Hiking in Sahyadri with children: Monsoon hike from Madheghat to Shivtharghal , 9th July 2017

Western Ghat, popularly known as Sahyadri, runs from Narmada river in the north to Kanya Kumari, south region of India. Sahyadri range is well known  for flora, fauna, mountain peaks, ghat ranges, geological formation, great heritage, rich culture (including tribal culture), mythological and historical tales. 

One of the most beautiful hike in Sahyadri range near Pune, Maharashtra is staring from Madheghat and end at Shivtharghal. Both points has its rich historical background. 

Madheghat, which is located around 62 kms south-west of Pune and falls in Raigad district, is one of the popular place in history. In history, when the worrier Tanaji Malusare died in Sinhgad battle, his body (locally called as madhe) was taken for last rituals to his native place, named Umrathe. Tanaji Malusare's funeral procession was taken to Umrathe from this Madhe Ghat route. 

Madheghat to Shivtharghal hike route is one of most popular place amongest hikers or trekkers, especially in monsoon  as it has got most beautiful waterfall and fabulous nature. The waterfall is named as Laxmi waterfall. One can also watch beautiful view of Torna, Raigad and Rajgad forts

Shivtharghal, also knows as Sundarmath (meaning beautiful Monastery) is a beautiful cave where Samarth Ramdas dictated Dasboadh to Kalyan Swamy. Ramdas Swamy stayed here for almost 22 years. It is believed that the meeting between Ramdas Swamy and Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj took place here itself. Shivtharghal also got huge waterfall which is main attraction among visitors. 

The hike from Madheghat to Shivtharghal was organized by SG Trekkers one of the trekking group in Pune, Maharashtra. The hiking was facilitating as it was organized specially for parent-child pair. 

There were 10 parent-child pair participated. When hiking team reached Madheghat, trek organizer, Vishal Kakade, informed them about the hike, its historical importance and most importantly about the huge milky waterfall that children will be going to enjoy along with their parents. Instructions or safety precautions tips were already given in terms of especially wearing proper shoes. Carrying things like, extra pair of cloth, towel, extra pair of floaters,  dry snacks, warm cloth etc was also advised.  

It was raining when hiking stared towards waterfall. It was rice plantation season. Rice or paddy field were fully loaded with muddy water in which farmers were busy in plantation. Lush green, foggy and misty surrounding was too scenic and picturesque.  

After having one kilometer ground hike,there was a point from where hikers can enjoy reverse waterfall. The hike route towards Laxmi waterfall was a deep descent. 

It was narrow way that was going to the waterfall. There was heavy crowd eagerly waiting to enjoy beautiful hike and waterfall. 

Children were extremely energetic. The hike route was quite slippery because of heavy rainfall. As the route was deep descent, water was flowing speedily, the volume of water was difficult to  manage. It was quite unsafe for children. 

Although the hike was child friendly, the rains made it quite dangerous.  Few children were too afraid to go into the water. 

Parents and volunteers came forward to help children. Some parents were hiking for the first time in this place so volunteers helped them as well. 

As we came close to the waterfall, children got excited to experience the flow. The deep flowing sound of waterfall made every children super excited. The water was flowing from a huge height with immense fury. The volume and speed of flow was worth experience to watch with. 

Children enjoyed waterfall thoroughly. Initially water was quite cold to experience with. Children enjoyed at water thunder.  They were not at all ready to come out of waterfall. Looking children enjoying the waterfall, I who was standing far away from the waterfall, enjoyed children's naughty waves. 

The place was surrounded by dense jungle. It became very dark because of foggy weather, dark clouds and huge heighten crowded trees. It was somewhat scary. Specifically when children are there one becomes very hyper and extra cautious. 

Luckily the jungle trail passed safely with the help of volunteers.     
When jungle was over and there was open field with shiny sun, everyone quite relieved. Everyone enjoyed warmness of shiny hot sunny raise. 

After having a short break, we started towards Shivtharghal. The trail was going through paddy fields. Somewhere there were lovely flowers seen blooming. 

Children were super happy and sharing their experience on the way. The love towards their mother or father for giving such a wonderful experience was worth experiencing. 

At Shivtharghal, participants enjoyed cave, tales of Ramdas Swamy and Shivaji Maharaj and ofcourse stunning huge waterfall. 

After having lovey food, we started journey back to Pune. Children were very tired so slept in the vehicle immediately. Parents, it was quite strain loaded yet wonderful experience with their kids. 

This hike gave children, a good task to overcome with, mixing up with other children and narrating the experience. 

Each child was saying to Vishal, "Dada, when will be visiting next waterfall?"

It was good, worthy and healthy break for parent and child. 

The children in real could watch and experience the history tales which they were reading in their text books.

This hike is my all time favorite. It has combination of nature, history and culture. 

Always wonderful experience hiking in Sahyadri! 

Leader Vishal with his parents

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