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Raireshwar to Kenjalgadh Trek
27-28th Aug 2005

Recreating the magic of Swaraj
As soon as I heard the trek my thoughts went back to the 4th standard history books. For any one who has loved Shivaji stories will remember where it all started. The oath of swaraj that Shivaji Maharaj had taken at Raireshwar. And we were supposed to trek to that hitoric spot. !!.

After the floods that hit Maharashtra, we were expecting lesser participation. We finally were a group of 9. We had booked ST tickets from Mumbai Central to Bhor. The bus leaves Mumbai Central at around 12:30 in the night. The bus was practically empty. The journey was quite comfortable and we reached Bhor district at around 6.00 am. We saw the Bhatgar dam overflowing. It was a sight that I have never witnessed. Cause I have seen many dams but never seen the gates of a dam opened. Also we pass KapurHol which is famous for the replica of Tirupati Balaji temple build by owner of famous Venky's Chicken chain.

Our ST bus pulled into the Bhor stand at around 7:30 am. Though there was a bus about to leave for Karle we decided to skip the bus and wait till 9.00 am and use the time to finish our breakfast as Kar.... has no hotels or anything. We boarded the 9.00 am bus and reached K.. in about half an hour. The route goes from next to a bus stop. To the right is Raireshwar and to the left is Kenjalgad.

We started walking at a steady pace. The route was winding and sometimes we doubted whether we were moving towards Kenjalgad. However after about 2 -3 hrs of winding the route cleared into a plateau. There were couple of small waterfalls along the way. Also on the opposite range you could see lots of waterfalls. We knew we had covered a lot of height when we realised we were in a blanket of fog. Walking along the plateau we were accompanied by a pipe line which took us up to the steps. There are about 277 rock cut steps followed by an iron ladder. Since Raireshwar had slightly higher frequency of visitors the ladder seemed to be better maintained than ones found on other ranges. After the ladder we had to walk only for about half an hour and we could see the village with the temple at the centre.

We had lunch in a temple adjoining the main temple. After lunch we decided to go for a walk. The fog had made visiblity very low and the beauty was that there were lakes all around us not sure whether they were man made or just water logged bodies. Though the villagers had told us that there wasnt much to see around, the natural beauty made the walk worth. And as expected due to the fog and due to our inexperience we again lost our way and had to ask the villagers for directions back to the temple.

Then we paid a visit to the main temple where Shivaji had taken the oath of Swaraj. Its said that he had cut he little finger and taken the oath by dripping blood onto the Shivling. There is a large potrait of Shivaji and his friends inside the temple.

We realised that the temple that we had halted was damp and the atmosphere was very cold. So we talked to a villager and he offered to rent out his house for the night. It turned out to be a good decision since the temperature really dropped in the night. However we had a great dinner, helped by the soup that Nitin had planned. Nitin and family did a good work of Khichdi and we had a good sleep.

Next day morning we woke up to the sound of good showers. Reshma took charge of Poha breakfast and then by 11:00 we were on our way. We have to walk for a long time along the same way that we came by. We walked along the wilderness towards Kenjalgad. We could see foot marks on the way suggesting someone had been that way.

After walking for a long time we came upon a temple. Though it was abandoned, it had signs that it doubled up as a school too. The temple was not mentioned in any of the trekking books that we had carried with us, so we were confused. Still we decided to go ahead and soon we found some huts to the left of the route. The villagers told us that we would now have to leave the route and climb to the right. The route looked steep and it turned out to be a bit steep too. Due to heavy rains there were some landslides and we had to take a couple of detours on the way.

Proceeding slowly we reached the top of Kenjalgad. On the top a huge rock formation greeted us. There was fog all around and the rock looked a bit alarming. There is a climb which takes you to the top of the rock. And it reminds you of the Sanjeevani Machi at Rajgad. Cause you can go till the end of the rock formation. But with fog around we felt as if we were floating someplace.

We grabbed some snacks that we were had with us and decided to make our way back. We had to take a different route. We could still see footmarks and soon we we greeted by a majestic sight of the Dhoom Lake. Its actually a dam build over the Krishna River.

Keeping the lake in sight we started the descent. With some guidance of some villagers that we met on the way, we reached the Ganeshwadi ( Khavli village). There was some time for the ST bus to arrive, so I decided to rush and have a look at the Dhoom dam. It was huge. I could see the majestic Kamalgad in front of me. A village told me that actually almost double the size of the river is on the other side of Kamalgad.

Soon the Whasole - Wai bus arrived. We reached Wai and had some time before we left for Pune or Mumbai. Since the Wai Ganpati is close to the bus stand , we decided to take darshan. I had never seen the Wai Ganapati and I liked the idol :). Also the folklore goes that the idol was earlier at a height of about 10 feet. But over the years its been lowering into the ground. The idol is now at only a height of about 2 feet from the ground. Truth or not, but the sight of the idol was beautiful.

After we came back we sat down chatting and almost missed the last bus to Pune. We took the 9:30 bus to Pune. At Pune we had proper dinner and then started looking out for ST buses. Pune to Mumbai is no issue at any time of the day - infact even nights. Buses run all night.

We finally got a bus to Dadar. People spend the time in the bus sleeping and singing. We reached Mumabi at 3:30 am. It was the dawn of Independence day. What better way to celebrate 58 years of freedom.

Check the photographs.

Written By: Krishna W.
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