Finally got my hands on an old mail describing my first, and my most memorable trek to date, to Bhimashankar way back in June 2001 !!!.. It was simply the most breathtaking, not to mention the toughest trek I have ever done. But each minute of those near-4 hours of trekking was worth it when we reached the top. Unfortunately, those were the pre-smartphone days and digicams were not that much in vogue then, hence could not take snaps.
So below is a verbatim account of the trek (written in good old MS Word the Monday after our trek) that we (me and my good friends Prashant Upasani and Nikhil Dalvi) had jointly put up and mailed to our other friends in Patni (where I was working then). Excuse the slightly amaeturish writing and the repeated emphasis on one word in caps (there was a meaning to that back then) !!
Thanks to Prashant for digging this document back after 11 long years... :)
>From Amit, Nikhil and Prashant -
Dear Friends(Unfortunate souls),
I know you all haven’t experienced what heaven is. So we thought that we shall share our experience with you all. At least you all can enjoy it virtually.
Last weekend we three had been to HEAVEN i.e. Bhimashankar. The experience was of lifetime. It was unbelievable. No words can describe what we had experienced. Here it is in short.....
The journey from Mumbai itself was exciting. Here, in Mumbai itself, it was raining so heavily, we were never sure what will happen next moment. This kind of uncertainty added thrill to our journey and working here at office for months together and just putting our valuable time only in travelling between office and home, we were really desperate to have such excitement. What we got was certainly above our expectations. The real enjoyment was onward Karjat. The journey from Karjat to Khandas(from where we trekked) was very pleasant. The journey was through ghats with fields surrounding. It was lush green and raining. The view was very beautiful.
We reached Khandas at around 8.40 and started our trek at 9.15. The weather at that time was unbelievable. It was something that we all haven’t experienced, staying here in city. Each and every moment was unique. Each and every moment was exciting and an experience we never had before, an experience to remember forever.
We had to cross almost two mountains to reach Bhimashankar. When we started our trek, the view we had was, lush green mountains with water falls all over them. The mountains were covered by clouds, was raining and absolutely beautiful. The start of the trek itself was through a forest. As we continued, the trek took us through a variety of surroundings. At times through lush green plains, at times over steep rocks and then through the famous Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary (which boasts of animals like leopards, sambars and of course The Great Indian Squirrel)
As we were climbing we were nearing to something that could only be felt and not said, and that was HEAVEN. It was the combination of Rains, Green fields, Mountains, Water falls, Clouds and Forest that made it so beautiful. At one point of time we were walking amidst clouds. It was raining very very heavily. The wind was very strong and what we felt was, it can’t be anything except HEAVEN. Each and every moment in our trek was an experience.
One particularily magical moment was when took a little break right in the middle of the forest. Initially it was clear but in exactly five minutes we were surrounded by clouds from all sides with heavy rains and visibilty less than 20 feet.
When, after 4 hours of trekking, we finally reached the top, the feeling which we experienced was once in a lifetime. It was 1.30 in the afternoon, admist heavy rains and thick clouds there was a small lake to greet us .We refreshed ourselves with the cold water of the lake and simply stared open-mouthed at the beauty of nature around us. Surely Lord Shiva could not have chosen a better place to have his temple in.
Memories of our trek are very sweet and we would cherish those for whole of our life. Sometimes we went through such thick forest that though it was raining heavily, we hardly got water spilled on us. It was pitch dark and getting all sorts of sounds of wild animals from the jungle of Tungi. We were passing through clouds and at some moments were not able to see the view 10 feet far due to thick clouds. That too at 12.30 in the afternoon.
Those who missed it are very unfortunate.......we would have enjoyed if somebody could have shared such experience, so we didn’t miss anybody (except few) in such a romantic, lively atmosphere and breath taking trek. Though we couldn’t catch the moments in camera, we have them deep in our mind and heart for years to come.
There are many things to say, and many more things that can be felt and I wish you all should experience those and if possible in rainy season.
So all of you guys ,whatever you do, simply do not miss the thrill of a trek to GOD’s OWN PLACE - THE HEAVEN ON EARTH - BHIMASHANKAR....
Amit, Nikhil and Prashant.
P.S. While coming back, we had another trek in “MALSHEJ” ghat(11 kms).