The Lohagad Trek

Updated: Jul 29, 2020

It’s good to be back.

What should I write about? How about the time I rode a ship and drove it right into a hurricane? Or how about when I started my days as a guard of Castle Black? Or how about when we followed gallant Sir Ritvik Das of Burma and went to kill …well, that’s not worth your time.

I just got the thing for you.

The day. October 13, Sunday.

The sun shone bright upon his face as he stepped out of the Castle Black with his inmates. He looked at the hilly road ahead . And chuckled over its fancy name , “NH 65. what a class!”

I was among the group. I was one of the fellow inmates , heckling along with others as we led towards a hill by destiny and boredom. Let me not bother you with boredom with which we were being bothered in those days. In short, it was what I never desired .

So, me and my other five inmates decided to go on a trek.

Luckily, Lonavala is place for young people. It’s not a happening place. But the awkwardly small hilly terrain of Maharashtra is pleasing to the eyes. And it’s awesome when you witness it by your own feet. So, we decided to head up to Fort Lohagad.

It’s a small hilly fort situated 6 Kilometers from the Malavali Village. Well, according to my experience, it’s a place you cannot risk missing. A definite place to test your progress on that treadmill.

So, the trek began. With no shilling in anyone’s pocket, the band of unsung warriors worriers had begun their journey. They had set out on the sunny day, worst possible day for climbing a freaking hill.

Well, it has already started as you see the group treading a 6-kilometer-long path from the Castle Black to Karla. Well, then from Karla, if you are still following us, you will start finding a bit of traffic. It’s a place packed with civilians and cheap restaurants. Mind that. The group wasn’t that smart. They were distracted by the oily and spice jammed food, but then, they had no shilling in their pockets.

Desperation 1, Hunger 0.

So, they followed the narrow road to the Malavali Village. 7 Km on the narrow road, and then…they continued walking. 4 km more upon the hilly road. Yeah, we did a lot of walking. Well, to reach the top of the hill, use a little brain and a little cash, hire a cab, or get a vehicle. Don’t follow this group. While this group had fun most of the time. But we all had to use our bull sized feet to climb and climb and climb… and eventually get sore.

As the feet step higher, the green shade of trees will start fading. And the heat of the sun will start pushing you back. Don’t stop yet.

It was an hour later when we reached the foot of the Fort. Yeah, this is where things start happening for regular people. Not for us. We were the inmates of Castle Black. And we had a different journey ahead.

For regular people, it is - driving to the hill, then climbing slowly to the fort. Taking a thousand picture, don’t giving a fuck about history, and peacefully returning to their home by the next day.

For us, nothing similar. It was walking 17 kms under yellow hot sun to the foot of the fort. Then running up the fort stairs. Taking a hundred pics, also not giving a fuck about history, and then rushing back to our beloved cells before 6 pm. And it was already 2pm.

So, we tightened our rucksacks and started hurrying up the stairs. We were running. Ever seen a mad horse…well you should have seen us. Somewhat same. We were running as if the destiny was singing for us. It obviously was not. But still we ran. For us, the clock kept ticking.

The sky was deep blue, temperature was perfect, the wind smoothly licking our faces was pretty relaxing. Did I tell you that a band of monkeys attacked a fellow inmate? Yeah! It was a hell of a fight. Epic scene. You should have witnessed it, it was fun. But the monkey got away with the only packet of chips we had. So, it is embarrassing.

If you ever visit the fort, let me tell you kind person, don’t engage with monkeys. Trust me, the embarrassment is real.

We kept running on the stony stairs, through the shades of the walls. Until we had reached the first gate, ‘Hathi Darwaja’. We had come to a height where the stairs were broken and hijacked by kai. Wet stony floor had our confidence by neck. It was really dangerous as the walls of the fort were broken too. But the view from there was great.

But not for all of us. One of the inmates lost his will as he looked down from the fort. He sat down and started crying. Most people do. I don’t know the reason. Unfortunately, we could not stop. We had to leave him behind. This is the hardest part of the trek.

The way to the top of the fort is most dangerous as the stairs are broken and the kai on the stony walls and floor gets thicker. We climbed up steadily. A few times, we almost slipped and just were on the brink of falling down from thousands of feet. But, the arms accompanying us were strong and loyal.

As we reached the last gate, ‘Shakti Dwar’, we were dumbstruck by the view. It was stunning.

Just see for yourselves. There is a temple, and then random old ancient things, random history lessons engraved…no one gives a fuck. Yeah there was this old creepy bunker. All destroyed with grey water. I could have guessed that.

And at the top of everything. At the topmost point of the hill was the most enticing view. We all could see the lakes, the streams, other fellow mountains, and…

But then we turned back to our watches …it was ticking 3 pm. We were doomed. We had only 3 hours to head back.

Surprisingly, the descent was much easier and faster than the ascent. Unlike the boring and slow paced suspense building nowadays a lot of movies do, nothing like that happened. There is no suspense, but It was astonishing to cover all those kilos of meters in a day. How we did it? This is not a concern for regular people who are not inmates of Castle Black. Some of us did shit in the pants while trying to rush. But we made it back in time.

Well, I thought I could have made it a little bit more interesting. But then nothing much happened. I hope the Gallant Sir Ritvik of Burma gains some courage by end of this year. So that, we make some more noise on our next trek.

Safety & Peace!

-Nikhil Ranjan

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