Sudhagad Trek

Trip Start Oct 25, 2008
Trip End Oct 25, 2008

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Flag of India  , Maharashtra,
Saturday, October 25, 2008

After having done a couple of easy grade treks this year I decided to participate in the moderate grade Sudhagad Trek. Nature Knights (NK) organized this trek. Sudhagad is located at a height of 2200 feet in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. After Pen on the Mumbai Goa highway you come to Pali which is also famous for one of the Ashtavinayak temples, Bhalleshwar. From here you move towards Paachapur village, about 24 km. The fort can be accessed from Thakurwadi village near Pacchapur.

I reached the pickup point near Andheri station at 5:00 AM. Dhnyanesh from Nature Knight arrived after 10 minutes. I had met him at the earlier Silonda trek. Few more participants had also assembled by then. NK had arranged a 12 seat mini van. It looked like this time there will be a smaller group. After picking up some more participants at Chembur and New Mumbai, there were in all 8 participants and 3 organizers.

We stopped for breakfast at a dhaba near Pen. Dhnyanesh said that they served good missal pav, so I ordered that. It was indeed good. After a hot cup of tea we proceeded towards Pacchapur. We reached Thakurwadi village at around 10:00 AM. After a brief round of introductions the trek began.

Nimesh was leading this trek. I met him for the first time. Unlike the talkative Dhnyanesh, he appeared to be a quiet type.

The last trek I went on was to Silonda during the monsoon. The weather was much cooler then. In contrast today the sun was shining brightly, and it was expected to get hotter during the day. I was carrying the mandatory three litres water.

After walking for about half an hour, I found myself lagging behind. So I picked up speed and my breathing got faster. This seemed normal and I was hoping to resume a slower pace on catching up with the group. In few minutes I was with the group but my energy level went down and I was feeling wobbly. I thought that I was sweating too much. After few more paces, I got a nauseating and dizzy feeling.

There was no shade on this stretch, so I sat down on a rock under the blazing sun. I pulled out a Cadbury perk bar and unwrapped it hoping that it will give me some energy. I took a bite of the chocolate, but I was not able to chew or swallow it. I felt like lying down. Then I realised that I am in a bad shape.

The rest of the group was passing me and I sat quietly thinking that it would be embarrassing to drop out of the trek at such an early stage. Nimesh, who was at the tail end of the group immediately noticed that I am in trouble and quickly approached me. He asked if I have a candy or something. When I showed him the chocolate bar, he said that should help. He said that I should keep having a sip of water at regular intervals because I have been dehydrated.

Since the chocolate bar was not helping, I put it away and had few sips of water. After few minutes I started feeling better. Nimesh waited for me to recover. Once I felt capable of walking again, Nimesh and I resumed the trek.

I made it a point to have water at regular interval. My energy level was low, but I managed to keep pace with the group. On reaching the forts outer walls, we took a break at the entrance (mahadarwaja). The cool breeze and the shades put some life in me. The break appeared to stretch for more than fifteen minutes, but I did not mind at all.

We reached the top of the fort in another half an hour. We found a shaded spot near a pond to settle down. Most of us jumped into the water. The cool water and pleasant company was soothing. After lolling in the water for a long time, one guy quipped that "yeh toh bhainson wala hishab hua" (We are behaving like water buffaloes).

Having worked up a nice appetite, we sat in a circle to have lunch. Every one had got packed lunches and it was being shared freely. While we were eating and chatting, a cow had walked up to us and stood nearby staring. A couple of more cows were standing further away. Some one suggested that we might be sitting in the herd's usual path. So everyone got up and moved away. But instead of heading straight, the cow headed for our bags that were kept on one side. On realising that the cows were there for our food, we tried shooing them away. But the leader of the herd was very stubborn and would not budge. After we made a lot of din she reluctantly backed off.

Though there was lot of grass in that region the herd was looking for human food. Obviously they have got used to people feeding them. It is so important not to mess with the animals' food habits.

After lunch we proceeded to explore the fort. It is a huge fifty acres plateau. There is a Bhoraidevi temple.  Boraidevi is the deity of the Bhor community. This fort was originally called Bhorapgad, till the Maratha king Shivaji captured and renamed it to Sudhagad. Hmm, so renaming places has been an ancient past time for Indians... 

You can also see some ruins. There are some ancient tombstones too. Near the temple there is an ancient well. There is a secret pathway at the bottom of this well. This pathway was no longer visible because of accumulated garbage. The fort also offers a nice view of Tel Baila peak. On the way back we checked out the chor darwaja (secret pathway) near the main entrance.

On any trek the descent may not be as strenuous as the climb but it has its own challenges. I did not have any trouble at all while descending from Sudhagad. I was wearing a new hunter shoe that I had purchased couple of months ago. This shoe seems to have good grip and I did not get much strain on the calf muscles.

We reached the Thakurwadi village at around 6:00 PM. On the drive back, we stopped at a riverbank. It was time for another dip in the water. Since I did not have spare dry cloth, I chose not to jump in.
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