You always feel a bit of calmness when you scale heights and I literally took to this thought. Until today food, conversing, music, movies, comic books has been more than a lovely friend of mine and has helped me express feelings, about things I like the most but with every new day comes a new beginning and today I started with my first trek – Fort Sinhagad.
For the clueless, Sinhagad is one of the many forts of Shivaji, localted at about 22 kilometres from the city of Pune. If you’re not from the city, might I suggest reach the city first! Then make your way to Swargate ST stand. Numerous buses ply for Swargate ST. If you wish to spend more then you can hire yourself car, jeep, and blah blah. There is absolutely no problem in reaching the fort except your will to do so. If you’re not in the mood to sweat it out for an hour long trek, a tar road leads right up to the top – though you’ll miss the scenic beauty that you shall discover while on your way up or coming down with immense satisfaction.
To begin with the journey I’d have to take you where it all began, around 5:30 am we met up near my gym which is near to Swargate – yes it was like one of the monthly gym activities which we took upon with much needed vigour. Late as usual I and my friend reached in the nick of time as the crowd were about to disperse and having not slept overnight didn’t make things easy. Our mode of transport well what was left of it after a super ride with soared bumps as speed-breakers were hard to see when the owner of the vehicle fails to repair his head-light and surely the springs would have cried their mechanical lungs out as it had to sustain me as a pillion he-he-he. I gladly asked one of our elder members if I could hitch a ride in his car – people believe me GO IN A CAR - he welcomed us, little did he know how thankful we were, but let’s not the drop the ball yet.
We were at the base of the fort sharp at 6 am. I was impressed at the degree of hospitality of our gym when they started providing trekkers with a bottle of water – so nice. Soon we began our ascent and to my amazement I saw hoards of people making their way down with warmth in their smile and upon close inspection I roughly calculated that 60-70% of them were oldies and none were panting! This brought me to a conclusion, start the trek at the wee hours of the dusk – 5 am to be more precise.
I was trekking like a man on a mission until I took a moment of pause to soak in the beauty that can only been seen when one is at an altitude as such – no wonder Jack and Jill went up the hill. I was very happy of the fact though perspiring as if I was a leaked water pipe but I wasn’t panting – see the benefits of hitting the gym regularly. I’ve been trekking roughly half an hour, though quite a long distance to go I took on one of the hardest trail or so popularly termed as short-cut; the first was easy but after taking the second one I thought to myself why must I stoop to short-cuts and miss out on enjoying the trek or so to say I just wanted to reach the top safely and not like the old dog with his tongue out! But such sanity doesn’t prevails over every soul and my fellow friend decided to follow with my other friends who worship their bodies at the gym – little is left for imagination for the type of trail they would set foot or hands; at time when I’d look down they would be rock climbing – and the after effects was seen evidently when he slept like a baby next to me while coming back!
At time when I was making my way to the top I was beginning to ask me questions such, “Why the heck am I here? I can’t go up? I can’t even go down!” [ ] So you make sure you have a purpose – A purpose to reach the top!
Finally I was at the top, after the harshness of the climb with the torrid sun and dirt I was amazed at the sudden change of scenery when I saw vendor stalls selling lemonade, tea, pakodas (fries), dahi (curd), poha(yellow cooked rice-flakes) to you name it. Though in my back-pack I had biscuits but if you are not medically obliged to feed yourself every other minute I would suggest trek only with adequate amount of water – enjoy the delicacies of the village people, you’d love it.
I soon joined with the rest of the gang and it took me around 50-55 minutes to reach the top – not bad huh! for first timer. As I comfortably sat I couldn’t help but admire the city down below, to the scenic dam, to the lovely sun and feel the breeze that blows across the top and also the television tower on top. As we clicked our glorification we scaled a set of stairs and firstly we took to the left where I began to experience some sort of biological dysfunctional ties and a bit of glucose sip did help. So we made our way back and went to the right, where tapris (small huts) with local people serving delicacies came and inquired if we would like to order some, glad we didn’t as upon meeting up with the rest of the members we were served with nicely made sandwiches and the food simply kept on coming. They took care of ordering pakodas, chaach (butter-milk), matka-dahi (curd) – and it was all on their tab, now that’s pristine hospitality, I’m glad that I went on my first with such a lovely group of people.
Once you start to grow muscles, the brain cells begins to shrink or so they say – the doctors you know, mean people with weird looking glasses. The trainers gladly showed their respective assets, one flexing his biceps, the other his rock hard abs and one with his thighs – seemed the like the modern age monkey crap of Gandhi – but made better sense than his teachings. People started cracking jokes, laughter echoed the mountains as far the eyes could see – I simply saw the beauty and was enlighten with some history as Tanaji conquered the fort for Shivaji (Its best you google it, if you wish to know more). Finally we all gathered for a group photograph with people pouring from sides, the shot was taken from three different positions so as to take care none was left out.
With fun and frolic we started on our backward journey. Be very careful while you’re coming down. By the way its better to start coming down early as staying up late isn’t much fun. Keep walking at a slow pace. No hurry, no worry. Go slow and steady. You must be very careful while choosing the downward path. We lost our path once and it was this steep slope which took more than had I taken the longest one. Don’t worry too much, you will eventually reach the bottom [ ]. Though I was very careful and successfully made it to the bottom of the hill without a single slip I kept on witnessing people losing grip and the thundering sound of falling flat on their buttocks. My friend happened to be one of them. I missed the falling you know, sounds strange but I did!!! Better make it a point to fall down next time he-he.
The trip down to the bottom of the hill was the trickiest of it all. With a sense of relief as pebbles made way to flat ground I met up with the person who drove us and I explained how hard it was in the middle of it when I took a wrong turn, this guy was jolly enough to wait it out for half an hour extra – thanks dude!
If you’d want a piece of advice listen to this – DON”T LISTEN TO OLD FOLKS! THEY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT OUR BODIES – if you wish to rest simply do, sit, drink (but few sips so as not to get dehydrated). But I didn’t as it would have made me more lethargic he-he. Make sure you take each step carefully. The rocks there don’t mind twisting your ankle for free.
That’s enough. Go and enjoy this experience and try to do it in the morning as you’d have the rest of the day for anything your heart desires.
It was a perfect way to begin the month of March for me.