May 2007: Karnala Trek
Why do you need to visit Karnala?
Karnala Trek – Authored by my friend: Ruturaj Vartak
The trek was finalized !!! phew !!! After endless discussions to pick a peculiar destination. Karnala that was, a bird sanctuary. Why ? ’cause it was an easy one ! well… that was one of the points that contributed towards its vote, another one was its easy accessibility, only 15 mins from Panvel bus depot. Panvel bus depot itself being only 1.30 hrs from Dadar station by ST bus.
Excited !!! Mukti able to make it this time, even Saurabh. Other participants being the regulars, Vijay, Sudani and Neeraj. Good, always need some TP during treks, and Mukti assures that. She is best at it, with Saurabh to add some spice. The Junagadh king, Mr. Ashok Sudani adding the gujrati flavour to our recipe. Vijay and me relishing every moment of it.
26th May 2007, As usual I was unable to have sound sleep in the night, waking up every half hr. or so, just to check what time is it. At last waking just before the 4’o clock’s hammering ring. Even without enough sleep, I was contended. Looking forward. A quick brush, and a call to Vj.
Trring trring… Trring trring… Trring trring… Trring trring… Trring trring… Trring trring… Trring trring…
hmmm… (deep voice)
uuth… aur ready ho.
साला आएगा क्या ?, next up, a ping to Mukti.
Trring trring… Trr, the second one not allowed, hmm… the Engine is up and running. Good.
5:45 AM, I was waiting for ‘public’, when I saw Sudani searching on the Dadar FOB, even Neeraj had come. Few minutes later, Mukti called on my cell, ye, ‘my cell’, that I’d borrowed from my mom. She managed to get the directions correctly, and no sooner she met us. She bursted into laughter, no wonder we all like her around. This girl had managed to get her cousin escort her till Dadar, on a Kandivali ticket. Oh god !! Mukti u should be into marketing. What powers of persuasion. Vijay too made it sometime later, and we thought we’d have to wait for Saurabh, when he made a sudden appearance. All there. Lets head for the ST Bus. It was close to 6:15.
Just opposite to the Pune’s Asiad bus stand, the ST buses were humming their engines, not exactly humming but kind of choking… We were lucky to spot a Panvel bus waiting only for us, as soon as we hoped in, the bus was rolling. The early morning ride on a highway is always pleasant, the May sun however was starting to show what it was capable of. New bombay, or Navi Mumbai was full of previous incidents for Vj, who’d done his Engg in BVP. We saw where he used to play kho-kho, etc., etc. ‘kho-kho’ to us also has a special meaning, which we never forget to remind. isn’t it Mukti !? Amongst all the khee khee, Sudani had spotted some graffiti in the Bus, ‘Chetana loves hemalai’ or something of that sort, which he was sure of it was not “Chetan”. I’d never seen anybody so emotionally attached to a graffiti
अबे विजय, वोह लिख्खा है ना !! वो चेतन नही है
To that, we all lost it. Haan Sudaani keh rahaa hai to hogaa…
Panvel Bus Depot, around 7:45. Typical ST Bus depot, all the red buses showing how not to follow good traffic ethics in a closed environment. The loos, full of pee overflowing, reminding me and Mukti of NH3 and H2S stink @ National college. People waiting in every single corner of the depot for their buses. This depot was quite a competition to Chicago’s Air Traffic Control.
A lady at Panvel was very helpful in leading us to the right bus to Karnala, we managed to get into the bus after her. This bus was full, I thought this ride would be on foot. But as usual, humans do not prefer what we do, the last seat in the STs. ha ha we love it. don’t we. The ride from Panvel was on a very good road, as soon as we left Panvel, we could smell the jungle air. The air too got cooler, here we come. Within 10-15 min. we were waiting for Karnala, when a guy said, “Karnala?, mere saath utro”. We got down with him, to see ahead, “Karnala Bird Sanctuary”. The guy got into a cabin, and said, “वर्ती पर्यंत जाणार ?”, “पाणी आहे ना?, वर्ती काही नाही.” Ok buddy, Rs. 20 each for the trip, thik hai. He even gave us a neat map of the Sanctuary.
We headed out only see a group of monkeys on the road, Mukti was hesitant, but had no option other than following us, The monkeys didn’t budge, “आगए आदमी के अौलाद”. Vijay as usual was moving fast and … trying to find a wrong turn 😀 . We took a deliberate right turn that was supposed to join back to the main road, which was properly paved. The right turn however never joined, we had to trace back. Further ahead, we saw cages and some huts, the ‘Office of the Sanctuary’ as stated in the map. There was a peacock trying to showoff his beauty, by spreading its feathers all round and dancing. Some parakeets as well, with their distinct vocals, further ahead, white Rabbits. They were so very white, they even had 3 pups,calfs, god knows what are rabbit’s kids called. But they were damn cute, just about 3 inch long and full of cotton wool. mmmm…. could be tasty to have a bite at, ha haaa.
A right turn ahead was a “difficult route” to the Karnala fort, while a left one was for “elders”. No prizes for guessing our route, we were on a trek, not a picnic. the route first descended, and then climbed back, nicely twisting and turning in the woods. aaah .. that smell of leaves fallen on the floor, the sound of crickets, cicadas, and the sound of birds…. simple jungle life…
As we moved on… Vj, not waiting.. always moving ahead…
Yeh to garden mein walk hain
Soon the way started to climb harder, more rocky features to cross and more gravel to be afraid of.. to that Mukti and Saurabh commented ‘haan, what a walk in a garden !!!’ with Vj and Saurabh both sweating heavily. With lot of snaps some video captures, we moved ahead. We got a chance to see a gujrati मक्कडमानव hanging on the trees. With all that, heat, water intake, we were moving ahead. Except for Vijay this was our trek after a long time. just the previous Sunday Vijay had again managed to have a disastrous Harishchandragad. It was my first after my knee zol. But the trek wasn’t strenuous.
We reached the top, where we couldn’t see rocks, trees above us but only sky. This top however was a road on the top of a mountain that lead us to the final fort. We saw a group coming from the other side (the elderly route !). An aunty was creating a havoc in the jungle peace… “WHY ARE YOU’LL NOT COMING…. I’M GOING AHEAD” and so on… I was trying not to listen her… but couldn’t help it. She was a bit too loud in the jungle. Further ahead there were steep steps towards the fort that we could see. The steps were actually cut rocks. The lady yet again…. “HELLO…. U’LL ARE NOT COMING… ? SHOULD I GO AHEAD ?” after a few steps, few difficult ones, “OYE WHY ARE YOU’LL NOT COMING WITH ME ?” I’d figured out the reason, why ! I was with Mukti, but I never had a look in Mukti’s eyes during this scene, I knew a single look would have made her laugh right in the aunt’s face. Thank god.. I didn’t. Further ahead, Sudani, Neeraj were managing to cross difficult rock patterns, when the aunty was unable to judge her steps… to that …
keep your pair here.
? pair ?
Ashok or Neeraj whoever that was… realizing the mistake..
leg keep here
another point where I avoided an eye contact with Mukti.
Vijay and Saurabh were ahead, almost into the fort now. Waiting for 4 of us trailing behind. As we moved into the fort, we saw the final piece of cliff that the rock climbers do rappelling etc. Some more snaps over here. By now Mukti wasn’t really feeling all good, too much of water perhaps. Feeling uneasy, While rest of us were finding a shade to have something to eat. We found a cave like area where there were cool water cisterns. Some were bad, but there was one which was exceptionally clean, I tried a sip of it despite opposite views, after me Saurabh too had it.. “abe, meetha paani hai” we then later enjoyed the meetha water even more.
Mukti was so uneasy, she had to puke.. she found a bad stinking water pool, where in she helped it clean with her distilled water like उल्टी, and in a weired fashion as well !! oh !! Tension free after that, she was so enthusiastic that she came into the cave with a big bang, ya big bang on the rock with her head. Aaaah !!! sat Mukti… holding her head… trying to weep perhaps… but then as we all know her.. She started to laugh..???? ha haa. Vj put some cold water on her head…
After few questions of how u’re feeling and so on.. we came to the important one… “what was the laugh about”
ये क्या हो रहा है मेरे साथ? पेहले उल्टी, अौर अब ये
ha haa, hmm… good carry on. After an enjoyable relaxing time in the cave, we headed for another shelter of the rock granting us some shade, where we had our food, Bread, etc, and so on.. Few snaps as well.
There on, Vj wanted to relax, so we headed back around the cliff towards the entrance of the fort, the door. Where we all put our bags down, and spread our feet. Vj and Saurabh trying to spread every single part of the body, but the whole entrance wasn’t wide enough to sleep. Vj laid down with his feet resting high on the wall. So did Saurabh, after which “Shit.. yeh paaon bahut oonche nahi rakh sakhtaa huun, aah…” uska cribbing chaltaa rahaa… We shot some more TP videos, abusing each other etc. which were deleted.
I and Mukti were still chatting while Vj was trying to sleep, Saurabh was trying to adjust his body into the area, Neeraj and Sudani were already dozing… We moved ahead from the place to venture out further, only to find nothing. Found another shade and we sat. Few min. Saurabh too joined in. aaah now this place, he was able to spread his whole body.. “aah .. but these stones, only if I could have had a pillow… ” .. and so on…
It was close to 3.00 when we finally decided to move down again, picking up our bags, etc. We head back into the jungle. within minutes I found myself hungry, yet again.. We sat down for food, munching bread, puffing ourselves with Glucon-D, mmm.. it tastes so yummy when u’re thirsty. With more photos during our descend, we reached the “Office building” where we releaxed in the shade of the trees on the grass carpet. Quenched our thirst, before we finally headed for the highway. It was then when we observed a pillar with a distinct message on it.
मुली पटविण्यास मनाई आहे
a little thought by Saurabh.. and it was actually
चुली पेटविण्यास मनाई आहे
On the road, we waited for the ST bus, before we hired a 6 seater. where as a mandate, you need to sit in a awkward, tight position before u could have a sawaari of a 6 seater. Some more snaps helped us thru. At Panvel Station, Vj spotted a Watermelon vendor, and we all were there, puttin our small mouths into the big melon pieces, enjoying it. The bus ride from Panvel to Dadar was a soothing one, yet again on the backseat. Saurabh, Ashok, Neeraj all dozing off, while Vj, Mukti and I continued to enjoy.
At Dadar, it seemed more than a day, when we’d met earlier in the morning, ‘alas, the good day had come to an end, and we all were again like ants, cockroaches running and waiting for the local trains in the heavy rush.
- Get a ST bus to Panvel from Dadar Stn., Mumbai (opp. to Pune’s Asiad bus stop) or reach Panvel by trains (through Harbour line) and go to Panvel Bus Depot.
- From Panvel get a bus towards Pen/Karnala
To see the pictures click this link here:
Karnala Fort Trek, Ruturaj’s Photo Gallery (captioned)