On the Steeps of Dhak

It is Sunday and we are ready to jump on the wagon of another adventure. This time it is the caves of Dhak Bahiri in Karjat region of Maharashtra. Dhak bahiri are the caves situated in middle of the cliff of Dhak fort in Sahyadri Mountains. The caves are situated at around 2600 ft. from base village. There is also a temple of Lord Bahiri.
Dhak Fort
 
 
Start of Journey and Introduction.
 
Our day started with Journey from Dadar to Lonavala to Kamshet base village. As usual everyone was geared up and excited for the trek. Bus Journeys are fun. They are the window to get know the fellow trekkers. It works as an ice breaker. Here is the unusual bond that you form which lies between friend and companions in the trekking expedition. As usual routine follows with the game of Antakshri; singing songs loudly together is such a fun; followed by breakfast of ‘kande pohe.’ This breakfast I think can now be patented by Small Steps.
 
Reaching the base village near Kamshet, we had a small introductory session to formally know each other followed by trekking instructions. Trek leaders were Sagar, Rashmi and Prashant and even I was given the role this time of bridging the gap between groups. Branching out am I?
 
While trekking in the forest
 
 
Ascend and Walk-through Jungle.
 
The trek falls into medium category. With hills up and down one has to walk lot. The Jungle provides shade from long and high trees and coolness in sunny day.
The dense trees protecting from Sun.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A little rest
 
Climbing the hill one reaches a narrow gap which divides two hills; it is kind of gully.  The narrow opening descends into other side of hill. The thrilling and adventurous part of trek starts from here. It is a narrow opening in its literal sense even bags can’t pass; one has to throw them down. One could see scenic view of mountains situated far away in the ranges through gap. Well lots of pictures were clicked here as, one by one people were descending.
 
The Narrow Gully between two hills
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Descending through Narrow gap
 
Narrow Descend
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Narrowing into thrilling cliff
 
Descending through this we had to walk traverse on the edge of the mountain; a rocky patch of around 60 to 70 degree gradient.
 
Traverse on Rocky Patch.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Edgy Traverse
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Selfie on Edgy
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Leaning right we walked further and reached a small cave, here we put our bags and removed our shoes. As there is temple on the top we were advised to remove footwear. But as soon as we removed it, our feet started burning due to heat; the rocks had become hot in sunny day.  But we moved further and reached a point from where one has to climb vertically.
 
First Steep Rocky Patch, Vertical
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
No Hope Without Rope
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here rope is hanged for the support, and we had to climb by taking grip in the crevices of the rocks. The climb was quite steep and we climbed one by one. Another steep rock patch starts from here and we climbed narrow steps on the hill carved on the edges by taking support of rocks; ahead two logs of trees were kept closely held to each other. 
 
Traversing towards the Wooden Log
 
The wooden log sways preciously with rhythm of the person. One has to take support of it and climb them by putting foot on small branches, like a ladder, here also rope was hanging for the support, we clutched it and climbed up with the help of branch ladder.  The two steep rock patches were done.
 
Arrival at the top into caves. 
 
 
Panoramic through Caves
Selfies in the Caves
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Finally we arrived at the top into the caves. The caves are big and spacious and divided into compartments. A small temple of Lord Bahiri is built in the cave. There are two water tanks in the caves. Many people who had trekked and reached there were cooking food. Utensils can be found in the caves, people who come here offer utensils and keep in the caves. One can use it, clean it and keep them in the caves only. There is also a superstition that women are not allowed; but girls in our group came till the caves, villagers did not oppose. It is also said that Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj once visited these caves of God Bahiri Maharaj. 
 
We rested for a while and then cameras were out, selfies, DP’s followed with pictures of natural scenery that could be viewed from the cave. The mountains of ranges can be viewed in semicircular shape from here, which makes a spectacular panoramic scene. After a while we started descending.  
 
Descend through cliff 
 
The descend was more thrilling, as being on the edge we could directly look down into valley; the real importance of rope is while descending as one could say ‘no hope without rope.’
Climbing down the log
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Climbing down the rope
 
Climbing down the steep patches we walked to reach the caves where we had removed our shoes and kept our bags. Retrieving them we moved ahead to reach narrow opening between two hills. We had trekked quite fast, nearly in 2 hours we had reached the top. Ascending on the narrow gap, we walked further into the jungle, finding a spacious place in the shadow of trees, we had our lunch. The lunch from the start was carried by trek leaders, and rotated in the group. Chapati and aloo sabji re-energized us from the climbing and descend. 
Delicious Lunch
 
The climbing and descending of hills was exhausting and we were getting dehydrated quite often. But encouraging each other we continued and finally reached a beautiful pond at the base of the village.Here we freshened ourselves filled our water bottles, and walked further to reach where our bus was standing. 
 
The Pond at Base
Refreshing, and Refilling.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Back Journey.
 
Reaching the assembly point, we bought some refreshments, climbed into the bus put our bags and settled ourselves. It did not feel too exhausting to sleep; everyone engaged in conversations, songs, music and memories from the trek. As we reached Mumbai one by one we got down at our stops and bid adieu. Finally another Sunday spent on trek was worthwhile.
 
 
Back Journey
 
 
Trekking journeys form many bonds and relationships with fellow trekkers. Some bonds turn into friendship, some are just to make fun of each other, some are flirtatious, some form deep bond of trust with each other, some become codependent for treks. But we all are fellow trekkers; enthusiastic about such expeditions and there is a mutual feeling of accomplishment that only we understand after every journey.
 
Small Steps Adventures
 
It is a group founded by Sagar, Yogi, Sushant, Ravi, Prashant and Rashmi. The small steps adventures is a group, that take people on adventurous expeditions. The purpose of such expeditions is to refresh people from their mundane routine and bring out the excitement and enthusiasm hidden in them.
 
Technical Details
 
Fort: Dhak Baihiri, caves are situated middle of cliff.
 
Height: around 2600 feet.
 
Level: Easy and from cliff difficult.
 
Base Village: Jambhivali, district – Raigad, Region – Karjat
 
How to Reach: Private transport is preferable, otherwise Mumbai-
                         Lonavala-Kamshet; ST bus and further some local                             transport till base village Jambhivali.   
 

Distance: From Mumbai 140km, From Pune 60Km.