I wanted to see different forts. However accessibility was a big challenge. The public transport is not good enough to see many places on our own. Fortunately, I came in contact with trekking groups. I decided to take the first trek available at the time. This was arranged by Giridarshan to fort Rajgad.
Rajgad has been the capital fort for Shivaji Maharaj for maximum time. I was very happy that I will be able to see the fort.
To visit the fort, one has to take MSRTC buses from Swargate in Pune. Any bus going to Gunjwane, Vajeghar, Velhe would take us to the base of Rajgad.
3:00 PM Swargate bus stand
As per the email, I reached Swargate bus stand and located the group. I payed my fees and registered my name.
There was no sign of any bus. Repeated enquires revealed us that sometime the driver was not available but the bus was available and vice versa. This waiting was very tiresome.
6:00 PM Took a bus to Gunjawane
As per plan we were supposed to go to Vajeghar. However in the evening, we had to take a bus to Gunjwane.
At last, the bus reached Gunjawane. It was dark in the night. We were supposed to climb the fort in darkness.
8:30 PM Started climbing the fort
A couple of villagers were taken to show us the route to the road. Initially all the torches were on. However, after some time, the sky cleared and moonlight was spread. We switched the torches.
10:30 PM Reached Padmavati machi
Nearly two hours of climb took us to Padmavati machi. There was a rock patch. In the night, I did not realize the dufficulty.
Most of us were exhausted after we reached the place. We rested there for some time until some of us found the place to sleep. Unfortunately, on that day, 3-4 other groups were also on the top. Hence all the shelters were occupied. Finally, the archeology department room was available to us.
11:00 PM Diner
Once the place to stay was finalized, we took out food and had dinner.
11:30 PM Bedtime
Immediately after the dinner, we found a place for ourselves and slept inthe cramped room.
6:00 AM Wakeup
In the morning, wakeup call was given. In the dark, we went and fetched water to drink. We got ready for the next phase. There is no proper facility for sanitation.
We could not start until 9:00 PM. Tea had to be ready so that everyone was able to start the day.
9:00 AM Started for Suvela machi
The first thing that we did after we packed our bags was to see Padmavati machi. There is one temple. One water tank, and one partial store which used to house ammunition.
After seeing this, we saw Suvela machi. This machi has a Ganesh idol. It was worshipped by Shivaji Maharaj on an auspocious time before the construction for Rajgad began.
We spent some time on Suvela machi.
1:00 PM Climbed bastion and breakfast
Then we started to climb the bastion - bale killa. This is steep without much gradient. For the first time climbers like me, it poses a difficult challenge.
Somehow with the help of others, I could climb the bastion. 3-4 of us stayed back on the machi.
We had our breakfast of bread and jam. We would get lunch only when we reached the base of the fort. There we saw a few birds in the sky.
3:00 PM Started descending
We saw the palace and a couple of other buildings all in ruins. We saw the main entrance of the fort. This entrance faces Torna fort.
I was very much afraid of descending the bastion. Somehow, I managed the get down with the help and courage given to me by others. It was terrifying.
Once the rock patch was over, we came back to the place where we had kept the bags. Some of us started to descend.
4:30 PM Lunch
We reached the base fairly quickly. Behind the hotel, there was a stream flowing. Some of us cleaned ourselves. It was refreshing.
We had lunch. Most of us were very hungry.
6:00 PM Vehicles to main road
We waited for the bus to arrive from Pune. After waiting for a long time, we telephoned the Swargate station. We came to know that the bus did not leave at all.
One vehicle was arranged for Pune. Mostly the females were sent by the vehicle.
8:00 PM Reached Pune
We took other two vehicles to the main road. We took a city bus to Swargate.