All those who are active in trekking around Pune are fascinated by the idea to reach Sinhagad from Katraj side. It is said that this trek should be done at night time during the summer. The moon light guides us. It takes entire night to complete the trek. Once we start the trek, we come out from either Katraj or Sinhagad. No escape in between.
Location and Getting there:
Take a PMT bus to Kondhanapoor from Swargate depot on Satara Road. This bus climbs the Katraj pass by old route. There is only one tunnel on the route. As soon as the tunnel is passed, we can request the driver to stop and get down. There is a small bungalow/quarter just outside the tunnel. A path climbs from the left side of the tunnel. Soon it reaches one very old Banyan tree. There is a temple beneath the beneath the tree. This is where the trek starts from.
The trek is nearly 15-16 kilometers. We have to climb 10-12 hills on the way. The hills nearly one third of the height of Sinhagad maybe. So it is a heavy trek. Alternatively, we can circumnavigate each hill. This way, we do not have to climb much. But we will have to walk a lot. And there is always a danger of loosing the way.
7:00 AM Started the trek
The leader had asked us to reach the Swargate bus stand by 6:00 AM. Finally nearly 20 of us had reached. It was drizzling. The bus started around 6:30 AM in the morning. I wondered what kind of rains would we encounter on the way to Sinhagad. Within half an hour, the bus dropped us outside the tunnel of the Katraj Ghaat.
Quickly we climbed from the left side of the road and reached the temple and the tree. We had the breakfast of patties. After a quick round of introduction, the leader gave guidance and set expectations for the trek. Some of us were coming for the trek for the first time. I was amazed by one elderly woman - a practicing doctor. She had done lot of treks earlier. For the last 5 years, she had stopped. And throughout the trek, she never lagged behind. She was always with the leading pack. On the treks, these kind of people inspire. Amazing stamina and amazing fitness.
Around 7:00 AM the trek started. Along the route, we met one group. They were preparing for a competition from Katraj to Sinhagad. All of them were collage girls with one teacher.
All hills at a distance wore green. On one side, we can see Pune city. On the other side, there are several hills. Soon we pass above the new tunnel. The wind was blowing strong. The constant wind made the grass incline on one side. It was drizzling intermittently. There were no birds, flowers, insects. Only green grass at a distance. All along the route, we could not see Sinhagad. Finally, we did not see it even when we were very near to it. It was immersed in the clouds.
After walking for nearly 6 hours now, we were hungry. It was raining heavily. We took out lunch in heavy rains. After resting for some time, we started. Now the speed was reduced.
In the next one and half hours, we reached the tarred road. The ascent on the right side takes to Sinhagad top. The descent on the left takes us to Kondhanapoor village.
It was half past 3 PM. Some of us started to have pain in their legs. A couple of them pulled all the way somehow despite knee pains, cramps. They did finish the trek. Hats off to their spirit. What else they could do?
It took us nearly another hour to reach Kondhanapoor village. The road was very scenic. It had rained heavily. All the fields were filled with rainwater. Rice was being planted.
Finally we got the bus to Swargate. It dropped us at Swargate by 5:00 PM. Thus ended one of the most rigorous treks.