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5 Aug 2002

Mumbai-Malavli-Lohgad-Bhaje Caves-Lonavla-INS-Nagphani-Lion's Point- Bhusi Dam

(Contributed by Jacob) (02-04 August 2002)
Our trek for Mumbai-Malavli-Lohgad-Bhaje Caves-Lonavla-INS-Nagphani-Lion's Point- Bhusi Dam.
We(Satbir,Bhaskar and Myself) took the 11.40 passenger from CST and reached Malavli at 0340..Slept there till ~0600 and then went to the parking lot near Bhaja caves where we met another group from Thane.
There were 5 of them ..students...and one of them (Anish Korde) was visiting Lohagad for the fifth time (First time he visited when he was 5)...So we decided to skip the caves for the time being and joined them... Anish is an ardent trekker and have trekked almost all the places..The others were Sourabh (black belt, studying law), Girish (he is doing a project and he needed some fotos of Pavana dam and this was the basic reason behind their trek),Varun(11th) and Sai(BA?)..
So we took of at around 0630 ..the climb up was rather easy except that my shoes were a lil bit slippery at places...We reached the village at around 0830....It was misty and even though the fort was just above our heads (Anish told that) we couldn't make it out..After tea we resumed walking and reached the cave at the top at abt 0900...Then it was breakfast time..It was very very foggy was the visibility was very poor..We roamed around looking for the path to Vinchu katta and couldn't locate it..We were completely trusting on Anish's insights as he had been there many a time..Finally we reached one rocky patch which Anish thought was the way down..It was very slippery and dangerous and we almost decided to quit..But then the map came to our rescue..We tried to figure out the way..We saw the Hathi pond and then walked again as per the map and finally saw the way down ;-)..But the fog was still there and that breathtaking view which I was hoping for was not there.;-(We started climbing down..Three of us had come down the ledge ...Anish and Satbir was on the ledge and it was then when HE came...He first visited Anish and had a look at him and then turned to me,saw the packet I was having..I knew that I was in trouble..he leaped down and I threw the packet (Camera) to Anish..He bounced back..Anish threw the packet back to me ..he came back and almost had it..But I was holding it very tight so he couldn't take it away..I again threw it to Anish..he went back..Then Anish tried something diff ..he took the camera out and threw the cover away and hid the camera inside his clothes. He was taken aback for a second..But soon he found out the next thing to go for...The Bino's hanging around Anish's neck...Anish saw that he was aiming for that and threw it to me and started shouting to me in Marathi...I was stunned for a second and couldn't comprehend a single word ..Luckily Varun was there and he picked up stones (this was what Anish was shouting!!!)..Then I too picked up stones and all of us shooed him away...A nice lil incident..;-)Then we went to the end and after spending some time there went back to the caves and had some food..Suddenly the fog cleared a lil bit and we rushed out to take some snaps...managed to take a few before the next invasion of fog ..It was time for the Thane group to return as they had some other engagements on Sunday..So after exchanging our contact details we bid farewell to them..I wanted to get a snap of Vinchukatta so went there again but had to return without luck..Then we started our return journey..It was abt 2 - 2.30...We stayed sometime in the waterfall down the caves and then went to the caves..It was 5 ..We asked whether we can stay in the caves but were turned down..After seeing the caves we sat down to have some snacks..We thought of pushing off to Lonawala then itself and spend the night there..When we reached the parking lot we enquired whether we will get any place to stay..and we hit the jackpot...we were taken to a nearby house and there we got rooms..after keeping our luggage there we went out walking again..We sat down on the over bridge above the express highway enjoying the cool breeze until we were whistled away by the highway patrol..then we walked till the railway station and came back ..It was pretty dark by the time we came back to our room...There we had bath and had a nice lil chat with the house owner.. Then came the dinner...EXCELLENT chapattis..It was soo good that I stretched my stomach muscles to there limit!!! ;-)After dinner we retired deciding that we will take the 6:45 train to Lonavla..
At abt 5:45 the landlord came with a torch and woke us up...We got ready by 6:35 and ran to the station lest we miss the train...We were just in time for the 06:56 local to Lonavla...We reached Lonavla ,had breakfast and went to the ST stand to catch a bus to INS Shivaji...The next bus was at 0830(the buses to INS are at 0630,0730,0830 etc) so we decided to walk to Rye wood park and catch the bus from there..spent some time there in the park amidst the towering trees..there was some sort of NSS drill going on..watched that for a while and walked to the bus stop...We passed Walwan dam and Bhushi dam on our way to INS...We went inside the restricted area and when the guard came asking for the passes we got down and walked back...Meanwhile it had started raining and it was to be like that the WHOLE day..We didn't know exactly where to go and what to see..We had heard abt Tiger's leap,Lion's point and Duke's nose(aka Nagphani)..So we started asking people abt these places...We met a guard and that guy caught hold of one village boy passing by and he gave us the req info with the additional warning 'When U tie the rope please tie it properly, last month two people died when trying to get down!!)..We walked ,walked and walked first through the muddy, marshy area then through the green paddy fields and finally reached Kruvande village..From there it was just 20 minutes to the base..then it came the climb..It was rather easy ..Fog was with us and when we reached the top we were totally covered with fog...with visibility abt 3-4 meters..We had some snacks there and walked towards another peak..There was a small Shiva temple around which the rope was to be tied so we can go down..But the Poojaari there said it is not allowed now after the tragedy last month...two doctors had lost their lives after slipping ....We stood there for sometime hoping for the fog to clear. But after sometime when it was clear that it is not going to happen in near future we sated back..We were back in the Kruwande village at 1230...
We decided to go back to INS Shivaji and then visit Lion's point and go directly to Khandala keeping Bhushi dam for the next trip..We reached INS Shivaji at 1330 and asked for directions for Lion's point.It was abt 4 kms and we decide to walk all the way up...again it was misty and we could get proper views which we were expecting although we got to se a couple of waterfalls on the way...Also we caught a glimpse of Bhushi dam and the crowd there..We reached some place near Lion's point at around 1430..There were a couple of vendors selling eatables and we had a double omelet and tea there..Fog was very thick at this point...We decided against walking further ..There was a ST bus at 1530 and we deicide to take that..We waited till 1545 and then we bus came ,but the driver didn't bother to stop and left us fuming!!!We tried to get a lift but nobody was in a mood to 'lift' three of us ..;-(Now we had no other option except walking back....We walked for abt 10 minutes ..passed the waterfall from the air force dam when a truck came and lifted us up...Thus we trucked back from Lion's point ..It was abt 4-430 when we reached near Bushi dam..We tried to get a glimpse of the dam and it was inviting...But we had decided to skip it for the time being..But it was not the case to be...Being a Sunday evening the road to Lonavala was jam packed and the traffic was moving at a snail's pace..After some time I lost my patience and thought of going to Bhushi dam skipping Khandala...Bhaskar agreed but Satbir was having some knee problem so he told he will hold back and meet us at the station at 7...
So both of us set out together...The water from the dam flows out over a set of steps ..The place was swarmed by people...We spent some time there, clicked some photos and then went back...The truck was nowhere in sight now...So we started running..After sometime we could spot the truck again...But seeing the traffic jam we decide against climbing in and continued on foot...There were numerous ,small waterfalls all over the place..We had a small break and had tea after which we went to Walwan dam. We walked over the dam and finally reached Lonavla....Then we brought some Chickies and went to the station where we found Satbir waiting for us..It was 7:45..Bangalore -Gandhidham express was at 8 and we procured tickets and ran to the platform..Luckly we got some place to sit down for a while....After Khandala we could see Khopoli town fully lit up down in the valley.....
Then nothing much..kalyan(2200),Dadar(2330) and Kandivili(0010)..We said goodbye to Bhaskar and proceeded to LA...Took bath ,had food ad slept ...ThatzitT.

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