Someone has rightly said "Trekking is a great pleasure and an exercise" and this pleasure is twofold when you are with your friends from work. In an informal setting like this you discover the adventurous and fun parts of their personality, which you wouldn't otherwise.
The plan to trek to Lohagad was spontaneous, made only the night prior and the meeting point was at Pune Railway Station. Dipen was the first one to reach and it wasn't because he was excited about the trip but rather the cab driver had arrived a bit too early. Slowly but surely our small team of trekkers gathered and we began the journey full of energy and excitement. We boarded the local train to Malavali and didn't waste a single second to begin having fun. While the train transversed the green landscape of Maharastra we gossiped away and took numerous selfies and managed to catch the sun rise which was an event for us since we all wake up really late.
Finally at around 7 am we arrived at Malavali and everyone was hungry especially, Vishal and Sumit.We planned to have a “light” breakfast but ironically it included Dosa, Idli, Uttapam and Tea. So after being sufficiently fed and watered we started moving ahead through villages in the search for Lohagad Fort which was about 4-5 kms away. A fact unknown to Dipen else he would’nt have agreed to walking so long I guess.
The very first real adventure we came across was a waterfall which was small but dangerous and very slippery. One by one all of us climbed on top of the waterfall and got wet, including Swastik who was a little scared of the height. After this pit stop we continued on our trek, the route wasnt very hard but the altitude kept increasing steadily and due to some road construction Ajit and Sumit lead us through a dangerous offroad trek path.
Along the way we had to wait for “20 minutes” for the family of a colleague and we took up this opportunity for a long break and even though it took them way more time than 20 minutes we didnt really mind cause two kids joined our group and the fun just doubled. The scenery was breath-taking and we all utilized our great quality camera phones, but the Indian heritage and scenery is so diverse that the photos dont really do it any justice.
The main entrance to the fort is called "Ganesh Darwaja". The Ancient beauty drew our attention but what kept us even more occupied were the cute kids who joined us mid-way through the trek. Karnika had become their “didi” and was leading them to the top of the fort. As beautiful as the fort was, the height it was built at was dangerous too and we had to be careful. We all broke off into small groups and started exploring and by the time we reached the dangerous end of the fort heavy rains started with loud thunder roaring in the sky. Children were crying out of fear and we were praying to god to help us out today. Those moments were really interesting and scary but after awhile the sky became quiet and we started the journey back down the hills and it was made even more pleasurable as light showers accompanied us. That evening was really very beautiful and finally the journey was complete, full of excitement and adventure and we reached the railway station to go back home.
Lastly thanks to Gandhiji, We QEDians were lucky to spend time with each other not as colleagues, but as friends and even though the trek is over, I still wonder : "Where did the King sleep? As i didn't find any room above the hills..."