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Published: June 18th 2016
As it had been a while since my last outing with office folks, I and my ever-ready trek buddy, Vivek planned a weekend getaway to Rajmachi in Maharashtra through the Hyderabad Trekking Club (HTC). This time, our old trip pal, Aditya Vaish (recently married) was very zealous to come with us as he had finally obtained the permission to go for a short weekend trek. Along with him, Sulbha and Anuvrat joined us in their usual style taking more than a month to decide how many among their friends would come along, the final count being 0. This again as always led to us calling our trek organizer umpteen number of times before finalizing the exact number. Ankur, Nishchay and Firoza were the newcomers in our trekking group while Nikhil too decided to join probably as his last as his last trek as a bachelor. Jatin from our Papikondalu trip had also registered separately for this.
With everyone geared up and excited, we met at the Lingampally station to catch the train to Karjat. Vivek was the center of attraction initially with him entertaining everyone during the introductions. All the excitement died down for a while once we
met the trek co-ordinators and were told that we did not have enough seats in the train and would have to adjust with a few RAC's. After moving up and down the bogies for a while, I and Nishchay finally sat down to share an RAC seat. I shall not get into the details of how we had to adjust to sleep, but suffice to say that we did not sleep much. This was not unexpected as it is not easy to book train tickets and a few others from the trek group were also in a similar situation.
Sunlight started tickling in through the windows and as soon as I peeked out of my window, I scrambled to get my camera ready. The scene was that of a farmland with the plants near the tracks clearly visible and then the visibility slowly decreasing outward due to fog giving it a ghost-town like appearance. The sun was a small orange ball slowly rising above the farm, its orange hue not spreading too wide again hampered due to the fog. After this we got up one by one and kept waiting for the station to arrive. At the
station, Harish our trek lead, asked us to get refreshed and have our breakfast in half an hour. Aditya and Nikhil had started chanting "Vada Pav" by now and went to fulfill their craving. Then we went to a restaurant where we ordered a bunch of stuff like poha, missle pav etc and shared them between us. With the mention of poha, Sulbha wanted jalebi (How can one have poha without Jalebi ? :-O) and that too was fulfilled from a store opposite to the restaurant. With us now again in high spirits, we bought a few things for our trek and then walked to find autos which would drop us at the base of our trek.
Once near the base of the trek, we got to know the rest of our trek team. Harish asked us to introduce ourselves in the HTC way, speak out "Sagani, Sagani, Sa, Pa, Pa" (still don't know what that means but I am suspicious as Sagani in Kannada means Cow dung) and co-ordinate a simple step with each of the word which the rest of the team follows. It was a good way to get warmed up and get to
know the rest of the folks. We then set out to Kondana caves which was not too far from where we started. The path was not very difficult but with the sun blazing down on us, it was tiring. Each of us were carrying at least 2 litres of water as we already knew it would be pretty hot. There was a film crew near the caves who were having a lunch break and had a buffet spread out there. We first went to check out the caves which were Buddhist caves carved out of rock. There was also supposed to be a waterfall which had gone missing due to lack of rainfall with only a trickle of water falling down from the top. After clicking a few photos, we decided to have lunch there.
The trek was pretty scenic even in the heat, though during monsoons it would be even better and greener. The plan was to get to a housing area near the base of the Rajmachi fort by evening. On the way we stopped at a spot where there was supposed to be a stream. On climbing a few rocks we found the start
of the stream. Everyone set out to fill their water bottles only to realize that to fill a whole bottle it would take about about 20 minutes at the pace water was dripping. During that time, I had located a dragonfly with its wings glistening in the sun, a Giant Wood Spider and a Signature Spider to add to my insect photo album. Throughout the rest of the trek, we kept singing, listening to songs until we finally reached the place near to our resting spot for the night. The last 500m or so, we had to cover in the dark as the sun had already set. We walked with flashlights and finally reached our house. All of us drank our share of water and once refreshed, sat outside to hear Vivek's stories. We had built up his reputation from our previous trips as a master story teller and everyone was eager to catch a glimpse of his prowess in the field. But with 10-15 eyes on him, he was not able to perform under pressure and a lot of folks were disappointed. By then a campfire had been arranged nearby and everyone were happy to take continue our activities
there as it was pretty cold by then. At first we started with Antakshari. We got to listen to a few talented folks sing and Aditya who kept shouting "Yo yo Honey Singhhh" for anything that started with "ya". When "DJ wale babu" was sung, Sulbha (who knew only one line) kept chiming in with "Gaana baja doo" in her dreamy tone. Then we decided to have DJ music with some dance. After playing a few songs and changing the DJs, we headed back to have our dinner at the house. The housekeeper had made a delicious southern style dinner which we devoured ravenously. Once the dinner was done, all of us got ready to sleep as we had to get up early to reach the Rajmachi fort before sunrise. There were debates as to who would sleep where which got decided easily when Harish intervened and fixed the spots. I had forgotten my blanket and the extra one I got from one of my fellow trekkers was more of a kitchen uniform than a blanket. That then started a string of jokes which kept us laughing and awake for the next 20 minutes. Once Nikhil was able to control
his laughter, one by one we dozed off.
Early morning, even before the sun had started to come up, we got up and quickly got ready to head to the fort. We covered the rocky areas using torchlight. The climb was decently steep (nothing dangerous unless you are careless) and we quickly progressed to the top. At the top, we found a few trekkers who had camped there through the night. We waited there for a while for the sunrise taking group photos in the meantime. As the sunrise started, we explored more of the fort. The fort was beautiful and peaceful with a lot of greenery around even at this time of the year. We were able to see a very picturesque view of the Ulhas river surrounded by the hills with the sun rising from its sides. We roamed there for a while and then descended back to the house to get ready to leave. On the way back, we went to the Kalabhiravi temple at whose entrance we got cut cucumbers and lemon juice. Depending on our religious beliefs few of us did not go in as we had not had our bath. Once
back, we got our breakfast (poha) and then started our trek back to our starting point. This turned out to be pretty fast and we reached the place in no time. From there, we took the autos back to Karjat to wait for our train. All of us had Ice golas and juice near the station which was very refreshing.
Then I suddenly realized that my new phone was missing from my pocket. I searched for it everywhere and realized that the only way I could have lost it was that it slid out of my pocket in the auto or fell on the way to the auto near our starting point of our trek. I went to the auto stand with Ankur and checked with them and they said they will check the autos out and let us know. I was totally in a dilemma as to whether go back to the starting point of the trek and look for it or leave it and catch the train. I even thought of staying there till evening and then book a bus to Hyderabad if possible. But thankfully miracles do happen and the auto folks came near
the hotel we were at and gave me back my mobile. I shook the auto guy's hand frantically thanking him for doing such a good deed. But he just kept looking at me as if i was some mad guy. They finally asked me for money when I realized he didn't care whether I thanked him with a handshake or not, but just wanted some money which I happily gave. I was just thrilled to have my phone back.
That ended most of the action in our trip and the rest of it was just the usual wait for the train and then back to Hyderabad after a weekend well spent.
Rajmachi was a good experience and another place ticked off the list of beautiful places in India. I would suggest that you visit it during monsoons as it would be greener and much more beautiful. The trek though not very tough was pretty tiring due to the heat and I am guessing you would find a few waterfalls here and there too during monsoons. Thanks to HTC for organizing this.
PS: To the rest of the trekkers whose name I have not
mentioned here, I'm sorry as I am not good at remembering names. Do friend me on fb and keep in touch 😊.
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