Trek to Peth / Kothaligad (15 March 2006)
It has been more than year that I have written any travelogues. Last was written on 12 March 2005!! Seems so amusing to me. Nevertheless things haven’t changed much. It’s the same me! Trekked Mahuli just two days back and was ready for a trek on Holi.Until 14 th night, we hadn’t decided where to trek. Group was also not yet formed. A meeting was called at Ketan’s house at 2200 hrs on14th. Number of options of trek were decided, but nothing could be finalized. Kohoj will take lot of travel, Dhak Bahiri would be too much hectic after a trek two days back. Lately at 2300 we decided to go to Peth.
Our team was not finalized till morning. People who were to come for trek dropped the last moment, while couple others joined. We finally were a team of 6. (aadha dozen! Somehow I remember a poem from 1st standard ‘ek aur ek akela hoga, ek akela hoga’ ) Swapnil (Swap), Samit (aka Mitmit or Phubbu), Ketan (aka joshi), Mayur (aka Dhamale), Aniket (aka I have the right to remain silent) and ofcourse me.
Onward logistics was fairly simple, 0630 train to Karjat, reaching Karjat at 0730 and taking 0830 bus to Ambivali. The journey to Ambivali by bus takes about an hour. Being Holi day, there was enthusiasm in the environment. We found children in villages with faces smirked with colours throwing coloured water on each other. We had to close windows of the bus, as these children dared to throw colours on LAL Dibba (bus) too. Ambivali village was though a silent village.
Having tea at Ambivali village we started towards Peth. It takes about hour of walk along the broad path slowing climbing towards the Peth village. The forest in the nearby region is dense and full of birds. We could spot atleast dozen of bird species; Some of them I could identify are Parakeets, Purple Sunbird, Crow Pheasant, Paradise Flycatcher, Hoopoe, spotted dove, shrike, Golden oriole, crested bulbuls, bee-eater.
Peth village is located right at the base of the fort. With lots of trekking happeing there, people of the village have made food and accommodation facilities for trekkers. We had taken food with us, but I couldn’t prevent myself by helping those people by buying some food from them. We took some really good Pithla.
It was 1230 by the time we started our climb to the cave atop. It takes about half an hour to reach the caves. The climb is really easy and one can see Bhimashankar, Padar, Tungi and Siddhagad while climbing. And nothing more refreshing than a nimbu pani which the villager was selling in the cave. The cave above is large with more than 3 rooms. Some broken sculptures and inscriptions could be found. Water is also available in plenty on the top with more than 15 large tanks holding rain water. Some of the tanks had really cool and clear water. We had our lunch in the cave and then went around the Peth fort.
A broad funnel type staircase cut in rocks takes you to the top the fort. Peth is also named as Kothaligad. (fort cut from rock, dagadanna kothaloon killa banavla ahe). An excellent piece of work, must have been made much before Shivaji period. View from top is great. Though Peth has not that great height or climb, it’s different from other fort or mountains I have climbed. It is one of the most beautiful forts in this region. Beauty of the fort is at acme during the rains and is known as a monsoon destination in the fraternity of trekkers. Considering the ease and satisfaction, it is a trek which anyone wanting to start trekking should do.
It took us less than hour to reach Ambivali. Along with 4 other trekkers, we hired a 6-seater which took us to Karjat. Hours journey took us back to Dombivli.
I had earlier expected Peth to be a Paploo trek and hence I had never done that. But though it was fairly simple and comforting, it is a wonderful place. We had a wonderful outing. Left away colours of Holi in the city, but not entirely left away from colours. We had play with Bright yellow colour of Golden Oriole, Red colour of Konkon soil, Green colour of Dense Bhimsankar forest, Black the colour of rock which was cut to make the fort. It just makes me feel people of city are colourblind; we had Holi with true colours.
Nothing Else Matters!