Saturday 24 June 2017

Rajmachi - A Memorable Overnight Trek in the Mountains

Expectation Setting

-       Stumbled upon just for trek information/details?? Simply scroll down and go to the end, you shall find it.
-       Here to read this piece?? Scroll down to end and read the Disclaimers first before you start reading the blog J

17th June 2017 

Here to the start of season’s first monsoon trek; A trek which I have been waiting and wanting for more than a year now. But this time things were lil different. Am mostly a solo bagpack explorer, however for this trek I joined a wonderful group “Trek and Trails” for this amazing overnight expedition.

15 Days Before

Was desperately waiting for monsoons to knock my door but rain Gods were in no mood to oblige. While scorching heat of Mumbai was draining away my energy and zeal, I happened to stumble upon my fellow entrepreneur, a big time trekker Anand’s FB post which had mesmerising pictures of mountains with fogs and rains of Matheran in the background and Anand sipping tea, posing in from his tent. That was the last nail in my coffin and I decided - Rains or No Rains….dude am going.

A Week Before

I started checking with my handful of friends to know their interest in joining me but as usual and as expected all those cry babies said “NO”. Of course everyone had some or the other reason not to come. LOL LOL LOL. Discovered this group “Trek and Trails” and found that they are bunch of some enthu people inviting explorers like us to tag along for the treks. Being man of questions and my first probable trek with any group as such, I called them with lotsa pointers but settled down with the basics. Rajesh who supposedly was our Trek leader/Guide was a cool man and a man with solutions. #MuchNeeded eh…

A Night Before

Few of my buddies though not joining me but were equally enthu about my trek (Okay, that was bit exaggerated one. haha). To my surprise Pramod bought me my food supplies, Sam & Abhi got me other basic necessities and I was all set for next day. I love these guys :D Sam, Abhi and I went for a midnight drive to Nariman Point only to hog on famous Ayub’s Rolls and Caramel Custard; spent some quality time sitting by Marine Drive only to be back by 2 AM

The D Day

I was traveling to Lonavala for the first time by Train so I decided to catch this express train from the station of origin, which was CST. More because I didn’t wanted to take a chance on my seat that was most likely to be sacrificed if I boarded from Thane Station. Packed my bags, took a local train to CST and my excitement made me reach CST 1.5 hrs before the scheduled departure. Nevertheless, parked my bag and gears in overhead bin, grabbed a window seat in style and while crossing Thane thanked myself for taking this Stupendo Fantabuluos decision of boarding the train from CST. #SmartMe

Reached Lonavala Station – Our Meeting point

Reached the meeting point at lonavala station, found few similar dressed-up guys/gals and it took no time for me to realize these are my Trek buddies for 2 days. The first guy I interacted with was Shivam, an IIT KGP student interning in some company at Pune who reached Lonavala 2.5 hours before the scheduled meeting time. Must say, Super Enhu wala Launda. It was a mixed group of students & working professionals; boys & girls; First timers & usual trekkers. Our trek guides Rajesh and Prasad gave us 10 min to do whatever we want before we start our journey. It started raining heavily at lonavala, Shivam and I grabbed a cuppa hot tea, bought few extra sets of batteries while others were busy collating their stuff and satisfying their hunger.

Lonavala to Tungarli

I managed to get 4th seat in the autorickshaw to Tungarli, which was our starting point. 25 of us (23+2 guides) started the trek from there at 6:00 Pm post one liner intro and self-counting which made me remember my school days #nostalgia #Iknow

Enroute Tungarli to Lonavala at Night (Pic courtesy - Kaustubh)

Trek to base village of Rajmachi

With tons of excitement we all started ascending towards base village, it was pitch dark and only life saving instrument was our torches. Because of dark night we were not able to see though the landscapes much but that didn’t lowered our zeal to march 17Km. Chitting & chatting, laughing & singing and knowing each other while marching we were enjoying our journey. Halted at few points to be in sync while loading ourselves with food that we carried in our bags. Meanwhile at every 15-20 mins we were replenishing our energy with water/GluconD/Enerzal or whatever. Kaustubh aka “Go Pro wala” was busy in taking pictures and videos whatever he could manage to capture at night.

One of our talented Trek Guide Prasad played a beautiful piece on his mouth organ J while we were resting a while regaining some energy

Deadly Snake (Pic Courtesy- Prasad)

And then we encountered few deadly snakes on the way. People started screaming “Mummy“ “Mummy” (in fear or ummm may be excitement) Meri bhi  faat li Boss. The one thing am dead scared of are snakes. Gosh… We survived, torch saved us. I screamed at the guys “Cheedo maat usse ..… jaane do” and it slowly went in to the wild after lot of halla bol. We thanked God and the Snake of course and further moved on.

Carrying each other along, caring for fellow trekkers, extending helping hand to cross the slippery muddy path, overcoming this reptile fear in the darkness, motivating each other to keep moving created a great bonding among erstwhile strangers.  I talked about my previous deadly yet amazing treks and my next year’s plan for The Mt Everest Base Camp, Prasad shared his mountaineering experiences and we reached Rajmachi Base village at 11:00 PM.

Our Village Stay (Pic- Kaustubh)
 Night at the Rajmachi Base Village

Our stay was at one of the house in the village where we crashed dead tired. To make the group lil more interactive Prasad took an initiative and we started our introduction again (in detail this time) After freshen-up, we all hungry bunch of people attacked the lip smacking food followed by Sewaiyyan (my favorite), all local Maharashtrian cuisine made with lot of love by the villagers. After food, few guys moved out for a walk and rest of them retired to bed in a dormitory style next to each other creating more bonding and intimacy. LOL again. However, there was this notorious yet happening another group next to our base singing and dancing till 3 AM; making us sleep deprived. But we managed to, at the end.

Our Village Stay (Pic- Kaustubh)
Fresh Day Starts

Rejuvenated we all woke up one by one, saw each other’s faces and realized the time has come to queue up…..ummm I hope you got that as where.......

I feel “The best bonding happens while you are either brushing your teeth together or standing in the queue at the toilet door” :p People were helping each other with water, toothpaste, Facewash and most importantly Paper Soap.. Hahahahaha… “Bhai bahar kaab niklega… Kitna time aur” “Zara paani do na” etc etc was in the air. Finally within 2 hrs we all managed to get ready for the next extravaganza after relishing Poha and Chai for breakfast

Trek to Shrivardhan and Manaranjan Fort

Our group started marching towards the Fort, which was at quite some height and had lot of climbing/hiking involved. It was mixed of lil rain and sun. I somehow got detached from the group right in the beginning and lost my way eventually. I could see guys screaming and all shit but couldn’t find a way to reach them. After 20 mins of moving towards wrong direction found a local guy who guided me to the right path. So, I was (20+20 = 40 mins) behind my buddies and had no idea if I could make it all alone to the fort. There was a point when I thought lets chuck Fort & get back to the village instead. But my conscience was not ready for that; it wasn’t me who will fear the challenge. “Lakshya to Paana Hai” played in my head and I started ascending all alone with immense self-confidence, motivation and aim to conquer the Fort(s)

Serenity (Pic courtesy - Prasad)

Encountered few dreadful snakes, notorious monkeys and mongoose on my way to the top. They were like “Gotcha alone, it’s our time now to screw you buddy” Hehehehe… In between, there was a beautiful old Kal Bhairov Mandir that was actually a common assembling/originating point for Shrivardhan and Manaranjan Fort, however both the Forts have different routs from here. I took the Srivardhan route first.

I was real quick in reaching the top; thanks to my endurance, enerzal drink and quest to catch-up with my fellow trekkers. Finally, found them at the top busy clicking pictures and enjoying the serenity. We too clicked customary pics in different poses, captured the moments and view for memories, took deep breaths, hopped on from point to point and celebrated our accomplishment

Picture says it all (Pic courtesy - Prasad)

The Cave
Our Trek Guides Prasad & Rajesh were happy to see me finally and Prasad decided to walk with me this time eliminating any further chance of detachment. Shivam filled his bottle with Fresh Mountain water from a cave and we moved on.

After enjoying the moment up there, we all descended to Kal Bhairao Mandir, relaxed there and refueled ourselves with Lemon Water.

Prachin Kal Bhairav Mandir
Kaka serving us Lemon water. Posed for this pic :)
Trek to Manaranjan Fort

Out of 25 people, we 14 (Dare Devils OR Special 14) decided to trek to Manaranjan Fort as well. Rest of the guys decided to rest at the Mandir for sometime and then descend to the base village. Special mention for the girl - Mansi for making it all while she was dead tired after the first trek.
Trekkers on the roll
Nothing stopped us in conquering Manaranjan fort, which gave us huge sense of accomplishment. Out of the entire trek, Manaranjan Fort was the most memorable one. We also found ruins of ancient Temple and Shivling at the Fort. Prasad made us pose weird and took amazing pictures, which will be cherished life long.  Special Mention for Rupali for singing a beautiful song for us, she has got such a mesmerizing voice. Have a look at the pics here :-

Selfie by Prasad (Our Trek Guide)
The Special 11- At the Top of Manaranjan Fort

DareDevils 14 at Manaranjan Fort

Pic Says it all - Sense of Accomplishment

Descending via Karjat-Kondane
Back to Base Village And Descend via Karjat (Kondane Caves)

Dead tired we descended to base village, relaxed a while, mingled with rest of the people and had local lunch including chowli and bhakri. Now was the most difficult task to descend from Rajmachi to Karjat via Kondane. It was more than 5 hrs of tiring, dangerous, difficult and steep descend. We all bucked up and started the show. 
Kondane Caves. Idiotic Picture I know :p
 This descend witnessed few trekkers slipping here and there, crying in pain, overheard few of them saying this is my last trek, few cursing their fellow friends for bringing them on here and what not. Amidst all these, motivating each other, with few rest over stops to regain energy, we made to the Kondane Cave where we clicked pictures and then quickly moved on for Karjat as it was getting dark. Finally we reached the dropping point with pain, blisters yet big smiles on our faces and of course sense of achievement. From dropping point we left in TumTum to Karjat station and then dispersed after having Ganne ka Juice.   

End Note

In this entire trek I really admire the endurance level of 2 girls namely Moulshri and Prachi. They were rockstars and were leading descend from the front.
I got my 2 new trek buddies Shivam and Kaustubh for forthcoming treks.
What an Amazing and memorable trek it was J Many more to come…


- If you can read Chetan Bhagat then definitely you can read this blog too AND if you don’t read him, why not give a try to this blog :p you won’t be that disappointed.

- A bit lengthy read; being a storyteller, my style of writing is also more in a story/script format. I love describing every bit of the event because that’s what events and memories are for… right?? Making you Nostalgic and you wanna read it again and again.

- Also, because I want my fellow readers to get engaged, relate to & feel the trip while reading up, as if they were a part of it already. Somewhere this may also motivate you to plan your trip with your loved ones or just GO FOR IT SOLO.

- This blog is written section wise, so if you find it lengthy and not worthy enough to read as whole, you may choose your sections to read while skipping the rest

- Thanks for stopping by J Enjoy your read (GrammarNazis please pardon me)

- Do not forget to leave a comment in the comment box at the end. Share if you care :)

Information, Statistics and How to Reach

Rajmachi Village has two Forts, which were built by Great Shivaji during 17th Century. The Forts are namely Shrivardhan and Manaranjan Fort

-       Height – 3600 Ft (Approx)
-       Grade - Medium
-       Take a train from CST/Dadar/Thane to Lonavala. Pune Guys can also take any train that stops at Lonavala. Its hardy 2 hrs each from Mumbai or Pune. You may also drive down to Lonavala.
-       Lonavala to Rajmachi base village is around 20KM via Tungarli
-       Lonavala to Tungarli is a motorable road and it is 3-4 Km from lonavala station. There is no parking at Tungarli though.
-       Tungarli to base village of Rajmachi is a rough patch but still motorable if you wish to drive. Its about 17 KM from Tungarli. Advisable is to trek to relish the beauty. Trek time 4 hrs approx
-       Tungarli to Rajmachi is no hiking and mostly nature trail of 17 KM with serene views and landscapes with lotsa fireflies
-       Rajmachi is the base village for Shrivardhan and Manaranjan Fort
-       You may choose to stay at Rajmachi village in villagers house at nominal cost including dorm bed and food.
-       Trek to Both the Forts are at least 1.5 hrs each with moderate level of climbing/hiking
-       Both the Forts have beautiful camping sites so you may carry your tents if you wish to camp and bonfire
-       You may choose to descend from Rajmachi to Lonavala if you are tired enough not to take Karjat trek route.
-       Enthusiastic trekkers may take the Karjat route to descend via Kondane Caves/Village, which will lead you to Karjat station further. Duration of the trek is 4-5 hrs with Medium+ grade and requires good Endurance

Must Carry

-       Good trekking shoes
-       Torch with extra set of batteries for overnight Trek
-       Enerzal powder mixed in 1 ltr bottle with 1 extra bottle of water
-       Adequate Food supplies & Energy bars
-       Rain coat, Dry clothes & only BagPack/Haversack advised
-       Rest of the stuff you already know

You may also like reading  Prabalgadh - A Beautiful Trek in the Monsoons 


  1. You have wrote this very well. It was fun reading it from start to finish. I agree with Wht you said on describing every small things happened as those may become nice memories. Way to go NM...Cheers!!!

    1. Thats so sweet of you Abhimanyu :) thanks for this morale boost up. Many more to come

  2. With many thanks to Prasad (for srnding the link) I appreciate The originality of scripting this. I really followed the instructions and completed reading the blog 'endnotes' first.
    I liked the way to put across the things in a story form. And I also liked the contents in minute details. Actually it is serving both types of readers. Those who want to show that they are in it and also those who really want to do this trek.
    Well done Kranti Agrawal. Well done Prasad

    1. Thanks a lot sir. Really glad that you liked it :) and yes Prasad is undoubtedly an awesome guy :) Many more to come..

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  3. The description is great. I'm glad you are documenting it so intricately. My mind now confuses all the treks I have been to. If I had memoirs like these it would be great to relive them. Also the use of language is purely honest. Keep writing and document all your adventures.

    1. Thank you so much for the appreciation :) infact I started writing just to preserve these beautiful memories and relive whenever I want to. A nostalgia feeling.

  4. Great work Kranti. . .with so much information and beautiful pics (some cr goes to me as well :P) .Got all the memories of Rajmachi Trek. It was an amazing experience :)

    All the best for ur next treks!

    1. :) thanks buddy. Yes, indeed it was an amazing one.. many more to come

  5. Your blogs are always inspiring and informative.I felt thrill and adventure while going through this blog.wish yo be part of such treck in future.keep moving on new heights Kranti...Lots of love and wishes

    1. Thanks a bunch Ravi :) thanks for all the appreciation and love

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  7. Hey, this blog is awesome. Specially you mentioned the trek route details and more which will help not only for trek lovers but also for who willing to start trek first time. I like your curiosity while doing trek. Keep writing... All the best...:-)

    1. Thanks Prasad bhai :) you too were awesome. Many more to come.

  8. U always do something new mamu and this trek is one of its part so unique,so adventurous and so amazing,wanna go for this once in life and will love to go through all those amazing experience through which u had gone

    1. You are always welcome :) thanks for liking and commenting :)

  9. Feels I trekked with you Kranti :-)