The first drizzle, the rain makes it’s way through the horizon, and slowly, covers the entire land in its spell. The winds catch up, directions change, and transparent droplets of pearls form on the green leaves, making them shine brighter and lush.
The trees breathe and the nature slowly becomes alive. And the soul, desperate to be healed, finds a connect with the changing green. You venture out in search of a stronger connection, and mountains bring you to home.
After a long wait of changing seasons, the monsoons have arrived, at last. And the mountains are turning greener with every passing shower. Are you ready to take yourself on this journey of healing, and meeting yourself?
Here are a few ventures in no particular order that will help you meet yourself ❤️
1) Everest of Maharashtra, The Kalsubai
Often topping the list of the ‘To-Do Treks’ in and around Mumbai is Kalsubai, standing tall at approximately 5400 fts. Though riskless, it requires a little endurance to walk up the top. And when you reach the top? Bouy!
I can hear some faint noises. We have made it to the top of the highest peak of Maharashtra. I sat some ten meters far from the crowd, not a soul in vision. I am sitting at the edge of a cliff, it is some 5400 ft. above the sea level. My legs are hanging down the cliff. I look down, and my heart sank. I shuddered.
It was complete milky-white. There wasn’t a tree, or a road, or a mountain in view, just the white-fog, and it felt like a vacuum. What if I slipped a centimeter? *a chill swirled down my spine*. I picked up a rock, and carefully tossed it into what felt like a black-hole of some sort, and it vanished with a blink, in the white. I shut my eyes, and took a heavy breath in.
I slowly opened my eyes, and once again, I was in love.//
Starting the trek with a ‘Misal Pav’, and ‘garam garam adrak wali chai’ at Neral station, you get to enjoy the beauty of Matheran without having to bear the brunt of a crowd. A mixture of basic rock climbing, experiencing the forest trail, and the lush green lands, Peb has it all
A trek to the Peb-Vikatgad fort also made me realise that when you are in mountains, you meet with a life style of basic necessities.
The Sun was up in full force, and with no rains, we kept on climbing, sustaining on the little water that we had brought with us. When we had reached the caves, we realised that almost all of us were out of water. There was a water pond nearby, which was also a home to the mountain frogs and baby snakes. We slowly pulled water from the pond and filtered it using the only napkin we had. All of us drank that water, no one complained, as opposed to the mandatory mineral water in a city life.
While the city sleep, you wake up to the cold winds, and set out for the adventure amidst the railway tracks to reach the milky white falls of Dudhsagar. The fall is so huge, and magnificent. It is after a walk of 14 kms, mostly on the railway track, that you finally reach the fall. The legs are tired, and sweat shines on the tanned skin. But when you finally stand in front of the Dudhsagar Waterfall, a bolt of energy cross your body. Little drops of water which are carried by the wind fall on you, and you experience a Nirvana.
The legs still pain, the body is yet warm from all the kilometers covered, but it doesn’t matter. All that remains is the sight of the mighty falls, and the roaring sound, calling you, asking you to live a little more.
The name means ‘coin’ and ghat means ‘pass’, as this path was used as a toll booth to collect toll from traders crossing the hills between Kalyan and Junnar.
The trek route to Naneghat is lush green, and the rocks are covered in ferns and mosses. For trekkers enthusiast in bird watching, Naneghat is your ‘go-to’ trek.
And irrespective of how many treks you have done, the view from the top will leave you spellbound – a few moments of soltitude, away from the crushing monotony of the urban life.
The best part about this trek is the spiral stone steps, with a thrilling climb to the top. And once you reach the top! The wind will be high, playing with your hair. The air would be romantic, making you want to dance. The breathes will become calm, replaced by the energy of the shinning green and the rising brown. Who said meditation only happens with closed eyes?
This is one of the few forts remaining in Maharashtra that has a 360° fortification all around.
With a small pond near the fort, you can sit around, and remember all those treks you’ve done before, or if it was your first trek, then the patch which was the defining moment. Creating memories in the little spaces.
I asked a friend who went to Sudhagad last year,
“What was that part about Sudhagad which has stayed with you even today, after a year to the trek?”
“I heard nature talking to me”
And I smiled. Yes. That is the beauty about this trek. About the mountains that encompass you. All you need to do, is just let yourself loose, and observe. Listen. Don’t get lost behind the front and the rear cameras of your phone. For a while, just let it go, and let the mountains tell you their story
When you wake up in the mountains and see the first light gently cast over the whole wide valley below, and then onto the mountain peaks, you start seeing things differently.
But also, we need to remember one thing. We go to the mountains, the mountains do not call us. And while we are there in their county, experiencing the boundless love and flow of energy, it is our responsibility to come back to the civilisation without leaving carbon prints.
For those who haven’t yet made their first ascend, I urge you, visit them once. Because, there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different Sun.
By Akanksha Gupta