28th June, 2008.
After our Raigad outing in Feb 2008, I had planned this enjoyable trek to Rajmachi for a fun-filled adventure trek. It was really high time and I needed a break from all the hectic working round the clock. Hence, me and few of my colleagues came up with an idea for monsoon trek. And what better place than RAJMACHI to chillout. So after finalizing everythinig, 11 of us mutually decided have an adventurous weekend.
We started from Pune at 8:00 am by the local train to Lonavala. After reaching Lonavala we had our breakfast as everyone was starving for the early morning bite. Me and one of my colleage, Anand, we went to his sister’s home where we had made arrangements for the lunch packets for that day. After about half an hour or so, we began our journey towards RAJMACHI. Just after coming a mile from the station, it was raining so heavily that we had to stop. The rain was so dense that we couldn’t even see anything 5 feet ahead of us. We sheltered under the Pune-Mumbai express highway until the rains cleared. During our stop we had a spectacular view of the nature around us. The clouds kissing the tip of the mountains, the cool wind blowing across and the fog slowly hovering everywhere.
WE began our climb towards the Tungarli Dam, from where we were enroute towards Rajmachi. Due to the presence of many resorts, there is a perfect kuccha road there. We continued our walk till the two “Bale-killas” (Manaranjan & Sreevardhan) were in sight. We took our first halt to get a quick bite and on we went towards our “Lakshya”. From where we were standing, the fort didn’t seem so far away, but as we marched towards the fort, the reality hit us. There was a huge valley between us and the actual gadh. We had to go around the whole valley to get to the other side. During our walk, we came across many small but beautiful waterfalls. We used to occasionally stop to fill-up our emptied bottles and get a photo session going on. Really had an awesome glimpse of the colours of the nature.
The most unforgettable moment during our walk to Rajmachi was the lunch time. Exhausted and hungry, we stopped for lunch. Here we were onto our monkey skills. There were a couple of jamun (jambhul – a fruit) trees all around us. One of our colleagues climbed up one of the trees and started plucking the jamun for everyone. We collected a healthy amount of jamuns for all to enjoy after lunch. After lunch we only halted once we were near our destiny. Here we had some tea and another round of photo session went on. It was a splendid view of a huge waterfall. We relaxed for a while in the cool breeze flowing around and then continued to head towards the village.
We reached our destination at around 6 pm. Straight away we went to the house where we had made a booking for staying. There we shed the load (our bags) that we carried with us, got fresh and had some nice hot “kanda-poha” and garma-garam chai. Later we decided to hang out @ the lake which the villagers had built. Monsoon and on top of that cool evening time made the atmosphere around us quite breathtaking. It was like the old Hindi saying, “Sone pe suhaga”. After it was dark, we headed back to our place where we were lodging and boarding. After reaching, we immediately had our dinner. We enjoyed our dinner alongwith the beautiful songs sung by another group of fellow trekkers in the adjacent room. When we were done with our dinner, we started one of the favourite timepass of everyone. 11 people and 2 deck of playing cards; we continued our rounds of “Challenge” and “Badam 7” late into the night, laughing aloud on the jokes till a person from the adjacent room came to request us to lower our voices as they were trying to sleep coz they wanted to leave early in the morning. After a while everybody wished each other & we closed the nice day for bed. The night was not that cold. But in the morning, wind started blowing, too chilled for us.
Two of us woke up @ 5 am and went out just to find everything in pitch dark. I was raining like it had never rained before. The only “roshni” that we could see was that of our torches in the whole village. It was really a cool experience. As the sun began to rise hiding behind the clouds, the rain slowly ‘n’ slowly became less and was replaced with the fog everywhere. We could clearly see the beautiful effects of the overnight rains.
There were beautiful waterfalls all around that we could enjoy. The fog covered the whole mountain range. We could just get a glimpse of “Shreevardhan” of a second or so in between when the fog cleared. It was really like heaven there.
After everyone of us got fresh and had our tea, we left for Shreevardhan. On our way we came across a temple with some beautiful sculptures infront of it. We took a moment to admire them and moved on towards our goal. The climb to Shreevardhan was very adventurous. It was raining, the road to the top was rocky and narrow, and to add to it, there was very less visibility due to the fog everywhere. We could not make out how high we had come. After about an hour or so, when the fog cleared a bit, we got the bird’s eye view of the whole mountain range. We were at the peak now, could see everything very clearly. We were back to our monkey business when we reached the peak. There was a flag-post on the top. Few of us climbed atop the post to get the feel of being at the highest point…!!! It was a bit scary there, really; the wind blew at blazing speed. The post, at the top was swinging a bit alongwith the wind.
Later we went to have a look at the biggest waterfall in that region. I sat on the edge of the watch-tower (buruj) to get the most awesome view of the falls. It was something that absolutely can’t be described in words. You have to be there to experience it.
After awhile, we started our decent towards the village for lunch. It was just 10.30 in the morning. Imagine having lunch @ that time…!!! Finishing our lunch quickly we started our return journey towards Lonavala. Setting realistic distances for halts, we reached Lonavala in record breaking time (atleast for us) of 4 hours. It was half the time we took to reach Rajmachi..!!
By the time we reached Lonavala station, our legs were shouting at the top of their voices with pain. And from there our journey back home began. Reaching Pune station @ 4.30 pm on 29th June, 08, we bid each other and left for our home sweet home. The after effects of the two days trek showed on each one of us faces the next day in office…!!!
But, all-in-all, it was a wonderful experience for each one of us…!!!
Information about this area
The fort is one of the Shivaji’s fort. This fort was made in those days mainly aiming for the trade. From the base village one can see two adjacent fort. Facing from the village towards those forts, The one which is at right side is Sreevardhan & one at Left is Manaranjan. While ascending to Sreevardhan from Rajmachi one can see a Temple. In front of the temple one can find an old small canon(Tof). From the top of Sreevardhan fort, facing to the east one can see Shirota lake, Sangshi village at north which is a base for Dhak fort. On the south one can see Duke Nose. On the west one can see the Lonavala Khandala & the grate train route as well the newly build Express Highway also Ulhas river.
Descending down from Rajmachi to Karjat side one can visit Kondana caves where you can find grate peace of architecture. These are of 3-4 Buddha caves. Inside the main cave you can find remains of wooden art work still this date. In the rainy season this place will be more crowded due to a prominent waterfall from the top of the Caves. In the rainy season one can approach this place from Kondivade a small trek.