A very rarely visited place as compared to its famous neighbour(harishchandragad). Wonderful views, table top, and an interesting uphill hike through a ladder makes it worthwhile.
Rains are the best to hike anywhere in the sahyadris. Lush green surroundings, decorative waterfalls, misty clouds and towering peaks can make any activity much more interesting.
This trek was intially named karkai cha dongar. However, after reaching this place, I realized that karkai is too huge to be covered in a day's time and that kothala bhairav is only 5% of the whole area and forms only a small extension of the huge karkai.
Starting from mumbai in the morning made us reach the base village kothale at around 1 pm. It was raining very heavily and nothing was visible. We managed to get a local guide on whom we had to rely. The fog was so thick that identifying the mountain itself was not possible. Hence wherever the guide takes we were to go.
The route to the top is a normal well trodden path way. There is a small ladder
which we have to climb on the way. There is also a water tank which is seen on the way near to the ladder. From a trekkers point of view, this could be a simple trek taking around 30-45 mins from the base to top. The top is more or less a flat platue. There are remenants of a temple, some ponds and some constructions. However, when we reached the top, it was foggy enough to blind our visions completely. I remember everything but only in segments.
As per the chakram norm, we were yet to have a round of introduction. The wind was strong to blow us all off, rains had already drenched us, roaring, thundering added to the music. What more creative situation could I think for an introduction session???? It was by far the most thrilling intro,I have given. Everyone shouting at the top of their voice, repeating over and over again. The wind proving louder all the time made this experience very thrilling.
The descend was equally interesting, and we rushed to the base village before it was dark. Our overnight stay was decided to be at a local temple. It was covered from 3 sides and comprised of a chember inside, where we planned to stay and cook.
With the rains pouring around, eating Biryani(veg though...) was a delicious idea. In the meantime, I and Parag had to go out in the dark to get water for cooking. The water pump(boring) was at a diatsnce of about 10 mins. Funnily enough, we lost our way while returning and had to enquire at some villagers about where our beloved temple was. Going out in the dark we also realized that there was enough mud all around the village and that our (just) changed & dry clothes were showing camouflaged colours.
Didnt realize when we were fast asleep and when it turned into a typical village styled morning. The hens and sparrows chirping. Localites going out for their daily water filling jobs..
After tea and some breakfast, we decided to start back. This time through a route which most of us have seen, but not many have done. It connects the kothala village to the famous tolar khinda of harishchandragad. Many have passed through the tolar khinda while going to harishchandragad. We usually take a left at the khinda and climb the rock patch. Instead of taking this left, if you continue going straight further, you will reach kothala village in about 1.5 to 2 hours. We did this route reversed from kothale to the khinda.
The route shows a different side of harishchandragad. The ganesh dhar and vitthal dhar could possibly be seen only from this end. The route climbs up gradually to tolar khinda with some gigantic waterfalls on the way. The cliff of karkai keeps towering at our left. We reached the khireshwar village and feasted on maggi at our well known aishwarya dhaba(chintaman kavte).
The rains and wind were to be there with us. The flat walk from khireshwar to khubi was 6 kms of horizontally blowing high pressure water shower.. The shower was as if slapping us in our face. But still we all enjoyed the experience and concluded our trek at khubi fata.
Pictures are available on Milind Kadam's Picasa Gallery ( below)
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