Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bhimkund Trek-Baap of all treks (Alias Uttar Khali :D)

Hello everyone! A blog after long Time. Sorry for keeping you on hold for so long. Again it’s about an awesome trek, or may be the best one I ever did. To the foot of Bhimkund waterfall.

FLOCK of  21 sheep + 22nd me in and as Shephard :D :P © Sanket Thodge
It was kind of usual start. Woke-up at 0505 hours. Reached at Oja’s home at 0605 hours and by 0620 hours I, Sanket Chandak (a.k.a. Camel) and Ojas Kale were on Amravati bus-stand. Haha! No we Didn’t planned for MSRTC’s ‘lal-dabba’ but organisers (Kartik Wat, Hemant Thete Dada, Kedar Pawgi dada, Kedar Joshi dada) had already arranged two Travelers for us to comprise in. Meet Kartik, Kedar P dada, Ashwin Nimdeokar, Shaunak Ganorkar, Swarali Godbole, Sampada Thorat and Anuja Savsundar. We (Me, Camel, Kartya, Sandeep Dada, Kedar P Dada, Anuja, Sampada, Swarali, Oja, Ashwin, Ankya, Shaunak, Amey Sadar and Aalok Alsi we were all settled in traveler. Other traveler was carrying Uday Jangid, Rishabh Khandekar, Tejas Khawalkar, Kunal Khadse, Ravi Waghmare, Vaibhav Randhai, Rashmi Aglave, Oshin Chetule, Apurva Deshmukh and Vaibhav Jaiswal. Soon our buses were traversing through crisscrossing road and we were in Chikhaldara. Swarali, Ojas, Shaunak and I were sharing our experiences previous treks. Continuous jibber-jabber. Topics ranging from snow on Chikhaldara plateau to how we can prevent Global Warming were discussed.

Landscape view © Kartik Wat

Reached at the pedestal of two huge Suzlon 10000 windmills. The watchman took us by surprise and came baffling to us as what in the world brought us to this barren land. We were enjoying his animated expressions while having delicious guava (though they were raw). This was a complete blind trek, no one knew about the exact destination, path and hurdles of trek (except organizers and their best buddies B)). The climate was not expected, it was bright sunny day, cloud patches at visible distance and rain showers for few minutes. Certainly not best for trekkers. With a ray of hope of getting a cloudy sweat-free day we marched on our way; destination being a paheli. Each step was refilling adrenaline in blood. BP obviously above normal. Heart beat pacing up.

A big group of 29 people was making their way through woods; few from Pune, few from Nagpur, many from Amravati. Kedar Dada and Sandeep Dada were leading from the front, whereas Hemant Dada and Kedar P Dada was handling the rear part of the flock (why I used this word? You will get it in the later part of blog :D) so that no one is left behind.

Amidst grass © Kartik Wat
Kartik and Ankush as usual were the busiest one taking the photos...ours’, locations’, landscapes’, birds’, sometimes their own and each and every microbe then find in the way (am glad they can’t see amoeba and paramecium for this reason). Awkward and weird poses were posed by all of us.

Reached a location! It was complete misty. Visibility was sparse. As the mist reduced we witnessed ambience, it was like Mother Nature was embracing and welcoming us. There was a bombastic valley, amidst lavish green forest, numerous waterfalls eroding hills with gushing sound, and mobs of people at a very long distance reminding as the people from Jonathan Swift’s novel Gulliver’s Travel...and obviously we too were FOR THEM! Exactly beside them was Bhimkund Waterfall a.k.a. Kichakdari; among the highest waterfalls in Melghat. And an announcement was made, “We are having our trek to the base of Bhimkund waterfall. Then we will have our lunch there. Then we will carry-forward our self from steep cliffs, ridges, cracks and will reach in Govilgad Fort climbing those hills. Our travelers will be waiting for us there.”
Someone’s mouth popped open, someone’s eye bulged automatically, some were uprooting their head hairs and fewstroke their forehead with palm. I felt blessed! Unluckily those expressions were not captured from Ankush’s and Kartik’s lensesl! And then the remaining strategy was revealed. It was not just this, but we were also supposed to iterate up to the fort of Gavilgad where our travelers will wait for our arrival.
Plan was nice and I too loved it. That was the exact moment when I realised...Sankya boss today is the day of optimum performance warna naak kat jayengi. I tightened my belt, tied shoelace, gulped a barrel full of water, did some pushups, meditation for a few minutes and took a deep breath. I was ready. We again continued our trek.

Landscape view © Sanket Thodge
Crossing few small streams, surpassing many cracks, pressing the monsoon grass cover we were heading ahead before a heavy jolt which strikes us fiercely. To carry the trek we have to cross a drop of 120-150 feet (drop in trekking terminology is steep cliff made of rocks...almost 90 degrees in vertical). It is next to impossible to subside without any support. And it was the first impediment for all of us, but our logistics department was well prepared to handle this vault. All the Dadas started to tie the knot to a well rooted tree and then one end was left afloat to descend downhill atop. This process is termed as rope-rappelling. I saw Vaibhav all tensed. His mouth dried-up instantly, no doubt!
Meanwhile we were introducing ourself to each other. This was an overall third track of mine and a second trek with Kartik, Oja, Swarali, Ankya, Camel, Apurva, Shaunak, Hemant dada and Kedar dada. It was already 1100 hours by now and the sun was shining with full luster. The rope was tied tight and Shaunak was our test mannequin. His experience and weight was the major factors that made him most eligible person for this job. And surprisingly he descended comfortably.
I bid adieu everyone saying-dua mein yaad rakhna yaaro! And murmuring song -

Ek tu hi bharosa
Ek tu hi sahara
Is tere jahan mein
Nahi koi hamara
Ishwar ya allah
Ye pukar sun le
Ishwar ya allah, he daata

I was in-situ; on the ground safe and secure. Then one-by-one all of us overleaped cliff. And with that we were below the Chikhaldara plateau. Actual trek began here. It was only me, Ojas and Swarali underneath everyone else.

But then we decided to keep heading and then take rest somewhere where all can gather and then continue our trek. After taking few steps I found two shadows in the bush. I was so excited to see them that I went on running very carelessly (more of like captain Haddock from movie The Adventure of Tintin in scene where their plane crash in the Baggar) and all of a sudden...BANG!! BANG!! I was on my bum...not once but twice. This turned out to be the best gag for those two damn shadows, Oja and Swarali.

Rope rappelling © Kartik Wat
Kedar Joshi Dada © Kartik Wat
Then there we kept on doing all the jabbering. After some span Camel arrived, then Apurva, preceding Oshin, Tejas and Amey. We were then guided by Kedar J dada to next destination where we again continued our talks. It was 1200 hours by now and still many were yet to cross the cliff. Meanwhile Ravi had a near death incident which is I am very sure will haunt him till He become grandfather and he will have a nice story for eons. LOL! While jumping off the floor a rock...literally a big loose rock lost its clench from the ground and went sliding down the hill slope. I was watching Ravi and then that rock..back to him..then again rock. Then again Ravi, by now rock was disappeared in forests and I got ample time to see his expressions. His face went white; I seriously doubt he might have even had a mini heart attack. It took some time for him to get back to normal and bring back all senses.

Now we were at the place where we can lay down and take rest while others climb down the cliff. It was covered with few inches of grass and dried bushes. I remember some lines from a song-

एक दिन जब सवेरे–सवेरे सुरमई से अंधेरी चादर हटाके एक परबत के तकीये से सूरजने सर जो उठाया,
तो देखा..दिलकी वादियोंमें चाहत का मौसम आया है।
यादों कि डालीयोंपर..अनगीनत बीते लम्हों की कलीयां..महकने लगी हैं,
अनकही-अनसूनी आरजू…आधी सोयी हुइ…आधी जागी…आंखे मलते हुए…देखती हैं।
लेहर दर लेहर, मौज दर मौज बहती हुइ जिंदगी जैसे हर पल नइ…और फिरभी वही…हा वही जिंदगी,
जिसके दामन मे मोहब्बतभी है, और हसरत भी।
पास आनाभी है, दुर जानाभी है और ये एहसास है,
वक्त झरनेसा बहता हुआ जा रहा है, ये कहता हुआ,
दिलकी वादियोंमें चाहत का मौसम आया है और
यादों कि डालीयोंपर अनगीनत बीते लम्हों की कलीयां महकने लगी हैं।

We were enjoying that serene time. Amidst nature! Hills playing the barrier for telecom network coverage. Trees endowing us with pure air. Very small vibrant color butterflies sitting on our sacks. The waterfall was making the gushing sound. Few birds hovering overhead. Breeze was bending grasses in rhythm. It was like a fight between them; one second grasses were bending to the ground and next second they were coming fighting back to stand straight. Far away from all the small-big issues that I normally face on daily basis. I was deprived from all of them. For now it was just me, and a bunch of new friends. Tried to have a power nap. But within a few minutes all landed safely and arrived at our current destination. Itinerary Kartik witnessed Bamboo Pits viper snake and Rishabh Green Keelback snake. Luckily they. Had some photo session and again headed towards our prime aim-Bhimkund waterfall!!

Me, Oja and Swarali :) © Sanket Thodge

Our flock was again controlled by Sandeep dada and Kedar dada from front and Hemant dada and Kedar P dada from behind. But a time-bomb was tic-toking overhead. Mother Nature liked hallucinated us and while hugging her we forgot that she also teaches us lessons; that's so hard way.

We were supposed to follow Kedar dada and Sandeep dada. The aisle was very small; it was hard to guess the pathway. And in all this we all people missed Sandeep dada’s and Kedar dada’s footmarks who were heading us. We kept on moving straight and straight and straight. We didn’t realized it until we reached a big waterfall. Then Ojas uttered words, “Apan harawalo!!” (We are lost!) I tried to excavate if there is any fact in his verdict, it turned out to be true. Now you got a reason for using word FLOCK. We were those sheep from Shiksha.com’s advertisement where everyone follows one person without thinking any deeper!! But seriousness was miles away from us. Some were playing with water, some were having their tiffin (without asking me whether I want it or not :@) and Tejas even went down a few feet in search of way to the river alongside waterfall, Oshin was calling him back. Anuja and Sampada not even realized they are lost. Shaunak was still brain draining what to do next? The camel was tired! But then combined decision was taken that I and Ojas will go in search of all Dadas and then rescue ourself from ourself.

We both started shouting ‘Aeee..Oooo..’,’AeeeOooo…’. As per trekking guide book this sound travels longest of distance, thank you Advait Keole for this knowledge. We were shouting Aee..Ooo.. and very soon our Eardrum was struck by a whistle. Then like the Sherlock Holmes we took out a magnifying glass and started searching if we can find any evidence of our Dadas. We were nearing them and BINGO; they were just in front of us. But erubescent. Iron red! We sensed the danger and explained the entire situation in one breath.

In the next 5 minutes all were backtracked. Backtracking’s concept from my engineering subject was finally understood by me after this practical experience. Then we continued our trek river bed. It was a very big relief for all of us watching fresh stream of water flowing down the round and slippery stones leading to creation of small bubbles. One step in water, then second, then third and before I take fourth I was drenched in chilled stream water. Everyone was splashing water on one another. All got wet. It took no time for us to lie down in the water and let all fatigue flow away with the stream. It was the ultimate feeling of happiness for all of us. Rashmi did have special time with us. We all were complete strangers to her. Then some double-meaning fun. ;) And the idiotic suggestion like having lunch in the river were surging. It was 1430 hours, and all were feeling the elephant appetite in their stomach. As soon as every individual opened their tiffin beautiful aroma encapsulated whole environment dominating even natural soil aromaChabarr..chubarr..karamm..kuramm..!! Everyone was gulping all edible they can have in one morsel. In no time all finished their food.

SPLASH!! SPLASH!! SPLASH!! © Mandar Pawgi

After lunch now we have to finalize our return trek. We were now left with two options. Either to follow the same plan:
A] Climb the hill to Gavilgad Fort and then to Traveler and then home. Less distance but more physical work.
B] Or backup plan was to follow River and we will be out in a small village named Baglinga where we will call our drivers and they will pick us from their back to Amravati.

Now again I tightened my belt, tied shoelace, gulped a barrel full of water, did some push-ups, meditation for a few minutes and took a deep breath. I was ready. But this time for Tug-of-war. I was from the side to retain with Plan A while few of us were so fatigued that they insisted on Plan B. I lost the battle. I should have had lunch. Shit!! But that was the decision taken.

The plan changed and we were following Aadh river. We then witnessed some fantastic dives from Swarali, Ojas, Kedar P dada, Kedar J dada and Kartya in river where water was not shallow.
River was in the foothill; thus flowing in a zig-zag manner. It was the penultimate time that we have to surpass river. No one of us was willing to travel back home in wet shoes. So, we were taking support of slippery stones to cross rivers.
Krrish 3 :P © Sanket Thodge

Amidst river there were two stones separated at a reasonable distance which can make an individual think a hundred times before taking jump over it. Difference of an inch and you are drenched head to toe. Me, Oja, Swarali, Camel and Kunal...we successfully crossed it and then came me in the picture. I thought of ending trek with some gags. So, we decided to conduct a competition. We collectively came with decision that everyone behind us has to cross the river without removing their shoes and handing their bags to us. Simply take a jump from those two stones without getting wet, along with the bag.
Our first participant was Tejas, he succeeded.  Then Oshwin, she as well. Similarly many were. We thought our plan failed. Our moral were abased.

Ashwin crossed half of the river and he was supposed to cross just one stone. Anuja hastily followed Ashwin and Sampada followed Anuja. Thus roads for Ashwin to backout were already diminished. He gave a thousand thoughts of how, when and where to jump. Imagined the perfect scenario. Wherein Oja was trying to woo him to throw his bag at him. But then I shouted, “If you ever throw your bag, then you will fail trekking test. You won’t be eligible for next trek!” I uttered these words so intensely that his hand over bag went off furiously and he again started working on how, when, where. Even NASA would never make such tough calculations. He finalized his jump, folded his legs a little, launching himself and SPLASH!! He was drenched in water. Both legs in water and one hand on stone. Our plan finally worked out. But Anuja and Sampada were still on hold. Sampada then decided to hand over her bag to us. Where I again put my whole energy in opposition. But again they having lunch were making a difference. Sampada gave her bag to Anuja and Anuja threw it with all might she had… and SPLASH!! The bag was in the water and Sampada shouts “Mobile!! Mobile!!” it was Ashwin again and in action-to-stimuli to catch the bag he slipped and SPLASH. Back to the Water. Double Dhamaka!! This was not expected at all. Then Anuja and Sampada followed quite well. And finally Uday came in handy. Whereas Kartik and Ankya cheated by coming through the river. They will be out of our next trek for sure.
Ashwin inAction!! SPLASH!! © Sanket Thodge

After a walk of another 3-4 kilometers we were in a small village named Baglinga where our Travellers were destined to come. All of us gathered in the ZP school’s premises. First of all we thought our fun was finally over and we were reviewing the photos. And then there was chota packet bada dhamaka!
Out of no where an old lady around 60 came; she was quavering, she approached us. And was asking something in a very vague language. It was just a matter of time when we found out she was drunk! She came like rain in our desert, wave of vigor charged through us. Kartik was the first one to converse. He was not sure what language to use, but decided to converse in Marathi! We started with moderate questions like what are you doing here? What are the good things about this village? In no time our train of topic left its track, we asked her what is the age limit like for marrying? She was so drunk most of her words were not making any sense, and that was the best part of it! Mocking the drunk person is one of Oja’s favorite pastime.

"Aap kabhi Gawilgad gaye ho? Have you ever went to Gawilgad?" Ojas asked her.
"Haa ha gai hu na , bohot bar gai hoo. Yes, I have. Many times." she spoke with a puff of wine smell.
"Bagh wagre dekha hai udhar? Ever came across tigers in their?" Ojas interrogated.
"Bohot bar dekha hai, aap chalo mere saath mae dikhati hu apko. Certainly, many times. You come along with me; I will show you." with a blushing smile on her face. We all guffawed.
"Maine suna hai upar kile pe ek mandir hai kali ma ka, waha amavaski rat bhot log gae n wapas nae aaye? I have heard that top hill on fort there is a temple of Goddess Kali Mata. On the Night of new moon many people was missed?" we all were giggling.
"Nae nae aate hai na log wapas. No. No. People do come back." she didn’t understand the intent behind the question. "Aate hai na wapis Dusre din aajate suba. They do come back on succeeding day." now she had lost it.
"Matlab daru pike so jaate hai wahan n dusre din aajate nasha utarke aisa nae bolra mae, mae to bhuto n pisacho ke bare me puchra hoo. I don’t mean like people get drunk and next day arrives after hangover, I am talking about ghosts and witches." Ojas continued and we were following it.
This bold word even embarrassed her, we all laughed hard! "Bhoot vagre kuch nae rehta. Sab zooth hae aap chalo to saah. Sab dikhati ho. 20 Rs lungi sirf. There are no things like ghosts. It’s all myth, you just come along with me. I will show you everything at 20 Rs." she said angrily!
That was the point when we realized her scheme to be there with us was extracting few bucks! I don’t remember exactly how but Kartik cajoled her into saying "Indira Gandhi mere sath utri hai Gawilgad see. Indira Gandhi had rappelled down Gawingad with me." that word of her were the sheer entertainment for us!
Then we took her photos. She turned celebrity for us!

And then we bid adieu village and decided to move-on to wait at that village’s bus stand. Our Traveler was supposed to arrive at the same location. This was turning to be a long wait for us. 1900 to almost 2100 hours we were surrounded by dark. Most mesmerizing the scenario was when glow-worm started showing up for every two seconds. The light they were producing was much of the pleasurable for eyes. We all were astonished to see it. I and Ojas were faded-off of all the waiting period, so we decided to have a small post prandial stroll. And in no time our Travelers arrived. We climbed voraciously and grabbed our seats. Ravi might be one of the most satisfied persons of not falling a single time and completing trek 10/10.
Reached our respective home by 2300 hours!!

This has been the best trek I ever had. Third trek and it was just more than awesome. More the number, and better the people! Our trekking group is increasing leaps and bounds. I won’t doubt that one day our trekking group will climb Mt. Everest. And am very optimistic about it. :) :)

Thank you guys for accompanying and especially to Kartik, Kedar Pawgi dada, Kedar Joshi dada, Sandeep dada and Hemant dada for arranging such an awesome trek. Awaiting for such next fantastic treks. :)

Yuppie!! I got the fish :D © Sanket Thodge

Trek route to Bhimkund Waterfall via Gawilgad Fort and to Bhilkhed village on Google Maps

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Keywords: bhimkund, chikhaldara, waterfall, maharashtra, trek, trekking, google map, bhimkund waterfall, amravatisanket thodge