The Complete Guide to Brahmagiri Range Trek
Trimbakeshwar attracts devotees and adventure enthusiasts alike. Devotees gather here as this is a pilgrim place . Trimbakeshwar is one of the ‘Jyotirlingas’ out of twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’. Apart from this there are numerous temples in this town like Trimbakeshwar temple,Saint Nrivruttinath temple, Swami Samarth Kendra, Gangadwar temple – the source of river Godavari, cave temples, etc. Trekkers, rock climbers and adventure lovers too cannot resist this place. Numerous forts like Trimbakgad,Durg Bhandar, Karvi Fort,Harihar Fort, Bhaskargad (Basgad), Utwad peak, Fanya peak etc makes this place attractive. Steep cliffs, some inclined at an angle of 70 degrees, narrow pass-ways, rock climbing- few of which can only be done with ropes makes this town a worthy trekking destination. Added to that Trimbakeshwar is a historic city with some of the forts under Mughals, then Marathas and finally after a ferocious battle captured by the British.
Impressive forts, dilapidated ruins, steep cliffs and exhilarating climbs at Trimbakeshwar
- Trimbakeshwar attracts devotees and adventure enthusiasts alike. Devotees gather here as this is a pilgrim place . Trimbakeshwar is one of the ‘Jyotirlingas’ out of twelve ‘Jyotirlingas’ . Apart from this there are numerous temples in this town like Trimbakeshwar temple,Saint Nrivruttinath temple, Swami Samarth Kendra, Gangadwar temple – the source of river Godavari, cave temples, etc.
- Trekkers, rock climbers and adventure lovers too cannot resist this place. Numerous forts like Trimbakgad,Durg Bhandar, Karvi Fort,Harihar Fort, Bhaskargad (Basgad), Utwad peak, Fanya peak etc makes this place attractive. Steep cliffs, some inclined at an angle of 70 degrees, narrow pass-ways, rock climbing- few of which can only be done with ropes makes this town a worthy trekking destination. Added to that Trimbakeshwar is a historic city with some of the forts under Mughals, then Marathas and finally after a ferocious battle captured by the British.
➤ Trail Information
Day 1: Trimbakeshwar to Trimbakgad
The trek starts from MTDC guest house at Trimbakeshwar. The route ascends here and leads you towards a couple of stone steps. Just before the steps there is a Devi temple and an old Wada. An impressive Hanuman guards the front of Wada. The trail to Trimbakgad starts behind the Wada. The path is narrow, steep and as you ascend higher, there are well defined steps.
Beware of monkeys on this route. To prevent the monkeys from snatching things, put all your belongings including water bottles inside your bag. En route the trail you come across a cave temple of Brahma and as you move further up you can spot the beautiful carved entrance of Trimbakgad. After some minutes, look out for a Hanuman temple.Water tanks, a small lake, a dilapidated Wada are other signages along the way. The climb gets cooler now as you ascend higher. Cool lemon juice sold on the way acts as an incentive to climb higher. After a couple of minutes of climb, you come across a plateau. Take a left from this plateau.
The trail ascends and after 30 minutes or so you reach the highest point of Trimbakgad -the Panchling Peak. Enjoy the stunning views and take a short rest. Descend back towards the plateau. Towards the right of the plateau you can glimpse the Brahma Hill, Harihar fort and Utwad Peak. You can also view two temples Jatashankar temple and Ganga Godawari temple on the fort. The Jatashankar temple on the right is believed to be the place where Lord Shiva used his Jataa to form a water source. A quick visit to this temple and then to Ganga Godawari temple and nearby water sources will take you approximately 30 odd minutes.
A path behind Ganga Godawari temple takes you towards Hatti Darwaja which is the main Darwaja of Trimbakgad. Take this path which leads to the Darwaja. The Darwaja is in ruins and buried beneath landslides and big boulders. Descend down this Darwaja and after some time you will observe a small Shiva temple. A ladder placed here will help you descend further towards Hatti Mate- a small hamlet. This short descent known as ‘Nali’ is beautiful and takes you to a Devi temple. A short visit to the temple and it is time to head back to Trimbakgad. Ascend back towards the starting point of Darwaja and walk ahead. As you move further up the trail, it gives way to big fortification structures. Follow the trail which is narrow and take care while walking as you pass by deep valleys below. The route takes you back towards the trail where steps for ascending Trimbakgad end. Descend climbing down the steps to get back to Trimbakeshwar.
Day 2: Trimbakeshwar to Karvi fort
Though there is no historical significance attached to Karvi Fort and it was only considered as a watchtower for Brahmagiri,the trek on this route is challenging. A small stretch before the fort requires the usage of ropes to pass through it. The trek once again starts from MTDC guest house at Trimbakeshwar. The route ascends here and leads you to a series of stone steps. Take a left just before the steps.
Cutting across thick trees the trail then leads towards an old construction wall around a tree. Turn right here and keep walking until you spot a small hamlet called Jambhalech wadi. Take a right here. A kaccha road lies ahead with big boulders scattered on either side. You can find the Brahmagiri hill towards your right. Follow the trail until you reach a Devi temple amidst trees. Walk past this temple. After 15 minutes you will come across a pass between Karvi Fort and Brahmagiri. You can see the fortification on the cliff top of Brahmagiri from here. Take a left here as the path ahead leads to Hatti Mate. This trail leads to a Nali between Karvi fort and a left side hill. Scramble through the pass and at the end of Nali take a right. This leads to a couple of small carved steps on rock. Rope is required to climb this stretch. The climb takes you to Karvi fort. Enjoy a few minutes here for the breath taking view and then descend back by the same route as you came to reach Trimbakeshwar.
Day 3: Trimbakeshwar to Durg Bhandar
- Height: 1234 m(4050 feet)
As the name ‘Bhandar’ suggests this place was meant as a storehouse for Brahmagiri. The Durg was under Trimbak Suryaji Prabhu, a warrior of Peshwa camp in 1972. It was later captured by the British in the year 1818. The trek starts from MTDC guest house at Trimbakeshwar. The route ascends here and leads you towards a couple of stone steps. Just before the steps there is a Devi temple and an old Wada.
An impressive Hanuman guards the front of Wada. The trail to Trimbakgad starts behind the Wada. The path is narrow, steep and as you ascend higher there are well defined steps.Enroute the trail you will come across a cave temple of Brahma and further up you can spot the carved doorway of Trimbakgad. When the steps end, you are on top of Brahmagiri. Take a right here. The path is very narrow at some places with deep valley on the right side. At the end of this path turn left and the fortification of Durg Bhandar is visible. You can find the figure of Hanuman carved on the right side of the rock wall.
The trail ahead takes you through steps that are cut on rocks. There is a tunnel here at the end of which is a rock cut entrance. You may have to bend and crawl through the entrance. The trail then gives way to a bridge connecting Brahmagiri and Durg Bhandar. Walk carefully here and you will soon come across a rock cut entrance door which is half buried due to mud. Pass through this door by bending slightly. Further up you can find steps that take you to the top of Durg Bhandar fort. Climb the steps until you come across a carved half circled bastion (Buruj) known as Kadelot Buruj. From here you can view Kachorli Dam, Supadichi wadi village. Gangadwar and Trimbakeshwar town. You can also glimpse some water tanks ahead in the fort. Return back by the same route to MTDC guest house in Trimbakeshwar.
Day 4: Nirgudpada (Take Harsh) to Harihar (Harshgad Fort)
- Height: 1120 m(3674 feet)
The starting point for this trek is from Nirgudpada (Take Harsh) village. This village can be reached from Trimbakeshwar by private vehicle.Take Harsh is a small village and so it is advisable to book a vehicle back for return journey as well. From Take Harsh all three hills viz Basgad-Fani-Harihar are visible. Take the route towards Harihar. The trail ascends and passes through thick cover of trees to reach a plateau i.e between Fani and Harshgad. Take a right at this plateau and trek this route until you reach a couple of carved steps.
These steps take you to the doorway of Harshgad and to the rock cut gallery of Harshgad. The view of Brahma valley from this gallery is breath-taking and is not to be missed. After a short visit at the gallery follow the path ahead that leads you to the highest point of Harshgad. Enroute the trail you will encounter rock-cut narrow steps and further ahead is the carved entrance of Harshgad. Walk past the entrance. After some time you get a glimpse of the highest point of Harshgad. Observe a marked trail running here. Walk along this marked trail. The trail soon leads you to a Hanuman temple on the bank of a lake. Further along the trail you will find yourself in a granary building. The view of Brahma Hill, Brahmagiri side and Vaitarana dam back water are visible from here. On walking further you reach the highest point of Harshgad.
Once there the complete spread of the fort can be seen. Spend some time here before descending back to Hanuman temple. Return back by the same route to get back to Take Harsh. Stay overnight at Take Harsh to trek to Bhaskargad (Basgad) the next day.
Day 5: Nirgudpada (Take Harsh) to Bhaskargad (Basgad)/Utwad Peak
- Height: Bhaskargad 1086 m(3564 feet), Utwad Peak 1244 m(4082 feet)
From Nirgurapada village turn right towards a ‘Kaccha’ road that leads to Jambhulpada village. The Kaccha road takes you to a pass between Fani Hill and Basgad. Take a left here as the way ahead goes to Jambhulpada village. The trail towards Basgad is ascending cutting through a thick forest. Walking past the trail you will soon encounter a ridge. Climbing this ridge you reach the cliff of Basgad. Keeping the Basgad massif on the left side walk for around 30 minutes till you hit a series of carved stone steps of fort on the left side.
Barring a few steps in the beginning you will find that the steps to the top are completely dilapidated. After the climb you will reach the beautiful half buried Darwaja of Basgad. Bending through this Darwaja you reach the top of Basgad. Another 10 minutes climb will take you to a lake, some dry water tanks, a stone idol of Hanuman and dilapidated Wada. Some fortification can be seen at the edge. Wonderful view of Fani peak, Brahma Hill and Harshgad can be seen from here. Utwad peak can also be trekked from this place. To trek to Utwad peak turn back till you reach the stone steps and then turn left. The path goes by the side of Basgad rock wall. Trek on this path till you reach the pass between Basgad and Utwad.
From this point onwards you can trek towards Utwad peak. To head back to Take Harsh turn left and keeping to the wall on left descend to the tar road that goes to Khodala and then to Take Harsh.Return back to Trimbakeshwar. Note: Keep ample source of water with you as there is no drinking water source on Basgad hill.
Day 6: Harshwadi to Brahma Hill and Fani peak
- Height: Brahma Hill 1204 m(3950 feet), Fani Peak 992 m(3255 feet)
The base camp for this trek is Harshwadi. Fani peak can be reached either from Nirgudpada (Take Harsh) or from Harshwadi. Hire a vehicle from Trimbakeshwar to Harshwadi village. As Harshwadi is also a remote destination, the vehicle must be hired accordingly for to and fro journey from Trimbakeshwar. Once you reach Harshwadi Harshgad can be seen while Fani peak is not visible from this place.
To start the trek start ascending from Harshwadi village towards Harshgad. After climbing for some time you will come across a Devi temple, Shiv temple and ‘Kund’ (Water tank). The route till this point is well trodden. There is also a Maruti temple nearby surrounded by thick tree cover. The Harshgad rock cut gallery can be seen from this place. Walking further you will come across dense forest.
Walk through this cover that takes you towards a big hill called the Brahma Hill. The path is well marked. Trek through the route until you come across a pass between Harshgad and Brahma Hill. Turn left here and go ahead until you come across a ‘Nali’ for climbing the Brahma Hill. Climb the Nali carefully and reach the top plateau. After climbing further a Devi temple on the edge can be seen. From here you can enjoy the beautiful view of Harshgad, the dense forest at its base, Basgad and Utwad range and Fani peak. Panchaling peak of Brahmagiri, Anjaneri range and Vaitarana back water are also visible. Descend back carefully and from the pass either take the same route till temple in the thick forest or descend to Harshwadi by the route going to the right side. To trek to Fani Peak you have to reach the plateau between Harshgad and Fani peak.
From here the peak looks very small and has a pyramid shape. The slopes are steep from all the sides. From the plateau start walking towards Fani peak. Observe the hill on the right. This is known as small Fani. The climb to the Peak starts from the west side edge of this Hill. The path is zigzag and narrow. Take adequate precautions while climbing as the way upwards is very slippery and there is no support while climbing. As you go upwards the peak appears bigger. It is approximately 60-70 feet in height and space on the top is very small.
The peak can be climbed with the help of rope and safety equipment only. Once atop the view is very spectacular. To head back start descending from the other side of the peak. There is no support while trekking down. So take adequate precautions while coming down. Once you reach the plateau turn right and go around the Fani peak and small Fani you can reach Harshwadi village. Return back to Trimbakeshwar.
➤ How to Reach the Base of the Trek
Trimbakeshwar is approximately 32 km from Nashik on Nashik Jawhar Road. It is an ideal base camp for venturing in to Brahmagiri Range trek. The reason; three treks namely Trimbakgad, Durg Bhandar, Karvi fort can be done from this place. The town also boasts good staying and eating facilities. Plus vehicles can be hired easily for visiting nearby destinations. The temples, ruins, caves and lakes are within 10-15 Km from Trimbakeshwar town. Another plus point attraction of Trimbakeshar is that it is easily accessible from all major cities and has good connectivity by road, rail and air.
By Road:The State Transport buses regularly ply between Nashik and Trimbakeshwar and there is direct bus service available from many other cities. The town can also be reached from Ghoti which is on Mumbai-Agra road (NH-3). It can also be easily reached by private or hired vehicle from District place Nashik.
By Rail:The nearest railway station is Nashik Road situated on Central Railway and is connected by many trains running on Mumbai-Delhi section.
By Air:The nearest Airport is at Mumbai.
➤ What to Pack for the Trek
No, stuffing it all in isn’t the right way to do it Packing a backpack correctly saves precious time that you might waste trying to find your things later. It is wise to spend some time on learning what really goes into packing a backpack.
What should I pack? On a trek, you only get what you take. Something as simple as a forgotten matchbox can cripple your cooking plans throughout the trek. So, it’s essential to prepare early and prepare well. To begin with, make a checklist. While shopping, remember this thumb rule – keep it light. “Every item needs to be light. This ensures that your backpack, on the whole, stays light,” says Sandhya UC, co-founder of Indiahikes. Balancing out heavy items with light ones isn’t going to have the same effect as having all light items. “Always opt for good quality, light items,” says Sandhya.
How much should my bag weigh?
“Your backpack for a weekend trek should weigh between 8 and 10 kg,” explains Arjun Majumdar, co-founder of Indiahikes, “To break it down, your tent should weigh around 2.5 kg, your sleeping bag, around 1.5 kg, and the ration, stove and clothes should constitute the other 5 kg.” The best way to plan is by concentrating on the basic necessities – food, shelter and clothes. Gather only those things that you’ll need to survive. Do not pack for ‘if’ situations. “That’s one of the common mistakes that people make – packing for ‘if situations’. It only adds to the baggage that you can do without on a trek,” says Sandhya.
One good way to go about it is to prepare a list of absolute essentials. Start with the most essential and end with the least essential. That way, when you feel you are overshooting the limit, you can start eliminating from the bottom. Another tip is to be smart while packing clothes. Invest in light. wash and wear fabrics. “Replace a sweater with two t-shirts,” adds Sandhya. Layering is the mantra when it comes to trekking. Refer to Sandhya’s clothes list to pack smart.
How to pack The thumb rule for this one is to eliminate air spaces. Make sure that everything is packed tightly, especially clothes and jackets, as they tend to take up maximum air space. Put in all the large items first. Then squeeze in the smaller ones in the gaps. This ensures minimum air space. A good way to pack clothes is by using the Ranger Roll method.
Where to pack Bottom Sleeping bag: Make this your base layer. Sleeping bags tend to be voluminous, but do not weigh much. They’re perfect for the bottom of the bag. Tent: Just like the sleeping bag, even tents are voluminous and light. Keep the tent poles separately and place the fabric at the bottom of the backpack. Middle Heavy jacket: Roll up the jacket in a tight ball and place it in the middle of the backpack, close to your back. The middle region of the backpack should always have the heaviest items. You can store other things like ration or mini stoves in the middle. Other clothes: Roll other clothes and place them in the remaining space, to fill air gaps.
Top Water: Water, although heavy, needs to be easily accessible. So put it in the top most region of your backpack. Medicine box: This is another component that you wouldn’t want to be scavenging for when in need. Poncho: It could rain at any time in the mountains. So, ponchos should be accessible easily. Also, having a waterproof poncho at the top of the backpack provides additional waterproofing to items in the bag.
➤ How to Get Fit for the Trek
The secret to ascending any trail lies in building your cardiovascular endurance. You can begin by jogging everyday. Ideally, you should be able to jog 4 km in 20 minutes before the start of the trek. It takes time to be able to cover this distance in the given time. Start slow and increase your pace everyday. Swimming, cycling and stair climbing without too many breaks in between can help too. Strength This is another area you should work on. You will need to build strength in your muscles and in your core body. You can do some squats to strengthen your leg muscles. Do around 3 sets of squats, with 8 squats in each set. Apart from this, you can add planks and crunches to your work out.
Another aspect that will help you trek comfortably is flexibility. For this, you can do some stretching exercises – stretch your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, lower back muscles and shoulders regularly. Carrying a backpack, however light, can become a strain after a while. These exercises will help you to be in good shape before the trek. Work out indoors.