|Yeole and me in the sumo|
However accounting peoples' other commitments, it was 11.30 before we loaded our sacks onto the sumo and picked up Dnyanesh en route. From here our tight fit journey began, since there were 9 of us crammed into a sumo suitable for just 7 size zero persons.. However the sumo was not your average rattle on the wheels type of vehicle. We had power windows, AC and central locking! Our first destination was Parvatgad, so we were heading for a village named Sonewadi via the small town of Akole. The drive beyond Rajgurunagar was simply awesome as we were travelling inside a thick blanket of clouds. Just before 4am we reached Akole and decided to rest for some time before continuing in the morning.
All of us got up by 7 and after having tea and packing up, we were on our way again by 8. We stopped near the Akole ST stand for breakfast. 8am is early for most rural towns and there were hardly any eateries open. We managed to find one and ordered. However, the wada-sample-pav turned out to be all oil and no sample, and the wada was just boiled potato. Me and Manali then feasted on half a dozen bananas and we were ready to start. We picked up a few knee supports since the elders amongst us (viz., myself, Parth & Pranav) have recently started to feel the need for it, and zoomed off to Sonewadi.
|Parvatgad from the Maruti Mandir|
After having our lunch consisting of parathas, pickle & curd we had rest for some time under the shade of a tree. It began to drizzle after a while and we decided to start walking towards Songad. Now the way to Songad is such that when you are facing Songad from Parvatgad, start walking towards the right edge of Parvatgad. From here a small way laden with rocks of varying size leads to the col between these 2 forts. After a short descent this way moves towards the left and gradually climbs down into the col. The entire way is littered with custard-apple trees. However all the fruit was still raw. Maybe the locals had already picked up the ripe ones!
|Bleu flowera beautifula||Songad from the Maruti Mandir|
Once in the col, keeping Songad on the right start walking into the tree covered route that takes you up Songad. We stopped here for a refill before moving on. It takes about 30 mins from the col to reach the first plateau. From this plateau there are carved steps that lead to the top of Songad. By the time we reached the plateau it was raining hard and I was thoroughly enjoying since Pune's having a rather dry spell and I had not gotten drenched this season. We negotiated the steps in under an hour and were on the top of Songad. The top has a lone temple of Khandoba and a rock carved water tank. As about 4 we decided to start back, as the plan was to reach Duber and stay on the top of that fort. During the descent on the stone steps, my knees started to play havoc and I had to resort to the knee support to help calm them. We got down soon, then got into the sumo and started towards Duber.
|Aqueduct beside the steps|
The top is expansive, but the only construction is a temple and an abandoned radar building. We quickly headed towards the temple and started making arrangements for dinner. Our water reserves were low, so Dnyanesh, Parth & Yeole set out to look for the tanks. These guys were looking for water for almost half an hour when Lalya decided to call one of his friends, who had been to Duber previously. With a little telephonic help the guys were able to find the tanks. These are situated close to the abandoned building on the slope that leads towards the base village.
Meanwhile the others had chopped up the onions and tomatoes and Lalya got busy preparing matki usal. Once the kitchen was fired up we were constantly bugged by a friendly cow who wanted to have a part of a dinner. All our efforts to shoo her away were in vain. Ultimately someone picked up a broom from the temple and hit her so she went away for a while, to come back when we started dinner. After this somebody had to always keep a watch and make sure she's away from our food :) After our stomachs were full, we stowed the remaining usal away for tomorrow's misal and went off to sleep. The temple was a tight fit as well, with everyone just fitting in. The temple also had a perpetually 'ON' tubelight so Dnyanesh and Parth had to again go out and remove the wires which were put back in the morning.
|Windmills near Duber|
|Local kids at Gondeshwar Temple|
We reached Pune at around 10pm and by this time many of the stomachs had gone bad due to the bad food in the evening. Dnyanesh had a high fever. Everyone decided it was best to go home and have a lot of rest, so that we carry over the enthusiasm for a better part of the coming week !
Photo credits and more photos from this trek
- Himangi Lawate - http://picasaweb.google.com/himangi.c/ParvatSongadDubera28th29thAug2010#
- Manali - http://picasaweb.google.com/manalidk
Gondeshwar Temple - http://shri-lakshmi.tripod.com/gondeshwar.htm