The Complete Guide to Irshalgad Trek
Standing tall besides the Matheran hill station, Irshalgad is an iconic boat-shaped hill that is easily distinguishable from afar.
Connected to the more popular Prabalgad fort by a rarely used ridge, it can be approached from three different trails of varying difficulty.
The climb to the peak can be divided into three phases: The base of the pinnacle, the Needle hole and the final, technical push to the peak. As a DIY trek, we only recommend going upto the second level, as the final stretch is especially treacherous and has been the cause for a couple of unfortunate casualties
What to watch out for
The panoramic view from the peak.
Mobile users: Click on ‘Complete trek guide’ at the bottom of the page to access the rest of the Irshalgad Trek Guide.
Banner image photo credit: Saurabh Sawant
How to Get Fit for the Trek
The Irshalgad trek is classified as a Moderate grade trek. From Chowk at 130 feet, you will gain approximately 1,600 feet in altitude. Though the altitude gain is not much, the continuous ascent can be quite demanding for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Training yourself for a low-altitude Moderate grade trek
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for the trek in 4 weeks.
In case you’re just starting with a fitness routine, start slow and increase your pace everyday in the following manner –
- Target completing a brisk walk of 5 km in 45 minutes when you begin.
- Gradually increase your pace by walking 5 km, 4 times a week.
- As you become more comfortable, introduce jogging in your routine.
- Progressively increase the distance you jog in a workout until you can complete 5 km in 40 mins.
If you prefer cycling over running, target covering 15 km in 60 minutes when you begin.
- Progressively increase your pace to cover 18 km in one hour.
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)
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.
What to Pack for your Trek
When attempting it as a standalone trek in Summer & Winter-
- Basic First Aid kit*
- Identity Card
- Trail/ region map
- Cap/ Scarf/ Bandana & Sunglasses
- Water (Minimum two litres)
- Lemon and salt OR Electrolyte Powder/Drink (Electral/Gatorade/Glucon D, etc.)
- High-calorie snacks (Nuts & dry fruits, home-baked cake, etc.)
- Insect repellent (Odomos, etc.)
- Spare newspaper
- Multi-Tool/ Swiss Army Knife
- Torch/ Headlamp with spare batteries.
- Safety Pins, Rubber bands & Whistle (Useful in emergencies.)
- Optional: Rope, Camera.
- Quick Dry T-shirts are preferable over cotton tees.
- Additional set of clothes, socks, etc.
- Plastic sheet to wrap electronic devices.
If you are attempting Irshalgad as part of a longer multi-day trek, you should carry-
- Sunscreen (SPF 50+)
- Rehydration pouch/ bladder
- Tent & Sleeping Bag/ Mat
- Trekking pole
- A spare set of clothes & footwear (Floaters, sandals, etc.)
- Water filter/ Thin cotton cloth & water purification tablet.
- Antiperspirant powder (Candid, etc.)
- Magnesium Flint/ Match boxes
- Basic Toiletries: Toothbrush & Toothpaste/Mouthwash.
*First aid kit:
- 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.
There are a few sections on the Irshalgad trek that can be classified as difficult.
1. The rock patch
2. Exposed patch to the base of the peak
Maps and Charts
You can download the KML file here.
Plan Your Travel
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai
Pune International Airport, Pune
Nearest Railway station
Karjat is the nearest major railhead for Irshalgad trek. It also boasts of excellent road connectivity with Mumbai, Pune & Nashik.
Reaching Irshalgad By Your Vehicle
If you are planning to reach Irshalgad using your own vehicle, use this link to help set up navigation in Google maps.
Reaching Karjat By Public Transport System
From the Mumbai International Airport, the most convenient way to reach Karjat is as follows:
Mumbai International Airport → Airport Road Metro station → Ghatkopar railway station (Central Railway)→ Karjat railway station
Reaching Chowk From Karjat Using Public Transport
From Karjat Bus depot, you’ll have to board any bus to Panvel and alight at Chowk.
Mobile Network and ATM
You’ll get mobile network for almost all major operators like Airtel, Vodafone & Jio throughout the trek.
Karjat and Panvel are the nearest towns where you’ll find operational ATMs.
So ensure you carry enough cash with you before starting for the trek.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I do this trek if I have never been on a Sahyadri trek before?
Yes and No.
A person who follows an active lifestyle, can consider Irshalgad for their first Sahyadri trek.
For people who lead a relatively sedentary lifestyle, we recommend a slightly less strenous trek like Sondai fort near Matheran.
What are the accommodation options near Irshalgad?
There are multiple accommodation options near Irshalgad. You can pitch tents near Irshalwadi or make arrangements at Nanivli.
For contact details, check the ‘Useful Information’ section of the trek page.
Where can I get food and water during the trek?
You’ll find restaurants at Panvel and Karjat. There are also a few stores in Chowk where you might get packaged water. The best option would ofcourse, be carrying enough water from your home.
Do I need to obtain permission for trekking to Irshalgad?
No. You don’t need permission to trek to Irshalgad as such. However, you might be asked to enter details at Irshalwadi where they keep a log of visitors for emergency purposes.
Where can I get a guide for the trek?
The trail to the fort is probably as straightforward as it can get. However, if you are still unsure or need help with negotiating the slippery trail during monsoon, you can hire a guide from Irshalwadi. The charges will vary depending on your negotiation skills, group strength and the time of the year.
Trek documented by Manish Naik, Rohit Chaudhary, Shardul Neswankar & Saurabh Sawant.