Monday, March 22, 2010

Trek To Alang Madan

I always wanted to undertake a trek to Alang-Madan as it is considered the toughest hill forts in entire Maharashtra. So when 'Trekmates' published the plan for a trek I immediately jumped in. Alang and Madan are two hill forts in the Nashik district. Alang is at a height of 4500 feet and Madan is at 4900 feet above sea level. Not much is known about the history of these forts.

We started on 8th January night by catching the last Kasara local. We reached Kasara station at 2-2:30 am groggy eyed and all but all excited for the trek. From Kasara we travelled in two separate jeeps to Ambewadi the base village for Alang and Madan. Reached there at 5:30 am Sat morning. I initially thought that we would sleep there for some time but to my utter dismay our leaders decided that we should start soon as we had to reach Alang fort by night-time. I must say at that time I was little frustrated at not getting some sleep but this decision of starting early turned out to be one of the best decisions...:):)

After having a round of introduction and light breakfast we embarked on the trek. The plan was to cover Madangad first and then reach a cave in Alang by night time. After about an hour with the sun rising we could see the 'col' between Alang and Madan. To the left is Alang and to the right is Madan. From there we could see the steps leading to top of Madan. We started climbing Alang now. After going through some dense bushes and trees we started climbing the steps which I must say were beautifully carved. At about 10 am we all reached a small cave on Alang. We were to deposit the bags in this cave and proceed further towards the col. Our leaders had also hired two villagers as guides as one can easily lose their way here and their expertise in taking on the rock patches was also needed.

We had our breakfast on this cave and also got an opportunity to rest for sometime...What a relief!!!hehehehe...From here the road was going to take a different turn literally....

After an hour's rest and depositing our bags in the cave we started again. Taking support of the rock face everyone started moving forward. One had to be really careful here as one slip and you are gone for all money. We reached the col and crossed over it and started climbing on the steps to Madangad. Seeing the steps made me wonder how the people in those times might have carved those steps. We reached the rock patch of Madan which was 40 feet high. The problem with this rock patch was you had to reach a certain height on your own judgement after which the climb was relatively easy. One by one each of us started taking on this rock patch. Some people faltered in their first try but after some egging on everyone made it through.

Once this rock patch was completed the rest of the journey to top of Madan was relatively easy. After reaching the top I could see two water tanks and also a cave. One of our trekmates Aditya 'Raaje' ne shikhar par jhanda bhi lehraaya!!! The view from top was awesome. We could see Kulang another hill fort from there as shown in the adjacent photo.

At the top at some points we could feel the cool breeze and at some points the sun was at its blazing best. Some of us found a cool shade and slept there for an hour or so. Time kaise chala gaya pata hi nahi chala. Meanwhile the remaining members of our group also reached the top and soon it was time for us to descend down. We reached the same rock patch but this time we had to rappell down which is more fun and less strenous compared to rock climbing :)

Quickly we all started back to the cave where we had kept our bags... I was feeling damn hungry and started marching I reached there I found that the bags were not there in the cave and it was shifted up by others. To reach there one had to take on an irritating small rock patch which had iron wire hanging on its side.Without the support of iron wire I quickly reached top...Peth me chuhe-billi sab daudne lage the abhi toh... As I reached the top I could see the rock patch of Alang which we had to climb on to reach the top. It was a 90 degree rock patch and we were left wondering how will we tackle this. The guide who was with us reached the top without using rope. Nilesh one of our group leaders told us that even he cannot cross this rock patch without using the ropes. He told us that we will be all be pulled up to the top and we just had to cling on ropes and put it our own effort to climb up. One by one we started climbing up....When my turn came it was already chilly and it was dark. Kaise to karke maine khudko upar utha hi liya!!!

But the excitement didnt end here....We all had to climb some small steps on the edge of rock face and move upwards. We decided to form a human chain to move the wood which was needed for campfire in the cave forward. Each of us took our positions maintaining a small distance and dheere dheere sab lakdiyan ko upar pahuncha diya... Standing on those steps I could see the entire valley and it was one of the thrilling moments of my life.Moving on, we reached the cave of Alang and some of us quickly booked our sleeping locations for the night. Some of the group members started preparing the dinner for night...We had to carry all the food as there was no food available on top and unlike Harishchandragad there was no cook(Badri Kaka) on the top.

I was oblivious to all this and I remember somebody waking me up from my sleep and asking me to come and have dinner. Half-awake I had my dinner. The biryani was awesome...I went inside my sleeping bag and slept. Some of us( read Dinesh,Ajay,Paddy ) had executive suites for themselves..hehehehe...

I woke up next morning feeling completely refreshed after a good night's sleep. I decided to explore Alang. To the left of our cave there were steps leading to the top. One can see the ruins of Alang fort on reaching the top. After walking some distance I saw 11 water tanks. It is amazing to see that even after so many years there is drinking water available at the top.

After spending some time exploring the fort I went back to our cave. Garam garam maggi banaya jaa raha tha...Ab prashn yeh utha ki maggi ko khayenge kaise as most of us didnt have we used small twigs and had Maggi in true Chinese We packed our backpacks and the time had come to bid adieu to Alang. A little distance away from the cave me,Nilesh,Priti saw a small snake in the rocks. The interesting part here is just few minutes we were having a long discussion on snakes at the cave. Nilesh quickly checked his book on snakes to check which snake it was. He initially thought it was the saw-scaled viper. The snake by that time had quickly went underneath the rocks...I came up with the suggestion that if we remove the loose soil and put water the snake will come out. The saw-scaled viper is one of the most poisonous snakes so we had to be careful...Finally after some prodding the snake came out and Nilesh trapped it under his feet..But by the time we could capture it on our cameras the snake slithered through and went back to the rocks. At this point of time Nilesh again checked his book and he later told us that it was infact the gunther's racer which is non-poisonous and is commonly confused with the saw-scaled viper...:):)

On descending down we reached the steps of Alang which we climbed the night before. In broad daylight when we saw those steps we stared discussing ki raat ke andhere me hamne kaise paar kiya yeh...Seeing those steps now,hamlog ki toh phat A sample of how these steps look can be seen in the pic to the left...

After that we started descending down and reached the perpendicular rock patch from we had to rappell down. I enjoy rappelling a lot and I think it is one of the best adventure sports to overcome your fears. From here the rest of journey we covered slowly till we finally reached our base village. There thanks to Bhandari we had some mouth-watering chicken and also bhel. In this trek I discovered another facet of Trekmates ie the fantastic cooking skills. Thank You all for the yummy food that you served!!!

And thus I come to the end of my post. We took a tempo jeep back to Kasara from where we proceeded to our respective destinations. The Alang Madan trek was one of my toughest treks and I thouroughly enjoyed it. It was thrilling,exciting,faadu....ohhho adjectives are falling short....

As I returned back I had smile of contentment on my face as I had accomplished my desire to conquer Alang Madan...:):)

No comments:

Post a Comment