Yeah, the most awaited trek for me, Dhak Bahiri was now decided to be accomplished. I had given it a try in January 2010 but we were lost in the jungles of Dhak from 10 am to 5 pm and so had to return. Dhak Bahiri is a very demanding trek in Maharashtra due to the thrilling climb it offers. Well as described by some of my trek friends, the trek of Dhak Bahiri is a tough one, but I did not found anything such in it. For me it was an OKAY trek, not as much as people described to me.
We decided to do it as a one day trek and we left for Karjat by the first local train. We reached Karjat at 7 am and had breakfast of tea and vadapavs near station. We looked at the S.T bus timings and found that the bus for base village, Sandshi was at 8.45 am, so we decided to set off in a tumtum rickshaw. We asked a few rickshaw walas and they were quoting in air, 400 rs, 350 rs, etc. We went a little ahead near the S.T depot and asked a guy who agreed for 250 rs. We all got into the tumtum and the journey towards Sandshi started.
The road ends at Sandshi village and it takes about 45 mins to reach from Karjat. I had decided from home itself that am going to take a local guide from Sandshi as I don’t want to get lost again. The village seemed to be very lazy; we asked many people if someone can come with us to the Bahiri cave. Till around 15 mins, no one was ready. Then I forced one youngster to come along with us and he finally agreed at 200 Rs. quite much but it was okay as we were 7 people, so it was going to be equally distributed.
Finally at 9.15 am we started the trek. All were very excited to reach the Bahiri cave. We had good photo sessions while moving. The route first goes through fields and then climbs a hillock adjoining the plateau below the Bahiri cave. And then it goes from the jungle and ends at the base of final climb. The heat was on and soon some of us became too slow. We kept on motivating each other by saying the rocks will get hot if we reach late and it will be difficult to hold grips. There were lot of spider webs and spiders all the way on the route. This big spiders are seen commonly in Sahyadris and are very colorful.
Once you reach the plateau below the cave, you can see the Cave very clearly and to the right side the pinnacle of Kalkarai. There was a huge crowd inside the cave as it was Sunday and the best season to do Dhak Bahiri.
At 11.50 am we reached right below the cave and now the final climb was to be done. Our local guide told us to remove our shoes right here and hide it inside the dry grass to save it from the monkeys. Then we started climbing the final patch.
There are total two routes to reach Dhak Bahiri, one comes from Karjat side (Sandshi) and other comes from Lonavala side (Jambhivali). The one which comes from Jambhivali is a short cut and it comes from the Kalkarai pinnacle side and then both the routes join at the base of the cave.
There are steel rods and ropes fixed for safety; Dhak Bahiri has become a very safe trek now. There are series of small rock cut steps which needs to be climbed carefully. Climbing these steps will take you to a a very decent height and the cave will be much closer to you now. We all climbed up nicely and easily, there were lot of monkeys who were playing and having fun on these cliffs. Its normal for them, they have awesome grips. Once the steps end, the route goes to right side and the famous bamboo patch of Dhak Bahiri comes. There is a bamboo with its forks where you can place your foots and there is a good thick rope for hand holding. Take support of both and climb up smoothly. The bamboo ends up after 8 feet or so and on right side there is a big rock where you now need to shift. Carefully take foot grips and climb up the rock and you are inside the cave. Don’t worry, there is a rope fixed over here too.
We all got into the cave and relaxed ourselves. There is a small temple of Bahiri deity and water tanks too. There are loads of vessels inside the water tanks dipped in the chilling water. People can use them for cooking purpose. The cave was crowded and lot chattering noise was heard. Some groups were making their lunch while some were still sleeping and some were just enjoying the views offered from this cave. We were able to see the Rajmachi range from the cave. We had some group photos and had some snacks here. We had carried preparation for sandwiches but looking at the overcrowded cave we decided to make sandwiches after descending some height.
A group was climbing up and so we had to wait for all of them to enter the cave, once they all climbed up, we started descending. I did not felt anything tough in this climbing, well most of us felt a good difficult patch.
Quickly we descended the rock cut steps carefully and reached the jungle below. A lot of time was wasted waiting for the group that was climbing up and so we were running late out of our schedule. It was 3 pm now and we all were hungry. We came across a good spot from where we could see the whole Sandshi village below and this was a dry waterfall patch. It was flat and even some water was available to wash our hands. So we decided to make our sandwiches here. We all sat down and started with the preparations. It tastes awesome when you are real hungry. We needed to quickly finish off with our lunch as we wanted to take the 5.30 pm bus from Sandshi village to Karjat. We quickly packed up and started descending. We were running out of water and time now. The whole gang was too slow now and I kept on telling them “chalo chalo bhaago fatafat”, I was ahead with the local youngster and I had interaction with him, we both kept on running ahead and we took lot of steep shortcuts. Well we hit the base 15 mins before the bus and refreshed ourselves at a water pump near the village school. We paid off the guy and waited for the bus. Soon the noise of bus was heard and it came finally, we all got into the bus and almost all of us were sleeping. Soon we reached Karjat and headed towards the station. Had some vadapavs and tea at canteen till the train arrived. Soon the train arrived and got empty we all settled in and cracked jokes and kept chit chatting about trekking and such things. And then it was time to say good bye to each other when we reached Dadar.
Dhak Bahiri was my incomplete trek which was now completed very easily. It was a nice trek but people who described the trek to me as very difficult, I don’t agree. Or may be that I did not felt it that difficult. For me it was a easy trek actually. It has become a lot safer now and anyone can do it without any needs of equipments.
Click here to see pictures of Dhak Bahiri trek.