The third weekend of November loomed just like every other usual weekend. Possibility of it being a sleepy one. For starters, I couldn’t make the road trip with my friends on the previous weekend, 12th November, 2011. That ruled out plenty of options as trips on consecutive weekends wasn’t quite favourable to any of my friends. Then, as quickly as plans do get cancelled, a plan materialised when one of my friends suggested a day trek on 20th November, 2011. We zeroed in on ‘Gorakhgad’; situated at a distance of 100-110 kms from Mumbai around the Malshej Ghats region. Perfect way to unwind from the stress of the last one month.
Vinay Kumar, my friend, got out his bike from ‘Andheri’ and the two of us biked it the whole way to the base village of ‘Dehari’. A bike ride saved us a lot of time, approximately couple of hours, compared to the hassles of using public transport. Leaving Andheri at 5.30 AM, Vinay, picked me up from ‘Chembur’ at 6.00AM. Winter still prominent in the city, a nice early morning bike ride was a welcome change. An underestimation of the early morning winter got me back to reality. Shuddering all along sitting pillion. The usual route of Kalyan- Murbad was chosen. A quick stopover at ‘Thane’ and we were soon on our way. The roads were not that great, being just after the monsoons, but so were the condition of the bike tyres.
Gorakhgad is one half of the twin pinnacles. The other being ‘Machindragad’. Situated at a height of 1200 meters above sea level, it is a comparatively easy trek of approximately 2 hours. We reached the base village at 9.35AM. The base village were keeping a record of all trekkers trying to scale either of the two peaks. We were requested to note down our names and emergency phone numbers, in case of any mishaps. This was a real surprise to us. Starting the trek at 10.00AM, it was a complete change from the early morning weather which quickly changed into a hot sultry morning. Finding our way became a strenious task with multiple paths all seemingly possible trek paths. We kept choosing one through a trial and error basis, but, realized all these paths ultimately converged up ahead. Approaching the twin pinnacles, Gorakhgad seems too technical; a sharp conical structure, but once at the base village, you wouldn’t miss out noticing the width of the pinnacle. A complete contrast from the earlier sight. It, by the way is also the higher of the two pinnacles.
Continuing ahead, we kept good pace, though were getting dehydrated quickly with the sun bearing down at us. Vinay, having trekked quite a bit at Himachal Pradesh wasn’t feeling the brunt as much as me. We reached the entrace of the cave at 11.30AM. Took a small break before the final ascent of steps to the caves on top. Reminscing the trek, we were brought back to reality when we saw an elderly lady descending the steps after attending a religious ceremony at one of the caves. The lady completing the climb and descending struck us hard. The caves isnt exactly the actual pinnacle, but there is a 40 feet of rigorous rock climbing. Steps cut out onto the rock face, the need of ropes is mandatory. This rock climb would not be recommended during the monsoons with water and moss covering every bit of the way. This was my second climb to Gorakhgad, first being during the monsoons. Both of us were enthusiastic of climbing the final rock climb after reaching the summit. Climbing 10 feet, we decided not to risk it further. Apparently, there is a temple on top.
The adjoining view of ‘Ahupe Ghats’ were spectacular. We decided to rest for a couple of hours. Time was what we had on our hands, primarily due to the bike ride. Strong winds, shade provided the perfect setting to clear our thoughts. A welcome change from the hot sunny weather. We decided to start our descent at 2.30PM. Descent always proves to be tricky, especially the rock patches which kind of seems easy during the climb. Vinay, who was descending ahead of me, grew confident and in a moment of lapse of concentration, missed a footing and slid down 10 feet along the rock face. Luckily, the trek path snaked around the rock face which brought an end to his minor fall. Minor cuts and bruises proudly displayed; no major injury. It was a clear 60 feet drop if the trek path had not snaked across his fall. A scary moment nevertheless. We reached the base village at 4.00PM. Gathering our breath, we decided to head back to the city. Weekend traffic at ‘Kalyan’ hampered our entry into the city, but reached back home safely by 9.00PM.
The road route that we took was the Eastern Expressway to Thane, continuing all the way to Kalyan. A right turn towards Murbad needs to be taken. The left turn at Mhasa village needs to be taken. The right turn at Mhasa village would lead you towards base village for ‘Ganpati Garad’ trek. http://www.prashsubramanian.blogspot.in/2011/10/ganpati-garad-trek-notes.html
A right turn needs to be taken at ‘Shivle’ village leading you towards the base village ‘Dehari’. Cost was minimal since we dutched the petrol cost. 2 litres of water per person is highly recommended. We decided against carrying any food items since it adds to the weight and both of us weren’t going to eat much at all. These costs can be factored in on the per head basis. The cost incurred per head would amount to Rs. 200-250 per head based on what we expended.
The grade for this trek is simple, but be mentally prepared for a constant climb. Overall, a wonderful day trek organised at the last moment with just the two of us. The phrase “More the merrier” was something that wasn’t sorely missed; especially then and there.