Sunday, September 03, 2006

Manikgad A.K.A Manekgad

This weekend, after couple of beers and some hasty calls etc. We agreed that we need to meet at Devi House at 7.00 AM in the morning. Finally as we got moving in the Qualis, we brainstormed and zeroed in on Manekgad/Manikgad. Yes we had no plan. Whatever I had read about this place, they all say it was of little significance and was used as an outpost etc. Which made us think the hike to a insignificant fort would be pretty insignificant. Events showed, we were wrong.

The way to reach this place from Pune is to reach Chauk/Chowk. It is on the 1km to left of NH4 after Khopoli as one is travelling for Mumbai.
Two options again to reach the top

1] From Chowk take a left turn for a place called Talavali and hike from here to reach the fort.
2] Reach Vadgaon Vashivale from Chowk, a bit ahead from Talavali and hike the fort from there.

Option 2] is safest and nicest. We took route 1 for climb. There is no defined trail and our local guides had to carve a path through thick jungles for us using the blade they had with them. There are possibilities that you would be history if you had a slightest error in judgement, also there are giant mosquitoes so 3/4ths or shorts is not at all a good idea on this route. There is some real nasty variety of ants as well, and you cant help but to get at least 20 of them on you at various times and they seem to like humans. The climb is slippery as well. We got down from route 2 which is a very conventional safer and nicer route. It is lengthy nevertheless. Very lengthy in fact as it goes round the fort and takes you to Vadgaon.
Route 2 is suggested all the times, although if you do enjoy into situations described above like I do, please go ahead. Its a very valuable experience to have.
Despite 1 being a short route took us 3 hours to reach the top [ No we arent that dumb, it was really bad ].

There is not much left on the top. Couple of water tanks, one buffalo [ god knows how it made it to the top ], one stone arch etc. There are 14 water tanks somewhere on route 2 but then your guide should know. Our guides were pretty boring individuals. One looked like gollum, you can check him out in pictures section.

There is some interesting square tunnel enroute in option 1. From the top one can spot Patalganga [ river ] basin, Dharamtar or Panvel creek, Prabalgad across the plains and typically shaped pinnacle of Karnala.

It was almost dark when we got back, had some Malwani food before Khopoli. Never underestimate those things where they say its a insignificant fort or its an outpost, dont expect the locals to know *this fort* you are looking for. Lastly - Dont ask for Vadgaon. People would think you are crazy to come all the way past Khopoli from Pune when you wanted to go to Vadgaon *Mawal*. Tell them you are looking for Vadgaon-Vashivale.

Check out the complete imagestation album here.


Anonymous said...

hey Bud, it was great going through your blog, am very fond of trekking you have any friends in mumbai who join you for treks? can you mail in? i dont have a blog of my own..thanks...

Laxmi Salgaonkar said...

nice....i plan to visit this year...hope the trip's as interesting