Do you ever travel alone? That too during this Corona period.. The usual question that arises when you say that you are going to Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana by yourself for a week, survived it for a while and set out on a Thursday. Usually someone is accompanied on trips. But it was already planned to go alone. Since 2 years no big trips have been done due to Corona. What makes this trip special is that 80% of the journey is by train. 3 ropeway trips including Asia’s longest ropeway (Junagarh), then a 7-day circuit trip from Rani Ki Vav, Ajanta to Warangal.
It is a journey that can take at least 10-12 days if not by train. Full night sleep in sleeper coaches. Anywhere I want to go in India, the first thing I look for is the nearest railway station. It took almost a month to learn about the destinations to go to and prepare a coordinated travel plan between the trains. So on a Thursday in October at 6:20 in the morning, I boarded the Mumbai LTT Superfast on the strength of taking two vaccines from Thrissur station.
Although he was going to Gujarat, he planned to visit two places in Maharashtra. Raigad Fort of Chhatrapati Maharaj Shivaji and Jenjira Fort in the middle of the sea. So got down at Chiplun station at 2:30 in the morning. It is a medium sized station with essential facilities. I like the stations from Mangalore to Panavelu. It’s fun to watch. The waiting shed is modeled after an oat house. You can tell the story as if you were sitting on the threshold. All the benches are in a special way. Good greenery and silent atmosphere and not too crowded.
So I slept on the wooden bench at Chiplun station covered for 2 hours. Went to the nice bathroom in the waiting room and got out fresh. Had a cup of tea. Normally I’m not much of a tea drinker. But he drinks occasionally without leaving Kerala. The main reason is that we don’t have tea in large glasses like in our country. It is because it is a tea made with ginger and cardamom. From the railway station to the Chiplun bus stand, it is 4 km. MHRTC bus is at 4:50.
If coming to see Raigad fort, the nearest station to alight at is Veer. But very few trains stop there. That is between 4 pm and 7 pm. By 4:45 the bus arrived. He turned around and ran away. If you want to sit down and say something, I don’t even know Marathi. If it was Hindi, it would have been difficult. Yes, that too will almost be signed by defeating them. I am the only one in the bus. If it is the way, it will be terrible. What is special about the Goa-Pan Vel Highway, if it is a 5 km journey, 2 and a half km is a rough road and the remaining 2 and a half is a dug-out road. Kayram road work is going on, but looking at the Peringotukara-Anthikkad (Thrissur) road, this is heaven.
So Chiplun came to the stand. 160 rupees for a 2 hour journey by taking the 5 o’clock Panvel bus. There are only 5-8 people. You have to get off at Mahad. While coming from Mumbai side and coming from Goa side, you have to turn around at Mahad and go to Raigad fort.
Two hours passed. A nice cool high range ride with hairpin bends and good roads. A carpet of snow is slowly moving down between the mountains. Around 7:15 alighted at Mahad bus stand and it is a small bus stand. Very hungry one evening ate vada pav. It’s my first time eating. Two small buns are toasted and accompanied by a fried bite filled with potato and masala like a masala bonda. Incident. Great.
Get off at the bus stop for Raigad. It was then that one of them heard that he was in a heated argument with the depot station master. It is our birthright to immediately go there and see what is happening.
I went to the gap where the station master had changed and inquired about the matter. Whatever happened, he had to wait for the bus to Raigad Fort at 7 o’clock. Still no bus by 7:30. He had taken a room in the lodge the day before and took the first bus to see the fort and come back quickly. Sarat is the name. All those in Bombay are called Saratha. I said that there is a Sarath load calculation in Kerala. I also said that. At 8 o’clock, the station master came and said that there is no driver for the bus at 8 o’clock. That bus is also cancelled. Sarat has to say something in Marathi.
Then I have to translate it to Hindi to understand. I coughed and laughed. Anyway got a bus at 8:30..full of people. Most of them are old people.
By the time he was about to take the bus, 6 young men ran and overturned the bus. They also went to the fort. After taking an hour, the bus dropped us at a place and turned around. All 6 of them got down and got into an auto. It is 2 km to the fort and said that we should share it and go. So brought to a place. Sarath and I do not want to look at the ropeway at all. They got into the auto, bought 2 bottles of Vellom and left. If you ask the nearest shopkeeper, he will tell you. From where you came, turn left and go 1 km to the ropeway. This is the way to go on foot. Work hard. One went to the other place. Ugly people. I have a back pack of 7 kg. Sarathan also has a small one.
In any case, both of them ordered Keri, enjoyed the snow and occasional drizzle and white water and walked with each other. There are 2000 steps. Half of the time they are the first to get in and sit in one place. Both of us are sitting there watching him go in and out. Reached the top of the mountain in about an hour and a half. Not very crowded. Now to some history.
Raigarh Fort- In 1656 Chhatrapati Shivaji conquered the 2400 feet high fort known as Rairi and restored it as Raigarh Fort (King’s Fort). Later in 1703, Aurangzeb renamed it as Islamgad. One has to go through a big door (Maha Darwasa) to enter the fort. An artificial lake known as Ganga Sagar Lake has been created inside for its water use. The British ruled this fort from 1858 to 1947. It is now maintained under the Archaeological Survey of India. The fort is built by leveling the entire Mughal part of a mountain. It takes 1 hour to walk to the top. There is a samadhi of Shivaji Maharaja, temples and a statue of Shivaji Maharaja. Even after 12 o’clock it is not too hot.. and good view points all around.
While walking like that, you should see 1-2 snakes (like big black earthworms) crawling out in our country. After a while, 2-3 more. We have to see. Just look down and see the viper on the left side of the tree. I quickly grabbed the pulley and replaced it. These are the baby snakes. I have to walk down because of the heat. Walked straight towards the ropeway. One way ticket is 190 rupees and up and down is 320 rupees. The ropeway is quite old.
Reached the bottom in 5 minutes. The bus to Mahad is at 2 o’clock. An auto guy (Vellimunga) said if you get 10 people, let them go with Mahad. It’s already 12:30. One thing is for sure, you can’t go to Jenjjira Fort. From here it takes 1 hour to reach Mahad and it takes 3 hours to reach Jenjjira Fort. Seeing that, the plan was to board the ferry boat via Alibag, go to the Gateway of India in Mumbai and take the Ahmedabad train from Dadar. If it is a decision and the plan is to go home, we can see both of these and return home from the station called Roha or from Panavel. (3 day trip)
Sarath was very hungry and went to a hotel with me. Sarath loves Malayalee food very much. Pulli would go to the Malayali Mess in Mumbai and eat sambar every day. That is a Malayali look for the party. Well, can you get some rice? Then I said something to the other shopkeeper, bro, I only need to cook rice for 10 minutes, but there is still time. Sarath works in a graphic designing company in Mumbai. To come here as a family, I have come to catch the route and so on. The Marathi shopkeeper has to come and say Chetta Deepa is ready now and then. Anyway, the day we came was a good day. The shopkeeper says that if it is a weekend, it should be full. Most people eat food without getting a seat.
The incident is true, not only Raigad ropeway but also most ropeways in India do not come on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It will be terribly busy. You can go up through the ropeway only if you stand in the queue for 4 hours. You can go and get it in one day. While I was saying that, I put hot green rice, 3 egg cream and a spoonful of cream. 2 Motakaria. It’s cool to say that the plate has changed, but the color is the same. Thiel is also super. After eating all the food, the people who led us astray came walking and sat there. Always go home and lie down in a satisfied mood.
I called the auto driver and got into a cab for 70 rupees per person. Sarat and I ran to the front. Good luck though. The auto driver stopped the car in front of a house. A person who was standing on the bus was asked to go to the bus instead of an auto. Even that was not enough, he took 2 gas sticks to the next house and put them behind him. Awasthelu, 6 of which were posted by Mass Da. At 2:30 pm Mahad reached the stand. Sarath should vacate the room and come. I need to reach Panavel in 3:30-4 hours on normal days. It can take up to 5 hours if there is traffic. Sarath took me in the bus that came near. A kind and good friend said goodbye to all the Malayalees.
Reached Panavel at 6 o’clock. Got off the bus and walked to the railway station. There is one who is going to Odisha. He is an engineer working in Raigad. The bus was late and the train was at 8 o’clock CST station. Pulli has to walk under tension and can reach many parts of Mumbai quickly by taking the local trail from Panvel. I also have no idea whether I can get an unreserved ticket with the Covid guide line or not. I am also ripe for a lucky experiment. There was no problem and I got the ticket from Panvel when I showed the sleeper ticket. Get off at Kurla station and transfer to Dadar station. Ramshetan Mallu-Hindeelu, who works in the Aratupuzha military in the train, told me. Kaham jaana hai app. I remember asking where I was back in the country. And I only remember Vetim Pokem in a load of military stories. Ishwara is a cobra.. Kurla came to hear all that.
The train changed and alighted at Keri Dadar station and took a bath in the paid bath room. Went out and had some fried rice and slept like a camel in the sleeper coach of the Dadar-Ahmedabad train- to be continued… (to Ahmedabad details)