30th Jun, ’13: GayBombay Monsoon Picnic cum Trek to Tikona

GayBombay Monsoon Picnic cum Trek to Tikona on Sunday 30 June 2013

Come monsoon and the most awaited events on the GB calendar are the monsoon trek and monsoon picnic. We know you have been missing these for long, but now the wait is over. Both these events are back with a bang and that to 2 in 1!

If you really want to get a feel of the real earth, want to breathe pure air and see stunning landscapes of unspoiled wilderness – than come with GayBombay to Fort Tikona.


The pyramidal Fort Tikona gets its name from its triangular structure — is a little ahead of Lonavala and tucked behind the twin forts of Lohagad and Visapur. At 3600 feet above sea level, the hill makes for an easy trek, thanks to the existence of a pre-defined route to climb to its pinnacle. It’s the favourite haunt of amateur trekkers and trekking novices like us who only go up elevators and escalators and have forgotten what a staircase looks like.

It takes little over an hour to reach the summit. The well-marked trail goes past caves, cisterns that hold rainwater, large doors cut into the rock surface and a massive vermillion Hanuman cut into the rocks with Panvati, the devil, under his feet. The final ascent called the Shivaji’s Trail, is through steep steps, but with steel ropes and railings to hold on to make it an easy climb.

A few ruins of the fort along an algae-filled pond and a temple dedicated to Trimbakeshwar Mahadev is all that is there to discover on the top and may sound disappointing. But the spectacular views of the nearby forts of Tung, Lohagad and Visapur and their reflection in the vast expanse of the shimmering waters of the Pawana Dam trivialises the effort. You will never be able to soak in enough of the abundance of this beautiful painting of nature that you will see from the top, that for a moment, you will make plans to make this spot your home for the rest of your life.

Historically speaking little is known of the history of this fort, the vihara on the fort can be dated to circa seventh-eight century AD. Fort Tikona was built to guard the ancient caves like Karla, Bhaje, Bedse, Bhandara and Shelarwadi and the trade routes of the Bor Ghat connecting the ports on the western coast to the cities of the Deccan plateau. This fort could accommodate a maximum of 200 troops at a time. The fort was initially part of the Nizam Empire in 1585. In 1657, it came under the rule of the Maratha King Shivaji when he conquered the entire Konkan region along with the other forts in its vicinity. During the Maratha reign, it served as a watchtower. In 1665, Tikona was surrendered to Mughal warrior, Kubadkhan, only to be recaptured by the Marathas. Emperor Akbar lived at Tikona for a brief spell in 1682 at the request of King Sambhaji. A small battle fought with the British caused great damage to Tikona in year 1818.

The trek turns into a picnic at Lunch time. The afternoon is all for fun and games. We can paddle, swim, soak in the cool and pristine water of Pawana and go boating in the dam waters at no extra cost. Guys interested in horticulture, farming, gardening and cattle breading can hitch a free visit to the eco farms of the Maval Co-operative. On our way back we shall visit the ancient Buddhist caves of Bedsa which date back to 1 Century BC.

This Picnic cum Trek is strictly open to the first 45 who register and pay. Guys residing as far as Daund, Pune, Roha and Dahanu can also join us. To know how click.

Trek a mountain, see a new place, know the history, meet new people, make new friends, and catch up with old. Sing, dance and play. A lot can happen over a trek!

We shall depart on a semi luxury bus parked at the main gate of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali (East), at sharp 5:45 am. You can board the bus at any of the pick-up locations listed below. To choose the pick-up location that entails the latest start and least travel time click
5:45 am: Main Gate, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivali (East)
5:55 am: Oberoi Mall, Junction, Malad (West)
6:10 am: Gold Spot (Bisleri) Factory, Western Express Highway, Andheri (East).
6:20 am: Kala Nagar Junction Bandra, (At the Kala Nagar/BKC exit of the new Skywalk)
6:25 am: Main Gate, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School, Near Sion Station.
6:35 am: Yogi Hotel, Diamond Gardens, Chembur (East)
6:50 am: Vashi (ST Stop at Junction of Station Road and Sion Panvel Highway)
7:00 am: Uran Phata, Nerul.
7:05 am: Flyover Junction, CBD Belapur,
7:10 am: McDonalds, Kamothe.
7:15 am: ST Stand, Panvel.
8:15 am: Lonavla Railway Station

Before we commence our accent to Fort Tikona, we shall have breakfast at Pavana Nagar which is at the foothills. We shall be back at Pavana Nagar for Lunch. Evening tea and snacks shall be served before we commence our return journey. We shall be back in Mumbai by 9:00 pm.

Day & Date:
Sunday, 30 June 2013

Contribution to defray costs:
Rs. 850.00 per head

Participants from other cities joining us at Lonavala shall contribute Rs. 600.00 per head

The charges include:
1. Transport to Base Camp and Back
2. Veg. Breakfast
3. Veg. & Non Veg. Lunch
4. Tea and Snacks in the evening
5. Free Group Boat Ride

Registration & Payments:
To join this trek you need to register your name and pay in advance. To Register send an email to Radhey at radhey.a.khatri@gmail.com or call us on the Picnic Info line 9870504010

To pay catch us at:
On 02 June 2013: GayBombay Sunday Meet, at Bandra
On 23 June 2013: GayBombay Special Sunday Meet at Zouk, Andheri

Details regarding the above events are available at http://www.gaybombay.org

Things to do:
1. Carry the following things with you on the trek
a. Cap
b. Haversack/Knapsack/Backpack (preferable water proof),
c. Plastic Sheet/Bag to line your rucksack (if it is not waterproof)
d. Special Medication or Food if you need any,
e. Biscuits (as a light snack),
f. Water (2 litres),
g. A couple of sachets of Tang/rehydrating solution
h. Change of clothes including undergarments and socks and a Towel (must as you will need to change),
i. Walking shoes or Good Floaters (No Chappals or Formal Shoes),
j. Rain Gear like windcheaters (No Umbrellas please, they will be blown away if we encounter strong winds).
k. Binoculars and Cameras if you are interested.

2. GB, as a support group, has created this comfort/safe space for gays. Many people at the event may be newbies (those still coming to terms with their sexuality and/or those who have mustered the courage to come to such an event for the first time). We request you to be sensitive to the comfort levels of others and to behave and dress accordingly.

3. You have to be above the age of 18 to attend this event

Things not to do:
1. Wear tight fitting jeans or body hugging attire that will restrict full movement of your body (Track bottoms or light cotton trousers is better option)
2. Litter the place. The ecosystem is very fragile.
3. Indulge in hanky-panky.
4. Deface or damage any monument by writing or scribbling on them.
5. Consume intoxicating items before or during the trek.

Suggested Reading

Suggested Viewing

This event is organized by: http://www.gaybombay.org/.
Right of admission reserved.