Our trip started in the chilling weather of Pune towards north of the city. After a 2 hrs of journey on Pune-Nashik highway we took a turn on Naraynagaon towards the serene hills of Junnar.
While passing Junnar you can see Shivneri (birthplace of Ch. Shivaji Maharaj) and approaching towards Naneghat - an ancient route of trade; we reached a roadside hotel named "Kshanbhar Vishranti" Literally translated , a moment of rest. Having eaten the traditionally famous dish Maaswadi (Veg, but looks like a fish) we wanted nothing else but a power nap under the mango tree. But the time was essential and we headed towards the starting point of our trek: Godre Village.
After a somewhat rocky path the real climb started towards top of the hill. Since it is month of December, as soon as sunset occured, everyone started to feel chilly. After hiking for 3 hrs and countless breaks we finally reached the top where we still had to walk on the plain top for one more hour. It got dark pretty soon and we had to walk with our torches.
Once we reached our campsite: The Hatkeshwar temple, it was 8 PM hence we hurried to build our tents and got inside as soon as possible. The temperature outside was dropping and wind was not helping with the bonfire either. We ate the food we brought with us inside the tent and hurried to sleep, there was a big day ahead of us tomorrow. by 10'o clock, everyone was sound asleep.
Despite sleeping inside the tent and having a cozy sleeping bag, the cold got to us early in the morning, and everyone was up at 4 AM. After getting some light we could see the temple clearly. It was a small structure carved from top to bottom and had around 50-60 small Nandi statues. Near the Shivaling, inside the temple there was drinking water stream which we used for cooking. From starting the fire again till cooking maggy and tea, 2 hrs had passed and we hurried to pack up the tents and start towards the bridge to the caves.
Hatkeshwar Natural Bridge is a unique connection between two basaltic hills formed due to differential erosion. The wind flow reminds you how much at high level you are and the view from the bridge in the valley and the caves is breath-taking. These caves have been here since 17th Century and its very difficult to know how people might have climbed those.
Then we started the next half of our trek towards Lenyadri Caves. This part of the trek we were walking on the edge of the mountain both side of which we could see the valley. After trekking for 2 hrs since the morning, the descent started. We took turns on 3 mountains to reach our destination Lenyadri Caves & temple. The weather was pleasant with cold breeze and we didn't feel the need to remove our sweaters till the sun was on top of the head. Lenyadri is one of the famous Ashtavinayak temples in Maharashtra and is surrounded by Buddhist Caves which were built in the 1700s by King Shivaji for Buddha Monks.
After exploring the caves we climbed down the mountain and headed back towards Pune City.