If you don’t know how we landed here at 4,324 ft. above sea level, check out Part I of our adventurous tale.
Adrenaline surged, we finally made it to Rajgad Fort. We inhaled cod mist into our lungs so deeply, and it was so fresh. It was magnificent and quite difficult to explain in words. The air was still but dense. Both dark cloud and fog obscured the visibility and turned the floor cold, making the old ruins look desperately eerie.
It was 2.30 pm, and trekking down could take us more than 3 hours. We must get to the ground before dark so we did not had much time to enjoy the success.
The schedule was tight; we decided to spend only 30 minutes to explore. There are temples, small lake, and small buildings which used as camping facility for trekkers.
Yaseen spend his time expeditiously to study the structures of the fort so up close. Rocks, broken floors and fallen walls, he analyzed and learned in his own ways.
The palace is pretty much ruined. We saw nothing but piles of stone arranged and lined on what could have been walls and pillars.
Rain has carried lives in and animated the stone walls into bio-ramparts. It was so artistic like nature and man worked together to deliver these mesmerizing projects.
For centuries these walls stood and there were travelers like us came and looked in awe. Still strong, these walls would continue to amaze many generations to come.
Rajgad Fort was above all hills, stood as principal structure amongst the green solitudes. I wondered if people who lived here would ever feel vulnerable when they were so cut out from the world, so guarded and so protected.
To be honest, there were so much more to see and explore but that was all the time we had. We have to go back some day and see all of it.
At 3.00 pm, it’s time to head down. And even if we had more courage than we already had, we wouldn’t dare tracing back the same way we came. We abandoned the thought of trekking back by Gunjavane trial, where our car parked at the end of it. Chatting with the fellow trekkers, we found the safer route to trek down, but it also meant we needed to find the way to our car by ourselves.
Sadik and I quickly planned a blind strategy because frankly we didn’t know what to expect. As per our new information, Pali route is easier and safer, there are stone steps laying the path until the comfortable trail, and though the trail is longer but it is also very manageable.
There was half litter of drinking water left; more if we needed, we had to trap from the rain. We had to be careful and make sure Yaseen was safety hydrated all the way down. To go through such rough trail, we had to prepare ahead. We scheduled the rest-stop, calculate our pace and came up with a song. Yes, we needed a song. Yaseen composed one in urgency… “Ding Dong Dang.” Just 3 words. Ding Dong Dang! We found ourselves singing this jingle along the trial the whole time.
We started trekking down at Pali Darwaja, one of gates of Rajgad Fort. And yes, there were stone steps, but they didn’t look very promising either. The thick mist was chasing us, and then it began to rain.
The stone steps led us down rather quickly but it was not to be trusted fully. Every step was crooked, soaked and slippery. There was no rail and barrier on both sides. The steps were simply brooded against the curve of the mountain with the complete hollowed, free falling air surrounded.
It’s funny how a torturing trip can be so enjoyable at the same time. Every turn and angle, there was an unbelievable view waiting for us.
The wave of earth flushed green, rolling and rippling so keenly. Mist covered the mountain like sweet snow dust spreading over green velvet cake, so delicious to the eyes.
There were absolute silence and serenity; we, nature and the adventure were bonding.
But then the trial became very difficult, steep, narrow, muddy and slippery. Sadik fell on his bottom and he realized that it wouldn’t be safe to carry Yaseen on his shoulder anymore.
Every step needed to be very intended and specific, but even then we slipped, fell, and rolled in mud every now and then. At one point of the trail, the path was covered with some kind of shrubs with itchy leaves. There were also a lot of insects and flies swishing through us.
The rough path delayed us so badly that we started to wonder if we would be able to find our way down before sun down. If we didn’t make it, it was not going to be pleasant because as we ascended the path led us into a thick, wet jungle.
Now, the trail began to cringe into extreme slope, and there was nothing to hold or balance ourselves.
Yaseen came up with an amazing idea. Let’s slide!
It’s work! And we wouldn’t make it down without this trick. Muddy and dirty though, but it was super fun.
We slid down the mud-slide for a long while until the path was walk-able.
At 5.30 pm, the jungle was thick, dimmed and moist, and we could hear wild birds chirping along the trial. We climbed, crawled and did every imaginably ways to get down.
Finally we made it through the green tunnel and found a small plateau ahead. It was such a joyful sight. We were exhausted but relieved.
We had never been this happy to see a flat land 🙂
Now look at us, we were covering in dirt…
Luckily here’s the waterfall. We dipped here, and we had fresh cloths in the backpack. The water was fresh and freezing cold. Oh, it was so much fun splashing the fresh sparkle to one another.
After a refreshing splash at the waterfall, we headed to Pali village, looking for a way to Gunjavane, where we parked our car. The revelation was devastating when we found out that both villages are very far. Pali village is almost on the other side of the fort. But again we’re so lucky that a group of visitors from Mahindra Engineering Team agreed to drop us at Sokor, a nearby bus stop to Gunjavane. From Sokor with the help of several generous local, Sadik got a lift on a bike to the parking facility which was 5 km away; Yaseen and I waited at a small shop in Sokor junction. 30 minutes later, Sadik came to pick us up, and we headed home.
If you ask me will I do this adventurous, difficult, rough and exhausting trip all over again? My answer is utterly, positively, absolutely, definitely big YES! In fact, we had already planned to go back and camp on beautiful plateau when my sister comes in town next month.
A long trek up and down Rajgad Fort inspired us to explore and embrace the world around us. We had no chance or resource to go as far as we wanted now, but this trip kept us wondering what adventures could possibly be out there. This world is so beautiful and we want to see it all… but here, a small step at the time, and next trip, who knows… we might be able to make it to a quiet hill of the Himalayas 🙂