Ghorwadeshwar temple and Caves

Generally we plan events at least a 4-5 days in advance so that everyone is able to arrange personal things accordingly but Ghorawadeshwar was a last minute plan. Nothing was scheduled on Sunday, I called swapnil to check if he is ready. He is always ready for trekking. We checked with few other guys but everyone has something or other planned still we decided to go ahead with the plan.

How to Reach:

Below map will help you identify the location of the Ghorwadeshwar. The caves are located just before Somantne phata toll plaza., There is huge Ganapati statue as well. If you see Ganapati statue or see toll naka, you have come way ahead.

 

How to Reach to Temple:

There are two main routes to the top.

First one directly takes you to the top of the hill. There is marked trail, you can follow it.

Second path is having stairs.  This route has first stop at cave temple.

Ganesh temple as viewed on the way

View on the way

From First patch, there are again two ways to reach top. First is right in front of you, when you reach first patch and second is from the cave template.

The second route is not easy and if you have kids with you, you better avoid it. Also, its risky during rainy reason.

Notification by ASI

When you reach first patch, you will see some caves like below

First Shiva temple

some more caves. Follow the arrow shown in the picture below and it will lead you to another route to top of the hill. This is tricky patch and most of the people avoid it. I fact, I did not use this for first 6-7 times when I visited Ghorwadeshwar. (There are people who visit Ghorwadeshwar on weekly basis)

Caves on Ghorwadeshwar
Caves on Ghorwadeshwar

Tricky patch ahead

Tricky patch Ghorwadeshwar
Tricky patch Ghorwadeshwar
Tricky patch Ghorwadeshwar
Tricky patch Ghorwadeshwar

There is second Shiva temple after this second tricky patch.

Second Shiva Temple @ Ghorwadeshwar
Second Shiva Temple @ Ghorwadeshwar

View on the way to top

Once you reach top, you are greeted with fresh air. If you go during rainy season or few months after it, you will see lush green gras on top of hill. You can site here and see pleasant views, see sun rise and even see MCA cricket stadium as well.

Cows and Bulls at the top Ghorwadeshwar
Cows and Bulls at the top

 

This is a nice short trip. Preferable, you short start ascent between 6 to 6:30 and you will complete this by 8:30 to 9.  This is not very far from city and its a short hike so you don’t have any excuse for not doing it

Vasota Fort Trek (वासोटा किल्ला) May 2013

Vasota Fort as seen from Koyana Dam (Shivsagar Lake)
Vasota Fort as seen from Koyana Dam (Shivsagar Lake)

Vasota fort is also called as Vyaghragad, it’s located in Satara District. It is said that this fort was built by Kolhapur Shilahara Raja Bhoja II (1178–1193). It was captured by Shivaji Maharaj in 1660.

There are very few historic events where this fort is mentioned. British officers who helped Siddi Johar during Panhala war were held as prisoners on Vasota Fort and when Shahu Maharaj was release by auranjzeb there was division in Maratha Empire and at Vasota fort one of the battles between two sides was fought.

There are multiple ways to reach Vasota, We followed below Path:

Pune->Satara->Tapola->Bamnoli (You need to take permission from Forest Dept. here)->Vasota Base ( Again Forest Dept office)->Vasota Fort.

(You don’t need to go to Tapola, you can directly go to Bamnoli from Satara as well, but go to Tapola if you have some extra time and if you would love boating)

We started on Friday midnight and reached Tapola around 5 AM. It was pleasing to see sunrise in the Hills than to see sunrise in the buildings.

On the way to Vasota Fort

One cannot start Vasota Fort Trek without permission from Forest Department so trek cannot be started before 8 AM. Forest Department office is situated in Bamnoli. We started from Tapola to Bamnoli around 8 AM.

On the way to Vasota Fort

On the way to Vasota Fort

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At Bamnoli, Forest Department will ask you for Identifications documents like PAN Card, DL etc. It’s hard to believe but Forest Department charges 50/- per Camera. They could come and check your bags to make sure you are not carrying any alcohol or any other undesirable item. This Fort being in Koyna wildlife sanctuary, one should not do anything that could damage its natural environment, should not make any noise as it might disturb (and even attract 😉 ) wild animals.

Bamnoli

After verification from Forest Department personals, our boat started to move towards Vasota fort base. Even though it was May, sky was overshadow with clouds and that made our journey very pleasant. It’s around 15 KMs from Bamnoli to Vasota base. Our boat was moving very slowly so it took us around 1.5 hours to reach the base.

Once we got down the boat, we followed the river trail for a while then there was a path marked by stones which lead us to another Forest Department Office. We were pleased to see lots of Jambhul trees on the way. After lots of years I was eating Jambhul, but Jambhul were not totally ripe for eating and were small in size so we did not eat much.

There is a marked path from Forest Department office to Vasota Fort; it’s from right side of the office. There was one old woman selling tak (buttermilk), Villagers will come to sell few things but it’s not guaranteed that you will find them there. Real trek starts from here, along the way you could see the boards explaining which animals can be found in the Konya Wildlife Sanctuary and some more information about them, List of animals found around this area includes Wild Dogs, Bears, Leopards and even Tigers. Even though there is dense forest, Vasota Trek is not confusing because Path is clearly marked by stones and there is clear trail.

Starting patch is almost flat; there is a Hanuman Temple after around 500 meters. There is a board indicating direction to Vasota Fort. Dense forest starts from Here.On the way to Vasota Fort

I could find one of the rare Sarda there.

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Few pictures of Trail:

Fallen tree On the way to Vasota Fort
Fallen tree On the way to Vasota Fort
Trail through dense forest
Trail through dense forest
Trail through dense forest
Trail through dense forest

Due to overshadowed sky, there wasn’t much heat and even if sun peeks out of clouds for few minutes it wasn’t bothering us because of dense forest. There are few patches having steep climb but I won’t say it was hard to climb but for the first timers it was difficult. There were few first time trekkers with us who started cursing themselves for coming for trekking.  😉

Then we came across a “Y” junction, Right turn from there goes to Nageshwar Temple and Left turn goes to Vasota. We took left turn to Vasota.

Nageshwar Temple Turn
Nageshwar Temple Turn
Board Indication Vasota Fort Direction
Board Indication Vasota Fort Direction

After 10 mins of walk from here and we reached a stone patch which is without much trees and it was very hard to walk it under afternoon sun. We could see the fortification from here.

Once thru this rocky patch you could see old stone stairs to the fort. Main entrance is really in bad shape. Once on the fort, first thing you could see is Hanuman Temple, there is no roof but walls are intact.

Hanuman Temple on Vasota Fort
Hanuman Temple on Vasota Fort

There is Mahadev Temple, one Burunj and a Machi towards the right side of Main entrance.

Mahadev Temple and Machi
Mahadev Temple and Machi

There are two water tanks on the fort but I don’t think that water is drinkable. This is the place where they used to make cement (chuna) of past generation.IMG_6346-1

You could see amazing views from the top. On one side is Koyna Dam

Koyna Dam (Shivsagar Lake) as seen from Vasota Fort
Koyna Dam (Shivsagar Lake) as seen from Vasota Fort

On the other side you could see Nageshvar Temple. There is very deep valley between Nageshwar Temple and Vasota Fort.

Nageshwar Temple from Vasota Fort
Nageshwar Temple from Vasota Fort

On the southeast side you could see very deep valley, Babukada and Old Vasota Fort. We were told that it’s not allowed to go to Old Vasota fort but when I spoke to few locals they said it’s not that its banned to go there but there is no way to reach the Old Vasota due to very dense Jungle.

We started return journey from Fort around 3:30 PM, Return Journey was less difficult and we were at the Vasota base around 5-5:30. We bought nice Tak, Janbhool etc from villagers at the Vasota Fort Base.

Then we started our return journey towards Tapola. It was around 6 PM and sun was about to set. I managed to get on the roof of the Boat and enjoy the evening. This time I was really happy that boat was slow and was wishing if it could be slower so that I could enjoy the evening. I managed to get few beautiful clicks here.

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Once back at Tapola base, we ordered the Tea.

Tea, biscuits, nice breeze, almost sunset, orange clouds and my friends…. these are time like this where I wish if time could stop here.

Near Tapola
Near Tapola

First Time trekkers, who were cursing themselves before, were very pleased for coming to the Trek and were already asking about the next trek.

This fort would definitely look like Heaven In Monsoon but it’s not advisable to go there because of leeches (I heard Forest Dept do not allow this Trek in monsoon but could not confirm it). This area gets huge rainfall so it will be very difficult and risky to do trekking on this fort in Monsoon. There is one more way to come to Vasota fort which is from Chiplun. One could not stay on the fort but he/she could stay in Nageshwar Mandir Caves.

If you need any further information or details feel free to ask.


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First rain of the season…..

1st June It was normal summer day…. though June is officially rainy season month, there was nothing related to rain in the morning. I got up at my normal waking time ( i.e.  9:30 that’s the normal wake up time for normal s/w guys. Although office is supposed to be from 9 AM to 6 PM, No s/w engg will ever be out of his office by 6 PM unless you are a girl 😉 . In fact lot of time actual work starts something around 6 when onshore counterparts & Clients come online and then offshore guys finds out that “oh God, I have done nothing for whole day, where did I wasted my time ( P.S. Time spent on coffee, TT, Facebook are never into this category )”  Main purpose of telling all this story is that I used   🙁  to work in general shift like normal human being but then slowly as you get experience you starts get more and more work which leads to spending more time in office in the evening and going late to office next day and slowly without anybody getting noticed you start working in afternoon shift and that is when morning becomes dawn and afternoon becomes morning. This is what the case with me now a days but there is brighter side to it  (of course its related to money 😉 ) You get extra allowances for this and cab will come to your doorstep to pick you up…..)

After having my breakfast and surfing for sometime I started reading  a book “Atlas shrugged by Ayn Rand { This is longest ( > 1000 pages ! ) and toughest ( ya I did not understand even single line of John Galt’s Radio speech), After awhile as I was about to get up for lunch I heard some noise, it was surely something like lightning sound, but as I looked past my window I could see bright sunlight ( I thought whats happening to me, am I imagining the sound, or it is like John Galt’s philosophy is eating my head ) I ignored it and started reading till my mother was arranging lunch for me.. then I heard it again, now this time I was not my imagination but still there was bright sunlight outside, I ran to balcony from there I could see whole sky was getting darker from all side and the sunlight was there because there was big hole in the clouds and sun was pouring heat from that…. wind was getting mad and mad, I was sure, in very less time whole sky would be black and it will start raining. I stood in the balcony for some more time, as I heard my mother’s voice calling for lunch, I went in to have lunch.

There was still more than an hour for cab to arrive at my home, so I was standing in the balcony enjoying the atmosphere, surely it was a day worth going for trekking and not to office. I hate to work when its raining outside, Rainy season is always my favorite. It was completely cloudy outside now , sun was hidden behind the clouds by now and wind was going mad. I couldn’t just stand in there, balcony is not the place to be in the moments like that…. I was missing all my school buddies, we use to go to ground and use to play just anything in the moments like these…… when I was is school I used to jealous of working people those not having to study and only thing they need to do is to go to office( I never thought what they do in office, It was just going in the morning and coming in the evening) and now I was feeling jealous for those having to study and going to school, I decided to get ready and to wait for cab at downstairs. ( Cab driver was surely about to get heart-attack every time he had waited me to come down and today he would have expected more delay because of probable rain but instead of this I went down almost half and hour early ! )

I was standing the in mad wind, it still was not raining but whole atmosphere has got changed completely within an hour or so. I could see lightning in the distance and the sound of it. “oh, man, What an awesome weather and I hated myself going to office today”. I thought, I still can take sick leave or something and can get off today…..

It was already raining in nearby as there was smell of soil, of first rain… and suddenly big drops of water started pouring and then….. my phone rang, it was cab driver. he was at few meters distance. It was raining heavily now and I did not have umbrella or raincoat ( Even if I had I wouldn’t have used it). I walked to the cab slowly and enjoying the sudden downpour.

As cab started towards the office. I could see rain has caught lot of people unprepared. I saw many of them standing under trees, in the roof of stores or any place they can get. Few of them looking at rain in irritation as its their biggest enemy whose has caught them when they did not have any weapon to fight their enemy, few of other people smiling looking at rain, even stretching their hands out to feel the rain……these are the people who wanted to dance in rain removing their shirts and running in the rain, playing the football but these were not having courage to do that, thinking what others will think about us, I felt sorry for them and suddenly I felt shocked, I was one of them 🙁 . I was sitting in the AC car going into office but what it was that I wanted to do ?

Rest of the people, the children, the lucky one were not standing under any roof, those were dancing in the rains, running on the roads  as they have reclaimed their roads as their playgrounds. ….

I wanted to stop the AC, take down the windows or car and at least see through the windows, the first rains the season. But as I looked away from the window to driver I realized other two co-passenger might like this idea, One was sleeping and other was reading some kind of book, none of them glancing at the window….. oh god how can they miss the first rain. I again looked through windows It was raining more harder now, it was thunderstorm…..

As we were coming closer to office, thunderstorm was gone and it was drizzling now… I asked cab driver to stop the cab few meters away telling I have some work there. I decided to walk this distance…… there was some chilliness in wind, there was smell of soil in the air. This was the ideal time to play football on the muddy ground even thought you don’t know all the rules and there I was going to office…..

I walked quietly in the office, I was almost drenched when I entered office. Lots of them came to know it was raining outside only after looking at me. Few of them felt sorry for me but they didn’t know much happy I was for getting drenched in the first rain…. and I am happy to say few of them were jealous of me as I got to get drenched in the first rain but they could not……

After getting somewhat dry, I logged on to my computer and was checking my emails, I was looking at me emails, by my mind was running to my memories of rains when I was in school and in college…..