Top 6 trekking clubs in Pune that can quench your thirst for adventure
Pune has always been known for its beauty, tradition, style and uniqueness. But the prime charm of the city lies in its forts, caves and hillocks. The geographical advantage of the city has attracted many nature and adventure enthusiasts and developed a passion for trekking in them. The close proximity of the Sahyadri Mountains also proved a boon for the trekking in the city.
Many trekking groups started visiting the several forts to experience the terrifying cliffs, dense forests, dark caves, and steep falls and also to witness the rich heritage of many empires. Even today a large number of adventure organisations conduct regular treks in Sahyadris.
Approximately, there are over 200 trekking clubs in the city and many of them are actively working. The activities has also attracted kids and family groups. Many prefer Sinhagad as their favourite destination and keeps visiting the fort on every Sunday or Thursday. The Sinhagad Warkari Sangh is the best example for this. On the other hand, several other groups who aim the Himalayan treks feels this is a best platform for them. The history has proved that many trekking organisations from the city have done remarkable achievements in the Himalayas.
HT takes a look at some of the prominent trekking clubs in the city.
Giripremi is one of the pioneer mountaineering clubs in India. In 1982, five stalwarts in mountaineering Ushaprabha Page, Anand Palande, Dilip Nimbalkar, Nandu Page and Shashi Hiremath came together to lay foundation of the club with the vision to provide a platform to adventure lovers and carving them into new generations of mountaineers. Giripremi is among few non-commercial organizations in India whose sole aim is to carry out hardcore mountaineering activities in Sahyadri as well as Himalayas. “Mountaineering for joy” is the motto of this club.
“Giripremi’s achievements include successful ascent on 22 technically challenging Himalayan peaks. Giripremi’s rock climbers climbed several virgin pinnacles and rock walls in the Sahyadri region such as Dhakoba wall (1500 ft), Katra Kada (2700 ft), Nafta (2700 ft) and Aurthor’s seat (1200 ft). Along with that Giripremi has always been focused on the social activities as well. It’s contribution includes participation in help and relief activities, rescue operations and other causes like blood donation camps,” said Umesh Zirpe of Giripremi.
“To increase awareness towards nature and adventure sports like trekking and mountaineering, Giripremi has been instrumental in shaping and nurturing the young minds who are keen towards it. Through the programmes like ‘Aavahan’ a proper training is imparted to those interested of the age group 10-18 years. The programme is so designed that mountaineering should be practiced like other routine sports, throughout the year. They are guided and are given a chance to get trained in the mountain ranges of northern India,” he added.
Various activities planned round the year include treks, rock climbing, river crossing, nature walks and knowledge sharing of other outdoor skills like backpacking, map reading, first-aid, etc are organised by Giripremi.
Raw Adventures Solutions
Started in 2012 by Vikas Kaduskar, the Raw Adventures focuses on several adventure activities like cycling expeditions, summer camps for kids and corporate team building programmes.
“We believe in by the nature, for the nature and from the nature. Safety, mountain discipline, leaving no traces and following ethical behavior are our core values. We are engaged into weekend getaways, annual outdoor program for school children, campsite developments and construction of artificial rock climbing walls,” said Vikas has over 14 years of experience in outdoors and has managed over 500 programmes yet.
“In association with Decathlon, Wagholi, we conduct several workshops and seminars on preparing for treks in Sahyadris and Himalayas, how to test stamina, nutrition and other important aspects. While in our 8-week outdoor leadership programmes, we train the trainers. Panshet Cycle Parikrama and Coastal Tours are some of our unique events. Along with that we also organise several treks in Sahyadris,” he said.
Since its foundation in 2001, the club has organised many treks throughout the Sahyadris. Not just trekking but the group is involved in organising off-road biking, river rafting, jungle camps, waterfall rappelling and other adventure activities. “We feel that, in Maharashtra there is tremendous scope for trekking, wilderness and adventure sports. We have realised this by exploring number of places. We are always taking efforts to find out new places related with a combination of history and adventure. We also take care to adore nature without disturbing its balance,” said Anand Kenjale.
Twenty years ago, a few young mountaineering lovers in Kirloskar Cummins Ltd.(Now Cummins India Ltd.) came together and started activities in trekking in 1988 with a view to have certain discipline they thought that an organisation must be established with the aim of introducing young people to adventure activities. First High Altitude Trekking Programme (HATP) in the Himalaya was organized in 1990 in which officers and workers from KCL (Age group 18 to 50). And since then every year it is followed. Various Himalayan expeditions named Rudugaira, Khatling, Black-Peak, Deo Tibba, were also made successful by the enthusiastic members of Girikujan. They also carry out activities like tree plantation, blood donation, cleaning of water-reservoirs on various forts.With a view to develop interest among the children, they conduct a training program (camp) for children of age 10 to 15 years. This camp is held at Tamhini every year during April. Children are trained in rock-climbing, rappelling, river-crossing and general awareness in jungle trekking.
After having led its foundation in 2014, the group had numerous successful expeditions and events. “Our services include offbeat and heritage odysseys Konkan, Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Adventure enthusiasts have variety options from treks and cycling expeditions along Aravalies, Himalayas, Nilgiries and Sahyadri along with kids vacation camps,” said Shraddha Mehta. “Our mission is to offer an opportunity of self discovery by challenging physical and mental strength and server as a platform for cultural exchange. We also aim at spreading awareness about Mountaineering and History and conservation and restoration of Nature and Heritage,” she said.
“Trekking was a rare hobby till 1970, but many people started trekking after that. Awareness was created after 1980 in this field. Though many books were written about forts, there was hardly anyone to guide the new or inexperienced trekkers. Thus we decided to form Giridarshan Trekking Club,” said Satish Marathe of Giridarshan.
“A passion for studying forts and visiting new and new forts, caves, and old temples kept us going for last fifteen years. For those who wanted to join us, we used to give small news in the newspaper. Even today the style remains the same. Visiting these forts changes our personality. It toughens our body and soul,” he added.
Since the formation, Giridarshan has organised more than 450 treks and the number of total participants has been above ten thousand. Besides arranging treks on popular forts, the group gathers information of the uncommon forts and include them in next treks. They have a well-studied record of above 200 forts and it is increasing constantly.
Plastic collection drive on Pune’s pride Parvati, cleaning of water sources and temples on various forts, cleaning and study of ancient water system of Baneshwar temple, carrying out various slide shows, photo exhibition of wide collection of photographs of over 100 forts, rock climbing, rappelling and nature camps for school children comprise some of their other activities.
“Some of our widely appreciated trekking programs are Mahabaleshwar jungle trek, Harishchandragad, Vasota jungle trek, Rajgad-Torna trek, Duke’s Nose monsoon trail, Jeevdhan-Naneghat trek, Panhalgad- Vishalgad trek, Salher Mulher trek, Raigad ropeway trip, Dhak bahiri trek, Matheran trek, Kalsubai-Ratangad trek, Bhimashankar jungle trek etc.”
Yuvashakti (Anil Mate – 9423003077)
TrekD (Pinakin Karve - 9822 444 963)
Giridarshan (Satish Marathe – 9850520058)
Zenith Adventures (Sharddha Mehta - 97643 84221)
Heights Trekking Club, Alandi (Rajesh Jadhav - 9028463763)
Explorers (Anand Kenjale - 9850502723)
Girikujan (Tirthraj Joshi – 9822027394)
WTA (Prasad Wagh – 8149245189)
Midas Adventure (Mahadeo Gadade - 9370080086)
Swacchand Giryarohak (Vishal Kakade - 8983 898528)