Should be reading more and writing less, but well...
A magnificent waterfall is hitting a boulder, and from there, its falling further down through more rocks forming kick-ass white water, and finally on it goes into oblivion. From the other side of this oblivion, we started climbing towards the basin of the waterfall against the flow of water. After finding our way through water and rock, we finally reached the boulder where water hit ground. It was an experience nonpareil, to finally sit on a rock just in front of the waterfall basin, with water gushing all around us, feeling the needle-like spray forcibly closing our eyes.
I looked up at the water falling nearly on top of us, and could see the Sun through the thin film of water, through the spray - I wanted to sit there for sometime; the blanket of nature was ummmmm cozy. A moment to remember. As Keats said, a thing of beauty is a joy forever
This was at Shivtarghal (ghal == waterfall), a place where Shivaji's spiritual guru, Ramdas, meditated in a cave behind the waterfall, under the mountain (a la Phantom?). From there, we went to the mountain-top fort headquarters of Shivaji at Raigadh (gad == fort). After a winding road journey, we reached the base camp. One can either trek from the base-camp to the fort on top of the hill, or take a rope-car that stretched from the base-camp to the top.
I took the rope-car - a journey through clouds, rain, trickling water falls, facing the mighty Sahyadris, being able to see huge shadows cast by tall mountains, being pulled up higher and higher and finally into Shivaji's fort - to be greeted by chilly rain.
The fort itself is spectacular, and with all the mist and cloud around us, the experience was surreal. We could see small yellow flowers all over the ground through the fort, making it a misty, flower covered heaven on top of a mountain. Somewhere there, we came across this beautiful corridor that went into a misty-void, through which we walked. A moment to remember - this walk.
On the other side of the corridor lay Takmak Tok - Shivaji's execution point (a la Tippu Drop?), a small landing leading off from the mountain, dropping all the way down, and offering a panoramic view of some ten odd anonymous waterfalls falling all over the Sahyadris, miscellaneous streams, and curving roads deep below - some place to be pushed to death from eh? We spent an hour there with the evening Sun, which was clearing the mist to give us a glimpse into the depths and the far off mountains, and disappearing behind clouds and allowing the mist to cover us fully. The walk back from the tip of the cliff back to the corridor in the chilly air with mild-orange sunlight behind us is another moment I will remember. Of course, then came the trek back to the base camp.
A few of us brave souls decided to skip the rope-car journey back, and decided to trek down the insanely slippery route back. Fading light through thick mists, zero torches, stairways that had become streams, and an eerie feeling of being in the middle of black-nowhere- these occupied my mind. Many of us slipped and fell hard on our backs, jutting rocks hit us from all around in the dark, and half way through, the Sun went down fully and it was pitch black darkness. We used mobile phones for torches, crawled our way through slippery moss to avoid slipping (a moment to remember), and with great survival spirit and co-ordinated team work, managed to finish the 100 minute descent. A worthy closure to a memorable trip with great friends.
More photos on my Raigadh Trip Album