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“And if these Mountains had eyes…, they would wake to find the Stranger in their fences…, standing in the admiration as a breathing yellow Pours its tinge upon Earth’s shore… These Mountains, which have seen Untold Sunrises.., long to thunder Praise but stand reverent, silent so that Man’s weak praise should be given God’s Attention….!!!”– Donald Miller
After started doing solo one day treks in the various forts of Sahyadri mountains, my next challenge is to do solo overnight trek. I had discussion with my trekking companions about same and I finally planned to celebrate the 2 days Diwali festival of the year 2018 in the Raigad fort and in return, I got an unforgettable moments for a lifetime and also the inspiration to dream big & confidence to do more such a solo treks that changed my life completely.
I always rely on public transportation during any trek, so I have first caught Sandoshi ST (Night Express) from Boriwali Nancy Colony on around 10 pm and will going to reach base of Raigad fort in the early morning around 4 am.
ENCOUNTER WITH DARKNESS
When I alighted from ST, I came to know from Google Map that I have come far from my stop. So I started walking back in the dark. It was a cold breezing with a silence of pinch darkness and no living thing all around. obviously I was frightened but I have no other option rather than walking in that scary unknown atmosphere.
After 10 min walk, I came across one hotel where I found one security guard from ATM bank who was staring at me. But after having a friendly conversation with him, I came to know that the place where I’m standing is ‘Pachad Phata’ and ST took left turn from Phata and went to the Nizampur village and Raigad Fort is still about 2 km on the right turn from that Phata.
As per my plan, I have to reach the top of the fort in the early morning as I want to witness traditional functions that will be performed on the occasion of the Diwali festival and before that, to watch the sunrise from Raigad fort. But it was a risk to walk 2km in that darkness, as there is no transportation available and no sign of any people except the barking dogs. Unfortunately, I changed my plan and sit there and continue my conversation about Raigad with that unknown guard .
RAY OF HOPE
Around 6 am, I resume my journey and started walking alone toward Raigad via steep tar road in foggy weather. I was little nervous and also scared, as the darkness of the night still not ready to leave my company but as time was going, it became the worthful to proceed ahead as I witnessed the sun was set to rise from behind Raigad and mixed its orange-yellowish rays with dark blue color of the night and foggy clouds spreading all around lower regions of Raigad.
It was one of the eye pleasing and peaceful moment I ever had in my life which boost my confidence for further journey.
Luckily, after 10 minutes of walking I got a lift from local jeep but he mistakenly sends me to the Ropeway point so I walked back again for a 20 minutes towards the rock steps point.
NANE DARWAJA ROUTE
After reaching the Rock cut steps point, I saw there was a reconstruction of all steps route is going on, therefore the government placed banners which advising people to use the Nane Darwaja route which is just ahead of step route. It was 8 am, I was already falling behind my schedule, So I decided to go easily by enjoying each scenery of surrounding mountains.
While ascending, I reached the Gaumukhi Mahadarwaja(Main Entrance) which made me amazed by its construction.
On reaching the top of the Raigad, I got opportunity to stay at Dharmashala in free of cost after getting permission from the person who is taking care of Dharmashala.
I already studied the MAP of Raigad so after I freshen up, I put my rucksack at Dharmashala and started my exploration of Raigad.
As a Maharashtrian boy, I always have fond of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj & specially Raigad fort right from my school days and finally, during this trek, I got the opportunity to know more about Shivajiraaje and his history & legacy with Raigad and also about culture & the tradition of Maharashtra by seeing people worshiping the statue of Maharaj at Rajsabha & Holi cha Maal.
Apart from different fortifications in Ballekilla region and various water resources, the most interesting place in Raigad was the distance between Nagarkhana and the throne which is more than 200m still, any whisper can be heard very clearly from both ends.
During the journey, I got a company of 4 strangers who were visiting Raigad fort on special days continuously from the past 15 years. I had a quality conversations at dharmshala while resting in afternoon and typical Marathi lunch with them in the night at local house that on right side of Jagdishwar Mandir. I also got the opportunity to explore Raigad in the night which is not allow for other visitors but because those stranger people visiting Raigad number of times to perform some traditional rituals and worship statue of Shivaji Maharaj, I able to experience this ‘never-imagine’ moments because of them.
Someone said ‘sometime you forgot to take more pictures when you actually having good time’.
I understood this lines after I forgot to take more pictures with these people who made journey unforgettable.
While doing rituals, one of the present descendant of Mavala of Maratha army arrived there and started arguing with us and claiming the right for doing those rituals which showed me the worst politics people doing in the name of Shivaji Maharaj and that too in this holy place which is also very unfortunate for each people of Maharashtra as Chhatrapati Shivaji is every people’s King, not of the individual one.
WORLD OF RAIGAD
But Apart from these unplanned moments, I also feel myself the luckiest one to witness the peaceful sunset from Takmak Tok and sleeping under a sky full of stars and then watching the most beautiful sunrise from Holi cha Maal.
Finally, I able to explored all corners of Raigad and discovered some unknown peaceful places like Wagh Darwaja on 1st day,
and Bhavaani Tok on the next day morning,
and Waghbil Cave at the end.
with mesmerizing surrounding views of Lingana pinnacle, Rajgad-Torna fort, Kaal river, and other mountains ranges.
There is something unique in the atmosphere of Raigad that every “Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki jay” & “Jay Bhavani.., Jay Shivaji” from people keeps giving me goosebumps feeling and charging my soul with positive energy.
The unforgettable moment from this complete journey is to visiting Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj. When I reached there, I sat at one corner and staring continuously at the Samadhi and remembering all the things that I read or saw about Shivaji Maharaj. I close my eyes and started to think about him. With due respect other legends of Maharashtra, there is no human being who did so much to the people of Maharashtra and even he left us a period ago, still he and his lifestyle inspiring many of us in day to day life. He is an inspiration to many of us and that’s the thing made him a perfect role model for not only for us or people of Maharashtra but for all around the globe.
As time went by, I started feeling his presence all around my body just like my soul was connected with him and We had an imaginary conversation about the current situation of Maharashtra. I was totally overwhelmed and yet goose-bumped.
Being an admirer of Shivaji Maharaj, this holy place having something magical that anyone can feel so much close to our Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj here.
Finally, during the return journey when I reach the base of the fort, it was time arrived to say goodbye, so I looked back for the last time towards Raigad and damn, with a heavy heart I just able to say:
“Thank you for all!!”
Throughout this beautiful journey of Raigad, I realized that “you can also ‘Live’ the life alone. You don’t always need human relationships to be happy, God has placed it all around” and then, especially after the Raigad trek, I become independent for my happiness and my passion & love for doing solo trek into Sahyadri rise immensely…!!
Planning to visit Raigad or want to know more about Raigad,
Check out the detail Informative blog about Raigad fort here
Check out my YouTube video of Sunrise & Sunset at RAIGAD
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