Harischandragad : Kokankada
This world is having loftier mountains, high peaks but I have my own. And that is Kokankada of Sahyadri. All trekkers who are in love with Sahyadri and Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at least visit this sacred place once in their lifetime.
Even though the monsoon has to be over as per the calendar this year it lingered a lot. And we got a chance to witness the play of thunderstorms, rain, fog and sunlight In a day.
Gushing streams were feeding the dense valley of Mula river and waterfalls drenching the green carpet of the mountain. On the auspicious day of Vijayadashami we trekked to the Harischandragad . Everyone in the plains were celebrating with marigold flowers ; we prefer to celebrate the blooming of Sonki , Ranterda and neumerous wildflowers.
These wildflowers blooms in billion number only in the Maharashtra Sahyadri. Especially Nashik, Ahmednagar and Pune regions are having major share due to particular geography .
On a personal level the trek was moderate. Usually three of us travel together be it a road trip, citywalk or mountain treks. This time was also no exception. After a long time we did trek to Harischandragad. This is know for it’s vast mountain pleatue and treasure trove of plants. The forest boasts of wildlife also. The state animal of Maharashtra Shekaru ( Giant Squirrel) is the resident of this region.
But beyond all of that what brings people like us here are a few points like Shiva temple, caves , vast open space and Kokankada. All of that combined together makes it irresistible. We have lots of friends from our old days at Bhandardara. So stay was not matter of worry. currently there are couple of locals who arrange stay in Karwi huts / tents and local food. If you plan to bring yours then staying in the cave is also a very good plan.
Coming back to our adventure the day one was spent in driving in the heavy downpour along with thunderstorm.
We were late due to that it was getting darker. So we prefer to stay in Baban Bhangre ( Baba) hut at Kothala. He is a gem of a person who know the sounds of forest and a true conservator of the sacred groove of his village. Staying in his cozy hut rewarded us sound sleep under the godhadi ( handmade blanket from old sarees and cotton) by Aaji ( granny) . Our friend Dhaku ( his son) was not present but we made it our home for the night and left next morning to Pachnai.
The whole atmosphere was charged with the fresh air, dew drops everywhere and the soft glowing light. The night before rain and temperatures created it’s magic by floating clouds into the valley. Driving through them was an experience where the dark side was oozing blue light of morning and the side where sun was shining was glowing yellow.
With sumptuous breakfast at Bhadri’s joint we started climbing up towards our destination. Wildflowers were now everywhere in sight. With the rising sun sweat was also trickling but our spirits were high. By the way the trek is approx 1 hour 30 minutes from Pachnai side . From Kothala / Khireshwar it is somewhere around 4 to 5 hours. This side is slight steep yet manageable. Other two side starts with ascend from the dense forest and most of the trek via long meadows. Indeed a pleasure to see glory of the mountain flora.
We took our own sweet time to explore surroundings , take photos and relax into the streams. Trekking with family gives more time to have fun together and also a good excercise for all. We always like to spend more time outdoor with Anagha and show her the geography in reality.
This time nature was in full bloom. So I was little bit more crazy to walk more and shoot a lot. Cool breeze floating over the forest and Sonki flowers was a delight to watch. Also the tick Karvi cover was giving a green carpet look to the mountain pleatu.
Even the sacred pond ( Pushkarani ) was overflowing with the crystal clear water . The taste of it is really very sweet and full of micronutrients that we hardly get in the plains. Now the beautiful sculptures are gone from the chambers yet it still looks very beautiful. Such a well thought architectural marvel created for monks and common citizens. Patrons in the past really had a welfare attitude in mind .
Harischandragad is a sacred and spiritual place we had an opportunity to show our daughter the temple of Kedareshwar where Shivalinga is submerged into the icy cold stream water. The cave where it is located oozes blissful silence. And the intricately carved Harischandreshwar temple was also a delight to eyes and soul.
Harischandreshwar temple That is still standing strong after centuries living with the elemental forces. The most noticeable thing is it is carved from the really tough volcanic rock That is hard to sculpt as compared to the smooth marble stone .
After all so much natural beauty we had to turn our feet towards to most anticipated moment. And it was our beloved Kokankada. The cobra shaped cliff facing towards the Kokan and taking heavy army of clouds head on from how many million years ?
Spending an hour by the cliff side was also like a few minutes. Watching the drama of climbing clouds on the cliff walls was really a sight worth experiencing. A tip for you if you ever visit the Kokankada. Come here anytime of the day or night this place will enchant you for sure . An irresistible theatre of nature indeed. Just stay safe. Because you may fall in love with this natural wonder.
Our time was done here and we were supposed to leave back. Time flew like a butterfly from one flower to another.
We will come again in some another season. Nature will have her own new drama on the same set. I feel the insane desire within all of us calls again to a place like this when we come here first time. Time and again people come here and go; but the memories never fade away.
One may believe it or not but spiritual power exists and it’s in nature. It can heal anything. We just need to be receptive so that the power enters within us. This place is a doorway to that power. This the reason our ancestors dedicated their lives to create beautiful caves, temples , ponds so that people should come , meditate, celebrate nature and go back home charged to do something good for themselves and the society.
A request to future traveler and seekers this is paradise incarnated. visit it for sure but while coming back leave no trace . So that your future generation can drink the same water to rejuvenate, camp under the clean sky and wander into the clean forests. It’s a gift to mankind given by the Mother Nature.