Open your history textbooks to that chapter about the Marathas, specifically to the paragraphs about the First Anglo-Maratha War.
Who are the Marathas: you ask? I reply, saying: The Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy was an Indian power that existed from 1674 to 1818 and ruled over much of the Indian sub-continent. The Marathas are credited to a large extent for ending the Mughal rule in India. A few prominent Maratha rulers were Chhatrapati Shivaji, Chhatrapati Shahu and Peshwa Baji Rao I.
The historical Rajmachi fort complex was originally constructed by the Satavahanas. In 1657, Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort along with other neighboring forts from the Adilshahi ruler of Bijapur. In 1704, the Mughal Emperor; Aurangzeb captured the fort from the Marathas. However, the Marathas regained its control in 1705. In 1713, Shahu Maharaj handed over Rajmachi fort to Kanhoji Angre. Eventually in 1818 with the downfall of the Marathas, the British acquired the control of the Maratha territories including the forts such as Rajmachi. It was a strategic fort to control Borghat; which was a historical trade route.
From Mumbai, my friends and I took a bus to Karjat; which is about 62 km away and began our trek from Kondhane village. It takes about 2 hours to go up, and come down; so 4 hours in all. The forest is dry except for a few evergreen trees because it’s winter now. The monsoon is from July to September, so it’s lush and green then. That’s the best time to visit. It still remains scenic, no matter the season. Carry plenty of water and snacks, sunscreen or a hat, wear comfortable shoes.
Here’s a photo of the fort in the monsoon:
Highly motivated and breathing the cool mountain air, we set out.
The temperature was less than 27 degrees Celcius, thankfully. The howling wind filled me with determination.
Undertale reference, geddit? We followed a trail to reach the Kondana Caves. The Kondana caves have sculptures and specimens of ancient Buddhist architecture. There was an earth quake in the early 1900s in which many stupas, the front entrance and the floor of the caves were damaged. The Chaitya (Buddhist shrine or prayer hall with a stupa at one end) remains intact to welcome you to the rock cut caves that were created around 200 BC – 100BC.
This wouldn’t be a Cluster Of Stars blog post if I didn’t spout some real talk.
That’s self-depreciating humour;I hear that it’s a good thing. So here’s some of the things I learned from this trek:
Be a trail blazer: We made our own way to the fort. Making your own way doesn’t just apply to trekking. Your life is for you to live; to set yourself apart. Go ahead, leave a trail.
Scratches and scrapes: Life isn’t all sunshine and singing Hakuna Matata. Situations are difficult sometimes. You’re going to end up with scars; which will be a reminder of your ability to conquer.
Slipping and falling: I did, quite a few times. That doesn’t mean that I sat there and sulked. Losing your footing isn’t the end of the world. I took some time to recover and continued to climb, so should you.
Follow the water: On our way to the fort, we went along the waterfall. I noticed the way the water has carved the rocks. It’s interesting because life is like wading through a river going upstream. The water will shape me and you differently; but it’s still water and we’re still rocks.
Go with the flow: Following the water was difficult in some places and easy in others. That’s life: calm waves and then strong currents. Anything could happen. Stop overthinking. Live. Take life one moment at a time and just go with it.
Help each other: There were some parts of the trek where I had to hold on to my friends so that I didn’t trip and fall.
Thanks for not letting me die, guys. I owe you one. And some other times, I lent a helping hand (quite literally) to them. We wouldn’t be who we are without the people around us. They need us just as much as we need them.
Take in your surroundings: Life is hectic, no doubt about that. If you don’t see beauty, you’re not looking for it. I keep reminding myself to hit pause and relax, no matter how busy my schedule is.
Be a leader: There’s always that one person who takes initiative, who seems to know what to do and who you have a lot of respect for. Why can’t that person be you?
Don’t give up: I was tired, the sun was beating down on me and a dull ache was emanating from my legs, I still carried on. Motivation is easy to find, but hard to keep. Try to keep moving, even though it may seem impossible. The best is yet to come.
Surround yourself with good company: This trek would not have been fun without everyone around me. Sharing a laugh, snacking in the wilderness and encouraging each other is what kept us going.
We returned home late in the evening; exhausted and with many memories.
The other photos are mine! Have you ever gone on a trek? Tell me about it in the comments below.
Thank you for reading!