Trek to Tungareshwar
19th July 2009.
Participants: Pawan, Rakesh, Anil, Anand, Nilesh, Harsh and Diggaj
I had actually planned to go for mountain biking at Tungareshwar on Sunday. Since my friends had planned to go for swimming at the same place, we all decided that we will do some trekking and later on then go for swimming at one of the waterfalls.
Early morning at around 6:45 am we all assembled in our area. Anand and Nilesh planned to reach the base village by their motorbikes with Harsh and Anil while the rest of us took a rickshaw directly to the base village. We all gathered at the base village and started our trek at around 7:30 am. At the start there is a small stream crossing our way with moderate water flow. The stream is quite shallow that people manage to cross even with their vehicles.
After trekking a bit further, we came across two more streams. These streams only flow during the monsoons. After crossing the third stream, we saw the route getting divided; one going to the right and one to the left. We took the left route which led us to the holy shrine of Tungareshwar Temple. During the monsoons, on the way we will find lot of waterfalls some big and small passing along the route.
It takes around half an hour to reach the temple from the base village. This place gets crowded especially on weekends and on prominent days with picnickers and pilgrims. Since we reached early in the morning, there were very less crowd.
After reaching the temple area, we found a route on the right side which seemed to us leading to the top of hill. With curiosity, we asked a local old man about this route and he said that this route will lead us to the hill top (which we could hardly see as it was covered with mist) and that there is also an Ashram of Sadanand Baba at the top.
Since it was just 8:00 in the morning, we had ample amount of time left. So I and Anand suggested that we all will explore a bit at the top. We all continued to trek in the search for ashram and the mists covering the hill top, unaware about the distance or time it would take us to reach the same. Initially, we had thought that we will wind up the trip by 12 in the afternoon, therefore nobody had carried water or eatables except Pawan, who had two packets of Chakli in his backpack.
The path or route is very clearly paved passing through very thick forests. The route is quite wide enough for people to bring in their vehicles and it is very unlikely that one would miss the route. After gaining some height, we were welcomed by some strange and nasty jungle flies (blood sucking ones) which accompanied us all along the way till the top and also ensured that we do not take any breaks in between and cool our muscles.
Now, nearly trekking for around 2 1/2 hours, we found on our way a small waterfall with crystal crystal water. Since the water was quite clean and in a condition to consume, we all drank to quench our thirst. After taking some rest near the waterfall, we proceeded further in search of the ashram. After reaching the plateau we found a small path (leading to the right side) apart from the main route. This route led us to the Tungareshwar plateau which is at an elevation of approx 1800ft above sea level.
The top was very much filled with mist which restricted our visibility to 5 to 10 meters. After walking for 5 min or so, we found an abandoned tower hiding behind the clouds. We explored for some time around and some of us managed to climb the tower to get a glimpse of the whole plateau. But since the area was covered with mist, the visibility was quite poor and we even did not find any traces of the Ashram.
We thought that the old man down at the temple had fooled us about the existence of an ashram at the top since we did not encounter on our way up. Finally, we all decided to return back down by following the same way. Just after 2 min on our way down, we met two villagers approaching us. They had come to the top in search of some Ayurvedic herbs. We asked them about the Ashram and to our surprise we came to know that the Ashram is just within a distance of about 10 min away from the plateau. Since we all had trekked now for more than 4 hours, we all decided to turn our way back and started walking towards the Ashram.
We reached the ashram at around 12:30 in the afternoon and had a good refreshing tea made using some local herbs. After resting approx for 10 min a person from the ashram itself invited us for a lunch. The lunch was actually a surprise for us as we had not expected something like this in the deep jungle. After having a sumptuous lunch which consisted of rice, dal, etc., we proceeded to return back at around 1:30 pm.
It took us around 3 hours to reach down to the temple. We went to a local waterfall near the temple which was now already crowded with lot of people. Since Diggaj was very keen to swim, he set out to find a suitable spot. After spending some time swimming, we all winded ourselves by 6:30 pm.
We all started descending from the temple to the base village where Anand and Nilesh had parked their bikes. It was decided that Pawan, Diggaj and Anil will take and rickshaw back to home and others will return by the bike. Finally all of us managed to reach home by 7:30 pm.
Again an unusual and wonderful experience to end the weekend.