Thursday, September 1, 2011

Weekend Walkathon - Kanheri caves and S.G National Park

Winters are probably best time of the year if you are close to Equator. Especially in western part of India close to Arabian sea where the lowest recorded temperature is 9 degrees Celsius in 50 years record.

Here I am with another location which is probably all schools favorite picnic spots in Mumbai suburbs. Health conscious peoples healthy spot, Nature lovers naturally beautiful spot.

"S.G.National park and less published heritage site with 1000 years history but it has place in Incredible India locations. Kanheri caves."

Honestly I don't fall in category of people who are health conscious but I do sneak in the group sometimes.

Winters had already set on Mumbai so I and my friend Sam decided it was time to be health conscious, We decided to start walkathon weekends and what better place than National park. Even though its a mockery to be called National park but nevertheless it still falls in that category.

Meeting place was decided on the gates of park at 6.30am as we had taken yearly pass for 50 pink Gandhian. Here we started just like many who really take advantage of only park in heart of city where air is still fresh and free.

Walking on the straight road leading to Kanheri caves, Talking and discussing our journey in last 5 years since our days in Convergys.

Let me tell you that initial enthusiasm of walking can really evaporate faster than camphor if you don't really have the will in the heart but will can be easily gained when you see people around you kids, aunties, uncles following Johnny walker TM !!!! keep walking

First place of interest in the journey would be TRIMURTI - Digambar Jain's temple and resting place for their monks. 4-5 stories statue adorns the place.

Keep walking and you would find encroachment done by people who have build huts on the road. But then real fun sets in when you have trees and more trees and fresh cool wintery air.

We kept walking, on the way we found a group of ladies, girls, uncles in late 70s running, jogging, brisk walking  !!!! wearing white Tshirt. We came to know that this was the group who would be participating in Mumbai - Pune Marathon. Amazing !!!!

Sam and I telling each other "Sharam kar Sharam" Lol

Since we didn't have practise of walking we were already dehydrated within 30minutes but we were carrying enough water and Glucon D water to energise us again.

We continued our journey, on the way we found a sign board "Restricted area" and as usual we decided to explore whats in store !!!! found that its BMC water purification plant but we were not allowed in there for security reasons so we turned back on track to our destination.

After walking for almost one hour we reached a elevated road on hillock, trust me that was last thing we expected as we didn't really have energy to climb.But nevertheless we managed to reach starting point of Kanheri caves. In all it was walk of 1.45minutes from National park gate.

Checked some sign boards giving insight about the history of the place and were amazed that there are total of 100 caves which once upon a time was buddhist school and monks from various parts of India used to come to study and stay. Caves have amazing carvings done 1000 years back and still standing tall.

One such cave entrance is so beautifully cut from one rock that its actually a miniature version of world famous heritage site in Jordon - PETRA.
Not that the place was new to us but we were back at this place only after 20 long years !!!!

We decided to explore other caves and found each cave was perfectly planned chamber for person to stay, rain water collection tanks in each cave and beautifully carved steps to reach at the top.

Don't know how those people would have carved rocks with such planning and engineering skills 1000 years back !!!!! lovely..
Finally after inspecting each cave that came our way we finally managed to reach our summit at the top, View from here is so amazing with forest and trees down below and fresh air with sunrise making it more beautiful.

We sat there for more than 30minutes just meditating by closing the eyes.

Finally we decided to start descend back. On the way we found quite few people now,who had come to njoy their picnic or as tourist or like us on walkathon.

We came across some tribal girls were selling star fruit, cucumber which was really fresh and grown organically. We relished them all. We also came across lonely and only stall which was now open selling hot chai and vadapav.

Tea and vadapav combination is deadly tasty but after our one way journey it was all the more tempting to our taste buds.

So finally we started our walkathon back and reaching National park gates in turnaround time of 3hrs 30minutes which was not at all bad for new joinees to naturist club.

But let me tell you the best part was heritage caves sight and coming back after 20years was wonderful, taking our minds in flash back when we had come here as part of school picnics.

We decided to continue our weekend walkathon religiously at least on weekends and occasionally visiting new location of our interest else to get back here to get feel of fresh wintery air.

I still continue with walkathons ... occasionally turning lazy to get up early in the morning but still have kept it as part of my weekend must do !!!!

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