Monsoon is here, no doubt about it. Unfortunately it’s a season for lots of car wrecks, terrible road conditions, and mold growing in unpredictable places, but it’s also the most beautiful time of year in terms of nature.
Since our upcoming home visit is this week, we decided to do one more trek before heading out. I chose Tikona because I saw some Instagram photos from other trekkers and it turned out to be my favorite hike in Pune so far, with the exception of Lohgad fort, which I hope to get back to as soon as I return.
It took two and a half hours to reach the fort, and we only overshot Google Maps estimated travel time by 20 minutes, which I thought was pretty impressive given the season. We even stopped twice for snacks; first to get tea and grilled corn with lime, chili, and salt, then again for vadav pav, a potato patty sandwich that usually comes with salty, fried green chilis. It’s the perfect snack on a cold, wet day.
The directions were straightforward, and if you have a driver he should have no problem at all finding the place because it’s marked pretty well. You can drive all the way to the base and park in the lot there. One thing to note is that there are no washrooms. Me personally, I will pee wherever I can find a little privacy, but if you need to go and require a proper toilet, try looking for a rest stop before you get there.
The trek itself is FUN FUN FUN. The paths are clearly marked, and the views are just amazing. It is a relatively easy climb because the duration isn’t long, about 45 minutes to the top, but if you have small children under five it may be quite difficult due to the height of some of the steps, especially at the top. I also don’t have kids so my guesstimate on that age is totally baseless. We took Stella, our maltipoo, and she did pretty well, but she’s an adventure dog and people keep telling me I need to stop comparing her to their kids so…anyway…
There are two plateaus before reaching the summit. One is the ridge of the hill, and there is a path that straddles it so you can walk the length to see some nice views of the land below. It is flanked by ardent grass that looks like a fluffy green carpet, quite romantic to watch in the wind. The second climb leads to a sort of flat, dirt area where there is a tea stall and a more barren flat surface of rocks. Not quite scenic, but a good place to grab a cup of tea. Following that, the climb leads to a water reservoir, a small rock tunnel, a grinding mill, an awesome Hanuman statue, and at the top there is a treacherous and steep set of stairs with an electric cable for holding on to that leads to the vista. Unfortunately we could not see due to the rain that had begun to pour at that point so we just turned around once we reached the top. It was pouring so badly we didn’t dare take our cameras out.
I really suggest you go to this fort during monsoon. It is a super entertaining climb because there is something new and exciting to see at every turn, and the terrain changes from grassy ledge to randomly scattered rock and trail, to proper steps…it makes for a varied and fun trip.
My big recommendation in hindsight is to take an extra set of dry clothes and a towel just in case, or one of those cheap plastic ponchos you see on the side of the road or else you’ll be in a cold car, wet and miserable and dirty in your soaked clothes for the drive home!