First blog post

Hey guys! Orientation nurtures your talent. And the same is true when it comes to writing. U need a platform wherein u can showcase your feelings, your words that have been rolled up with the sweetest blend of flavors. I am Ajinkya Gadgil.. A nemophilist by choice and a research scientist by profession. I would use this platform to share my thoughts, my version of mother nature! I would like to mention about Harsha huddar, my school friend, who insisted me to start a blog, and i’m quite happy I am here! Here i begin a new part of my journey! 



The city of Antwerp! 

Since the day I came to Holland, this is something I thought I should ink down. So why this? I have been to many other places in the Netherlands. But Antwerp was something different. I decided to see this place.The thing that excites me is “planning”. Especially a trek or a tour. I just love to read the history of that place, to see the location of the place , to note down important things I need to see, to study the routes, subways, trains and busses that take you there and so on. This is what i love the most. I love to plan. Anything. That’s more exciting because you study the place, it’s history, it’s monuments and you try to understand why they have been built there. Understanding the purpose and use of that place is very important. If you happen to visit a place without knowing anything about it then according to me it’s not worth anything. If you really want to explore the place then you should definitely study the place.May it be a small village, doesn’t matter, but you should know something about it. Studying makes your experience more lively! When I thought of Antwerp, I was sure I would love this place for two reasons.One, because it has a long history. And a place with history, offers you a lot to explore. And two, because of Rubens. Peter Paul Rubens, was a great painter of the 16th century. I was totally unaware of his paintings. The only painter i knew was Michaelangelo. But when i read about Rubens, i found out he was no less than Michaelangelo. He could narrate stories with his paintings. 

Peter Paul Rubens
He could make a sketch look real. He had that magic that could leave you awestruck! Though he was born in Germany he had his studio in Antwerp where he painted many paintings for the churches in Antwerp. He was acknowledged by Philip IV of Spain and also Charles I of England. I was excited because there is a museum in Antwerp called “Rubens house” where many of his paintings have been displayed.
Famous painting by Rubens
 When you look at a painting you understand the story. That’s the intensity. You can decifer what exactly he wanted to tell. If you’re able to achieve this, words need not be used , for your colours will draw the picture.

Yet another masterpiece!
 Antwerp has a history of its name. The city flourished since 4th century and some remains of pottery have been excavated few years ago, that dates to the exact period Antwerp was civilized. The river scheldt that flows through the heart of the city was the early boundary of the Roman Empire. 

River Scheldt
A tale says that a rebel named Antigoon troubled people and used to ask for money when they tried crossing the river. And if not given, he used to chop their hands. Silvius Brabo saved the city by killing him and so the name was taken from antigoon to Antwerp. 

Statue of brabo!
Another tale says that the term Antwerp must have been derived from term ‘ante’ meaning before and ‘werpen’ means deposition,which means the land that was formed by deposition along the inner turn of the river scheldt. Of course the stories remain with unanswered questions! The moment you enter the city, beautiful central station leaves you spellbound. The Gothic architecture, the domes and the carvings are very finely made.The cathedral stands tall in the Centre of the city and the tower can be seen from any end of the city.

Cathedral of Our Lady
 Just near the tower lies the brabo statue which depicts the tale of silvius brabo. On the outer periphery of the central city lies a old Fort. Now only the ramparts of the fort are remaining. It used to guard the city. The fort lies on the banks of river scheldt, which is quite wide and has a good flow. There is a tunnel that connects one end to the other end of the river and people can walk through it.  The city is famous for diamonds and has one of the biggest markets in the Europe where diamonds are cut and fine jewellery is made out. The city serves as an important harbour and is the second largest port in the Europe after Rotterdam. During world War 2 the city had to face the flames of war. There’s still a building that was demolished during the war but was rebuilt at the end.

To sum up, Antwerp is definitely a place where you can spend a whole day enjoying the beautiful architecture, monuments, museums and of course good old paintings! 

Manikgad- In the scorching heat! 

A  person who is on a constant quest for discovering new routes into the wild wont ever miss a single holiday sitting idle. Weekends are something that bring immense joy to any nemophilist. For he knows, plans that are into the wish list need to be done soon. Mankigad was a trek that was pending since quite a long time and that was to be completed soon. Summer was in it’s full swing, with temperature rising as high as 38-39°C. Sahyadri was decorated with golden hay, and water cisterns were running low. Of course this period was certainly not good to trek. But when you have some like minded people, you need not stay home even when it is sunny out there. And the trek was planned. It was 2nd April 2016. Prashant and I discussed and we were all set for the trek. We got a contact of Mr Atmaram Jambhulkar from my office colleague, Girish Ganu. Mr Jambhulkar is an employee of our company and resides at vadgaon. We reached panvel station and took 7:45 bus going to lohop village from Panvel ST stand. We got down at Vadgaon. We met Jambhulkar and he took us to his place. He served breakfast even when we refused to have some, such was his hospitality. A very polite and kind hearted soul. He gave us a guide, a local villager and we marched ahead. The trek involves a ascend of 15-20 mins that takes you to a plateau, an half hour plateau walk and then there are two routes that take you to the top.The first ascend has few rock cut steps that date back to the 17th century. After this patch, there is a plateau walk. Almost after 30mins there are two routes that take you to the top. First route is called as “Eka Payachi waat” which is the shortest route to reach the top. The route is narrow at some patches and has few boulders. This route is difficult as compared to the other one. The second route is a long traverse, and gradual inclined route that slowly takes you to the top. The fort remains on the left side and you go round and round taking turns. We, of course thought to attempt both the routes to complete the circuit. Initially we climbed up from “Eka Payachi waat” . The scorching heat was draining down lot of energy. Our guide was a young chap with 62yrs of experience along. Need not mention how fast he was at this age with just one bottle of water and slippers. 
The scorching heat made us exhausted but we never gave up and kept walking, enjoying the rhythm of the soul. Soon we reached the main entrance and a broken “Praveshdwar” welcomed us. It is called as “Ganesh dwar”. 
We were on the summit after arduous walk. Irshalgad, Prabalgad, Kalawantin were clearly visible from the top. There is a big lake called as “darya take”. 
There are many rock cut cisterns at the top.
 There is a place where the lime was mixed. You can now see remains of that place. It is called as “Chunyachi Ghan” (Chuna- Lime and Ghan-A stone cut pot for grinding and mixing of the lime).
We had our lunch at the top and we took some rest. There is hardly any shade on the top so you need to find a tree that can block you from the rays. The fort is very small and a quick look should suffice. 
This fort was built by Kanhoji angre. The fort looks upon the trade route that takes place through the maval province. About the name, not much information is available but I think the name must be given because of its strategic geographic location. The fort is invincible from all three sides and the only way to reach the fort is the southern side of the fort. In Marathi, Manik refers to Ruby. So, probably because of its location the name ruby must have been given to this fort. The fort was not involved in any major battles  and any other history regarding the fort cannot be traced. While returning we took the second route that traverses and takes many turns, meandering through the bushes. The lingi, a pinnacle of the manikgad fort can be seen clearly while descending. The Cole in between the fort and the pinnacle is called as “Mhashyashi khind”
 We reached the plateau in 45 mins. We saw some mangoes as we reached the plateau and we picked some. We reached the base and another trek was successfully completed. 
It is always fun to trek with Prashant. We left the place promising to come back again, probably during the monsoon, to see the other story of this fort when it is decorated with green ornaments! 

Mumbai,this is what you taught me!  

Mumbai, this is for you! I’ve been living in this city for past three years. Yet, i never even thought to write down something on Mumbai. The city that gave me everything. My first job, my passion for trekking, swimming and rock climbing. I would rather put it the other way. I started “living” only after i came to Mumbai. I had a sedentary lifestyle, as many people do have. I never thought i would do something offbeat. Seriously speaking, i was in a shell that wasn’t being cracked. As many others do, i finished my post graduation and started looking up for a job. And as it’s said, things happen for a reason. I was selected in beirsdorf, which was in Goa. But as it wasn’t something i was looking for, i skipped it. Later on i was selected in a polymer manufacturer in Ranjangaon, which i did not accept. My fate took me to Mumbai and i was selected in a fragrance and perfume manufacturer company. So it was Mumbai who gave me my first job. 


Little did i know that in mere 3 years, this city had something even more exciting to offer. My colleague, introduced me to his trekking group. I had a special place for forts ever since i was in 10th grade. My first trek was Torna-Gopya ghat-Shivtharghal. A two day trek covering the konkan and deccan region. It was the moment, that sowed the seeds of a different soul into me. Soon i started enjoying treks and then it became my religion. The feeling of liberating your soul is what you get when you stay close to nature. A soul that’s not chained up and has miles and miles of space to roam around. A different world, where greenery drapes you. Where the river soothes your soul and the canopy provides you the shelter. Where Valley depicts the depth of life and the rising sun teaches you to rise up high. Where the stars show you how to lead when life gets black. Where flowers blossom to spread out happiness. Endless journey of trekking took me to a different world. I soon joined swimming and developed a love for the water. When you swim underwater you enter a new world, which doesn’t have the continuous rumble of the traffic. Where you can hear your heart pounding. Where you can find tranquility. I used to love gym before. Now my routine included both, swimming and gym. Soon i started to learn rock climbing. We used to go to poddar college, where we started scribbling initial lessons of climbing. We loved going to Mumbra, where in we practiced climbing on natural boulders. Mumbai got the best out of me. It was because of Mumbai, i got a wonderful trekking group. I had a dream to trek a snow cladded peak, and it was because of my group, i could scale pangarchulla. Mumbai taught me to become independent. It gave me that pace to run in the life’s race.That’s the best any city can offer. I take this moment to thank Mumbai, for being everything to me, and making me a person i am! Mumbai, this is for you! 

Naneghat with new friends 

​Saturday morning, as usual the day started with heavy downpour. Rain had taken over the cards since last night. We had a plan to trek naneghat. Yet another time. This time the trek was with 25 trek mates and our responsibility was to executive the plan as it was planned. Prashant Salian and Kingsuk Biswas were there to help me out, and their contribution was immense as without them it wouldn’t have been possible. The journey started at around 6:50 from Kalyan and we reached base village at 9:15. After a quick introduction of everyone and short briefing we started the  ascend at 9:30. The route welcomed us with greenery everywhere and it felt as if the nature had been inviting us for a long time with its green carpet already rolled on. We crossed two streams and after 20 minutes of walk we took our first nap at the plateau that we encounter enroute. We got refilled with water and tang to compensate the loss of salts and electrolytes. The journey continued. Nanacha anghtha, a pinnacle wasn’t visible. It was already dim in the clouds panoply. 

Soon we could see the “V” shape of naneghat where we had to settle. Rain started pouring as we reached the neck of the summit. The weather took a leap and now fog was all we could feel. Rain, wind and fog these three things can turn you up. They are so mighty that u cannot refrain them capturing your soul. Anyone, may it be a trekker, a traveller, a photographer or just a greek into the game. You’re bound to be awestruck when you come across this. The steps now turned out to be a water track, where the water raced amongst it’s molecules, only to reach the river quickly.

 It had that excitement of getting itself drenched in the love of the flow. Soon we reached the summit, where caves welcomed us. We had our food, rested for a while and went ahead to see the old pot where toll was being collected, way back, during the Satvahan Era. We had a walk on the plateau and started to descend. Enroute we came across that same stream which we had crossed earlier. There is a little bit “you” in every soul, which gets evoked as you see a flowing stream. We played, splashed water, tried to hold our breath into the stream and had loads of fun. Soon we came to the base village. As malshej ghat was closed, buses were not available. We hired a cab and returned to Kalyan before 6:30. Thanks a lot for joining the group and because of you all, the trek was a treat! Happy trekking!

A lazy day

Very rarely do i get to say this as my mind clock starts buzzing at 6am everyday. And even if I try sleeping late, I’m not allowed to as mind starts writing something early morning. When i lay back lazy, i enjoy the serene walk which my mind takes over the heap of memories that have been stored for a long time. I enjoy the way my mind takes leaps over the memories and comes back with a glee. I’ve got so much to cherish. Being a nemophilist i get to wander a lot. I get to free my soul which can have no hurdles and can freely run across the memory lane. I love that feeling when you remember something you’ve experienced in your past walk or hike and you appear grinning cheerfully. It’s important to re-visualize the happy moments. For a lazy day is what gives you a moment out of your busy schedule. To think, to walk, to run across your memory lane. Travel more, don’t settle down onto something. Life is to experience autumn and spring! You need to enjoy both! 

A ridge where memories have been freezed! 

Tahuli! A series of connected pinnacles running across the terrain, offshoot sahyadri region. People would be awestruck to know that these pinnacles lie close to city lights. People from badlapur can actually see these pinnacles above their head. The reason I am writing this is not to describe about the summit. Sometimes the route is even more exciting than the summit. There is a point in this route just before the summit where a ridge runs dividing two valleys on either side. The view that you get once you reach that ridge is something you cannot describe, nor can your lense capture it into the frame. A picture can freeze the moment but your eyes can live the moment. You can actually see clouds coming up and in a moment you’re completely drowned in the clouds. Wind runs so wild that you get drifted. Only water can pour down that height and only clouds can capture the region. What more do you expect so close to the city! A ridge where my memories have been freezed!

Frozen memories! 

As we go along the path, we build up several memories. Of all those memories, few remain frozen deep into our heart. They remain permantely embedded into the layers of the memories that we store. These memories can never be replaced. They are the ones that are truly conglomerate. Mixture of different emotions, glued up together. Some memories are embedded into the rocks. These are the ones every trekker might enjoy. During my recent trek to pangarchulla, I collected this rock sample from the summit and have preserved it since then. It has got a special place in my heart. What more can a trekker cherish than actually preserving the rock from the summit. Those unheard, unavoed emotions have been piled up in those layers of the rock. Geologically speaking it’s a graniteferous mica schist. It’s a metamorphic rock. A rock which has undergone several changes, stress and strain, temperature and friction, and now it’s standing high. So is life. A metamorphic rock, where u change with the critical conditions, u get rugged, but in the end u stand high. That’s how life is where there are different layers of emotions clubbed together. Woes and worries, happiness and stress. All of them have been knitted delicately! A metamorphosis is necessary.  To gain that gloss, to stand higher. So be happy with the change, for there is something on it’s way! 

And this is how it all began! 

This is how it all began! My first ever trek. Never had i thought it would take over me so much! I used to love forts but i wasn’t a hardcore trekker. In a true sense.I never thought i would get to see these remote places. In search of nothing, but pure bliss of climbing them. The journey to find yourself. I don’t know where i would’ve been if i wasn’t introduced to this lovely group. Group of like minded people, who just want to explore nature. And find happiness in it. This trek was really special to me. Looking back, I’ve come up long way, and still have many more trails to step on.. I’m happy for the person I’ve become.. A trekker! And this is how it all began! 

Lost in the wilderness! 

Since the day earth has taken its shape, trees have been an integral part of it’s terrain. Life would have been very difficult if the trees wouldn’t have survived.  Trees paved way for the humans. We, humans, have got a symbiotic relationship with the nature. We give, we take. But that’s not how it is now. We have lost that connection with nature. We now live in a dream city where u only hear about forest, trees, nature. We have been strangled into work web and we are finding hard time getting out of it. That shouldn’t happen. We need to break free the cocoon of pseudo living. We need to live a day or two into the woods to detoxify our lungs filled to the brim. 

We need to connect with the nature, and take a walk into the woods, see how the forest looks like. Throw a pebble into the river. Don’t stress out too much. Steal some quality time with the nature. It’s thrilling finding your own way through  the canopy.  Some trails lead you to your destination, others make you find your inner soul.  You can truly discover what lies within you when you are lost in the beauty of nature. When you forget the day and time. When u forget who you are. Sometimes it’s good to be lost in the wilderness! 

A dive is all you need! 

Deep into the water when u land your dive, u get metamorphosed into a distinct world. A world that is not the one when you are on the land. U suddenly get away from all the hullabaloo. U get into a different state of mind. Where only your breaths count. Where your vision gets dwindled. Where u can hear your heart roaring for oxygen. 

A single dive transforms you from your routine to a all together different world. A dive can make you peep into your inner soul. Where u can truly discover yourself. We suddenly get away from everything. No problems, no worries run your mind, suddenly only breath controls you and your mind comes to a state of rest. Your thoughts don’t get a way. U can now hear your own body. You can explore yourself. A dive can make it happen!