Climbing Lohagad- The Iron Fort

2014-10-26 18.51.29They trace the Lohagad Fort back to Chalukyas, Yadavas, Bahmanis, Nizams and the Maratha king Shivaji who captured it from the Moughals in 1648 , but was forced to surrender it to them in 1649. He then recaptured it five years later and used it as a treasury.
Colonel Prother captured thee neighbouring Visapur in 1818 and  Lohagad Fort came to him without a single shot fired.

The two ancient godowns and the four Darwazas still stand tall, withstanding time and much else, except modern day monument defilers.

2014-10-26 18.56.022014-10-26 19.02.04 2014-10-26 18.56.30 2014-10-26 18.58.07An old Dargah looks quiet and at peace, despite the picnickers and climbers giving vent to the euphoria of having made it up here. It sits meditatively among acres of wild flowers that dance in the wind, creating shapes akin to  mysterious crop patterns from sci-fi movies.

2014-10-26 18.31.01A crowded car park and packed tiny eateries- all which had the prefix ‘Hotel’ before their name, in true Indian style- made it amply clear that it was a public holiday.
2014-10-26 15.51.58At 1,033 mt (3398 ft ) above sea level, it was a short steep walk up, except that the rain made the gravelly rock-strewn narrow path more slippery than it usually must be.

The vistas were beautiful when the cloud cover lifted partially, but there was enough else to smile about/ ponder upon on during the trek.

Some Random Thoughts and Discoveries:

It isn’t uncommon for people to decide to come for a trek up a fort and expect no climb at all.
Women of all shapes sizes and fitness levels seem more determined to climb right up than the men they are with.
Expensive shiny new looking chappals and pumps are the most favored footwear for both women and their kids during a hill-climb. In fact it’s easy to tell which kid belongs to whom by looking at their footwear- mommies in the above  evidently do not think a trek deserves more practical footwear even for their kids.
Men carry water- bottles. Women carry kids.
No matter that they’ve traveled this long distance especially to see the fort, some men and women ask every person on their way down: Is the fort worth this climb? Many women do not think it is necessary to dress differently/ wear less jewelry  for a trek than they would for, lets say, an Indian engagement party.
Hurling stones at monkeys is considered brave by many parents. Their kids are actively encouraged to do so.
Taking pictures is the big agenda. Taking in the beauty of the plateau abloom with golds and russets is not so common any more.
It’s tough on narrow pathways  to decide to wait for the person in front to finish taking that picture, or give in to the rising impatience with the subject posing endlessly- and become that nameless weird stranger in an otherwise perfect picture.
Honey Singh rules. If music is blaring from a cell-phone, it has to belong to him. ‘Angrezi *Weed* Te’ is what they decipher and sing this side of the country, when they sing along with Yo Yo Honey Singh.
Nachni bhakris go well with masala omelettes and Chai.
Littering is considered the done thing, even in the days of ‘Swach Bharat’.

Random Conversations Floating Around Midst The Clouds: 

Woman-   We’ve been climbing for 10 mins. When will we reach? I cant breathe. Yeh kya honeymoon hota hai ! (This is no honeymoon! )
Man      –   Just 5 more minutes to the 1st Gate. I’m going to kiss you once we reach…
Woman –   Kiss! Bhool jao, haath bhi mat pakadna. Itna bekaar hoeymoon! ( Forget kissing, I’m not even letting you hold my hand- such a miserable honeymoon!)

Girl 1 –        My feet are killing me.
Girl 2-         Mine too.
Girl 1-         Worse, these new heels are so ruined thanks to the gravel. Should have worn keds.
Girl 2-         Are you mad? We’re here with our boyfriends. We have to look good. Keds are for college sports.
Girl 1-          Haan. It’s so hard to be a girl yaar . . .

Me –             Excuse me, please can you take a picture for me?
Man –          Sure! Full?  Half? What background? Move back/ front/ right/ left . . . Any more?
Me –             No more. Thanks.
His Woman friend, ( Just as I move out of earshot)-
Oho! For her- Full, half, thisthat! You were trying to impress her na! Yes, take some more pictures for her! For me- Stand, click, bas! So nice her pictures                        must be. Full effects you used na, made her look  good I’m sure . . .

For the record, this is how I looked in those pictures. Yes, just one. The others were completely blurred.

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For all of that mouthful he received from the woman he was with,  I’m sure he could’ve done better.

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