श्री. काका हरदास
सागरी पर्यटनाला चालना मिळावी तसेच कोकणातील पर्यटनाकडे तरुणांचे लक्ष्य वेधावे म्हणून कल्याण मधील आमचे सन्नमनिय सभासद प्रसिध्द निसर्गछायाचित्रकार तसेच ज्येष्ट ईतिहासप्रेमी श्री.काका हरदास वय वर्षे ७२ हे स्व:ताच्या तांत्रीक बोटीने कल्याण ते सिंधुदुर्ग (५०० कि.मी.अतंर) सागरीमर्गाने सागरीदुर्ग परिभ्रमणात ते १७ किल्ल्यांना भेटी देऊन सागरी दुर्गाचे ऎतिहासिक संदर्भ समजावून घेणार आहेत.
On the move....
कल्याणच्या ऎतिहासिक नगरीत राहणारे काका हरदास यांनी २५ वर्षीय अविनाश हरड व त्यांच्या नॊकरांच्या मद्तीने सागरी दूर्ग परिभ्रमणाची योजना आखली.त्यानंतर ठाण्यात फोटो सर्कल सोसायटीतील छायाचित्रकारांनी या मोहीमेत सहभाग घेण्याची इच्छा दर्शविली. १४ जणांचे पथकाने ९ नोव्हेंबर रोजी सकाळी साडेसात वाजता कल्याणच्या दूर्गाडी किल्ल्याजवळून मोहिमेला सुरुवात
केली. साडेआठ वाजता ठण्याच्या खाडीत पोहोचतील आणि पुढे वाशीमार्गे खांदेरी, उंदेरी किल्ल्यातील कोळी समाजाच्या वेताळाचे दर्शन घेतील. स्वत: ची बोट विकत घेतल्यानंतर तिच्या इंजिनमध्ये सुधारणा करुन हरदास मोहिमेवर निघाले आहेत. दोन महिन्यांपूर्वी आजारातून उठलेल्या काकांनी वर्षभरापासून या मोहिमेची तयारी केली. फायबरची बोट खरेदी करुन तिचे ‘सरखेल आंग्रे’ असे नामकरण केले. कल्याण ते वसईपर्यंत सराव करताना डाँ.सारंग कुलकर्णी यांच्याकडून बोट चालविण्याचे प्रशिक्षण घेतले. ७२ व्या वर्षी शिकण्याची धडपड करणा-या काकांनी प्रशिक्षण पूर्ण करुन फिटनेसवर भर दिला. म्हणून पहिल्या दिवशी १०५ किलोमीटर, नंतर ७०-८० किलोमीटर बोट चालवून सागरी सफर करण्यास सज्ज आहेत. त्यानां ठाण्यातील छायाचित्रकार संजय नाईक, संजय शिंदे, अतुल मयेकर, प्रवीण देशपांडे, राजेश शेलार, विनायक गोडबोले वगैरे मंडळी साथ देणार आहेत.
भरती-ओहोटी पाहून किल्ल्यांचे दर्शन घेतले जाणर आहे. त्यात खांदेरी,उंदेरी,कोरलाई,कुलाबा,जंजिरा,कासाकिल्ला,सुवर्णदुर्ग,सिंधुदुर्ग आदी ५०० किलोमीटरच्या कोकण किनारपट्टीवरील किल्ल्यांना भेट देणार आहेत. वादळवारा आदी संकटांना सामोरे जाताना खुल्या बोटीतील हा प्रवास तरुणांना प्रेरणादायी असल्याचे काका हरदास यांनी सांगितले. श्री.काका हरदास आमचे सन्माननिय सभासद असल्याचा आम्हाला सार्थ अभिमान वाटतो. त्यानां या प्रकल्पासठी गगांजल नेचर फौंडेशनच्या अनेक शुभेच्छा.
Kaka Hardas on Mission
‘To celebrate the 351st anniversary of Shivaji Maharaj’s Naval force that he founded at Durgadi fort in Kalyan, Kaka Hardas, a social worker and photographer, along with his team is all set to cross 500km sea coast from Durgadi fort to Sindhudurga. The team will travel in a small fiberglass boat named Sarkhel Kanhoji Angre.’
The seven-day expedition will start tomorrow, on November 9 at 7:30 am from Ganeshghat, Kalyan. The boat will cross Mumbra, Thane and Vashi creek and then will enter the sea. The journey will come to an end on November 14 at Sindhudurga. In this adventurous journey, the team will visit Shivaji’s 17 forts, including Khanderi, Underi, Korlai, Kulaba, Janjira, Kasakilla, Suvarnadurga, Anjanvel, Jaigad, Ratnadurga, Purnagad, Ambolgad, Vijaydurga and Sindhudurga.
At 72, Kaka Hardas is enthusiastic and determined about the expedition and would be the captain of this expedition. His team comprising Avinash Harad (25) from Kalyan and Parshuram Reddy (74) from Pune will be accompanied by Sanjay Naik, Pravin Deshpande, Rajendra Shelar, Vinayak Godbole, Sanjay Shinde and Atul Mayekar, members of Foto circle society, Thane who will click beautiful pictures of this thrilling journey.
Says Hardas, “Last year, noted leaders such as Babasaheb Purandare, Uddhav Thackeray, Manohar Joshi and others were present for the 350th anniversary celebration of Shivaji Maharaj’s naval force foundation at Durgadi fort, Kalyan. They explained the importance of sea forts and narrated Shivaji’s vision that enabled him to study the course of sea water, the high and low tide of the place, wind direction and its protection before building the sea fort. Today many forts are in pitiable condition and need restoration that can be possible if tourism develops in this area.”
A group tried to cross the sea route in a fisherman’s boat. But unfortunately due to technical inadequacies, the team couldn’t complete the expedition. Hardas continues, “To avoid problems I have been preparing for the journey from the last one year. With Avinash I have traveled the distance by road and have met experienced people for guidance. Since I have no previous experience of boat driving, I have been taking lessons and practicing my skills in the back waters of Kalyan. We have planned every detail of our journey. We would travel in the quiet early morning hours and halt after 3 pm when the sea starts becoming rough. Our first destination will be Alibaug, and then we will halt at Shrivardhan, Guhagar, Ratnagiri, Devgad and Malwan.”
“Our aim is to attract youths towards the joy of sailing and initiate them to visit the historical forts and other beautiful spots on the coastal route of Maharashtra. In fact Maharashtra has been blessed with a beautiful coast of 720 km which is embedded with sea forts and other beautiful spots that can be developed to attract tourists. In recent years tourism has been developed in Konkan region. But coastal area has not explored properly. I hope such adventurous sailing expedition would attract people’s mind,” concludes Hardas.
Daily Chronicles of the Expedition
Photos shown in Album are of my expedition of sea forts of Chattrapati Shivaji Maharaj which I had done in my fiber glass dingy (Kalyan Durgadi Fort to Sindhudurga-Malvan) in Maharashtra at the age of 72. The Distance between Kalyan and Sindudurg is about 450 km. The route from Kalyan passed through Thane creek and there after started in Arabian sea. We visited 17 sea and coastal forts which are listed below.
1, Underee 2, Khanderi 3, Kolaba 4, Janjeera (Murud) 5, Kasa 6, Korlai 7, Suvarna durg 8, Goagadh 9, Fathegadh 10, Anjanvel 11, Gopalgadh 12, Ambolgadh 13, Purnagadh 14, Jaigadh 15, Ratna durh 16, Vijaydurg 17,Sindudurg
We started our expedition on 9th of November 2008 with warm sendoff from families and friends. After sailing for about 80-85 kms, we took a round to Underee fort as it was impossible for us to dock the boat nearby because of rocks around the fort. Then we proceed to Khandaree fort which is about 6-7 km from the Underee fort. We docked the boat very easily at the small jetty. Then we roamed around the fort. We took some photographs of old cannons, Light house and some other places in the fort. Then we bowed Vetaleshwar (God of Fisherman). This is a worth visiting spot as it’s is considered to be auspicious. It is believed by fishermen that if a person purchases a new boat, must vvisit this temple and give some offerings to the Lord Vetaleshwara. We proceeded to Kolaba (alibag) fort but not visited this place because we had seen this place so many times. Our next stop was Revdanda jetty for night halt. By this time it was sunset and group of people and backup team were anxiously waiting for us. Then backup team took up the charge of the boat. We had a night halt at Chaul which is 6 km from the Jetty.
We started our journey little late i.e. about 9.30 am. Our next destination was Korlai fort which is about 3.0 km from the Revdanda jetty. We docked at 350 years old jetty at the foot of the Korlai fort. This fort is a costal fort. It took one and half hour to see the fort. Then we proceeded to Kasa fort which is situated near Murud. This journey took around 2 hours. By 2’o clock we reached Kasa. Kasa fort is unfortunately in very ruined and neglected state. Before sailing further we had some snacks. By this time my younger son Mandar joined us who earlier was not willing to join the expedition team. His presence in the team later helped us a lot ,because he had experience in sailing of tiller type boats, speed boats and big yatches also. Janjira fort is about 4 km from Kasa we just said bye bye to Janjira fort and proceeded further. Our next docking was at Shreevardhan jetty which is at a distance of about 35 km from Murud . We reached Shreevardhan by about 6o’ clock in the evening. We were welcomed by huge crowd of people and the fisherman took charge of the boat. Then we proceeded to our rest place. I took rest for about two hours when I woke up at about 9.30 pm my dinner was ready on the table in my room. I found that all my crew members and back up team had disappeared in search of Beer. I don’t know when they returned.
From Shreevardhan jetty we lifted our anchor at 9.30 am and proceeded to Suvarna Durga fort near Harne BandarShreevardhan. We were able to spot dolphins in this area and we had company of many of these beautiful species joining our journey towards Suvarnadurg. We were could dock our boat in a small beach near the fort. After visiting this ruined fort we found 2 tanks of sweet water inside the fort. But these were in very pitiable condition. It was impossible for us to take round in the whole fort as it was covered with thorny bushes and grass. The main gate (Maha Dwar) was in good condition. There was an Idol of Lord Hanuman on the right side of the embankment. We were also able to spot 2 owls chicks in one of the corner place of the main door. There was a beautiful scenic spot on the west side of the entrance of the fort. We were in the fort for about two hours and later we returned to our boat. It was noon and it was our lunch time. We found that our backup team had forgoten to pack our lunch in the boat. Immediately we contacted our backup team. They, by that time realised their folly. They hired a boat in Harne Bander with our food packets and came to Suvarna Durga at about 3.0 pm. After that we went to see Goagadh and Fathegadh which were not so important places. We reached Veldur which is about 40.0 km from Suvarnadurg. At the Veldur jetty, group of people were waiting for us as we were late. From Veldur jetty we took a halt at Guhagar (About 12 Km). which is about 40 km from
At about 8o’ clock in the morning we visited Gopalgadh by road which is situated between Guhagar and Veldur. Gopalgadh is a small fort which is given to one person on lease by the government. The people of Guhagar have emotional attachment to this place and they had strong agitations against the government. This matter is now pending before the high court. We came back to the Veldur jetty at about 9.30 am and proceeded to Jaigadh. We visited Jaigadh. The story regarding the naming of this fort is very interesting. In 1575-80 when the work for this fort was started there came many problems in the construction. The people of this area believed that without sacrificing a human being, this fort won’t be able to stand on its feet. So to satisfy gods of the fort a man named Jaiba came forward to sacrifice himself, but conditioned that the fort should be named after his name. For last three days our crew members are in a jovial mood because of very calm sea and there was no rolling in the sea at all and all these days I was wondering why people were afraid of the sea. But after Jaigadh our Burai (Bad time) started. There was a little rolling in the sea but even these small waves of 3 to 4 feet were giving us trouble in sailing. As we were not experienced people in the sailing, totally new to this situation. Near Ganpatipule, we found that sea was dragging our boat towards deep sea. So we decided to turn over boat towards the west at about 30 degree angle. After struggling on the waves which were not even four feet high, we reached Mirya Bandar near Ratnagiri. We could realise the vastness and beyond scale volume of the Sea. We could also realise why it’s one of the Panch Mahabhutas according to Hindu Phylosophy. I handed over all the gears to backup team and crew members and sent them to resting destination. I then sailed the boat along with Mr. Bashirbhai a local fisherman to keep the boat safely in his custody at Karla Bandar. Then I went to hotel Vivek, Ratnagiri where all the crew and backup team members halted for the night. After dinner, all the members gathered in my room and asked me whether we should proceed further or not. They were all afraid of this new face of sea. I convinced them to continue the journey.
We started from Karla Bandar and sailed for Vijaydurg which is 55.0 km away. In between we visited Purnagadh and Ambolgadh. After that we reached Vijaydurg. During this time, sea was more rough but we got used to it. After visiting Vijaydurg at about 4.30 pm we left Vijaydurg and headed towards Devgadh. In this journey, boys were enjoying the rough sea and they were out of fear. At last we docked at Devgadh jetty and proceeded to our resting place which is very beautiful bungalow of my friend on the hill near Devgadh facing the sea.
This was our last day of the expedition .Early in the morning we visited the Devgadh fort by road and then reached to Devgadh jetty by about 10.30 am. Boys were preparing for the next journey and put necessary things in the boat. By this time local MLA Mr. Gogte came on the spot for giving good wishes for further journey and appreciated my efforts for the expedition at the age of 72. He gave us two boxes of fruit juices one for crew members and another for backup team from his own factory. Amruta juices is famous for its fresh stuff. At about 11o’ clock we lifted our anchor to sail for our last journey i.e. Sindhudurg-Malvan. At the same time one big fishing trawler also lifted its anchor. We requested them to take our Videographer and Photographer in their trawler so that they can record our live shooting. After 45 minutes or so we asked the trawler people to stop their boat to take our crew members back in the boat. We took our boat nearer the trawler so that they could get down in our boat but unfortunately my right hand was resting on the edge of my boat and was severely injured when these two boats collided with each other. It was a big injury on my index finger. So I had to wrap my bleeding finger in a handkerchief as there was no First aid box in the boat . Then I asked my son to divert boat to the Achara jetty which was near to that spot. After half an hour I took first aid from local doctor and again we started for our journey. After leaving Achara creek and entering in the sea there was a heavy rolling(Udhan) in the sea because of full moon day. After struggling a lot we could site Sindhudurg fort but this time it was very difficult to handle the boat so I phoned to one of my friends on the jetty. And requested him to send a rescue boat so that we can tie our boat to the rescue boat. He assured me that he would be sending a boat, but after 10 minutes I got a phone call from him that no fisherman was willing to take risk as sea had turned very rough by that time. But with much difficulty we on our own were able to steer the boat towards the dock. Anyhow we reached Sindudurg jetty by about 5.30 pm by that time message had spread that we were in danger. So there was a huge crowd on the jetty including the MLA of that area Mr. Parshuram Uperkar and custom officers on the jetty. As soon as we docked near the jetty the president of the local fisherman society embraced me and gave me garlands and praised me that in spite of you are not a fisherman you have done this expedition in this dangerous situation. we were greeted by huge crowd with loud cheers and then media people surrounded me. I had a press conference. By that time my finger was bleeding like anything so I immediately admitted to one hospital. I was operated for about 1 hour. Next day morning I took discharge and proceeded to my home town. Leaving behind my crew members and backup team.
My daughter vaishali and Deepali Despande sharp shooter of India. Who had taken part in Olympic game. Winner of Chhatrapati award and the Arjuna award with their all women crew are arranging same type of expedition this year in November with the same boat. You guidance to them will be most useful.