Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trek to Kalsubai., Queen of the Sahyadris ..

This was a trek to Kalsubai, the highest peak of the Sahyadri Mountains in Maharashtra.   The difference between this trek was more than that of region. This was not a Fort.  It was also the first monsoon trek of 2015 , as the heavy rains had set in .

Kalsubai,  5400 feet above sea level, lies at the border of the Nashik and Ahmednagar Districts, near Bhandardara.  At the top of the mountain, is a  small temple which can hold just 3 people.   Since this is also a pilgrim spot, besides being a trekking destination, the government has installed railings and ladders  along the way , particularly across difficult rock faces, for the safety of all.

As a result, there is always some traffic on this trail,  with someone even setting up a  Kanda Bhajiya stall somewhere high up in the mountains.   In fact , the person carrying a sack of onions, was climbing the mountain along with us.

Thanks to the monsoon clouds, we were unable to see across the various other ranges (the Kulang, Madan and Alang Forts) , of the Sahyadris from the peak, which are normally seen on a clear sunny day.

We traveled to Kasara, by suburban train on the Saturday night, reaching there by 3 am. We shifted to the village Bari, at the base of Kalsubai , where we stayed the night and at  6 am,  were served a delicious poha breakast by the locals.

The return was by the same route, after descending and a wonderful local lunch at 4 pm .

                                   The place where we  rested for the night.

       View from the place where we rested for the night, what remained of it, 4 am to 6 am....

                  Our amazing delicious unlimited breakfast of Kande Pohe with tea , cooked by the viilagers.

                    Trekkers grouping together to leave the village, Bari.

Briefing by the Trek leader before starting.

     This part of a woman's life never changes, regardless of which part of India you travel.  Pumps get updated with new numbers, but the chores remain the same.  At Bari Village.

    This gushing stream is usually a torrent by the end of the monsoon, and trekkers wade across holding each other and ropes.  This being just the beginning of the monsoon, it was easy to cross from Bari to the base of Kalsubai.

          The land being tilled at Bari. Rice cultivation . And the looming monsoon..

       We traversed the paths between fields on our way to the base of Kalsubai.

                                                  Sighting the first waterfall

     It is 2015, but her life does not change. Bringing drinking water from a distance , remains her job.

             The green and the wet, inviting us to sit on our way up.

                          Beautiful local flowers  sighted while climbing up.

      These dogs are a well known aspect of Kalsubai Treks.  They like to accompany trekkers, and are fairly nimble trekkers themselves, and do not use the special ladders and stuff across rock faces.  This fellow accompanied me right till the peak.

A local residence  as we climb up the mountain

A prominent small temple at the lower slopes.

                                  The local deity, the Hanuman Temple

                                    The warmth of faith on a cold and foggy day

At this point, we were just half way up the mountain .  The trekkers enclosed in the cold and the fog .

A clearing, a meeting and a celebration !

         Trekkers enjoying a much needed break. This place has a huge traffic of trekkers. The folks you see are not all from our group.

         Railings installed by the authorities  for the convenience of pilgrims and trekkers.

    The piece de  resistance of the entire trek ! Hot delicious freshly made kanda (onion) bhajias (fritters), freshly made  somewhere near ladder no 4.  We had them both on the way up and down, along with tea !  

   This fellow  accompanied me all the way  from the base to the peak of Kalsubai. These fellows do not use the ladders meant for human trekkers. They simply and nimbly  climb up themselves...

                                              Like us, he too needed a breather .

       The small temple to Kalsubai at the peak. A traditonal puja is held by the local priest every Tuesday and Thursday, and locals regularly climb up here to sell pooja materials while their cows graze amidst the green. At Navratri, there are daily pujas, and even stalls are set up near the summit for the visitors and devotees. 

                                                 All part of the temple

                       The trishool, with typical offerings to the Goddess Kalsubai, consisting of green blouse pieces, bangles , vermillion and ornaments.

       Celebrations, bells, colored cloth offerings ,  marking the auspicious occasion.

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