Mahuli is the highest fort in Thane district. Not to be confused with the highest peak in Maharashtra, which is Kalsubai (Btw, headed to Kalsubai tonight). Went there two weekends ago, didn't find the time to blog about it.
Took a friend along with me on this trek. His name was Bala, and he was an old college friend. Showed up from Pune, and we left at two PM from Thane. Caught a train to Asangaon. The base village, Mahuli is about an hour's walk away from Asangaon. We started walking, but ran into an ST in about ten minutes, so we got in.
The base village is large, and spread about. Near the temple at the foot of the hills, there are two households. One of them sells biscuits, water, cold drinks, sweets and cigarettes till ten in the night. That became our hangout for the rest of the evening.
The temple at the base is a great place to stay. There are two temples close together, but one of them has no illumination, so it is pretty dark and scary. This is for the adventurous types. The night had a great campfire, and a usual session of song and a little dance.
Bala and I had a chat after that, and a bunch of people strayed outside, walking around a bit, looking at the stars. Shooting star count: 4. Divided by zero again. Bala showed me how to recognise a few constellations. I knew the sickle/great bear, but that was about it. Bala showed me Taurus, Leo, Pisces, Gemini, Orion and Draco. Pisces is a bitch, looking nothing like a fish. The others have a very good resemblence, more than just random dots connected together, they look like they are a group. Draco is this huge thing stretching across a quarter of the sky.
We took out our carrymats, and went to sleep. We were warm, because we were smart enough to come prepared. The others however, were a little uncomfortable, so they went about the place creating havoc and running across people in the night. This broke my sleap, and I got a splitting headache which lasted till I came home. As an effect, I was very grumpy with everyone, and slept off every chance I got.
This is Chanderi from the base villiage. There was a well and a handpump nearby, which gave us water. The water from the well tasted better than the water from the handpump. A bullock cart came over, the bullocks were given water, and he drove away at an amazing speed.
I have close-ups of the bulls, but I am saving them up for another epic bovine close-up post. The trek itself was a little distracting and hazy, courtesy the headache. It was steep, and laborious, which I didn't notice too much. This is Bala half-way to the top, drinking all our water supplies.
We played many games to the top, including 20 questions, cofeepot, and a few games of our own invention. Actually, a single game but with variations. The game was, that we had to come up with a list of names, around a topic. For example, we had to come up with fantastic or mythological animals such as the unicorn, phoenix, manticore, mermaids, werewolves etc. We went down the were-(insert animal name here) road, but only briefly. I won that one. The other topic was sword names. My list went something like katana, gupti, broadswoard, longsword, cutlass, sabre etc... He came up with obscure ass shit like epee, rapier, flamberge, claymore, falchion... I forgot the rest. Then I remembered that he had an unfair advantage because he had actually learnt swordfighting. Lost that one.
The way was pretty steep, and there were some crazy spots. A few places, we found some shade, I promptly slept off. Took at least two hours of rest on the way up, and still the group was slow. Eventually, we made it to the cool place on top. Cool as in full of shade cool, not oh look that's awesome cool. Kalyan Darwaja was there, a few caves (where I slept off again). There was also a small Shivling, which marked Mahuli.
Eventually, we started back down. The walk was much longer than I remembered coming up. Came home terribly late. Nice place to go, loads of birds and butterflies, will go again and explore more. We didn't roam about the top too much.