Best monsoon treks in Maharashtra that you should do this season

Ask any trekker what are some of the most memorable moments of a trek and listening to a roar of a waterfall or dipping your feet in a cold stream will definitely feature in the list. And though on a Himalayan trek one might not dare (or is inadvisable) to stand under a waterfall or a wet their feet in a glacial stream, but on a trek in the Western Ghats of India these are absolute ‘must-dos’.

We’ve already written about some of the best day treks in Sahyadris. But trekking in the Sahyadris during the rains is a different experience altogether. A magic unfolds in the forts and mountains along the Western Ghats.

The entire surroundings turn lush green. Streams criss-cross the trails. Seasonal waterfalls cascade down the mountain face in a full roar. Flowers of all shapes, colours and sizes bloom in the wild . While the lakes are filled with cool and clear water.

Trekking in Sahyadris during the rains is all about enjoying the magic of the rains to their fullest.

So here we are with a list of the best monsoon treks in Maharashtra. With the southwest monsoons approaching this part of the world soon, they make for some of the best weekend treks from Mumbai or Pune.

1. Bhimashankar Trek

The trail to Bhimashankar is an all-time favourite amongst trekkers and more so during the monsoons. It takes you right into the heart of Bhimashankar Wildlife sanctuary. While in the jungle, you’ll have a variety of birds, langurs and spotted dear for company. If you’re lucky, you might even get to spot a ‘shekru’ or the Malabar Giant Squirrel.

Best Monsoon Treks in Maharashtra
Enroute Bhimashankar. PC: Apoorva Karlekat

If you’re a first-timer trekking on your own or with bunch of friends who are not very experienced as well, we’d suggest you avoid the more challenging Shidi Ghat route and take the Ganesh Ghat route instead.

Difficulty: Easy or Moderate depending on the route

Trail Type: Well defined through fields, forests, rocks and ladders .

Basecamp: Khandas village.Private autos and jeeps are available at Karjat or Neral railway station to take you to Khandas

2. Prabalgad

Situated between Panvel and Matheran, Prabalgad is an easily accesible fort that makes for a great trek during monsoons. The fort has a long history starting from the times of Bahamani sultanate when it was first built.

 

Monsoon Treks from Mumbai and Pune
Prabalgad fort as viewed from Kalavanti Durg PC : Hitesh Shetty

And though you might be tempted to climb its more thrilling neighbour which falls on the way, we don’t recommend it during monsoons. The slippery ascent on rock-cut steps on the mountain face is very risky.

However, you can marvel at the view of these stairs snaking up the Kalavantin Durg from Prabalgad. Morever, the forts of Chanderi and Peb are to the West while Karnala lies to the North.

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Type: Broad and well defined until Prabalmachi after which it goes through dense forest and climbs up a steep gully to enter the fort through the dilapidated ruins of door.

Basecamp: Thakurwadi. Buses are available from Panvel ST Stand

3. Harischandragad

A fort hill in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Harishchandragad is one of the most challenging treks in Maharashtra. We would not recommend hiking up via the Nalichi vaat or Taramati Ghal during monsoon. But going to the top via Khireshwar route or Pachnai is possible and equally enjoyable as well.

Best Monsoon treks in Maharastra - Harishchandragad
Kedareshwar cave which hosts a big Shivalingam

The main attraction of this hill fort remains the Konkan Kada (Konkan cliff), an almost 1,800 feet high concave fall. It is a vertical overhang, like a cobra’s hood, providing a panoramic view of the surrounding hills. But exercise extreme caution as the it can get extremely windy.

Harishchandragad fort is quiet ancient, with its origin dating back to the sixth century. There are caves situated all over the fort, believed to be carved out in the eleventh century.

Difficulty: Easy or Moderate or Difficult depending on the route

Trail Type: Well defined through fields & forests.

Basecamp/Starting point: Khubi phata after Malshej ghat for Khireshwar route and Pachnai village for the Pachnai route.

4. Manikgad

Located on a hill in Manikgad village of Maharashtra, Manikgad today is a ruinous fort. The fort is about 1,878 feet high and is impregnable from three sides. The upper part can be reached only from the south.

It was not a fort in its true sense, but more of a checkpost. However, even with crumbling fortification one can imagine its grandeur during its heydays. A decrepit gate with carving of Ganesh on the top of it greets one while entering the fort.

The decrepit gate of Manikgad fort. PC: Manish Naik

The fort presents a very commanding view of the valley surrounding it, with Karnala pinnacle and Prabalgad fort visible prominently.

Difficulty: Easy or Moderate depending on the route.

Trail Type: Well defined through fields, forests, rocks and ladders.

Basecamp: Khandas village.Private autos and jeeps are available at Karjat or Neral railway station to take you to Khandas

5. Visapur & Lohagad Fort

One of the easier monsoon treks, Visapur is a trek favoured among beginner trekker for the waterfalls along the trail. The trail begins from Bhaje village which is easily accessible owning to its proximity to Mumbai-Pune express highway.

Amazing monsoon treks in Sahyadris
Views from the wall of Visapur fort. PC: Mugdha Bhusari

And the Bhaje caves are a small diversion away on the way back from the fort. So if you have time you shouldn’t miss the 2nd century rock cut caves.

Difficulty: Easy

Trail Type: Well defined trail with boulders and steps all teh way to the fort.

Basecamp: Bhaje village on the Mumbai Pune Expressway

6. Takmak Fort

Surrounded by a dense forest, the fort is naturally separated from the main hill. Built in 12th century the fort changed hands between Marathas and Portuguese mutliple times in its 800 years long history.

It is very common to walk through the clouds on treks in Sahyadris during monsoons. PC: Mansi Pathak

Located in Vasai tehsil, though commuting to base is easy, accessing the fort itself isn’t as easily accessible. Trekkers find it challenging to locate the eastern entrance and the way further to the top. It is notorious for trekkers getting lost, therefore we reccommend hiring a local guide from Sakwar village.

Do return to Sakwaar by before 5 as finding public transport back becomes very difficult after that.

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Type: Passes through fields until the foothills of fort after which it is well defined.

Basecamp: Sakwar village. Take a bus from Virar ST stand to Shirsad Naka and from there a tum-tum to Sakwar village

7. Kalsubai

At 5400 ft you’ll be literally walking in the clouds on the trek during Monsoons. And though it is the highest peak in Maharashtra, the trail is well defined and there are ladders put in place making it easy for trekkers to scale the summit.

One Day Treks near Mumbai - Kalsubai Peak
Final ascent to Kalsubai top is mostly covered in clouds on a rainy day of trekking

Having said that the exciting thing about doing the trek during the monsoons is that you never see the summit along the trail, because it is always covered in clouds. The feeling of walking into the unknown and unseen is what adds to the adventure of this trek.

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Type: Well defined through meadows, forests, with rock steps in some places and iron ladders in others

Basecamp: Bari village. Private vehicle will have to pick you and drop you back from Kasara Railway station to Bari.

8. Rajgad

This hill fort located on the outskirts of Pune served as a capital of Maratha empire under Shivaji’s rule for almost 26 years. Rising to a height of 4250 ft the fort offers spectacular views of Sahyadri ranges.

Imagine all this to be covered in a sheet of green during monsoosn PC: Abhishek Kakade

The treacherous approaches, zig-zag narrow paths, the deceiving double-walled shield of its fortifications, massive Maha darwaja and Chor darwaja tells the tale of the Fortress of the forgotten empire. The beauty of the fort, and the surroundings, especially during monsoons, is mesmerizing.

Difficulty: Easy or Moderate depending on the route

Trail Type: Well definied trail

Basecamp: Gunjavane, Pali village based on the route.

9. Torna Fort

The first fort to be won by Shivaji at the tender age of 16 also goes by the name Prachandgad owing to its huge size. However, there is much more than its size, history and folklore on this trek. Stream crossings, waterfalls and ridge walks  along the trail is what makes it a perfect trek to do during the rainy season.

Monsoon treks in Maharastra - Torna Fort
Views from the Ridge on the trail

And then come the views, when the cloud cover clears for a bit, you catch a glimpse of surroundings which includes Khadakwasla dam, Singhad, Raireshwar, Bhatgar, Mahabaleshwar, Raigad, Pratapgad and Makarangad from top of the Torna Fort.

Difficulty: Difficult

Trail Type: Hill Fort, initial climb if done in monsoon is slippery, gradual ascent and walking on ledge and lastly a small rock patch. No rope is required.

Basecamp: Velhe village. Take a bus from Pune going towards Satara and get down at Narsapur phata from where you can get a shared jeep to Velhe

10. Naneghat

A mountain pass near Junnar and Pune district, the pass was heavily used  as trade route between Junnar and Kalyan. In fact the word ‘Nane’ means coin and ‘Ghat’ means pass.

In fact, there inscriptions in the caves which suggest that it was used as far back as during the Satvahana rule.

Naneghat served a pass crossing between Kalyan and Junnar in the olden times. PC: Shardul Neswankar

One can climb further up the caves and visit the Jivdhan fort as well if you have the time and energy.

Difficulty: Moderate

Trail Type: Initial ascents through open fields followed by climing up rocks and boulder

Basecamp: Vaishakhare village. Regular buses going towards Malshej ghat from Kalyan stop at Vaishakhare

11. Devkund Waterfall

A secluded place located deep inside the forests surround Bhira dam, Devkund waterfall was unknown to people until a few years ago. It is beleived that the Kudalika river originates from the fall.

One day treks near Mumbai - Devkund Waterfalls
The 80 ft drop at Devkund PC: Apoorva Karlekat

The water drops from a height of 80 ft into a small pond (kund) at the bottom. Locals here believe that once upon a time utensils used to emerge from the pond whenever there was any auspicious ceremony happening in the local village.

Difficulty: Easy or Moderate depending on the route

Trail Type: Well defined through fields, forests, rocks and ladders.

Basecamp: Bhira Village. Take the bus to Pali from Panvel Railway staion and from Pali, hire an auto to Bhira village

So those were 11 of the Best monsoon treks in Maharashtra. If you have any other treks you’d like to suggest, or if you have questions, drop in a comment below.

At the same time, we have more treks in our Maharashtra section of Do-It-Yourself treks. But do note that Indiahikes does not organize these treks.

If you want to trek with Himalayas check out our upcoming treks section.

What to do next

1. If you’re looking for off beat summer and monsoon treks for 2019, you’ll find a list here.

2. If you would like to help us with updating trek information, photos, maps or sketches of our Do-It-Yourself Treks, fill this form

3. If you’d like to see the 13 best treks of India, get a downloadable guide here.

Venkat Ganesh

Venkat Ganesh

Venkat Ganesh is a part of Documentation team at Indiahikes. After graduating he worked for big telcos in India. But after a solo bike trip to Himalayas, he decided to move out of cubicle and ride across India on a motorbike. He has also taught English in Vietnam for close to 2 years and completely loved it. Sar Pass, Sandakphu. Sham Valley, Chadar trek, and a dozen or so treks in Western Ghats are the treks he's done in the past. Besides trekking and travelling , Venkat enjoys cooking, reading, and riding bicycles. You can write to him at venkat@indiahikes.com to get in touch

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