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The Complete Guide to Kamandurg Trek
The fort does not have any fortification although the signs are existent in the surroundings. A Small water tank dug out in the rock is present on the western side of the summit. The summit provides beautiful views of Vasai creek and the surrounding areas.
Islands covered with mangroves and salt pans near the creek can also be seen from the summit. Tungareshwar hills also add to the beautiful scenery around the fort. The summit as it is seen from the ground is not one single peak but two peaks separated by one small column. The round shape of the summit gives one an impression of a volcano.
Stone sculpture found in the area indicates that this has been an important place since ancient times. Several water tanks found on the way and at the top have been built by Maratha in 1739 when the forces fighting with the Portuguese requested for the same to Peshwa headquarters in Pune about the construction of some water tanks in the area.
➤ Short Itinerary
A Dome Shaped Peak in Maharashtra
- Dome-shaped peak near Tungareshwar, Kamandurg is rarely visited or known to Mumbaikars for that matter even the trekkers.
- The trail passes through a very dense forest and seems like a marvel that the place is so close to Mumbai.
- The place is an ecstasy in the monsoon which is the best time to visit the Western Ghats.
- The round shape of the summit gives one an impression of a volcano.
➤ Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Devkhuni – Kamandurg (2100 Ft) – Devkhuni
13 – 14 km, 5-6 hours. The trail starts from Devkhuni which is a small village having 8 - 10 huts. Proceed ahead in the direction of the fort keeping Devkhuni village to the right.
You will see the trail goes side by side with a wide river that is dry in summer but is a gushing stream in the monsoons. Continue on the mud road for around 5 – 10 minutes you will come across a point where one trail goes to the left and the other to the right.
Base village - Devkhuni
Continue on the trail that goes to your left. Another 5 minutes into the hike and you will see a hand pump on the right. Continue on the trail for a few minutes till you see a solitary hut on the left. Just before the hut, you will see a paywat(foot trail) going to the right into the forest. Proceed ahead on the level-headed foot trail entering the forest. The trail is well marked and you will see stones marked with white arrows within a few minutes after entering the forest.
Continue on the trail for 10-15 minutes till the trail starts to climb up gradually. After 25 minutes into the hike, you will see the trail starts to narrow down as it passes through the Karvy shrubs on both sides. You will see the Karvy has been cut down to make way for the hikers/villagers. Continue through the Karvy forest for another 20 – 25 minutes. At places, you will see steps carved in red mud to aid in climbing up the mud patch.
Wide trails through dense forest
Occasionally between the Karvy forests, you will also come across some Bamboo offshoots which have been recently planted and look very tender and young. Continue on the trail that moves up gradually till you come across an opening. It takes around 1 hour45 minute to reach this point from Devkhuni village. You get a phenomenal view of the Vasai creek, Tungareshwar national park and the neighboring area.
White arrow markings
After resting for a while continue on the trail that once again enters into the forest area. You will see stone markings (arrow in white paint with Kamandurg written in the local language) on the trail that indicates the way ahead to Kamandurg. As soon as you enter you come across a bamboo forest on both sides.
Karvy Forest enroute Kamandurg
Kamandurg is situated on the right ridge connected through a col which is not visible when you see it from Devkhuni village. Proceed ahead for another 5 - 10 minutes and you will see the trail moving downwards. Continue for a few minutes and you will see the trail traverses through the right.
Bamboo forest - Kamandurg in background
You can see Kamandurg from the clearing in the forest. After 5-10 minutes you see the trail moving upwards till you reach an opening. It takes around 2 - 2.5 hours to reach this point. You can see the last 45 minutes are on a barren ridge. You can see an arrow marking on the stone indicating the route to Kamandurg.
Final steep stretch en route Kamandurg
The route now climbs up abruptly. After 5 – 10 minutes of climbing on the rock patch, you will see water tanks on the right, a little off route this is perhaps the last stretch that has some tree cover. Further, 5 – 10 minutes and you will come across steps cut in the rocks to ease climbing. The trail alternates between rock patches and scree.
Continue for 25 – 30 minutes till you reach the top. You will see the trail passes through a lot of cactus plants and one has to be very careful. Unlike other forts, the top is small and has nothing but a small water tank, which is dried in summer.
You have some trees next to the water tank that can provide refuge from the sun. After relaxing for some time you can follow the same route to get down. You need to be very careful on the rock and scree patches while getting down. It takes around 1.5 – 2 hours to get down.
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 every day. 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 workout.
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.
Working out indoors
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 the Trek
The Karnala Fort is just a one-day trek. You will only need the following things.
- Small 20L backpack
- One litre bottle
- A jacket or poncho in case of rain
Author: Vinita Chhatwani