- The Kalavantin Fort trek is a moderate one, easily accessible from both Mumbai and Pune.
- Do this trek to experience the enormous Prabalmachi plateau, a thrilling summit climb and waterfalls if you’re trekking in monsoon.
- Altitude: 2,300 ft
- Time taken: 3-5 hours each way
- Trek gradient: Gradual ascent
- Trail type: Rocky and muddy trails through a forest
- Water sources: None. Carry 2-3 litres of water
Base village to Prabalmachi plateau (1,700 ft) – 1 to 1.5 hours
The trek begins from the parking area at Thakurwadi, the base village. The village is quite big but the start of the trail consists only of a few hutments. The walk through Thakurwadi lasts roughly 10 minutes, sometimes through slushy, muddy roads and sometimes inside the compound of villagers’ houses. This is not a marked trail. If in doubt, check with villagers for directions to the trail.
After this short walk through the village, the trail to the plateau becomes a gradual ascent up a stone-paved road (used very infrequently for transporting things to Prabalmachi). There are various shortcuts along the sides of this road that can be explored. You encounter beautiful flora and fauna along this path, including many trees and flowers on shrubs such as karvi, and hummingbird.
As you climb, the view remains constant on one side – mountains, villages and farms. On the other side you see the M shaped peak.
On your right, at one glance you can see seven to eight waterfalls on adjacent mountains. After heavy rains, you can see as many as 12-14 waterfalls.
About 1.5 hours later, you reach Prabalmachi plateau. The plateau is larger than a football ground and is covered with yellowish green grass. There aren’t many trees here. Just the peak to one side and the view of the Panvel district and surrounding mountains to the other.
Prabalmachi (1,700 ft) to Col (V-shaped junction) – 1 to 1.5 hours
From Prabalmachi, there are two routes – one leading to Prabalgad and the other (to the left) leading to Kalavantin Durg.
The terrain is different from before; it now becomes a muddy, rocky road. The vegetation alongside the trail includes grasslands and moderately tall trees (5-6 ft tall). On all sides are beautiful views of lush green mountains with multiple waterfalls.
Col to summit – 30 mins
This stretch starts with a short but thrilling transverse walk. You trek on a 1-1.5 ft wide rocky patch for less than 5 mins. The valley sloping away on one side makes you aware of the altitude. This is followed by a 2-min ascent on rocks before you reach a set of steep narrow steps cut into the rock. Be extremely cautious here as you could be hurt badly if you fall. Climbing the steps will take about 15-20 minutes. This is followed by a short climb over a rock about 15 ft high to reach the summit.
View from the top:
The summit is a small oval-shaped area where a saffron flag has been mounted. The panoramic view from here includes Prabalgad, Chanderi, Peb Matheran, Irshalgad and Ulhas river.
Exploration on the way:
There are five caves on the hill. Two of these caves can be explored though there is no marked route. Take the small trail you see during the ascent from Prabalmachi to the V-shaped junction. The first of the caves is about 15 mins off the main trail and very easy to find. The second cave is much farther and takes you close to Prabalgad Fort. It is not advisable to try to reach the second cave, as the trail is unmarked and rarely taken by trekkers.
The first cave is simply a 25-m tunnel leading to an 8” by 6” box structure of 4 ft height. Two other caves can be spotted from the trail if you look carefully at the summit. The fifth cave is on the opposite side of the trail and is explored by rappelling down from the summit (under trained guidance).
It is possible to make this an overnight trek by camping overnight at Prabalmachi. However, there are no water sources. So ensure you carry sufficient water and packed food.
This trek has been documented by Mugdha Bhusari & Sneha Rao, with inputs from Dharin Doshi and Sourabh Ratnaparkhi.
By road from Mumbai
- Drive till Shedung Phata Panvel on the Old Pune Expressway
- Take a turn towards Thakurwadi Village (Landmark: Hanuman temple, take left at the V and go straight till the base).
- Parking charges:
- Two-wheeler: Rs 10
- Four-wheeler: Rs 20
- Use Harbour line to reach Panvel station or Mumbai-Roha suburban line to get down at Panvel.
- At Panvel ST stand (10 min walk from the station), use share-autos (tumtums) that ply continuously from Panvel to neighbouring villages to get to Thakurwadi (Cost 50-100 per person. Needs negotiation)
Alternatively, you can take a State Transport bus till the base village Thakurwadi, a one-hour ride. (Bus fare is Rs. 15 per person. Frequency one bus in 2 hours)
Once you reach Thakurwadi, the road to the base is marked. You can negotiate with the auto-driver to drop you till the base.
In monsoon, reach as early as possible to avoid crowds.
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Can I do Kalavantin Durg trek if I have never been on a Sahyadri trek before?
Kalavantin Durg trek is considered a Moderate difficulty trek because of the terrain. Sometimes the trail becomes muddy and rocky and there are narrow ascents on the rock steps. So the trekker needs to be fit and follow a regular fitness routine to go on this trek.
What are the accommodation options near Kalavantin Durg?
There is a camping option at Prabalmachi, a plateau region on the trek.It takes approximately 2 hours from the base village, Thakurwadi to reach Prabalmachi.
Where can I get food and water during the Kalavantin Durg trek?
There are a few restaurants at Thakurwadi, the base village. There is also a restaurant at Prabalmachi where breakfast and lunch are available.
Do I need to obtain permission for trekking to Kalavantin Durg?
No. You don’t need permission to trek to Kalavantin Durg as such.
Where can I get a guide for the Kalavantin Durg trek?
The trail is very prominent and clear all the way to the base of the fortress. However, if you need help with negotiating the steep climb, you can hire a local person from Prabalmachi.
Nearest hospital: Shree Hospital in Navi Mumbai which is 11.5 Kms away from the base of Kalavantin Durg is the closest hospital. Contact them on 086554 55655.
Police station: The nearest Police station is the Khandeshwar Police Station, Navi Mumbai which is 40 minutes drive (16 kms) from Kalavantin Durg.
You can contact them on 022 2746 5338.
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. Read more about this wonderful initiative here: (Link: http://www.giripremi.com/mmrcc/)
ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112.
How to get fit for Kalavantin Durg trek
The Kalavantin Durg trek is classified as a moderate grade trek. From Thakurwadi at 52 feet, you will gain approximately 1708 feet in altitude.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for a Moderate grade 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 37 mins.
If you prefer cycling over running, target covering 15 km in 60 minutes when you begin.
Progressively increase your pace to cover 20 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 Kalavantin Durg 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 Kothaligad 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.
The closest ATM is just 2.8 Kms from the base of the trek.
Prabalgad Fort: Prabalgad is also an extension of Prabalmachi just like the Kalavantin Durg. Both the treks can be attempted together with a 2 day itinerary. The route to Prabalgad is not well marked, so it’s recommended to hire a local guide if you haven’t trekked in the Matheran region before.
Louisa Point: & Charlotte Lake : Both located on the Matheran, Louisa point is one of the best lookouts for Panoramic view of the forts and mountains. Louisa offers a bird’s eye-view of the surroundings. Try reaching here in the evening, relax and enjoy the beautiful sunset and greenery around.
The Charlotte lake is surrounded by the forested area, with a small dam at one end and Pisarnath temple on the other. It’s considered to be an ideal spot for birdwatching, you can see some passionate photographers clicking away to their heart’s content. The calm and serene look of the lake adds to the beauty.
Morbe Dam – Located at 32 Kms away from Kalavantin Durg, Morbe Dam is a gravity dam on the Dhavari river near Khalapur, Raigad district. The Morbe lake is the main water source for the city of Navi Mumbai. The hills on the borders and the clear water surface gives a mesmerizing vibe.