What do we expect in monsoon – Rains! Water everywhere! Algae & mosses forming slimy cover on rocks! This was the first time, I started hating rain so much!
We, VRangers Group, started for Kulang late night by boarding 12.19 a.m. Kasara Local. As usual everyone boarded from their station in the second last compartment. I boarded from Thane, some from Vashi and some from Pune! Others from Thane. So a herd of like-crazy mentality of 27 members headed for Kulang. Unawares of the forthcoming adventure. I was in my own self, I guess even others didn’t anticipate the imminent nature’s treasure called Kulang.
All alighted from local after almost 2 hrs of Journey at 2.00 a.m. After a brief introduction round, we got in the available-arranged vehicles and we were off to Kurungwadi (Base village of Kulang). Since, it was not crowded, almost everyone rested except ruchir, who kept on rolling out his bollywood encylopedia to us i.e, Shilpa, Sheetal, Ishwari and me, who were seated in the back seat! He kept us entertained thoroughly while I tried to catch few winks! But every now and then, I used to catch some of his dialogues and used to blurb out few words and doze back. I guess the guys in the front seat all dozed off! Around 5.30 a.m. we reached Kurungwadi. Although, the place we alighted was not exactly the base! We had to get off and walk 1-2 kms in the early morning chilly rains that had been lashing out whole day and night everywhere and it had flooded the road that lead to the base. Luckily, some of them came well prepared with wind cheaters but unfortunates like me, Jiten and Rohan bore the harsh rains throughout the trek.
We shivered from head to toe and carried on till we reached the base in the evening on the same day. Even Ananda and Sudhir didn’t had the wind cheaters on! We were all drenched from head to toe for next continuous 12 hours. We were in the base village by 6.00 a.m. Ananda and Sudhir took us to a hut where they prepared the breakfast. Girls helped them out. Finally, hot poha and tea gave some relief to all of us who were already frozen because of ongoing heavy rains and winds. We started from the base towards Kulang, Initially we couldn’t see Kulang because of dense fog. As it was raining heavily and continuously no one dared to take out their camera including me. Slowly as we proceeded, we got the first glimpse of mighty Kulang and the adjacent Madangad.
There were many parallel lines of waterfall running on both the mountains. That was the sight to behold. Some of them managed to capture the beauty before it was again engulfed by fog. We started to ascend after crossing some water streams, trotting carefully! It was a gradual climb, till we reached the waterfall area. Then the battle with slippery rocks began. Many of them realized that their footwear was improper because it couldn’t hold the grip on the rocks properly and trek on Kulang mostly comprised of rocks. We reached the traverse after an hour. The traverse was to move towards the left side of the ridge. At this point, there was many photoshoots by our eminent models. As we climbed the other side we could see the multiple waterfalls in the form of thin lines flowing from top of Madangad to the base.
It was the ultimate sight to capture. Still in those drizzle, Pranav and those who dared to take out camera, managed to snap some shots. I stored that landscape picture in my mind and moved ahead praying that while returning it shouldn’t rain and I will capture it while descending. Walking through almost 5 feet dense vegetation of bamboo grasses, we had to keep our hands widespread to avoid getting hit on face by those grass blades while making a passage through them. One after other such patches kept cropping up in the plateau region. We were almost at the midst of the ascend. Then the actual thrill started with the slippery, dangerous rock steps where one had to keep their feet at proper place and no monkey business can be tolerated. Because one wrong step and you are down! Gladly, nothing untoward incident happened. I guess the members were too careful with their eyes wide open and feet carefully tucked in those grips. There were around 5 major rocky step patches and 2 minor ones in total. The riskiest one was the twisted one. The twist was such that the other side had deep valley and small rock cut steps. As soon as we finished one rock patch, I would see up to catch the sight as what lay ahead, would be greeted with fog, and I would assume that we reached, but as soon as the fog cleared there was another pinnacle daring us to cover it. This happened atleast 4-5 times, no wonder Kulang has highest climb in Sahyadris. Without letting the pain in the leg go to my mind, we all continued our march, finally we reached! Offcourse, we had too, it was quite windy at the top and since we were all drenched, we were literally freezing to death.
We all got in the cave, could feel some warmth. Had the usual boisterous lunch, ate whatever we could lay our hands on, at the end I felt pity on my stomach, as what all went inside, I dont know! I guess all felt same. Then after short break, and group poses, we started exploring Kulang. Since, the winds were literally blowing like storm, we could literally feel our feet off the ground. All scrambled helter skelter to hold onto something. I could feel the chill, deep in my bone marrows. Descending began soon after, the confidence with which I climbed,was all shattered, when I came across those rock patches. The shiver made it even more difficult to hold onto myself. I descended with help of Ananda at some places, rope had to be used at that twisted patch. And then there was Ruchir at some places, he had my camera in his bag, very nice of him to remove it and put it back again and again because the rain was playing hide and seek with us. Once these rock patches were cleared, rest was easy. I , Sandeep and Rohan started descending fast, wade through grasses, butt-trekked most of the patch, and we were at base by 5.00 p.m.
Offcourse we were bit lost and trekked whole village searching for that particular house, and all huts seemed same. Finally, Rohan got the path right and we reached our destination. And yeah, I did manage to click some pictures at that traverse for which I prayed LOL.
Kulang in monsoon- that’s a worth, life-time experience! And yeah, I have developed strange dislike for rains now.
Signing off for now 😀
Pics credit: Mine + Pranav + Amogh!