Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Waterfall Rapelling at Diksal, Bhivpuri....

While having your feet firmly entrenched on the ground, or terra firma , as they fashionably put it,  is an admirable quality for a person, sometimes it helps to fly.

I once did that in a paragliding trip near Kaamshet . That involved people pushing you off a cliff as you remained hanging below a parachute, and then  sailed in the air above hills and valleys .  This was, of course, done with the help of trained instructors.

Another possibility is something called waterfall rapelling or abseiling , where you descend across a vertical mountain face , all by yourself (with a rope control person at the peak), sliding on a rope (with hand controls) , with a waterfall torrentially descending around you. 

The IIT Bombay adventure club announced a waterfall rapelling trip, and suffice it to say that registrations went on way past midnight.  There was a training and familiarization program a day before at the Student Activity Centre, which lent itself to descending from heights on ropes anchored above. 

I attended this event .  And as they say, learnt the ropes. Or so I thought. 

There was much more to learn and experience at the actual Waterfalls.

5 am on September 27th, saw a bus leaving from campus for the Diksal Waterfalls, at Bhivpuri, near Karjat.  The trip involved leaving the bus near civilization, and trekking in and around at least four hills/mountains to reach the Diksal Waterfalls.  By 9 am we were at the Falls.

Almost 50 people, mostly first timers at rapelling,   to be guided by the experts,  down a vertical drop of roughly 130 feet, with a waterfall roaring down around you,  and we were finally able to leave just before sunset.

The bus was parked , we disembarked and made our way through the base village of Diksal. Everyone was briefed on what to bring , how much to bring and what not to bring.  Trekking shoes, floaters, change of clothes, food , and at least 2 litres of water.

We proceed on what looks like the main thoroughfare , with consulting rooms of physicians and surgeons, as the sign on the right says. Very clearly, villages are undergoing a change.

Nothing stops the locals from getting on with the most important work of the day: fetching drinking water from a distance. The lady makes her way.

The scenic route took us past lakes formed by the backwaters of the Thokarwadi Dam in the vicinity, amidst  lots of small mountains and hills.

Very clearly,  boating and possibly fishing seems popular  in these lakes. We skirted up and around at least 4 hills/mountains on our way to the falls.

The group making its way to the falls, stopping for a photo opportunity and yes, a cell phone opportunity. 

Almost a painting , and we were the lucky ones to walk in it.

Folks proceeding along well worn paths , skirting the lake , and into the hills

Picture perfect, weather perfect, and the water reflecting it all. This must have been around 8 am or so.

This time the clouds photo bombed the picture.

Some other types, dragonfly (or is it a damselfly ?)  on a trek of their own. Thankfully, they fly, and unlike us, do not need to rapell down with ropes and stuff.

Finally at the Falls .  Some rush to get wet, others contemplate the height. Many others just take a decent breather.

That's me , cooling off in the pool area below the waterfall.

It was very sunny then, and fairly hot.  And this was the preferred mode of cooling off.  The climb to the top of the Falls was yet to happen.

Away from the cascading water,  there were these big rocks, which were dry and were almost like an observation arena for those watching others rappel, and awaiting their turn.

That's me, in harness  and just starting to rapell down . You need to control the ropes with your hands really well, and carefully, letting go really slow, touching base ever so often.   You dont realize it then, but this gives your muscles a huge workout, as i realized after i got home.

My defining picture ! Me midway down the rapelling. There were experts situated and monitoring the rope stuff from the top,  and another person standing in the pool of water below , ensuring that you proceed properly and safely.

Finally completed the rapelling. ! Notice the gloves in my hand. We need to wear these as we slide down and hold and handle the ropes.  The person on the right is the expert who helped us get the harness off after we landed .  Helmets were provided for those who rapelled.

A side view, as it were , of the waterfall, through the grasses growing in the rocks. Everything was green post monsoon.

The same click as above, but tried it at 1/1000 sec. Turns out, it gives the waterfall a Bokeh look.

Folks hanging around awaiting their turn and watching others do their rapelling.

This was just a hand held long exposure shot.  Waiting for my turn i had a lot of time to experiment around with the camera.

We always use an expression like "wish i was a fly on the wall where xxxx happened".  I wonder what this "creature on the rock wall"  thought, as it sat around looking at the human commotion around the rocks.

The typical flora of the place.

It was close to sunset when we started the trek back, and there was this amazing shadow play.

A last look back at the Falls, and the last of the rappelers doing their stuff.

Dark and beautiful ,  at sunset, on a day when a lunar eclipse was to start at 8:45 pm, on the fourteenth day in the waxing fortnight of the Moon, in the Indian month of Bhadrapad. The day Ganpati Bappa returns home.

Memories of Kaas,  but couldn't resist clicking these pretty flowers on our way back to the village and the bus.

I was so lucky to get this capture of the Blue Moon or Blood Moon as it is called.  The moon was heading into an eclipse, as visible in Mumbai from 8:45 pm onwards till midnight, and although I would not be able to capture that,  this capture was a special gift of nature.

just in case you wish to see a 2 minute video about me rapelling down the rock face, the surrounding excitement, and the encouraging applause at the end , click below.....

1 comment:

  1. Wow what an experience. Wonderful pictures and write up too. One feels like going there at once.