The Complete Guide to the Gorakhgad Trek
The Gorakhgad Fort is located in the Sahyadri Mountain Range in the Thane District of Maharashtra. It is nearly three hours away from Mumbai City and is one of the tougher treks located near the city of Mumbai.
While very little is known about the history of the Gorakhgad Fort, what we do know is that the fort was said to be of great importance during the reign of Shahaji Raje and during the time of Chatrapati Shivaji, the fort was primarily used as a stopover point for the journey between Junnar to Naneghat.
The fort itself seems to be built to serve two purposes, first, as a surveillance point and second as a pit stop for travellers.
The strategic location of the Gorakhgad Fort and its twin Macchindgrad Fort was ideal for surveillance. These forts served the purpose of protecting the route between Junnar to Naneghat.
In fact, the two forts Gorakhgad and Macchindgrad are named after a teacher and his disciple respectively. Sant Gorakhnath was known to meditate at the spot where the Gorakhgad Fort was built and the twin fort of Macchindgrad built on a nearby peak was named after his disciple.
The Gorakhgad Fort trek is a popular trek located near Mumbai, primarily known for its challenging inclines and the opportunity for trekkers to do some rock climbing.
The trail is also famous for its 360 degree views of the Sahyadri Mountain Range and it’s jaw dropping and adrenaline pumping 80-90 degree climbs.
➤ Trail Information
This trek can be divided into 3 sections
Section 1: Samadhi Point
The first section of this trek begins from the entry point (a gate of sorts) which marks the beginning of the trail. Just after the entrance, there is a temple of Lord Shiva and on it’s right is where you can spot the stairway to begin your climb up.
The climb is a relatively simple walk up and after a short while you will reach a plateau of sorts. After 15 minutes of trekking from the plateau (in the direction of Gorakhgad), you will enter a very dense jungle at the base of the fort.
In this section of the trail, you can see a deep valley on your right and extra care should be taken during the monsoons as the trail can become quite muddy. The entire journey to Samadhi point should take around an hour or an hour and a half depending on your pace and stamina. At the base of the Gorakhgad fort, you will see another Shiva temple and this marks the end of Section 1.
Section 2: Samadhi Point to Rock Caves
The second section begins from the Shiva Temple at the base of the Gorakhgad fort. The second section marks the beginning of the uphill climb towards the fort and within five minutes of the Shiva temple, your rock climbing skills will be tested.
You’ll have to scale a nearly 65 degree rock patch, which sounds a lot more difficult than it is. Hooks are installed in these rock patches to help trekkers pull themselves up, especially during the monsoon months.
Once you cross the rock patches, you reach a small entrance where you can take a short break. This is a great spot to take some pictures and see the magnificent views of the Ahupe Ghats. There is a well laid staircase path from here onwards till the next plateau. This small plateau marks the beginning of the rock caves and the end of Section 2. At the plateau you can see two water cisterns where you can refill your water bottles. (Note: Only the water in the right hand cistern is potable).
It is also advisable to not take a long break in the rock caves while ascending as the more you wait, the hotter it gets. Ideally, you should explore the rock caves while descending.
Section 3: Rock Caves to the peak (tricky section) can be elaborated upon
Now the third section is a bit tricky, especially during the monsoon months. The reason it is tricky is because the trail can become quite steep and slippery. However, if you are an experienced trekker with a sure foot, the section is manageable.
The initial rock patches have no steps and trekkers should be careful while navigating their way through it. After this rock patch begins the more tricky section which leads you to the top. Here, there are steps but some of them are broken or damaged, so be careful while making your way to the top and watch your steps.
While you are navigating your journey to the top, you will pass through another rock cave which offers some grand views of the ghats and the forest below. You can definitely take a short break here to click some photos and hydrate yourself.
This is also the same section in which the gradient of the climbs becomes almost 90 degrees. Make sure to use the gaps carved into the steps for better grip and go slow. This part of the trail can become extremely slippery in the monsoon months, therefore shoes with a good grip are definitely advised and preferably go slow through this section without rushing any of your fellow trekkers.
Finally, once you clear this section, you reach the peak and can see the Shiva temple. This marks the end of the trail.
You now have nearly 360 Degree views of the entire region. Make sure to look towards the north where you can see Siddhagad, Machindragad and all the way up to Ahupe Ghat and Jeevdhan in the Naneghat region.
The trail to go down is the same, but can become very tricky especially in the monsoons. Therefore it is advisable to reach the peak as soon as possible and begin your journey down while the sun is above your head.
➤ Difficult Sections in the Trek
There are no sections on the Gorakhgad Fort Trek that can be classified as difficult. However, a trekker must always be aware and should prepare for any eventuality.
Here are a few things you should keep an eye out for –
1. Slippery Slopes (Monsoon Specific):
As the trek is predominantly at a relatively steep gradient and follows a trail with steps carved out of rocks, the trail can become extremely slippery. As the water runs off the slopes of the hill, trekkers can easily lose footing, which can lead to serious injury. If trekking in the monsoons, trekkers should be very careful with their choice of footwear and should check weather charts so as to avoid days with anticipated heavy rains.
2. Rocks and Boulders:
There are multiple parts of the trek where trekkers will be required to scale small boulders or walk between large rocks. While this is an extremely enjoyable part of the trek, one needs to be careful. Slipping or falling from a boulder can lead to serious injury and trekkers must exercise caution while navigating these sections.
The Gorakhgad Fort Trek is known to be an easy to moderate trail. This is because of the skill required while descending. Since the trail is primarily on carved stone steps, one can easily lose their grip and slip while descending. The descent is quite challenging and for this very reason we recommend trekkers to descend slowly one step at a time. While descending do enjoy the beautiful view, but also keep an eye on the trail so as to avoid injuries! In-fact, the stone steps have gaps carved into them, also known as “Khobnya” in Marathi, you should definitely use these carvings while ascending and descending to reduce the risk of slipping and injuring yourself.
➤ How to plan your travel
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai
Reaching Gorakhgad By Your Vehicle
It is a nearly 90 km drive from Mumbai to Gorakhgad and should take around 3 hours to reach.
Reaching Gorakhgad By Public Transport System
The closest railway station to Gorakhgad is the Badlapur Railway Station or the Kalyan Junction Railway Station. Kalyan Junction is a better option as there is a bus service from Kalyan to Murbad village. The frequency is nearly every 5 minutes especially in the mornings.
From Murbad you can take a bus or a tumtum to Dehri, these buses are rather infrequent and you should factor in some wait time for this journey. If you have a big group you can rent an entire share cab (8 people in a cab) to Dehri. Dehri is a small and sleepy village, so it is advisable to go in larger groups to ensure the wait time is least possible.
➤ What to pack for the 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.
If you are attempting Gorakhgad Fort Trek 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.
➤ How to get fit for the Trek
The Gorakhgad Fort trek is classified as an easy-moderate grade trek. From Dehri village at 59 feet, you will gain approximately 2078 feet in altitude. Though the altitude gain is not much, the continuous ascent can be quite demanding for people who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Here’s a guide to help you get fit for an Easy-Moderate 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.
Where can I get food and water during the Gorakhgad trek?
The last stop for food and water would be at Dehri Village. Post this there is a water tank on the route itself where you can fill your water bottles.
Do I need to obtain permission for trekking to Gorakhgad?
Is it possible to go to Macchindragad from Gorakhgad?
Yes it is possible to combine the two treks. Although the Gorakhgad Fort sits on the higher peak and offers better views of the region.
Is it possible to combine Ahupe Ghat Trek and Gorakhgad?
Yes it is possible to combine the two treks. The Ahupe Ghat and Gorakhgad Fort combined trek is a two day trek and would require you to stay a night either in Dehri or at the Gorakhnath temple at the base of Gorakhgad fort.
Is it safe to trek to Gorakhgad?
Yes it is safe to trek the Gorakhgad Trek, provided you take necessary precautions and are physically prepared for it. Be extra careful in the monsoon months as the trail can become quite slippery.
Hospital: The closest hospital is Government Hospital which is 4kms away.
Police station: The police station closest to Gorakhgad Fort is the Tokawade Police Station (Contact: 025-24650750, +91 8779675431).
ERSS: For any kind of emergency help, you can contact the Pan-India Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) number- 112. You can also contact Maharashtra Mountaineers Rescue Coordination Centre (MMRCC) – +91 7620230231.
Nearest ATM: There is a Bank of Baroda ATM nearly 20 minutes away from Gorakhgad Fort. You will also come across multiple ATM’s on the Bhiwandi – Murbad Road which takes you to the starting point of the trek.
➤ Places to visit after the trek
1. Machindragad Fort – Machindragad Fort is the twin sister of the Gorakhgad Fort and is located on a nearby peak. The two forts served as ideal pit-stops for travellers traveling between Junnar to Naneghat and were used by the Maratha’s as an early warning system to prevent any surprise enemy attacks from the Arabian Sea.
2. Siddhagad Fort (Bale Killa) – Siddhagad Fort is a small fort located 20kms away from Murbad and sits at a height of 980m. This fort is also known as “Valor Fort” and was built by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1656.
3. Shree Bhimashankar Jyotirling Mandir – Bhimashankar Mandir or Bhimashankar Temple is one of the 12th Jyotirlinga’s in India. This site is said to be constructed in the 13th century and is located at the source of the river Bhima which merges with the River Krishna. The temple is known for its magnificent architecture and sculptures made by Vishwakarma sculptors.
4. Ahupe – The Ahupe Ghat is one of the most beautiful regions in the Sahyadris. The region is home to dense forests and in the monsoons this section of the ghats transforms into paradise with lush green forests and numerous spontaneous waterfalls. For trekkers, the Ahupe Ghat trek is a fabulous alternative to the Gorakhgad trek.
5. Reverse Waterfall Naneghat – The Naneghat Reverse Waterfall is a rare phenomenon where the water flows from a waterfall in the reverse direction. It is no anomaly to gravity, but rather the strong wind forces which push the water back up and thus leading to a “Reverse Waterfall”. It is definitely a sight to see!