Went about two weeks ago, no time to blog about it till now. Left around eleven in the night from Dadar station. The bumpy Asiad ride took us to Satara bus stop, where we ended up at something like five thirty in the morning. It was late in the night, so no communal singing in the bus. Had tea at the Satara bus stop. Then waited for the bus to Banmoli, which came at around seven. This was a two and a half hour journey through the neighbouring hills. Satara rushed past us, and we had a peek at some of the important landmarks at Satara. Schoolchildren kept climbing on and climbing off throughout the ride. Finally, we reached Banmoli. This place is really strange for one reason - there are friggin bats growing from the trees. Every single tree you saw, was totally infested with bats. One really wondered if the bats found enough suntanance... this was overkill, like a damaged ecosystem with cancer.
The sarpanch of the village served us tea, which was a little strange. The banner in the tea shop carried his photo. The village had a lot of dismembered boats lying about.
Then we sat in a boat, for another two and a half hour journey to Met Indavli, which is the base village for Vasota. Introductions on the boat, bumped into a few photography enthusiasts.
Started the climb after lunch at around one. The forest was really dense, and we were going to new Vasota. There were a lot of birds around, and when everyone was filling water at a pool, I explored to get some butterflies, and I found:
Really refreshing trek through the forest, didn't feel steep or difficult at all. Some fortifications were still around. Bumped into two or three other groups, exchanged stories, chatted a bit, and then eventually ended up at Babukada.
The view was breathtaking, burst upon us more suddenly than Kokankada at Harishchandragad. At Harishchandragad, at least you can see the cliff from a hundred meters away, and you are expecting the rush by the time you enter upon it. At Vasota, you come into Babukada from the dense forest like pat... its like a slap to the face. Babukada happens to be the second largest cliff in Maharashtra after Kokankada at Harishchandragad. Above Babukada, the old Vasota is located, access to which is not allowed nowadays. A group studying birds were allowed in, but permission is not given to everyone as it is a wildlife reserve, and a little known one at that.
Group photo time, although some people were missing.
Across the fort, we walked, lazing around in what little shade we could find. Found some candy, and gave some ants a nice saturday night party before coming back down.
The trek back down was also refreshing, but it was getting dark. The night sounds in the forest are great to hear, and also pretty confusing. These forests are supposed to have every kind of animal except elephants and lions - yes, including two striped tigers. We saw wild cocks, and people from the group had seen bear marks before.
The night allowed us to experiment a bit with our cameras. Good campfire and dinner.
After dinner, a bunch of us went out and lazed around by the river in a boat. Exchanged travelling stories, chatted, identified constellations, gazed at the stars, spotted a few shooting stars, forgot to wish, more specifically, had nothing to wish for.
Then the sun rose. We waited for the boat for too long a time. Talked more under the shade of a large tree, over badly cooked maggi. Back to Banmoli, slept in the bus ride to Satara, picked up kandi pedas at Satara, which are a speciality. Then came back to Mumbai, over a long long journey. Slept half the way or somewhat. Got down at Kurla, met a friend who lived nearby, then headed back home. The bus went on to Dadar, a fellow traveller got down, caught a train, and met me in the same compartment when I got on at Kurla station.
Talked about cameras, photography, lenses, trekking and the like. Season opening up in the Himalayas the next two months. Saving up for next year.
Ah well. I'll throw in a buffalo and call it a day.