Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Trek: Ajoba Mountain, Valmiki ashram-samadhi, luv-kush cave




Hi Good day ppl,

Last weekend had added to my FB status message-that I want to go for a monsoon trek & Law of Attraction worked ! Some people from my workplace invited us to join them for a Trek to Ajoba on 19th June 2011,Sunday. Me and my friend were delighted coz we had been discussing about treks since we met.

The Ajoba or Ajaparvat (Grandfather Mountain). The mountain is known to be one of the highest peaks in its range and toughest treks in Maharshtra. Ajoba and its surroundings are very picturesque. Ajoba is famous for the Valmiki rishi ashram where goddess sita was said to be staying after being separated from lord rama. A little ahead of the valmiki ashram is the lav-kush cave. They say Luv-kush's grandfather trained them here, hence the name Ajoba, which is grandfather in Marathi.


So on Sunday 19th June, we all collected at Thane(W) at 6:30 am. There were 34 of us. We started the journey at 7am. It is near Shahpur on Nashik highway. The base village is called Dehne.





The sun was in no mood to shine around that area. It was cloudy, humid & lush green all around us.




We had a nice, music filled bus ride. The kind of songs, group singing, mimicry was awesome. It took us 2hours to reach the village.



We got out of the bus taking all the water & eatables we had. Left all unnecessary things in the bus. We had a round of introductions & instructions.

The first part of the trek was one and half hour to reach the Valmiki ashram. The second was 2hours to reach the luv-kush cave. The same to return back.



So we started out walking on a track made for bullock-carts. After googling while writing this post I came to know that the peak on the left is Ratangad. I wanted to take a panaroma shot of this entire mountain range soaked in fog!



First look of Ajoba. Cant even see the full peak, its so foggy!


Ah now a little of the peak is visible.


On our visit halt, everyone was trying to make sure we had to reach the top of this peak, OH God ! ;)




Thankfully the path here was smooth. You could hear birds singing. Yes singing, not chirping. One bird was actually singing a tune as if someone was whistling to tease a girl. We couldnt believe it once we confirmed it was not a human doing it. There were monkeys, friut trees, insects of all kinds.


We reached the Valmiki ashram in 1hour! We did a roll call. Took a break for 15mins. A few people, some kids were very tired and didnt want to continue. But no one wanted to stay behind or go back to the bus, so everyone came along.

The aarti had started in the ashram. So me and my friend went in. In the ashram a lady everyone calls Maiee has been staying there for 20years. She was not present there so an old grandfather was doing the aarti.

Inside the ashram while the aarti was going on@12pm.

The small little house maintained by a lady called Maiee staying there since 20years.


I loved the deep, resonating sound of this bell in the calmness of the forest. Can still hear it resounding in my ears.




The ashram has the samadhi of Valmiki rishi. The dhoop's smoke is giving it the blurry look.


There is a Shiva temple outside. Its a tiny, dear little temple. Such places actually make you want to sit down & worship the creator in that form present there.




This is an old Kalbhairav temple. It is sort of below ground level and the 2faces are the old gods.


Some carvings outside the ashram.


This was something interesting. Couldnt understand what it depicted. Wish Maiee was there to explain it. I love knowing all about the places I visit.



Something like the footprints. These I dont think are of Luv-kush.


After a little snacks & filling up water from the water tank near the ashram we started our actual trek. For a few minutes we were lost, coz the only directions you will see are arrow marks on stones or trees. There is a stream which was not gushing now, which we had to cross.



First break & check out the view. We really are at a height!

The path is rock filled. Due to monsoon they were more slippery. Some places there were not footholds to climb up & you required someone to pull you up. We were trying not to imagine how tough it would be while descending ;)



After 2hours of tough trekking we 13 were the first batch to reach.

But wait, we didnt reach a plateau or a plain ground. It was a hardly room sized patch between 2cliffs, with the rocky cliff on left & right, the path we came up behind us & the deep valley before us. The wind here was strong, we were cool & dry in no time. The joke was- acha hua humne pehle aa ke AC ON kar diya ;) The weather was getting ready to pour. The valley was getting covered with fog & clouds.






The Sitecha palna-the sita's cradle. It was a cave on the right side cliff wall. They say Luv-Kush were born here & their footprints in stone are engraved and visible even today. The cave is some 12feet above where we were & a risky climb. There is a water tank above & a little trail around the cliff, but very dangerous.

A few years back a girl has fallen from the trail around the cliff & lost her life. So please dont attempt such stunts unless you are sure of yourselves & with a proper trained group.



After the entire group was up we had a delicious,filling lunch. Just as we were wraping up, it started drizzling hard.

It was like a small storm. Powerful wind, raindrops pelting us horizontally from the depth of the valley like tiny,pointed needles. No time to wear our windcheaters.

Around 3pm we started our descend. Just trying to focus on the next step ahead, the person behind & ahead of you, careful of loose stones, find a nice foothold & keep a firm step-one at a time.

I had an adventure, with me slipping on a big rock & breaking my floaters. The group head-Kishor quickly gave up his floaters & socks to me. God bless him! There was nice waterfall on the way, where we refreshed ourselves,filled our bottles.



This was an iconic tree. The sturdyness and height was ... cant put in words. The trunk had so become that there were 3small hollow spaces which could take an entire person inside.


After reaching the ashram, we went to a small house kind of place. The best part was it had an attic upstairs, where we all dumped ourselves. There were again 2more groups to come. Everyone had a little snack & just lazed around.



It was nice to let down your feet from the windows & watch the rain falling from the roof tiles which you can touch. I could spend an entire day & night here!

After a round of refreshing-much-needed tea which another lady in the ashram allowed our group to make we set out for the last leg of the journey.


We were on top somewhere on that mountain, its too foggy to spot where. :)

It was getting darker & the path to the bus seemed never ending ! But it was nice walking on plain ground, chatting with my friend. After changing into dry clothes in the bus we headed for home. Almost everyone reached home around 11:30pm.

I didnt know about it being one of the highest & the toughest trek before I started. I can assure it was not an easy trek for people who are not regular trekkers.

Glad I did it !

Thanks to the unnecessary hikers team for organizing such an awesome trek & their full attention to each one of us.

We had kids in our group from ten years, but with the group members and parents encouragement they did a great job. Everyone did the trek in good spirits. Everyone was worn out happily ! :)

Try this trek with an experienced and trained group. Wear proper clothing & good trekking shoes, unlike me. Carry 2-3liters of water, you will need it and food. Coz after the village you will get no food, water you will get at the tank near the ashram & at the top besides the cave if you can climb it. If you cant stand mosquitoes, carry odomos cream and first aid.


Let us know your comments on this post.

A few of earlier adventure trips:
Travel: Raigad Fort Trek 2009
Trek:Karnala Fort
Trek-River rafting at Kolad
Travel- Kanheri caves !
Trek: Tungareshwar-2010
Sailing at Gateway of India!
Tour De Web18-2010

Bye. Tc. Another Week, here I come ! :)

15 comments:

  1. Very nice post - very good writing and wonderful pictures. I just loved the ones of the mountains and greenery. The rest were also good. I can't imagine taking a trek ever. So I will experience these through your blogs. Thanks :)
    Rather you than me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great blog post Nilima! You summed up the entire trek really well. It was a fabulous trek with a great group of people. So glad I was able to join you guys. This is the big highlight of my Bombay holiday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) Kristine Thank you. I am glad you liked it.

      Delete
  3. that was a wonderful account with lovely pics!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Neelima, So you are good writer also. See you on next trek.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Kishor ! Yes sure. But with better shoes ;)

      Delete
  5. I enjoy your blog story. And having a great, amazing and perfect place for trekking . Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi,We decide to trek on this point at the Holi 27/03/2013, It was nice experience.
    The history which reviled the era is so closer to us but we are not aware of it.
    Its was a nice post and which gave full idea and the excitement for those who dont know about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you & my pleasure to share info I get to know.

      Delete
  7. With your permission I am using some pictures from your blog for my blog.
    The pictures will be acknowledged
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure. If they are acknowledged I wouldnt mind.

      Delete

Hi, Let me know your Take on this.
P.S. Dont be Evil, lets play fair :)