Torna To Raigad Rang Trek
Part - 1
This is the story of 1857... Lockdown made me say this; because it’s been ages since my last trek. This blog is going to be as long as my trek was!!, I started from the birthplace of the Maratha empire till the holy capital, Raigad
The rising corona cases forced travelers and trekkers to cancel all of their plans. Sadly, I too canceled my AMK trek. But, sitting idle at home on a weekend, doesn't seem like my plan!
I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I crashed at my friend’s Insta story; he was planning to visit Torna and Raigad. I called him up on his mobile phone; he said the last bus would depart at 5 PM from Swargate. I look at my wristwatch and all I have is 2 hours. I packed up my stuff, boarded the PCMT bus, and reached Swargate just in time. My friend kept calling me all the time; he was so pissed off: P
Maybe my destiny wanted me to visit these forts that day :) after all, this was an unplanned trip...
As always, I forgot to bring cash, but my friends managed some cash for me. Now the fun part started, we talked, we laughed, and we met new people, made friends in no time. We were about 10 trekkers; four among us were just cleared the HSC examination. They had only one or two trek experiences. However, it was a bold decision for them to hike such a difficult trail. Hats off to them, they conquered this long hike of almost 35Km with such ease.
Velhe, the base village, was not too far now and I already saw the glimpse of Torna and Rajgad. Mighty Rajgad, no doubt, why Chhatrapati Maharaj made it our capital. I had visited these forts a lot of time already, but this time it was going to be different.
Torna, the tallest fort in the Pune district. Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj conquered this fort to inaugurate the Maratha Empire. Very soon after winning this fort, Chhatrapati Maharaj found a treasure on the fort. That treasure was used in many ways to build the Maratha empire.
Torna and Rajgad are a few miles away from each other, making them tough to win over. In case any enemy ceases or attacks one of them, the army from the other fort will reach in no time to kill the enemies. In my opinion, if someone wins these two forts, then they are the rulers of the Mawal region. No one can even come closer. Maybe that is the reason they were so important.
Coming back to trek, we had reached Velhe village, we had dinner and took some rest. Then around 11 p.m., we started climbing Torna fort. The advantage of a night trek is we do not feel tired soon. We reach the top of the fort within 2 hours. We slept at Torna and watched a gorgeous sunrise. It was unbelievable. I will never forget this sunrise. Very soon after the sunrise, we started walking towards Raigad.
We started descending from Chilkhati barbican (Buruj) to reach Bhatti village in the west. We had our breakfast here and again started walking towards Raigad.
On this trail, we will see these villages, remember them, our dear google maps do not work here. So here they are in a sequence: Velhe --> Bhatti --> Gelgani --> Singapur --> Rayling pathar --> Singapur naal --> Dapoli --> Raigad After Bhatti, we need to climb the mountain, and then in the next 2-3 Km, we reach Gelgani village.
Once we passed the Gelgani village, the next village is not so near. We need to walk for at least 3-4 hours to reach Singapur village. We walked through the forest and mountains. While passing by this forest, the peak of Lingana was visible. Making us feel like it is so close. But, that is a sweet dream.
On our way, we found a well. Finally seeing water calms us down. Our thirsty souls drank water as if this was the first time we were seeing water. We also had our lunch here. Again, we started our journey. Somewhere we got lost in the forest. We had to travel back for 1 hour. Lucky of us to see another traveler who helped us to get back on the correct route. Finally, we reached Singapur village. We freshen up there, took some rest. Then we started walking towards Rayling Pather. I heard many times about the sunset view from Rayling pathar. No doubt, that was a memorable sunset.
Lingana, Looks similar to Load Mahadev’s ling, a lone peak, terrify trekkers all the time. It is very hard to walk up to this peak, one needs to climb up this peak using ropes. This is a dream trek for every trekker around here. As this peak is so tough to climb, our Maharaj decided to use it as a Jail.
We spend some more time here. We witnessed a beautiful sunset again. Now our tummies were talking to us. We were starving. We reached our next destination, had our dinner, and slept like anything.
We started walking along the Singapur Naal. We need to walk through Singapur and Borata naal. While Singapur naal is easy, the Borata naal is hard to walk. From Raigad, we can see these forts in one straight line, Lingana, Rajgad, Torna. Choosing Raigad as a capital shows the great analytical skills of our Chhatrapati Maharaj.
We thought Dapoli village is nearby and we will reach there in no time. But it took us 3 hours to reach here. We need to descend through Singapur naal and then cross Lingana to reach Dapoli village. We had our breakfast at Dapoli, we drank our energy drink, Tea As soon as we reached Dapoli, we saw the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue.The villagers around here built this statue. We bowed our heads at the statue and started walking again.
We were carrying Maggi all the time. We cooked Maggi for ourselves and had it for breakfast. (Also, it lowered the baggage on our back). We took some rest and started again. It was almost 1 p.m. and the Sun was roasting us all around. We were not able to walk anymore. We were craving for water. We were too much tired but we kept walking through the forest.
We saw the streets at some distance, and we found some hopes
We started walking faster. However, it did not take much longer for us to know that it is easier to walk in a forest than on paved roads. We sat in the corner, waiting for a local bus. We asked a few villagers if any buses could take us to Raigad. They told us these buses only cover half of the journey. We waited for the bus with all our heart. We kept walking, we asked for a ride to every passing vehicle. Finally, one wise person on a motorcycle gave two of us a ride until the next village. We kept walking and the miracle happened in the next 30 minutes, those two of us did a smart thing; they somehow found a small truck. They asked that driver if he could help us reach Raigad. Happily, he agreed.
They come back with a truck and we all board the truck with a happy face. He took us to the base of Raigad. We paid him a good fare for his service. At the base of Raigad, we filled to tummies and took some rest. We decided to reach Raigad tonight.
We decided to reach Raigad by 4 and see the magnificent fort in the morning. We were carrying the tents. I have visited a lot of forts but Raigad. Today is the day, I was about to see the magnificent capital of our Maratha empire. I was thrilled. I decided to make every moment of this day memorable. I felt like this is the purpose of my life. I bowed on the very first steps of Raigad and we started the journey.
I was thrilled by seeing Raigad, the place where we coroneted our Maharaj, the place from where our ancestors built our empire, the place where our Maharaj took his last breath. The whole history was replaying in front of my eyes.
Friends, we all work hard and make good money, but there things and experiences that money cannot buy. At least we should have some good memories and stories to tell our grandchildren.
This blog ends here. I feel I should make another blog only on Raigad and try to describe it.
Don’t forget to read my blog on Raigad “मी बघितलेला रायगड... ”
Let me know your thoughts on this.
In the end, I would only say:
दगड झालो तर “सह्याद्रीचा” होईन!
(If I would be a stone, I will be a Sahyadri’s stone)
माती झालो तर “महाराष्ट्राची” होईन!
(If I would be soil, I will be Sahyadri’s soil)
तलवार झालो तर “भवानी मातेची” होईन!
(If I would be a sword, I will a sword of goddess Bhavani mata)
पुन्हा मानव जन्म मिळाला तर “मराठीच” होईन!
(If I would be reborn as a human, I will a Marathi)