After continuous two treks in two weekends of December, It was now time to hit a hattrick and start 2010 with some thrilling trek. We decided to complete Harishchandragad this time. Harishchandragad is situated in Ahmednagar district at the very top of Malshej ghat. It’s about 90 Km far from Kalyan station.
We planned up things and finally we made our plan as 2 days 2 nights trek. We started off from Mumbai on 1st Jan 2010 Friday and were supposed to meet at Dadar station and catch local train for Kalyan by 7.45 PM. We all gathered and caught the empty local for Kalyan which dropped us at Kalyan station at around 9 PM. Now we had to go to S.T bus stand which is just opposite to Kalyan station. We enquired there and came to know there are lots of buses which would drop us at Khubi phata. We caught 9.15 PM Nagar bus which goes to Ahmednagar through Khubi phata. The ticket fare is quite bulky, 62 Rs for a ride of 91 Km. It takes damn 2.30 hours to reach Khubi phata on the zig zag road through the valleys. Those drivers are amazing. We reached Khubi phata at around 12 AM; all of us had a good nap in the bus.
Now we were suppose to head towards the Khireshwar village which is base for Harishchandragad if you want to trek up via Tolar khind. It’s simple walk of an hour or so which goes through beautiful water reservoir on the right side. We had some snaps here and the bed of this reservoir. This reservoir is very very vast and goes long till Khireshwar. You can literally walk right from the highway till Khireshwar on the bed of this reservoir, be careful of the sharp stones. Soon we reached Khireshwar village which appeared very small. After finding an suitable place for sleeping, we all went to sleep. Some of us woke up at times..and so on. We woke up at 6.30 AM and started our actual trek to Tolar khind. We asked one man to just confirm the correct route. And we followed it. Till 10-15 mins we were on the right path, as it was too dark we could not spot the diversion and we took wrong turn. We dint knew this was right or wrong at that time. We went more ahead and finally came to know this was the wrong route towards Tolar khind. But we 3T’s never give up, we were able to see the Tolar khind, so we decided to go from the jungle and cross the valleys in between. We reached few feet down of Tolar khind and we found the actual correct route. After taking some rest, we started off to climb up from this route and in few moments we reached the Tolar khind pass.
From here we have to head towards left to reach the Harishchandragad massif. After walking few moments, we reached the rock patch which has railings fixed into the rocks. This rock patch is simple and has inbuilt carved steps, but still you should take care. After crossing this patch, we can see awesome views on all three sides. When you reach top, you can see some stalls selling lime juice and biscuits. Now on, there are two routes to reach the Harishchandragad temple, left is short cut and goes through forest and right is long cut which goes through some hillocks and is quite tiring. We went through forest route. After some moments, we decided to have our lunch. We had sandwich in our lunch and then we had a long nap for an hour in cool shade. Then at 2 PM we started off for the last one and half hour simple trek. Finally we got first glimpse of the temple. We explored the temple and took snaps. There is a small hut nearby “Hotel Taramati” which provides snacks, dinner and lunch. We had tea and snacks here. Then we decided to head towards kokan kada, for which we were actually excited. After simple up and down trek towards kokan kada, we reached there. We saw awesome valley with sharp cliffs guarding it. Kokan Kada is one of the most serene, beautiful, peace giving and mind blowing view of the Sahyadris, its damn 1800 feet straight deep valley. If you want to go Harishchandragad via Nalichi vat, then this mighty Kokan Kada stands right in front of you showing his toughness, roughness, ruggedness, and the power of nature. It was really a very awesome experience to be here and watch sun setting down with its divine ambience surrounded all over the earth. We saw different shades of sun at different distances, and a water source right down 1800 feet was working like a polished mirror giving reflection of the warm sun right into our eyes. We sat there for about an hour and enjoyed the views. Took lots of snaps with the sharp cliffs and valley of the Kada. Now it was time to get down to caves and collect firewood for the chilled night. While going towards the caves where we were supposed to sleep we collected dry twigs and barks of trees for cooking and warming purpose. When we reached the caves, we were surprised to see that not a single cave has place for our small 3T’s group. All the caves were tightened up with trekkers. So we now decided to sleep in open.
We found a good place which had very less wind and was perfect for sleeping, and the main advantage of this place was that we were able to get unlimited firewood from the backside which had lots of fire fuel. We cleared of the ground, cleaned it so no stone itches us while sleeping. Did all necessities for the ground pitching. It was around 6.45 PM and it was already very dark there. We now had to cook the food which was hopefully different this time “magi noodles”. We arranged some rocks and made a “Chula” and lighted the fire with dry grass and some kerosene. The magi that we cooked was just amazing, never tasted such noodles at home, the smell of the firewood and charcoal which gets mixed with the food stuff is just awesome. After having our dinner we were chit chatting for a bit and it was not that cold that we need to light up the campfire. We were discussing about the sky and stars. We saw so many satellites wandering in the sky and even few shooting stars. As the moon was bright it was quite difficult to spot things in the sky. After an hour or so we went to sleep. Now the atmosphere was turning colder, every hour the temperature was dropping down quickly. At night around 12 AM some of us got up and lighted up the campfire which was already ready, just needed to give a flame. Now it was okay and was quite warm. No one slept continuously, all of us got up in midst and sat near the fire to warm up their bodies. Again at 3.00 AM, now it was really chilled and we all needed to sit at the fire. We now lighted the fire more bigger and then after half an hour we felt okay. Again some of us went to sleep and so on….
We woke up at 6.00 AM and it was till dark, we had to go Taramati peak now to see the sunrise. We packed our bags and got ready for the hike of around 30 mins towards Taramati peak. We had torches which very useful to find the way towards the peak. Soon after 20 mins, there was no need of the torches. The atmosphere was perfect, the way goes through jungle and then the final 10 mins climbing at the very top is open area with small bushes and grass.
We reached up and were surprised to see so many people already reached up before the time. Still the sun was missing..after 15 mins we saw the first glimpse of the sun. Very light colored orange shade with mixture of red outline, the warm sun was rising up from behind the mountains, and it was so awesome. After a minute, sun started rising very rapidly and in some seconds the full sunrise was finished. Sun was now ruling the sky with its light all over the earth and was converted from warm to hot.
After sitting there for some mins, we now decided to go down and have breakfast. We reached down very rapidly. At around 8.15 AM we had our breakfast at that hut named, “Hotel Taramati”. Hot tea and theplas was our morning breakfast. Soon we started our descend via the same route, Tolar khind. With very less snaps and few halts we covered the rock patch and reached Tolar khind in very less time. Now we were able to hear lots of calls of birds which were wandering all over the jungle but we were not able to see them properly. The simple hike from Tolar khind towards the base village, Khireshwar took very less time and we were down at around 1 PM. We were now able to see many birds sitting on the over head cables in the village. We saw Green bee eater, Black Drongo, and some more which we don’t know the name.
We were now supposed to reach Khubi phata so we can get S.T bus towards Kalyan. With lots of snaps of birds we reached Khubi phata at around 2.30 PM. We saw people waiting there for the bus and they were complaining that bus drivers are not stopping the bus. We were sitting on the edge of the road and waiting for the bus. Soon we saw a bus coming, and decided to stop it, it was Kalyan bus but the driver dint stopped the bus and ran away. Like this, we missed almost 3 busses, and then the 4th one which we hopefully able to stop. We all got into it, this bus was damn packed with lots of people which travel daily from Nagar to Kalyan. No one of us got seat, we all managed ourself to sit on the floor and enjoy the zig zag ride of 90 km. At around 6.30 we reached Kalyan, the road was very packed with traffic. It took another half hour to reach S.T stand. We were now tired and hungry. Some of us had some vadapavs and samosas at a local shop and then headed towards the Kalyan station.
We got C.S.T slow local from Kalyan at around 7.40 PM which was empty. All of us were checking out their digicams for the pictures we captured. At around 10 PM we all reached home with very good memories of the mighty massif of Harishchandrgad and the most scenic Kokan kada.
The trek was nicely done and we all enjoyed it. It was again a pilot trek with few mistakes which resulted in wasting 2-3 hours. But as in whole trek was nicely done. Harishchandragad can be enjoyed in monsoon and winter season. If you want to explore all the points, you need two days with night stay at top.
Click here to see pictures of Harishchandragad trek.