Sunday, August 13, 2006

Tung A.K.A. Kathingad

I lost the 2006 monsoons till first week of Aug. The first weekend didnt work out that well, since I landed in Mumbai on Thursday and buddies kept telling me how busy they are working on weeknds meeting deadlines etc. Then things fell in place this weeekend and that saw the group of four from Ingot heading on two bikes to Tung.

First of all, all I had read and heard about this fort was its a tough one, which remains pretty much the reason why I did not experiment with this one for so many years though it was just couple of hours away from Pune. Things have changed drastically over a year now, I have lost some hair ;-) and there are more bloggers set to educate poor people like me about the forts and approach routes etc. I remember distinctly that few years ago all I had to refer even after googleing etc was just this one web hosted on tripod with whatever little information and more suited for people from Mumbai. So I did see some bloggers mentioning about their trek to this place etc, which was an ecouragement to poor soul like me who needed it badly.

Anyways, so we set out from Chandni Chowk, Paud Road at 7.00 in the morning. Precursor was some chai-sutta at a tapri opp. Banjara Hills.

Reasearch showed there are two ways to get to this place from Pune.
1] Reach Paud from Pune, take the turn right next to the ST bus stand and reach a place called Javan. About 10-15Km from Paud I guess, situated at the base of Tikona, another fort on the other bank of Pawana Dam. The road is great with no potholes at all. From here take a left to reach Morve-Tungwadi. This part of the road is not at all advised. Although its pretty scenic and although being warned we took our chances. If you find yourselves at this point, move straight ahead to Kamshet from Javan, reach Lonavala and follow option 2.
2] This is a no-nonsense route, - Reach Lonavala from Pune, take left turn to Bhushi dam, move ahead towards Ambavane-Sahara Valley without falling for the chicks frolicking in dam waters . Somewhere in between take a left at a place called Ghusalkhamb [About 20 mins drive from INS Shivaji] and reach the base of the fort. This road is in great condition though might sound time consuming and lengthy, effectively its not. Option 1 took us almost 5 hours, the road is that bad.

We started climb at 12.00 after our eventful journey which consisted getting bikes across flooded roads, pushing them uphill etc. There were 50% of ultra-noobies in our group of four, which called for lot of babysitting during this climb/getting down process. After leaving one of us behind we reached the top at about I guess 45 minutes. The climb is really tricky and requires one to watch his/her steps all the time. I had read somewhere there are two ways to get up this fort and one of them is a simple one. Although after talking to lot of locals I couldnt get my hands on any other route than the one we took.

There is not much to see on the top. A temple and a pinnacle which has a temple of godess Tungai. We did not attempt this pinnacle for reasons best not explained. You get a good view of Tikona on the other side of Pawana dam from the top. You can spot the wall of Pawana dam from here. Apparently you can also spot Lohagad and Visapur from here, but since it was too cloudy and my sense of direction etc failed me I missed the spectacle. The locals swear to god that from top of the pinnacle you can see both Mumbai and Pune but thats super unlikely.

While returning we took the Lonavala route. [ No way I was going to go back by that road ]. Overall, I would still say if you can avoid this trek in rainy season its better since the supports, paths/rocks here are all slippery and you hardly have a foot wide path for you. Haapy to be alive and the pictures will tell the story ;-) Check out the complete imagestation album here.

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