About Giridarshan

Studying history is very interesting, and moreover the history of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, is very thrilling. Sahyadris have always been a boon to trekking in Maharashtra. The towering cliffs, steep falls, dark caves, difficult passes and dense forests were the points which Shivaji Maharaj took advantage of by building forts and making it very difficult for a stranger to not only attack but to travel or pass through it. Every fourth or fifth mountain is fortified and made even stronger to defend.

Trekking was a rare hobby till 1970, but many people started trekking after that. Awareness was created after 1980 in this field. We a group of enthusiastic trekkers, visited many forts at that time. Though many books were written about forts, there was hardly anyone to guide the new or inexperienced trekkers. Thus we decided to form GIRIDARSHAN TREKKING CLUB, a group to take new trekkers with us to visit these forts and also to inculcate trekking as a hobby.

Today most of these forts are deserted, but still are very thrilling. Although studying them is a different experience. Visiting these forts for study or touring started hundred years back. The first known trekker was Mr. Chintaman Gogate. He visited all 300 forts of Maharashtra. He wrote the first book on these forts in 1895, one could imagine how difficult it must be to visit these forts a hundred years back with the least traveling facilities of that time.

A passion for studying forts and visiting new and new forts, caves, and old temples kept us going for last fifteen years. For those who wanted to join us, we used to give small news in the newspaper. Even today the style remains the same. Visiting these forts changes our personality. It toughens our body and soul.

Besides arranging treks on popular forts, we started gathering information of the uncommon forts by visiting them. In this way, we were able to upgrade our treks. We then started to arrange treks on these uncommon forts. Forts like Madhumakarandgad, Vairatgad, Kenjalgad, Jungli Jaigad, Mahuli, Chavand, Salher, Kulang, etc were known to very few trekkers who really took pains to visit them. But now these treks are not uncommon for us, and many of our participants as we regularly arrange treks here. Since the formation, we have organized more than 450 treks and the number of total participants has been above ten thousand.

We have a well-studied record of above 200 forts and it is increasing constantly. Besides historical events, we also study the construction details like the entrances of the forts and different styles of those huge doors, shielding walls, bastions of the forts, temples, caves, water supply on these forts. Study of various ghats is also interesting. The number of trekkers participating in our treks is constantly increasing. For monsoon treks like Duke’s nose near Lonavala, the number of participants is very high as these are leisure treks. {Especially for Duke’s nose trek there are almost 200 participants.}

While going on various forts, we come across many places which are lesser known, but where we can travel by road. These are very raw spots and one can enjoy nature’s beauty as well as peace and pollution free air. We also organize trips to places like Thoseghar, Kas floral plateau, Bamnoli, Shivtharghal, spots near Bhimashankar, Varandhghat, Malshejghat, Naneghat, which were earlier considered uncommon, but are very popular now with the nature lovers. We try to introduce more and more spots for trips or picnics. Visiting and studying various ancient caves is also exciting. There are lot of such old caves like Karla, Bhaje, Bedse, Thanale, the very famous caves of Ajantha and Ellora.

Many beautiful temples are built over the years. The Muslims of the Shivaji Maharaj era, tampered most of them, but still tend to be fabulous. Temples like Kukdeshwar, Bhuleshwar, Ratanwadi temple, and Khidrapur are to name a few. Visiting these temples and caves does not require trekking or climbing skills.

Plastic collection drive on Pune’s pride Parvati, cleaning of water sources and temples on various forts, cleaning and study of ancient water system of Baneshwar temple, carrying out various slide shows, photo exhibition of our wide collection of photographs of over 100 forts, rock climbing, rappelling and nature camps for school children comprise some of our other activities.

Some of our widely appreciated trekking programs are Mahabaleshwar jungle trek, Harishchandragad, Vasota jungle trek, Rajgad-Torna trek, Duke? nose monsoon trail, Jeevdhan-Naneghat trek, Panhalgad- Vishalgad trek, Salher Mulher trek, Raigad ropeway trip, Dhak bahiri trek, Matheran trek, Kalsubai-Ratangad trek, Bhimashankar jungle trek etc.