I am trekking for the last 5 years and it has been an amazing experience, I am fortunate enough to experience all kinds of treks like range trek, night trek, all day trek and jungle treks. Just on the verge of declaring myself as a professional but then I thought enough for today.
It was last year and I was searching for some new treks to be encountered having a moderate or high level of difficulty level as this wannabe was about to be converted into a professional one. With respect to my schedule and the available treks, I was not able to choose one, later on, my friend suggested "Andharban jungle trek” as he was going with his friends and told that is worth attempting.
I did consider this one as I had read about the same, it was also known as the dark forest trek, sounded spooky but the trek was only descending from Pune (Ghatmatha) to Konkan. I felt that there was no thrill as trekking for about 6 hours through the jungle was not that much adventurous. Even in the description, it was mentioned that the overall trek was very beautiful, heaven in the making, then I thought rather than just reading about it I should go and decide for myself whether it was worth or no.
So finally the plan was on and we were 4 of us, not the usual ones but we had met each other previously as well. We decided to go with the same trek group that is TMI, the meeting point was at Dadar around 11 pm and we were supposed to come back the next day in the evening. There were about 25 of us in the group waiting for the bus to come. We started our journey around 11.15 or so heading towards Pune, there were some who joined us from Navi Mumbai as well.
We took stopover for about 5 minutes for fuel refilling, my friend went out and when he returned back he observed that he has lost his wallet. Both of us again went down in search for it, even after 10minutes of searching we did not find anything. Simultaneously, other trekkers on the bus were frustrated and so were we; however, we came on board and sat on our seats when suddenly my friend found something between the seats, it was his wallet, by holding it in the hands; my friend who almost had a panic attack was calm now.
It took around 5 hours to reach the base village, it was raining early in the morning, we were served breakfast and were asked to form a hurdle in introducing ourselves to others. This time we were not at all embarrassed as we had the perfect shoes and other gears if you had read earlier blogs you could have got what I am trying to say. If you are still curious to know the same below is the link for that blog, read it and then resume this one.
After the introduction was done we were ready to start the journey, even now it was drizzling, there was this thick sheet of fog around us due to which the visibility was about 50 ft. It was getting difficult for us to follow the group leader and others due to the same reason. During the hurdle, we were informed that we need to be very cautious and follow at least someone as there were high chances of getting lost and meeting with an accident in case of steep valleys. By looking at the below image you can at least imagine how the initial phase of the trek was, sometimes mesmerizing and sometimes spooky. By observing it more you can feel as if you are heading to a remote place which is secret as hell and scary too.
These long stretches of walks in the treks indulge us to have some conversation with our friends which we never had earlier, alongside enjoying nature. Small conversations were then converted to big philosophical thoughts as the beauty around us was so pure and serene; we were obliged to do so. It’s good to have spent time like this. We crossed some beautiful landscapes, en-route we witnessed an amazing view of Kundalik valley, a small glimpse for the same is showcased below. So many small waterfalls which at a distant seemed like white waters flowing nonstop from heaven can be observed in the image.
It was about 9 am and the fog density was gradually getting less, it was as if scenic beauty is there forever, there was never a moment where you would not be amazed by nature, and one such moment which caught my attention was this small waterfall which later converted into stream, the same I had captured in my mobile phone, I purposely positioned myself at the back so as to have a clear view, well kind of.
As beautiful as it seems, it was equally dangerous, this particular waterfall which later converts into small streams was headed directly towards the steep valley. Even a small off-track step, one would flow with the water down the stream and into the valley.
It was still foggy; our fellow trekkers who were also amazed at Mother Nature were taking pictures and videos on the go. The most common statement which I had heard was to share all photography and videography that had captured. All shutterbugs including me were not be disturbed as others were clicking photos of themselves in the frame, we were busy talking with nature. This signifies the amount of photography done during the trek, but no one is to blame for it as the trek itself was epic, at its best.
We took a stopover for some light snacks, everyone started removing snacks and were munching, but we at the other end were still gazing nature, the reason being we had no snacks. It was clearly mentioned in the mail by the trek group that we need to carry a few snacks and lunch, only breakfast will be provided. By looking at them we suddenly realized the importance of reading emails, be it official or non-official. To our luck we had Parle G biscuits with us, our only friend, we were enjoying it and captured a few glimpses of a small stream which was very soothing.
Later we headed towards more depth defining nature as mentioned by the trek leader, he was not wrong as lush green plateaus, streams and small valleys accompanied us throughout that phase of the trail for more 2 hours. Few trekkers who were ahead of us suddenly stopped, I went to see what's the matter, it was a huge waterfall indeed bigger than the previous one, my eyes were actually glued to it. It was very tempting to stand underneath that waterfall, and yes we did the same, some enjoyed by totally immersing themselves in the water and some by sitting next to it, remaining ones took n number of selfies and yes with the “pout”.
We were there for about 30mins and people started to again have their food as it was almost noon. As with the previous case, we were about to make ourselves busy by gazing the nature, but then one of friend removed few packets from her bag and to our surprise, it was "Thepla”, a Gujrati version on the Indian bread. Our eyes were almost in tears as she was almost an from heaven who kept this little secret about the food so that we can have it in the end during lunch time. We kind of sat next to her like small children in the school waiting for the food to be served, our faces were so innocent that anyone from the group had offered us food.
She, on the other hand, understood our intentions and shared her food, quantity was obviously an issue as the food was only for her, but we were grateful for her gesture. We were enjoying the limited food and was about to take her share of food as well, but we stopped as we had some amount of humanity left in us.
After lunch, we trekked for more 2hrs straight towards the village where we served snacks in the evening and took the bus to Dadar. Around 8 pm we reached, shared our contact details with others to stay connected and created a Whatsapp group which is still active, well almost.
Andharban jungle trek was a great one, experiencing nature in rather all forms, looking back at my assumption of her being a normal descend, I was totally wrong, assumptions are hence not good. On a concluding note, I would urge all those people who love nature and even to those who don't, to at least try this amazing trek.