Vasota-Nageshwar trek is every avid trekkers dream trek; the beauty of this place can captivate and enthrall even the most tired adventure seeker.The place to recharge your discharged power cells. Orkut family was on set to complete this dream. Most of the members were post-graduate from research field. So finally a team of 20 people was set for ‘Kille Vasota’. As decided the group boarded from Parel bus Depot, Mumbai around 10:00pm on Friday 15 Dec. 2006. Few members joined from Chembur and me with few friends from Vashi at 23:30 pm. The travel arrangements were absolutely comfortable as ‘2 bye 2’ semi-luxuary bus seat arrangement in good condition. Thanks to Chaitanya since he availed us reserved seats to Satara. Everybody got busy with chitchatting in bus. The bus halted near Khanapur foodmall at 01:00 on Mega express highway for ‘Mid-Night’ food I guess. After that the bus goes via katraj-ghat instead of entering in Pune directly to Satara from express way. Everybody had a nice nap in the bus from there till Satara. The bus reached around 04:30 in the morning. Purvi’s 3 friends were last minutes entry Ravi kiran and a lovely young couple Sanjal & Chetana as no reservation they have to take another bus till satara from Vashi. If there was warmness in the bus then getting down at Satara caught us in that cold breeze so much that everybody was shivering so much that' होठ कुछ् कहने के लिये तरस रहे थे '.
The bus for bamnoli was scheduled to 06:30 am. So decided to be freshening, had our early break-fast of Upma-Poha and tea at ST bus canteen … waited for some time for the bus and then boarded in it.
It started at 06:40am. We left for Bamnoli which is one & half hr. journey from Satara. The road passes via the Kas village where KasLake (Talav) is the main drinking water supply for the Satara city. It is 22kms far from satara city and one of the attracting points and young generation loves very much and visits this area for picnic. On the way one can see Sajjangadh that was the spiritual capital of Swarajya on the left side of the route which is 9km apart from Satara. Also, on the way I could still recollect one small mountain Siddhtek marked by an arrow. The complete road is really narrow and of the 35kms approximately 21 kms is a ghat with lots of twists and turns. Occasionally, your head too spins off, with the turns. The road journey was scenic & very much photogenic. But less possibility to catch any of the scenes since it was shaky one. Finally we reached exactly at 08:10 in village.
Bamnoli - Met Indavali: -
Bamnoli was the place from where real adventure would start for it was from here that we had to ferry across the KoynaRiver. Bamnoli is a small village with its proximity to the koyna sanctuary being its claim to fame. A huge board with Koyna Sanctuary written over it greets you with pictures of the wildlife found over there that includes Bison, Sloth Bears, Leopards, Jackals etc. besides there are 2 more boards one giving information about sanctuary places and another one rules abide Do’s and Don’ts in the sanctuary as u can see from snaps.
We supposed to do some formalities like getting permission from forest department to trek Vasota & boat booking. These rules have made to preserve the sanctity of the forest, generate revenue and keep the tab on rowdy tourists. Getting the necessary permission needed filling many forms and paying the necessary charges. Chaitanya and his friends had taken care of this. So we were charged Rs. 40 each for the day to spend in the sanctuary. And Rs. 75/- extra charged to take boat in the sanctuary. Boat charges are Rs 600/- per boat (group of 1-15) one way. Since we were 20 of us we have to give Rs.1200 but were crammed in one boat. After taking the necessary permit from the forest department officials, we found ourselves in the launch heading towards Met Indavli. Our boat journey was fantastic since this is one of the treks where one has to travel by boat that is very rare in Sahyadri. The launch runs on diesel about 5-litres one way. The ferry ride was a real pleasure for people happily getting their snaps all possible ways. Even I asked to join me for Titanic pose … Fussss… 'main bhi hoon' … Crossing Koyna was a great experience. It's clean, calm & beautiful. It takes one & half hr. journey by boat to reach the base of the new Vasota fort, Met Indavali.
It was a welcome mode of transport for all of us. After reaching the forest department base camp at Met Indavli at 1045 hrs, the passes were checked; the board is marked with vasota fort 4km from here. Decided to fill our stomach first and then move … Mean while, one gang had their first nature call in Nature. Our awesome six prepared variety of food as Bread-Jam, Bread-Butter, Bread-Sandwich, Bread-Ketchup and Kakadi, Gajar. Everyone took the opportunity to socialize here. We had a hearty break-fast and started off for Vasota fort.
Vasota Trek: -
This is a protected Natural reserve and a national treasure. The thick jungles of Vasota are famous for the bears and other wildlife as well as the many beautiful butterflies fluttering in the cool breeze; a variety of bird species and plant species for botanist. Now do we were going to see all what we had heard so far. Here it goes…
As we get up having food and started off for vasota exactly at 11:30 hrs; we noticed blood coming from Smita’s socks …the front part of white sock become completely reddish when removed it could see the Litch that kissed Smita’s finger happily (‘bite’ word would be harsh as it hurts and u came to know it). U can see photo in Chaitanya’s album. Ritesh opened the medical kit cleaned it by dettol put soframycin on it and everybody moved on. Took the path besides the Ranger’s dwelling … couple of minutes entered in dry stream … we moved ahead while behind Madhav and his gang locate a Snake in that dry place and then started searching for it there … (Pls upload snap if anybody has captured it). As we spend some time there we reached the first Hanuman and Ganpati temple at 12:15 hrs., ½ an hour extra. From here 2 routes bifurcates. The Right one goes through stream to Nageshwar which is 8km apart and left one to vasota fort stiff climb 3km apart as the board shows. As decided we took the left one towards vasota.
The road enters in jungle and climbing up right from there. Botanist in Ritesh woke up immediately by looking these plants, flora & fauna and started exploring right from beginning of the trek. This whole jungle is very much biological diversity and absolutely paradise for enthuse people like Ritesh. As it was noticed to be going now as a perfect Nature Trail rather than a trek, time was running out and we have to go for Nageshwar from Vasota before sun-set. So we convinced Ritesh to fasten up. And, he moved up ahead. The trek is through dense forest so keeping us away from scorching heat. There are no markers as usually we found in any other trek but its very less chances here to loose your way as well defined path till top. But as u knows there will be always a weak link in every trek. As this trek is 2-day affair everybody was having quite a heavy luggage on their back and it was pushing impact on shoulders while climbing up. After almost ½ an hour trek, Gita and specially Smita got tired and slowed a bit … so breaks started increasing. Chaitanya, I and especially Sudershan tried cut down the weight by taking extra luggage. Madhav and his gang; my gang, already went far away from us. Pushing smita & gita, we were moving ahead. Around 13:35 hrs we were at the 2nd fork where the right road goes 2wards Nageshwar and the left straight up to vasota. Here everybody put up their luggage and decided to go to vasota up as our lovely couple Sanjal & Chetana decided to stay there alone in that jungle … seems Chetana was tired a bit and needed rest. The sanctity of peace glorified the walk even in when we were disappointed to see any wild animal. So we move on ahead it’s another 15 minutes from there but a good stiff climb and much dense one. And, as we were going up and up we could see clearly beautiful view from where we had come. There are some steps till the fort. Finally exactly at 14:00 hrs were at the HanumanTemple and welcomed to read something philosophical there as it was written on the wall of the temple on a board “ कार्य कठीण है इसलिए करने योग्य है, साधारण कार्य तो सभी करते है “…. The line translates to ‘ Difficult things are worth doing; If it is normal, everyone can do it ’ … Mind blowing sentence … this was by Giribhraman sanstha, Talegaon. Moved towards right side, Mahadev Temple is there and from there to Vinchu kada. The view from the top is just magnificent on both sides. On one side we could see the vast expanse of the amazing view of Shivsagar lake, Koyna backwaters penetrating in the dense forest below was enthralling and the other side breath-taking view of ‘Konkan’. The view is stupendous. It’s really fantastic can not be described in words. We could see miles and miles of low ranges disappearing in the distant blue. Also, could see Nageshwar the second cliff at distant from there.
Bison Factor: -
Now comes here thrilling part. Suddenly Ravi Kiran saw one big Bison from there just below the steps. Everybody rush to see that. Even I got a glimpse of it but before I could capture it in my cell phone disappeared in dense bushes ... tried to trace but no use. Since the bison may come upstair everybody gets scared and climbed on top of Mahadecv Mandir as it is. Spending some time there got down. Had a nice photography on that platue of group and surrounding as I believe memories are the most priceless thing to cherish. We had almost spent an hour and now time to turn back. Wanted to visit Babukada, the second largest cliff in Maharashtara as it is said so on the other side of the temple. But due to lack of time and scare of bison on that side we decided to desecnd. So everybody climbed down the same trail till the bifurcation within 15 minutes where Sanjal & Chetana were waiting for us. I guess they also had a nice time there in 'जंगल मे '
Vasota - Nageshwar: -
Took some rest and geared up with biscuits, murukko, plum cakes and ready to go for next destination Nageshwar. At 15:35 Hrs, departed for the most exciting part of the trek. Around 45 minutes of initial walk is parallel to Vasota ridge through very dense & dark forest. It was silent one. Very soon we climbed over and stood at a point right at the edge of ridge, slightly below vasota. I guess not sure though this cliff is known as 'Mhataricha Angtha'. The edge here means a strip of around half foot with a step of 1000 feet on one side and wild thorny bushes cum dense jungle on other side. Anyhow, we reached the caves at 17:30 hrs exactly well in time to see the sun-set from the cave. One thing noticed is that full mobile range is there, nice to connect at home from distant. There is a water tank some 10 minutes distance below the temple. The water is too cold and potable one, still we put a drop of clorivat in each filled bottles as a precaution ... came back to the caves to drank the sunset beauty. We are few lucky people to get such a fabulous view from such a place with peace of mind. The best part of the trek is to prepare the royal meal began. The experience of lightening up a small fire to cook the food is done by experienced people like shailesh & chaitanya. Started preparing 2-miutes Maggi Noodles and each one cooked marvelous food. It was too tasty re ... It was too cold now and we were soon caught into the unending darkness of forest. It was only the fire in cave which we could see in the world around us apart from light in villages where we suppposed to go next day deep in the valley below Nageshwar cave. It was around 21:00 hrs and set to go bed. The mystery happened ...
Scorpion Bite :-
One scorpion had given a bite on Ritesh's leg ... After searching in torch light it was confirmed that was a red scorpion bite ...' लग गई बत्ती' ... फटाफट shoe less was tied on the upper part of the leg where the bite was taken. Luckily I was having a blade in my pocket ... put it in the flame of candle ... burn it and then gave cut near the place where the bite was ... let the blood flow if any poison is there ... after some time, clean the cuts and stopped the blood ... अब आगे क्या करना है as we were not having any anti-venom or even don't know about any medicinal plant ... I asked him if he is feeling comforatble or not ... he said ok ... otherwise I told him if he feels uneasy right now ready to get down to choravane village as waiting till dawn won't help. He said will wait and if anything felt like that he will let me know. So now everybody had warmed themselves everything we would need for the night. warm clothes were on immediatley. Even shoes were put and then went to sleep. I tried but won't possible as sleeping beside ritesh, after every half and hour I was giving check on him ... around 4-5 am morning somehow I went for sleep and woke up for the sight of dawn ... Nice to see Ritesh ready before me to see the dawn. ( I hope now the scorpion is still alive ). Anyway, then Palak, Nipun, Chaitanya, Shailesh, Ritesh, Sindhu, Smita, Purvi & Me went atop Nageshwar Pinnacle ... bit difficult but we manage. At the top amazing cold breze was flowing like anything ...'Hair' rising experience ... can't able to stand properly ... sat down and waited for sun to come up behind the hills ... and when it comes 'Ahha' can't express the beauty ... down the valley the mountains and village everything was lost in the mist. Came down the cave ... went to water tank to freshen up ... had a nice bath in that ice cold water still shievering ... back to cave and prepared & Upama for break-fast ... rejuvenated, we all were with much needed energy and ready to descend ... meanwhile another group came to cave and as usual exchanged few words with them as trekkers used to ... started off to Choravane exactly at 11:30 Hrs ...
Nageshwar - Choravane: -
Came back to the railings where the route leads to choravane village. The climbing down gave challenge for the trekking. The first 1000 ft descend is almost a vertical descent down via rock cut stair case ... apart from it the 'मिट्टीवाला' at certain points making chances of slipping more ... It looks simplified by the iron rope anchored with the rock, only till we actually got there. They are not reliable. The one hour descend on rocks really ROCKED us. After crossing that rock patch, thing were smooth enough. At one place, we found 'Snakes Skin' completely which is no more there available as it is taken to do the 'Nobel' research in laboratory by one research student. Then it is just a matter of walking along hill side after some time, took right turn the route is made of steps for some time we are almost there in village. So exactly at 15:15 hrs we were sitting 'ओसरीवर' in one of simple home of village Shindewadi, Choravane. Such a peaceful place. Had a tasty water and filled bottles which were empty ... Wanted to spend some time but since came to know that last bus for Chilpun is exactly at 16:00 Hrs we have to rush for it ... hurriedly got a packed Wada-Pav from dhaba courtsey Shailesh. Most of us got last seats in bus and it was a really bumpy ride ... get to know why it is called 'bum'py ride ... So at 17:30 hrs we were in Chiplun ... Since wanted to have a nice food, We decided to leave 19:00 hr bus and opted for 20:00 Hrs ... reservations done for everybody ... This Lal dabba traversing through ghat forced me to take 1st time Avomine in my life ... After Poladpur, I put Chaddar in passage and went for sleep ... Don't know when Vashi came ... it was 02:00 hrs of 18/12/2006 ... Should have get down at Sanpada as it is close to my house just 7-min walk. But from Vashi I lose 30 bucks due to sleep ... It still hurt for a Trekker like me ... shame !!!
Anyhow, EVERYTHING MATTERS Whatever happens in life ...
Thanks buddies for a wonderful outing ... hoping to cu soon ...
Journey details and expenses:-
Parel – Satara by bus 22:00 - 04:30 Rs. 205/-
Break fast at Bamnoli Rs. 10/-
Satara-Bamnoli by Bus 06:45 - 08:15 Rs. 26/-
Permission to stay in Forest for 2 days Rs. 40/-
Launch Charges to Indavali Rs. 1200/20 09:15 - 10:45 Rs. 60/-
Trek to Vasota 11:30 - 14:00
Trek to Vasota- Nageshwar Caves 15:30 - 17:30
Trek from Nageshwar - Choravne village 11:30 - 15:15
Choravne – Chiplun 16:00 - 17:30 Rs. 26/-
Chiplun - Mumbai Bus 20:00 - 02:30 Rs. 175/-
Miscellaneous which equally shared Rs. 50/-
Food Stuff Rs. 100/-
Particpated Members: -
Chaitanya Jagtap Shailesh Karandikar
Palak Raval Nipun Jain
Geeta Udyaver Ravi Kiran
Sanjal Mistry Chetana Mistry
Aniruddha Madhav Upadhye
Makarand Pandhe Mandar Pandhe
Sudarshan Kanade Vinayak Puranik
Vinay Indulkar Sindhu Mathai
Purvi Mande Smita Patil
Ritesh Khunyakari Jagadish Patil
Written By: -Jagadish Patil