On the Morning of Aug 31st, at around 6:30 AM we left Panvel in a Maruti Ertigo; Bawa, Akki, Deeku, Ganesh Bhai, his son Shivam, his friend Vineeth and me. It was drizzling all through the route. We took the Mumbai-Goa route towards Raigad. On our way we stopped at a Kamat Hotel to have some tasty Misal Pav for breakfast. Sayadri mountains are at its best during this season; with lush surroundings filled with countless waterfalls.
We reached Raigad at around 10 AM. I had carried my Poncho and that came really handy. We rented some extra Umbrellas for Rs50. A cable car ticket price is Rs180 per person. While the rest took both way ticket I insisted on trekking back alone. So I took a one way ticket. The ropeway ride was interesting. However the mist prevented a good view of the surroundings. It was like taking a 5 minute climb into the clouds.
At the summit, we hired a Guide. We also ordered some Bhakri for lunch from a lady who told she would keep the food ready and meet us at the temple. Our guide impressed us a lot with his manner of narrating the story of Shivaji and his eight wives. Like a thriller, he disclosed the reason behind only six queen rooms in the palace. One wife stayed with Shivaji’s mother and the other had some health issue due to which she stayed downhill. Of course the palace of Shivaji is all in ruins as the British bombarded the fortess in 1818 using cannons.
We visited the main durbar where the coronation of Shivaji happened. A replica of the throne sits there today. Our guide gave a good loud announcement praising the Maratha King Shivaji and we all followed him with a Jai at the end. We walked past the main doors and the market places that in this cloudy weather looked magical and appeared as if we were taking a tour to the mystical world of the Maratha empire.
Before leaving us, the guide gave a live performance from one of the plays. He enacted the dialogue of Arungazeb where in he praises his own enemy Shivaji. Our talented guide had amazing voice and he just impressed us all with his dramatic end to the tour.
We took a walk to the Jagdishwar temple. Next to which is the tomb of King Shivaji. A small sculptor of his dog Wagya who is believed to have jumped into the fire is also placed in front of his tomb. But certain controversy surrounds this as whether this is actually based on a recorded event or was installed as an insult to the king.
At the temple, we met the lady who had promised us food. She lived in a house behind the temple. We followed her through narrow streets to a small hut where her family has been living since more than 60 years. The archeology department has denied electricity here hence they live there with minimal privileges. But for we hungry people, she was a saviour by preparing for us some delicious rice bhakri, junka and spicy tesa. I just loved the food. This was an experience I shall never forget. I thanked her for the delicious food.
While the others took ropeway back, I took the steps down all alone. On my way I passed by several waterfalls. Occasionally the sky cleared and displayed some fantastic view of the area. I met a group of Engineering students who requested me to click their pictures and email it to them.
I stopped at a small tea stall where an old lady made some fresh tea for me on Chulha. The view from the tea stall was amazing. The trekking trail was also very impressive. Thankfully there are no leeches here like in the western ghats.
I reached the base in around one and half hours. My poncho came of great help because the rain did not stop at all. This trek though short was very exciting because at times I found myself alone in the forest. There was nothing but the sound of rainfall as it hit the green leaves and that of the waterfall at a distance. It was simply magical.
At the base, I met with others and we left to Shivathar ghal.