Are you a Punekar? Or You are here in Pune for your studies? Or You are here for temporary stay? Or You are travelling to Pune? Or Are you moving to Pune?
Whatever is the reason, somehow if you get connected with Pune, Pune won’t leave. Such a wonderful place, a city this is! A city of IT industry, a city of manufacturing industry, a city of corporates, a city of world class Institutes, a city of Heritage , a city of Universities, a city of youngsters, a city of elites and a city of dreams. Isn’t it?
I know many friends who keep telling me that they settled got in Pune because they are in love with the city.
Well, There are many reason for anyone to love this city. let me give one more reason to love Pune. Pune offers a stage for varied mountain sports in the Western Ghats around it. If you drive or ride hardly 40 kms from Pune toward west, you are in the mountains. That’s it!
Western Ghats around Pune offers varied sports. Let’s try to get brief information about all the great things you can do in Sahyadri around Pune. These are sports which you can have take part in individually or with some professional groups or under supervision of some expert.
Hiking is an activity which keeps you engaged for some hours. Its basically walking natural trail. The difficulty level could be from easy to moderate. Some hikes can be difficult also, however, one must not go difficult hikes if they are new to hiking. Pune offers wide range of such hike routes which you can hike on any weekend. You can start early morning and can be back to home by evening. Park your vehicles at some point and start your hike. Hiking normally starts and ends at the same point where you have started. You need some healthy snacks, enough water. A good quality pair of shoes is also important. Places like Sinhgad, Mulshi, Lohgad, Visapur fort are some of the easy destinations for quick hikes.
Trekking is something same like hiking but is done over a couple of days instead of hours. You got to be very well prepared with all your stay arrangements, food, and personal toiletries. Here in Pune there are many professional trekking groups which you can join and do trekking. If you plan to go camping at our campsite in Velhe, we offer treks to Torna, Rajgad and Rayling Plateau. We don’t charge people for trekking. There are many trekking destinations around Pune you can explore. You must go through all the resources available online if you are choosing any new destination for trekking. We have seen many accidents also in Sahyadri just because the participants are not given proper instructions about Dos and Donts of nature. So be very choosy while selecting the trekking group.
Rappelling is a means of using a rope to descend in a controlled manner. In other parts of the world, another term for rappelling is abseiling. While rappelling is a popular sport, it is also used by military, police and rescue services. There are many spots near Pune where you can do rappelling. You need to have proper training to do rappelling yourself or you need some instructor who can guide you as well as make sure that all the gears are upto the mark and help you wear those. We at our campsite have a very descent cliff to do rappelling. Even kids of age 6 years also have done rappelling at our campsite. And the oldest person till now who has done rappelling at our campsite was 73 years old , 3 years ago. He is 76 now. The three main pieces of equipment used in rappelling are rope, carabiners and harnesses. Additional equipment includes helmets, gloves, ascenders and descenders. Knots are used in rappelling to secure the rope to anchor points along the way. Common knots used are figure eight knots, but the most important factor is to leave about a foot of rope at the end in case the knot slips. Rappelling can be a hazardous activity as there is risk of ropes jamming or breaking and equipment failure. It is important to have a belay, which involves a person holding the rope slack to help control the climber’s descent at the first sign of trouble.
Rock climbing is the sport or activity of climbing rock faces, especially with the aid of ropes and special equipment. The concept is to reach an end point, or a summit, of a rock face or structure. This can be done with specific equipment, depending on the difficulty and severity of the climb. It is a physically demanding sport that combines fitness and agility with the mental fortitude required to conquer an ascension or traverse. It can be perilous, but that is often considered a positive aspect of the adventure. To do rock climbing you must be trained by professional institute. You can not just do it like rappelling can be done. Rock climbing requires very good fitness level, good stamina , and great mental stability. You must learn the art of overpowering emotions to excel in this sport. You can get primary training of rock climbing with GGIM, a Pune based outdoor training group. Or else you can also get yourself enrolled for a basic mountaineering course in Nehru Institute of Mountainneering at Uttarkashi. There are many institutes in India which offer such trainings.
A nature trail is a short planned walkway through a natural area in which interesting and important natural or historic features are pointed out to the visitor and explained by a guide or by interpretive signs. You can find many such wonderful trail in Pune. You can even find one within the city also. The ARAI hill. Go search , google for this. Its great easy and quite rejunavating. When people come to our campsite, we make sure that they walk through such trails.
This is a simple but very effective way of execise. This not only gives you fitness benefits but also connects you with nature. You run through forests, mountains , valleys and creeks.
This is my favourite sport. On my every camping trip to nisargshala, I go trail running. I also offer our guests to join me early morning for trail running.
You can further enhance your skills, stamina and strength to take part in some Mountain marathon. Western Ghat Running Foundation organised SRT marathon every year. SRT stands for Sinhgad –Rajgad –Torna fort marathon. There are 3-4 categories to enrol in this event. This happens every year in the month of December.
Mountain Biking/Trail Riding
Mountain biking is a sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain. Mountain biking can generally be broken down into multiple categories: cross country, trail riding, all mountain (also referred to as “Enduro”), downhill, freeride and dirt jumping. This sport is relatively new to India but its gaining popularity very fast. There are bike freaks in almost all metropolitan cities in India. Pune is not an exception. You google or do youtube search you can find dozens of youngsters already into this sport.
This sport requires endurance, core strength and balance, bike handling skills, and self-reliance. Advanced riders pursue both steep technical descents and high incline climbs. In the case of freeride, downhill, and dirt jumping, aerial maneuvers are performed off both natural features and specially constructed jumps and ramps.
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Hemant S Vavale