| Recently I have reading a lot about ‘Third things’ in newspapers and social networking sites. These are things that people do as a hobby or liking, apart from their work and family. These could be anything from writing, painting, photography, long drives, singing, dancing, etc. One of the things in this long list is also hiking, trekking and adventure sports. With health and fitness becoming a big part of the lifestyle these days, hiking and exploring new places is easily becoming an activity people love to do. Hence I got in touch with few friends who like to take out time during their weekend for these kinds of fun trips. Hence sharing few places that were suggested to me:
Sarasgad is a village situated near Pali in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Pali lies along the Lonavala-Khopoli road and is 110 kilometres from Pune. Sarasgad is close to Pali, one of the places in Ashtavinayak yatra. Sarasgad can be identified by its four pinnacles. Sarasgad fort was mainly used to keep a check on the surrounding regions. From fort, ‘Pali’ and all surrounding areas can be seen. Shivaji Maharaj brought this fort under Hindavi Swarajya and spent 2000 Hon (the prevailing currency) for its reconstruction. Till independence this fort was under Bhor Sansthan. There are two ways to climb, one near the MSEB office and other near the temple. Sarasgad has a excellent cave where 100 people can stay at a time. It has a Shiva temple on the top and gives you a excellent panoramic view of all the mountain ranges surrounding this area.
The construction of the fort is not in good condition but the huge rock steps are something to watch for. There are two routes which lead to the top of this fort from Pali. On the top is the Shiva temple providing an excellent panoramic view of all the mountain ranges surrounding this area. Sudhagad and TailBaila can be easily view from the top of Sarasgad. This fort height from sea level is 490 meters. There are many caves which were used for soldiers and other purposes because the fort has very little area available on its top. There are around ten tanks carved in rocks. They provide cool water supply throughout the year, which is very important for any fort. On the way from the south there are 111 steps carved in stone. The door from this side is known as 'Dindi darvaja'. (Ideal trek for beginners, this trek can be coupled with Sudhagad which then requires a night's stay at Pali. Plenty of water on the fort. The caves below Balekilla can accomadate atleast 100 people. Avoid the rock patch and staircase during the monsoons as might get very slippery. There is a hot water spring at a village called Unhere near Pali.)
Karnala is a refreshing break from the big city - come here to watch the birds and wildlife, come here to picnic and to trek, and while you are enjoying all this, do spare a thought for preserving the ecology and tranquillity of the sanctuary. Just a short drive outside Mumbai on the Mumbai-Pune Highway to Goa, is the densely forested Karnala Bird Sanctuary, a pleasant surprise away from Mumbai's concrete jungle. Karnala is a tiny sanctuary, barely 4.8 sq km, home to over 150 resident bird species and about 37 types of avian migrants.
Karnala Bird Sanctuary is 60 km from Mumbai, on the Mumbai-Goa Highway, NH-17. This is a 2-hour drive via Thane Creek and Panvel. Central Railway trains from VT Station stop at Panvel, 12 km from the sanctuary; from here you can catch autorickshaws, taxis and buses. State Transport buses run from Mumbai Central to Karnala. You can hire an Taxi from Mumbai or Pune and shouldn't be very expensive. From Vashi (New Mumbai) - 32km. (one Way) From Panvel regular buses and autorickshaws (6 sitters) going towards Pen will drop you at Karnala, but the frequency is very less after 6.00-7.00 PM. The fare is around Rs.10.00.
Rajmachi Fort is one of the most popular tourist sites in Khandala. It is situated about 20 kilometers from Lonavala. It is located mid-way between Khandala and Lonavala. The fort can be reached through Tungarli Lake: this trek is popular among the beginners. Tourists willing to reach Rajmachi fort in Khandala can avail the local transport from Pune. The Rajmachi Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the picturesque locale surrounded by dense green forests. The wildlife sanctuary is on the foothills and hilly terrains of Western Ghat in Sahyadri ranges. The sanctuary offers the wildlife beauty in its pristine passion. This is a weekend destination for the nature loving tourists.The sanctuary encloses abundance of animals and birds. One major attraction here is the mammoth Indian squirrel. It is a rare place where one can spot the wild animals freely moving in their natural habitat. The landscape is enriched with rare species of herbs and plants. The location is very good for nature walks, trekking and bird watching.
How to Reach Rajmachi:
By Air: Pune is the nearest airport, 70 km away.
By Train: Lonavala is the nearest railway station, approximately 20 km from Thakurwadi village, which is base to Rajmachi. One can also reach Karjat by rail and hire a taxi or take shared auto to reach Kondavane village, the base for Rajmachi trek.
By Road: Thakurwadi village (by Lonvala route) is the place from where trek to Rajmachi begins. Regular bus service is available from Mumbai and Pune to Lonavala. Thakurwadi is 20 km from Rajmachi.
Your third thing could be anything, but if this article has inspired you to try your hobby at trekking, then explore the places around you. Sky is the limit for unknown places in the world.