Monday, 8 September 2008

Garden of Eden Trek

Went to Khandala for a trek on Sat/Sun with MD, PV and BD. MD organised the trip (he's been there many times). MD and I caught a train from Borivali and met up with BD at Dadar, from where we took a cab to C.S.T to meet PV, whom I hadn't met before.

We caught an 11.00 P.M train from C.S.T. to Khandala. The general compartment was packed and we had to sit in a cramped uncomfortable space for 3 hours.

Reached Khandala station at 2.00 A.M and slept (or tried to sleep on stone amidst cold and mosquitoes) there until 6.00.

Since the Garden of Eden trail is just a few mins walk from the station, the group first had breakfast at a local place nearby as I watched the glorious early morning light reveal mountains that hide themselves every monsoon night.

When it was clear enough, we started off on our walk towards the trail, which leads from the precipice of a hill that borders the valley down into the depths of the valley itself. This being September, there was greenery everywhere atop the hill and throughout the valley, making this a golden photo opportunity.

We found the trail and began climbing down, into the valley. I have never encountered a trickier or more exhausting descent. I'm used to climbing up trails when I go trekking hills and forts, and then descending, which is always an easier process. This trail seemed to behave the other way round.

The descent was torturous, with interwoven streams of boulders and water that required work with all fours to negotiate. We came to a small clearing eventually (at around 9.00) where we braked, ate, rested and where I took many a photo. The group decided to continue down. I, exhausted, decided to go back up.

Before we continued on our opposite paths, however, a landslide took us unprepared. A series of rocks came crashing down unexpectedly from above. We didn't even have time to react. Luckily, none of the rocks managed to hit us, though one landed on one of our bags and one among us scraped his leg against one.

We reached the top of the trail (at around 11.00) quicker than we took to descend it (this is the first time I've found it easier to climb than to descend) and rested in the shade of a tree, sleeping and then eating before going back.

Took a rickshaw to the Lonavala ST depot and caught a bus to Sion, but not before buying some excellent walnut fudge.


Bits and Pieces said...

This is awesome Daniel! Why is the place called Garden of Eden though? Esp when there are no flowers or fruits around - just greenery, waterfalls, and more greenery?
You lead such a exciting life! :)

Daniel said...

Hmmm, I guess flowers and fruits mostly bloom and grow in April/May - that's their usual season, though it's way too hot to trek then.

An exception would be the Karvy flower, which blooms after the rains, at least once every 8 years, like certain sugarcane clumps. It only grows in some parts of India, luckily it's quite common here, and I'm going to see it soon.

Hey, you only live once, so try to have a blast!

Melvin Dsouza said...

Well said Danny Boy! If you live right, even once is enough;) Cheers. That was a memorable trip.
The Valley is known by many names: Ulhas Valley, Bootleggers Valley, Garden of Eden and Beetles Home amongst others...

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