Malshej Ghat!!! I had heard a lot about this place and its beauty. Some of the photos which I had seen had made it one of my ‘destinations to be visited’. So when there were discussions about various destinations to go this monsoon and the option of Malshej Ghat came up, I ended casting my vote in the favor of Malshej Ghat. And we ended up finalizing Malshej Ghat. We were going with an NGO called Nisarga Mitra Mandal. Soon we registered ourselves for the trek to Malshej Ghat. From the date we registered for the trek, all were eagerly waiting for 4th Of August!!!
The monsoons this year had been satisfactory so far which raised our expectations that our trek will be in a rainy weather. But God had written a different story; as we don’t give importance to the things easily achieved in life. As there were about 10 days to go for the trek, there was a landslide at Malshej Ghat. The road was closed for few days. Then there came news that the boulders had been cleared and the road was open for traffic. We started our planning for the trek. But this happiness didn’t last for a long time. When there were 2 days to go for the trek, there was news that again there was a landslide at Malshej Ghat and it will be closed for few days. Now we were worried about our trek. One of us called Nisarga Mitra Mandal to confirm, and to our surprise we were going!!! Yayyyy!!!! The clouds of uncertainty were now cleared and we had begun our preparations for the trek. Life surprises us at times when we expect least from it.
And the much awaited day came. We had to leave on 3rd of August in the night. So it was me, Amol, Bharat and Sandesh who were going for the trek. We gathered at the reporting place at our reporting time. There we were joined by office mates of Sandesh (Abhilash, Anchal, Harsha, Mohini and Saurabh). And now were a group of nine. All of us were pretty much excited about the trek. The thing which doubled the excitement was that it was Friendship Day the next Day...
When our watches showed 12 o’clock, our bus started and we yelled “Happiee Friendship Day”!!! Whoa!! What a start to the friendship day it was... We just had to ensure that we enjoy the next 24 hours to our fullest… Soon we had a small photo session in our bus itself. Then started India’s most favorite game while travelling, antaakshari. We were also joined by others who had come for the trek. We became so busy singing songs in our strange voices that we didn’t realize what time it was until our bus stopped. It was 1.30 AM. It was a halt for Tea. Sipping Tea with friends on highway at 1.30 AM on Friendship Day, what else can one ask for?
In a little while we were back in our bus and the fun started again. Antaakshari was followed by some jokes and funny texts. Now, some wickets had begun to fall. But few (including me) were unable to sleep of excitement. When I was about to sleep, our bus stopped again. I checked the time, it was 3.30 AM. Now what? Was it another stop for tea? Sandesh stepped down the bus out of curiosity. I closed my eyes and tried sleeping. The very next moment, Sandesh knocked at the bus below our window. “Dude, the other bus has got some problem and that’s why we have stopped also. Come down.” I followed his instructions and stepped down the bus. It was little cool out there. All I could see was farms on both the sides of the road. There was no vehicle passing by on that road. We called everyone else out of the bus. Just then the sky caught my attention. How beautiful it was!!! Innumerable stars were twinkling in the sky. In fact they were the only source of light there. It was a scene which we never see in our cities. It reminded of Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai. But this one was real! So it was about 3.45 AM and we were on a quiet road with one of the bus failed. And yes, it was Friendship Day!!! So the enjoyment began there also. We clicked some snaps trying to utilize the camera’s flash to its fullest. Soon, we were set to go. The people in other bus were ‘adjusted’ in our bus. To our disappointment, our group was separated. Me, Bharat & Sandesh were at the middle of the bus while others occupied the last row. But the excitement couldn’t let the three of us sleep. Now it was the time of ‘Bhag Milkha Bhag’ in mobile. But after realizing the amount of battery it would eat, we stopped it. Meanwhile, Sandesh was ‘run out’. It was me and Bharat for the last wicket partnership. We decided to enjoy every moment of the day and hence didn’t sleep. Time passed quickly and it was dawn.
At 6.30 AM we reached Lenyadri. After having breakfast, we marched towards the temple. Bola Ganpati Bappa, Morya!!! The temple is located in caves which are at a height. So we had to climb. We enjoyed clicking photos and observing the monkeys on our way. After offering our prayers to Bappa, we headed towards Malshej Ghat. The journey is amazing as one can see mountains covered with fog and little drizzle was like an icing on the cake. Our players who had gone to the sleeping pavilion were back and we again started the Masti in the bus. Once the Ghat started, all we could see was fog. The visibility was as low as 5 to 10 meters. And our bus slowed down, took a little turn to its right and stopped. Everyone rushed down of excitement. This was the point from where our trek was going to start.
We walked down the Ghat by road for about one Km. The best part of it was that we could hardly see the road ahead because of fog, but were able to hear the sound of waterfalls around us. After walking for about one kilometer, we had to climb down the mountain. Now the real adventure had started. (One more thing, our phones had no network. So no texts and no calls to disturb) Climbing down the mountain was fun. We made our way from the bushes, carefully putting the feet at proper place so that we don’t fall. And if someone slipped, we had to catch the other. We were at last, behind everyone. We could hear noises (yelling in fun) of those who had reached down. There came a point where we stepped down and the scene which I saw in front was _______ (I fall short of words to describe it). There was water coming in from the mountain which we had climbed down and all those who had reached down were enjoying in that waterfall. We all jumped into it and started splashing water on each other. We had to climb this waterfall following the direction it came from.
At times we jumped, slipped and also pushed each other into the water. Standing still and letting the water fall on us with its full force was a heavenly experience. (Go to hell all water parks; this was the best one) Next three hours were full of Majja, Masti, Dhammal, Dhingana & fun… In between we were blessed by rain which made it more joyful. We had clicked so many photos, that everyone has now got the stock of Profile Pictures and Cover Photos for a year!!!
At about 1.15 Pm, we completed climbing it and reached the road. We were supposed to be back by 1.30, but we were before time. Hurray!!! What a celebration it was… We danced like anything on the road with weird steps. Most of us would have called it madness, but we were enjoying it all that time. And how can I forget the Left_Right wala march by holding each other’s shoulders.
On our way back to our bus, we discussed how this was their best experience ever. We reached our bus and dried ourselves. By that time we all were very hungry and we attacked our lunch boxes. The other bus had also joined us till then.
On our way back to Aurangabad, we were taking back with us lots & lots of memories to cherish for. We had a look at our photos clicked out there and made fun of each other. We continued singing and playing games. We should have got tired after the whole trek(and a sleepless night in the bus), but our mind didn’t stop us as we had decided to enjoy the Friendship Day to its fullest.
Even now as I write this post, I am flooded with notifications on our Malshej Ghat Photos, which don’t allow my mind to come out of it. This is where I should stop now. A Special Thanks to Nisarga Mitra Mandal & everyone who made this ‘The Most Memorable Trek’ as well as ‘The Most memorable Friendship day’.