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getting down is mandatory" 

 
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Proposed Treks


feature story - Dajipur

 
1st Attempt 


Dajipur is a wildlife sanctuary south of Kolhapur. Itís about 8 hrs from Pune. Its main attraction is the Indian Bison or ďGavaĀEin Marathi. With an aim to catch a glimpse of this majestic but shy creature we set out for Dajipur. We planned to take our 1st halt at ďManoraĀE a watchtower just near the water hole and continue our trek to Shivgad.

As usual the timing of trek not the best. We ventured into the jungles of Dajipur in July, at the height of monsoon. There were 5 of us.

We started at our trek from Gaganbawda. The climate was wonderful!! There were some clouds, the air was cool and the landscape was lush green! Soon we reached a village called Padmasati (which amazingly has only 1 house!!). It was already 1:30 pm. We took directions for Manbet and set out again. Everything was perfect! The weather was great and surprisingly, for the 1st time we were on right track!! And that disturbed us. How is it possible that we complete our trek without any hindrance?

As if to confirm our suspicions, it started raining. In fact it was pouring!!! We were passing through a thick forest patch and were still 3 hrs away from Manbet. It was frustrating. We were soaked in water from head to foot, our bags were heavier and every step took a lot of effort!!

Then the obvious happened. When you venture into a forest and that too in a rainy season you are sure to confront ďJaluĀEor leach! Itís an ugly insect, blackish red in color. It sticks to your body and sucks blood without you even noticing!! We had had no protective clothing, and some of us wearing shorts.

We did everything possible to get rid of them. We checked each other thoroughly, applied tobacco on our legs but with no effect!! We were traumatized by Jalu!!! So much so that we caught 1 every 5 min, sucking blood from our bodies.

Alas!! We reached Manbet at 5:30, which was not what we had expected.

The trek was off!!

There was no point in continuing in heavy rain. The light was waning. But most important, the prospect of submitting ourselves to Jalu discouraged us. We took shelter in an old school building in Manbet (it looked more like a haunted house to me!!). We cooked pohe and some rice and had a wonderful ďMehfilĀEat night.

 Though we couldnít succeed in reaching Dajipur, the stay was worth the trip!!



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