Thursday, 16 July 2015

Nasik Range trek- Day IV: Fort Salher, Fort Salota

Previous partsNasik Range trek- Day I: Fort Achala, Fort Ahivant
                        Nasik Range trek- Day II: Saptshringi gad, Markandya
                        Nasik Range trek- Day III: Ravlya-Javlya, Fort Kanhergad

Today's challenge was to climb Salher and Salota. We woke up at 5.30am, took the bags from the aunty and reached to the main road where we could get the vehicle towards Waghambe, base village for both the forts. Usually frequency of vehicles towards Waghambe is less from Taharabad. So we followed the route till Mulherwadi, base village for Mora, Mulher and Hargad fort. We had breakfast there and headed towards Waghambe by six seater. It took us 1 hr to reach the village. We kept our bags at a villagers house and confirmed the directions.

From Waghambe, you can clearly spot the col in between Salher and Salota.
View from Waghambe
 To reach col, we climbed a hill with considerable ascend. Route till the col is well trodden. You can always confirm your orientation with the direction of col. It took us 1.5 hrs to reach the col. Right Fort is Salher and left one is Salota.

Route to Salher is considerable traverse after col; followed by ascend using rock cut steps. Entire route is distinct. Not at all chances of missing the route!!!
Route to Salher

We passed through series of gates(still in good condition).

After third gate, you again need to walk on a traverse. On this traverse you will find numerous caves some carved, some naturally build. Most of them may be used for storage of water.
Caves on Salher

At the end of this traverse we again passed though a gate and entered into vast expanse of Salher.

 There are numerous remnants on the fort. Significant in them is Gangasagar lake, Renuka mata temple, cave in front of temple. Vising the highest place on the fort i.e. temple of Lord Parshuram was most amazing moment of our entire trek. View from the top was mesmerizing!!!

Cave in front of Gangasagar lake, almost suitable for night stay

View of  Salota from Salher
Spending quality time in the temple, we moved to Salota. We descended down completely till the col and started walking towards Salota.
Route to the Salota is not well trodden. So from Salher top we mapped the route( with guessing ) and searched the route accordingly. From col to certain distance route is distinct but at the ascent there are multiple routes emerged. You need to confirm your directions with respect to rock cut steps. Steps are visible from the route. We struggled 15-20 minutes to reach to correct path.
Steps of Salota

Constructions of rockcut steps are awesome. All the forts from Nasik region has the peculiarity of having extraordinary stone work at the entrances, steps etc.
It was 1.00pm , the peak heat time. Entrance to the fort is 70% buried by landslide. And looking at the condition of stones, there are lot of chances of such incidents again.
Entrance of Salota..almost burried

Like Salher, Salota also has many caves, used for storage of water.
Caves on Salota

Passing through 3 entrances we reached on the top of Salota. Area is small as compared to Salher. Few water tanks, broken temple and amazing views ; that are the only things present on the fort.

View of Salher steps from Salota
After Sight-seeing and photoshoot we descended down till col and then to Waghambe.
Overall these two forts are scenic in terms of the construction of the entrances, its routes and the surrounding area from the top.
It was 4th day of our trek. Due to personal reason, i opted out of the trek for 5th day. Later Ganesh,Ruturaj didn't want to continue. The only willing member was Mahadeo. But due to lack of company he averted his plans to trek Mulher,Mora and Hargad.

From Waghambe we grabbed a truck to reach Mulherwadi and from there to Taharabad. I headed towards my hometown Chalisgaon and other three had dinner at the aunties mess and moved to Pune.

It was truly endurance testing range trek due to harsh heat. But the forts made us strong and confident to conquer one after another!!!!! Lot of trekking yet to come!!!!!  

Monday, 13 July 2015

Nasik Range trek- Day III: Ravlya-Javlya, Fort Kanhergad

Previous partsNasik Range trek- Day I: Fort Achala, Fort Ahivant
                        Nasik Range trek- Day II: Saptshringi gad, Markandya

We woke-up early at around 5.30 am so as to avoid heat and to trek faster. As we stayed near to plateau where Ravlya-Javlya located, we directly started walking on the plateau from the left edge (keeping  Ravlya on right side). En-route there were jungle of Karvand which we enjoyed a lot. It took us 30 minutes to reach exactly in between Ravlya and Javlya. There were 3-4 abandoned houses which now uses as shelter for cows.

We read on the trekshitiz that for climbing Ravlya, one requires rock climbing. We were unable to do that so we decided to climb only Javlya which is easier to climb. Before that we searched for water tank which is near to those houses. On Wikimapia, these tanks are also shown. But there is some confusion with naming of the forts . There is clear mismatching between the content given in Wikimapia and Trekshitiz. Here I followed Trekshitiz naming for the forts.

Confirming the directions, we started walking towards Javlya. We were busy searching the correct route when one shepherd appeared from nowhere. Lucky for us!!! We asked him about the route to Javlya and also route to Ravlya. Route to Javlya is easier. When we asked about climbing Ravlya, shepherd told us that the climbing patch of Ravlya is now secured with iron grilles. You can easily climb it. This was new and good information for us!!

Route to Javlya starts from ascending a small hill and then traverse for a while. On the traverse we found some caves. Probably Buddhist caves.

At the end of traverse, rock cut steps starts which leads to the top of the fort. Steps to be negotiated carefully as some steps have been broken; some are exposed to valley.

Fort entrance

Entrance to the fort is still somewhat intact. Near the entrance there is farsi script carved on stone.

There are lot of remnants on the fort. 5-6 water tanks with some having potable water. The view was amazing from the top. You can see Dhodap. Ikhara pinnacle, Kanhergad, Markandya , Saptshringi clearly.


Plateau on which Ravlya-Javlya stands. In the center, you can see houses.

Spending some time on the fort, we started descending. It took us 2.5 hrs to climb and descend the fort. We decided not to climb Ravlya because of time constraint. Still I am giving route to reach Ravlya.

Our next target was Fort Dhodap. We first reached to abandoned houses and then started towards Mulane village. Route is well trodden.In the middle of the route , we again greeted by same shepherd. We inquired about the Dhodap fort and he told that we shouldn't have come to Mulane route. After ending rock steps of Javlya, if we descend further more and then follow the ghal route towards right side, we could have descended to the Wadala bhoir village. From there , it is convenient to reach the base of Dhodap. From Mulane, it is difficult to get vehicle towards Dhodap. So we skipped the plan and opted to climb Kanhergad.

It took us 2 hrs to descend down completely to the Mulane village. We had small snack session there. We needed to reach Narul village. It is 3kms from Mulane. Luckily we got bus within 5 mins of waiting and alighted at the Narul phata. Narul phata to Kanherwadi(base village) is 4 km.
We kept our bags at a villagers house and started walking towards col from where we needed to start climbing the fort. Entire route is made up of scree.

Harsh heat made it worse for us. Fort is easy to climb. It took us 1.5 hrs to reach at the first nedhe( needle hole). I was completely drained. I was not willing to continue. So I decided to rest in the nedhe. All other also stayed there. It was amazing place with cool breeze. We ate there and rested for an hour.
Water tank at the entry point

first nedhe

I felt refreshed due to rest. Within 5 minuted we reached on the top. There are many remnants on the fort, one temple, water tanks and square shaped nedhe at the extreme end( this end resembles like vinchu kata of Lohgad ).

Structure resembling Vinchu kata

second nedhe

Spending some time, we started descending. It took us another hour to reach Kanherwadi and another 40 minutes to reach on the main road from where we gonna get the vehicle to reach our next destination ; which was Taharabad.

We had cold-drinks in a shop on the main road. Fortunately we got a truck who took us directly to the Taharabad. Otherwise we would have to reach Kalvan first and then take a bus towards Satana or Sakri. It saved our time a lot.

We reached Taharabad at 6.30pm. We were hungry so we started searching hotels. But there were limited choice. Fortunately one middle age person guided us to the home-made food. That aunty runs mess. We were so happy to get homely food. She cooked Shev-bhaji, chapati and khichadi, the ultimate Khandeshi menu!!!!

After heavenly dinner,we searched one temple for our night stay in the Taharabad. But due to security reason, we slept at a temple, which was exactly infront of the aunties house. We kept our bags in their home and slept with peace!!!!!

Our tomorrows task was to concquer Salher and Salota...............