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Memorable Trek of Harishchandragad Fort

It is always good to meet nature now and then. This is also an occasion when we can meet ourselves too. And what can be more appropriate thing to do it than go for trekking. Trekking is something which helps us to meet nature and us both at the same time. At least this is why I go for the trekking. And Harishchandra fort trek was no exception to this. I had done this trek before but in the winter. But when I saw the dry streams filled with myriads of stones, I told myself that, “Man you must come here in the rain!” And so I did it this time, thanks to the Kayakars.
As usual it was a well-organized trek and so no complaints for it except I am missing non-veg food as I can’t eat it at home. My mother don’t allow it and I still can’t dare to go against her. J What I like most about the Kayakars guys, Mangesh, Amar and Sunil, is that they are down to earth human beings. It was my fourth trek with them and I have shared some crucial and testing moments with them so I can tell it with authority. They are always ready to help without a frown. And believe me it is not easy to do so while handling 40+ different people with different moods and attitudes. And it is not possible if you don’t loving what you are doing and you can see that love in their eyes while they trek. So kudos to you guys!
For me trekking is part of my rejuvenating process. As you know you can’t see the nature in it’s real beauty and aura not because it’s not present in the city, but because we are so busy in our mundane works that we can’t notice or feel it. That is why we need to say ‘time please’ and run to meet the nature and trekking is all about it. But it is not only seeing or meeting the nature only. It is about seeing inside us and meeting ourselves too. At least that is what trekking means for me and so I do it. It gives me chance to take a look into the past, put some time aside to visit ourselves and recharge our batteries once again.
Harishchandra fort trek is not a hard trek to do but it requires a lot of time to complete. It is a test of endurance power and at the end of the trek, ask your feet and it will tell you how hard the trek was! But probably they will not be in a condition to answer your question. J Such harsh trek is a nice way to know if you are mentally and physically fit or not. And at the end of the trek you get a sense of achievement which really makes you feel better. The pre-trek discomfort, self-doubts all vanishes and we say to ourselves that it was a right decision not to miss the trek. It is the chance to discover oneself and ponder a little about oneself forgetting all the worries for some time at least and take more strength to fight our problems with us. At the end of trek we take more confident ‘new we’. We also feel much closer to the nature and remember once again that we are part of the nature, that we own the glorious legacy of the history made by our fore-fathers. It makes us more proud about our history and more responsible also. At least that should we take home. So thank you again team Kayakars for giving us this opportunity and we expect more to come from you in the future also. All the best for that!

The unforgettable Kayaking experience!

Well my hands, thighs and shoulders are still reminding me that is was an unforgettable kayaking at the kayaking camp organized by the Kayakers group. I am sure that I am echoing the same feeling of the other participants too. But sure it was an indeed mixed exposure to our physical as well as mental limits of patience and endurance and not to forget our fear. The patience of learning this wholly new adventure sport, endurance to put into practice this newly acquired kayaking skills and fear of drowning. Well I think we all passed this test quite well that is why we proudly collected the participating certificates at the end of the event and photographed it for the eternity as well. Those happy faces said it all that it was another successful event by the Kayakers.

Kayaking sport is not so famous in our country as with the other adventure sports. The reason is I think we are little lazy by the nature. But if someone takes the trouble to wake up us and hauled to such testing fields, it surely awakens the hidden adventurer in all of us. That is what actually happens when we hit such camps, treks etc. Personally I can’t swim and though I love the calm flowing river and its surrounding somewhat poetic, I can’t stand the idea of getting into it. So my first ride on the k-4 was something like a baby who walks for the first time. Who wants to walk but falls, tumbles, cries and still wants to do it the second time as it has got that taste of walking. For five times I thought I will fall from the kayak and took it along with me. But fortunately that did not happen. Though when one k-4 capsized we really enjoyed that moment from the safe distance on the bank. J Back to my epic journey, I was not less excited than the Columbus himself who went for searching new lands for the first time. So I kept pushing myself. Though my feet were dancing like Hrithik Roshan to the tune of “idhar chala mai udhar chala, pata nahi mai kidhar chala!” I finally managed to row for a couple of minutes and got away with it. My second round in the k-2 was nice. My third k-4 round was also good.

Meanwhile we had good Nashta and really nice food. It was simple yet its taste is still lingering on my taste buds. During the lunch I had a pleasure of meeting two sweet girls. They asked my introduction and we had nice talk about our experience and also about the food. But I was so rude that I didn’t ask them for their names but now I know it. So Archita and Noopur here I am again thanking you for your short but sweet company.

After such a wonderful food it was but impossible to avoid a little siesta so I did no disrespect and slept for a while.

The final round of kayaking was made memorable by my namesake i’e. Pratik who was as polite, intelligent, thoughtful just like me though certainly more handsome than me. J In our entire stint he guided us nicely, instructed patiently, and cheered us up with sweet pep-talk. We also had our moments of crisis when two of our co-kayakers got cramp in their feet. So we sent SOS to another Mama from the OBM who gave us a friendly scolding before saving us. We again start kayaking on k-4 but this time with one man less. To ice the cake, the OBM sent lots of gentle waves towards our kayak though I really thought those waves were no lesser than tsunamis. But in the end we finished the round safely.

Not to forget the sweet birthday celebration of quiet gentleman another Mama Mr. Rajesh Bhalekar and his ice-cream treat accompanied by the flute concert of Santosh.

So this was another feather to the cap of the Kayakers. Thanks Mangesh, Suneel, Amar, Pankaj and Varsha for your efforts to make it memorable as always. I hope Mangesh finally had met his lady sleep. So far so well! Let’s meet up again all guys and have fun. Till then keep living keep rocking!

UDTA KAYAKAR…

“As I am rising high and high, my body gives me signal that we are cut-off from the land and there is no place to venture into the space also. We are flying in between the vast void filled with air and light and my own screams of fear, thrill and ecstasy. Though the adrenaline swiftly takes the high rush, the feeling that I will go down safely to the land, soothes my soul. Wind is kissing my whole body. The soaring height making me dizzy yet I am enjoying the moment. Below the land looks green and alive. People small and innocent. Everything looks so real so pure. I am having the dialogue with myself. From above life seems so grand, all the worries, problems of everyday life, seems so meaningless. I am feeling the out of body experience that dissolves my ego and I realize I am above all the little things, above all the frivolous thoughts and I am part of the nature. I am nature itself!”

I wrote this paragraph for one of my novel well before I actually experienced the flying. It was pure imagination of a writer but I am glad it was near perfect, when I actually flew in the paraglide.

Thanks to Team the Kayakers, I enjoyed the Sunday afternoon to the fullest.
It all started with a wonderful night trek towards the fort Tikona. The up-stepping was fun and when we reached the base the first of many wonderful sights was awaiting for us in the sky. It was filled with legions of brilliant stars and I was doing nothing but gazing its beauty like a person newly fallen in love. The wind was perfect for the camp-fire and with the help of few of us, Pankaj gathered quite the raw material for the fire and Varsha lit the fire. Soon we gathered around it and then started playing the always reliable game of Antakshari. All were enthusiastic to pour their hearts into the songs. Surabhi, Srushti were particularly enjoying the momentum and Mitesh was fanning their fiery spirits. Amruta was also singing her heart while supplementing it with the proper acting too. It was a fun night in all.

In the morning we have the presence of some over enthusiastic fort-dwellers with hungry tummies and sharp attention to grab anything that resembles food. Batra can tell you more about them. He was quite famous among them for a short period. As we started to descend our minds were already flying high anticipating the upcoming paragliding show. The descend was particularly a memorable moment for me and Neha, as we had little discussion over the need of the statue of Shivaji Maharaj to be erected soon in the Arabi sea. Though we couldn’t come to the conclusion as the discussion was incomplete I hope we may get another chance to renew it in the future.

After having wonderful meal we fought hard not to fall asleep in the Jeep while riding towards the Paragliding sight. The road to the sight helped us in that effort and woke up all the sleep heavy people and made sure to keep them so. The sight was filled with people, sky with Para-gliders and our hearts were pumping extra blood to keep the Josh in us ever rising. I was lucky to have the second chance as the flying was based on wind velocity and body weight combination. As my pilot started flying the Para-glide I started screaming involuntarily. We were going high and high and I was literally feeling being on the cloud nine. What I felt then I have written in the first paragraph. I knew at that time why Right brothers and other inventors were so mad after flying. Thanks to those guys we can fly safely now.

As I have to go back soon I missed the excitement of the other people. But I am sure they also had the same feelings. I hope Neha, Kajal and Varsha got the chance to fly soon as they have to wait too long for their turns to come. They might have gotten strong motivation to increase the weight after this event.

The back journey was also fun. I had nice conversation with Anjali who is a good poet too. So we hope to listen to her poetry in the next event soon. I discovered that Batra is from Nagpur so it was nice to talk to him as I am also from Vidarbha. It was creditable that both of them travelled a long distance and a lot of money to participate in the event but I am sure the event was worth to take this much trouble. And of course the credit goes to the Team Kayakars also for arranging it safely.

It was for the first time Varsha led the event along with Pankaj and both did a good job. I think Mangesh can now open the first branch of the Kayakers in Bengaluru. Thanks a ton to Sunil for this wonderful experience. When he asked me how I felt, just after the landing, I said it was fantastic and he said, “Your face told me so already!” indeed words are secondary tools of expressing our feelings. Our emotions tell it all in the first place. Thank you Team Kayakers for another memorable adventure. We look forward to more such memories.

K2S- Full Moon Walk

It’s  too early on this blog for our K2S trek, because group of 100+ people yet to finish their trek exhausted sleep. After end of my fourth event with TheKayakers I feel  now I am become part of enthusiastic, extremely professional & crazy trekking family. I visited Sinhgad more than 20 times, but never thought of enjoyment and beauty of K2S way to visit sinhgad. After instructions from Mangesh, Started around 8.30 PM from top of old Katraj Tunnel towards Sinhgad. This trek includes 7-8 hills to climb and descend and around 12 KM walk through mountain. No one imagine at start anybody can walk 12 KM’s in daily routine in city, beauty of nature always provide you different energy to do this, In Month of May where every city observing temperature 40+ we experienced extreme shivering cold and crazy wind, at end of couple of hills we stopped for dinner by 11 PM. As everyone experienced and mentioned in their feedback with Kayakers is about Food, Really hats off to the Co coordinators who carrying Food items during every trek, When you are exhausted and you are at top of mountain and you are asking your friend do you have something to eat. At such place if you will get such good food, its gives you pleasant feeling. Important stuff about food is, you will get good food but it will never make you shaky for further trek.

We have started just after Moon rise and ended with Moon set at Sinhgad, Kayakers carry all precautionary stuffs during trek e.g first aid box. You will find coordinators always at place where never you observe hard patch of trek. Finally would like to thank Kayakers, THE TEAM Mangesh, Sunil, Amar, Mandar, Arpit, Lalit, Siddhu and many more, Trekking is my hobby, I like to visit Forts more than any city, but now I am relax, because now I need not to do any planning myself and need not convince people to join me. Now I have to just check updates on www.thekayakers.in “Events” link.

Andharban- A Trek, A Lesson

Nowadays, we are so much fond of adventures. No?  And in monsoons, the treks go popular. A recent trek I had was on 31st July. That was to Andharban with Kayakers. And my first trek where I did not knew fellow trekkers in advance.  We were 41 in the crew.

Initially, it began as any other trek I had been before. Getting up early, joining the group, catching the bus, and all.  But, you know? There’s a fascinating story to it.

‘Andharban’, if I simply break it, Andhar means dark/dense, Ban means Forest.  This dark dense forest renders a perfect blend for a nature enthusiast.  It takes you round the forest, valleys, waterfalls, and some highs and lows. Trust me! Mesmerizing all this, one will never realize the feet have descended 5 -6 hours. And then, you get lost in the spectacular Bhira hydro plant at the base. So, Andharban is like a ‘not-to-miss’ scenic hotspot in the Sahyadri hills. Thanks to Kayakers!

Ok. Now, back to the story. So, rather describing our walk from point A to B. I will tell something that took place that day. So at reaching the base village, with a quick round of introduction, we kicked off. Starting up with plains, we entered the forest, crossing water streams along the way. Again some lush green plains came up in between to rest our feet. Our leads kept a constant check on the crew to ensure no one’s left back or not lost in the fog.

Along the ropes, crossing the streams!

Meanwhile, the downpour was heavy and continuous; no one failed to click pictures. Wearing the jackets, holding umbrellas, drenching to the full, all captured themselves either in the selfies or pictures.

Joy is in the air!

Everything looked great until the last point (that’s where the story begins). We were descending down. The sun was about to set.

So, it was quite an easy one. No? I asked my fellow trekker.

Yes. And we are almost reached, she said sloping down.

We had moved down a bit, and damn could not move further. People had jammed the base. Curious to know, we walked down the slope. There was a small stream.

The torrential downpour had flooded the stream. Gush of water ran in pressure, generating muddy froth, relentlessly. Crossing it seemed difficult. And that raised a big rescue question among everyone standing at the bank. I think there were 3 more groups with 30-35 members in each, summing to around 100. Everyone looked a little scared.

While we were into the talks of releasing out of the nasty situation-

 KAYAKERS, our organizers shouted out.

We sloped down further. What they did was extraordinarily brave and smart.

They got down into the water.  Handholding each other tightly they chained themselves to be a bridge. Soon that happened, another set of people landed into the stream, and the second bridge was up. These live-bridges faced opposite, stood strong, as if they were made up of real concrete, making an aisle in between to get to other end.

KAYAKERS hurry up! They made a shout-out again.

I happened to be third in the queue.

Hold my hand, and walk, said the person at the extreme end of the bridge.

Handholding the person on either side, I put my left foot in the water. The pressure pulled it further down. I screamed out of fear. The moment I put in another foot, I was half drowned. And shrieked again. I grasped the bridge tightly and the water touched till the abdomen (oh yes! the water level had bothered me much).

Don’t shout! People are already panicked so much, said one among the bridge (I think that was Sunil)

Gaining some courage, I waded step-by-step. The live-bridges acted a savior.  And there I was at the other end. Safe and sound.

Apparently, by being selfless, Kayakers had helped other groups as well to come out of it.

An excerpt view while crossing

So, that was a clear evidence of unity and strength.  Not sure what would have been the outcome, if the bridges wouldn’t have been built up, if the Kayakers had just helped only their own crew members.  They did not lose their cool, instead handled it maturely, wisely.

I could relate that to the trekking accidents that hit the newspapers, every monsoon.  Don’t you think, they can be inhibited?  To a certain extent they can be (besides the natural calamities), if one ventures with a right group or experts. Some self-discipline and trekking with caution helps too. Monsoon treks are as beautiful as dangerous. From the story, I could opine that.  And that was my learning (in addition to the fun).

Beyond that, new friends have added to my network now. While I am writing this, I can recall the new faces (Priyanka, Vengatesh, Sunil, Amar, Pratik, Ashlesha, Manmeet…Yes I remember a few)

And one thing to take on a serious note- Never leave your snacks behind in the bus (especially when you have Theplas), that hurts like anything, trust me

And all the colorful jackets had made up the crew.

Cheers!

-Priya Dalvi