Thursday, July 28, 2011

Durg - Dhakoba

When we started planning for it, few of us had only one and a half day in hand where others had 2 full days, so we had to plan where we could visit one fort on first day and start back to Pune on the next morning, while others could continue to the second fort. That's why we decided to go to these forts since Durg is very small, actually a huge pile of big rocks rather than a fort. Dhakoba has quite a climb, as per few books and blogs it takes 2.5 hours to reach its top if climbed from the base village Amboli.

Our plan was to go to Durgwadi, from where Durg is hardly at 15 minutes walk, so we could skip it for the day and go all the way to Dhakoba and come back to Durgwadi for the night's stay. Since some of us had less time, we decided to go by car and others by bus. We started at around 6:30 am on 23rd July 2011, and met at Junnar around 9:45 am before the time for next bus to Hatvij, near Durgwadi. The Junnar - Hatvij bus leaves Junnar at 10:15 am which takes one almost up to Durgwadi and takes around 1.5 hours to reach there. Since we had one car , all of us again met at the forked road where the left road goes to Hatvij and right one goes to Durgwadi, where one should get down from the bus. Durgawadi is at around 20 minutes walk from this spot. Since we all wanted to go together, 8 of us with 8 rucksacks, managed to fit inside our Indica for further journey. The weather was good, a light rain was there, we were at the top of a mountain so wind was great and we enjoyed the stuffed ride to Durgwadi.

We parked our car little ahead of Durgwadi till the road is good and tried to get some local person to take us to Dhakoba. From our knowledge it should have taken around 7 hours to visit Dhakoba and come back but according to the villagers we met, from there Dhakoba was at 1.5 hours one way walk. So when they told us that no one from village can come with us due to the rice plantations to be done, we thought we could reach the fort in atleast 3 hours since there is no way to miss the road..

We started around 12:30 pm. After 15 minutes walk from right edge of Durg, we took a trail going down, to cross a stream and again going to the right of hills in front of us. The way goes from the right of many hills but the path is well marked and at some distances we could see some people to check if we were on right track.. At a point after passing 2-3 hills we were confused as some villager nearby had told us to take the upper path and continue. So some of us went ahead to see the path ahead but due to the clouds we werent sure if it was a correct path or not.. After some more time around 3 pm Manali, Parth and myself were checking for the directions and books to get an idea of our location and how far must be the temple at the base of Dhakoba, that we had been reading about. Meanwhile others found a great jacuzzi and could not help themselves from going inside and of course taking photos of people in the water and the scenery around.

Since we were now on the verge of changing plans to have fun in jacuzzi rather than going to Dhakoba, Manali and Parth pushed everyone to go ahead to see if the temple is anywhere around the next hill. To everyone's delight, from the next turn, we could see Dhakoba looking over from behind a mountain in front of us. It was 3:30 pm by then but we thought we could reach there in an hour and if not we will start back for Durgwadi. So we went ahead and after walking for half an hour, we realised the fort was still too far to reach there and come back by night.

Now that we had some time in hand, some of us went to have fun in jacuzzi again. We started walking back around 4:15 pm. By this time the rains were so heavy, though not continuously, we could hardly see 5 feet area around us. After debating on the road to take, since some of us were sure we had taken a long cut while coming and if we crossed the stream right below where we were standing, we could reach Durgwadi faster, and few of us were insisting that this was not the road we took and it will not take us at correct destination since we were quite far from the road we came, we sticked to the original path and in another 15 minutes we were at the correct point to start climb towards Durg. We reached at the top around 6:15 pm and after taking some photos we started walking remaining way towards our car. Although we hadnt seen any fort in the day and few of us were not going to visit Durg on next day, we were very happy with the trek we had done.

Now we had to check if the temple near Durg was good enough for stay, since we knew some rain water gets inside and we didnt want to realise that it wasnt a good place for stay once we take all the luggage there, in heavy rains. So Parth and Abhijit went to check the temple while remaining of us were trying to hide behind an umbrella or rain jackets and car to get some warmth in the heavily dropping raindrops. After some time when the rain wasnt that hard, all of us sat together on the road, chatting until the other 2 guys came back. When they came back, they told us that we had to stay in the village school since the temple had lot of water in it and even with our tents, we could not stay in it. We found a school room quite big, and a villager told us we could stay there. For our delight there was some wood to lit fire, which someone already had used before and kept the remaining... We started preparing for dinner and sleep. Vishal and Parth made great khichadi and everyone was so hungry that after finishing the Khichadi, Vishal had to make some Maggie for everyone. He did a good job again and everyone went to sleep with their stomach full.

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