AMK — Alang Madan Kulang Trek

The Toughest Trek In the Sahyadris
Difficulty
Difficulty
Difficult
Duration
Duration
2 Days
Trek type
Trek type
Technical Trail With Forests, Boulders, Ledges and Vertical Rock Faces
Altitude
Max Altitude
4,852 ft
Required Fitness
Base
Ambewadi / Ghatghar/ Kurungwadi
Best time to visit
Best time to visit
October - February

The Complete Guide To AMK — Alang Madan Kulang Trek

Alang Madan Kulang trek, also known popularly as AMK or Alangad Madangad Kulangad lies in the Kalsubai range of the Sahyadris, in Nashik district, Maharashtra.

It is the most sought after trek in Maharashtra. Why is that so? you may ask.

Here’s why…

Due to the technical terrain and dangerous long traverse on ledges, requirement of mountaineering knowledge and knowing how to use technical climbing equipment at certain sections becomes imperative.

Since it demands these high-level skills for a two-day trek, Alang Madan Kulang is known to be the most difficult trek that one can do in Maharashtra.

You must have heard about the sentence, “higher the risks, higher the rewards”. This trek proves that by providing the most stunning views from the plateau on the top of the forts.

Not just the views from the top, the combination of dense forests, rocks and boulders, the caves, water cisterns and the ancient writings on the rocks make this one of the most amazing treks that you can do in the entire Western Ghats!

Our Trek Leader, Nitesh Kumar fell in love with Alang Madan Kulang the first time he did the trek. Here is what he has to say about it:

Nitesh Kumar
Trek Leader
Alang Madan Kulang in Maharashtra for me is what Mt Everest in Nepal is to the rest of the world! The half-moon shape of the three forts combined is very unique and you won’t find such dramatic mountain shapes anywhere else in the Sahyadris. From the vertical rock sections which require rock climbing and rappelling skills to walking for kilometres on the thin, fully exposed ledges provide an adrenaline rush. It is a dream trek for me!

Alang Madan Kulang forts have seen a lot of change of hands — from the Marathas to the Mughals, and back to the Marathas and finally to the British in 1818 — all fighting for power and control of the forts.

From the top, we can see many of the prominent peaks and reservoirs including the Kalsubai, Vikatgad, Vishramgad to the North East, Ratangad, Harishchandragad, Sandhan Valley, Ajobagad, Dangya Pinnacle to the South, and Bhandardara to the South East —  just to name a few!

That said, Alang Madan Kulang is not a solo trek. We recommend going in a group with at least two people having expert knowledge in mountain climbing and who know how to use mountaineering equipment.

If there are no experienced climbers in your group, we advice hiring local guides from the base village. These guides usually carry all the technical equipment required for the trek. You will find their contact information, here.

Use these pointers to navigate through this extensive trek guide:

(If you still have doubts, drop them in the comments section at the bottom of the page. We’ll have our best experts respond to your questions.)

 


What To Watch Out For

The forest trails

The forest sections at the foot of Alang and Kulang forts are a treasure to find in the Sahyadris. They are full of rock, boulders, seasonal streams and are filled with flora and fauna. You may even spot wildlife if you observe the forests and trees closely.

Forest section on Alang Madan Kulang-Indiahikes
The boulders inside the forest section on the way to Alang Fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The exposed ledge walks

The long traverse on the ledges at multiple points on the trek is definitely a unique experience. When we say long traverse, we mean more than a kilometre-long sections at a stretch! With hard rocks on one side and a 1,000-foot drop on the other, these sections are sure to set your hearts racing.

Alang Madan Kulang-Exposed ledges on Alang-Indiahikes
One of the long ledges to traverse while climbing to Alang fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The vertical rock faces which require technical equipment

Unlike most other treks where the vertical rock faces have some kind of support to ascend and descend, the vertical rocks on this trek cannot be traversed without the support of climbing equipment.

This makes the trek extremely special and difficult at the same time, as this is the only trek that demands these skills in the Western Ghats.

Alang Madan Kulang-Rappelling down the rock face-Indiahikes
One of the trekkers rappelling down the vertical wall with the help of a rope, harness, mittens (gloves) and helmet. Most importantly, the belayer is helping the trekker rappel down. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Water Cisterns, very unique to Alang, Madan and Kulang forts

We have seen water cisterns in rectangles, squares and circles, but never have we come across such uniquely shaped cisterns. They are almost like a waffle, if you see it from above.

They are designed in such a way that the water does not overflow and it fills all the boxes equally. It leaves to our imagination as to the level of sophisticated architecture the people living in ancient times had.

The walls of the water cisterns on Kulang fort have carvings about astronomy too!

Alang Madan Kulang-Water cisterns on Alang fort-Indiahikes
The waffle-shaped water cistern on the top of Alang fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The unending scenery of the surrounding peaks and reservoirs

The plateau on the top of all the three forts provides panoramic views of the surrounding peaks, reservoirs and farmlands that are breathtaking! For these views along, Alang Madan Kulang trek must be on the top of your bucket list.

Alang Madan Kulang-View of Alang and Madan from Kulang-Indiahikes
Stunning view from the top of Kulang fort — Madan and Alang forts on the left, Ghatghar reservoir on the right and Bhandardara reservoir behind Alang fort far center. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

 


Trail Information

Alang Madan Kulang is not only a difficult trek, it makes choosing where to start and end the trek difficult too! It is because there are so many base villages to start this trek from.

Not just that, you can mix and match the start and end points too! There are not many treks that give you this flexibility of choosing from where you start the trek and where you will end it.

We followed the classic and the best possible route to start and end the trek, which is Ghatghar to Kurungwadi. We believe this is the best route as the trail gives stunning views of all the three forts as you start the trek.

Also, the route takes you through the farmlands and the trail is much greener on this side. The thrill of starting the trek at one village and ending it in the other is something which you will only experience in the Himalayas.

We certainly do not want you to miss this experience which you are surprisingly getting in the Sahyadris itself!

| Note: Alternatively, you may start the trek from Kurungwadi and end at Ghatghar as well. This involves a difficult climb from Kurungwadi and an easier descent towards Ghatghar.

Since the trail covers three forts, we have divided the trek into four sections, spanning over 2 days:

| Day 1:
Section I:
Ghatghar to Alang Fort
Section II: Alang Fort to Madan Fort

| Day 2:
Section III:
Madan Fort to Kulang Fort
Section IV: Kulang Fort to Kurungwadi
Section IV: Alternate Route: Kulang Fort to Ambewadi Roadhead

AMK Route Map 1-Indiahikes
Our preferred route map. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro

Alternate Start and End Points

Alternative I:

If you prefer a shorter trek covering only Kulang Fort, follow this route:

| Day 1:
Section I:
Ghatghar to Kulang Fort
Section II: Kulang Fort to Ghatghar

AMK Route Map 2-Indiahikes
A shorter alternate route. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro

Alternative II:

If you wish to start your trek and end it at the same base village — which is Ambewadi — we recommend you follow this route:

| Day 1:
Section I:
Ambewadi to Alang Fort
Section II: Alang Fort to Madan Fort

| Day 2:
Section III:
Madan Fort to Kulang Fort
Section IV: Kulang Fort to Ambewadi via Ambewadi Roadhead

AMK Route Map 2-Indiahikes
Alternate route for the complete trek. Screenshot on Google Earth Pro

That said, let us look at the trail information of Alang Madan Kulang trek:

Section I: Ghatghar to Alangad

Trek Distance: 6.75 Kilometres
Trek Duration: 4 Hours and 30 Minutes
GPS Coordinates of Ghatghar: 19°32’38.52″N 73°38’11.55″E
GPS Coordinates of Alangad: 19°35’0.56″N 73°39’37.85″E

The trail starts as a walk on level ground from Ghatghar, winding amidst the farmlands. There is a large well in the fields, this serves as a way marker. Turn right at this well to proceed towards Alang fort.

A Well on the trail to Alang-Indiahikes
Take the right turn at this section where the well is on your left. The day begins early for the villagers here as you see in the photo. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Walk straight while the U-shaped forts are right in front of you. You will start to gauge the magnitude of these forts and be surprised with the beauty!

Initial walk to Alang-Indiahikes
A trekker walks between the different shades of grass with Kulang, Madan and Alang forts seen from afar (from left to right). Picture by Nitesh Kumar

As you move towards Alang on your right, the view of all the three forts starts to magnify, giving a clearer picture of them. That plus the traverse between waist-high soft grass makes you want this section to never end.

Trail to Alang-Indiahikes
View of Kulang and Madan (from right to left) as you move closer to Alang. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

You will come across a stream after a few minutes. The trail transitions from farmland to jungle soon after the stream crossing.

Stream Crossing-Alang-Indiahikes
The stream that separates farmlands and forest. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The trail winds inside the forest once the stream is crossed and the trail begins to gradually ascend into the forest.

Trail to the forest section en route Alang-Indiahikes
The last of the fields before the trail leads us inside the forest. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The trail is filled with rocks and boulders inside the forest. Tread carefully as there is a high chance to twist your ankles if you do not place your feet firmly and with caution.

Forest section on Alang Madan Kulang-Indiahikes
Trekkers crossing the boulder section inside the forest. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

| Tip: Wearing shoes with good grip and a bit of ankle support helps on this trek. To know more about how to choose the right trekking shoes, click here.

Forest section on Alang Madan Kulang-Indiahikes
Once out of the forest, you have to climb through steep rocks. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

After a 2 kilometre hike inside the rolling forest — hopping over rocks and boulders — the trail gets steeper and turns completely rocky. You are now traversing on the sides of Alang hill.

As you approach the West face of the hill, this view greets you.

Alang Madan Kulang-View from Alang ledge-Indiahikes
You see the edge of Alang fort to the North, then Madan and Kulang forts further ahead. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

You have your entire 2-day trek spanned out in front of you, along with other nearby peaks.

As you climb on the near vertical rock, you approach an iron ladder which is used to climb to the rock-cut steps.

Iron ladder on Alang-Indiahikes
Trekkers approaching the iron ladder. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

While climbing the ladder, do not forget to look to your right to get a glimpse of what is awaiting from Alang top.

View from iron ladder-Indiahikes
The view starts to open up as you climb higher. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Once you are up the ladder, there are rock steps that lead to a darwaja (a door) which is blocked from the other side with big rocks. Climb up to the right of the darwaja to find the right path.

Blocked darwaja en route to Alangad-Indiahikes
Climb to the right at this darwaja. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

From here, it is a ledge walk for more than a kilometre. The section to your left is completely exposed. This section needs to be traversed very carefully as there is nothing to hold for support except the rock on your right.

Alang Madan Kulang-Exposed ledges on Alang-Indiahikes
You walk on the ledge with your left completely exposed. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

After more than a kilometre of carefully walking along the ledge, you turn right for a final push to the top of Alang fort.

Exposed ledges on Alang-Indiahikes
Take the right after this boulder and a pile of rocks to reach the summit. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Once at the top do not forget to explore the vast plateau, which is almost 2 kilometres long!

The vastness of this plateau will blow your mind away!

Alang fort-Indiahikes
Trekkers exploring the plateau. Notice how vast the plateau is! Picture by Nitesh Kumar

You will find many fort walls, a Rajwada (a place where the royal families of the Maratha empire stay) and structures that are in ruins. These walls were built using marbles.

Alang Madan Kulang-Rajwada on Alang fort-Indiahikes
One of the walls of Rajwada that is in ruins. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The very unique feature all the forts have is the presence of water cisterns that are uniquely shaped. The shape resembles the pattern on a waffle.

Alang Madan Kulang-Water cisterns on Alang fort-Indiahikes
The sections have been carved in such a way that water flows to all the sections equally once a higher block is filled. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Do not forget to take in the view from the edge of Alang fort on the South. You will notice many nearby peaks along with Ghatghar and Bhandardara reservoirs.

Alang Madan Kulang-View from Alang fort-Indiahikes
Notice the surrounding peaks and reservoirs from the Southern edge of Alang fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

There are caves to the North of Alang fort. These caves can be used as a rest point as there is no other shade on the top.

Alang Madan Kulang-Caves on Alang fort-Indiahikes
Trekkers taking a break at these caves before proceeding to Madangad. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

| Tip: Use these caves to camp for the night at Alang fort if you have reached the fort by evening. It is not recommended to trek to Madan fort in the dark as there are very risky sections en route.

Inside the Caves on Alang fort-Indiahikes
Inside the cave where you can camp for the night. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

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Section II: Alangad to Madangad

Trek Distance: 2.60 Kilometres
Trek Duration: 4 Hours and 30 Minutes
GPS Coordinates of Alangad: 19°35’0.56″N 73°39’37.85″E
GPS Coordinates of Madangad: 19°35’25.77″N 73°38’55.48″E

This section is where the tricky descents begin.

Before descending to the Col (the lowest point), which is also famously known as Madankhind, which is between Alang and Madan forts, you will have to go through multiple vertical walls by rappelling. It is in these sections that the technical equipment come in handy.

After you take the North face of Alang fort, you will come across steep steps that have to be crossed with the help of a fixed rope. Use the ropes for balance.

| Note: Exercise caution while descending the steps, as they abruptly turn from East to West during the descent, almost like a sharp left.

Alang Madan Kulang-Technical descent from Alang fort-Indiahikes
The near steps have to be crossed with the help of fixed ropes. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Once these steps are crossed, you will face a 90° vertical wall, 40 feet long, that has to be rappelled down using ropes, harnesses, helmets, mittens (gloves) and carabiners.

| Note: The belayer goes down first and uses bottom belay technique to help trekkers rappel down the wall.

Rappeling down the rock face-Indiahikes
The 90° vertical rock face. The belayer is ready below and trekkers standby for instructions. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Soon after rappelling down this wall, there is another 25-foot wall with footholds that needs to be descended. This is almost at an 80° inclination, so actual rappelling is not required here, but you need to have the ropes for support.

Alang Madan Kulang-Rappeling down the rock face-Indiahikes
Trekkers descend down the rock face while the belayer oversees from the bottom. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Protip These two sections take a long time to descend, with each trekker taking up to 15 minutes to rappel and descend down. The larger the group, the more time you will need to descend. So, plan your timing beforehand based on the size of your group to ensure you reach Madangad before sunset.

After these technical sections, it’s a long traverse of about 700 metres on the ledge to the West amidst trees and bushes, until you reach the col between Alang and Madan forts, also called Madankhind.

Descent from Alang-Indiahikes
The trail leading to Madankhind, soon after descending down the rock faces. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

You will see Madangad right in front of you as you reach Madankhind.

Madankhind holds importance on this trek, because it connects all the three forts — Alang to the East, Madan to the North and Kulang to the South — which makes this col a common connecting point.

Madan fort from Madankhind-Indiahikes
View of Madan fort just before reaching Madankhind. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Once you start making your way to Madan fort, look back to see the entire ledge section from Alang fort to Madankhind.

Ledge from Alang to Madankhind-Indiahikes
The long ledge traverse from Alang fort to the col is seen on the way to Madan fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

There are a few sections that are exposed before starting the climb to Madan fort.

Exposed section en route to Madan fort-Indiahikes
The exposed section at the roundabout on the ledge en route to Madan fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

This section is supported by a fixed rope. Trekkers must attach themselves to the rope with the help of a carabiner so that it acts as a support system in case of a slip and fall.

Exposed section en route to Madan fort-Indiahikes
The guide oversees the trekker while she crosses the exposed section by attaching herself to the rope with a carabiner. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

From here, you will make your way through uneven rocks, climbing up the unmarked trail until you reach the rock-cut steps.

Steep section on Madan fort-Indiahikes
Trekkers climbing up through the rocks. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The rock-cut steps are what you will climb next. The steps are steep and require you to properly grip the surface and balance yourself.

Steep stairs on Madan fort-Indiahikes
Trekkers descending down the stairs. The same stairs are used to ascend to Madan fort as well. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

After this section you will have to climb up another 45-foot vertical rock face with 90° incline, with the help of ropes and harnesses. This time the belayer uses top belay technique.

Steep rock face on Madan fort-Indiahikes
The guide belays from top while a trekker uses the rope to ascend the vertical rock face. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

For the final push to the summit, you will have to wade through a moderately steep rock patch.

From here you will climb another short set of rock-cut steps before finally reaching Madan fort. Be very cautious at this section as these steps turn left at the top and it is completely exposed.

Final steps to Madan fort-Indiahikes
Trekkers descend the same set of stairs which leads to Madangad top. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

As soon as you reach the top, to your East you will see the gigantic plateau on Alang fort, and to the left, the ledge traverse on the North face of Alang that you took to reach the col between Alang and Madan forts.

Alang Fort-Indiahikes
The vast landscape of Alang fort greets you as soon as you reach the top of Madangad. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

To the West is the mighty Kulang fort which you will reach the next day.

Kulang fort-Indiahikes
The mighty Kulang fort from the top of Madan fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

On the Madan fort, you have the two potable water cisterns in front of you, while the cave is further above, and the highest point of the fort right on top of the cave.

Madan fort-Indiahikes
From the Madangad summit, you see the water cisterns on the right, cave in the center, and the highest point on the left. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The cave is big enough to hold 50 people at the same time. This is where you camp for the night.

The next morning, wake up early and reach the summit of Madangad. Set your towards Alang to the East and you are in for a surprise!

The sun rises right behind Alang fort and it is a treat to just stay still and watch the gorgeous sunrise with your jaws dropped at that marvellous sight.

Sunrise view from Madangad-Indiahikes
The sunrise from Madangad is a treat to watch! Picture by Nitesh Kumar

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Section III: Madangad to Kulangad

Trek Distance: 3.20 Kilometres
Trek Duration: 4 Hours and 30 Minutes
GPS Coordinates of Madangad: 19°35’25.77″N 73°38’55.48″E
GPS Coordinates of Kulangad: 19°35’38.10″N 73°38’15.56″E

After the beautiful sunset view, finish your packed breakfast and make your way back to Madankhind (the col between Alang and Madan forts).

Protip While packing food to last you for the entire duration of the trek, avoid packaged foods. Carry you lunch boxes instead which are made of steel. This will ensure you are not littering on the trail and cleaning them is very easy! You can wash your lunch box with less than 200 ml of water. To know why steel cutlery is better than plastic, click here.

| Note: While all the forts have potable water cisterns, do not use them to clean yourselves or wash your hands and dishes. The water is meant for drinking. If you carry your own cutlery, fill up your water bottles and look for muddy ground that can absorb the water and food waste, and wash the cutlery there. This is one of the ways you can be a responsible trekker and leave no trace on the trail.

Be careful at the rock-cut steps and also while rappelling down the 45-foot vertical rock. These are the ones that pose risk on your descent.

Once you are at the col, turn right and proceed West towards Kulang fort.

En route to Kulang fort-Indiahikes
Walking through the exposed section from Madankhind towards Kulang. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

For almost a kilometre you walk through the exposed section on rocks and overgrown bushes. Compared to the previous day, this section does not involve too many technical sections.

There is one section you need to be careful about — the steep descent en route to Kulang — where you will have to hold the ropes for support.

Steep section towards Kulang fort-Indiahikes
Guide helping with the ropes while the trekkers descend holding them. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The gradient descent combined with grass becomes very slippery and hence taking support of the rope is important.

Steep section towards Kulang fort-Indiahikes
A bird’s-eye view of the trekkers descending using the ropes. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Once this section is crossed, you will reach the col between Madan and Kulang forts. Proceed straight by taking the trail that takes you on the ledge, which is almost an 800 metre walk.

Ledge walk to Kulang fort-Indiahikes
Trekkers walking on the ledge with Madangad in the background. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Take a moment to look back at the vast expanse of peaks and farmlands behind you. The view will leave you breathless!

Prominent Peaks from Kulang-Indiahikes
Alang and Madan forts on the right, with a few other prominent peaks to the left and center. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Soon after the ledge walk, you turn left and climb the ridge. It is a steep ascent for about 150 metres until you reach the rock-cut steps.

Alang Madan Kulang-Rock-cut steps to Kulangad-Indiahikes
The rock-cut steps that climb to Kulang fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The steps are your final push to the top of Kulang Fort. From the stairs you enter the fort through an abandoned fort gate.

Kulangad-Indiahikes
The point where steps end and you enter through the abandoned fort walls. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

As you enter the fort, you see the water cisterns slightly to the left in front of you and the path leading to a cave on your right.

Alang Madan Kulang-Water cisterns on Kulang fort-Indiahikes
The view in front of you as you enter the Kulang fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Kulangad-Indiahikes
The trail leading to the cave far ahead. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The cave is spacious to rest for a while and have food. Since there is no other shaded place on the top, we recommend you utilize the cave as your rest point.

Cave on Kulangad-Indiahikes
The cave on Kulang fort which serves as a rest point. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

From the top, do not forget to take in the 360° panoramic view of the surrounding peaks, valleys, farmlands and reservoirs.

You get to see the Western side in a vast sweep that was hidden all along.

Alang Madan Kulang-View from Kulang top-Indiahikes
The view on the Western side of Kulang fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

On the East, the entire trail you took since the previous day pans out in front of you. The hills seem as though they were sculpted by an artist! You are sure to be dumbfounded by their beauty.

Alang Madan Kulang-Madangad and Alangad-Indiahikes
Alang and Madan forts from left to right pan out in a panoramic sweep. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Take your time and explore around the fort. You will find interesting scriptures on abandoned fort walls, on the walls of the cisterns, and on other stone ruins.

Before heading down to Kurungwadi — which is your end point — fill up your water bottles from the water cisterns.

Alang Madan Kulang-Water cisterns on Kulangad-Indiahikes
Rectangle-shaped water cisterns on Kulang fort. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

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Section IV: Kulangad to Kurungwadi

Trek Distance: 5.05 Kilometres
Trek Duration: 4 Hours
GPS Coordinates of Madan Fort: 19°37’16.50″N 73°37’54.57″E
GPS Coordinates of Kulangad: 19°35’38.10″N 73°38’15.56″E

Start the descent by taking the same way back, through the stairs, along the ridge.

Steps to Kulang fort-Indiahikes
View of the rock-cut steps to Kulang fort. Picture taken from the ridge by Nitesh Kumar

Continue on the ridge till it reaches the slightly less steeper forest section and turn left to proceed towards Kurungwadi.

| Note: Alternatively, if you wish to end your trek at Ambewadi, take the right from the forest section. The distance will increase by approximately 1.5 kilometres as compared to the original route, ending at Kurungwadi. You will find all the alternate routes in the GPX File below.

En route Kurungwadi-Indiahikes
The wide sweeping view of farmlands and nearby villages. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

From the ridge, you get an amazing view of Kurungwadi, Ambewadi and other nearby villages, reservoirs and farmlands.

Once the ridge is crossed, you descend through the forest section.

Kulangad-Indiahikes
Looking back at the ridge line before entering the forest section. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

The forest is filled with rocks and boulders. Again, the chances of twisting your ankle are more here. Place your feet firmly and cautiously until you cross the boulder sections.

Forest section on Alang Madan Kulang-Indiahikes
The descent filled with rocks and boulders in the forest. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

After about two and a half hours since you began your descent from Kulang fort, you reach level ground, the farmlands of nearby villagers.

Farmlands after Kulangad-Indiahikes
The farmlands and a flat ground provide much needed respite from the rolling terrain. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

Turn back to have a glimpse of the forts you climbed over two days. This view will be your background until you reach Kurungwadi.

Kulang and Chota Kulang-Indiahikes
Kulang and Chota Kulang (left to right) seen from the fields. Picture by Nitesh Kumar

From here it is nearly a 3 km flat walk till Kurungwadi village where your trek ends.

 


GPX File Of The Trek

Click here to download the KML file of Alang Madan Kulang trek.

 


Best Time To Do Alang Madan Kulang Trek

The best time to do Alang Madan Kulang trek is from October to February. Because of the technical nature of the terrain, it is best to do the trek after monsoons and before summers.

This will ensure you are not exposed to the elements and also to the extremely technical terrain during heavy rains in monsoons and high heat during summers.

It is a complete No to do the trek in monsoon. Although, summer is okay compared to the risks involved in the monsoon season. What is already difficult when the weather is good, becomes life threatening in monsoon. So, do not do this trek in the monsoon season.

| Note: that the water cisterns on top of these forts may have very little to no water in summers. You will not be able to complete the trek if you run out of water. Hence, we advice you only do the trek after monsoons and before summers.

The views and the terrain are best enjoyed after the monsoon season and before the start of summer. So, plan your trek accordingly.

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How To Reach Alang Madan Kulang Trek

Alang Madan Kulang trek is in Nashik district. It is 140 kilometres from Mumbai, 62 kilometres from Nashik and 184 kilometres from Pune. The trek can be started from multiple base villages — Ghatghar, Ambewadi or Kurungwadi (also called Kulangwadi).

Protip We recommend starting the trek from Ghatghar and ending at Kurungwadi as this gives the complete trek experience. It also gives you the thrill of a pass crossing trek, which is unique only to the Himalayas.

 

Reaching the base village in your own vehicle from Mumbai

All the starting points are easily accessible by road and almost the same distance from Mumbai. Use the links below to set up navigation on Google Maps:

– To reach Ghatghar village: Click this link
– To reach Ambewadi village: Click this link
– To reach Kurungwadi village: Click this link

| Tip: Plan your travel so that you reach the base and start your trek latest by 7:00 AM. This ensures you reach Alang before noon and reach Madan where you camp for the night before it gets dark.

 

Reaching the base village using public transport from Mumbai

Reaching the base camps from Mumbai involves a combination of trains and buses.

Take the Mumbai Local train from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Kasara.

Protip Use the M-Indicator mobile application to see Mumbai Local train timings and ticket prices.

From Kasara, take a bus to Igatpuri. Alternatively, you can take an Express Train from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus to Igatpuri, if you wish to save time.

From Igatpuri, take a bus to Ghoti village.

If you are at Ghoti village before 6:00 AM, you will get a direct bus at 6:00 AM to Ambewadi, if you are starting the trek from there.

To reach Ghatghar — our recommended start point — take the bus that goes towards Bhandardara from Ghoti village. From Bhandardara, take a shared taxi till Samrad or Ratanwadi and walk the rest of the way till Ghatghar.

| Tip: Request the shared cab driver to drop you till Ghatghar. Most of the times you will get a lift till Ghatghar which will save you 6.5 kilometres of walking on the road till the base.

Another best thing to do if you are in a big group is to hire a taxi from Kasara or Igatpuri or Ghoti till Ghatghar or Ambewadi. This will ensure that you have the vehicle ready by the time you end your trek at Kurungwadi or Ambewadi, depending from where you start the trek.

 


Difficult Sections On Alang Madan Kulang

Being rated as a Difficult trek, the entire trek is filled with difficult sections and technical challenges throughout. You will have to tread carefully throughout the trek, except for the walks on the top of the forts, which is the easy part.

Here are the sections where you must be absolutely careful and watch your every step:

1. Slippery trail: The trail becomes more tricky in the post-monsoon months as the rocks and loose gravel become very slippery and great caution must be taken while traversing. Trekkers must be very careful with their choice of footwear and should check weather charts so as to avoid days with anticipated heavy rains.

2. Completely exposed ledges: There are a few places where one of the sides is completely exposed to more than a 1,000 to 2,000 feet drop, while the other side is smooth and slippery rock. They have to be traversed cautiously as one small wrong step would risk your lives.

Some of these exposed sections have ropes fixed to the rocks for support. Always take support of the ropes wherever they are available.

3. Rock climbing and rappelling on vertical walls: As thrilling as it may sound, these are the sections which pose most risk. Ensure you have experts in your team (whether it’s your own teammates or hired guides) who are well versed in mountain climbing.

Make sure you have all the safety and technical equipment such as ropes, harnesses, carabiners, mittens (gloves) and helmets on the trek.

4. Steep rock-cut steps: The steps carved on the rock pose safety risk on this trek. The near-vertical steps on different parts of the trek must be traversed with care and take the support of ropes on the sides wherever they are available The risk increases manifold soon after monsoon when these rocks are slippery with probable moss formation.

 


How To Get Fit For Alang Madan Kulang Trek

The Alang Madan Kulang Fort trek is classified as a Difficult grade trek. From the base, you will gain approximately 1,770 feet in altitude till the summit on the first day and then lose and gain a few hundred feet on the second day.

Although the altitude gain is not very high for a 2-day trek, the rolling ascents and descents over 12.5 kilometres can be demanding for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Training yourself for a medium-altitude easy-moderate grade trek

Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks:

Cardiovascular Endurance

In case you’re just starting with a fitness routine, start slow and increase your pace everyday in the following manner –

  • Target completing a jog of 5 km in 35 minutes when you begin.
  • Gradually increase your pace by running 5 km, 4 times a week.
  • As you become more comfortable, introduce another day of running in your routine. 
  • Progressively increase the distance you run in a workout until you can complete 5 km in 40 mins.

If you prefer cycling over running, target covering 20 km in 60 minutes when you begin.

  • Progressively increase your pace to cover 25 km in one hour.

Strength Training

This is an important area you need to work on.

Strength training is equally important to trek comfortably. Work on your glutes, calves and knees. Additionally, work on strengthening your core.

You must strengthen your core muscles. For strengthening your core muscles, holding a plank and it’s variations (elbow, side planks) are the best exercises to go about doing it.

Also, try these exercises for strength:

Target 4 sets of squats with 20 in each set.

– Squats (Mix it up with sumo squats)

– Lunges (Forward, backward and lateral lunges)

– Planks

Flexibility

Flexibility determines the amount of movement your bones can make in any direction around joints such as shoulders, elbows, hips and knees.

It is an aspect that will help you trek comfortably. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain. Stretching your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors and lower back muscles regularly, promotes relaxation in the tissues reducing the strain on your back.

If you can’t go out and jog because of time and space constraints, here’s a video you can use to work out indoors.

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Things To Take On Alang Madan Kulang Trek

  • Basic First Aid kit*
  • Technical Equipment*
  • Identity Card
  • Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
  • Water (Minimum three litres)
  • Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
  • High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
  • Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
  • Quick Dry T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
  • A warm layer (Pull over, sweater or a jacket)
  • Poncho, only during post-monsoons
  • Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices, only during monsoons
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
  • Sleeping Mat
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Tent (3-Person or 2-Person – Depending on the number of people sharing)

*First aid kit:

  • Scissor
  • Band aids (Regular & Waterproof)
  • Analgesic spray (Relispray, Volini, etc.)
  • Antiseptic Liquid (Savlon, Dettol etc.)
  • Antiseptic powder (Povidone-Iodine based powders like Cipladine, Savlon, etc.)
  • Cotton roll & Bandage
  • Crepe Bandage
  • 1 inch wide medical tape (paper or cloth.)
  • Micropore tape
  • Tablet for motion sickness (Avomine), Acidity (Gelusil, Digene, etc.).
  • Mild pain relief tablet (Crocin)

| Note: Always consult a doctor before taking any medicine.

*Technical Equipment:

  • Ropes
  • Harnesses
  • Carabiners
  • Helmets
  • Mittens (Gloves)
  • Belay Devices

 


Permission, Water Sources and Other Finer Details About the Trek

1. Can I do this trek if I have never been on a trek before?

No. Since the trek involves too many technical sections and walking on exposed ledges almost all the time, we do not recommend this trek if you are a beginner.

Attempt this trek only after you have familiarized yourself by doing less strenuous treks like Rajgad, Kalsubai and Ratangad.

 


2. Do I need to obtain permission for trekking to Alang Madan Kulang?

No. You do not need permission to trek to Alang Madan Kulang.

Trekking in Maharashtra is a boon for all the trekkers when it comes to trek permission. Most treks in Maharashtra do not need permission to trek or camp at the summit or anywhere on the trail.

 


3. Where can I get food and water during the trek?

There are no restaurants at the base of the trek. There are a few local villagers’ homes at the base villages of Ambewadi, Ghatghar and Kurungwadi. Except these there are no other sources of food on the trail.

It is advised to pack your food from home which is not perishable. Something like Bread and Jam / Peanut Butter, Roti etc., will not go bad so easily.

| Note: Remember to get sufficient food for lunch and dinner on Day 1, and breakfast on Day 2.

With regards to water sources, there are none on the trail, except the potable water cisterns on top of Alang, Madan and Kulang.

We recommend filling your water bottles at Ghatghar or Ambewadi before starting the trek. Remember to carry a minimum of 3 litres of water.

 


4. Whom do I contact in case of an emergency?

Hospital: The closest hospital is SMBT Medical College and Hospital in Ghoti Kh, which is 35 kilometres away from the base, Kurungwadi (end point) and 30 kilometres away from Ambewadi (alternate start point / end point). (Contact: +919011067122)

Police Station: The police station closest to Alang Madan Kulang trek is the Ghoti Budruk Police Station. (Contact: +912553220544).

Mountain Rescue: Giripremi has started a Pan-Maharashtra rescue group called Maharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination Centre (MMRCC). You can contact them on 7620230231 for help in the Sahyadris.

ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112.

 


5. What about mobile network and connectivity on Alang Madan Kulang?

 

Mobile Network You will get mobile network for almost all major operators like Airtel, Vodafone, Jio etc., only at the base. You will get network only in pockets and is very weak on the trail. Once at the top, you will get good network coverage.
Nearest ATM Kasara and Igatpuri are the last points where you will get ATMs. So, ensure you withdraw enough cash at one of these stations before proceeding with your journey.

 


6. Do I need a guide to trek Alang Madan Kulang?

Yes. We recommend getting a guide who is well trained and equipped with the right mountaineering gear (ropes, carabiners, harnesses, helmets and rappelling gloves).

Since most sections involve vertical descents while trekking to Madan and Kulang, the expertise and support of an experienced guide is mandatory.

Unless someone from your group is a well trained mountaineer and you have all the climbing equipment with you, getting a guide from Ambewadi or Ghatghar is strongly recommended.

Here are the contact details of a few guides we recommend on your trek to Alang Madan Kulang:

  • If you are starting the trek from Ghatghar, these guides are from Samrad (near Ghatghar):
    • Nitin Ragde – Ph: 9765008931
    • Lahu Muthe – Ph: 9146936985; 9673888074
  • If you are staring the trek from Ambewadi:
    • Ganpath More – Ph: 8055695526
    • Tanaji – Ph: 8624915610

 


7. Can I camp anywhere on the trail?

Yes. Although you can pitch your tents anywhere on the trail, it is advised to camp at the top of Alang, Madan and Kulang. Especially because of the availability of drinking water, spectacular views of the surrounding peaks and reservoirs, sunrise and sunset.

However, there really isn’t a necessity to pitch tents at the top of these forts. There are caves on every fort that can easily accommodate a group of 10 or more people. Most of the trekkers use these caves to sleep, using their sleeping bags.

 


8. Where can I park my vehicle?

Vehicles can reach till the base of the trek (Ambewadi or Ghatghar) with ease. The base villages are well connected by road.

There is parking space at both the villages. So, you can park your vehicle and start the trek right from the base!

 


Nearby Places To Visit After Alang Madan Kulang Trek

Alang Madan Kulang trek lies in the Kalsubai range of the Sahyadris. The range offers many other trekking options near Ghatghar and Ambewadi. Here are the places to visit after your trek.

Remember, these other treks require a day or two days to visit and explore. So, plan to visit these places only if you have a few more days and energy to spare after the trek.

Ratangad TrekRatangad fort is a part of the Kalsubai range, which consists of some of the highest peaks in the Sahyadris. Ratangad gives you the best views of surrounding peaks and Bhanadardara dam.

Ratangad-Trek-Indiahikes

 

Harishchandragad Trek Harishchandragad trek is one of the most challenging treks in the western ghats of Maharashtra. A popular trek which offers a variety of adventures to all kinds of trekkers.

Harishchandragad-Sunrise-Indiahikes-Naini Shah

 

Kalsubai Trek Kalsubai Peak is a very popular trek in the Sahyadri region. It is the highest peak in Maharashtra at 5,400 ft and is easily accessible both from Mumbai and Pune.  The trek offers a breathtaking combination of natural environments like waterfalls, forests, grasslands, and historic forts.

Kalsubai-Peak-Trek-Indiahikes

 

Sandhan Valley Trek Sandhan valley trek is a canyon trek in the Sahyadris. It is unique as it is the only canyon trek in Maharashtra. It is also known as the “Valley of Shadows” as the sunlight doesn’t reach the bottom of the canyon.

Sandhan Valley-Indiahikes

 

BhandardaraBhandardara is a village located in the Tehsil Akole, Ahmednagar district. It is famous for Arthur Lake and Wilson Dam. People often visit the dam to camp overnight and watch the spectacular view of the Milky Way on a clear night, due to the extremely low light pollution in this area.

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Trek Documented By: Nitesh Kumar

Pictures Contributed By: Nitesh Kumar

Author: Gautam Singh

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Complete trek guide

Last updated: September - 2020

 Complete trek guide

About the trek