Trek to Sudhagad

The alarm went off.. it seemed I had gone to sleep only minutes ago. The clock said 3 AM. "Rise and Shine" came a groggy but enthusiastic voice. It was Prags waking all of us up. We had been cramped up at Sachin's home all night so that all of us were on time and not "STUCK IN TRAFFIC" or "I'M JUST REACHING (for the past 2 hours)" "Another 5 minutes, Mommy" "Abey k@##! k#$%^&*.. mein teri Mommy nai.. now get up before I kick you"

And all of us were up with the last bits of sleep blown away from our eyes by the sheer thought of one of us getting kicked by "Daku Pragyavati" as we fondly refer to Pragati and also the excitement about the unknown experiences that the trek had in store for us.

Yeah... the trek... a real trek in years!!! A trek to Sudhagad.

Situated at about 3 hours by road from Pune in the vicinity of the Ballaleshwar Temple in Pali is the fort of Sudhagad. Located at a height of 2000 feet above sealevel, SUdhagad is one of the better preserved forts in Maharashtra.

With a last minute dash at cramming in more stuff into our bags, the 8 of us set off in the most luxurious of ways anyone of us had ever gone on a trek. We had A Chevy Tavera and Sachin's bike as well. So 6 of us crammed into the Tavera with all our stuff. The 3 hour or so long journey to Pali had been largely uneventful barring the continuous jarring sound of the "Daaku" singing on top of her voice. She cannot sing even if it were for her life... and she knows it.. and so starts any Antakshari with

"Baithe Baithe kya karein,
karna hai kuch keeda
Chalo gala phaad k hum
dete sabko peeda!!!"

Pali would have been an ideal destination for a day trip but that day we had a different commitment. And being in a hurry to conquer the Sudhagad summit, we had to feel satisfied with Door-Darshan of the Temple for the blessings of the LORD.

And after a quick breakfast, we were on our way again. This time our destination was Thakurwadi - the base village and the foot of Sudhagad. There we left our vehicles at an acquaintance's place and strapped on our stuff on our backs and were ready for a really taxing journey ahead.


The beginning of the trek was quite energetic. Breathtaking views greeted us from all sides as we forged towards our destination. It started of deceptively easy in the initial part of the trek as we crossed farmland and ascended up gentle slopes. But soon the slopes turned into cliffs and all the huffs and puffs started. But thankfully there was a ladder set in the rock face over the worst bit.



And then came some rather rough terrain with a pretty steep ascent to the top of the fort along what perhaps used to be a staircase centuries ago. We marched on one step at a time towards the top. Most of us were thoroughly exhausted by now taking regular breaks along the path on any rock. And then, finally, we were there!

And after a much needed rest and lunch, we explored the plateau on top of the fort. One of the prime attractions was the "Takmak Tok". An almost exact replica of the Takmak tok at Raigad, this cliff was infamous for being used as a "push off" point for conspirators in the times of Shivaji Maharaj.





The final descent back wasn't without its share of problems, as most of us almost sprinted at times down the slopes with quite a few slips and scratches as the sun began its downwards journey along with us.


Back at Thakurwadi, all of us were dead tired but with a great sense of achievement. With one look back at the peak, we began our long journey homeward with pride with "Daaku" croaking...


Musafir hoon yaaron.. na ghar hai na thikaana...
Mujhe chalte jaana hai.. bassss chalte jaana...

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Article by Shrikant who blogs at Hedonist to the Core.

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