'23/Sep/2016'

Misty fogs, drizzling rain, clouds moving to reveal watch towers of fort seems like some sort of painting but again paintings are inspired by nature and nature amazes every time we gaze into it. Living amidst the wide range of mountains, traversing their paths and staring into distant horizons, the feeling that can be inculcated is so refreshing. It replenishes your thoughts and transforms your energy.

Oh!! The great ranges inspire. The Sahyadri is the guardian, the infinite pool of nature, the witness of history, and the foundation of the great forts built on them. Home of many forts and caves the Sahyadri’s had a great significance during Reign of Maratha Kingdom. The two great forts built on them are Rajgad and Torna. Rajgad as the name says the capital fort, it was capital of Shivaji’s Kingdom for 26 years and Torna became the first fort to be captured. The trek between the two is not just an adventurous activity, but a great journey of oneself into the very intersection of nature and history.

The end of Monsoon adds a different color to the mountains, lush green as they are the rains lashing are transformed into drizzling and blowing of winds is converted into sweet swirl. The tricky paths are muddy; the waterfalls are emptying themselves falling through the huge walls and rocks of the fort.

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Trekking Rajgad is quite a delight, forest on all the sides with signboards of different animals and birds that can be found here, the hill ranges on all sides; they form the crown of earth. Drizzling rain and swirling wind adds to the flavor.  As one ascends the watch towers come into view, entering the Chor Darwaja there in front is a great Padmavati Lake one of the source of water on the fort.

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Rajgad has 3 ‘Maachis’ (Plateaus) on the fort. The Padmavati maachi consist of the Padmavati Lake, the temple and the Samadhi of King Shivaji’s first wife ‘Saibai.’ The temple can accommodate around 60 people for night stay. There is an ever cold climate on the fort; the temple’s warmth is a relief.  The temple has a sculptor of King Shivaji, also many paintings of depicting scenes of Sambhaji and Shivaji are hanged on the poles of temple.

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Ahead of temple walking further on the Steps there is a ‘ballekilla’ of the Fort, ballekilla is the center and important place of any fort. The Ballekilla has many ‘sadar’ of clerks and many ‘mahals’ (residences). The dilapidated architecture still gives the feeling of exotic history. Walking these structures makes you realize how great and visionary the Chatrapati was.

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The night stay at Rajgad is delight, the warmth of temple, the cold winds blowing outside, light music being played into different groups. Such climate gives and wonderful feeling and peace of mind.

The next day trek to Torna from Rajgad is a real thrill and adventure. One climbs the same stairs for ‘Ballekilla’ and instead of going straight takes a turn towards ‘Sanjivini Maachi’ another of 3 maachis of the fort. It has many water tanks in series, a watch tower stands tall at the end of the Maachi, the mist clearing away and watch tower coming to view is such a picturesque view.

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The Rajgad to Torna Trek has around 10 to 12 hills to be climbed up and down.  The nature all around consumes you; the rustic beauty just takes you to another world. The descending of ridges and walking on the narrow paths gives quite a unique feeling of scariness and incredulity. The complete descend and then ascend of Torna is separated by a tar road.  The crowning range of Sahyadri can be seen while traversing the path towards Torna; the thick forests on all sides, the trails make you lose yourself completely. The Torna’s watch tower stands a tall and gives a feeling of strong guardian guarding the fort. Traversing it one has to climb the rocks to get upon another watch tower. The Torna isn’t reached yet. Ahead there are few steep climbs and narrow ridges to be crossed to reach a Temple. The temple is also built anciently. Resting here and having meal, descend is started. Descend is little easy than the range trek. Firstly there are many stone steps that need to be climbed down. There are various waterfalls which just makes you feel refreshed on the path. Further ahead there are few plateaus and scenic beauty of gunjavani dam and mountains in the background covered in clouds.

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Going down a concrete road is built which goes down till the base village. Reaching the base village and once looking back gives a feeling of accomplishment and makes you wonder that have you really travelled the mountains. The trek leaves you with many mixed emotions and feelings inside you but in the end the adventure that you have completed adds a chapter in your life.

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