A temple on the way to Duke's Nose
I take no credit for these trips. It all goes to my colleague, an avid trekker and the initiator of these one-day hikes into the Ghats. One of the best things I like about these treks is that I have nothing to do but just land up at the appointed time in the Kanjur Marg station. I only know 3 things - 1) place we are heading to 2) time to meet and... Oh well, actually only 2 things to remember!
The village sprawled below - as seen from atop Duke's Nose
My Sahyadri round up for the year included Mahuli fort, Duke's Nose (near Lonawla, Khandala), Naneghat and then Siddhaghad. The first three happened during and slightly after the monsoons, when the landscape was bright green - almost with a fluorescent blaze. The Siddhaghad trek was filled with hues of golden and brown.
Our target in the distance -Mahuli Fort
Obviously, the landscape doesn't wary widely between each of the peaks and passes. I wouldn't call any one of these places a must do over the other- but we still have our favorites. Siddhaghad was particularly my favorite because we spent the night over at the top of the hill. There is a temple on the top of Siddhaghad and there is an empty “mandap” where people can camp. No rooms or anything, just a roofless courtyard of sorts. The food cooked by the couple living there was one of the most delicious meals I've had. We sat out in the night talking about this and that. Then retired to sleep under the sky!
A view of the ranges shrouded in mist, Mahuli
The start of Naneghat
The treks are good fun for other reasons too. We travel in a way I would have never otherwise done in Mumbai - take 2 or 3 trains some times, local buses, share autos, unreserved class. Then there is the food in some roadside-dhaba-like places serving some of the most spiciest and tastiest of dishes! Then, you meet people - nope haven't made thick as thieves friends from these jaunts, but there is always some new stories, new conversations.
And of course, it gets you far away from the madd(en)ing crowd.