Suddenly from the corner of my eye i caught some action at the farthest end of the valley. Oh, it was the silent movement of light. Slowly, on that end the rays of sun had descended. No, the big round ball of fire like sun was not there but a mellow yet bright sunlight was stealthily creeping on the green of that end. The vegetation sprang to life, the black green turning to sparkling emerald, as if touched by the magic wand of sunny fairies they were awakened from the deep slumber and now looked so refreshed and energised, similar was my state of being. My reverie was broken but the slowly spreading awareness made me so happy. I felt blessed to be alive and midst such bounty of nature. I was standing on a point, on way to lohagad.
hardly an hour's run by pune lonavala local and you are at malvali, from where you can start your trek to lohagad. Otherwise a sleepy, dozing malvali springs back into action with the advent of monsoon..the lustrous green hills ,the cascading waterfalls, vibrant coloured unknown species of wild flowers, the buddhist caves, the ancient forts, the place caters to variety of tastes. It's proximity to city makes it an ideal weekend getaway.
If you are an adventure loving young spirit, you are free to sprint along the lesser trodden paths. Sliding on the slopes, crossing the fast running streams, walking haltingly on slippery muddy paths, you can enjoy the rush of adrenalin and there is always an option to switch over to paved cobbled roads.
If you are there just to enjoy the nature and do not have time or inclination to walk all upto the higest point then you walk just half a kilometre into the jungle, along the already paved way and can choose your own spot near the waterfall, view of hurtling waterfall, jumping over the boulders, breaking into diamond like sparkling drops is very refreshing. On this spot waterfall turns into a stream and across the path walks into the green paddy fields below. The green trees on its bank bend down to kiss now lazily flowing stream and almost form a cozy, protective shelter for it. The fresh paddy blades stand erect, as if in attention imparting a welcome salute to the stream, which travels all the way from pinnacles of hills down to this part to meet the fields. There is another mighty waterfall, rather the very first at the entrance to the wilderness, even prior to the flight of stairs to cave. Here the water runs down in steps, it is safe enough even for small kids to play and splash, you can sit on any of the rocks and get drenched by nature's blessings.
Then there are bhaja caves, the flight of stairs upto these buddhist caves is neither very steep nor too high.one can easily cover that much of distance.there is one main chaitya hall with stupa at the inner most end.this one might not be as grand and magnificient as the chaitya hall of nearby karla caves but it's austere beauty has it's own rugged charm. The carvings on piller at one side of entrace is still intact, the adjacent stairs lead to the top of caves, from where the sprawling panoramic beauty is breathtaking, the chaitya hall on both the sides is flanked by small meditation chambers of buddhist monks.
Moving forward we find five or six stupas, these stupas are approximately five to six feet in height. Why these stupas were erected under open sky at close proximity to each other is not known but they recall the quiet and reverberating presence of monks there.
A few feet forward to these stupas is a small cave, the carvings on the walls of the cave are intricate and beautiful, on one wall is indra on his eravat, on other is sun god on his chariot driven by seven horses, yet another wall is adorned by a beautiful image, the tresses and the style of knots of hair is amazing, a peacock feather like carving stuck on the hair suggests it to be krishna, the cave appears like a sculpture studio of an artist of BC years.
An enthralling experience is the waterfall near this cave, standing near the iron railings outside the cave, you can almost touch the water, with a mighty roar the water jumps from the precipice, thrashing against and dancing along the hills, it produces resonating musical vibrations, as if celebrating it's unobstructed performance, delivering a joyous song of freedom. The clouds hovering over the cliffs appear to merge with smoky water of cascade. I do not know whether those clouds were cirus, nimbus or any of their cousins but those fluffy white grey and at times ominously black clouds roaming around and then settling down for a fraction of second on the top of rushing water, whispering sweet nothings to them are a sight to behold, like god's own chariot they come floating down, hang in there and then rise away to oblivion.
We did not climb upto the fort as we had some pressing commitments back home, but we had a very fulfilling day, the moments of quietude, the sheer comfort of surrounding, the resonating musical rhapsody of four to five cascades, Aha... the rejuvenating emerald sunday has energised us for weeks to come.
the way to bhaja caves
the waterfall at the base
view of the valley
the magical touch of light
you can feel purity
in nature's hammock
crossing such streams was like playing in paradise
i too came down crisscrossing the stream all the way from those caves,visible in the background
the yonder hills under the magical spell of light
there you feel like a monk
indra riding the eravat
the sun god on his chariot
one more carving
the young professionals we met enroute,whose energised company made the day more memorable and those helping hands extended reassured us of a caring and cosiderate posterity, thanks boys for that wonderful feeling...
all the pictures are copyrighted by my husband sunder iyer.