Ultimate trekkers guide to the Sahyadris still a sellout after 20 years | pune news | Hindustan Times
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Ultimate trekkers guide to the Sahyadris still a sellout after 20 years

From rejection to best seller, the book ‘The Sahyadri Companion’, on why trekking is still in high demand even after 22 years 

pune Updated: Oct 21, 2017 18:27 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Hrishikesh Yadav, one of the founder members of Young Zingaro Trekker club with a copy of the book ‘The Sahyadri Companion’ in Pune.
Hrishikesh Yadav, one of the founder members of Young Zingaro Trekker club with a copy of the book ‘The Sahyadri Companion’ in Pune.(HT PHOTO)

The book Sahyadri Companion (in Marathi – Sangati Sahyadricha) by Goregaon-based club Young Zingaro Trekkers, published in 1995, is a comprehensive guide to everyone intending to pursue trekking and rock climbing.

All the factors relating to Sahyadris including environment, wildlife, vegetation, bird-life tourism are well described. No wonder it was a hot pick amongst trekkers, who realised the value of such a guidebook and the book received a huge response. Later, the club stopped publication and the book became a rarity for several years... until last week.

One of the founder members of the club, Hrishikesh Yadav, found 125 copies of the book in a basement and put it on sale at a discounted price. News spread like a wildfire and without any advertisement the complete lot was sold out in a single day. Surprised with the huge demand, the club members are giving a serious thought to publishing a new updated version of the book.

“We had totally forgotten about this lot. When we found it, we just told some of our friends that the books are for sale. We were really happy and surprised to see that the book is still in demand even after 22 years. We take it as a real appreciation of our hard work,” said Yadav.

Hard work

“During the 80s, when we used to trek the Sahyadris, we were badly missing such kind of books. So we decided to bring out a book which included everything. It was a mammoth task and required a huge team of over 100 volunteers, experts, writers and photographers. It took almost nine years for us to complete the book,” said Yadav.

“We visited every fort twice, re-checked each and every turn, even the smallest ones and cross- checked it with other trekkers and experts. We even introduced the colour mapping system,” he said. The book not only covered the geographic aspect but touched everything related to it. The history section varies from pre-historic era to Satavahana, Yadavas, Mughals, Marathas, Peshwas and British era.

No takers

Naturally, this heavy loaded informative book required a good publisher, even as the cost of the book was likely to be on the upper side. The club tried their best to find a solution, but surprisingly not a single publisher was ready to print the book.

“We were told that no one will buy this heavy and costly book. Finally, we decided to contribute from our pockets and publish it. We suffered heavy loss while doing so, but it was our passion and now we are seeing the results,” said Yadav.

What’s next?

The team has already started working on the next version of the book.

“Our earlier data and photographs were saved on floppy discs and a major part of it isn’t possible to recover. So we have to start it all over again. It will take time. This time we are also planning to include some forts which were remaining in the first edition and also give updated information about base villages and changed routes,” Yadav said.

 What’s in the book? 

The Sahyadri Companion contains information of 235 forts from 17 districts. All the forts are well described with proper approaches, spots, maps and photographs.

The book has three sub booklets which give information on rock climbing, first aid and the time-tables of the bus reaching the nearest place of the spot. The pinnacle section specifically mentions about the various pinnacles in Sahyadris and are graded for their difficulty levels and aided by the equipments required. 

Quotes: 

“All the generations like us who started treks in late 90's or early 2000 used this single book as reference as there were no Google maps. Even core trekkers today refer this book despite having aids like GPS. When we have digital info on fingertips and have several sources like blogs and dedicated websites, such high demand of age old book underlines the quality and dedicated work of the group”. 

Manoj Bhave, trekker 

 “The book is still relevant for the trekkers as geography or the position of the forts never changes. There are some changes in the approaching routes or villages but the book is still a best reference for anyone who wants to trek in Sahyadris. It’s not just about treks, you get to know the history, ecology, geology and village culture from this book. It’s a complete package and every trekker must have it,” 

Onkar Oak, trekker