Thursday, July 17, 2008

Trekking on Panhala Fort

Our visits to Kolhapur were never complete without a flying visit to Panhala. We used to leave for Panhala at about 5.00 pm , reach there in 45 min and drive directly to Sajja Kothi . Below at the entrance to Panhala , is seen the memorial for Shiva Kashid , who had sacrificed his life to help Shivaji escape when Panhalgad was under siege . After parking the car we used to walk towards the end of the cliff , see the picturesque terrain below , recharge the lungs with deep breaths of the fresh breeze and take snaps near a tree which has stood there strong over all these years and has witnessed Rahul and Supriya grow . As we near this place our eyes are always on a look out for this tree. This time we could not ask Rahul and Supriya to climb on top though they did make an attempt .Then we would walk back towards the sajja kothi , go up the stairs take snaps and come down and to the parked car. On the way back we used to wait at the stalls to snack on onion bhajjiyas , roasted corn and cups of ginger flavored tea . We used to reach back at Kolhapur by 8 pm . This was the routine followed almost every May end. We always used to plan to stay at Panhala and explore the fort on foot , but never materialized.

This year we planned it that way .We got the bookings for MTDC resort for the 16th and 17th May. As the check in time was 9.00 am I decided to reach and stay a day earlier at Kolhapur in 'our Opal Hotel '.We checked in at Panhala at 9.45 .After refreshing we decided to start our ' exploration ' On our way and near Tarabai Rajwada we saw the map of Panhala .Rahul and me clicked it and this became our reference map to route our way . When in doubt we used to zoom in ,study the map and proceed . We followed the road going towards the bus stand . On the way we saw a large lake where people were washing clothes and bathing . This scene is quite common anywhere in India -the hell with pollution and preserving beauty and history . As it was hot and dry in the afternoon sun we decided to return to the room and continue exploring in the evening. We decided to cover the south west part first . We walked to the Baji Prabhu Deshpande Circle first as that seemed to be the center reference point for us. From here we went towards the Hotel Hill Top area that covers places like Andhaar Bav ,Teen Darvaza and Ambarkhana . This place was crowded with tourists and had a lot of eating outlets as well as stalls . After snacking on 'onion bhajias 'and ginger flavoured tea we strolled on to a lovely garden dedicated to the memory of Shri Bhalchandra Pendharkar a renowned Marathi and screen personality of yesteryears,Teen Darvaza and walked back to the room .We then drove for dinner at Hotel Hill Top .

Next day we decided to explore the south east part. On the way we saw Dharma Kothi where history says that the poor were taken care of , then onto Kalavantin sajja ,below a view of sajja kothi as seen from the Kalavantin sajja area .It is said that Sambhaji , when imprisoned in the sajja kothi , could see the 'Kalavantins 'perform in the Kalavantin Sajja ,the ruins of which are seen below. We went down the road to the Shiva Kashid memorial and onto the plateau in the southeast . On the way we passed Parashar Guha ,a cave from the show but leading to a secret tunnel for a getaway to a nearby fort for soldiers in trouble . Next was Lata Mangeshkar's bungalow--originally belonging to Bhalchandra Pendharkar. Next onto the plateau from where we could see the ruins of the kalavantin sajja and sajja kothadi beyond . The view on the southern side was beautiful , a wide expanse of fields interspersed with villages. There was also some activities of construction -- like some star hotel coming up ---to destroy the natural beauty seen below from top . In the evening we decided to go to the north west part to see the sunset ,Sajja kothadi and 'Our tree ' . This will be in the next post

1 comment:

pavanmasvekar said...

After reading this and looking at pics, I feel like i m in home- Thanks bro.