The Complete Guide to Kalavantin Durg Trek
Kalavantin Durg Trek is one of the most popular treks in Maharashtra. Situated at around 2,205 feet in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, the trek is a perfect one for beginners or adventure seekers.
The Pinnacle of Kalavantin is a thrilling experience that one goes for. Amongst the trekking circle, there is a misconception that It is considered as a very dangerous or treacherous trek. The angle of the photos or videos takes this angle for this whole trek. With enough precautions and knowing the trek well, the trek is one adventure that you should go on.
Trekking through the uneven trail, thick vegetation, and thrill of reaching the top is an experience you must not miss out on.
With the trek close to the Mumbai city, you can either combine this trek with Prabalgad or camp at the vast Prabalmachi Plateau. Just ensure that you go on this trek at the right season to avoid the huge crowd and to enjoy your climb to the pinnacle of Kalavantin.
What to watch out for
1. A near-vertical stairway to the pinnacle
A work of art centuries ago. These steps were hand-cut and sheer physical efforts went during the 15th century. The giant steps carved out have good space for two people to stand on.
View of the Pinnacle with the stairway leading to the top. Picture by Ronit Sancheti
The near-vertical drop can be challenging for a faint-hearted or somebody afraid of heights. Although referred to as Kalavantin Durg, there is no fort. It is a pinnacle that was used by rulers to have a watch around the surrounding area.
2. The Plateau of Prabalmachi
The Prabalmachi Plateau is home to the beauty of both Kalvantin and Prabalgad.
Prabalmachi plateau, where you can camp overnight. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari
The trail to the left takes you to a triangle looking Kalavantin while on the right-hand side is the Prabalgad Fort. A vast plateau is a majestic sight when done at the right time.
3. The Climb to Prabalgad
The trek offers the chance of completing two treks and climbing to Prabalgad. The dense forest and the fort has a rich history to soak in.
This is also the place from where you get the coveted or popular photos of Kalavantin with the flight of stairs to the pinnacle.
Trail Information on the Kalavantin Durg Trek
The trail starts from Thakurwadi, a village in the Rajgad district of Maharashtra. To reach the base of the village, you can go through the information here.
The trek can be divided into three sections:
- The first stretch is the gentle ascent from the Start Point to Prabalmachi Plateau
- The second section is from Prabalmachi to the Col
- The third section would be the final climb from the Col to the pinnacle of Kalavantin
Trail Map of Kalavantin Durg Trek. Picture by Suhas Saya
Trek Distance: 2.8 Kilometres
Trek Duration: 1.5 hours
GPS Coordinates of Start Point of Kalavantin Durg Trek: 18°58’50.16″N 73°12’12.11″E
GPS Coordinates of Prabalmachi Plateau: 18°58’57.85″N 73°12’55.44″E
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. A fee of Rs 50 will be collected at the entrance of the trek. This fee is collected for the betterment of the trail and trekking.
The trek through Thakurwadi lasts roughly 10 minutes, sometimes through slushy, muddy roads during the monsoon season and sometimes inside the compound of villagers’ houses.
After this short walk through the village, the trail becomes a gradual ascent up a stone-paved road (used very infrequently for transporting things to Prabalmachi).
The trail through the lush forest section during the monsoon season. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari
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 plenty of birds usually flying around.
As you climb, the view remains constant on one side – mountains, villages, and farms. On the other side, you see the M shaped peak. The trek starts to take a new excitement.
Just after about 30 mins on the trek, on your right, you can see seven to eight waterfalls on adjacent mountains. After heavy rains, you can see as many as 12-14 waterfalls.
View of the surrounding waterfalls. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari
About 1.5 hours later, you reach the 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.
Trek Distance: 630 meters
Trek Duration: 1 hour
GPS Coordinates of Prabalmachi: 18°58’57.85″N 73°12’55.44″E
GPS Coordinates of Col: 18°58’55.21″N 73°13’13.06″E
From Prabalmachi, there are two routes – one leading to Prabalgad and the other (to the left) leading to Kalavantin. You have a triangle resemblance for Kalavantin while Prabalgad Durg is a flat hill.
View of Kalavantin to your left and Prabalgad to the right. Picture by Shubhankar Kulkarni
View from Prabalmachi plateau in the monsoon season. Picture by Mugdha Bhusari
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. Keep to your left on the trails and you will reach the col after an hour of trekking. The trail also becomes a lot uneven. You will have a mix of trekking up and down through this section to reach the Col.
Approaching the Col. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
Trek Distance: 150 meters
Trek Duration: 30 minutes
GPS Coordinates of Col: 18°58’55.21″N 73°13’13.06″E
GPS Coordinates of Pinnacle of Kalavantin: 18°58’58.09″N 73°13’11.54″E
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 20-30 minutes. This is followed by a short climb over a rock about 15 ft high to reach the pinnacle.
The last section of the climb through the stairs to reach the top. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
|Tip:Have the right grip and a good footing for the climb. A good trekking shoe is always good to have instead of sports shoes.
Due to excessive rains, a part of the rock has broken off. This was used to serve as a foothold to climb. This section has become smooth and has become slightly difficult with no footholds or handholds. A rudimentary rope has been fixed by the locals which can be used if you are confident of climbing. But we would not suggest this.
If you are not confident and don’t want to carry your own ropes for a technical climb, just soak in the views after completing the 95% of the trek. The view is good from here and pretty much the same from the pinnacle as well.
Safety is very important on a trek. So, if you don’t want to take the hassle of taking a rope or worried about your safety, stop here. You can still enjoy the views from the base of the Kalavantin.
Pro Tip: Plan your trek in the right season. You might have heard of Everest Jams. The same can be seen during the pre-monsoon or the monsoon season. You have to jostle for space during the crowded season. Go during either the weekdays or the winter season to enjoy the trek more.
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.
View from the summit. PC: Mugdha Bhusari
Best Time to do the Kalavantin Durg Trek
The Kalavantin Durg Trek can be done in multiple seasons. Like most treks, the benefits and charm change based on the month that you are trekking.
The peak season for the Kalavantin Durg Trek is the monsoon season. The lush greenery and the views with overwhelm. This is also one of the reasons why the Kalavantin Durg trek is similar to a crowded trek in Nepal. The monsoon season will see a share of big crowds trekking.
If you go for the trek post-monsoon, the number of trekkers you see is way lesser. You get to see clearer views and the colors change in the Sahyadri.
View from the pinnacle of Kalavantin. Picture by Megh Naik
Pro Tip: If you want to avoid the crowd, go during a weekday in the monsoon season. The other option is to avoid the peak season of May, June. Go on the trek either post monsoon or during the winter months of November, December.
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 first cave is simply a 25-m tunnel leading to an 8” by 6” box structure of 4 ft height.
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.
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).
For more information related to permission, water sources, and other finer details about the trek, go to the FAQs section.
Mobile users: Click on ‘Complete trek guide’ at the bottom of the page to access the rest of the Kalavantin Durg Trek Guide.
➤ How to Get Fit for the 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 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.
- 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 Kalavantin 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.
➤ Difficult Sections
There is only one section near the top which can be classified as a difficult section. About 95% of the trek is completely safe and easy to do.
Here is one section which can be classified as a difficult section.
The Final Third Section of Steps to reach the Pinnacle of Kalavantin
Have the right grip and have a good footing is required for the climb. Taking one step at a time and following enough precautions while climbing, these snake ways through the hill are easy to climb.
About a few years ago in the past till 2015, the trek was safe throughout. Due to excessive rains, a part of the rock has broken off during this last leg of the trek. This was used to serve as a foothold to climb. This section has become smooth and has become slightly difficult with no footholds or handholds.
A rudimentary rope has been fixed by the locals which can be used if you are confident of climbing. But we would not suggest this.
Using a rope to climb the final section. Picture by Soham Limbkar.
If you are not confident and don’t want to carry your own ropes for a technical climb, just soak in the views after completing the 95% of the trek.
The view is good enough and better to consider this if you don’t want to take the hassle of taking a rope or worried about your safety. You can still enjoy the views from the base of the Kalavantin Durg.
➤ Emergency Contacts
Nearest hospital: Shree Hospital in Panvel which is 11.5 km away from the base of Kalavantin Durg is the closest hospital. You can contact them on 086554 55655.
Police station: The nearest Police station is the Khandeshwar Police Station, Panvel 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.
➤ Plan Your Travel
Reaching Kalavantin Durg By Your Vehicle from Mumbai
Kalavantin is a famous trek which is just about 50 km from Mumbai. The trek starts from Thakurwadi. This is your base village or the start point.
If you are planning to reach Kalavantin using your own vehicle, use this link to help set up navigation in Google maps.
If you do not have access to Google maps, here is how to reach Mumbai: Head to Panvel from Mumbai. From Panvel take the Mumbai-Pune highway and continue on the Borle/Panvel Road for about 10 km.
You need to take the Shedung-Vardoli Road and shift to Vardoli-Thakurwadi to reach your base or the start point of the Kalavantin Trek. From the main highway, you need to drive/ride for another 6 km.
Parking charges: Two-wheeler: Rs 10, Four-wheeler: Rs 20
Reaching Kalavantin Durg By Public Transport System
From Mumbai, take a local train to Panvel.
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). The first bus from Panvel starts at 5 am and the last one is at 7.30 pm
Bus Chart from Panvel. Picture by Nitesh Kumar
The other option is to take a shared auto to Thakurwadi. For the shared auto, the cost per person will be around Rs 70 (7 to 10 seater)
For the normal Auto with 3 seaters would cost Rs 150 to Rs 200 depending on the time you are trekking.
Nearest Railway Station
Panvel Railway Station
- 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 neighboring villages to get to Thakurwadi (Cost 50-100 per person. Needs negotiation)
Once you reach Thakurwadi, the road to the base is marked. You can negotiate with the auto-driver to drop you till the base.
Nearest International and Domestic Airport
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai – 52 km
Pune International Airport, Pune – 125 km
➤ Mobile Network and ATM
You will get a mobile network for almost all major operators like Airtel, Vodafone & Jio throughout the trek.
Panvel would be the nearest reliable ATM for the trek of Kalavantin Durg.
Carrying about Rs 400 to 500 for the trek is good enough.
Permission for trekking to Kalavantin Durg trek
You don’t need any permission formally for the trek of Kalavantin. However, at the start of the trek, a small fee (around Rs 50 per person) will be collected by the local committee.
This amount is used for the goodness of trek. You will see a few committee members at different pit stop lending a hand to trekkers. This amount collected is also used for rescue operations, ropes, and for the safety of trekkers. Even the villagers are benefited and act as a source of livelihood.
Food and Water Sources on the Kalavantin Durg trek
There is a good amount of food and water source available on this trek.
For food, you get enough eateries at Thakurwadi and also on the trail of Kalavantin. However, we recommend you to carry enough food from homes and not to buy any packaged food. You can have cucumbers and lemon juice from the stalls.
You will get water at both Prabalmachi and Thakurwadi where handpumps are used by villagers.
| Tip: Carry your water bottles from home. Don’t buy plastic bottles on the trek. If you are not comfortable with having the groundwater from the handpumps, carry purification tablets or life straw bottles to purify the water. Do Not leave any waste on the trek. Carry it back to your cities where the waste will be treated correctly.
Camping on the Kalavantin Durg Trek
You don’t need any permission to camp on the Kalavantin Durg Trek. The Plateau on the Prabalmachi is a big area. However, if you are going during the peak season of pre-monsoon and during a weekend, don’t be surprised by the number of tents in the number of people who throng here.
You can either carry your own tents or a few homes offer tents on rent. There are few huts which allow staying overnight for certain charges. A 2-men tent can cost around Rs 200 per night. This will allow you to do Prabalgad the next day and make it a two-day trek.
Pro Tip: If you are camping at Prabalmachi and want to avoid the crowd, go during a weekday. The other option is to avoid the peak season of May, June. Go on the trek either post monsoon or during November, December.
➤ Nearby Places to Visit
- 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 32 km 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 give a mesmerizing vibe.
- Other Treks Close by – Prabalgad Fort, is also an extension of Prabalmachi just like the Kalavantin Durg.For those who are experienced and want to have a more adventurous challenge, one can take up this route as well and complete it in 2 or 3 days. Kalavantin -> Prabalgad -> Irshalgad -> Matheran
➤ Trek Contribution
Trek documented by Mugdha Bhusari, Sneha Rao, with inputs from Dharin Doshi, Sourabh Ratnaparkhi and Saini Krishnamurthy
Banner Image Picture by Ronit Sancheti
Author: Sneha Rao, Suhas Saya