13 November 2010

To close our Diwali holiday, we enjoyed a fun and educational day-trip to Sinhagad Fortress, including a beautiful hike to the top of the mountain where we experienced an important part of our region's history

Geograpy and History

Sinhagad Fortress is about 30km southwest of Pune.  It is in the Sahyadri mountain range at an elevation of 1500m.
The site of Sinhagad Fortress likely dates back at least 2000 years, and the fortress has played an important role in the history of the Pune region ever since.  Most famously, the "Battle of Sinhagad" in 1670 saw the fort returned to local Maratha rule, though at the cost of the life of Tanaji Malusare, for whom the fort remains a memorial.
Today the ancient fortress remains fairly well preserved, and besides being an important historical site, the climb to the fort is a popular recreational activity.

Our Day

Thirty-nine girls and four staff departed very early in the morning for the long day ahead of us.  We enjoyed the scenic 45-minute bus-ride to Sinhagad village at the base of the mountain, where we ate our breakfast which we carried with us.  We then started down the trail and up the mountainside, through trees and over rocks.  It was the first time most of us had been on such a trek, and when we saw the mountain we thought we could never make it!  But our dear Sangita made us believe that we could.  Our younger girls were undaunted, while our older girls were less enthusiastic at first.  Well into our climb, you could hear some saying, "Tai don't stop!" while others were saying, "Tai stop for some time!"  Two and a half hours later, we arrived at the top, very tired, but also very proud at our accomplishment!
Our exhaustion quickly gave way to excitement to see the fortress.  We studied the monuments and information boards and took notes ourselves with notebooks and pens that we had carried with us.  By this time we were very hungry so we had a lunch of delicious Sinhagad specialties at a small cafe in the fortress grounds.  After our lunch we just enjoyed the grounds to play games and chat.
After lunch we just enjoyed free time in the grounds to play games and chat.  Finally, at about 2:45 pm we started our return journey via two hired jeeps that took us to the bottom of the hill.  There, we found a grove of tamarind trees which, to our delight, had swings attached to them!  We had great fun swinging and climbing in the trees and eating tamarind.  Then we all had a cup of tea and boarded the bus for our trip back to Pune.  We arrived back in Pune at 6:00 pm and don't remember much after that...


Thanks again to our dear friend Lynette Lamb for providing this fantastic day trip, and creating another very special childhood memory for us! (Lynette is also OSI-Pune Program Site Sponsor).  Thanks also, as usual, to Sangita and her wonderful helpers for coordinating the day, amongst their other endless efforts for us!
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