Nature holds one of the deepest mysteries, not yet unravelled fully to humankind. We are constantly inspired by nature and its importance to our well-being, yet desist from connecting with it more often. One of the best ways of knowing nature in its wildest form would be to go trekking with an expert guide or set out on an adventure trail on your own.
Many such opportunities of experiencing nature first-hand exist in Goa, with the Western Ghats not too very far away from where we live. The State is bestowed with some of the lush-green portions of this mountain range that covers an area of 160,000 square kilometres in a stretch of 1,600 kilometres of India.
One such peak of the Western Ghats in remote Kumthal, a small hamlet in Caranzol village of Sattari taluka -- the Hulan Dongor -- offers trekkers one of the best views of Goa from the top -- and a wild opportunity to connect with Mother Nature this monsoon season.
One step at a time
Hulan Dongor (google makes a mention of it as Udaan Dongor, but this is misleading, say villagers) takes its name from Hulaneshwar deity, which is revered in the vicinity of Caranzol village. One look at Hulan Dongor and one will stand in awe of what's to come, but the best option would be for trekkers to take it one step at a time. As trekkers start making their way to the top, they start to realise the enormity of the walk -- it takes around two to two-and-half hours to reach the peak, a distance of roughly 4 to 5 kilometres.
After about a kilometre of walking away from the village, the surrounding mist-covered hills start appearing more clear and trekkers start feeling the adrenaline rush. On entering the thick foliage of the forest, the harshness of the terrain, the darkness and the thick jungle start unfolding -- a pure test of endurance comes to the fore as you start climbing. While walking to the top, the trekkers will encounter gushing streams where the guide will allow you a three-minute break to rejuvenate your weary body. When you are resting your tired legs in the cold stream, you start becoming aware of the enchanting wilderness around you.
Into the clouds
Just when you start feeling that your body can't handle it anymore, you start seeing the peak from the dense cover of the forest. The last 200 metres before you reach the Hulan Dongor peak are daunting and challenging. One may just want to give up, but keep pressing on and you will eventually make it to the top. Once there, you will find yourselves in the clouds -- it is actually mist. The sense of achievement for those who can make it to this peak is immense -- one that is worth in gold.