The iPerspective team went on a monsoon picnic to the fort of Lohagad, near Lonavala, in the Western Ghats. The picnic was planned out by the team well in advance and they did a fantastic job of getting everything ready. We had a mini bus which started in Borivelli, wound through JVLR, Mulund, Airoli, Belapur before hiiting the expressway to Lonavala. We reached Lonavala at 9.00 am and had breakfast at the Ram Krishna Restaurant. We also picked up a packed lunch from the restaurant. By this time it had started raining again. We left for the fort through the rains and drove the remaining 10 off kms to the foot of the fort. The bus driver was initially very reluctant to drive all the way to the fort as the ghat road was very steep and in bad repair. We started walking the remaining 5 odd kms uphill before the chaps convinced the driver that he could do it! The final climb up to the fort which looms at the top of the mountain is by stone stairs typical of such forts. The fort itself is not big, but seems massive and has a brooding air of power. The approach is winding, exposed to the walls that loom above. The main gate is small, with stone carvings and is approached via a narrow and steep flight of stairs, right under the battlements. The main gate leads to a small open space and you realize that you are still very far below the fort proper. The paths and battlements wind upwards in such a way that the battlements above always have a clear view of those below. Perfect fort design! The top of the fort is a flat plateau with a few standing buildings. The view is fantastic and in the monsoon it was a sea of green, seen through the gray haze of the clouds that were all around us. The rain picked up and it was very clod at the top, with a strong wind to drive the freezing rain into our faces and down our necks. We eat our lunch in the lee of a small temple’s roof before starting down again. The drive back to Lonavala where we stopped to bug Chocolate Fudge and Chikis of various flavours. Arrived back in Mumbai at about 8.30 pm, dead tired but happy.
Thanks to the iPerspective team for making this happen.