"16 kms Sahaydri trek and you see no fort,
Chhodna Yaar koi dusra trek karte hai "
Before I take you along with my journey. It's very important for you to know as to what is the background of this trek, what is the history connected with it. Out of the various battles fought by Shivaji most people remember the battle of Pawankhind perhaps because a very brave and courageous commander Baji Prabhu Deshpande lost his life or Battle of Sinhagad which Marathas won but with the loss of Tanaji Malusare, However in the same breath let me tell you that the Battle of Umberkhind was equally important in terms of the wealth that was added to Maratha Treasury and the manner in which it was fought and won.It was one of those battles which Shivaji himself lead and won.
It was the year 1659 when Shivaji killed Afzal Khan in Battle of Pratapgad and soon after that he appeared near Panhala Fort and defeated Rustam Zaman, alarmed by this rapid victories of Shivaji, Adilshah requested Mughals to send forces against Shivaji. Aurangzeb was the Emperor at that time , he sent his maternal uncle Shaistha Khan with a large force to crush Shivaji.Shaistha Khan deputed the job of crushing Shivaji to Uzbek commander Kartalab Khan who along with 30000 strong army marched from Pune.This time around the Mughals decided not to march openly because they wanted to surprise Shivaji instead Shivaji took them by surprise at the pass known as Umberkhind and attacked them from all sides.This battle too involved trickery and surprise especially the way Shivaji enticed Kartalab Khan to take Umberkhind Route by sending a false news that Shivaji is camping at Kurvande Village due to which he changed his plan and proceeded to this village thus walking into the trap setup for him.In this battle Shivaji was at the forefront with the cavalry and within 4 hours defeated the might troops of Kartalab Khan who accepted defeat and surrendered all their arms and baggage to secure safe passage. A lady commander Raibagan who fought from the Mughal side was released with honour , true to Shivaji 's policy towards women.Detailed History link of Battle of Umberkhind
Our Trek :
we all reached Lonawala station by 8.00 am and from their the transportation to Kurvande village was arranged. It was a 15-20 minutes journey to the Village. One has to just enter on the right of the main road into the village and the next sight is of this long INS Shivaji fencing you see.
|Fencing of INS Shivaji as seen at the start Point of the Trek|
there is a well marked trail for going up, on your left is the fencing and on your right you will see a big bunglow and few metres ahead one can see the GAIL gas pipeline, you must just keep climbing straight.It's more of a bullock cart road.
|First Look at the approaching Nagphani Hill|
As you are walking on this road you will be able to see Nagphani Hill on your front right side.Little more walking and you come across this kind of pass.
|Walk through the pass|
As you cross this pass you will notice Dukes Nose/ Nagphani on your right side, you must turn towards your left side as the route to right side goes toward the Nagphani Top or Dukes Nose.
|Just when you take left you can see the fencing at far end|
After turning toward left and with the fencing on your left side too, Keep walking straight on this lush green path,provided you are doing this trek in the monsoon. "Warna Greenery ki pakka koi guarantee nahi "
|Lush green paths to walk on|
Walking on this lush green carpet don't forget to turn around and have a look at beautiful Nagphani Hill. "Chal bhai ek baar peeche mud ja"
|"Chal bhai ek baar peeche mud ja"|
|Nagphani Hill or Dukes Nose|
The route from here onwards is basically trail walk kind of journey, Do stop here for few minutes to enjoy the beauty of nature, gaze at the lovely valley below
|Lovely Valley as seen from the Top|
and you can always have a closer look of Nagphani hill.The tall overshadowing hill.
|Have a closer look of Nagphani hill|
In monsoon this trek offers fantastic view of the Sahyadri beauty, mesmerising you with green splash of colours and not for a moment you feel tired or bored.
|Oh! How mesmerized I am by this beauty of nature|
Till now the whole trek is kind of trail walk.We were explained that the route that we had just walked on was lot broader in olden days than what it is in today's time. The reason could be that in those days it was a regular route unlike now when only the villagers or trekkers like us venture on these paths.
|Walking on the footsteps of Shivaji|
Despite being monsoon there was no sign of clouds or rains.The sun was hitting us hard, so the sight of stream even though small was refreshing.
|Refreshing water stream enroute|
and filled up our water bottles from this stream.I also took out some time for posing.
|First Sign of Village Life|
|Walk through this , and take left|
|We all rested for a small snacks|
After resting for 5 minutes we all moved , descending a little down on a gentle slope towards an open ground at lower level
|Descending down the gentle slope|
|Large plain ground|
So Shivaji and his troops took advantage of this situation, as one battalion which was following the Mughal troop till here hid behind the tree .Keeping complete vigil over the activities of the Mughal soldiers below and never for once the Mughal troop realised that they are been followed and in the meanwhile the other battalion had spread wide and far in the jungles below.
|One battlaion of Shivaji was hidden in these jungles|
and one more battalion was waiting at the Umberkhind all set to ambush the Mughal soldiers. One very note worthy thing I want to mention here is that from this plain ground on wards the troops has to leave there chariots,horses,elephants here and had to descend on foot down through the jungle route where only a single person can go through at a time. Honestly I could feel the thrill of entrapment.
|Descending from here to the jungles|
|Green grass and small water bodies|
|Marching troops of Shivaji|
|Amazing green woods|
|Beauty at its best|
we have to cross this river and go across. One has to be very careful because at times the flow of this river is very furious. In fact our trek was postponed by few days as the village people had warned us to avoid coming during excessive rains.All our us crossed this river very cautiously.
|We crossed the river very cautiously|
Once the river is crossed, we again see the bullock cart road, this road can be very easily be seen after we cross the river.
|Bullock Cart road as seen after crossing Amba River|
|Amba River flowing along the road|
|Resting on the Bridge over the Amba river|
|Majestic sight of Amba river flowing with another bridge at far end.|
|Slumped due to heat but the smile is intact|
|Board on the road at Umberkhind|
|Vijay Stamb or Victory Memorial on Amba River|
The memorial stands majestically across the river, we have to walk across the Amba river once more to pay our tribute to the heroes of Battle of Umberkhind.
|One has to cross the river to reach this memorial|
On one side the history is mentioned.
Another side has Aagaya Patra embbed in the stone
And the fourth side has the details of the people who initiated and inaugurated the Vijay stamb or the Memorial.
For us the most important part was now, because this was the time to offer our prayers to all the brave heroes who fought the war bravely and intelligently.
|Paying our respect to the brave warriors|
|Time to chill out|
|Atlast the trek is over,resting on Pali-khapoli Road|
Special thanks to our trek organiser Kiran Shelar for bringing the history alive for me.
1.Trek starts from lonawala
2. Lonawala to Kurvande village arrange transport.
3. Kurvande village start point.
4.Chavni village next point
5. Detour from Umberkhind board for the Vijay stamb or Memorial.
6.Final 4kms walks till the shemadi Village, on pali -Khapoli road.
7. Tum tum ply from Pali to khapoli, but preferably arrange for advance transport .