"Torna Moonlight Trek"
Elevation - 1,403 meters
Difficulty level - Tough
Trek time - 3 hours
I wrote it like a story.
Hi there, my name is Amey Ambekar (there is another guy who's named similar to me as ameya in this story please ignore him and keep your whole attention towards me, just kidding enjoy the story) . Lets start the story, it was 4th june, the start of monsoon, i went to pune for some business meets, after being done with the meets and stuff, i had the weekends free. I have always imagined how thrilling the treks would be and even more curious about the night treks. I was at pune at the movement, later that day around 6pm i met my friends manthan and utkarsh, after some chats i threw up a idea, if they are free tonight and shall we go for a moonlight trek tonight. So it was decided, manthan lived in the college hostel he also asked his friends if they wanna join apparently 6 of them agreed. Manthan and utkarsh were my friends from amravati and so was sahil. I called sahil and told him we have to go to the trek tonight he immediately replied with a yes. There were this other two friends of mine from akola Ameya and gaurav, i was staying at ameya's as i was in pune. So me, sahil, manthan, utkarsh, ameya, gaurav and manthan's 6 hostel mates were on for the trek, so we were 12 guys in total. We decided to go to torna fort for the trek, we packed essentials charged our phones, took out the bikes and at 11pm we started out for the location. Torna was close from pune, 60 kilometers from where we stayed. On the way to torna you will encounter ghats through the journey, i had a clue that if we were lucky we would be able to see fireflies on the way, afterwards at one spot on the way along the ghats we stopped to stretch our legs but as soon as we turned our heads towards the valley we saw fireflies, it felt amazing watching them, nobody talked everybody was just staring at them. In the complete silence, the golden twinkling light that the magical bugs emitted really calmed my mind, the pleasant soft wind and watching fireflies was just a perfect combination, we stayed there for about 15-20 mins and then we moved towards torna (i could hear, torna was calling me towards it ) (1. look at the first picture down there). We reach at the trekking point at 1am, there is parking space available so we parked our bikes there. I suggested that we should take some petrol with us, as it rained the day before so i assumed everything must be wet and we could use the petrol to burn the bonfire. Then at the start point everyone gathered, everyone introduced each other and i gave some cautions before we started the trek although i was also a first timer but still I wanted to lead them and encourage them also the best thing they followed my lead, as we were trekking at night so i told them there might be snakes or other animals so be aware, always stay close. We started at 2:15 am, it was all blacked out as there were clouds so no moonlight. And as i told you we were first timers we didn't even took torches with us, we were dependent on our mobile phone's flash, so our one hand had the Mobile flash and the other had courage and backpack on the back which had water bottles and snacks. While I was leading the trek, i had sahil right next to me (sahil is a very skinny guy, like 6" feet tall and weighed 48 kg only, at first i thought he would be scared and everything but he turned out to be brave and was right next to me), other were following us. As i waved the flash to the right and left to have a view, on the right there were these dense bushes and on the left deep dark valley, my mind had mixed feelings thrill, joy, excitement and peace. It was not even 300 meters we had crossed and we had a thrilling encounter, i was walking holding flash taking heavy breadths and saw something crossing our path what i saw had me goosebumps (now here's my opinion about snakes, i fear them the most and i really mean it), i think it was a cobra crossing our path ( cobra because it was long, dark black, his skin reflected the flashlight which had fall upon him by the Mobile which i was holding. It was thrilling as well as it felt beautiful to watch cobra pass by). I immediately stopped everyone by a shout "thamba" which is a Marathi word for 'stop', told them not to make a move, the cobra crossed peacefully and we took a breath after that, that really scared the soul out of me. After we caught a breath we moved again even after the cobra incident i was still leading, then after some other mountain creatures also made appearance one of them was the orange back and White stripped frogs i think they were poisonous too but they didn't bother us too much we kept moving. We kept moving along with trek talks and shouting our slangs, it felt to be alive more than that i felt to be alive after long time, the cold wind, heavy breaths, that feeling in my heart made me feel complete. After walking for about 35-40mins we took a halt at safe spot where we could all sit ,rest up and drink water. While rehydrating at that spot, we all enjoyed the view we were not on the top but still the view was great, ranges of mountain, on oneside beautiful lake view and on the other side ranges of mountain, we could see sinhagad from there, the red light from the tower on sinhagad caught our attention, sinhagad looked mesmarizing, like a black big shadow behind the dark clouds ( i have been to sinhagad but at daytime, along with its thrilling and devotional history sinhagad had a great view too but its very crowded at times, people have ruined its natural beauty, we all nearly chugged half a bottle of water, at that spot cold heavy winds were passing we started to feel a little bit cold, i was wearing my tracks,a full sleeve t-shirt and on it a shirt, Ameya came to me and said i don't feel well its very cold out here although he was wearing a sweater so i took off my shirt and gave him to wear it ( that was illogical because i was feeling cold too but still i wanted him to get rid of the excuses and encourage him so i did that). After relaxing for a while we moved again everyone wanted to rest more but me, sahil and two other friends wanted to move forward, so i told others that we are moving, i thought they might also get up watching us go, so i went froward with the other three with zeal but that's where i went imprecise, after walking for 15-20 mins we discern that the rest of the group were not following us, as it was no network zone so we were not able to contact them so we four decided to wait for the rest to reach us. There's a quote by
"Mountains have there way to deal with overconfidence"
i will take you through this quote literally going, So as i said the rest of the group showed no sign of reaching us, we shouted, tried waving the flash light but nothing worked as we were far away from them, one person among us four suggest that we should head back and bring them with us but i told him don't worry they will get to us in a short time, just wait. The spot where we stopped was good enough to burn a Bonfire, as we had the collected petrol with us, we gathered together bunch of sticks, tree branches, pored a small amount of petrol on it and boom burnt the bonfire and as we all know along with bonfire comes awesome stories, rahul (one of the guy) knew the history of torna and the story of torna came up. Torna has a amazing story, It was called "Prachandagad" ( 'prachanda' is a marathi word for 'Huge', massive) It was built by Shaiva panth around 13 century. How did torna got the name 'torna' from 'prachandagad' is a great story, it was the first fort captured by the great Shivaji Maharaj in 1646 at the age of 16 and because when you climb torna you will find this flowers which looks like Torans (Torans are used to decorate the doors in Maharashtra) so Shivaji Maharaj renamed it as "Torna" (This is all i remember rahul telling me, how does he knows all this well he took a picture of a rock which had all this written on it before we started). Well having done with the stories, do you still remember that quote, right? After a few movements rest of our crew arrived, well not all of them yeah that's right not all of them, three of us were missing actually.i asked them what happened where are they ?, didn't you instsit them to come ?, why did they stay ? (Actually three guys stayed were Utkarsh , manthan, and kamlesh).
(2. look at the second photograph, i have to do this because tripodo doesn't have a feature that would allow me to upload these pictures here, so please coordinate with me and whenever i tell you to look at the picture please do so as you can connect more through this, although its a nice platform i hope they provide this feature in future).
They replied that utkarsh was not able to continue he told them that he thinks his Blood pressure levels are increased ( he weighs 115kg so i might consider it true) and manthan didn't wanted to continue as well ( i think manthan stayed because of Utkarsh, i think he didn't want to leave Utkarsh behind ) and kamlesh had a problem with his hand he said his hand was shivering too much ( well i personally think he was faking it because he is a fit guy i think he just needed a reason to stay ). I heard all of this, i couldn't handle it and i told the rest of the crew that i am going back and i am gonna get them if not at least i am gonna get them supplies and settle them to a safe place ( as it was a windy there and trust me it seemed like the winds had a intention to freeze us ). I took the petrol bottle with me and a extra t-shit from sahil and a blanket from gaurav and some snaks, one guy druv agreed to come with me, rest of the crew told us we will wait here until you come. So me and druv started to go down towards them, while the downward trail i realised that druv is actually fast, faster than me ( I think he was into some kind of sports, i don't really know him that much as he was hostel mate of manthan). We reached the spot but they were not there, we looked at each other's faces as what did they, then we shouted there names, they shouted back, you won't believe these brats went to a peak near that spot which had the greatest exposure to the winds. We went to them, i tried to convince them really hard especially to Utkarsh but nothing worked, then after that i told them at least take this supplies so they took it and i told them not to stay at that full exposure spot instead i found them a place behind a big gaint rock which was covering the winds, checked if there were any creatures or anything, druv collected some sticks and then i use the petrol and we burned them a fire near that place. And also one another good thing happened they were going to stay there until we reach them back from the trek, so i told them not to wait for us as soon as the sun arrives get to the village and get yourself something to eat. Funny thing, Utkarsh had a knife and he made a spear out of it, how you ask, well he took a hard and long stick and at the top it he kinda fix it there with the help a knot with his handkerchief. Then after waving hand to them, me and druv went back to the rest of the group, on the way back druv was really fast i don't know why was he in such a hurry, and so while coping up with him i got myself a deep cut on my right hand (i think it happened while crawling, i guess it was a sharp rock) , i sucked the blood and split it, i was not knowing that its that deep but when we arrived to the team i realised that the blood is dropping everywhere from the cut, it was bleeding continuously, sahil put some cold water on the wound, the dirt surely went away but the bleeding continued. And then again rahul came into play, luckily he was the guy who used to eat tabaco (is it me or it really feels like its indeed a different kind of rahul, usually guys named as rahul are not likely to do such stuff i mean eat tabaco) so he had chuna, i don't know its safe or not but he applied chuna on my cut and it stopped bleeding and i knot a handkerchief around my hand. Thus, this explains the quote.
(3. look at the 3rd picture)
After that we continued, the trek got stiffer and stiffer, at several points it felt like the peak is near, but the trail continued we took halts, i gave up the lead for 20 minutes and gained back my stamina and started to lead again and i also went shirtless thereafter as i was sweating too much, i kinda loved leading rather than following from behind, i guess following was not really thrilling enough for me. We had amazing trek talks, halts at remote spots,
"I believe that if you don't derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don't come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don't feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you, then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste."
(It felt real, i mean doing the trek, passing through the remote paths, the winds, getting hurt, trek talks and everything else as well, this made me feel real, made me feel alive after so long ). After a trek that last for 2 hours 45 minutes we reached the peak at 5am. It felt so cool out there, looking at the view from the wall that covered the entire fort was amazing.
(4. again go for the 4th picture)
At 5am it looked kinda scary as it was still dark, we climbed at a wall watched the view for a bit, after that everyone went to the right side of the fort, but i stayed there, I needed some me time, it was great. The sun was about to show up, i went to the left, stayed near a coner the view was mesmarizing, the cold winds made me put on my shirt, it was so cold out the. It sat at a spot, the cold and speedy winds were piercing through me and view we could literally see clouds, at that time it was complete silence and peace, i closed my eyes, spread my hands like Leonardo DiCaprio does in titanic and suddenly i was in a different place far away from all the urban stress away from the people, i felt the air, the winds, the aura of that, it was just amazing. Then sahil came to me and gave the worse news of the century he said the snaks are all gone they ate them all while i was having my alone time anyways the time was worth it, afterwards we took pictures and everything there, from around the peak's corner, we shouted our names and heard the eco.
(5. look at the 5th pictures)
Then something amazing happened, we heard a little sound something soon we realized that it was Utkarsh manthan and kamlesh shouting and we shouted back but we were not sure, so i asked sahil to turn on the flash and wave it and Utkarsh and others waved back, it was so cool to do that ( we thought the ancient people must also use to do this but only back then there were no flashes so they must have used firetorch. Then the movement arrived for which everyone was waiting for, the "sunrise", trust me it was breathtaking, one of the best that i have ever seen in my life and we were literally in clouds.
(6. look at the pictures from 6th series)
It was so cold out there, then everyone gathered and collected some burnable things but everything was a little moist but with the help of petrol we burnt a born fire there and got ourselves warm, indeed my prediction was right and finally carrying petrol paid off. After that we explored the fort, its interesting, the fort covers a very vast area and also has a route to rajgad. The fort has temple namely "Menghai Devi Mandir" also know as "Tornaji temple"
some pictures after sunrise, the the sun was not so clear as it was cloudy,
(7. look at the 7th picture)
visiting this temple was really helpful for me and interesting fact about this temple there is a elder couple (aaji aajoba) who visits the temple at weekends to provide the tourists with poha and black tea, having a hot black tea at that clod place really helped and also the poha that helped with my apatite. Trust me at such height and extreme weather its the best thing you will ever get and also there was kaaya (the dog), as i am a dog person i really adore kaaya (picture of kaaya). After that we roamed around for a while and took pictures. Here are some pictures of me enjoying the view and faking candids and also some real candids are there and also selfies.
(8. look at the pictures from 8th series )
Then after everything wrapped up, we started the down trail, it only took 1 hour 30 minutes to reach to the start-point. After that we reached our home at 12 pm, and I don't about others but i slept till 6pm.
Now, i will tell you the budget, it only cost 300 rupees maximum as the only charges were the petrol charges, and the snaks, poha charge 30 rupees and tea charged 10 rupees, don't travel with those online groups they will charge you unnecessarily around 1200-1500 inr, go with them unless you are new to the city or anything like that, i prefer traveling through bikes.
Tips - carry this one thing for sure when you travel, that is "excitement". And also carry torches with extra batteries, lots of snaks and water bottles, also bring a camera if you are a fan of photography, trekking shoes ( i will not recommend it but i hiked with my casual shoes ) also carry some flammable fluids like petrol or kerosene and just be aware and be safe.
So that was it, i hope you like what i wrote, stay tuned for more.
And incase if you wanna reach me then this is the number to call on +91-9130649833 . And also give me a follow on my Instagram id- @i_amey_
Let me know how you feel about torna, drop a comment.
at last i have two statements to make, 1) vanilla is a flavor and 2) climate change is a real thing.
and as they say in Spanish Hasta pronto (see you soon).