My alarm hoots at 04:45 am. While Chandru gets ready in a jiffy, I literally kick sriram and get him on his toes. Sunil had come down to my place yesterday night. Hitanshu’s almost done with his morning breakfast. Suhas finally makes it to Aundh at about 05:40am. Suhas, Sriram and I hire a rick to ShivajiNagar bus stand. Half way through, I get a call from Akhilesh telling me the Bus to Bhor was to be boarded at Swargate and not at ShivajiNagar as I had mentioned in the final coordination mail yesterday. Damn! This is when it looms over me that what he said made real perfect sense. For the Rohida trek too we’d boarded the bus to Bhor at Swargate and not at Shivaji Nagar. I’d asked everyone to reach Shivajinagar by 6:00am and here I was to ask them to come over to Swargate again. As I call people and inform them of the change, I literally hear them swearing on me for my timely notice 🙂 .
The bus to Bhor was at about 06:45 am. Twelve of us – Akhilesh, Ashish, Arjun,Suhas, Swati, Hitanshu, Sourabh,Sriram, Shekar, Sunil, Rohit and I board the bus while Soujanya narrowly misses it. We decide to proceed and wait at Bhor. At about 08:15 am we reach Bhor. We had to reach Korla village which is about 20kms from here, to start the trek to Raireshwar. The next bus to Korla was at about 09:00am. Suhas and I decide to talk to the local guys there and arrange for a Jeep. After some deliberations we hit on a guy who accepts to drop us and pick us from the base village for 550Rs flat. We’re more than happy and strike the deal. It would take at least another half an hour for Soujanya to reach Bhor, So we decide to have breakfast at Bhor itself. At around 09:00am Soujanya finally makes it to Bhor and at 09:15am we depart for Korla. The thirteen of us hunch into a Jeep. Ashish, Shekar, Sriram sit on the front troubling the driver right from the start while Hitanshu, Akhilesh and I hang out from the rear of the Jeep enjoying the drizzle as the vehicle speeds up the road to Korla. About five kms ahead of the Korla village we come across a thumping river crook. The sheer force with which water was making it’s way out of the canal was simply exhilrating. A few minutes here and we move ahead to the village. At about 10:00am we reach the base village and start the trek.
From the Korla village a diversion to the left takes you to Kenjalgad fort while the one to the right takes you to the famous Raireshwar temple and village. As we start walking up through the clearly paved road up to the village, we have an uninvited guest who further happens to be the 14th member in the team. Dogs are known to be pretty faithful beings and they follow you everywhere you go. But I guess it’s the other way round when it comes to hills. You’re compelled to follow them 🙂 !
The path up to Raireshwar for the most part of it is already clear cut. But what’s really spectacular about this place is that, unlike any other fort/ hill village; once you start from the base and walk a few yards ahead, You’d be walking literally through paths surrounded by high rise hills everwhere around you and it all looks so spaced out that you’re really showered down by the magnanimity of Nature. The incessant drizzle at a distance makes you feel as if Nature’s trying to unveil it’s creation slowly through a striated screen. It looks so damn beautiful that you’re literally left spell bound. The innumerable falls that rise out of nowhere keep you on your nimble feet and every turn round the hill only gives way to more picturesque landscapes!
Half way up the hill, we come across a person by name Gopal who says he could arrange food for us up there in the village. He then suggests he’d get there to the village and prepare food by the time we reach there. What he said made perfect sense so we agree. A waterfall on the way keeps us busy for a while and even before we realise we’ve almost spent close to half an hour there. Finally we decide to move further and cover quite some distance. At one point we come across a diversion and decide to take the one that went upwards. A ‘No Overtaking’ board round the corner indicated that this road was slowly being developed to help ply regular vehicles up the fort. We follow the path mindlessly only to realise a while later that we’re on the wrong path.. A frail old village woman finally guides us in the right direction and we tread forward. From here on, the further we go, the better it gets! There’s this particular spot wherein you climb up a small hillock and the moment you reach this spot and look ahead you get to see a massive rock ahead of you and a series of cascades to either side of it. A splendid combination of Beauty and Magnanimity, I would say!
From this spot, to reach the Raireshwar village you need to climb a series of about 3oo steps. At the end of the climb a metal staircase has been built to facilitate easy climb for the regular villagers. But for this, the climb up would have been really difficult. Once we reach the top of the hillock and walk a few yards ahead, we get to meet a person whom Gopal had sent in search of us. This guy leads us to the village temple which is believed to be the spot where Sivaji took his oath to Swaraj. Based on the land they own each villager is given authority to maintain the temple. A small but extremely well maintained one! We then move over to Gopal’s house for a sumptuous lunch. None of us realised how cold it was up there until we sat still in the house for sometime. The moment we enter his house and settle down, cold fumes come out of our body! Sriram literally sits beside the stove to keep himselves warm. At about 3:00pm we leave from Gopal’s place and start out trek down. The way downhill is done with in about an hour and a half. The Jeep driver is a bit cross with us for having turned up almost an hour late, but a few minutes with the Bombayz is all it takes to get him back to form. The next bus to Pune was right in the Bhor Bus stand. The Bombayz too are compelled to get back to Pune and from then on move over to Mumbai as they’re left with no other option.
On a personal front, I’d rate Raireshwar to be my second best trek. Most of the credit goes not to the endurance or difficulty but to bounty that Nature’s got in store for you here!
Route: Swargate -> Bhor -> Korla village -> Raireshwar/ Kinjelgad
Distance: Bhor -> Korla village [ 20kms ] Korla -> Raireshwar [~8kms]
Altitude: ~4250ft. above MSL.
Endurance: Low | Difficulty : Low/Medium [ At the fag end ]
Time : Uphill: 3hrs. Downhill: 1.5hrs
Transport:Reach Bhor by Bus from Swargate [ 6:45 am ; 07:30am ], Bus to Korla from Bhor is at about 09:00am. Jeeps available if required.
Expenses: Rs 180
Stay: At Raireshwar village
Prominent Spots:Raireshwar temple , Kenjalgad fort.
Best time to visit: Monsoon!