Friday, January 25, 2008

More practice

Last weekend we had cycled to the famous Purandar fort. It is famous for the war between the Marathas under Shivaji and the Mughals under Aurangazeb. The Killedar(fort keeper) commander of Shivaji, Murar Baji Prabhu fought valiantly against the combined armies of Aurangazeb's general Dilir Khan and Rajput king Jai Singh but perished in the ensuing battle. It is said that the Killedar was far outnumbered before putting up a brave fight. His statue rests inside the first fort entrance. Purandar is also unique to have a fort inside a fort. To take control, both the difficult forts would have to be breached. Located at the summit of the inner fort is a Shiv temple.

We had a completely different experience this time round. After cycling the usual long distance we came across a road that climbed a hill all the way to the top. To reach Purandar,we had to cross this hill. We had to drag our cycles along the road for more than an hour to reach the top before we came downhill the other side. We encountered long stretches of gravel road along the way which was tough on our cycles and slowed us down considerably. After reaching the base village we parked our cycles and started the trek. We lost our way a couple of times before reaching Dilli darwaza(entrance to the first fort). This area is now an army training camp. We had poha and nimbu pani there before the climb to the inner fort. We decided to go to the temple located at the summit after we reached the inner fort. This was a good walk along a ridge with steep slopes on either side. We lost our way again before we made it to the top. The view at the summit was fantastic! We could spot no other hill taller than us and we could see a 360 degree view of the horizon.

We descended quickly and then started cycling back under the blazing sun. Prateem's cycle got punctured along the way while he was negotiating a stone road just after a down hill ride. We got it fixed and decided to go on a different route that had a better road. Prateem had be careful as the puncture had also ripped a part of his tire. In spite of fixing the puncture, he kept losing air gradually along the way and we kept pumping it up once in a while. We reached home at 6:00 PM. I was extremely tired and this was the most tortuous effort for me up to now.

Tonight we guys are planning to go back to Sinhagad fort. This time it is an all-nighter with a lot of walking. We plan to only cycle 12 Kms one way before we start the walk of around 30 Kms to reach the base village. We would climb up and come down before we walk back 30 Kms. We would then cycle back to reach home hopefully by 6:00 AM in the morning!

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