A route which existed some 20-30 years back, but eventually faded due to lack of usage- was our target for the last weekend. We did manage to get some things right, while we need to visit again to complete the rest. Some stuff below will be useful for fellow trekkers who in future plan to visit this place.
Raireshwar, within itself is a popular place amongst trekkers and bears a significant history with Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj commencing the “Oath of Swarajya”. Geographically Raireshwar is more like a table platue, which spans over 20 Kms in length and 7 Kms in bredth( at the maximum). Raireshwar is now connected by a Tar road which reaches the south eastern edge. The road goes from Bhor- Korle – Raireshwar Khinda – Wai – Bhor.
The Extreme left (western) end of this platue is called “Nakhinda”. The Name Nakhinda in Marathi refers to a “Needles Hole”. There are many such small- big hills in the Sahyadri Ranges with a significant “Needles Holes”. The left edge of Nakhinda descends ferociously down to a col – Aswal Khinda. This col further descends to the base village called Kamthe.
Kamthe is connected to Kudali via a well trodden (walkable) route which passes through Aswal Khinda.
In the North, there is an Arm which juts out ( Northwards ) from the left end of Raireshwar platue and is locally called “PaathSheela”. Kudali Village rests at the base of PaathSheela.
Surrounding hills include Chandragad, Koleshwar, Jaslodgad( Mohangad), Kamalgad, Kenjalgad.
1) Exploring Nakhinda and preferably, reaching above the needles hole. In the recent past, not many people have visited Nakhinda. To have a look at this huge Massif from all sides within itself would be an achievement.
2) Finding out a route which directly descends from Nakhinda to Aswal Khinda without going to Kudali village.
We reached Bhor in an ST bus and managed to convince a Jeep driver to drop us till the Raireshwar Khinda. He (un)willingly took us there and we started our trek at nearly 6 am. With the courtesy of this new road, we directly reach very close to the top of Raireshwar. A small climb to the top (15 mins) takes you to the Temple and then the Village. This new road starts from near the Korle Village and reaches near the ladder of Raireshwar. It further goes till Wai and from there back to Bhor. Almost everyone in this village is called Jangam. We had a quick breakfast at Dagadu’s place and he appointed 2 guides to take us till our Destinations. However their condition was – “we will take you to whatever closest place we know of. Rest is your job to find out and explore”.
We were really quick to cross the Raireshwar platue and reach the southernmost point of the Raireshwar-Nakhinda Platue. Chandragad was standing right in front of us and koleshwar platue towards our left, saperated by a huge col. The route till this point waded through thick Karvy and thorny bushes. We moved ahead from over the edge (traversing) of the massif to reach a point from where the Needles Hole was very clearly visible. We all were kind of overjoyed, to finaly see this portion of Nakhinda because we had not seen this side of Nakhinda anytime before. (Time: 12 Noon)
As per our guide, from there to reach atop the Hole was not possible. Hence we decided to come back the same route till the junction of Raireshwar Nakhinda and then move northwards to approach Needles hole from Northern side.
Again a route which made us fight with thorny bushes, Karvy thickets and at times duck down to avoid being caught in the thorns took us till the north side of the Nakhinda Platue. This is also the junction where the jutting arm ( Paathsheela) commences. (Time: 2 PM).
From here-on, the guides were very less co-operative since they were not sure of the route by themselves. They tried convincing us not to try doing the Nakhinda to Aswal khinda route, but on pressing hard, they took us to a point which appeared terribly frightening with the extra heavy Sacks, most of us carried. The route actually had put us in 2 minds. It appeared as if it will take us to the Aswal Khinda, but at the same time, with the Heavy Sacks, it was rather risky to descend this way. Also there was a permenant fear of this route leading no-where.
At this point, our guides were strongly opposing us to venture this way down and also started to convince us to take the PaathSheela route which descends to Kudali. They also started complaining about the fact that it was nearly 2:30 PM and they have to return to their village before it gets dark.
We now decided to explore the route by ourselves. 2 of us went ahead to explore the direct route and 2 of us tried to locate the Kudali route. The Forest was really thick and wading it without a good koyta( big knife to cut branches) was impossible. Inspite of some good attempts, we had to leave that route and move ahead Time: 3 PM).
We crossed the Paathsheela and descended the route till Kudali- which is a fairly simple descend. On this route, I came across what is called an “Animal Trap” – a wooden structure which used to capture animals. We reached Kudali by somewhere around 8:30 PM.
The Super cold night made us Sleep well and was refreshing afer the previous days effort of 16 hours. We started off for Aswal Khinda after a ‘Feasty’ Breakfast at 10 AM. A simple route takes us to Aswal Khinda, which we managed to reach by 11:15 AM. We had a good break here and then started the long walk till Kamthe. We reached Kamthe at 3:10 PM. Kamthe though appeared closer, took us 3 long hours to reach from Aswal Khinda. A Jeep till Poladpur and another Jeep till Mumbai got us home at around 10 PM in the night.
Almost all places on the Raireshwar platue and Nakhinda are covered by some or the other mobile network. However, as one descends Northwards towards Kudali, there is Absolutely NO NETWORK coverage, till you cross Aswal khinda.
Base Village and Transportation:
1) Korle: served by buses from Bhor. Jeeps charge you nearly Rs 600 ( special Jeep). If you want to reach the Raireshwar Khinda, they will increase this amount to 1000.
2) Kudli: Served by buses( 2 in the morning to bhor). Jeeps operate till Bhor.
3) Kamthe: Served by ST buses- 3 or 4 in the day. Jeeps also available locally.
Note: For contact details of Jeep Drivers, you can write to me.
· Priti Patel
· Rajas Deshpande
· Dr Saurabh Chavan
· Manoj Kalwar
· Aneesh Gokhale
· Ameya Gokhale
My Pictures for this trek are available below. If you need the full size versions of these pictures, please write to me.