Monday, December 7, 2009

Harishchandragad trek - 2009

Harishchandragad trek - Majestic though grueling!

Please be patient while the images getting loaded.

This is my second trek to Harishchandragad and it was a post monsoon trek. On 27 September 09 I and two of my friends left Pune early morning towards the rugged mountains of North Maharashtra, situated in a remote region.Reached Khireshwar, a tiny hamlet situated near the foot of hills around 9:45 am. Harishchandragad is one of the mightiest hill forts, lies in the Ahmednagar region ,Maharashtra, India.One of the best trekking opportunities available in the Sahyadris, having breathtaking views and sites of historical and archaeological significance.The hilltop is an irregular tableland about 5km across.

Mesmerizing view from Tolar Khind pass

Panorama from Tolar Khind
Panoramic view of the tough patch of Tolar Khind pass, click here for full view

After the light refreshment we started from the base around 10:15am, since the trek combined with photography ,the pace was very slow, so we reached the Harishchandragad temple by 3:50pm.

Distant view of Pimpalgaon dam backwater, this was shot as we climbed the Tolar khind pass

We had tough time climbing this pass with rucksack full of provision and photography gear,
After ascending this difficult patch ,we reached the plateau at the altitude of 3850 feet (1175 m). we relaxed for some time and was taken aback by the splendid view of Khireshwar village down in the valley with the lake in the background

shot this spider just after the drizzle, felt the need for macro lens!!


The Tola Khind rock face climb is little tricky,particularly in the monsoon.
Harishchandragad plateau begins after crossing the Tolar Khind pass


This trek was just after the monsoon, so there was lots of greenery all around the plateau, filled with different kinds of flowers with enchanting colors and hues, its was really splendid to walk watching those flowers and other micro life forms.
Angled Pierror Caleta Caleta

Angled Pierror Caleta Caleta

First glimpse of the temple,
First glimpse

So after we reached the temple around 4pm, we immediately occupied the cave facing the temple. Then we left our rucksack, started moving north west towards the Konkan kada. The crux of our trek is Konkan Kada which is 2km to the north west of the top. This Cliff is the most interesting point in this fort , which has always fascinated many people for many years, It is a huge semi-circular rock wall with a width of about 400mtrs .

Harishchandragad Temple
This temple is a marvelous example of the fine art of carving sculptures out of stones that prevailed in ancient India. It is about 16 mtr high from its base. Around this temple there a few caves & ancient water tanks,few trekkers were staying inside the temple

Interiors of the inside temple complex


These are the caves where all trekkers used to stay and we stayed in one of these cavesHcgad_cave_blog

joined with the other trekkers who came from Pune and we started preparing soup and Dhal Khichadi for dinner, it tasted heavenly after a tiring day, after dinner spent time gazing at the clear sky and by 12:30 Shhhhhhhhh!! all were in their sleeping bags.

Most of the caves are situated at the foot of Taramati peak,few are near the temple, whereas some are near the citadel and some far away in the forests.
Next day morning we got up around 5:30 am and started moving towards the Konkan Kada.

view from cave
the sky was overcast, we had very poor visibility from Konkan Kada.


we waited from 6:30 am to 12 pm for the mist to clear up, but mist cleared only for few minutes but the view for few minutes was breathtaking, unfortunately before i could set up my camera the mist covered up .
The cliff faces west and looks down upon the Konkan. From here, one can have a breathtaking view of the surrounding region and the sun setting. This cliff is not just vertical; it is an overhang, almost like a cobra's hood. We won’t feel any fear if it’s covered by mist but once it’s cleared then it’s the most frightening sight.
View from Konkan kada

It has been climbed many times. Sometimes a circular rainbow (the Brocken spectre phenomenon) can be seen from this point. It can be seen only when there is a bit of mist in the valley, and the sun is right behind the person facing the valley.
One amazing phenomenon that can be observed at this place is the vertical cloud burst, in which the clouds nearing the cliff get sucked into the pit fall area below and are thrown vertically into the sky reaching more than 50 feet. It creates a magical wall that is rising straight from the edge of the cliff without entering the landmass area. The fog show and hovering clouds below the cliff complement the season if one visits.
But during my trek here in 2007 i got decent shots of the majestic konkan kada, check the image below,

From Harishchandragad Trek
Harishchandra gad was surrendered to British regime in May 1818. Col. Sykes has written about observing a ‘circular rainbow’ on the edge of the Konkan Kada, during mist in May. This rainbow was perfectly circular and vividly colored, with Shadow of Col. Sykes, sitting on a horse, in the center of it. Villagers who were with him saw this and the legend grew that the Britishers could ride on clouds!

Flowers of Neanotis montholoni (Tanoti)

this plateau is full of floral treats, i managed to take with my 18-55 lens, one of the beautiful flower in this plateau is Pinda Concanensis
Pinda Concanensis (Panda in Marathi)

Thalictrum dalzellii (Shwetambaram)


Pan-Terda on rock patch

Habenaria rariflora

Cyanotis tuberosa (Abhali)
Cyanotis tuberosa (Abhali)

Purple smithia


After having lunch, clicked few pics around temple and cave we started to descend 3:15 pm , We had to maintain fast pace to reach the base before dark , reached the base around 7:15 pm, took refreshing chai at one of the villagers house and left Kireshwar village around 7:30.
Reached pune by 11 pm.
Harishchandragad Plateau
Panoramic view of Harishchandragad plateau,click here for full view

The thrill and fun of trekking coupled with the splendor of the Sahyadris are something to be experienced!

Trek the Sahyadris by Harish Kapadia
Flowers of Sahyadri by Shrikant Ingalhalikar.

Canon40D with 18-55mm IS lens

Harishchangra gad trek - 2007 Picasa link

For any queries and suggestions please contact me at cj.samson [at]

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

kaas plateau

Kaas Plateau – a wonderland!!
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kaas plateau
Panoramic view,en route Kaas. click here for complete view

My desire is to visit the “Valley of flowers” in Himalayas where hundreds of wild flowers of all colors bloom, though I dint get a chance to visit Himalayas but lucky enough to visit the wonderland Kaas ,it was on 17th September 2009 Me and my friend vivek left pune by 7:15am by his car and drove towards the Pune – Bangalore highway, we hit the NH around 7:40 am and on the way to Satara had nice chai and Vada Pav at Sherival a small village on the highway.Reached Kass around 9:30am and was spellbound by the rich flora.

Road to kaas
Narrow road from Satara to Kass (25 km approx)
Satara is approximately 100km from Pune on Pune-Bangalore highway after crossing the town the uphill road takes to Kass plateau, this part of western ghat is famous for Flat table top mountains, with lateritic plateaus on top becomes home to millions of tiny flowers, the whole spectale is beyond words. Different types of wild flowers, herbs, orchids, shrubs, insectivorous plants etc., can be seen here.
Kaas - a paradise for flower watching, birding and camping around with a gentle road running across the plateau and flowers of varied colors in millions on either side, the view is simply superb!!
kass Plateau
Lush green open land filled with flowers of varied colors and size

Vigna vexillata
Vigna vexillata

Eriocaulon tuberiferum,width=
Eriocaulon tuberiferum

Kass has a very good bird life with good sightings of Crested Buntings, common Crested Larks and Oriental White-eyes. For the first time I spotted the European roller.
Amazing place for Macro photography, one can go crazy seeing plethora of subjects to shoot.
Utricularia Pupurascens
Utricularia Pupurascens

Plateau of flowers
Purple bed of Utricularia Pupurascens

Bzy bee

Bee Pollination

Impatiens Lawii (pink- white)
Impatiens Lawii

Pink carpet
Welcomed by the Pink carpet

Drossera Indica
Drossera Indica an insectivorous plant, interesting plant with sticky tentacles

Thunbergia fragrans - Chimine
Thunbergia fragrans - Chimine

Argyreia elliptica
Argyreia elliptica


There are few other places to be explored nearby like Kaas Lake, Bamnoli ,since we were running out of time and had to go to office that night so we left Kaas around 4:30pm and reached Pune by 7:30pm, the whole day was awesome, day before work was hectic hardly find time to sleep and today whole day went running for flowers, flowers and flowers :) but Kaas has this mesmerizing effect of making you forget all the tiredness, that's true! totally invigorated after my trip.
Murudannia Lanuginosa, अबोलिमा

Exacum lawii

Murudannia simplex,निलिमा

Impatiens Lawii flower


Peteshwar hill with small lateritic platue on top

Pleocaulus ritchiei (Topli Karvi) टोपली कारवी

Utricularia in white
Utricularia in white

Pogostemon Deccanensis
Pogostemon Deccanensis, जांभळी मंजिरी

Pogostemon Deccanensis

Grazing gently
Grazing cattle

View of Satara town
Fast expanding township of Satara - a threat to this fragile ecosystem

Sad sight is that most of the place has been littered with liquor bottles, plastic plates, covers and cups by the unruly tourist who visit this place. State forest department has to take some serious effort in conserving this place by increasing the forest guard to keep a watch or we will be losing this wonderland forever.

Flowers of Sahyadri by Shrikant Ingalhalikar.
Equipment:Canon40D with 18-55mm IS lens
For any queries and suggestions please contact me at cj.samson [at]