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A hill climbing competition in Pune where environment is the winner

The competition was the brain child of senior citizens and people who regularly climb the hill. They later formed the Law College Hanuman tekdi mandal.

pune Updated: Mar 24, 2018 19:45 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
The event saw the participation of over 30 people.(Sanket Wankhade/HT PHOTO)

Law College tekdi Hanuman mandal (hill) climbing competition drew many senior citizens as well as children this year. While the elderly participated to help create awareness about nature and the idea of climbing hills, children participated to try to break the existing record in the climbing competition.

At 5.30 am on Saturday, one of the oldest events organised by nature lovers in the city was organised to a rousing crowd of over 30 senior citizens and children. It is held every year on the weekend before Hanuman Jayanti, which falls on March 31 this year. The competition was the brain child of senior citizens and people who regularly climb the hill. They later formed the Law College Hanuman tekdi mandal.

“Most of the senior citizens and children were already at the starting point when I reached,” said Padmini Panse, one of the organisers of the hill climbing competition.“This shows the enthusiasm among the crowd for the event,” she added.

This year, the oldest participant was Kamlakar Paranjype (83) while the youngest participant was Asmi Panse (6). “Participants in the age group of 16 to 25 can easily complete the 500-metre steep climb in five to seven minutes,” said Panse.

“It all began around 30 years ago when we were regulars on the hill,” said VS Pisolkar (77). “We, along with the other visitors, used to pay our obeisance at the Hanuman temple atop the hill. Our friend Ramchandra Jog, a senior citizen, started collecting coins placed at Lord Hanuman's feet at the temple. His sole intention was to ensure that the nearby slum dwellers don’t steal it to fund their alcohol parties in the forest area. But after some time, he realised that the amount collected was ₹500. When he told his other friends about his collection, they advised him to put the money in a bank account. Jog and some of his friends also donated ₹500 each into the account to celebrate Hanuman Jayanti.This was the beginning of the Law College Tekdi Hanuman mandal. Later, when Medha Pandit donated ₹5,000 in memory of her late father Madhubhau Ranade, a hill climbing enthusiast who always encouraged youth to climb hills around the city to build healthy body, the hill climbing competition, which had been an informal affair before, became official in his memory. Prizes are given to winners and participants as an encouragement,” he added.

Dr Vijay Phadke (63) along with Ramesh Sahastrabudhye (65) and Pramod Bhase (69) have been organising Hanuman temple related activities every year. Padmini Panse, who is a management trainer by profession helped them. She encourages young and old hill enthusiasts to experience trekking every day at the tekdi, breathe in fresh forest air and plant trees around the tekdi and nurture it. The idea is to stay healthy and think of climbing a hill as an exercise, Panse added.

Box- Scheduled event

Sunday (March 25)- 5-times hill climbing competition

Friday (March 30)- Night trek (11 pm to 1 am)

First Published: Mar 24, 2018 19:44 IST