Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Raigad: In the Chhatrapati's Kingdom - Part Two

After a good afternoon's rest followed by refreshing cup of tea (machine tea I might add, since there is no kitchen at the top - everything is bought from the foothills), we set out to further explore the fort. After about an hour of revisiting the 'Balle Killa' and the market place, we rested for a while to catch the sunset. And it was one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. The pictures,of course, speak for themselves. By this time, the clouds in the sky had cleared, but the clouds below had not, giving rise to a fabulous sunset in which the sun setting over the hills was actually above the clouds in the valleys below. Not many places where you would see such a sight. Totally transfixed, we simply kept clicking, not wanting to let go the opportunity of preserving the moment for posterity. Once the sun went down, it was time to beat a hasty retreat back to the rooms since there are no lights inside the fort. So once it gets dark, it can be quite scary even with a torchlight (not to add the frequent steps where one can easily trip). We, of course, were back in our rooms in time. A typical 'thali' dinner followed (served quite early at around eight). After that was a 'gup-shup' and a card session that went way past midnight. After that, we resolved to go back to the fort in the pitch of darkness with nothing but a small torch. After going up about a dozen steps, we looked back to take a picture of the resort amidst the darkness, with the clouds still giving us company. We sat their for a few minutes. Unfortunately, the clouds deprived us of a chance to do some star-gazing, so we returned to the rooms to hit the sack.

The morning was clear as we woke up just before and set out for the Shivaji samadhi and the temple adjoining it. As if to show us the way, the sun rose almost exactly behind the samadhi itself. Reaching the samadhi made one's heart swell with pride and emotion. To offer homage at the place honouring the great warrior was a moving experience. Besides the Chhatrapati's samadhi was the memorial of his favourite dog. The last major point to visit was the Takmak Tok. Set apart from the other attractions on the fort, the Takmak Tok was used to throw off serial offenders during Shivaji's reign. Once I reached the place, I understood why. The steel fencing on both sides offered some comfort. But take them out of the equation and it is a scary affair. At the furthest point, the 'tok' (edge) is barely a couple of feet wide with deep ravines on both sides. Reaching there without the comfort of fences would have taken some courage three centuries ago.

After a breakfast of 'Pohe', it was time to leave the fort with fond memories. The return trip had a detour to the village of Pachad near the foothills, where the samadhi of Shivaji's mother, Jijabai stands. The trip to Raigad, apart from offering a much-needed respite from the daily routine, was also a throwback to the great history and legacy of my state. !!


PS: Dear Reader.... This marks the 100th post on my blog !!!.. With your continued patronage, hope to score several centuries more !!.. Thanks a lot ;-)

1 comment:

Monsieur K said...

Fantastic description!
Way to go Amit! :)

and heartiest congrats on the century!