Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Peth A.K.A Kothligad Pictures

Pinnacle of Peth and the hutments at base
Same place - same tree
Peculiarly shaped Padar Killa and Siddhagad at Distance
Locals working in the Paddy fields
Khandas-Bhimashankar range of Western ghats
The base of the fort. Taken from the base of the caves.
On the way up the pinnacle
Lush green mountain slopes with Padar Killa at distance
Pinnacle lost in clouds towards the evening.

Peth A.K.A. Kothligad

I got a call from Ajax on Wednesday. He said he had a bunch of guys with him from office which meant other than B and GD we had lot more heads and biking was ruled out. I was given the glorious job of deciding on the destination, so I took the liberty to dump the travel booking etc to Ajax. After lot of factors considering the two couples, prospects of rains, humidity blah blah. We headed towards Peth. Primarily because I had been there before and I did not want to scare the mere mortals on the bus with the idea of "Gee.. look this guy has no idea where he is taking us". So venturing into unknowns was turned down.

We got going about 8.00 from Pune, [ pretty early by the standards we set]. Had breakfast in Lonavala. On the way, some bright kid called up one of his drunk Sardar mate left behind in Baner to come join us in Lonavala, which surprisingly he did in record time. This Sardar could go on to become India's hope in MotoGP trust me.

For the sake of it and some people really do need these : Directions :
Get to Khopoli from Pune via NH4/Expressway. Take the Khopoli exit. Take the right turn to Karjat. Reach Karjat. Cross the bridge over Ulhas river and proceed to Murbad. At about 11 odd Kms from Karjat is Kashele. Take a right here towards Ambivali. This again is about 12 Kms. From Ambivali start your climb to Peth.

We reached after quite a leisurely journey. When we set off, it was raining in Pune, though oddly this part showed no traces and had been this way apparently for past 8-10 days. Peth is the most amazing place one can visit monsoons I guess. Particularly for the sight of numerous waterfalls that plunge the mountain slopes as you are on your way up.

Our leisurely journey continued till the small hamlet on the top. Here we had a brief pit stop and moved ahead. Ambivali has a lake at the base which is fed by one particularly beautiful waterfall which is a bit off the climbing route. It did get overcast at the end of the day. The fort has sole survivor canon and some fortification. There are steps dug out from inside the rock. Overall quite a tough base for a skirmish I guess. From the top one can spot the oddly shaped Padar Killa, triangular Siddhagad beyond and the Khandas Bhimashankar range of Western ghats.

The small set of hutments at base provide accomodation/chai/beedi etc etc. Watch out for a piece of a Canon in front of a shop called "Ganesh Kirana Stores". The owner guy claimed he got it in order to save it from others trying to steal it and take it away. The same guy has a necklace with what he claims as a "Royal Bengal Tiger tooth". Claims it was about 12 years ago that the villagers had found it dead in the valley. Claims there are leopards in the valley below, which is very true going by the fact that 30 odd leopards from Junnar were actually intentionally released in the Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary.

I would have been happy if it rained. I met quite a few enthusiastic people on this trip. Met a father of two and three of them were going to camp here for night. Apparently this guy visits every year in monsoon and winters for past 12 years. I was in here with B, P and A in 2003. We had biked all the way from Pune. Now both B and P are gone, so much has changed. A is married and busy. I hope I carry on like this guy.

Check the entire imagestation album here.