Snehith had come down to my place the night before. We’re up by around 5:00am and start dialling numbers on the cell. A few enlightened souls were still asleep.. and they had to be woken up! Pranav’s already awake by the time I call him. Rahul still hangs in heavenly glory till about 6:10 am. About fourteen of Snehith’s friends were supposed to join us . All drop! Akhilesh arrives at the bus stand well before time. At about 06:25 I get a call from Nikunj saying he’d be joining us soon. Vaibhav, Siddharth and Trupti turn up at 06:30. Rahul’s surprising there at the Sivajinagar bus stand right on time! Finally we’re a team of 12 – Pankaj, Prashant Rathore , Falgun , Nikunj, Vaibhav, Trupti, Siddharth, Pranav, Rahul, Snehith and I. Sivanand would be joining us enroute.
We initially had plans to take a bus to Khopoli first and then another to Pali. Vaibhav enquires with the transport officials and finds out that we’ve got a direct bus to Pali at 07:00am. The first half an hour, more or less everyone keeps to himself. Nevertheless a few minutes later most of us get to the rear of the bus and slowly start conversing. Probably it’s been just about ten minutes and wham..Someone ( read Nikunj) clears his throat and starts singing. Prashant falls in line soon. Melody turns to Rhapsody with most of us trying to pitch in whatever we know. People start staring at us but who cares!
In about three hours, 10:20 hrs, the driver kicks us out of the bus. We’d reached Pali! Pali situated in the Sudhagad Taluk of the Raigad district is famous for Ballaleshvar – one of the Ashtavinayaks. A brief darshan at the temple followed by a quick breakfast and we’re all set for the trek. Localites guide us to the trek base point. From the base point, the trek looks pretty simple. JUst one hillock to cover. This looked just similar to the Rohida fort but for the steep incline at the end. At approx. 11:30 hrs we start the trek. Unfortunately, this time climate isn’t as conducive as it was during the Rohida trek. Air currents were sporadic and humidity was high. We reach a plateau and decide to rest for a while. Pranav on the other hand decides to stay right there instead of moving ahead. We were only four of us trailing behind in the group – Pranav, Rahul, Nikunkj and I – the rest had already reached a higher plateau. Amidst all this, Nikunj direly needed a band to pony his hair. All we had was a datacable !
In moments we catchup with the remaining folks. All that was left to reach to the peak now was to climb up the vertical hillock. A flight of gigantic steps manually carved out of the rocks led us up to the top. The climb would have been scary had it rained ! Once we reach the top by the stairs we realised, there was a little more to climb. This secton was a bit interesting – A few hairpin turns, slippery rock surfaces and loose gravel. In about 10minutes we reach the actual top. A small Nag temple stands isolated at a corner. We rest a while here by the side of the hillock which had relatively better air flow and then decide to start our downward trek. Pranav had already reached the base temple by this time.
The way down was a cakewalk. All you needed was impulsive feet, a bit of concentration, and control on your senses to zip down the hillock. Rain would definitely have added a silver line! By around 03:00pm we get back to the same old hotel where we had breakfast and have a decent lunch. The direct bus back to Pune was supposed to come at around 04:30pm. We reach the Pali bus stand by around 04:00pm and while away time.. Unfortunately, we’re not the only one’s waiting for the bus. The moment the bus turns into the bus stand, there’s a mad rush to catch a seat. Rahul manages to get a seat. Pankaj and Shivanand wisely jump into the drivers cabin and base themselves properly there. The rest of us stand! The prospects of getting a seat after Khopoli was also pretty bleak, so we decided to switch buses there.
We reach the Khopoli bus stand by around 05:45 pm. As we stand and decide on what to do next, a set of kids barely three years old starts begging for money and as Trupti pointed, all they knew to speak was ‘Paisa Paisa’. Probably that is all that they were taught! Their behaviour indeed showed they were mentally sick and it was high time they received attention. All of this in a small town like Pali. Imagine the plight of several other unlucky kids spread out all across the country. India is a developing Country – What part of it is developing is the question !
At about 6:15pm we picka bus to Lonavala and reach by about 7:00pm. At Lonavala we board the train at about 07:20pm and we’re back to form again – All of us squat on the floor and while away time by cracking highly intellectual PJ’s almost all the way back to Shivaji Nagar . That one hour of chitter chatter indeed brought about a feeling that we’ve known each other for quite some time! We reach Pune at around 08:15pm and decide to have dinner and then part.
A classic outing, subjective climate and on top of it all – a wonderful group. Indeed a trek to remember!
Difficulty: Medium – Subjective to climate
Distance: Approx 115kms.
Route: Sivaji Nagar – Khopola – Pali
Trek time : Upwards: 1.5hrs Downwards: 0.5hrs
Amount: 275INR – BF, Lunch, Dinner, Travel ( Pune <–> Pali )