Bhimashankar & Shivneri Fort

OSI-India (Pune)

31 January 2016

February through April is major exam time for our girls, -the national 10th- and 12th-standard exams in February/March are followed by year-end exams for the rest of our girls.  So to clear their minds heading into the exam season, we've provided another fun January day-trip for the girls, thanks again to OSI sponsor and donor Margaret Mahfouz.

Our Day

A record seventy-four girls left our Janata Vasahat neighbourhood on two busses at daybreak.  Hardly sleepy, we were quickly singing and dancing, pausing only to eat our breakfast.  Once out of Pune, to the north we enjoyed increasingly beautiful countryside and rolling hills.  Climbing through colourful villages, quaint farms, and thick forests, we finally reached the highlands of Bhimashankar late in the morning.  We visited an ancient and famous temple, and bought sweets and souvenirs.  Then back on the bus for another scenic two-hour journey to Shivneri Fort.  The ancient fort is most famous as the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, important in our history books as founder of the Marathi Empire.  But the fort is also remarkably scenic and pleasant, and the many gates on it's ascent are impressive architectural works.  One of these we found to be an ideal and memorable place to have our lunch! -sitting in massive coves in the gate structure, protected from the sun and kept cool by the massive stonework.  After our lunch we hiked the rest of the way to the top, pausing for a lot of photos (and water!).  By the time we returned to our buses it was evening.  We stopped mid-way to Pune for snacks, and arrived home at about 10:30pm, -a very long but memorable day!  Below is a photo chronology to share our day with you:

Acknowledgements

On the Saturday before our trip, at our weekly group meeting our Mahek, Umera, and Sabina were really proud to announce to the group that their sponsor, Margaret Mahfouz from the UK, was once again sponsoring our trip.  This is the FOURTH trip that Margaret has provided for our girls over the years, -fantastic lifelong memories for girls whose childhoods are otherwise devoid of such... Thank you once again dear Margaret!
And again thanks to Shradha, Mukta, Gadrebai, Himanee, and Roshni for all of the coordination, patience, and making it to the top of Shivneri! :-D
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