Monsoon was at its best and Omkar mentioned a hidden waterfall where he had been the last week with some trekking group.
Although he wasn't sure if he could take us there or not, we decided to go. We marked our trail in case we get lost, we could trace back to where we started.
The idea of getting lost in the wilderness always excites me. It sounds foolish, but it's how I feel. So we made a plan that we will carry some extra food, water, and first aid kit in case of an emergency.
On 22nd of August 2016, Omkar, Rahul, Siddharth, Neha, Srijna, Shaunak, Mrunal and I gathered at Pune railway station in the morning at around 7:45 AM to catch the Pune - Lonavala local. We boarded 8:10 AM local. I was meeting lots of new people today. Rahul, Srijna, Shaunak, Mrunal were strangers but only until the conversation began.
There is one interesting thing about hiking, that with whomever you go, you become a team very soon, like a family, on whom you rely and who rely on you in emergencies. You trust each other without any doubts knowing that they need you as much as you need them in case there is an emergency on a trek.
We reached Lonavala station at around 9:40 AM. Realizing the importance of time, we left hunting our path without wasting a minute. After crossing the main asphalt road, we were away from the city's traffic but the trail was still the proper asphalt road and we reached the 'Tungarley dam'.
After gazing at the water that seemed endless for the moment, we saw a half-fallen old house, which had its own beauty that pulled us close and we took some clicks. Later I came to know that Rahul has very good photography skills, I noticed him taking pictures of some unnoticeable beautiful things during the entire trek.
We headed forward and were still on the asphalt road and encountered a small habitation called "Thakur Wadi". We filled our water bottles at some house and marched forward. Now we had passed the asphalt road a blotchy, irregular trail accompanied us. After walking some distance, Omkar pointed at the huge tree, that he had remembered from where they had entered into the forest in quest of the hidden waterfall called..... "KatalDhar".
As soon as we entered the forest, we were pleased with the silence and the occasional chirping of the birds. It made us forget all our worries about searching the correct route to find the waterfall.
After walking some distance, we heard the sound of water like it was falling from a distance. We were surprised and everyone started prancing. We knew in our hearts that it must be the sound of the waterfall we were looking for.
We decided to follow that sound. Through the thorny bushes and botchy trails we reached at one point to witness a small waterfall, in fact, waterfall cum small current of water, which too was beautiful and we got upset for a while for not finding what we were looking for. But still, we couldn't stop ourselves from adoring the beauty in front of us. We enjoyed the water, clicked some group photos, and then realized that the sound of water is still unsuppressed and it is coming from somewhere else. We stood up with a whisk and decided to move in the direction of the sound once again.
Only after walking few minutes, we saw something big, bigger than what we were expecting, clear water, falling from very high, in the form of a thin coverlet, and maybe so-called "dhar", "KatalDhar".
Katal is a kind of stone found in Sahyadri, Omkar told us. I couldn't stop myself from admiring this beauty.
I wrote a poem on our journey that day:
Located away deep in the forest..
Not everyone can reach
But only who dedicates the best..
The path was a puzzle..
Not everyone can solve..
The Birds were chirping..
We went singing songs...
It was as steep as hell...
The day was full of fear for all..
Rain accompanied us
with a meanwhile fall..
We trekked our path
To see a huge waterfall..
Heaven would be waiting for us..
We never hoped at all..
Oh Jesus.. how can you hide
Your beautiful creation from all..
When we breathed there slowly
We found it wasn't meant for all..
There was a sound in the water falling down..
Like it was telling something to us all..
We felt the sound and found that it was some sort of call..
It told us to convey..
a message for all..
Once in a while...
Get out of your comfort wall..
You are born only once..
Don't miss this cherish at all..
Don't miss this cherish at all..
We descended into the valley to go near the water and that was the toughest and the most thrilling part of the trek. Unfortunately, the water was flowing with so much pressure that we couldn't take pictures from a very close distance. But that was a blessing in disguise we enjoyed without any distraction.
We climbed up and sat in a nearby cave to have lunch and boost our energy.
We headed back by the same route and reached the Lonavala station and boarded the 8:30 PM local.
Late night, after reaching home, I took a hot shower and that was too comforting.
But I'm damn sure that no one admires the comfort unless one suffers the pain, and for one to witness something unique, one has to suffer pain.
Getting interested in Trekking? There are many treks near Lonavala that you can explore over a weekend. One of the most popular treks is the Rajmachi fort trek famous for the stunning views of the Sahyadri mountains and the backwaters of Shirota Dam.