When on a trekking spree, you really don’t care what season it is. I was in office again thinking of what to plan for the weekend; rather Sagar my friend from Small Steps had messaged me for the trek of Bhairavgad. It was a difficult trek and heat in this summer is killing. But still when something calms you down and soothes other things don’t matter, so decision made Bhairavgad trek.
I have done most of trekking in Pune and written many trekking blogs. I am going to put a different experience on this blog, it is kind of story that I lived on the trekking day. But before we move to that some information about Bhairavgad fort.
Bhairavgad fort is one of the challenging treks in Maharashtra or in Malshej ghats. It is also a fascinating trek in Pune region. The structure of this fort is different than others that are typically found in Maharashtra. The fort has a geographical dyke structure. The pinnacle of the fort is perfect quadrangle structure. The climb to this pinnacle is tricky.
Reaching the Base Village.
So moving on to my story. We started from kalyan at around 11 pm on 8th of April by jeeps. Reached Moroshi which is the base village of the bhairavgad trek. We were going to start early morning so rested for a while. At around 5.30 am we got up and were ready for the trek. We were around 27. Besides adventure and sightseeing such activities are platform to meet new people, see new faces, get to know each other and hence trek always starts with introductions.
The Start of the trek and lens’s intervention
We started the trek, as we did one of my friends, Sneha gave me her camera bag which had the lens in it. She has this DSLR camera. I carried the bag, we all started to walk towards the ascend area. I was just looking at the marvelous ranges of mountains ahead. Something happened then, something moved in the lens bag. I thought some insect might have gone inside. So I tried to open it, and I was in shock. The lens talked. Yes, you heard it right, the lens talked it said “What am I doing sitting in the bag when such great distant view is in front of me. Pass me to the camera person.” I said what the hell is wrong with me, did I trek too much. I was feeling fuzzy. So I mixed with the group and started chatting with my trek mates.
As we moved on we arrived at the spot of ascending. The lens again said to me. “Why don’t you pass me to person with camera, I am missing it.” I said “shut up” it was a reflex. But the thing is I realized that I talked back. Now this feels different. Maybe I am sleep deprived. I thought I will just trek and keep the conversation to myself.
As we were climbing up; the sky was getting brighter and the light shining on the great ranges around us. The trek is easy to ascend. Aside from the fact that lens talked with me, I was enjoying the trek. Nothing like early morning trail in jungle.; Humans have populated themselves so much that we have forgotten to appreciate the beauty and significance of other species that have equal right on this planet. As I was climbing again it happened “Wow what a great place to be, you know what humans have eyes and eyes capture the images.” I said “yes, I know that being a student of science I understand that much.” Now I just replied I did not care that I was speaking back, I did not want to miss a great trek thinking that some stupid lens of a friend is talking to me.
The lens said “You know where humans store the captured images in brain; in the memory.” I replied “yup that is how it works generally” Lens said “tell me are you also student of technology?” I said “yes very enthusiastic about it” Lens “Do you know how it functions with us camera and their lenses”
I said “ a person captures the image through lens and then it goes into the memory of that camera; aha I get your point you are separated from the camera; Sorry wait”
So finally I asked “Hey Sneha do you need this lens, you know very nice views out here you might want to us e this one with larger resolution.” She said “Not now re, I am not capturing long shots, maybe when we will reach further ahead or top” I said “ok”. Madness it is when I looked down on the lens in the bag and said “so you are stuck with me for a while then” lens replied “hmm.”
Ascend to a Plateau and lens’s philosophy
Ascend till a plateau of pinnacle base is pleasant. Trees surrounding us all along; People were enjoying the distant views and of course clicking photos as much as they can. I too took my phone out clicked several pictures, selfies. “ You are boring me look at that range, look how great it looks, look how it is getting curved in the edge rounding itself on the corner at least capture that, even if I am not connected to my camera; you should at least take such photos in your cell phone.” The lens advised rather it sounded like an instruction. I said “yeah ok, I will do that, but stop instructing I know when to click” Lens “Ohh do you really, here I am out and you will get best clicks for the lifetime” I said “Shut up, you are some stupid lens and I am not that into photography also, this is just some clicks I am taking because I like.” The lens “Hey you are stuck with me and I am stuck with you, Life is unfair get used to it.”
Well when a lens throws a philosophy what can one do. I moved ahead with my group, I hope that they did not notice me talking to a lens. Few rock patches and we were at the base of pinnacle, the dyke structure that I described earlier. “At least now she will ask for me, you know I am stuck in this bag for so long, I don’t know when the last time clicks were taken through me was?” Lens expressed displeasure. I said “life is unfair you know.” I punched the air for throwing philosophy back at the lens. Stupid huh!!
The pinnacle stands tall on the plateau, the two rock structures are firmly fixed in it. Some geographical disruptions long ago may have caused such structures to form. The plateau also offers all around view of hill ranges; also various types of floras can be found here. We had breakfast here on the plateau, it was getting brighter now, Uneven hill ranges following a trail can be seen from the plateau. These hills, these mountains were the guardians of Maratha Empire. The Maratha’s understood it what significance the nature plays if forming a kingdom hence they used this against the Mughals and Adilshah and rose to prominence of power. “Yes right you must be, Man on earth can only be powerful if he understands importance of nature, rather than destroying it; he should nurture it.” Lens expressed. Me in shock again “now what are you hearing what I am speaking in my mind also.” Lens replied “well you spoke too loudly.” I was amazed.
Ascending to the the Pinnacle’s base and lens’s dialogues
Done with breakfast we moved ahead, for the climb to pinnacle. Lens said “Are you observing the views, you are busy making fun of each other” I said “yes I am; but why does that has to stop me from having fun.” Lens “you won’t understand, it’s a lens perspective.” I said “yes but I am human, I am dynamic, I can do many things at a time.” Lens replied “Yeah yeah be proud of that dynamism, that is why now a days people are living in concrete jungles and have to find nature to enjoy it, great.” I said “You are an human invention, of human dynamism.” Lens said “Yes but I grabbed the understanding the significance of nature more because I was invented to focus and capture it.” I replied “Every human being is not selfish, many understand the importance; that is why we all are here, rather than spending weekends in parties.” Lens “Yeah Ok so concentrate on views. Humans are so selfish they want everything for themselves. Have you ever looked at these sights selflessly try it from lens’s point of view.”
I was like what the hell is going on why I am having discussion with the lens. People had become quiet around me, I thought everyone noticed the madness of me. No the climb had become difficult, one had to climb from either slippery soil, or slippery rocks, well for me rocks were comfortable so I took that route. I don’t know why but I said to the lens “Shut up now for a while otherwise I’ll handover you.” Lens replied “Ok.”
The steep slope here is difficult to climb from both ways; one has to take good grip of legs and hands to climb up. If the grip loses a little also one could slip down; so all of us were concentrating on that. Taking grips, holding each other we managed to climb this patch, and arrived at a small pathway rounding the big rock structure. As I turned back I said to myself “wow what a view from here.” The lens says “yeah it is mesmerizing isn’t it? get me on the camera for this one.” So I asked my friend to put on this lens and take a pic. Finally the lens was put on the camera and few snaps were clicked from it. Again the bag was handed back to me and I was like “Ohh again with me huh!”
Here there was a water tank, so we all filled our bottles, as the water tank was in the cave; water was cold. It felt so relieved to drink cold water in hot sunny day. Now the heat was increasing and we all were sweating. Moving ahead we climbed to reach a vertical narrowing going down and again up towards the base of quadrangular pinnacle. Before going there we had to take the help of rope because it was narrow pathway; and also had to wear equipment to insert the rope. So geared up with technical stuff we walked down and reached another base. Here the sun shone directly on us and slowly everyone was arriving. Till then we sat at the base and waited. Sitting in between two giant rock structures, we were gauging how to climb the vertical rock in front of us, of course there was enough space to take grips and even broken steps in some place but still felt thrilling enough to scare some people.
Lens says “huh seems like would be fun at the top” I said “maybe I’ll keep you here don’t if I could manage you to take up, it is risky, something may happen to you.” Lens says “shut up, I have been here to reach there; it is my goal, my purpose and my life to reach the top.” I said “sounds like me.” It was hot now my trek mates were engaged in discussions ranging from fort’s history to each other’s love life.
Lens says to me “What great structure it is, I could observe it from far away.” I replied “yes you would observe from far away because you are high resolution lens, see the difference between human eyes and you.” Lens says “yeah yeah you invented me but in this trek I have been only used once why bring me if not to use?” I said “You are a precise instrument; that should be used in precise moment, if used on every other occasion what is difference between you and normal lens or camera.” The lens says “I have fallen in love with this structure and nature. What do you think?” I said “Yeah nature is a wonder, inexplicable beauty; it really makes you feel great, touches soul.” Lens says “Love nature, Love people and Love yourself.” I was like again philosophy, what is in this lens God hiding.
Climb to Pinnacle and lens’s goal
Finally everyone arrived and one by one we started climbing the pinnacle vertically, with help of broken steps. The climb here is all the way around the edge, so one has to be really careful and always leaning to take support of the rock. This continues till the top. We reached a cave where all the bags we kept all the bags. Then climbed further only one or two people had taken camera with them, I carried the lens. We climbed further ahead and arrived at another Cave, this one was bigger than previous one. As we were climbing the steep rock many trees were covering the path. Finally we reached the top with zig zag climbing; and were standing on the pinnacle.
Broken steps at some points
Oh what a great feeling it is to reach the top of something!! The lens spoke “come on fast put me on the camera and click some great snaps.” I handed over the lens and my friend clicked the distant mountain ranges, we had arrived on the pinnacle in the noon when sun was in middle of the sky and it was hot out there. But viewing the world from the top soothes you. So we sat here for a while and moved down.
Climbing, Rappelling down and satisfied lens.
The lens was again handed over to me. We reached down and from appoint just above cave rappelled some 40 feet down to the floor of the cave. Then climbed down the rock by steps again. Now we were all exhausted and tired. Lens said “Wow great view have been captured goals accomplished.” I said “easy your goals are; mine I haven’t even started.” Lens said “Well humans are complicated and they make things complicated; try simple and you’ll achieve whatever you want.” I said “wow seriously what are you lens or a quote diary.” Lens said “whatever you want it to be, I am your invention after all, if you perceive me just a device than I am just a lens, if you perceive me a device that focuses on world and captures it then maybe you could learn more from me.” I was just stunned by that little speech of this lens I just gave thumbs up to it.
Trekking back to the base village and mystery of lens unresolved
We descended the rock structures and arrived in shadowy area of Jungle and had lunch, everyone was so hungry and thirsty that we just ate all the things that we had packed. After lunch we rested for a while and moved towards the base village. I was around 5.30 pm in the evening where we reached the base village again.
I handed the lens bag back to Sneha to put in her bag. I told her that the lens was talking to me. She said yes it does sometimes. I threw a line from Harry Potter book “is this real or is it happening in my head.”
She replied with the same reply of Albus Dumbledore “Of course it is happening in your head but why can’t it be real.” I just nodded and went to refresh myself.
Refreshed and having water melon brought by trek leaders, we were ready for the back journey to Kalyan, where we parted our ways in our own directions.
What an experience it was to trek this fort!
I was in conversation with lens but it does mean that I did not mix with the trekking group, rather this group of trekking was great and I found many new friends here. Everyone was enthusiastic about trekking and each one of us enjoyed it to the fullest.
Near Malshej Ghar.
Aprox. 3350 ft.
From Mumbai approx 150 km (one can reach Kalyan by train and from here private vehicle till base village is preferable; distance around 60 kms from kalyan).
From Pune approx 170 km.
How to reach:
Local transport is available till ale phata. But Private vehicle is preferable to reach the base village.