Sunday, June 20, 2010

Trekking resumes..

The first monsoon showers bring the Sahaydris alive. Rejuvenated by the rains, the hills take on a picturesque coat of green. And following the monsoon showers to the Sahaydris are hundreds of groups of trekkers of all ages and ability, eager to soak in the magical moments of nature at its best. Though calling myself a regular trekker would be stretching it a bit too far, I have always been wanting to go myself on some of these treks myself. I had done a handful of treks a few years back, but then the habit died a natural death. So it was wonderful to revive it yesterday when me and a few friends went to trek the Tikona fort near Lonavala.

Tikona fort is situated around 15 kms from Lonavala and is, in fact, a group of forts (Tung, Lohagad and Visapur being the others) with the Pavana lake situated almost in between them. In fact, it may be a good idea to set base at Lonavala for 3 days or so and do all treks. Anyways, coming to our trek, we started from Andheri at around 7.30 am in mostly clear weather and set off on the Expressway. After getting out at the Talegoan exit, we joined the NH4 and then moved towards the Kamshet junction. On the way we encountered a great sports cafe (of course mostly empty at the time), which was ideal to fill ourselves with aloo-paratha and omlettes and two rounds of tea. With content tummies, we approached the base of Tikona fort (a village called Tikona Peth) by around 11.30 am. The weather was fluctuating between sunny and cloudy with, unfortunately, not much sign of rain. After parking our cars outside the village temple, we set out by foot. After walking for about a couple of km, the hike started.

Oh yes, before that,something about the fort. The name Tikona actually should be Trikona (triangle in Marathi) and is so named because it is almost like a equal pyramid (hence the front view being a triangle). This means that the ascent to the fort is short but steep at places. Doing a trek after a couple of years offered me the opportunity to test my stamina and fortunately, after some initial hiccups (as a result of the burning sun and the heavy breakfast), I managed to last the distance well. The ascent is part in steps and part in trails created by fellow trekkers. After about an hour and a half of exertions, we were at the top at around 1.30 pm, which was slightly late in the day, since we saw quite a few groups who were on their way back. On the top, there is not much to see, except the fort ramparts and the mandatory temple and water tank. Another omnipresent part of the fort is the friendly locals serving 'pithla-bhakri'. This traditional rural Maharasthrian dish can be found on almost all forts and is a big hit with all trekkers. This particular family, in fact, sells almost 100 plates on a typical monsoon weekends !!. And we enjoyed in thoroughly, more so because the clouds finally opened up (through not as heavily as we wanted).

After about an hour at the top, we set to a quick descent (almost 30-45 minutes) back to the base village. By dinner time, I was back home, extremely happy to add to my limited trekking experience and promising myself to add a few more in the coming weeks.


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