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 Trekking Places Near Mumbai

by Rishi Agarwal

The most trekking-like experience Mumbaikars get on a daily basis is changing the railway platforms to catch the local train. The time in Mumbai passes so swiftly that at the end of the day you are left with no energy whatsoever to travel anywhere. The city dwellers are looking for every chance they get to break through the city life and catch a break. Luckily Mumbai’s outskirts are ecologically rich. The Western Ghats has been a go-to place for trekkers of Maharashtra to embrace history and admire the natural beauty.

There are several hill forts, camping sites, waterfalls near Mumbai, here are some of the handpicked ones; 

Haji Malang

Haji Malang, also known as Malang Gad is a famous trekking and pilgrim spot for Hindus as well as Muslims. The trek trail includes Baba Dargah at the top and a Durga Devi Mandir. It is about 3-4 kms long and takes approximately 90 mins to climb to the top. The nearest railway station is Kalyan. There are also buses which travel till Haji Malang stop from Kalyan although trekkers are advised to alight one stop earlier from Haji Malang to avoid traffic. There are also lodging facilities in the fort and several food stalls along the way to the summit. It is advised to carry basic rock climbing and trekking equipment while packing for the trek. The trek trail is rocky, steep and challenging, it is advised to traverse with an expert for the rappelling and poll crossing patches. The best time to go would be during monsoons. 

Kalsubai

It is the tallest peak in the Sahyadri ranges of Western Ghats with an altitude of 1646 m. It is located near Bhandardara which is known to be an ideal place for camping and trekking adventures. The trek trail takes about 4-5 hours to com [lete the trek and includes various food stalls and Kalsubai temple enroute. There are multiple routes to the summit, the popular one remains from the Bari village. The Bari village is a base village for this trek which also provides home cooked meals to the trekkers. Kalsubai peak can be accessed via rail by alighting at Igatpuri or Kasara or one can travel via road from Mumbai-Nashik highway. The key feature of Kalsubai peak is that this is also a night trek. If you are planning to visit Kalsubai, make sure you climb to watch the awesome sunrise arising from the fog. 

Ratangad 

Also located in the premises of Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary, Ratangad is yet another thrilling fort trek. It is a fort in Ratan Wadi overlooking the locale of Bhandardara. The fort is said to be 400 years old and was believed to be Shivaji Maharaj’s favorite fort. The fortress is covered with plants and bright flowers during the months of November and december. The trek takes you through rocky patches, jungle, village and newly formed waterfalls. The fort can be reached by two alternatives being from Samrad or Ratan Wadi. The latter being a simpler route, it takes you through dense forests accompanied by the river Pravara. The peak consists of a wind eroded rock, 60 ft high which is called ‘Nedhe’ by the locals. There are wells, temples and four gates inside the fort; Ganesh, Hanuman, Konkan and Trimbak. The monsoons are out-of-this-world in Ratangad. You can see the nearby peaks of Alang, Madan, Harishchandragad, Patta and Lake Arthur amidst the fog. 

Purandar Fort

This was the birthplace of Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj. The fort stands at an elevation of 4472 ft in the Western ghats. It is 50 kms away from Pune. The fort is quite well maintained compared to other forts in Western ghats. It is The climb to the top is quite simple and clean. The summit has a Kedareshwar Temple and a small museum depicting the place’s history and legends of Shivaji and Sambhaji Maharaj. The fort is open to all from 10 am to 4 pm.. One is required to carry their ID proofs like Aadhar 

and Pan Card while entering the fort premises. 

Panhala Fort

Panhala fort holds tremendous historical significance when it comes to Marathas, Mughals as well as British. Due to its strategic location, it acted as a crucial part of the trade route from interior Maharashtra to the coast line. It is located 20 kms from Kolhapur and holds ancient  heritage in its robust brick walls. The fort area is wide and has multiple points in its premises open for tourists such as Ambar khana, Teen darwaja, Sajja Kothi, Dutondi Buruj, Tabak Udyan etc. You can either choose to hike or take your private vehicle to the summit. There are food stalls, restaurants, home stays enroute since it’s a hill station as well. One of the reasons to do  this trek is to widen your vision about the Maratha empire’s history. 

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