LOVE ON THE EDGE
I have been watching the movie “Love on the edge”. The story goes like this; while filming for her move the actress, Mallory begins an affair with her co-star, only to discover that he is married and has children. Heartbroken she escapes to the countryside for the weekend. This is the beginning of her adventure. While driving rough on the narrow roads, she makes crashes the car, and is left stranded in the pastures and woods. Brannan is a stubborn cattle rancher, cow boy, who happens to take care of his cows,comes to her rescue. At first, the two have nothing in common and their personalities conflict. However, they are forced to learn to work together, facing dangerous hardships including torrential rains, a dangerous river and wild animals. Mallory learns the meaning of courage and commitment as she fights nature’s elements and Brannan makes a surprising discovery which finally seals their fate. Now you ought to be thinking why this is being narrated here. I find something common in the story and lives of common people. Life is full of adventures, nobody knows what is going to happen next. However one has to make efforts to reach the edge. Surprises always awaits on the edge.
Many times life becomes boring, so routine and aimless,. This is the time one has to run towards the edge. Some as in the movie find love, while people trekking like me find life on the edge. So talking of edge, one thing which always stikes me is Konkan Kada of Harishchandragad.
Harishchandragad is like a piligrimage to many trekkers in and around Mumbai/Pune. Equidistant from Mumbai and Pune, this location could be reached from Kalyan. Its about 120 kms or 2 hours of bus ride on the Ahmednagar-Kalyan road. The road traverses through the beautiful Malshej ghat. Malshej ghat in monsoon is known for its waterfalls pouring waters on roof of vehichles passing on this road. Harishchandragad guards left edge of Malshej ghat.
This was my third trek to Harishchandragad, but first time in monsoon. But each time I have gone there I have found new things. This time we lost the way, and had to do much efforts to find the way. Monsoon make this trek a little difficult, specially over the rock patch which one has to traverse. There were few people from other group, who climbed this rock patch and were now afraid of their return. They were so frightened that they asked others whether there was any other way down, avoiding this patch. Luckily they found one. but this reminds me of a chapter from Standard Tenth Hindi textbook. The chapter was “बाढ का नियन्त्रन”. There is one statement which a character says, “भारतीय ऐसी जगह क्यो चढ जाते है, जहा से ऊतर नही पाते? वो अमेरीका वाले चान्द से भी उतर आते है.” These sentences just struck me.
After reaching the top, we left our bags in the cave and moved towards the edge. This time Konkan Kada was completely covered with clouds and edge couldn’t be distinguished in the fog. Clouds kept moving up the curves of Konkan Kada, and hopes of few who had come to see the Konkan Kada were broken. People could get on few glimpses of the bottom of Konkan Kada. For those who are still not fascinated about the Konkan Kada, should know that it is the highest wall in the sahyadris, about 1500-2000 feet high. Due to wind erosion, the cliff is concave shaped. The edge of Konkan kada is about 1 km in length. We decided to leave and come back to this place next day.Bathing in a waterfall, fetching drinking water, cooking food, washing utensils and sleeping in the cave were all the activities we did apart from the trek the first day.
A sound sleep and yesterday’s pain was all gone. Breakfast of maggi and we set towards the edge one more time. This time the situation was still the same. We stayed here waiting for weather to clear up a bit. Some of us peeping done the edge could see rainbow down the Kada. Weather cleared only a bit before we left the place. Konkan Kada surely is one of the best places in Sahyadris, and we would definitely come to this place some time later.
While returning, we saw the temple and the great shivling on the top. The rock patch wasnt a problem for us, we tackled it carefully and quite comfortably. It hadn’t rained much during our whole trek, but monsoon hit us when we reached the base village. Base village was entirely covered under clouds, while we made our way walking the last 4-5 kms patch to the nearest highway.
For us, who have fell in love with these edges, each trek is so exciting. However our meetings with these edges dont happen often and we have to be satisfied with photo and memories and for all this NOTHING ELSE MATTERS!!
Harishchandragad 24-25 June 2006: Team of 14, including Kaushal, Swapnil Joglekar, Ashutosh Damble, Nandu, Ashish Thakur, Jayesh, Saurabh Jadiye, Vijyendra Murudkar, Ghansham, Nikhil Deshpande, Santosh, Abhijeet