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.

Hcgad_tkpass_blog
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,
Hcgad_trek_blog
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!!

Hcgad_spidy__blog

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

Serene

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
Hcgad_temple__blog

Interiors of the inside temple complex

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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.

Hcgad_grassland_blog

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
Hcgad_konkankada_blog

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)
Hcgad_purplef_group_blog

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)
Hcgad_pinda__blog


Thalictrum dalzellii (Shwetambaram)
Hcgad_Shwetambaram_blog

Commelina
Commelina

Pan-Terda on rock patch
Hcgad_pinkflower_blog

Habenaria rariflora
Hcgad_whiteflower_blog

Cyanotis tuberosa (Abhali)
Cyanotis tuberosa (Abhali)

Purple smithia

Hcgad_purple_smithia__blog

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!


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

Equipment:
Canon40D with 18-55mm IS lens

Harishchangra gad trek - 2007 Picasa link

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

12 comments:

John Immanual said...

Fantastic shots Sam, your shots are blocking me from reading across the writeup. :-) very nice ..

I find some of the shots to be underexposed, but that adds beauty to some of the photos since it reflects the mood that the scene was dark and clowdy. Keep up the great work !!!

Muthu said...

Gods creativity mesmerize my soul

saju said...

Wow Beautiful pictures DUDE...
Keep Posting

Gururaj said...

The Photos were awesome... i know what type of pain u could be taken to take this pic... great dude

Gururaj said...

The photos were awesome...
i know how much pain u have taken to take these pic...
great dude!

Anonymous said...

The photos were awesome...
i know how much pain u have taken to take these pic...
great dude!

crjayaprakash said...

Greeeeens are excellent.
Staying in the caves.. exciting.
Worth the climb. Will stay in your mind for ever.
www.crjayaprakash.com

crjayaprakash said...

Greeeeens are excellent.
Staying in the caves.. exciting.
Worth the climb. Will stay in your mind for ever.
www.crjayaprakash.com

Balaji said...

Awesme..Superb.....

Koshy Koshy said...

Thank you for another brilliant trip report. You find the quaintest places and present them to the world through your breath-takingly beautiful images! I love the flower shots!

വായനക്കാരി said...

Each and every photo is simply breath taking...!! samson, superb ...and thank you for sharing it

Trails of a Traveler said...

Awesome place and superb photos Sam!

Ram