillar is allegoric of a yug according to Hindu mythology. The legend has it; once the fourth pillar breaks, it will be the end of the world.

I’d love the part where we had to take a dip in the water

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Spooky yet appealing, the cave has it’s own set of mysteries.Taking a dip in the ice cold water on a sunny day great!

As we descended, I did feel like jack on his way back the beanstalk.I was taking back a lot more than what I gave to this beautiful place.

I don’t know what made this journey so spectacular whether it was my boredom, the beauty or the lovely people; what matters is that I have a bunch of happy memories.

 

Pictures courtesy: Gaurang Damania, Piyush Pradhan and Sai Iyer.

 

 

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