Showing posts from August, 2011

Monsoon Expedition: Manikgad

Like every conqueror, we’ve had our share of defeats. As we walked thwarted, beaten down and embarrassed; and looked back at Manikgad, and at the grimace it bore over its rocky terrain, we swore to return again. You may now have realized that we could not conquer, well, step at the top of Manikgad. And as disappointed as we were, I came home with not sadness, but sheer joy – all thanks to what Manikgad’s amazingly diverse flora and fauna revealed to us. The elusive Manikgad This fort, for its lack of publicity, receives least attention from tourists, and its paths are rarely used except by villagers. In fact, the residents of the closest town of Chowk have no idea that there exists a fort hardly ten minutes from their homes. Due to the lack of awareness, this fort is only enthusiastically approached by those who’re keen on trekking in lush green as well as least known terrains. Manikgad offers both, including a variety of habitats from moist deciduous forests to beautiful stre

Monsoon Expedition: Naneghat

On the eve of Independence Day, we set on a long road trip to a really unique destination in the northern Western Ghats called Naneghat. Naneghat literally means Coin-passage. It has an interesting history behind the name. It was used as a trading route centuries ago between Kalyan and Junnar. In those times, coins were collected as toll to cross via the pass, and hence the name. An aerial view of Naneghat gives a fantastic look at its geography. It is a fascinating landmark in the northern Western Ghats well known throughout the history. But that’s not it. Naneghat was a passage not only for our ancestors, but many, many other creatures small and large that could not tread the sheer drop from the plateau. As we went on to explore this historically significant landmark, we enthusiastically scoured the biodiversity of this region, which is rather pristine, and came to a point of exhaustion where all that mattered was reaching the end. Let’s take a look as we lost our way amidst the

Monsoon Expedition: Lohagad

I went on an expedition last Sunday to a well-known fort in the Sahyadris, the Lohagad, literally meaning Iron-fort. It is one of the few best preserved fortresses around this area, and attracts a lot of tourists to climb its fascinating ramparts. We had gone for this and another reason – to document as much biodiversity we can on the trek. We reached the base of the fort much after the expected time, had a cup of chai and proceeded to conquer this big bully. There is another fort called Visapur to the east of Lohagad. One the same mountain is a cave system called Baja Caves. All the three locations are sought after by trekkers, but Lohagad… is a different case. Friends of mine who have been to this fort several years ago remember the trek to be rather rough and the surroundings pristine. Since then it has changed drastically. The way up till the footsteps of the fort has been widened to contain a two way traffic. The surroundings are so badly damaged that only a few hardy plants