Ever since we started trekking Vasota repeatedly haunted us. It was number 1 on our trekking list. We had been constantly warned not to go to Vasota by our friends. Vasota is medieval fort surrounded by water on three sides. This makes it almost inaccessible. It is covered in thick forest, except for the rain shadow side, which is almost barren. Vasota comprises of 3 main forts Juna Vasota (old fort), navin Vasota (new fort) and
We had little experience of trekking. Our only trek before vasota was Rajmachi (if you can consider it as a trek). We had just completed our second year exams and decided to take on Vasota.
Right from the beginning everything went just opposite to what we had planned. Since you require prior permission to enter Vasota from Tapola side, we decided to climb Vasota from
We made 2 big mistakes.
1. We choose the wrong month (it was May)
2. We choose the wrong route.
We were a group of 11. Out of 11, for 6 guys it was their 1st trek ever!!! A sumo took us from Pune to
Choravne. As soon as we got down from the sumo we saw a huge mountain facing us!! The sight was bewildering. Half of us lost the will to climb this huge peak. Anyway, at about 10 in the morning we started climbing this peak. Its name was
Maldev, just adjacent to juna Vasota. Our plan was to 1st climb
Maldev, descend to the valley on other side and then climb juna Vasota. We had planned to camp at juna Vasota that night.
But, there was a small problem.
NOBODY KNEW WHAT VASOTA LOOKED LIKE!!!
No one among us had climbed Vasota from this side. Only Salil had been to Vasota once, that too from the other side. Actually, Maldev was a small village, which was shifted outside the forest boundaries in 70s. So, there was no proper track of climbing this mountain.
At about 1 in the afternoon we had reached half way. And the exhaustion was starting to tell on our faces. We now had very little water left with us. Since we were on the rain shadow side there were no trees. We were climbing in the May sun!!
Still we continued. After some time we facing a massive cliff. It was almost vertical and impossible to climb! We divided ourselves into 2 groups, and started searching for a path that could lead us to the top. But we were completely lost. There was no way we could climb it without ropes. We had only 2 bottles of water with us now!! And everyone had lost all hopes to conquer this cliff.
That was it! We decided to turn back, even though we were hardly 2 hrs away from the top. We were utterly disgusted with ourselves. On the way back no one talked. The sun was at its full ferocity.
That was the 1st time that we were caught in a CHAKVAA. We were so lost in thought that we lost the track. After walking for 20 min we came to same spot!! The cliff was still in front of us! At first no one paid attention. But we were landing at the same place again and again and again, no matter which path we took. We had lost all sense of direction, didnít remember which path we came from and there was no village in site!
Tired, we took some rest and finished all the water we had. I started wondering, what made me trek this treacherous mountain. I was happy enjoying my vacations! And why do I need to trek at all!! (A question we ask ourselves each time we set out for a trek)
It was the much-needed rest that did the trick. Somehow we managed to break free of the chakvaa (though I still donít know how). We came back to Choravne and took the next morning bus to Pune.
Even on the way back, all I could think was the cliff. We were so close!! It was our 1st unsuccessful trek. I was glad that it was over. But Vasota continued to haunt us. In fact, now it seemed all the more unconquerable, more mystic.
Never again would I return to Vasota!!! , so I thoughtĀEĀE.