According a version of history, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used this route to get away from Shahistekhan’s army after a midnight raid cutting the Khan’s fingers and sending them on a chase behind running bulls with horns having burning torches. One thing is sure: No way Khan’s army could have chased the great Shivaji and his raiding party on this route that runs over ridge connecting many hills. It was a brilliant tactic.
Katraj to Sinhgad is a trek (K2S) that takes you from the old Katraj tunnel to the Sinhgad fort. 15 Km long, the trek has innumerable hills with no bypass tracks. A Facebook post says 14 hills, but believe me, they were innumerable! You must climb up and down each of them.
We started the trek with chants of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj ki Jai! Jai Bhavani, Jai Shivaji ! and Ganpati Bappa Morya!
It was a tricky trek because there were no rocks to land on, no trees that could hold soil together. Nothing except gorges filled with gravel. No shoes, not even those with studs, can give you a firm grip on gravel filled slopes. Almost every hill had such an ascent and a descent. Every step climbing up was a test of stamina and skill of not slipping too much while gaining toeholds and finding a rare stone or root to grab if your toehold wasn’t enough. Every foot down was a test of how not to get washed down by the treacherous gravel. Any spotting of rock against which you could plant one foot brought relief.
Gravel filled descents meant that most trekkers had to use all their fours and even bums while trying to control their downward travel. So there was an hour’s traffic jam right at the first climb down.
It was a lovely full moon night, but the trail was barely visible. The full moon night and our gravel addled brains had consequences.
When I reached one of those heavenly horizontal gravel sections, I was looking for a place to throw down my sack and sit down. I chose a shade of a tree! The tree had indeed cast its shadow on ground and I found shelter in it! My fellow trekker came by and said ,’ Why aren’t you coming for the moonshine? ‘ I realized what I had done and started laughing . She said she had done the same silly thing! So we laughed at ourselves and at each other.
A late start and traffic jams enroute meant we reached the end point after the sun was well up. Dahi and tak seller guys were there. So we sprawled around and had glasses of tak.
Six of us from our Anyone Can Run group trekked together. For me, it was a first trek in eight years. I did better than I had expected. It was a nice comeback trek.
K2S is a trek to remember.