New Year's Eve on Kalavantin Durg

By Rutuja Bhagwat - January 07, 2018

After climbing the mighty Kalavantin Durg for the second time

I had shared my new year's plan to Kalavantin Durg on my blog. The plan was not made at one go and required a ton of changes and some last minute decisions. We were sure of going somewhere to camp yet had not picked the location. Since 31st December is the time when generally every individual is out — the lion's share of them drinking — there's a tight security around. This was the motivation behind picking a mountain over a lake. (I lean towards the lake for the mind-blowing view it brings to the table. Not that the mountains don't have a great view!) The location was not yet chosen, but regardless, four of us were sure to get it going. At 11:00 pm on 31st, besides the 4 people who were in, eight more joined. So now we were 12 people going in two bikes and two cars, out of which, my cousin and I were outcasts, rest all were Anurag's colleagues and it looked like it was their unofficial picnic!
The campsite chosen was Prabalmachi, and then later whoever was interested would climb Prabalgad with us.

Anurag and his colleagues had office till 10:00 pm on 31st December, after which, they went home and got dressed. Anurag, my cousin, and I were ready at 11:00 pm, while others were still at their respective homes. We thought by 12 o' clock we would touch the Shedung Phata, yet when it was 3 minutes to midnight, we were still in Airoli.

Stroking my hair as the Western winds blow fiercely

The three of us left for Panvel and it was decided that we would meet the rest directly at the base village. After an hour, we stopped our bikes since it was five minutes for midnight. We stopped and held up until the point that it was 12 o' clock. It was just me, my cousin, and Anurag, and there, our phones read 00:00! We had entered one more year! We wished and called our families and wondered what an eccentric way to start the new year!

Later, we resumed the journey towards Panvel and shortly, came across one of the two cars. We went together and waited for the second car at the Shedung Phata. After sitting tight for about half-hour, we started walking the trail without them. Shortly, the second car reached and joined us on the trail. I didn't get much time to mingle with the guys from the second car as it was too dark to feed in their faces. All I could hear was their voices and a glimpse of their personalities.

We proceeded with the trail and did not require flashlight as it was a lovely full-moon night. Prabalmachi was at last spotted and we were stunned to discover a large number of tents spread across the entire land! We enjoyed a rest of half-hour and nibbled on whatever these folks had picked from the market. There was bakarwadi, chiwda, Snickers, Bounty, and couple of different snacks that pleased us. The break time was finished, followed by which we had to decide between Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg.

All smiles: After the photographer cracked a joke

I badly wanted to go to the former fort since I had already been to Kalavantin before. I was annoyed at them, but they had limited time. Since Prabalgad is a simpler yet a long trek, we needed to climb the Kalavantin as it requires a shorter time. Obviously, I wasn't happy!
From a group of 12, only six of us were to climb, remaining folks stayed back and I'm guessing spent the rest of the night drinking.

If ever you've come here, you would relate to me that once we reach the mid-point, i.e., Prabalmachi, we don't have the required willpower for going further. We usually take a break in the village and then start with the trek, due to which we shut our mind and bodies at this point. Same happened to me and knowing how hard Kalavantin is and having no enthusiasm to climb it once more, both my psyche and my body were not willing to coordinate with the rest of the chunk.

However, a change in mood happened as we lost our way while going up. The last time we had come here, the beginning of the trek was totally different than what we saw on the 31st. The lost way energized me and I was back being the excited trekker I am. We climbed and reached the deadliest part from where we need to climb through a crack. We were stunned to discover something unordinary: the crack was filled with enormous rocks! The government, due to the numerous accidents in the past, seemed to have made the trek easier. Though we were disheartened, we climbed anyway.

While descending, snapped on the fort ruins

Then we reached that point which may look simple, but in reality, is dangerous. One minor slip and you could straightforwardly tumble down in the valley. Anyway, we managed to climb up and then after climbing the insanely huge rock, reached the highest point of the Durg. The government (or the trekkers) have put ropes as an arrangement to make the climbing simpler. We were furious at that as well. Only six months back, in July, we had been here, and things seemed to have changed drastically since then.

It was dawn when we reached and we waited up top until sunrise. Another group was spotted, which included a group of young men, I am guessing from the north of India. The sun ascended from behind Prabalgad and we thought we missed it. While we were descending, a big group containing about 25 odd people began climbing the huge rock. They climbed one by one and it was unfair on our part since it meant we had to wait for all of them to climb and then get a chance to descend. No way we were doing that; I was losing my patience already. Anurag and his colleagues had their work at 1 o' clock, so we were concerned about the timing. After a little argument, the trek coordinator requested his group to pause for a while and let us descend since we were only six in number and they were 25. I was guilty to argue with someone on the first dawn of the new year, but nevermind, I'm not carrying bad thoughts with me.

Looking forward to an amazing year...

We descended the big rock, followed by the steps, and then the crack. Though the trek further was simple, it was tricky as the sand was slippery. (To tackle this problem, I have purchased a pair of trekking shoes.) We touched Prabalmachi and then shortly thereafter, landed on the base village. We boarded our vehicles, ate a couple of wadapavs as breakfast, and then began for home. What an incredible beginning to the year...

Watch the vlog:


Read: Kalavantin Durg Trek Travelogue Part 1

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