Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Visapur Trek

From the time we had been to Lohagad, Visapur was always on our mind. Maybe because we had heard that it is a little challenging than Lohagad (thus attracts less public) or maybe just because we had come so close to it that it had decided to pull us back to the summit.

So Visapur was planned a jiffy, and as usual we hunted for the best possible climbing route. Since we were already familiar with Malavli from our previous Lohagad trek, and the fact that there is ample parking at the base village Bhaje, we decided to drive down.

A valuable tip for any Sahyadri trek is to start as early as possible. In the monsoon, with overcast conditions you don’t need to worry about the Sun, but you can easily avoid the hordes that start climbing late. That feeling that you have climbed up, spent adequate and peaceful time on the summit, and encountering folks who are climbing up when you descend is rather good! Especially when you meet like a hundred, noisy, hormonally-driven kids who are climbing up after you've had the fort summit to yourself is just sublime!

Oh, but I digress. Just the way we had lost our route on the way up Visapur!

After parking at Bhaje and eating sumptuous breakfast, we started the climb to the Bhaje caves.
Bhaje caves
After looking at the Bhaje caves for 15-20 mins, we started the climb towards Visapur summit. You can find an interesting map for the various Visapur trek routes on this blog.
Visapur is on the left, Lohagad on the Right
Our route was a slight modification of the route that goes via Bhaje caves. If you look at the map, we took Route no i), and went along till we saw a summit but started traversing it towards Route no iii).
From the various blog posts, I had read that when you are going via this route, there are chances of getting lost in the forest. It is mainly because there are many pathways created by grazing animals and they appear as proper walking trails. The main tip everyone suggested was that take the route that ascends. After walking for a while when our route started descending a bit and we came across a densely covered path, we decided to go back to the place where we had seen some huts and ask for the right route. Fortunately, after walking back for some distance we came across a group who were climbing up and had taken a local guide to help them find a route. This chap took us right near the summit. If you see the map where Route no i) goes close to the fort, is the place we climbed up. A little tricky, but thrilling route!
On reaching the top, it was the usual lovely weather where wind played with the clouds and all the natural elements lifted our happy spirits even more. The green landscape was strewn with lovely little white, pink, and purple flowers. We saw a few broken structures as well. There are numerous water tanks on Visapur.
While climbing down, as suggested by the local guide who had accompanied the other group, we found Route iii) (from the map) and started climbing down. This route was along a waterfall or should I say that it intermingled with the waterfall for about 20-25 minutes. There were broken steps and stones carried down by the waterfall. It was a bit tricky going down this route.
After a while, there is a detour where we had to leave the waterfall and traverse across the fort. Here we met about a 100 people climbing up!

On reaching the base, we got in the car and went straight to Hotel Siddhi and had an amazing lunch.
Lohagad and Visapur can be done in a day, but it’s better to keep them separate as each has its own charm. And try and go on a Saturday, especially if you are a small group, as a large number of people come here on Sundays.

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