A Hike to Patta Fort #TWC

How many times, have you heard this voice in your head, “God, I need a break!”. And, how many times have you ignored it for lack of time and attention. Well, this familiar thought resurfaced and reverberated my overly preoccupied mind like a thousand gongs in a Buddhist Monastery. And this is notwithstanding the fact that my mind was already whirring with a myriad of thoughts about meeting deadlines, reaching targets and some unfinished presentations. And can you imagine, just the thought of a ‘break’ felt like a whiff of fresh air invigorating my tired soul completely.
When a page out of your daily life starts looking a tad boring with the routine of work, it’s time to sweep aside the files from your office desk. It’s time to look beyond the Calvin & Hobbes screen saver on the workstation and time to pick up the phone and dial in Odati Adventures (www.odati.com)

After my dear hubby also willingly gave in, a break was unanimously decided (with both of us voting it could not get more easy). With a long leave ruled out, the only break possible was a weekend. Away from the maddening crowd, 9 to 9 routines, traffic snarls, asphyxiating pollution and everything the Mumbai city has become synonymous with nowadays, we decided to reach out to the greens.

Jayesh Morvankar, a friend, is the founder of Odati Adventures, a terrestrial based adventure outfit. He gave up a plum career in the field of advertising and media and started this in the year 2000. He organizes treks, hikes, water rappelling, cycling and heritage walk over weekends for “people who need a break” and adventure enthusiasts. Also, he arranges half a dozen long treks spanning 15-20 days in the Himalayas, Arunachal, Uttaranchal, etc. annually.

I had been with his group for a hiking trip quite some time back, introduced through an office colleague. It was a fantastic experience and I had been waiting to get into my trekking sneakers once again. Well, I knew the time had come.

The weekend was scheduled for a hiking trip to Patta Fort near Igatpuri a perfect solution for our frayed nerves and jagged mind. Both of us were delighted with the destination and got all excited like kids in anticipation of their forthcoming picnic.

Finally, the day arrived.

Patta fort is three to four hours’ drive from Mumbai depending on the traffic situation. So, after leaving Mumbai at 7.30 in the morning on a Saturday from Bandra Station and picking up co-hikers along the way, we managed to reach the base camp of Patta village at around 12.30 noon. The route is via Thane then Kalyan and then on to the road that goes to Nasik up to Igatpuri. The road journey was pretty uneventful altogether. The range of Sahyadri, starting from Igatpuri is also recognized as the range of Kalsubai. Towards the western side of this range we can find forts like Alang, Madan and the Kalsubai Peak. Towards the eastern side of this range the forts like Patta are situated. There are two different routes to climb the fort. The one which we intended to take was the moderately easy route which starts from Patta wadi, which is the base village of this fort. Apparently, Patta fort is this flat plateau on top of the mountain where the wind blows wildly almost knocking you off your feet.

After freshening up from the 5-hour car ride, we collected our camping gear and started lugging it on our backs. The gear included the tents, packed food, clothing, water bottles, sleeping bags, etc. to be carried all the way up the mountain where we were to pitch our tents for the night.

The upward climb was to be not more than three hours and just perfect for both of us (husband /wife team) who were just getting into the hiking mould, unlike co-hikers who seemed seasoned. So, with brimful of enthusiasm we began our journey that was interspersed with singing, joking, interesting anecdotes, etc. It was an eclectic group of 13 odd people from various professional streams such as IT, Stock trading, Journalism, Film-making, Finance, Media, etc. all meeting for the first time.
On the way to the top, we came across huge windmills being set up by an energy business behemoth to make the most of the windy place. It took the wind out of us as the tall structures almost overpowered our tiny frames. I must also add that all the way up our hike, we had a few strange escorts. The orange colored crabs provided us constant company all through our upward climb. And we ensured we didn’t step on any of those tiny creatures.

We reached the top of the hill, huffing and panting, fighting for breath, thinking hey man, what have we got ourselves into. But one look down the mountain, and we realised how wrong we were. What a breathtaking sight we had all around! A vista view wherever our eyes could see. Lush green meadows with tiny streams enveloped by a pack of mountains and laced with green trees all across. The overcast sky provided an ideal setting for us hikers to make the most of the breezy environs. Being in the throes of monsoon, we were all geared up for the thrashing of rain but alas, it was not to be. Though it was fairly windy, it didn’t rain that. Sigh!


After reaching the top, we found a nice green flat patch to settle for our much delayed lunch. While the meal was being cooked on the makeshift gas stoves we played Dumb Charades, and what a hilarious time we had. My tummy still aches remembering the hilarious time we had that day. The noodles and chai was our lunch not forgetting the biscuits. With a voracious appetite built after the climb, we resembled hungry demons out to devour anything in sight. We washed the utensils/spoons under a small stream and collected the waste in a garbage bag that we kept with us through the hike ( an eco-friendly advice).

We resumed the walk to the end of the plateau where we came across a temple built many years before the Great Warrier Shivaji ruled this part of the country. Also, found a granary where the fort used to store all its food grains to protect the inhabitants in dire situations. We were enthralled by the many discoveries especially since it was an old structure dated many centuries. We also came across various ponds and water bodies on the fort that are still being used for drinking, bathing and washing.

The walk to the end of the plateau culminated towards late evening and by then it was time for us to start pitching the tents. Once the tents were pitched, we all ganged up and sat around in a circle on the flat meadow.


Then as it was turning to dusk, one after the other each one started coming with ghost stories experienced by self or imagination. It was frightening and at the same time funny. As stories were being regaled, someone from the group suddenly saw a dark figure lurking in the background. All hearts relaxed once we realised that it was just a shrub dancing in the wind. Once again, one of us thought, she heard a roar of a panther far away, and everybody just froze that moment. But then we comforted each other saying it can’t be one since there are no panthers these sides of Maharashtra. And guess what! It turned out to be the airplanes making a roar while flying through the grey clouds above our heads. It appeared funny to all of us only when our doubts were finally laid to rest. And then after dinner which meant dal khichdi and rosgullas we decided to call it a day. Finally, we hit our sleeping bags in the pitched tents.

Getting up amongst the greens is just some experience and answering nature’s call is something else altogether. Let me not specify the details but one important tip to hikers is to drink lot of water.
We woke up to a windy morning with a beautiful mist all around and a light drizzle caressing our face. It was a heavenly sight indeed! After soaking in the atmosphere lasciviously for an hour or so it was time for us to hike down to the Patta vadi. Our hike down was through slippery red soil, green moss and treacherous narrow paths thanks to the light drizzle but all the same it was exhilarating.
Another tip to rookie hikers while trekking down is to completely trust your feet. Also, one must not sit when one can stand while walking down the steep inclines. That worked for me and my hubby, and we felt like pros once we reached the base that is the village at the bottom of the mountain.
Oh, what an experience it was, this hike to Pattafort!

Exhilarating because of the soothing sights, enjoyable because of the warm and friendly company and fulfilling and rejuvenating because we felt alive again! Being with nature over weekend can really do wonders to your soul. A last tip to Mumbaikars, don’t feel bad when someone tells you to “Go take a hike”. They probably mean well.


This entry has been shortlisted for Holidify’s Travelogue Writing Contest in association with Linger. The content and pictures may not be used without prior permission of the author.

Submitted by: Priya Wagle Awasare

The original post can be found here.



This post was published by Holidify.com

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