CHANDRAKHANI PASS TREK In this trek to the Valley...
Sitting at home on a weekend-indeed a bad idea, isn’t it!! So yes here we were, six very different people all set to go for a trek to one of the most beautiful places amidst the mountain ranges surrounding Mumbai- the Mahuli Fort. With all the excitement and a tight schedule in hand, the journey commenced. Having boarded one of the early locals towards Aasangaon-a small village in the outskirts of Mumbai, we were lucky to find an empty compartment which helped some “really tired ones” to sleep- different story that they weren’t allowed to take even a short nap-all thanks to the “most excited one” in the group.
On reaching the base through the disco auto rickshaw (credits: the roads of rural India), we were all set for the ‘medium’ level trek. With all the enthu and energy we had, it seemed to be an easy one. Within no time, almost everyone (except ‘Robin’) was seen panting and halting at almost every place worth taking a break at. Having treated almost a dozen of mosquitos and insects over odomos, I so wished for the clouds to burst and shoo them away. And yes!! It did start raining. Suddenly almost everyone regained energy and the adventure continued. It seemed that we were wandering on an endless route. Having almost lost the hopes to reach the top, canopied in the clouds-we saw the peak. That and along with the motivation and support of the group, it made us want to reach there like never before. Bypassing the dense forest, slippery rocks, risky pathways, flowers and insects of all species-finally we had reached the top, almost 2800ft high. That feeling of fluttering the flag on a mountain top is incomparable. It’s not the mountains that we conquer but ourselves-justifying this very quote, there we were ‘On the top of the world’. All we could see from that height was the clouds covering almost every possible shade of green. Within no time it started to rain again, but this time along with it came the soft-chill breeze which swept along with it all the weariness. Believe it or not, that’s the moment when you forget almost everything and mingle along with the Mother Nature to experience BLISS in its true sense. This is the point when we realize that ‘in every walk of nature, one receives more than one seeks’.
Having a prenotion that it would take us much lesser time to descend, all energized over light snacks, ‘snickers’ and camera clicks, we started with the journey back. To our surprise, it was taking us almost the same time-all thanks to the inefficient breaks in the body. Okay, so now just imagine yourself walking at a constant pace on a ‘frictionless’ (read slippery) surface and immediately you just slide down the valley like forever- nerve-racking isn’t it!!! There were times when it seemed that we were heading in the wrong direction, but the nature had its own way of telling us “you were here a few hours ago? Aren’t those bruises enough for you to remember this place?” As the base neared, our pace started increasing effortlessly and all of a sudden there was a zest which made us forget the ankle twists, minor sprains, mosquito bites and what not. We were attracted towards the stream of pure water running by the base. After reaching the base and cleaning ourselves thoroughly, we had an amazing ‘lunch’ at a local dhaba which tasted very similar to the food back home*.
During the whole trek there were innumerous moments when one could have felt the need to just sit alone, relax and not talk to anyone. On a concluding note, it is indeed true that, “we travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us”. The faster you realize this, the easier it is to love your life all over again.
*P.S: Not that the food tasted good since we were very hungry and it was almost 5:30pm, but it was actually yummy! I am sure that people with me would agree to this without a second thought.
At our post-Diwali team meet, the topic of discussion...