May 2007: Harishchandragad Trek
a Friday evening.. and the day to go was Saturday 19th May 2007 — an over night trek ( way to go – Harishchandragad )
I had already had a bad experience earlier — on my first visit to Harishchandragad.. We couldn’t make it it to the base also… so I was keen to go ahead… All I wondered was.. it was too early to go for Harishchandragad… as it was mid May. But I decided to go ahead .. asked a couple of colleagues…. and my frnd Sid.. and we planned the schedule over phone conversations..
We had a wonderful trek .. just out of nowhere..
There is a photo gallery link at the bottom of the page.
Check more about it on
– now i feeel – WAT a LIFE !!!
I just realized… – a friend once said –
“The mountains shall always be there – Just make sure you are there”
– Greens are calling..
I have had two incomplete visits to this place..?
You ought to know the why. when. and where. of whatever happened to us !!!
I had asked PAM to write the journey log and…u can read through it!!
Harishchandragad – Authored by my friend: Anupama
There is a fine line between life and death and on 19/05/07 I saw that line…or on a more humorous note you could say that I was playing kabaddi on that line, gone to far into unfamiliar territory and fighting to get back to safety.
On Saturday 19th May’2007 we had decided to report at Kalyan bus depot at 11am. Vijay and his two friends had arrived early. I arrived dot on time; Vini and his friend were late by an hr and half. On my arrival I got introduced to Vijay and his friends, Amol and Siddharth. Real jolly people. I was really apprehensive before the meeting but on meeting them didn’t feel at all that I was meeting them for the first time. We had vada pav outside the station and passed our time doing chitchat until Vini arrived. Vini arrived with his friend Aquiline and my 1st impression of her was ‘shez a kid’. As soon as these two arrived we caught a bus to go to khubi phata.
The bus ride was a lot of fun. Seated on the back seat all of us kept cracking jokes and telling stories about our lives and clicking snaps. When the bus stopped for tea all of us had watermelon and even fed some to the hungry cow. From here it took us
another 45mins to reach khubi phata.
After alighting at khubi, we took the dam road to reach khireshwar village, which is the base camp for harishchandragad. It took us an hour to reach the village. At the village we filled up our bottles, freshened up a bit and started towards Harishchandragad.
Our nightmare started when I took a wrong turn (as I was leading). Instead of going right which would have leaded us to Harishchandragad, I took a left which landed us up on a totally wrong mountain instead. I knew that we had come wrong coz this
path I had never seen before (I have been to harishchandragad 3yrs ago). But still we kept going coz we felt this route might join us to the original route further ahead. That turned out to be a big mistake.
following the river path believing that it would ultimately lead us to the top. At that time in my mind I was thinking, what if we hit a water fall point instead of reaching the top? Well my fears became true after only a few minutes. We saw a steep climb ahead, the sorts that can be counted under rock
climbing. Even then we did not turn back. We assumed there might be a way ahead of that steep climb. So we charged ahead in full steam. From here we could see other trekkers on the other mountain waving out to us. From whatever little I cud hear, I heard them yelling that we were on the wrong track. But we did not heed their warning, just kept on going (another mistake). We climbed this patch without our bags as it was difficult to take them along. So one of us was pulling the bags up with the help of a rope.
After 2 or 3 such rock patches we reached another green patch which was somewhat like a jungle. We found a trail here and decided to follow it. All the way thinking that we would catch up with the right trail ahead. We kept going right, towards the direction of the mountain which we were initially supposed to climb. But boy were we in for a surprise. Further ahead we hit some more rock patches and these were the really treacherous ones. They were absolutely flat with no finger or foot holds with a 30° slope. And also the rocks were so soft that they were break at the slightest pull. So we had lots of landslides and falling rocks. At one such rock patch, Vini climbed first to survey the area and check out the climbing conditions. He told us that the girls wouldn’t be able to climb it without the rope. So Vini held on to one end of the rope and gave us the other end. We had to climb on our own strength; he would be helping us only
if we slipped.
Well when things go wrong everything has to go wrong all at once. Two our backpacks had been kept in the side to be pulled up by rope later. Due to some falling rocks which hit the bags, the bags went plunging down way below, and now their retrieval was another headache. A little further ahead Aqua and I were sitting clinging to the rocks coz we were on a 60° slope. At this juncture we were losing daylight rapidly. It was already 7:30pm and we were nowhere near safe lands. Around this time while climbing Siddharth slipped and hurt himself bad on the
rocks, both his legs badly bruised and bleeding. But the worse part was that one big rock had fallen and gone down and hit Amol’s knee. Luckily he held on to the rock and didn’t allow it to go any further, coz Vini and Vijay were directly in its path. Had the rock hit them, they would have gone down with it
When all of the rest reached where Aqua and I were sitting, we could find nowhere to go except up. But going up too was a big question, considering it was a straight 90° climb and also up ahead there were only small mountain shrubs. So then Amol went up to explore our possibilities and concluded that we could spend the
night up in the bushes. Lucky for us the stems were strong enough to hold our weight. Vini went up next and both of them pulled up the rest of us by rope.
Now we had to spend the next 10hrs here, i.e. the entire night on a 30° slippery slope, holding on just to the branches of the shrubs for support. I just couldn’t believe the mess we had gotten ourselves into. Night time, up in the mountains, under the open sky and struggling to stay alive. I must confess I’ve never been so scared. I was not scared for my life but was more scared for the lives of the friends around me, especially Vini, he is my best friend. I was blaming myself for the mess we were in, coz I was the one who had taken the wrong turn in the first place. I was very upset coz of this, and everyone was trying to
cheer me up. I kept thinking, what if something goes wrong here, what if someone falls, what if we don’t make it, what will my parents and friends feel if I don’t make it out of here, will I ever get to see them again? Well after a while I did try to change my mood, coz there was no use by brooding over it. We chatted, discussed things, told each other stories and sang songs. We were taking turns to sleep and at any given time at least one person used to be awake. And as we couldn’t see in the dark, all our other senses had become stronger. We could detect the slightest movement around us. And out there
another major concern for us was snakes. What would we do if we encountered one? It was pitch dark and all we could see was the silhouettes of each other, the lights in the village, and the lights on the vehicles of the NH miles away. At one point of time we saw the torch lights of trekkers who were on their way
back from harishchandragad. At around 1am, Vini suggested that we should say a prayer, and hence I suggested the Gayatri mantra. Amol, Vijay and I chanted it for sometime and after a while they stopped. I decided to chant it for 108 times. I did it too, chanted it for about an hour non-stop. Vijay and Amol gave me company for sometime. Vini wanted me to continue, but I was too tired to do it any further. But seriously speaking chanting the Gayatri mantra brought a lot of peace in our hearts and calmed us a lot.
At around 2:30am I tried to get some sleep. It was getting colder every minute, coz the breeze was blowing and it was getting cloudy. We were seriously praying that it wouldn’t rain, coz if it did we would be in even deeper shit. Luckily it didn’t rain but it sure had gotten cold. And at one point of time I started shivering uncontrollably. So much so that people around me could hear me shivering and my breadth breaking. Vini and Amol tried to provide some heat by rubbing my palms. They wrapped me up in the bed sheet to break the breeze coming on to me. I am
anyway too sensitive to cold and out there under the open sky at 3am, was creating havoc on my system. I was so exhausted and tired and shivering, that I was only half aware of what was happening around me. I needed sleep desperately, but wasn’t able to do so coz of the position in which I was sitting and the cold. Vini then asked me to shift in between Sidd and Amol, so that they could break the direct wind coming on to me. It helped, and I was able to get some much needed rest.
The second part of our nightmare started the next morning, early at dawn. It was time for us to start climbing down. But just thinking of that journey was making my hair stand on ends. The climbing up part, even we had somehow managed, not sure how; but the climbing down part was sending shivers down our spines. Climbing down was most difficult coz we were not finding anything to hold on to. The cracks and crevices were also not big enough to accommodate even our fingers. People came down half sliding and half rappelling. While climbing down, again Vini and Vijay were leading and guiding us of the path below, and each person had to in turn guide the person behind them. After clearing these rock patches, we came back to the same old green patch again. From here we had to catch the river route, but here again we lost our way. We were going around in circles but not finding the correct route. Our entire water source was by now over and we had nothing to replenish ourselves. Vijay had a packet of glucose and I had brought along some mausambis, which really helped. After an hour we were able to trace
the correct route through which we had come. We had to do some more rappelling to get down to the river. After catching the river route, all we had to do was walk until we found an exit to the village. We kept walking on for at least an hour. We saw 2 or 3 exits leading out but they did not seem like the right one. After some more searching, finally we found the correct exit out of it, and everybody was really relieved.
We came back into the village, absolutely exhausted and thirsty, after the 6hrs long gruesome journey. We had started climbing down early at 6am and by the time we reached the village it was already 12noon. The first thing we did after getting down was to look back up at the mountain to see where we were during the
previous night. Seeing it, send chills down my spine. How did we manage to survive that? How did we manage to get there in the first place? All I could think of was that we must have done something good for God to help us out of it safely without any major injuries. At the village fountain we first drank all
the water that was humanly possible at that time. It felt like heaven. Then we washed and cleaned ourselves, washing away all the tiredness of the night before. It felt so relaxing to be finally down on safe and solid ground. Looking back at the mountain brought back some bitter sweet memories of the
We later sat down to relax under the shade of the tree. Sleep came easily as now. We had lunch here, the first solid meal after 24hours. The last 24hrs we had survived only on water. Nobody had eaten the night before as we had only a limited supply of
water, and eating would have made us thirstier. After lunch we relaxed some more and then it was time for us to leave. We changed into some fresh clothes and started our journey back home. Home sweet home. As it is rightly said ‘There is no place like home’.
Now as I sit back in the safety of my home and look back at it all, none of it feels real. I feel I must have dreamt it all. I still do get chills and I even laugh when I think about it. But now I am glad that it is the past now. In that adversity, I made some good friends, people who were strangers to me just a few hours ago are now my good friends.
- Reach Kalyan Station (Central Railway) by Train
- Get a ST bus to Nagar – get down at Khubi Phata (close to a dam road after a tunnel in Malshej Ghat region)
- Go to the base village called Khireshwar.
- Hire a guide to lead you (or else face the unknown)
To see the pictures click this link here:
mORON kReAcIONz – Trekking Harishchandragad- Photos/Pictures