After a chilling weekend in Daman my instinct was telling me to go on an exploration trip. It was hot and humid month of May and there are very less places to go to. Even though it was horrifying hot one of colleague made a plan to go on a hike(trek). It was none other than Harishandragad. I have been hearing about this fort ever since I started trekking. I didn't want to miss the opportunity and I said yes. I was excited for another reason and that reason is Kokankada. I only saw the place in the pictures. The thought of going there finally was very exciting.
We chose the the easier route that is from Paachnai base village. We started our journey from Dombivali at 7.30. Road was clear with very less traffic. Had one pit stop to have a breakfast at Kasara Ghat for around half an hour. Recommended place is Baba Da Dhaba. They serve delicious Idli - Wada Sambar there. We continued our journey and went past Baari village which is base village for Kalsubai Peak. I climbed that peak last year during Monsoon. We skipped Bhandardara and went via Rajoor village. Last patch of 10 was very rough road it took more than 35 minutes to cover that patch. At last we reach to the base village at around 12.30 pm in hot sunny afternoon.
Paachnai is kind of a colorful village. It was a month of May and school were having holidays so interacted with some of the children. We already ordered a villager to make lunch and let me tell you it was awesome. We finished our lunch by 1.30 rested for about 45 min and started our hike by 2.15 and there started our tiring and exhaustive journey...........
We completely underestimated the heat and we paid price for it. Shortly after we started the trek a steep ascend arrived followed by some hundred steps. It slowed us down completely. We were short of breath and sweating like a pig. Took some rest in the caves and had some Lime Water. We continued our hike as we had to reach at the Kokankada by sunset and do tenting. It was around 3.45 and we had hardly covered any distance. We increased our pace as we had no other option. Couldn't afford to miss the awesome sunset view. To be honest, we had to climb approximately 3km of slope only but the immense heat,dehydration were slowing us down immensely. It took us 2 and half hours to reach on the top of the plateau. We rested for 10 min had Nimbu Paani(Lemon water) (We were high on Lemon Water that day as we literally had 25 glasses of them)and headed to the most thrilling place of my life..........20 min to Kokankada.......
Let me tell you something about Kokankada. It is a cliff semi circular vertically and horizontally. It faces west to the Kokan region. So during monsoons clouds coming from the west, they hit the cliff and travel upwards. If you are extremely lucky you could experience a rainbow of you in the clouds. This is an extreme rare phenomena and is called Brocken spectre or "Indravraj" in marathi.
I have never come across such an amazing place. We spent some time on the cliff till the sunset and then we set up our tents. It was off-season so we hardly saw any tents around us. By 9 pm we ate dinner and slept in our sleeping bags.
Have you slept on earth the and woke up on heaven on the next day?
We woke up at around 6.30 am and started to pack everything. We wanted to leave campsite as early as possible and head towards Taramati Peak which is the highest point of the fort. I saw clouds getting crowded at Naneghat. It was looking like someone tonnes of cotton and forgets to take with them. Within 10 minutes clouds reached till Kokankada and it was lovely view to witness. Clouds were literally jumping from one peak from another.
This continued for another half and hour or so and people have already started gather around the edge. We started our journey to Taramati Peak. It was hardly 20 minutes of ascend. We came down within an hour and started descending. Reached base village within 1 hour and 30 min.
Harishchandragad is situated in Ahamadnagar district approximately 200 kms away from Mumbai. There are 3 ways to reach at the top. One goes through Khireshwar village another goes via Paachnai village and the third one is Nalichi Vaat(Nali's Path). First two are easier as compared to the later as it requires proper climbing equipments.