A trek early morning is all you need to get the blood flowing through your veins, and that’s exactly what this one was all about. A few of us viz. Ronny, Bunny, Colin and I decided to test our trekking skills at Rajmachi. Colin, whom I was meeting for the very first time, knew about the place, and had heard that it’s something to look forward to! So after coordinating on WhatsApp for most of the week – the four of us decided to meet up at Dadar station to catch the 6.25 trail to Neral. During the train journey, Ronson kept us very entertained with all his ‘nautanki’ as Calvin would put it. I’m pretty sure Colin at some point thought to himself, ‘Woah! This Aniruddha has weird friends’ J but overall to have the chilly, early morning breeze flying through your hair and the wind in your face, is an unforgettable experience. We reached at around 8.30 a.m. with just one incident – Ronson exclaiming that he forgot to bring the dozen eggs he had carefully arranged in his kitchen! (To be honest, I’m not really surprised by it – and if you knew Ronson for as long as I have, you wouldn’t either!)
After grabbing some chai and bhaji/batata pav – we headed off on a long rickshaw ride to the Kondivade village, from where starts the tougher of the two routes that one can ascend. This one involves a climb-up of about 2000 feet. The other route is from Lonavala, which is almost a plain walk of about 15 km. but then again, who wants to choose the easy way eh? (Come to think of it, I’m quite sure that if Colin wasn’t there, the remaining three of us would have been lost in the wilderness, and have to make do with our own version of LOST! If you do plan to head to Rajmachi, make sure you remember the following
- In rainy season this region is more beautiful with silvery waterfalls and lush green meadows – you should carry a towel so that you can have a quick shower
- Don’t wear Woodland shoes – they suck during the descent, not to mention it feels like an additional 3kgs that you’re lugging
- Carry enough water – it tends to get quite hot
- Have someone named ‘Colin’ who knows the way to go
- Have enough battery in your cell so that you can click great pics
- Carry a towel (as mentioned above J )
Check out some of the images below – we had a gala time ascending up. We started at around 9am and pretty soon we reached our first checkpoint – the caves. It wasn’t too tiring until the Khondana Caves, in fact we reached there by 10.30am. There was a slight waterfall trickle flowing through, but the four of us acted as though this was the first time we had seen water in ages! Haha!! And of course Ronson, well, he had to act like Ronson 🙂 – not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂
From Khondana Caves its takes another 2.5 to 3 hours to reach at the top. On the way up, we realised that we were out of water, and just as we were about to die of thirst, from out of nowhere a Good Samaritan appeared – a villager. He was so kind that he allowed us to draw water from his well and fill up our bottles. Oh yea! Reached back again, we headed up to the top. There are two Balekillas, one Shrivardhan and the other Manoranjan. We were finally able to do the one thing we had waited for so long – cook Maggie. Oh wait! Didn’t I mention that… Hmmm let’s rewind this, shall we?
Maggi on the top of a mountain is simply out of this world, especially with the smoked flavour that the burning of leaves add in. I knew this from a couple of previous treks and so convinced others that this would be the best food we could have at the top. Unfortunately Maggi was no longer available, so we settled for yippee noodles instead- which is not as great tasting as Maggie! So bunny decided to carry along a pan that we could use to make the Maggi Yippee, and I carried along the family pack.
Coming back to our story, noodles on top of a mountain takes a long time to make. It took us 20 minutes to get the fire going, then another 45 min to cook the noodles – but believe me, we were so famished that we really loved the smoked taste of Yippee – yes, even Yippee!!!
On the way back, we stopped at Udhewadi, a small village at the top where we bought some water – we didn’t think we’d need a lot since it would now be downhill. We descended at 3.30pm and reached the base, Kondivade village by around 6pm. In total, my POLAR summarized that we walked 38k steps – and I was like woah!! This is an awesome trekking fort. Try to go earlier in the day to avoid the crowd. It is a good climb up and very breezy! The cool breeze and the stunning scene of that place mesmerized us. Awesome place to go that I would recommend to all!