After a wonderful trip to Kaza-Spiti Valley, I had just got down at the Kashmiri Bus Terminal at Delhi when I received a ‘nearby’ notification on fb, from my best friend Nizam. That gave me a plan for my next trip. He was coming back from a trip from Ladakh. So, we decided to leave Delhi together. We got our tickets and was soon on our return journey from Delhi. But my mind wandered to Harihar Fort which I had been longing to visit for a while. When I told Nizam about it, he wasn’t interested because he had an important meeting back home. Though he suggested that we must go on another day, I had already decided I wanted to see the Fort before I went back home.
When the train reached Panvel railway station, I got down from the train and boarded another train to Nasik in the evening. I spent my night at the Nasik railway station since I had to save money for the trip. The railway station had all the necessary facilities but I had to take care of my belongings because Nasik is notorious for its thieves.
The next day, I boarded an early train to Trimbakeshwar which was 36km away from Nasik. I asked the fellow passenger about Harihar Fort and he suggested to drop me on the way since too was going some where nearby. So, I got behind him on his scooter and started my journey through the road that cut through the lush green fields in the village. I felt rejuvenated after travelling through the scenic beauty of the fields and the fog covered hills.
My dear friend from train, dropped me at Nirgunapada. This place is 22km away from Trimbakeshwar. Though there is another trekking path from Trimbakeshwar to Harihar Fort just 13km away, the roads are too difficult to travel. Taxi-auto usually demand a high fare to go there. Since I could not afford to spend a huge amount, I decided on alternative routes. Mr. Sreelal who had dropped me at Nirgunapada had told me that I could board a bus there to Igathpuri. I left my bag and tent at the nearby teashop, wore my raincoat and started trekking.
We have go across the fields here before we enter the forest. Since I was alone, there was a mysterious silence all around. I kept walking for a long time without seeing a single human on the way. As I started climbing up the hill, it was drizzling and soon it was replaced by thick fog.
By the time I reached on the top I could finally hear sounds of people talking. It was only after I reached there, I realized that my path was not the main trekking route. The route I took was long yet different. The sight of waterfalls, the wildness of the woods all can make u feel more adventurous.
But the real adventure begins from here. The Harihar Fort was almost invisible to the eys due to the thick fog that engulfed it. One need to me extra careful with every step u take. It was drizzling again. The steps were slippery because of the trickling water from the top. I would suggest not to look anywhere down or sideways while climbing the hill since you might get scared. Take extreme care while climbing down too. It was raining heavily accompanied by wind before I could reach the fort. So, I had to hold on and wait for almost 10 minutes before I could continue my trekking.
There were five of us trekking to the top. Although each one of us had a slight fear inside, we continued our journey, one of the told me their side of adventure; how they reached here. It seems they boarded a bus from Nasik to Trimbakeshwar and got down at some place near a hill which the conductor pointed out as the starting point. All of them got down at that place and kept walking towards the hill. On the way they asked a native man about the fort and continued their trekking. Soon they covered the fields and entered the forest. Though there were flags all along the way to show the signs, one of them suggested another route and they followed him for a while before realizing that it was not the correct route. So, they had to turn back. Since none of them had carried water bottles all were too tired to walk. There were people coming down from Harihar. Finally, they found a boy selling water and bought some bottles. The hill was too steep to climb but they somehow reached here.
Tus all the five of us continued our journey towards the top. The fort was on top of a steep hill. It took us 2 hours to finally reach at the top. Since there was no fog here, we could enjoy the stunning landscape seen from here. We spent almost an hour there before deciding to climb down. Getting down was again a herculean task. It took hours again to climb down the hill. Finally, we reached at the base and felt the glory of achieving something great. We bought water from the nearby shop and continued walking towards the bus stop.