The Oath of independence revisited...

4th Feb 2012

“आपण हिंदवी स्वराज्याची स्थापना करून एक परिपूर्ण राज्य बनवू आणि त्याची नेहमी रक्षा करू.”

These are the words of Oath that Shivaji Maharaj took for the establishment of Swarajya. When Shivaji Maharaj was seventeen, they decided to transform what were till then simply games to a reality. Shivaji Maharaj and their friends encouraged by Jijabai & Guru Dadoji Kondeo, decided to take a formal Oath to free the country from the shackles of Mughal tyranny. At the cave temple of Raireshwar in the Sayhadris, Shivaji Maharaj and their select band of teen-aged Maratha friends slit their thumbs and poured the blood oozing from it on the Shiva-Linga.I had read this, when I was in school - 4th Std, but never thought that I will be visiting this place in future. Since I have been in Pune from 2 years & this place is only 100 KMs away from Pune, I was just waiting for the time to come and visit the shrine place Raireshwar Fort.Though summer starts from February, you sense the heat in April. But this year, heat was showing its effect right from the February & it was the major concern for me to arrange a trek to Raireshwar fort :( . Usually, I recommend a one day trek only, but the heat was not allowing me to make it a one day affair. In the mean time, I came to know about another fort in the close proximity of Raireshwar, i.e. Kenjalgad Fort, and one can do these forts in a two days. And finally, the plan was set for a combined trek of Raireshwar & Kenjalgad forts.February 4 & 5, 2012 - was the dates fixed for trek. I circulated the mail to few of my friends & they accepted the invitation as usual. The plan was to go by S.T. Bus, but it got cancelled and we left Pune on our own vehicles (not my own, but of course my friend's is mine as well, at least vehicle ;) ) with the total head count of 19. The route taken was --> Raireshwar base -> Korle Village in the evening -> start trekking -> Overnight stay in the temple of Raireshwar -> Trek to Kenjalgad fort on 2nd day -> Lunch & Return to Pune.We left Pune on 4th Feb at about 4 pm & reached Korle Village in 2 hours. There is a Sunset point in the mid way of Raireshwar fort & we managed to reach over there in time. I was attending the best moment of my life.

In our trekking group, 5 were from my project team. It was first time for us when we were together and having fun outside the office, otherwise one can find us in our project space always, even on weekends :) . All my teammates were having fun & the song came automatically on my lips -

Saari Umra Hum Mar Mar ke ji liye, ek pal to ab hamein jeene do... jeene do... Give me some sunshine...From this Sunset point, the trek to Raireshwar fort is only of half an hour and it made my mood little unhappy. Hence, I decided to go back to base & start the trek. To my surprise, the decision was appreciated by almost all, except five who didn't want to go back. They went to the fort directly & reached the Lord Shiva temple in 1 hour.Now, the remaining 14 were at the base of Raireshwar & about to start the trek, but before that we had to order our lunch on 2nd day. After inquiring to villagers, we got to know about a family which prepares a lunch. There we had some evening snacks - Poha, which was full of quality & everyone dreamed to have this family for breakfast in our offices ;) . We ordered the food & started the trek.We had brought sweat-shirt, jacket for protection from cold, but in next 15 minutes everyone removed those as it was making us tiring and feeling burden as well :( . It was a 7 km walk & the full moon light made it more delightful. The Moon-light was so clear that there was no need to have a torch. First timers were taking time, while regular trekkers went ahead & almost lost in the darkness.After 2 hours of trekking, now we were above 1200+ Ft & the cold air was giving us a kind of refreshment which no one had experienced before. Just a better place to live, rather than the apartment system in big cities. The people were so happy that they called their friends & told the thrill of night trek. Still half trek was remained & we were hungry; we removed whatever we had brought for eating & grabbed it like we were hungry from months :) .We reached the temple in an hour (at about 10.30 pm) & had dinner. The dinner was simply great. We found some bushes & bamboos around, and bonfire was the plan. Afterwards, we found a place for sleep & slept there.On the fort, there is a statue of Shivaji Maharaj, a school and an information board, giving information about fort & history.

Feb 5th - The second day of our trek. We all were set for our next destination, i.e. Kenjalgad fort . But, before we start, a morning tea was most needed thing & we found a home where we had a hot tea :) .

Now, we all were on the way of Kenjalgad fort. Sun was rising little fast, considering our speed. It was 10.30 am, and we had reached only half of the way to Kenjalgad. Heat was making us to stop in every 15-20 minutes, leading to delay, but can't help. Finally we had some Glucose - D powdered water, and that gave us energy to walk for remainder. On the right side of our way, the back water of Dhom dam was looking awesome, creating a structure like Amoeba.

Few of us were leading throughout the way & almost had reached the Kenjalgad fort. While we were at the final patch; a risky one, as the space available there is for only one person or even small, but it has to get crossed & we did it with the help of each other. Without help, it was completely impossible. After one hour we were finally at the steps of Kenjalgad Fort. Some were tired, some were bumped, some were shivering, but everyone was smiling for photo.

At Kenjalgad fort, we had our breakfast at about 12.00 which is a lunch time for general people. But of course, we are not general ones & that's why breakfast time is 12.00. Don't know about lunch time.

Now, it's time for departure. We said bye bye to Kenjalgad & Raireshwar forts, and started to descend. The people who went ahead took the wrong path. The path was completely slippery, but they were having the fun of Go-Carting. Following them, we also enjoyed the Go-Carting experience. It was first time for us that we are going down to base of any fort with this speed :) .Few of us were too tired to walk further for final trail, so we made one clever thing - the people who reached the base first, had to come back again along with their vehicles so that we can take those tired ones on the bikes & make them feel comfortable :) .

We had our lunch & walked off from the village at around 3.00 pm. Everyone was very happy & routed their bikes for Pune. The meeting point for Pune was Sinhgad Bridge, where all reached back to back & got dispersed in no time as everyone wanted some rest to come to office on Monday :) .

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