5th September 2010
When Kishore invited me to go to Matheran, I wasn’t very keen on going. I had been to Matheran via Neral and also climbed it from the ‘One tree hill’ side, towards Chowk near Panvel. The destination full of picnickers didn’t excite me at all.
He assured me that we would be taking a new route, which isn’t quite frequented by trekkers either. The seven-hour trek culminates to an adventurous finish. One has to climb 2 ladders towards the end to enter Matheran. This is also called the Shivaji ladder route, because it’s believed that the great Maratha leader and his men used this route to enter Matheran. Kishore wasn’t very sure of the condition of the ladder. If it wasn’t safe enough then, we had to descend from the same route, without achieving our goal. I wasn’t motivated even now.
However, I reluctantly joined the gang from Belapur, in the local train to Panvel at 6.30am. Ten of us had breakfast at Panvel and got into a six-seater rickshaw, which dropped us at Chowk.
We started our walk at around 8.20am and by the time the last person had climbed the ladder it was 3.30pm. And in these seven hours, we trekked a distance of more than 15kms and ascended 2500 feet in height, waded through numerous water streams and saw many a waterfalls. We took one guide from Irshalwadi, who took us through dense forest to reach Umbarnewadi, which is almost cut off from civilization. One of the villagers didn’t allow us to leave his place until he had treated us to one of best black lemon grass tea we had ever had.
From here, we took a younger guide; Sada. We also learnt about a different style of Dahi Handi (Gokulashtami) celebration. There was a big wooden pole fixed on the ground with the pot of curd, kept on top. Click the picture on right. One had to climb (individually) and try to break the pot. Though we didn’t see the action live, Sada explained the fun to us.
From Umbarnewadi, it’s a steep hike. We were tired and some of us even suffered from cramps. But the final ascend using the ladder is an amazing experience. It was worth all the pain and effort. Water was flowing all over us when we were climbing and to make things even more fun, it started raining. We had carried ropes thinking we might need them, but the ladder was safe enough.
Once on top, we were in corporate territory. Resorts, restaurants, stalls, couples, drunkards, horses and monkeys.
You must have heard the line – Enjoy the journey not the destination. This trek fits that category to the T.
Arun Badya, did a Salil, reminding us about Shabbir ka biryani all along the climb, but when we finally reached there, Shabbir was helpless. We were very late and his food was over. However we had good non-veg lunch at Alankar restaurant, after which, we walked towards Dasturi Naka, from where we took a cab to Neral. Got into the 7.01 fast local and reached Mumbai by 9pm.
Kishore didn’t invite many because he wasn’t sure how difficult the ladder climb would be. He just knew that the climb would take more seven hours and if we had to return unsuccessfully from the same route, many would be disappointed.
But now he is confident of taking anyone who wishes to walk and climb for more than seven hours. He has promised to go there soon or next monsoons pucca.
To know more about the unnecessary corporate definition click here