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JBC Dinesh Soni recently went to Harishchandragad to participate in a clean-up drive organised by trekking group Trek’di. He reports on the trip:

What we did:
– Collected garbage that had been discarded on the way to fort as well as in and around the fort. A total of seven big bags were collected. The most surprising and pathetic thing was that we found more than 3000 wrappers of Goa Gutkha thrown all over!!!
– We removed part of graffiti on the temple walls. The names written by oil paint were not removed as the acid/ turpentine could have damaged the walls.
– We spoke to the locals about the issue and made them aware of the problem. We also talked with a few fellow trekkers and while some were really responsive, most gave us a “WTF?” look.

Trek’di plans to clean all forts on the Sahyadri range during the course of a year. Along with garbage collection and removal of graffiti, the NGO will also be working to clean up the ponds on these great heritage sites.

What you as a trekker can do:
– Carry your garbage with you and throw in some dustbin.
– Collect and carry other garbage you might find on the fort or the way.
– Don’t disturb the beauty of these great heritage sites by writing anything on their walls or on the rocks.
– Always try to keep the water in the ponds clean and potable.
– Do not consume gutkha, smoke or drink on the fort. The beauty of nature is itself a great “nasha” and you don’t need anything else with it.
– Pass along this message to all the fellow trekkers you come across.

Those who wish to help can contact Dinesh on 9823296825.

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