Part I is here.
What a nice day! Start from home at 5.30 am, get the bus at 6 am. Reach Vadachi Vaadi (the village at the “ground floor” of the hill where fort is located) at 10 am.
The plan was to get some last minute perishables (read milk and suchlike) at the village shop, and go onwards to the fort. What really happened was, we got talking with the grocer and the “gang” which it seemed to practically live in his shop. And what an interesting conversation that was. Seems the fort will live up to our expectations. As is standard for all abandoned and ancient buildings, the fort apparently has ghosts, at least 2 distinct ones and maybe one or two more. Not to mention a “room full of treasure, guarded by the old occupants of the fort”. No wonder the area has a bad reputation amongst the people of the village.
All you can see from the village are two towers guarding the road to the fort. The towers are situated at the top of the hill (and which you reach by climbing for about one and half hours). They are not connected to the fort, but having a commanding view of the road and the surrounding area, the watchers there can really do some serious damage to the climbers, before they reach the top when they are in range of the fort's own cannons, and still have a mile's walk before they can reach the fort's walls. A nice security precaution...
Anyways, reaching the fort around 2 pm, we had our lunch, and started exploring the area. The buildings are pretty well maintained (of course, considering that they are at least 350 years old). You can clearly make out where the fallen buildings are, and the nagarkhana (where we are camping) is almost completely free of any grass and possible any wildlife. The temple and the sadar, and some other military buildings are still standing, with most of the walls and some part of their roof. Got some nice photographs there.
The only thing out of ordinary happened around 5 pm. A young man of around 25-30 came upto the fort. We were at the back of the fort, getting some photographs. Apparently he is the son of the Patil of the town and being town-educated, he was “bored because he got very few educated people to talk to in this isolated town”. So, we offered him tea, and had a nice talk with him while roaming around. He left us to continue our exploration just before sunset (which was around 7.30 due to the cliff on the west).
It started getting dark quite early, and we came back to our campsite. Have a nice packed day planned for tomorrow, as we have to finish checking the remaining areas and get back to catch the (only) bus in the evening.
While coming back, it hit us. Due to the acoustics of the place, we had heard our visitor's horse for about 15-20 minutes before he arrived at the fort (traveling the 1 mile flat stretch), which gave us time to come to the door from where we had been getting photographs. But when he left, we didn't hear any sound from him or his horse... and he is definitely not in the fort. Wonder what happened there? Would make a nice ghost-story I am sure.
I am sure everybody got this thought at the same time, and everybody has decided not to mention it. But there was less than usual opposition to the usual night-watch idea.
The slots for night-watch are always fiercely contested. First and last watch are good, as you don't need to take a break from the sleep. As I have to write the diary and today's account, I am taking the first turn to keep watch on the fire and over the door. Now my time is almost over, so let me decide who I hate the most (that person will take the 3rd and worst watch) and who comes the close second (i.e. whom should I wake next). Mwahahaha!!!
1. Nagarkhana - the room usually situated on top of the door, which contained the drums, and flagpole on the top.
2. Sadar - a place like "Darbar Hall".
The Great Eagle has spoken...
Quote of The Day:
Curiosity killed the cat, but for a while I was a suspect.
- Steven Wright (1955 - )