Rapid gusts of wind lashed against my face as I made my way up the treacherous turns and slips of the mountain. A slip here or a skid there could have had me on my knees forever. For a moment I felt that the gale could have swept me off my feet. The grass provided the much needed friction between my shoes and the slippery earth beneath. Red coloured earth-worms had clustered themselves in groups for no apparent reason. As I look up for a moment, I get the feeling of being in a heaven right here on planet earth. The scenic beauty all around is pictureseque. As if it has just been cut out of the book of the most professional photographer. I moved my head all around to see houses, scaled down by atleast one thousand times, embellished in a green sea of grass swaying to the gusts of wind. The clouds were hurrying by as the weather prepared itself for one more whimsical change. The clouds take along with them the passing showers as, much to our relief, the sun peeps out from behind them. After a lot of effort and leg crunching ordeals we finally reach the top of the hill, to our destination. Such is the serene beauty of the Jyotiba Hill.
I had gone with my friends to Panhala for a two-day vacation(after all, my engineering course doesent allow more than two days of peace!!). Panhala is a fort made by the great Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It is located 22km from Kolhapur, Maharashtra. We checked in at Hotel Hilltop and immediately left for a guided tour of the fort. We hired a guide(his name was Kishorebhau) and he started showing us around. We were immediately captivated by the thought that in Panhala, the hotels, shops and overall the whole village is inside the fort!!. As if it was an anachronism, every time I walked through the bylanes of Panhala, I could hear that staccato sound of a hundred baroque horses galloping their way around in a gracious cavalcade.
As if that wasnt enough, we were told of the various tactics used by Shivaji Maharaj to build the fort. The architecture of the fort is impeccable. The scientific methods that have been used to make the fort are out of bounds. Apparently no other structure of modern times harnesses nature’s prowess to fullest.
After Panhala, we left for Jyotiba temple on the very next day. Jyotiba is approximately 15 kms from Panhala. Unfortunately a tree had fallen on the road to Jyotiba and it seemed very unlikely that the road would be cleared soon. We made up our mind and decided to trek our way up the Jyotiba hill.
The geography is such that Panhala is 3127 feet above the sea level on one hill, where as Jyotiba is on the other hill. The height of Jyotiba is around 2500 feet above the sea level. That means that we had to first get down from Panhala and again climb upto Jyotiba.
After going through the main tar road for sometime, we felt that urge to trek up the mountain. That is how it all began and all that description I mentioned above comes right from the bottom of my heart. At the end of the day we all felt that, had it not been for that fallen tree we would have missed an opportunity of a lifetime.
I would reccomend everyone to visit this place if they get a chance. Believe me, it is really worth the time!!
At this point I remember one quote from H. G. Wells:
We have no time to stand and stare.