Pack your bags. Leave the world behind. Let the clouds show you the trail. And in no time you will find yourself surrounded by a million waterfalls. That is Malshej Ghat for you.
Clouds blocking the rays of the Sun. Blue sky turning gray. Cold water and breeze rushing across your face. And the weather turning you into a poet.
Malshej Ghat is at a 2 hour drive from Mumbai, and the best time to visit this place is – No points for guessing – Monsoons. We left for the place sharp at 6 in the morning. Accompanied by light drizzle and morning radio songs, we started our journey.
What’s so special about this place? Scenes like these, which makes you wonder if you really long to go back to hills, or stick with the Monsoons here. May be you just need to live in the moment. And follow your bliss.
It all happened one night, when we stumbled upon a very tempting offer to fly to Andamans on a day which marked the start of a long weekend. And this Independence day, bags were packed, auto replies scheduled on Outlook, and we were ready to be delighted by all the interesting things those were lined up for us. We landed in Port Blair in afternoon and were greeted by the sweet sunshine showering on the crystal clear blue water of Andaman Sea.
1. Stay at the North Bay View
We decided to unpack and put down our anchor at this place called North Bay View hotel. The perks of visiting a place in the off season – You get the best of the places with little price to pay for.
We were just 15 minutes into the place and we already knew that we are their for a treat.
Facebook feed, currently, is either full of disgruntled working professionals or the batchmates getting married – One by one, and in some cases to one another. Clock is ticking by and the call of the hour was a trip before wickets start tumbling down. May be a last All bachelor’s trip with the folks. We decided to camp down in Gokarna, a hidden beauty in Karnataka, just a little further from Goa. People crawled their way from Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Chennai. Some took a planned leave and some decided to fall sick on the same day.
All this summer, luck has been really generous towards me. And another instance was when I successfully booked a Tatkal ticket on new irctc site – Mumbai to Kumta it was. Kumta happened to be some 40 kms away from Om beach and an hour or so was the journey from Kumta to Gokarna. Wait a minute – Did I say something about luck? Train somehow decided to took an unplanned halt at Gokarna Road and we were quick like bunnies to jump down on the adjacent empty track (No we didn’t pull the chain and I must stop bragging about my luck, lest I jinx it)
For some unknown reason Monsoon is making us wait more than expected. And the only option that we are left with is to seek for it.
From hills to hills, we have been spending last few weekends in our quest for the divine rain. This time, the destination was Khandala – To the trail to the Duke’s Nose, also known as Nagphani. The name of this place in Western Ghats is credited to the shape of the cliff which is like a hill or a thumb, sometimes resembling a snake.
Compared to the Rajmachi, the Duke’s Nose Trek was relatively easier – The fact that it was day and the path was well marked to the pinnacle. And for more than a single reason, this trek in Khandala was more about the journey rather than the destination.
“Just follow the rails” was what the old lady said to us. And so we did. We followed the rails. Without thinking about where it was leading us.
There are times like this when you don’t know where you are going and neither do you seem to care.
Where do you expect a guy to be on a Saturday night? Breaking the hell loose, partying in some club, owned by the ecstasy of weekend, right? Well it was a little different for me this time around. Saturday, 11 in the night. I was standing on the edge of a really steep hill side. Rain was in it’s full form, as if in a hurry to announce the arrival of Monsoons. The wind was picking up, making every step a task in itself. The jungle around us presenting different surprises in the form of crabs, snakes, toads, lizards and fireflies. And to top that, it was pitch dark. Zero visibility, with torches being our only ally.
This was the moment that defined this weekend of mine and marked one of the best treks I have been part of. Let me take you to a quick tour of how the Rajmachi Trek was amazing in its unique own ways and made it for us a weekend to remember.
A view of Rajmachi from a cave near Srivardhan fort