Saturday, March 7, 2009

My tryst with Siva's fort

All big decisions are made at once .Visiting Lohgarh fort was one such resolution, ‘locked in’ at 3:00 am among we four Infy employees (1.Saurabh, 2.Chatenya, 3.Anshul, 4.Sharey).The only clue we had on our way to an unseen destination was to get the local train form Khadki railway station by 4:30 am.‘Where there is will, there is way’. And so we landed at Khadki Railway station by 4:05 am and inquired about the place and train. Person at ticket window suggested for getting down at a small station called ‘Malvali’. We had no reason to disobey him. It was 5:45 am; we reached ‘Malvali’ and saw a board with ‘Lohegarh at 09 Kms’. We were stunned, how to cover this 09 Kms, and soon realized that there is only our foot we can use to fathom. It was a team spirit, weather and timing supporting us and so we extended our mission. Our mission to interact with Shivaji’s courage and his fellow men’s commitment to save their land from outsiders - Mughals.We trekked for at least 3hrs to reach the fort i.e. Lohegarh fort. On the way there were umpteen hotels offering their excellent hospitability with water, pohas, cold drinks, etc. and innocent smiles with a wish to see you again. The path was arduous but full of lush greeneries cocktailed in mango trees, cactus plants, Margosa and other innumerable variety of fauna. As we kept on going up, we could see back what is covered and what yet to. We could see express way and railway track like a set of toys placed on nature’s bosom. It was all so aesthetic and pure that we could never miss a chance to capture them in our camera. It was all adding a push to move a head but provoking a sense of hypsiphobia too. At every moment of our journey to most daring and tiring event of our life our team of four appeared to be divided in three mental stages. One of us appeared to be totally exhausted and pulling back and the next two in a confused state of mind, lacking in willpower but filled with enthusiasm to fetch the peak of mountain under our feet. And the last one enthralling and motivating us by singing the songs like “Who the is Alice” or by reciting Hindi poetries like ‘Woh pradip jo dikh raha hai jhilmil door nahi, thak kar kar baith gaye kya bhai, manzil door nahi’. There was round robin flow of these emotions among the team. Totally engulfed with all kinds of feelings, after a strenuous journey of over 3:30 hrs we reached the fort. It was an absolutely alien feeling we emoted when found our selves at the entrance of Lohgarh fort. Joy and excitement was all around us. Despite our journey was itself an homage to the legend of Indian history but we paid a tribute to Shivaji by discussing him for few minutes which filled in patriotic feelings and euphoric notions. Till date actual reminiscent of the history jelled in rusted Iron Gate exists. We can see windows and small holes on the wall which were so strategically built that they capture maximum possible view of the land in front. There are ‘Pravesh Dwar’, ‘Hanuman Dwar’, and ‘Maha Dwar’ made for different purposes. The most outstanding part of the fort is that the entire fort is built on an inclined plane of Lohegarh Mountain, where top of the fort is at the peak of the mountain. Another most scarce thing is a ‘Dargah’- A Muslim shrine at the heart of shivaji’s heart land. India is a land of cultural and religious harmony at every inch. Let us leave this subject here only but irrefutably this has added one more reason to my heart and soul to admire the legend.It was relentlessly charismatic view when we perched a top. We could see Lonavala, Khandala, ambey valley and much more unexplainable on one canvas .There was scintillating lake beneath and white clouds over us. There was a dargah, a hanuman temple and we in between. Awesome, unimaginable and auspicious. There was an unpredictable synergy of nature’s beauty and man’s determination. We were thirsty and empty stomach but delighted of what we have achieved. After staying for about 1 hr, and roaming around, we started our journey back. Now sun was hot and we were tired enough but because we were contented so we could finish our journey in ¾ th of uphill time. Not ready to let pass any thing, we cuddled with Bhaja caves. To reach this place we had to travel 2 Kms extra amidst the high temperature and we did. Caves appeared to be a depiction of some Buddhist work and it was superb. All carved with different kinds of sculptures, probably displaying the life of Buddhist monks. However we could not find any guide there.We were tired to our maximum extent but equally elated. We were feeling proud of ourselves and satisfactory of our willpower. We reached the same Malvali railway station back by 1:00pm. And our train back to Pune was at 2:10 pm so we had nice sleep for an hour and then at 2:10 pm we boarded into the slightly crowded train and finally returned back to bless Pune by 3:30 pm

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