Last weekend dated. 08th July 2017, QA team did an adventurous trip that was – Koraigad Fort Trekking. Trekking is not only testing your physical strength, but mental also which determines how far you can go.
About Koraigad – It is a hill fort located in Western Ghats of Maharashtra; about 20 km (12 mi) south of Lonavla in Pune district, M.H. This fort was forcibly taken over into his kingdom by Shivaji along with the forts of Lohagad, Visapur, Tung and Tikona. The date of construction of this fort is unknown, but likely predates 1500. It is about 923 m above sea level; mostly destroyed, but few things are still remain e.g. entrance door, boundary wall, few checkpoints and temple (renovated). It has a great flattened surface at the top, two pond separated with a passage and interesting part is that – One side; cool water and another side little bit warm.
Let me pen down the journey of our trekking with great quote:
“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home” - Gary Snyder
Planning: A few months ago; we had a team meeting with Sudhir where team member has raised a point about team building exercise; and a platform where interaction between both locations team would happen. He suggested - Why not we should have a team outing and also mentioned that it would be possible only when we have maximum participation.
To continue this thread; Sachin initiated a chapter on Jive dated.24th May 2017 with suspense banner – “Team Outing - Watch This Space - Coming Soon”. To get the interest of the people about team outing; Ritu has initiated polling in Jive on 7th June 2017 with two images:
· People hiking the mountain resembling Mt.Everest Trek – Labeled : Trekking
· Descent chain of bungalows – Labeled : Resort
I left my comment – If we are going to trek Mt. Everest then I am in. However millionaire question – Who is going to sponsor me for Mt. Everest? - client or firm then all of sudden – Abhishek came in picture and taken an initiative that he would be sponsoring all of them.
Out of 64 people – 36 has voted where 24 for Trekking (67%) and 12 for Resort (33%). There is a simple thumb rule – Majority Always Wins in case of organizing any event.
After multiple internal discussion b/w team member & organizing team – Final date for the event has been locked – 08th July 2017: Koraigad Trekking. Interested people started contributing their fund to organizing team (Neha & Ritu). Initially the mode of transportation to visit this place was planned by Cars to avoid the Lonavla Weekend traffic congestion, but later after having To-and-Fro calls/emails - It was extended and Phase 3 team got – Mini Traveler (17 seaters).
Organizing team has sent a reminder note day before this event – What are things to carry and follow so that in case of any minor emergency – Things would be handy with us and quick action will be taken.
Phase 3 team has created an internal Whatsapp group after meeting in order to communicate on real time and also manage the pick-up of the team members properly. Well, this was the first team event where people from both locations were curious to join and wanted to make this event memorable.
We all, planned to start the journey for Lonavla by 6:30 am early morning so that we can start trekking by 9:00 AM from Koraigad Base. Everything was set; People were in impression that Sudhir and Neha (Client) were also joining us but…
Execution: Without hiccups; things never go smooth. These hiccups always provide us an opportunity to make the decision at run time. Received the updates of not coming people on Friday late evening and re-structured one pick-up point.
08th July 2017, Saturday – Received first ping from Girish at around 4:40 am and then Sachin joined us. In the meantime others should start showing their presence in group – I mentioned that Bridge is open for transformation call and we should start with Automation first. Manju replied “Ha Ha Sure, all the best and have a safe journey”. Gauri was first person who started her journey very early at around 5:00 am; she left her home and reached to Chandani Chowk at around 5:15 am and waiting for Puru to come by traveler to pick up her. We have planned the routes – How the pick-up would be done and same communicated to all but eleventh hour defect has diverted the things -Tyre of the mini traveler got busted.
Received the call from Puru and informed others about this; also to avoid the delay in our plan – We suggested all the remaining Phase 3 associates to report at Wakad directly prior to 6:30 am. Girish, Sachin and Gaurav – picked up the associates from Yerwada locations by their car and reached Wakad at around 6:45 am.
Journey kicked-off at round 7:00 am after chanting the name of Ganesh and reached Lonavla at around 8:00 am then connected with local people to get the clear route for Koraigad base point. During travelling time – Ritu was one of the most active users on Whatsapp group and updating us from time to time. We (Phase 3 associates) reached base of Koraigad fort at around 8:30 am and waiting for Girish, Sachin and Gaurav. Meanwhile team was very hungry so they did little bit breakfast – Poha and Chai. Team member who were coming with Sachin, Girish & Gaurav halted nearby waterfall and posted their presence on Whatsapp group.
At sharp 9:00 am, we were supposed to start trekking, but not kicked off so I dropped a note on group to know where they are. As soon message posted, Sachin’s car touched the base. Timing was exact 9:00. Sachin’s driving skill could beat NFS guys, I would say.
Few associates from Yerwada Office joined us, but still Gaurav and Girish were missing. To use the time; we took road-side photos and great conversation with local Sher “Man’s Best Friend – Dog”. Girish & Gaurav reached at around 9:30 am.
At 9:45 am – We started trekking from base where Sachin & Girish were our mentor because they visited this place already. Path was too good – both side covered with trees and giving an impression that we were going to fort via jungle.
Many clicks happened in b/w and mostly taken by our QA alumni (Ankur and Sharath). Things were smooth when we were moving via Kachcha Rasta; as soon we touched the first stair which would lead all of us to fort that moment was really heart breaking. Stairs were too steep and were around 600+. We halted so many places and took snaps in between and some great conversation:
· Ankur’s expert comment – Kaisi Lag Rahi Hun, Ek Dum Anaar Jaisa.
· For Neha (S&M) – Wherever we saw small waterfall then #waterfall, #Neha.
· For Gaurav – People’s thought: All important events during the trekking would be surely converted into hashtag for Jive by him.
· For Heeralal – Kuch Energy Drink Hota to Safar Aur Acha Kat Ta.
After one hour of climbing – We touched the Ganesh Dwar that was the entrance gate of the fort. Fort looks good; everywhere we could see greenery which was giving a pleasant atmosphere to relax. Fort has a great flattened surface covered with green grass at the top, two ponds separated with a passage and interesting part is that – One side; cool water and another side little bit warm.
We halted between two pond and relaxing there. Scenery was too good: Both side pond, swift moving clouds, green grass and pleasant air. Everybody wanted to enjoy in the pond, but Avinash was the first person who took the initiative. Followed by him – We all jumped in even though water was cool, little bit dirty and had so many stones in the base.
Everyone’s tried their technique and enjoyed a lot. I also took one session on Automation and it went well. People grasped it immediately and started applying on others. Sachin forced others e.g. Abhishek, Ritu and Others to join us and learn some automation. Around 30-35 minutes we were in pond and enjoyed to the fullest level.
After that we decided to have some lunch, in best identified place where Girish & Sachin prepared delicious Bhel for all of us. After lunch – Started walking toward the direction of the flag which was hosted at highest peak and had some photo-shoot there. Touching that flag and posing for photo-shoot would give you the feeling that you have accomplished your mission.
We spend good time together there and Girish had sung a song for us where multiple chorus (in funny ways) added by team for Bhagyashree. Then decided to move toward our last leg of the journey, but team was hungry so halted near the entrance door where local shopkeepers were selling Kanda-Bhajiya, Maggi and Tea. We had ordered – Maggi and which was greatly served by Girish.
While descending, Weather wanted our group to stay more on the top. Therefore it started changing their mood – Rainfall started. When we were at top then weather was in our favor – Sometime it was too sunny, cloudy, foggy and slight drizzling. We took multiple halts in between and putting our feet carefully to avoid fall. Some people got the opportunity to use the branded – 400 RS umbrella and Rain Coat (Boom Boom Robo Da)
Total time which we spent above was around 2.5 hours but it would be memorable forever for all of us, I would add.
Here are the memories of our trek (arranged sequentially):
Title: Koraigad Fort Trekking Memories
Date: 08th July 2017
YouTube Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPRRSRbe-l8
Thanks to all of you for making this trekking successful and wishing many more to come.