Planned at 0730 hrs doom... became 0900 hrs. Yeah!! Can blame it to traffic due to Ganesha Visarjan, that VT people could not make it on time.
0900 hrs: Reached Panvel station, and we had to face the consequences. It was sunny outside, bright and shining sun was dancing on our head, though we were hoping for a cloudy morning for the clouds which showered last night. Anyway we had to move forward, we met at station, Me, Pooja, Bruh, Pranav, Mahesh and Aparna. We had an energy bar and kick started our journey to catch tum tum (yes, that is what they call it, an 8-seater auto like vehicle) to Karnala fort cum Bird Sanctuary.
- You will get tum tum from Panvel Bus Stand
- Charges - Rs.250/- flat, no bargaining, no sharing.
1000 hrs: Okay!! so it was a 20 min drive for 15 km distance, "thank you to No Traffic". Reached at 1000 hrs, at the counter, purchased our tickets to get entry.
- Ticket: Rs.20/- per adult, Rs.10/- per child.
- Deposit: Rs.200/- for any plastic carried during the trek (viz. wafers, bottles, biscuit packs etc.), counted and recorded. Money is returned on showing the same number on your exit.
1030: Get set go to Karnala Thumbs Up Mountain. The trail begun. No beautifully done steps or road kinda stuff, it's a jungle and one more thing, there are two ways to Mountain top - left and right, easy and difficult respectively, and we definitely chose the former :P
We were a midst thick forest, it was all covered with variety of tall trees, staring down at us; wild ferns, chirping birds, crabs and monkeys. There were roots all above the ground level, appearing as snakes and big big stones; which were our steps and big support for climbing up to our aim Thumbs Up - thumb shaped pinnacle, which is actually a volcanic plug. We kept walking, joking, clicking snaps and making fun of each other.
1145 hrs - MS 1: This was a beautiful flat, fine grass all over with a hint of yellow and green, perfect for photography with we sitting and posing in turns and wow, we had really traveled alot, things were so tiny down there. After a halt of 10 min we started again. Now, this was the tough one, quite steep @ 60 to 80 degrees and li'l slippery too (up-til here we had climbed on 40 to 60 degrees). The good thing was that it wasn't raining, but we ain't liking the sun either.
1215 hrs - MS 2: Met a few old chaps here. they were returning back from their trail, well hats off to their courage, which motivated us to go further. We were like, Yeah!! we can also do it. A few more snaps and we kept moving. After a few steps we again found two ways, one to left another to right, this time we chose the later "Right is always Right". A li'l later we found quite a narrow path, no two people can fit in, nor you have the luxury to dance and walk, on the edge one missed step and you will be feet below. Be careful!!
1245 hrs: We found a small bhavani temple, bowed our head and continued. The peak was quite near, and we were walking on the plateau, but now we had to climb up around 15-20 steps @ 70 to 80 degrees steep, both sides valley.
1300 hrs: Yay!! this was the entrance to the fort. Some more clicking, celebrating our achievement and realizing how much we really walked made our khoon paseene ki mehnat worthwhile.
- Mountain Height - 1538 feet
- Distance - Around 3.5 km
At the base of the pinnacle, there are some rock cut caves and water tanks which had the feel of Buddhism, it felt good sitting and resting there and enjoying the landscape from up high. We chatted, clicked snaps, had a round of fort and after passing some time there, started back for our way back.
1330 hrs: Going back was not so easy, specially the steep and high steps, that narrow path and slippery way. We all were quite tired but kept moving, wanted to reach down soon as we were running out of water and waiting & resting would have insulted our soldier spirit ;)
Steps after steps after steps; we watched our set Milestones (MS) passing by. Clicking was part of our way back too "Memories are always fun to watch". There were few more in the form of Bruh taking some purane janam ka revenge on my tiffin box, Pranav's hurt knee, Pooja's lost shoe sole and much more, and we never lost an opportunity to pull each other's leg.
1500 hrs: We reached down, had lemonade, kokam etc at the one and only small hut like shop at the end of the trail. Later we got our bags checked, got our deposited money back and took tum tum at 1515 hrs for our way back to Panvel for our respective homes. All were tired and faces appeared lifeless but with a small but effective hint of satisfaction and happiness on achieving what we desired to. It was indeed a fun, li'l freaky and memorable trek.
- How to Reach:
- To Panvel - By train or road.
- To Karnala - By tum tum (Rs.250/-) from Panvel Bus Stand (Panvel Railway Station to Bus stand - 10 min walking)
- Avoid wearing much ornaments. Better be safe then sorry!!
- Wear nice trekking shoes and comfortable light clothes.
- Things to carry: Food and water are not available inside, so carry along. Water @ 2 L per head.
- Climate: To be avoided during monsoons, best time to visit - October to March.
- Last but not the least leave by 1730 hrs, after all it is a jungle and you don't want a guest appearance for sure.
- Go with Lotza enthusiasm, stamina and come back safe. To check ours you can go to: Trek to Karnala - Thumbs Up Mountain.