I guess nature has it’s own way of proving it’s supremacy and we all found an e.g. during course of visit to Dhak Bahiri. This was second of my treks in Maharashtra’s Shayadri ranges. Prior research did gave indications that it wasn’t an easy to do trek, but considering my earlier experiences in Himalayas I was quite confident that we’d make it. So we (me, Nipun, Santosh, Vishal and Vaidyanathan) started of our journey by taking last local from CST to Karjat. It’s a comfortable journey of around 3 hrs. By 3:30 A.M. we were at Karjat and it was nice to find chai wala at station. After some enquiry we found that first bus to Sandsi village was to start at 5:30 A.M., so after some rest at station we went off to bus stop at Karjat. There was another group as well at bus station which was going for trekking to Bheemashankar. State Transport buses are perhaps one of best things which I’ve seen in Maharashtra. I mean, no matter how remote the village is, one can find good frequency of buses to/from these places. Our bus had only 6 guys, our group and one other fellow. We reached Sandsi in 30 min. and it was still dark. There were few villagers who were waking up to a new morning and we found a place where a guy was sleeping in front of fire. It was comfortable to warm ourselves by sitting across fire. We finally started our trek to Dhak Bahiri at 7:00 A.M.
This is our target
It was still dark as sun had not risen past the mountains but as visibility improved to a decent level we started marching towards the mountain. We were accompanied by two dogs whom we even gave names, Julie and Kapish 🙂 We passed through the fields at Sandsi village and it really makes me wonder why in the hell there is no provision of alternative water supply in this region. The fields were dead dry and one can easily see massive cracks in the soil. I really feel for the farmer community living in such hardships and still trying to find means to grow crops for people like us. After we’d crossed the fields we found ourselves at bank of a dry river. A villager earlier had told us to follow the river and not cross it. We tried very hard to follow his advise and started following river up towards the hill. We halted in between at a place where there was some water, to get through with daily chores. It was really nice to be in nature’s abode and it really feels strange and nice at times to me to be in such remoteness. As we moved along the jungle became more dense by every step and there was a point beyond which we couldn’t find the path ahead. Boy, we are lost !!! And to add to the thrill were sounds coming from hill above us, which were initially reported by some of us as to be being made by some bear but in reality they were some monkeys howling 🙂 The dogs too were looking skeptical and we finally decided to return back. As we were moving back Santosh found another path and dogs too looked much more at ease on that path and we decided to stick to it, and voila within few min. we were on right track which was also marked by some white arrows on rocks. Within few minutes the hike also began and I must admit it was not an easy one and reminded me of hike I made during my treks in Uttaranchal (especially Loharkhet to Dhakuri during my visit to Pindari). After hiking for about 2 hrs we finally landed at a place where there was a plain surface and we decided to have our breakfast there. It was strange to see the dogs not taking any food (God knows why in the hell they accompanied us !). We found few guys from some nearby village wandering there and they told us that they were in search of some bird prey. This reminded me of my childhood days when once I went for hunting in Himalayas with my Grandpa (I really miss those good old days 😦 and dearly wish them to come back). Those guys told us that it was just 45 min walk from that point to Bahiri caves and this brought in a new wave of enthusiasm in our life. However this enthusiasm was to last for a very short time period as we again lost our way during the trek and landed up at another big field near by the point where we had our breakfast. Some asshole had even placed a railway ticket from Lonawala to Pune along that path as a marker. This was really irritating as we were unable to find our way out. So again with no other option we’d to back trek and Vaidy who was in front was lucky enough to find the way out to right trek. The journey ahead to top from this point onwards was filled with fun and we passed through some dense jungles and a point where we had to hike up on a rock which was inclined at almost 65-70 degree angle. Vishal was dead tired by then and so were we all. Finally we managed to reach the place they call Naali (It’s a narrow passage between two hills). Nipun as he always is was over enthusiastic and was running all over the places to get caught on camera. Rest of us were a bit tired and I was really beginning to worry about how will we cross this passage with our luggage on our back. However in God’s name we all marched ahead and what the hell it was a dead end after this passage. I mean all I could see was a feet long path down and we’d to move down by almost 2-3 feet from top to that place. Even if we were to come down, I could see that there was no way we could climb back. But as has always been the case with guys, we couldn’t accept this fact and decided to move ahead. Nipun was first one to go down. We decided to give our rucksacks to him so that we could move down without any luggage on our backs and suddenly I heard from Santosh that one of the bags has toppled down the hill. What the hell !!!! And to add to agony it was my bag which had moved down. We all were in deep trouble now, as all the food for night was in that bag and I was in much big trouble as my cellphone and wallet were also in that very bag. Anyhow we all finally came down and took our luggage to a place which we considered safest. Nipun decided to go down and have a look (It was really brave of him to do so). Meanwhile Vaidy moved ahead and decided to see if he could find some helping hand. Nipun wasn’t able to move much deep down the hill and it was very wise of him too. Suddenly we found few guys coming down from Bahiri caves towards us. These guys were trekkers from Pune and they were also carrying ropes with them. They agreed to help us out but even they could not move down very deep due to geography of the hill. While 2 of the guys from Pune were down, one of other guys from their group asked us, if we had ever come before to this place. And when we told him that this was our first trek ever in such remote areas in Sahayadris, he posed a real surprised look on his face. When we asked for the reason, he told us something, which made all of us look dumb silly and stupid and also brave at same time. He told us that this was one of the toughest treks in Sahayadris and almost 100 people had lost their life during the trek. This brought shiver down spine of some of our group members but real trouble right now was to find the bag. With failure of the trekkers from Pune, now our only help rested on some villager from Sandsi village. And luckly for us, one group from Mumbai had also come up to Bahiri and they were accompanied by a local villager from Sandsi. One guy from Pune agreed to help us out and he went to Bahiri caves and talked to the villager. Now all we had to do was to sit in chilling heat and wait for villager to come down. When he finally met us, he agreed to help us out but now we had a situation as we couldn’t complete our trek, cauz we had to show the group which had come with villager the path down to Sandsi. Anyhow we decided to go ahead with it and moved back. Travelling back was even tougher then climbing up as, sand on the hills is really slippry and one has to be really cautious while moving down. Anyhow after a long and tireing journey down we finally managed to meet the local villager and I was glad to find my wallet back. Sadly my cellphone was lost but I belive everything happens for a good cause and we are going out to complete this Mission to reach caves of Dhak Bahiri again in coming holiday.