Breathing with broken rocks! #004 RajGad Fort

The World is huge, there are so many unexplored places, travelling is the only way which makes it possible to realize how beautiful the world is. Travelling enlightens us about life, it broadens our perspective, viewpoints to see things, we start appreciating for what we are, for what we have. Traveler and Trekkers are the ones who are always open to new things and new ideas. Someone rightly said, “if the world is a book, then people who do not travel read only a page”. For normal people Travelling is a way to commute from one place to another. But for some, a destination is frivolous, and its journey that defines them all. Passion for visiting new places drives them, experience various cultures, taste different types of foods, these people are obsessed with a sense of wanderlust which enables them to meet people around the world.

Christmas time! 23th December 1998, After school I’m playing with my friends on my building premises, and unfortunately I break the glass of my ground floor society member. They complained about me and my friends to my parents. Dad and Mom didn’t give any reaction, but the next day they told me you’re going to ABVP camp on Weekends. “Is this punishment?” I asked myself. I can’t explain that feeling of happiness and excitement. Because that is my first night out trek. The day before my dad and mom packed my trekking stuff. My shoes, clothes, torch, water bottle and food. 24th December 1998, I woke up early at 5 am and reach my school to board in Bus. We started from Badlapur at around 7 am. Being on the way, we were at Valvan Dam, which is around 75–80 km from Badlapur just after passing Lonavala bus station, we decided to take a breakfast. Trek leader already brings homemade Upma. Breakfast was awesome. Then we started the journey towards Raigad. At that time Mumbai-Pune highways did not exist, so we travel on the old highway. The road goes through the Karle village. On the bus journey we dance, sang popular picnic songs. After traveling almost 150km and 3 hours we reached the Daardige Wadi Village. As usual our group leader addressed all of us the do’s and don’ts of the entire trek. Its Sunny day. The weather was amazing as always and the freshness in the air just amazing. We were walking we saw people doing trekking with us, same as groups, some individually walking and smiling clicking pictures and enjoying! Exactly at 12pm our trek is started.

After climbing for a half hour, we had a rest of around 5 min at the Padmavati Temple on the fort. I and group members had come ahead and group leader was encouraging to my friends to keep climbing. Apparently, they did not have any prior trekking experience and they were out of breath only after climbing for 15 min! Poor fellows! There were many times the trek where we had at least 4 groups (Me and friends), Seniors, parents and newbies. Newbies lagging behind with group leader making sure that they came along and did not give up! ;)

Rajgad formerly known as Murumdev, it was capital of the Maratha kingdom ruled by Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj for almost 20-25 years. Rajgad fort has witnessed lots of historic events, including the birth of Raje Chhatrapati Rajaram, death of Chhatrapati Shivaji maharaj wife Saibai, Death of Tanaji Malusare, the return of Shivaji from Agra, the burial of Afzal Khan’s head in the Mahadarwaja walls of primary fort Ballekilla. Hardly 30-40 min of walk around Padmavati plateau. We gathered at Padmavati temple for lunch made by local villagers. In lunch we had delicious Brinjal masala, Tomato Chuttney, Bhakri (Rice roti) and Khichdi. After that we take rest. At 4:30 we started to walk down toward the village for building tent. Exactly at 6pm we build our team tent with the help of seniors. Then seniors started to talk about History of Rajgad, Monument and places around Maharashtra. After a few hours everyone started shivering because of the cold breeze. Senior and village people bring the woods to light a campfire. At the 9 o’clock we had a delicious dinner and get in the tent for a nap. At 4:30am we woke up. The place was covered with spook-grey mist and was freezing cold. We take a bath at village water well. Therefore, we decided to warm ourselves by having hot tea. Then again, after climbing for an hour we reached Balekilla. The temperature dropped eventually. Sweater helped us fight the cold. A couple of hours later light slowly seeped-in to take away the darkness, everyone sat facing east to capture the rising sun in their eyes.

We start to explore other major points of the fort. Suvela Machee and Sanjivani Machee is another grand. Sanjeevani Machee has a double curtain wall. To the south side of this machee one can find a beautiful triangular rampart called Kaleswari Buruj having an escape door near it. The last stretch was more steep and tiring, but when I saw the glimpse of the peak my joy knew no bounds and could not wait any longer to be there. The fresh and pure air which I got to breath there swept all the thoughts in my mind. After having lunch at fort temple we started our journey back to home. The whole day was superb, adventurous. Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you!! A perfect ending to what had been an almost perfect day. That is what treks of this kind do to you, it makes you stronger both physically and mentally. This beautiful journey is etched in my heart so much that whenever I rewind it, they always bring a smile on my face. Happy trekking.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” — Jawaharal Nehru

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