Visapur fort was stuck in my head one fine boring Monday afternoon when my friends and I were really tired and decided that we needed a break real soon. A little bit of google and few travel blogs is what made us hooked on to Visapur fort trek and there we were, all set with a train ticket booked from Dadar to Lonavala to begin the first trek of that monsoon season.
We left our place at 5am in the morning to catch the Indrayani SF Express from Dadar at 5:50 am. Reached Lonavala around 8:15 am and hopped on to the Lonavala-Pune Local to reach Malawali. Malawali is the closest station to reach the base camp Bhaje village. We weren’t sure what we’d find for breakfast over there so we ensured we had a good breakfast(Poha, Bhajji, Vada Pav and other local dishes, don’t expect anything fancy there) near Malawali station itself.
My friends and I believe in going all in or nothing so we started the walk from Malawali itself. Bhaje village, the base camp isn’t too far from the station. It is just a good 20-25 minutes walk and that felt like nothing in the amazing cool monsoon weather.
We were quite surprised to see the number of people out there, considering the time and our previous experiences, but a chat with a local tea stall owner gave us our answer. The place is usually crowded during monsoons and it is beyond imaginable around 15th August and it goes on till Diwali.
After climbing a few steps and reaching the ticket counter, the security guy showed us the way and that itself made us a bit skeptical. Without having an iota of information on what lied ahead of us, we set foot to an experience that none of us would ever forget.
We started our ascent, that included lots of thorny shrubs, slippery paths, crossing small water streams, mucky ascents, lost paths and grueling challenges that tested each and every bit of grit and determination left in us. After a lot of struggles and confused paths, we finally started seeing the peak and could hear some chatter.
Seeing the peak, even from a long distance gave us this unexplainable joy. We were inching closer and closer to the peak, each step bringing some euphoria along with it. All this while we thought we’ve covered the difficult path, it couldn’t get worse from here, but we couldn’t be more wrong.
The ascent close to the peak was quite a task, only for one reason- monsoon. Rains made the path extremely slippery and the task extremely difficult for us. Anyhow, there were a lot of people out there and with all the helping hands, we managed to inch closer to the peak. We returned the favor, by helping other people who were stuck and finding it difficult. It wasn’t necessary for them to help us or us to help them, but I think it is an unwritten rule of trekking- help anyone who is in need.
The peak welcomed us with torrential shower combined with winds moving at the speed of the Rajdhani; with the raindrops hitting us like small pebbles, testing every bit of patience and hope left in us, making us shiver like there is no tomorrow. Having said all of that, the joy of conquering such a daunting task gave us a strong sense of belief and confidence in ourselves. Something that made all the trouble disappear.
The descent was the toughest of the lot. We had our share of falls, few minor bruises, a couple of cuts here and there. Our bums might have cursed us a lot for those slips, but we were to be blamed entirely for this. We hadn’t worn proper trekking shoes. We met a huge group on the way, met another set of people from Kanyakumari and Chennai. Each having different experiences, different pains, but a memorable experience.
We reached the base village, had lunch, relaxed for a bit and headed back to Malawali station to get ourselves going to a good night’s sleep
All in all, I would call this an experience of a lifetime and that is what I want my life to be full of- experiences! This experience of getting lost, only to find a person with more grit and determination is what makes this trip even more memorable.
Trip Cost Break-down:
Return train cost(from Kurla): INR 190/-
Breakfast: INR 70-100( Depends on appetite and individual)
Lunch: INR 150-250( Depends on appetite, hotel, and individual)
Takeaways from the trip:
– Wear proper trekking shoes, wear a full-sleeved t-shirt, wear proper monsoon gear, keep the hands free.
– If you haven’t trekked ever, don’t go on this one alone as this isn’t one of the easiest treks and requires some form of prior experience. If you’re going with a guide and have a strong determination- head there now!
– Do check the weather before heading there, as torrential rains+winds would make the trip quite difficult.
– Carry ample amount of water and some snacks/energy bars as you never know how thirsty or hungry you’d get after the exerting trek.
– Take care of yourself always and help people in need. Don’t go overboard for a selfie/image, because life is way more important than a photograph
That’s all folks! Happy trekking!