|A temple of Lord Ganapati & Lord Hanuman on the way|
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Kalavantin Durg & Prabalgad Trek - Part 1 - Prabalmachi
We have named our group the "Weekend Trekkers" since we do treks on Weekends. This time we had arranged a trek to the beautiful Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg.
Prabalgad is located between Panvel and Matheran at an elevation of 2,300 feet. It was one of the 23 forts that were handed over to the Mughal Empire by Shivaji Maharaj as per the Treaty of Purandar in 1665. It was later on won back by Shivaji Maharaj. Kalavantin Durg is a small fort located opposite to Prabalgad that was built for a queen named Kalavantin. It was used as a watch tower in the past.
Both the forts can be accessed from Prabalmachi (Prabal Plateau). We had planned an overnight stay at Prabalmachi with the intention of doing the Kalavantin Durg trek on the first day (27 July, 2013) and Prabalgad trek the next day (28 July, 2013). When we were searching the web for information on this trek, we came across comments by a local person Nilesh Bhutambara (+918056186321) on almost every blog about the trek. Though he stays in Chennai, his family at Prabalmachi provides local help, stay and food for trekkers and he has marketed his services really well by even putting up his own blogs. We had called him and arranged our food and stay at his place.
Eleven of us gathered at Kurla Harbourline Railway Station at 6:30 am and boarded the 6:35 Panvel bound local train. We reached Panvel at around 7:15 am and walked for about 10 minutes towards the Panvel ST Bus Stand.
We had Puri Bhaji and Misal Pav for breakfast at a hotel in between. Post breakfast, we went to the ST Bus Stand to catch the next bus to the base village Thakurwadi. However, seeing the crowd gathered for the bus, we decided to hire a couple of 6-seater Auto Rickshaws. We got a bad bargain of Rs. 900 for two Rickshaws because initially when asked about their fare for taking 11 people in one Rickshaw, the Rickshaw owners quoted Rs. 500 and when we later on asked them the fare for hiring two Rickshaws, they just reduced Rs. 50 per Rickshaw. If we would have taken two separate Rickshaws initially, the fare would have been Rs. 300 for each of them. We didn't mind the additional fare because we were all pooling in and were in a hurry to reach Thakurwadi. We started from the Rickshaw stand at about 8:30 am.
Just before reaching Thakurwadi, we could see Prabalmachi from a distance with both Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg covered with fog. We reached a junction just outside Thakurwadi village at about 9:10 am and on enquiring took a left turn there (the straight road goes to the main village) to reach the starting point of the trek in another 5 minutes. There were a couple of cars and bikes of other trekkers parked over there. After seeing off the Rickshaw-walas, we started the trek at 9:30 am.
The trail appeared as if it's going towards another mountain to the left hand side of Prabalmachi, but a local passerby confirmed that it was the right trail. In about 15 minutes, we reached a small waterfall by the side of the trail where we refreshed ourselves.
At about 10:45 am, after taking a couple of short breaks and a short cut, we reached a small rock patch located at a hairpin bend where we decided to show off our rock-climbing skills. We spent about 20 minutes at the rock patch and then moved on.
In 5 more minutes, we reached a spot where Lord Ganesh and Lord Hanuman were carved on rock and painted with Ochre colour.
After taking their blessings, in another 5 minutes, we reached a corn shop set up just before the top of the plateau with an inviting waterfall beside it. We could see the magnificent Kalavantin Durg in the backdrop still covered with fog. We gave the corn shop owner an order for 11 corns, removed our shoes and entered the waterfall. We spent about 45 minutes having fun at the waterfall and eating corn.
We reached Prabalmachi at 12 noon and one of us even got a lucky shot of Kalavantin Durg revealing itself completely. The view of Thakurwadi and the surrounding plains was also breath-taking. The place where we were supposed to have our food was right in front of us. Barring the breaks, we took about 1:20 hours to reach Prabalmachi.
Nilesh's father and brother Balu welcomed us at the eatery and served us Kanda Pohe for breakfast at 12:30 pm. Their place for us to stay was located a little further and Nilesh's father escorted us till there. It was a house with 3 rooms with a common bathroom and toilet outside it. We were given the centre room that had 2 beds at a charge of Rs. 500 (6:00 am to 6:00 am the next day).
...continued in my next post - Kalavantin Durg & Prabalgad Trek - Part 2 - Kalavantin Durg
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