Best Monsoon Treks near Mumbai.
Best Monsoon Treks near Mumbai.
The monsoon season has arrived and its now time for adventure enthusiast to have some real fun in the rains in the midst of nature.Situated in the western ghats of Maharashtra are the Sahyadri mountain ranges that are full of trekking locations and ancient forts built by famous kings of the bygone era. During monsoon these destinations provide adventure enthusiast with a number of opportunities like trekking, rock climbing, rappelling and camping.
Monsoon is the right time for trekkers to discover new locations, enjoy new adventures and have some fun in the midst of waterfalls and streams on a trekking trail and at the end treat themselves to piping hot Khanda Bhajyas, Vada Pau and special cutting chai.
Here are best monsoon treks to try out near Mumbai.
Raigad Fort Trek
Location: Mahad, Raigad District
A brief history: The Raigad fort was built by Shivaji Maharaj and was made his capital in the year 1674 when he was crowned King of the Maratha Empire. Since then the fort had an interesting history and many legends associated with it. Later during the 18th century the British laid siege and destroyed the Fort.
In present times, the Raigad Fort is known for its immense beauty and waterfalls and remains a paradise for trekkers, hikers and campers from Mumbai and Pune. This fort is strategically perched atop a wedge-shaped block of hill, split off from the Western Ghats and is inaccessible from three sides.
The fort rises at 2700 feet above sea level and is located in the Sahyadri mountain range and trekking here is a great experience. There are a series of 1750 steps that will takeyou to the top of the fort.
A trek here is completely safe and many trekkers even opt for a night trek which is a great experience. While trekking at Raigad trekkers need not worry about food and water as it is easily available at the many shops at the base and the top of the fort.
For tourists who are with family and children and are not interested in trekking they can opt for the ropeway which will take them directly to the top of the fort within 5 minutes.
Note: Trekkers should be aware that Raigad Fort is much more than a tourist attraction and is considered a holy place by locals and many others from different parts of Maharashtra since it is home to the Samadhi of Shivaji Maharaj hence trekkers are advised to be sensitive to the emotions attached to this fort.
What to see at and from the fort:
- Market Place
and many more attractions.
Camping Info: Raigad fort is ideal for camping as there is a lot of open space where trekkers can pitch their tents or alternatively stay in one of the hotels or resorts at the base or top of the fort.
How to reach: On a daily basis, there are many S.T. buses plying from various locations in Mumbai and Thane for Raigad. A journey by bus will take you about 4 hours hence start early in the morning. Trekkers can also travel by private cars and cabs and can reach Raigad within 2 hours.
Prabalgad Fort Trek
A brief history: The Prabalgad Fort is situated between Panvel and Matheran at a height of 2300 feet in the Western Ghats. It was built on a rocky plateau and was known as Muranajan during the rule of the Bahmani Sultanate, but was renamed by the Marathas under the rule of Shivaji.
The trek begins at the base village of Thakurwadi, initially it is an easy trek, but as it progresses, it does have a few difficult climbs and can be attempted by beginners.
Once at the summit you will find a huge plateau without any fort structure, but being here is an awesome feeling as you are now at the peak in the middle of a jungle.
From here trekkers can enjoy splendid views of the surrounding valleys, pinnacles and landscapes. They can relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere which is misty and surrounded by clouds.
Note: Do carry sufficient snacks and water and if you are visiting this place for the first time it is advisable to hire a local guide as the trail is confusing and not well marked to the top.
What to see at and from the fort:
- View of Pinnacles
Camping Info: Trekkers planning a twin trek to Prabalgad Fort and Kalavantin Durg can opt for camping but make sure you get your entire camping gear which includes tents. Trekkers can also opt for an overnight stay at the hotels at the base village of Prabalmachi.
How to reach: Prabalgad fort can be reached via Panvel. From Mumbai and Thane, there are several S.T buses and other means of transport to reach Panvel.
Once trekkers reach Panvel they can again board an S.T. bus or take any other local transport (share auto rickshaws) and reach the base village Thakurwadi which is 15 km from Panvel.
Trekkers can also catch a local train to Panvel and from there on board an S.T. bus or take any other local transport (share auto rickshaws) and reach the base village Thakurwadi which is 15 km from Panvel.
Sudhagad Fort Trek
Location: Pali , Pachahapur
A brief history : The origins of the fort can be traced to the 2nd – century when it was originally called as ‘Bhorapgad’. According to historical records, during the early part of the 15th – century the fort was captured by the Bahamani Sultan and later in the 16th – century it was captured by the Marathas and named ‘Sudhagad’ which means Sweet One in Marathi.
The Sudhagad fort is one of the most beautiful forts in the Sahyadri ranges and is mostly visited by trekkers for a one day trek as it has a very easy endurance level.
Sudhagad is an amazing place to trek during the monsoon and seems like a stairway to heaven. The fort is surrounded by lush greenery and the weather is just beautiful.
Once at the summit there is a 50 acre plateau with undulating green meadows and is a perfect place to sit or lie down and stare at the beautiful landscape amidst the clouds.
What to see at the fort:
- Massive gateways of the fort
Camping Info : Camping is a good idea at Sudhagad fort only if you plan to trek the Sarasgad fort nearby too otherwise it is not sensible to camp here if you are just trekking at Sudhagad fort. There are a few ancient caves where trekkers can take shelter, but it is strongly recommended to take your own tents along and carry some ready to cook food that can be made easily on a bonfire, also do carry sufficient water.
How to reach : From Mumbai or Thane trekkers can board public transport buses upto Pali. From Pali they can take a local transport upto Pachchapur which is 12 km away.
After reaching Pachchapur they can walk up to Thakurwadi village which is 1 k m away and is the base village for the trek.
The best way to reach Sudhagad Fort is by car and the best route from Mumbai is Mumbai -> Khopoli -> Pali -> Pachchapur village - > Sudhgad Fort.
There is no train service available on this route.
Mahuli Fort Trek
Location: Near Asangoan, Shahpur. Thane
A brief history : The creator of this fort is unknown, but the fort, traces its origins to the 15th century and has been ruled by several rulers, the prominent ones being the Marathas and the Mughals.
The Mahuli Mountain is the highest in the Thane district and is famous for its pinnacles. The trek covers 3 hills and every year experienced trekkers and rock climbers plan their expedition here.
Monsoon and winter are ideal for trekking and rock climbing at Mahuli, but this trek is not advisable for beginners as the trek has several steep climbs and above all it’s a long trek that takes about 3 hours to reach the top.
The trek begins at Mahuli village and it’s a well marked trek till the summit. It is highly recommended to travel in a big group for this trek as in the recent years there have been leopard sightings, but let this not deter you from taking this trek as wildlife sightings are a rare phenomenon. Furthermore do carry sufficient amount of water and food.
Over the recent years Mahuli has become popular with trekkers and is a paradise for rock climbers because of its pinnacles. The forest surrounding Mahuli has now been declared a sanctuary and the fort has been declared as a protected monument by the ASI.
What to see at the fort:
- Remote Village
Camping Info: One can consider camping atop the fort or even stay at one of the ancient caves. But ideally care your own tent, lots of water, snacks and ready to make food in case you plan to camp at the fort. There is a small hotel at the base village which provides snacks, tea and staying facility which is limited.
How to reach: From Asangoan station there is public transport available up to Mahuli village which is about 5 km away and is the starting point of the trek.
Rajmachi Fort Trek
Location: Can be reached via Karjat / Lonavala
A brief history : It is believed that the Rajmachi fort was first established by the Satavahanas. In recent history the fort was in control of the Marathas under the leadership of Shivaji Maharaj during the 16th century and served as a strategic fort to control the historical trade routes. Later in the 17th - century the fort was captured by the Mughals for a brief period be recaptured by the Marathas again and finally, after the downfall of the Maratha empire the ownership of the fort was taken by the British empire.
Located in the Sahyadri mountain ranges near the twin hill stations of Lonavala and Khandala is the beautiful Rajmachi fort. The Rajmachi peak offers breathtaking views of the valley and has 2 fortified structures i.e. Shrivardhan fort and Manaranjan fort. The fort offers one of the most beautiful treks near Mumbai.
Rajmachi can be reached by 2 routes i.e. via Kondivade village near Karjat, which involves a climb-up of about 2000 feet.While the other route is from Lonavala, which is easy and almost a 20 km plain trek via Udhewadi village.
The trekking route on both sides is surrounded by dense forests hence during monsoon trekkers will pass by beautiful waterfalls, streams and lush green landscapes.
What to see at the fort:
Camping Info : During monsoon ideally avoid camping as it can be dangerous unless you are part of a professional group of trekkers and campers. Otherwise Rajmachi fort is an ideal fort for camping. There are 2 caves within the vicinity and can accommodate a large group of campers. In case you would not like to camp in the wild you can opt for a stay at the Kalbhairavnath temple which is at the base of the fort.Trekkers will also find camping facilities at the base village of Udhivade.
How to reach: Trekkers from Mumbai can reach Lonavala or Karjat by bus, train or car, from there on trekkers can reach the Rajmachi fort by the following routes.
Lohagad Fort Trek
Location: Near Lonavala
A brief history : Lohagad Fort also nicknamed as ‘The Iron Fort’ was built and extensively used by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. It was later ruled by the members of the Maratha dynasty and many structures were built in and around the fort during their rule.
Today, it is one of the favorite destinations for trekkers especially during Monsoon season i.e. July to September and every year it attracts trekkers and tourist from Mumbai and Pune.
Usually seen as a beginners trek, the fort is a perfect blend of history and adventure. During monsoon the top of the fort is covered with mist and clouds. The surrounding hills are covered in shades of green making it a sight to behold.The fort is easily accessible as there are only steps and less amount of trekking required.
Once atop the fort offers splendid views and once can view the Tung and Tikona hills, the Pavana Dam and the Duke’s nose. This is one of the most scenic and picturesque treks near Mumbai.
Experienced trekkers can go for twin treks in one day i.e. Lohagad Fort and Visapur Fort which is connected.
Adventure and Astronomy lovers can also take part in The Astronomical Night trek to Lohagad Fort.
What to see at the fort
- A tomb
Camping Info: During monsoon ideally avoid camping as it can be dangerous unless you are part of an expert group of trekkers and campers. Winters are the ideal time for camping at the fort if you have the required gear.
How to reach : Trekkers planning to reach by public transport can board a train from Mumbai and alight at Lonavala or Malawli station the next stop after Lonavala (Make sure the train you take has a stop at Malawli).After reaching Malawli walk for a few minutes and reach 'Bhaje Goan - Junction' this is the starting point of the trek.
If you are traveling by car then take the Mumbai - Pune Expressway and after passing Lonavala, look for signs for Malawli or take directions and reach Malawli station. Once here drive towards Bhaje Goan - Junction nearby.
So get ready for an amazing trek near Mumbai this monsoon as the weather plays a perfect host and will help you witness some of the most majestic forts on the Sahyadri mountain ranges.
Caution: The roads and trails leading to the fort are quite slippery during Monsoon so be careful while venturing on a trek.For more information read: Precautions to be taken during Monsoon trekking.