Descent by Kuthedar vat

( कुठे धरू वाट )

Some things just take place without any previous indication. It was a few weeks back I had interaction with Ravi Anna through mails, and he asked me to come for a trek with him. I had been hearing about him through the Chakram hikers group in Mulund and obviously it would be great to do a trek with a person having experience of over fifteen years. So the plans started working, we decided to go for trek to Avandh and Patta near Igatpuri. But due to some problems we finally decided to go to Dhakoba and Durg.

On 25 morning at 0530 I took a train to Kalyan. Ravi and Sameer (my Mechanical dept junior, whom I had been hearing often, but never got a chance to trek with) met me in the train. At Kalyan, Rohan (also got to know about him on chat) and his schoolmates Vijay and Raj met us at Bus stand. From here we took a bus to Murbad and then a jeep to village called Dhasai(25 kms from Murbad). From here we again took a jeep to village just after village Palu and at the base of the fort Dhakoba. It was 0900 by now. We took a guide from the village (popularly called Vatadya). This chap Sandeep was studying in 9th standard and came all the way to the col from which we climb towards Dhakoba.

The way to this col was along the side of a stream coming from the top. It was pretty steep climb and we were all exhausted, Vijay had cramps but was still climbing. In the way we found plenty of monkeys. We finally reached this col after 3 hrs of continuous climb by 1200 noon. At this col a route from Amboli village(on the deccan plateau side) comes  and meet this route. Hence the route we came from is also called Amboli ghat by the villagers. At this col there was a small temple. Here we had our breakfast/lunch(?). Now our vatadya had left. From the col we take a route towards the right, steps are cut in the rocks here, which lead us to the top. Here we had lost our way, we ended doing rockclimb. But we decided to comeback and backtrace the route, finally we found it. From here we took a path going in the left traversing the ridge. After one and half hour we reached Dhakoba fort base. In the way we found two trekkers who seemed to be Ravi friends helped us in the path. We also decided to take their vatadya when he returns. In the meanwhile we went up to the top of the fort.

From the top we could see the whole valley, Naneghat and Jeevdhan forts on the right and in the left the range of Siddhagad, Gorakhgad. From here we got down searching for Dhakoba temple, where we would get water and it would be here where the vatadya would meet us. Finally after some 30 min search we found the temple. The water here had lots of particulate matter and was looking dull gray in colour. But we had no other option but to drink this water. Here we had our lunch. Theplas, Thalipeeth with chilly tasted very delicious after a long climb. By 1500 we started walking again as we had to reach Durg fort before sunset. Got to know the way towards the fort we started walking. After some time we could directly see the fort. So we kept walking keeping Durg in the front. At one point where there was a bifurcation we had took towards left and ended up with a valley in between the fort and us. Soon we backtraced the route and traversed along the ridge joining Dhakoba and Durg. After about 2 hours we reached the base of the fort and we reached the Temple at the base of the fort by 1730.

There is a small temple at the base of the fort. Going further ahead we come out in open plateau where there is a small hut and a well. Ravi had brought a tent, which we pitched, in the jungle near the temple. Meanwhile Sameer and I went with vatadya to see the route through which we have to climb down while others gathered some firewood and water to make food. The route, which would lead us down, was simply thrilling. It was all nothing but a cliff as seen from the top with narrow traverses and few rock patches. I started feeling next days thrill then. It would be a great climb down, adrenaline rushing, “Bus laga ki kal to pHatne wali hain”!!!

Rohan and his friends had brought with them all stuffs to make food. They had some bread and jam. Then they had milkpowder, tea powder, rava, oil, phodni stuff, onion, potatoes. By now the sun had set, and the weather was getting darker. Ravi with his expert cooking skill took the lead. He made tea. Firewood was good enough to keep us warm. After tea we made upma! It’s great having such good food after a long climb. After food we had some cack and then went down to the open space to look at the clear sky. It was full of stars! But were very much tired and we needed rest and energy of next day. Ravi, Sameer and me slept in tent. While Rohan, Vijay and Raj preferred to sleep in the temple.

Next day, we got up at dawn. Owl was hooting, stars still shining. We had to go up the Durg top to see the sunrise. Path through the top was through bushes on the left of the temple and then some steps cut in rocks to the top. We were at the top in 30 mins. The top doesn’t have any fortification, but some boulders unevenly spread. From the top we could see the entire range. Naneghat and Jeevdhan, Dhakoba on our north while Siddhagad on south. Slowly the red dawnlight become to fade and the sun seemed to come from the mountain range in the distant east. Cold chilling wind was still blowing and heat of the sun could also be felt. After spending some time on the top, we came down to the temple. We then went to the well to fetch some water and clean ourselves. Here we could see lots of birds. Common robin, Shrike, Crested bulbuls, sunbirds. We came back to temple, had breakfast of bread jam and tea. Now it was time to leave. It was 0950 then.

We had decided to come to the konkan side by Kuthedar vat. This route is along the ridge joining Dhakoba and Durg. This would be my most thrilling descent. From the top where the route begins we could see nothing but some 2500 ft cliff. Nobody could have imagined having a route in the cliff, it was pretty exposed, only less than a foot space of route, with mountain on one side and valley on other. At more than 4-5 places we had to descent vertically along the rocks doing some rock climbing although there were small steps cut in the rocks. Most of these patches were more than 10-20 feet. We helped each other while our way down, all the way we were very very cautious. The final rockpatch about 20 feet was very tough, although there were strong holds and few wooden pegs provided. Finally we all made it. There was still further down to go, but all the difficult patch had been done. We required some 2 hours to do this patch. It was a period of high adrenaline flow, eyes were wide open, all sweating and feet shivering a few times. But we made it!!

After that the route was through bushes and scree patch. We reached a village, Daryachivadi by 1300. And a further 20 mins walk led us to Rampur. We got jeep from here to village Dhasai. In Dhasai we had our lunch of bananas and grapes, and then took another jeep to Murbad, and then bus to Kalyan. Had a sound nap in the bus and woke up only when Kalyan came. Time for all of us to depart. Having taken Icecream at Kalyan, Rohan, Vijay and Raj left. Sameer, Ravi went to Mulund and finally I came to Dombivli.

In the end, was most exciting, wonderful, thrilling trek I ever had. This time all people were new to me. I hardly knew anybody, except for the small contact we had in the cyberworld. But we never felt that we were strangers, I was a great time doing trek with all these people, as crazy for mountains as me! The entire route was simply great. And  the climb down the cliff(!) was like icing on the trek-cake. Would remember these days forever!


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