Trekking season is coming to an end, hot sunny days are here. But you don’t want to give it up because you have now fallen in love with the treks. Exploring those twisting, curving and unknown paths have become part of your life.
Then what do you do? Well, technically 2 options are available trekking in the night; or early morning. Sahyadri ranges in Maharashtra consist of more than 500 forts. What a kingdom it must have looked when these forts would have been in great conditions, structurally proper. Sadly most of them are dilapidated now.
Some are difficult to climb and some are easy. One such fort is Harihar fort, built near Nasik region of Maharashtra, the fort used to be watch tower for neighborhood areas. Easy and rich in nature trek is Harihar fort; Small Steps Adventures had arranged it on 20th March 2016. Trek to Harihar fort is one of the best trekking forts of Maharashtra.
Start of Journey
We started on 19th night, 11:00 pm Kasara train from CST which reached Kasara at around 1.30 am.
3 trax from Kasara to the base village of Harihar were arranged. It was a journey of about 2 hrs. The journey in trax with songs takes you to another world.
Reaching the base village we rested for a while in school till the dawn broke. It was a starry sky with millions of them visible, gazing at them we waited for a dawn. A walk down the road gazing at the stars is not a leisure that can be enjoyed every day. As the morning light broke, the brightness from the mountains arrived on the earth, we packed our bags and got ready for the trek. Walking through the small village and filling our bottles with water from the well; our ascent started.
Ascend to the fort
The huge rock structure of fort can be seen during ascending, It stretches horizontally curving on the edges. Ascending on treks in the early morning is always a pleasure. The early sun rays illuminating the earth with golden light reflecting on us through trees and rocks, how calm; how peaceful and what different feeling than an early morning of metro urban cities. The World is simple here.
Below the fort we capture our image; for the journey unravels ahead
Nature never let us miss the scope of capturing the moments of its existence, Treks like these converge the nature which exists timeless with the technological advances of humankind, well heavy the sentence may sound but I am talking off camera. Capturing such moments into that box is just making these moments memorable.
So the clicking starts.
We reach a plateau which is in the middle of base and top of the fort.
The fort is actually built on this plateau. The Fort from this point looks like a giant rook, placed on the chessboard of earth, standing heavy, balanced, and guarding its kingdom. From here one has to start climbing rocks, which is quite easy, but always precaution is insisted.
Reaching the plateau below the fort.
The tricky steps
After a few climbs, there are narrow steps carved on a quite vertical surface of the rock.
A Rook stands tall as a castle to guard.
Climbing the steps we reached the door of the fort. The door is colored saffron, which looks quite distinguished in dark-colored rocks of the fort. Walking through the door, we moved forward, into a tunnel which needs to climb across and Zig- Zag, to reach a plateau of the fort. Here several ponds of water can be found. Most of them were dry because of the summer season.
From the wall of the saffron door
Up ahead in the distance saffron flag of Maratha Empire stands tall and unfurled, flying high. To reach there one has to climb further. Climbing is a little tricky because of slippery soil and then a rock patch. It can be climbed from 2 sides one is quite easy and simple another needs a little use of the technique.
On the top Flag unfurling behind us
Climbing this we reached the top of the fort, the peak. The top is like a table flat, and in the center, a flag is unfurling. What happens when you reach the top of something? Wonderment in mind than coming back to senses, one wants it to be captured so lots of clicks, a look around from the top down the hill into nature.
Descending the fort
Spending some time here we climbed down to plateau near the dry pond. We had trekked fast, starting at 6.00 am it was just 9.30 am.
Rested there for a while, with some yummy breakfast of bread, butter jam, mayonnaise sauce and peanut butter, with khakras and biscuits, a wonderful treat in wonderful nature. The descent was also quite simple, the same route as we ascended, we carried out another activity of cleaning the fort, collecting dumped bottles and plastic wrappers, an initiative by Small Steps Adventures. The sun was now shining brightly. The heat could be felt now, caps and glares, and a quiet descend. We reached back to the base village at around 12 pm. Everyone was a little tired and exhausted. Perfect time for lunch. Thepla and pickle what else does one need in life.
Back Journey with the halt at Trimbekashwar
Immediately after the lunch we packed our bags and sat in our respective Trax for a destination to Trimbekashwar. From Trimbekashwar back to Kasara and from Kasara; train journey to Thane. Well exhausted from the happening day everyone slept in the train. On Thane station, we bid adieu to each other leaving behind a memorable experience for the lifetime.
Trekking moments are inexplicable; every moment can be cherished throughout our life. These become tales to be told. These moments form lifetime friendships and relationships. Pulling legs and having fun is part and parcel of treks at least with SSA, the innocence of it forges great bonds that are stronger than before. Treks like these make you feel that you have known these people for many years even though you have just met them. Trekking is a great activity, it is one of those things where body and mind are completely synchronized, a complete balance. Makes one mentally and physically refreshed.
Harihar Fort: Watchtower on the route of Maharashtra to Gujarat during Maratha Empire
Height: Around 3700 ft.
Base village: Nirugpada
Travel: From Mumbai reach Kasara via Local Train; From Kasara travel towards Base village via available trax.