RAIGAD Fort - The Shrine of Swarajya!!!

27th Aug 2011

When something is destined, it will happen anyhow.

Some things are just out of human control and I experienced the same. A call was set for me by the King of Kings, Shri Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj; meeting place was - the capital of Swarajya - RAIGAD Fort, and we all know, the order of the King cannot be neglected or denied. Hence, I have to be there at Raigad Fort, and to make this event more memorable, I decided to set a Trek of Raigad Fort.

27th Aug - 2011, was the date finalized for Trek to Raigad Fort and I was very much excited to be a part of it. But the conditions were not in my favor. It was a Friday & the clock showed 6.30 pm. I was still in the office completing my work. To have some snacks, I went outside. After having snacks & a chit-chat with friends, I came back to my desk & before going to home, saw my mailbox. There was only one mail in the inbox with the subject line as "Defect no. ###". The defect was related to the application developed by me and it needed an immediate attention. As everything on this mother Earth is for change, my happy mood changed to a sad one.

Suddently, I found all my plans for tomorrow's trek going to the worst end, because that application was too complex to understand & to resolve a defect. OMG! It was 7.00 pm, I took a deep breath & started working on it, as I didn't want to spoil the excitement of the Raigad Trek. It took me around 1/2 hour to understand that defect & then I started working real hard to resolve that defect. The clock hands were running like Rajdhani Express & when I saw the clock, it was 10.45pm. Still, I was nowhere close to the source of the defect. In addition to my sadness, all my team-mates already had left for the day and there was no one to help me ???? . I was so frustrated that I finally decided to reply to mail saying that I'll try on Monday. But before replying, I went outside & had a cup of tea. While having the tea, I was thinking of Shivaji Maharaj & their fights. The moral of all fights was "Never Give Up!!! Regardless of the strength of your enemy, he can always be defeated with the power of your mind."

I came back to desk and thought to give a last try. I looked at the whole code; did a code change of single line, which I hadn't seen in previous 3 hrs (can say hidden code ???? ). I prayed to God for this & ran the process. The process took another 10 minutes to complete & finally I got the output as expected. The moment I saw the output, my happiness knew no bounds. I replied to mail with all the necessary details and got ready to go home back. A 5 minutes break, a cup of tea, and most importantly, the inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj had made the difference; otherwise the scene could have been a different one. Also, not to forget to Parle-G biscuit, which I had with tea, because " G for Genius" ????.

The clock was hitting 11.20pm. I was happy now as I can go to Raigad & enjoy the trek, but still the conditions were not in my favor. It was raining heavily outside and the cab drivers usually avoid long distance drops in rainy season. The same thing happened with me; they asked me to wait for some time, as there might be other people willing to take cab on the way I was suppose to go (just giving me reasons to avoid the drop). Somehow, two people from other project, working like me, came down & together we boarded the cab. I reached home by 12.40am. I had my dinner & went to sleep.

5.00 am & I was awake by alarm. Completed my morning activities in next half hour; called bus drivers & co-ordinators to reach the boarding points on time. I came to my boarding point at 6.15 am, while bus came at 6.30am. The 15 minutes wait was so great. It was raining & I was having the tea along with my sister. We both boarded the bus & started our journey towards Raigad Fort. There were two buses; one 50 seater & one 32 seater. After passing Pune, we distributed the breakfast in both the buses, along with drivers. Now, it was the time for introduction of all the participants & then our favorite Antakshari.

We were travelling via tamhini ghat & it gave me a remembrance of our Flying Fox Activity, which we just completed in last month. Tamhini ghat is always at its best in monsoon, & especially in day's light. There were number of awesome waterfalls and people were busy taking snaps.

After three hours of journey, we reached to a village called Nijampur, from where one can reach to Raigad either via Pachad or Mahad; we choosed the second one, because the villagers said the road via Pachad may not be in good condition due to heavy rain. Another one hour journey and it was just killing me. Finally at 12.15 pm, we reached Raigad base, from where we had to start our trekking. As per the information, there are around 1469 steps to reach the Raigad fort. In this trek, we had a good response from people & there were total 75 participants, including a small girl of 4-5 years old, named Rhea.

To start the trek, we did a big Ovation of Shri Shivaji Maharaj and started trekking. About 1 hour of trekking and we were in front of waterfall whose beauty cannot be explained in words. And in addition to the excitement, we had to cross that waterfall. The water was hitting our body so hard like someone is bombarding through the mortar.

As the trek to Raigad is somewhat stiff, some of us were finding it difficult. But, others were inspiring them with great spirit and the passion of Raigad fort, made them to make it. The Raigad fort welcomes you with its big Maha Darwaja. The Maha Darwaja is desgined in such a way that no one from long distance could directly attack the fort. It is also called Gomukhi. Then there is Shirkai Devi Temple, and from that one can see the big open place known as Holi cha Mal, which was used for annual Holi festival. In that open space there is a very beautiful statue of Shri Shivaji Maharaj. Then we come to the Rajdarbar (Court), where the Coronation of Shri Shivaji Maharaj took place twice. Right from the doorway to his throne, anywhere in the Rajdarbar, if anyone even whispered, it could be heard very clearly at the throne. The architect has also carved his guarantee on the door leading to the Jagdishwar temple, which Shivaji Maharaj visited daily, stating that it will stand the test of time and shall remain forever! Adjacent to this temple is the Samadhi of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, behind which one can see the statue of a dog on a pedestal, who was Shivaji's faithful dog Waghya, who committed suicide on learning about the death of his beloved master!

Finally we reached the MTDC Resort, situated at the top of fort, where we had planned to have lunch. We ordered the food for all 75 people. As everyone was almost wet while going through that waterfall & through the rain on the way, we changed our cloths in that resort. It was 4.00pm & as per the time calculations we had done, we found that we are late by almost 2 hrs. So, by the time the resort people will cook the food for us, we decided that we'll ask our participants whether they are interested to go down by Ropeway. And to our surprise, about 50 out of 75 people agreed on the same, while 25 said that they will go down by the same way we trekked. We were more than happy, as we were about to save 1 hr of trekking down to base. We completed our lunch at 5.00 pm. The people who agreed to go down by ropeway, went to the location of ropeways at the top of fort.

The remaining 25 people completed our lunch & started our back journey to down. On our back journey, we had a wild encounter with the snake, & Kishor couldn't stop himself from taking a snap of him. It was risky, but he did it as every time he does ???? . We just had trekked down for 15 minutes after that wild encounter of snake and the whole fort got hidden into fog. On the way, we found a tree, & its beauty in the fog was just awesome, which cannot be described by words.

We reached the base location at 6.30 pm & started our return journey. I took the seat in the bus & was thinking of time by which we'll be reaching to Pune. The fashion by which the both drivers were driving, I was very sure that we'll be reaching by 12-12.30 am and it was manageable for us to make sure that everyone will get safely to home, as we have asked each & everyone for his/her transport arrangement.

I was happy so far as everything went smoothly, but the real adventure was waiting for us. We were travelling almost from 4 hours & still another 1 hour of travel was remained, i.e. we were in the middle of tamhini ghat, and it started again - things going against my favor. As tamhini ghat is very much beautiful in monsoon days, it is that much dangerous in the nights. Travelling through tamhini ghat in the night is not recommended at all, but still we took that way. And when you do not follow the recommended things, you have to pay the penalty. at 10.15 pm, our big bus (50 seater) got some serious problem & it was even not able to move by an inch. In tamhini ghat people do not even stop for nature's call in the night & we all were out of the bus to see what happened to our bus. The other bus (32 seater) was following us & came to the place in a minute. The driver of our bus was looking for any solution, but unable to do anything as the shaft of accelerator was broken and it will be cured only by replacing it with new one. Also, we were not able to call anyone for arranging the another bus, as there was no network to any of the cell phones ???? .

I along with Rajendra & Kishor decided that all the girls will go by the second bus along with the people already seated, so that the boys can help them to reach home safely. I asked other 20 people along with Amit & Kishor to stay with me in the broken-down bus till the time a new bus comes. They respected my request also, thank you very much for that ???? . Rajendra went ahead with that small bus. Now, we were only 23 people with food like Biscuits, Chiwda & wafers, etc, etc. We thought to ask for lift and gave a try as well, but as told earlier people do not stop, we were helpless.

Now, in the bus everyone started sharing their experiences about the same situation they were having in the past. And the trail continued for next 2 hours. It included not only the dangerous experiences but also the good jokes. It was 2.00 am and everyone was so tired that they went to sleep slowly-slowly one by one. Some of us went to sleep immediately after break down, because they thought the bus won't come & we have to stay in here till the morning. The driver also went to sleep as he might have been thinking the same. But I was very sure that the bus will come, as Rajendra had promised me. And finally, the bus came at 3.30 am. I heaved a sigh of relief. We all were eager to go home & go to sleep, though there was full sunday available for us to rest. Finally, we all reached home by 5.00 am on sunday.

As I mentioned earlier, if something is going to happen in your life it is going happen and this is what happened with me, sorry with all the 75 people ???? . Also, the call was not set only for me, it was for all those 75 people, who were there & attended the ecstasy of Raigad fort. I will definitely call them as lucky people, because many people called us for registration, but only 75 got the chance to make it.

At the last, adding the Ovation for your reference: -

Shrimad Praud, Pratap Purandar, Kshatriya Kulauntas, Sinhasanadhishwar, Rajadhiraj Yogiraj, Shri Chtrapati Shivaji Maharaj Ki Jai!!! Har Har Mahadev!!! Jai Bhawani, Jai Shivaji!!!