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10 Offbeat Treks In Maharashtra To Avoid Crowds On Weekends
By Akshita Makhija
Trekking in Maharashtra is almost like a festival. The rich culture, history and heritage of various forts across the state are what make this place a beloved among trekkers across India.
This also leads to traffic and huge crowds on weekends. Inturn, this is harming the ecosystem of the Sahyadris and leading to accidents. We have seen treks like Devkund Waterfall getting banned due to deaths almost every week. We have seen a huge line of trekkers on the ladders of Kalsubai.
Yet, there are some beautiful, offbeat treks which not many people know about. Over commercialization and promotion of only some Maharashtra treks have hidden away these gems of treks. These treks will not only connect you to nature but also let you enjoy the serenity of being one of the very few on the trek.
Here are 10 such treks that you can do yourself and experience most of the magic of the Sahyadri range.
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10 Offbeat treks in Maharashtra
1. Ghangad Fort
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Base Village: Ekole, which is 35 km from Lonavala.
Distance from main cities: 115 km from Mumbai and 100 km from Pune
The first section of the Ghangad Fort Trek. You can see the solid top of the fort. Picture by Amit Ghangurde
Ghangad is a short but an 'all in one package' trek, which can be done in a day or with camping. It has a forest section, a surprise at the boulder section, an adventurous climb up a steep metal ladder and a stunning 360-degree view of the surrounding mountains from the top. It is suitable for both fit beginners and experienced trekkers.
2. Rohida / Vichitragad Trek
Base Village: Bajarwadi
Distance from main cities: 204 km from Mumbai and 61 km from Pune
View of Rohida from the trail. Picture by Swarada Ghangurde
If you have never experienced raging winds, Rohida, a fort near Pune, is a must-do trek. If you are trekking in monsoon, on the left side of the ridge you see waterfalls that flow upwards, so fierce is the wind here. Along with this, some breath-taking views of the farms and water dams can be seen from the bastions. There are a total of six bastions covering the fortification wall. All of these are still strong.
3. Sindola Fort
Base Village: Karanjale Phata
Distance from main cities: 134 km from Mumbai and 112 km from Pune
The pinnacle structure of the Sindola fort seen from the second ridge. Picture by Kailesh Padevkar
Sindola fort trek is one of the lesser-known treks in Malshej ghat in Junnar region. The ruins of bastions, a few water reservoirs and a Ganesha idol at the entrance, at the top of the fort will set you wondering of the beauty. The rock-cut steps while climbing to the pinnacle will leave you astonished. The Ridge walk on the Sindola Fort trek is a celebration for the eyes. You can see beautiful wildflowers all around you.
4. Anjaneri Fort
Base Village: Anjaneri
Distance from main cities: 175 km from Mumbai and 237 km from Pune
Huge meadow as seen from the Anjani Maata temple. Mountain you see is the summit. Picture by Yugant Gurav
Anjaneri fort trek is one of the famous treks in Nasik-Trimbakeshwar mountain range of Maharashtra. There are many small Jain temples, caves and a foot-shaped lake on the way to the main Hanuman temple. There is also a unique temple built for Anjani Maata who gave birth to Hanuman. Huge meadows with wildflowers that are very rarely seen in Western ghats are found in huge numbers on the Anjaneri Fort Trek.
5. Mahuli Trek
Difficulty: Easy- Moderate
Base Village: Asangaon
Distance from main cities: 69 km from Mumbai and 192 km from Pune
The Mahuli Trek is popular amongst enthusiastic rock climbers and also corporate professionals looking for some adventure, due to its proximity to the city. Mahuli, being at the highest altitude in the Thane district, gives you a birds’ eye view of the landscape below. The trek is much loved due to the lush green forest and meadows around. It is a spectrum of green and surprises you with its landscapes.
6. Torna Fort
Difficulty: Easy- Moderate
Base Village: Velhe
Distance from main cities: 211 km from Mumbai and 68 km from Pune
The north face of the Torna Fort as seen from the Ridge. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Torna Fort is the highest hill-fort in the Pune District. Because of the massive size of the fort, it is also called Prachandagad. This is where the core of the Maratha empire was built. It has a great history as it has gone under many rulers.
The trek to the Torna fort unfolds so many elements. You trek along the beautiful flower beds, on the top, there are temples, water cisterns, Balekilla, 2 magnificent Machis, Zunjar Machi, and Budhla Machi, and a ridge connecting to Rajgad fort. As stated by James Douglas “If Sinhagad is a Lion’s cave then Torna is an eagle’s nest, this fort truly stands for what his words.
7. Durg Dhakoba Trek
Difficulty: Moderate- Difficult
Base Village: Rampur
Distance from main cities: 174 km from Mumbai and 113 km from Pune
Durg and Dhakoba are the two prominent peaks on the plateau between Naneghat and Bhimashankar ranges in Pune. The sheer vertical cliffs descending on the Konkan side offer exhilarating exposure. While Durg is a fort, Dhakoba is a tall mountain. The whole range between Durg Dhakoba and Bhimashankar is a flat plateau with peaks and thick forests in between.
You will find a few tribal hamlets in these forests. You’d be surprised that vast mountain ranges like these can exist so close to an urban jungle like Mumbai! Filled with dense forests and beautiful meadows, a trek to Durg and Dhakoba will take you away from noise to a land of peace and beauty over a weekend.
8. Sudhagad trek
Base Village: Thakurwadi
Distance from main cities: 110 km from Mumbai and 53 km from Pune
How to get to Sudhagad trek:
Route from Mumbai:
Route from Pune:
View of Sudhagad on the way to Thakurwadi. Picture by Apoorva Karlekar
Sudhagad, also known as Bhorapgad, is a small hill fort near Pali, Maharashtra. The fort was named Bhorapgad after the Goddess Bhoraidevi. Sudhagad trek is a short and sweet weekend getaway for trekkers from Mumbai and Pune. The fort is almost equidistant from both the cities.
One can see the peaks of Sarasgad, Tail Baila and Ghangad from the top. There are 2 huge lakes at the top where one can take a dip and build a camp for a night's stay. Apart from that, you can also visit Bhorai Devi temple and “Pant Sachivancha Vada”.
9. Dhodap Fort
Base Village: Hatti
Distance from main cities: 222 km from Mumbai and 262 km from Pune
Walk back to explore the fort of Dhodap. Picture by Kartik Mehta
The Dhodap Fort Trek takes you to the second-highest fort in Maharashtra. Unknown to many, the fort offers great trekking experiences one can ask for. Packed with many surprises the Dhodap Fort Trek has a variety that stands out to make it one of the best treks to do in Maharashtra.
The trek has so much to offer that we have heard trekkers saying of ending up with a feeling of not exploring the trek enough, even after having done this multiple times. The trek is on the vast and wide plateau that climbs up into three leveled forts.
10. Chanderi Fort
Base Village: Vangani
Distance from main cities: 68 km from Mumbai and 122 km from Pune
View how to get to Chanderi fort
Chanderi is a majestic massif and a historical monument. Joined to Chanderi by a column, are a group of four pinnacles called Mhasmal. The Chanderi-Mhaismal duo is very prominent and can be seen from far away peaks in the Sahyadris. There are no fortifications at the site, but only water cisterns, rock cut steps and caves that denote that the historical site is indeed a fort.
Chanderi Fort was captured by Shivaji Maharaj from the Mughal Sultanate, and ultimately it went into the hands of the British later on. The fort offers the best of both worlds and appeals to both history lovers as well as adventure enthusiasts since it provides visitors with breathtaking views, excellent historical information, as well as an adrenaline rush.
This was a list of our 10 most recommended offbeat treks in Maharashtra. We hope it helps you plan your weekend trek in Maharashtra well, and gives you a break from large crowds.
We are also looking for trekkers to help us document these treks better with photographs and information. If you do any of these treks, please reach out to us by filling this form. It will go a long way in helping others do these treks safely and comfortably.
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