It was the month of July, and it was perfect for a monsoon trek. Nobody responded to the messages I sent across on whatsapp, but Vinod Mahadik. My old climbing partner, and with whom I have several memories – first climb, Lingana, first Himalayan climb – Thelu, and the Basic course in Mountaineering.
He said, he would be coming along with his wife and daughter. I knew from my research that the fort wasn’t a tough one, and one could easily climb it. I didn’t know of any tricky patches and what we would do, if we encountered any of them. But, anyway – we took a chance, as he said that he has the carrier, in which he would have his daughter sit, and he and his wife would take turns carrying her.
We reached the base, got our rain gear out, as it started raining. I made Yuvaan cover himself up in a Poncho, and I used my jacket. Vinod and Gayathri covered themselves up, and put their daughter in the carrier. We set out on the trail, which we initially had to find. But, it wasn’t hard, and after we asked a couple of people around, we found the headstart.
Streams were running down from everywhere, and we could see Korigad in the clouds, and I wondered how the steps were carved out to go to the fort. It wasn’t long before all our boots / shoes had gotten wet, and we were stamping our way through muddy waters, with rain coming down in full force. Fortunately, we had everything packed in plastic bags, inside our sacks, so nothing got wet.
Yuvaan had a great time marching up the trailhead, and we reached a point where there was a temple, after which steps which were cut in rock, started. And, it was so nice to see almost the entire stream coming down the stream! We just had to be a little cautious, as there is always a high chance of slipping on such rocks.
The entire valley below was engulfed in clouds, and it was a mesmerizing view everywhere. After about 15 minutes of hiking up the steps, we reached the main gate of the fort. As it was raining cats and dogs, we just had to change into something dry. So, in the cloud-engulfed fort, we made our way to the temple on the fort. Besides the temple, there was a huge pond, which I assumed would be quite deep.
After getting dried up, and in comfortable clothes, we had our lunch, and drank plenty of water. Unfortunately, we didn’t have an extra pair of socks. So, had to put on the wet socks – both for myself and Yuvaan. And, I figured, even if we had dry socks, they would get wet as soon as we wore wet shoes. So, in a way – it was good. I was just concerned that Yuvaan doesn’t catch cold.
We decided to go around the fort, trying to see if there are any historical remnants of the times when this fort was used for multiple purposes. We saw another bigger temple, in which – herds of cows and buffaloes had taken refuge from the rain.
At the end of the wall, there was a huge cannon, which probably has been there since ages! It was christened “Laxmi Tof”, and Tof in Marathi – means cannon. It was a big one, and was supposedly the biggest one among the ones on the fort.
After having seen almost the entire fort, we decided to call it a day, and hike back down. The rain has partially stopped, and we thought of taking it as an opportunity. We hiked down the fort, amidst the chirping birds and music from flowing streams. And, to our luck – as soon as we got into the car, it started raining heavily again!