The Complete Guide to Umberkhind Trek
Umberkhind makes for an exciting trek in the passes of Western Ghats. It is an underrated gem hidden in the passes of Sahyadris.
Taking you through deep passes, dense forests, and waterfalls until you cross Amba River to reach a battlefield memorial, the Umberkhind trek is nothing short of an adventure.
Umberkhind was the battleground of the epic victory of Maratha forces led by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj over General Kartalab Khan of the Mughal Empire. The battle was won in under 4 hours by a mere force of under 1000 Marathas by wreaking havoc over the Mughal army of 25,000.
Walk down the history as you descend the mountains to Umberkhind just like Marathas did 360 years ago.
Panoramic view of Umberkhind and Duke's Nose. Picture by Madhavi
Located 8 kilometres from the heart of scenic Lonavala in Maharashtra, Kurvande village is the base of the Umberkhind trek. Popular for INS Shivaji naval station, this village is easy to spot.
Umberkhind trek can be done by any fit trekker of all ages.
Taking two separate routes for ascent and descent to complete the circuit trek, we bring you the complete route information to complete the Umberkhind trek on your own.
➤ Table of Contents
We have documented this trek in great detail to help you do it on your own. You will get all the information required to do the Umberkhind trek on your own.
If you’ve already completed this trek, we would love to hear from you! Drop in your comments in the comment section below.
To navigate through the documentation easily, use this section of the Table of Contents:
- What to watch out for
- Trail Information
- Route Map
- Difficult Sections
- Best time to do the trek
- How to reach
- Frequently asked questions
- Places to visit nearby
➤What to Watch Out for
1. Amba river and waterfalls through passes
Visit Umberkhind during the late monsoon season to find milk-white waterfalls popping out of green mountains. Sahyadri awakens to life and all you see is green everywhere.
Passes of Sahyadri at Umberkhind. Picture by Madhavi
Once you descend the mountain, the Amba river awaits you. Furious during monsoons, it was almost dried during February when the battle was fought in 1661.
Amba river offers a beautiful 360° view of the Sahyadri mountains. Sit by the river and enjoy the grand serene view in silence which you won’t find in the busy city life.
2. Umberkhind War Memorial
Umberkhind Vijay Stambh stands majestically in the middle of the river and can be reached only by crossing it. Built over the rocky river bed in the middle of Amba river, this war memorial was installed in 2007.
Umberkhind War Memorial on Amba River. Picture by Ketan Mavle
A marvellous rock structure engraved with the carving of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on one side, it has history engraved on the other three sides.
If you are interested in the medieval history of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's rule, this is an adventurous trek to retrace Maharaj’s steps.
3. A view of steep Duke’s Nose and a thrilling extension trek
Duke’s nose gets its name after Arthur Wellesley (First Duke of Wellington) whose nose resembled the cliff of the hill. Locally known as Nagphani Hill, it makes for an exciting trek & a camping getaway under the stars.
If you are seeking a wild adventure you can climb along the steep cliff of Duke’s Nose and return before you proceed towards Umberkhind.
Duke's Nose also known as Nagphani Hill. Picture by Shriniwas
Duke’s nose can be spotted at different parts of the trail. When you reach Chhavani village after crossing the Amba River, all the peaks can be seen lined up.
➤ Trail Information
Section I: Kurvande Village to end of Kurvande Ghat
Distance: 2 kilometres
Time Taken: 30-40 minutes
The trek starts from Kurvande village. There is a well-marked trail going up and you can spot the steep nose of the Duke’s nose hill.
Start of the Umberkhind trek from Kurvande village. Picture by Paresh Soni
You will see the INS Shivaji fencing on your left as you start your ascent. Be cautious as to not venture close to the fencing. Being a military-operated area, it is stationed at a constant vigil.
Local villagers are commonly identified and are aware of the route, staying away from the fencing. You should follow the clear trail and not venture deeper into the woods.
INS Shivaji fencing on the left at the start of Umberkhind trek. Picture by Madhavi
The initial part of the route coincides with the Duke’s Nose trail. Keep following the trail until you reach a diversion at the end of the slope.
The right turn will take you to Duke’s Nose which is a popular camping and trekking route.
The route on your right towards Duke's Nose. Picture by Madhavi
You need to take the left turn which leads towards the forest. INS Shivaji fencing will keep following you to the left. You will be returning to this same point on your way back.
This is the end of Kurvande Ghat.
Umberkhind trail with INS Shivaji fencing on the left. Picture by Naini Shah
Monsoons are the perfect time to walk on the beautiful soft green carpet on a brown muddy trail. This section is on almost plain ground, making it a nature walk.
Section II: End of Kurvande Ghat to Savardand
Distance: 4 kilometres
Time Taken: 1.5 – 2 hours
The forest starts from here. You will be descending the mountains from here onwards.
The trail is clear and you need to follow it straight without any diversions. After about 200 metres, you reach a diversion:
One goes through the left towards Dhangarpada and the other one is a straight descent via Kurvande ghat. You need to take the left.
On your return, you will be climbing the hill using the other straight path which is via Kurvande ghat.
Earlier, the route was broader as it was commonly used by villagers and was also a trade route. Now it is a thin trail only used by trekkers and local villagers.
The battle of Umberkhind was fought in hot and humid February when the streams were dry. One can imagine the plight of thousands of soldiers hiding in the ghats, fighting for their lives in a treacherous climate.
If you complete the trek during monsoons or right after, you will find a few streams on the way to Dhangarpada.
Drinking water well before Dhangardpada. Picture by Prabhuraj Kore
Walking for another kilometer, you will come across a drinking water well. The well dates back at least to the age of Chhatrapati Shivaji rule. The water is potable and you can refill your bottle here.
Tip: You can carry purification tablets or life straw bottles to purify the water at the drinking water well.
You can see the first signs of settlement a few hundred meters from the well. Sparse with just a few houses on the open ground, this region is locally known as Dhangarpada.
Crossing a small section of forest after the first houses, you will find an open ground.
There are a few fields of ragi (finger millet) and rice fields cultivated by local villagers here.
Proceed on the same route. Walk on the same path for another 1.5 kilometers until you reach a few more houses.
A house at Dhangarpada. Picture by Prabhuraj Kore
You have to cross the houses and take a left from behind. Immediately afterwards, take a right which leads to the dense forest. You can ask the local villagers to show you the route during monsoons.
The overgrown grass during rains can make it difficult to spot the trail which is why we recommend the trek September onwards if you are a beginner or doing it alone. The route map will come handy.
Follow the trail through a small section of forest until you reach the start of Sawardand.
Section III: Savardand to Chhavani village
Distance: 1.5 kilometers
Time Taken: 2 hours
Savardand trail begins from the plateau. You can spot Chhavani village and Amba River from here.
Spot the Chhavani village from Sawardand as you proceed to descend to Umberkhind. Picture by Prabhuraj Kore
The trail here onwards passes through dense forest as you begin to descend the hill on gentle slopes.
Tip: Follow the trail and keep the village in sight. The trail is well marked but gets completely lost if you visit in peak monsoon.
You will notice an interesting thing from these slopes. The people at higher elevations can spot you. But even from the plain ground at Savardand, you can’t see the people standing behind.
You can even spot Duke’s Nose behind. The descent is steep through a thick forest and you need to remain careful of your footing.
Retracing the path of Chhatrapati Shivaji's troops at Umberkhind. Picture by Chintan Gada
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and his numbered troops took great advantage of this situation to defeat the Mughal soldiers who were strangers in the passes and unaware of the terrain. A few Maratha battalions hidden in the forests followed Kartalab Khan and his soldiers who remained unaware.
Another troop was waiting to ambush in the Umberkhind valley below.
The steep descent opens into a grass clearing. You will find small water bodies & streams on the slopes if you visit right after the monsoon.
View of Duke's Hill at Amba River. Picture by Madhavi
Follow the trail through the grass carpet until you reach the Amba river crossing.
You can play in the water here and enjoy the grand view of Sahyadris. The flowing water is clear and can be used for drinking.
Amba River crossing at Umberkhind. Picture by Ketan Mavle
The river is furious during monsoon season and it is very difficult to cross the river. We don’t recommend you to do the trek during the peak monsoon season of June – September.
After taking a break, you can proceed towards Chhavani village.
Section IV: Chhavani to Umberkhind War Memorial
Distance: 2 kilometers
Time Taken: 1 hour
After crossing the river proceed towards Chhavani. It will take you about 15-20 minutes on the clear marked bullock cart trail.
Chhavani Village at Umberkhind. Picture by Prabhuraj Kore
This time you will see a village with lots of settlements and proper connectivity by tar road. You can rest for a while and enjoy a snack break at the village.
Water and packed snacks are available but there’s no provision for a meal. After the break, proceed on the tar road towards Umberkhind War Memorial.
Take a left from the village and proceed along the tar road.
Walk until you reach the board depicting Umberkhind on the left. It is a long walk on the tar road. Take a U-turn and walk towards the river to visit the war memorial.
Umberkhind Vijay Stamb. Picture by Madhavi
Umberkhind war memorial or Vijay Stamb stands tall in the middle of the river. Constructed by Shiv Durga Mitra trekking group with the help of Chhavani village folks, it was inaugurated in 2007.
Chhatrapati Shivaji inscription on one side. Picture by Pawan More
A work of art, it has Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s image on one side, Agya Patra on another side. The detailed history of the battle is scripted on a stone on the third side with the fourth side having mentions of all contributors.
After a break here enjoying the river, you can either return back towards your circuit trek via Kurvande Ghat or proceed towards Shembdi village to finish the trek.
Continue on the tar road towards the Shembdi village. This will lead you to Pali-Khopoli road where you can arrange for further private transportation or take public transport like local tumtum
Section V: Umberkhind War Memorial to start of Kurvande Ghat
Distance: 2.5 kilometres
Time Taken: 1 hour 15 minutes
After the long break at Vijay Stamb you can proceed towards return.
To finish your trek at the War Memorial: If you want to finish your trek here, you can take the tar road and proceed towards Shembdi village.
The endpoint of the trek takes you towards Pali-Khopoli road. Local buses ply on this route at regular intervals or you can arrange for advance transportation.
To complete the circuit trek: If you are planning to complete the circuit trek, cross the river and proceed towards Chhavani on the same tar road you had chosen earlier.
Once you reach Chhavani, proceed towards Amba river crossing. After the crossing, you can also see the route via Savardand that you had descended from at your right.
View from Chhavani village. Picture by Prabhuraj Kore
For ascent, we chose the steep Kurvande Ghat route on the left.
Section VI: Start of Kurvande Ghat to Kurvande village
Distance: 5 kilometers
Time Taken: 2.5 – 3 hours
Lined with smaller streams and fields, a tractor can easily reach the start of the Ghat.
Kurvande Ghat trek starts gradually but rapidly increases elevation. The trail is well marked as the GAIL pipelines pass through the route.
Khan and his force with elephants descended the hill using this route via Kurvande Ghat.
Kurvande Ghat ascent route from the top. Picture by Rahool Khot
The route is shorter but the ascent is difficult. Within an hour and half or two, you will reach the top of the hill. At the top, you will find the point where you earlier took a left towards Dhangarpada.
Climb the hill to reach the end of Kurvande Ghat. You can spot Duke’s hill towards your left again.
If you start the trek by 8 am, you will reach just in time to catch the glorious sunset in the Sahyadris at the Kurvande ghat.
Proceed towards the Kurvande village to complete the trek.
➤ Route Map of Umberkhind Trek
Umberkhind Trek Route Map. Picture by Sakshi Chetule
➤ Difficult Sections of the Umberkhind Trek
Ascent via Kurvande Ghat is the most difficult part of the trek.
Elevation increases fast and your endurance will be tested. The weight comes on your chest and you might feel out of breath quickly on the steep ascent.
Rest of the trek is mostly gradual or a descent. A fit trekker would face little or no difficulty.
As the trek is long, your stamina needs to be high. Make sure you have ample water & food to sustain through the entire day.
Start working on your fitness before the trek itself. We have a complete guide to start your trek fitness preparation here.
➤ Best time to do the Umberkhind Trek
This trek is recommended to be done best during the months of October to March.
Umberkhind trek is not recommended in peak monsoon season from June – September. The Amba river is furious so it’ll be difficult to cross the river. Even the trail is difficult to find in the dense forest.
Summer is particularly difficult. The ascent is steep and the sun will be right overhead. The hot and humid climate makes it an unenjoyable experience to do the trek in prickly heat.
➤How to Reach the Base of Umberkhind Trek
Kurvande village: Location
The best course to reach Umberkhind is from Lonavala. Kurvande village is just half an hour drive from Lonavala. A popular tourist destination, Lonavala is 53 kilometers away from Pune and takes about 1-1.5 hours.
Multiple buses, local trains ply half hourly. Tickets are under 50/-.
You can come by your own car/bike using this route: Lonavala to base of Umberkhind trek
If you are coming from Mumbai, it is best to come by Lonavala. Mumbai-Pune highway is a beautiful route traversing through ghats and makes for a perfect monsoon long drive.
Use this route: Mumbai to base of Umberkhind trek
If you plan to just visit the Umberkhind war memorial, you can come from Khopoli directly. Go to Umbre village. Chhavani is about 8 kilometres from Umbre village.
Use this route: Khopoli to Umberkhind War Memorial
➤Frequently Asked Questions
1. Permissions and Camping on the Umberkhind Trek
No permissions are required for the trek at any point of time.
As the trek is a one day trek, there aren’t any special camping spots. However if you’d like to spend the night in the woods, you can pitch your tent at Dhangarpada or Chhavani village near the local settlements.
There are leopards in the woods and it isn’t safe for humans to wander in the forests alone. We don’t recommend camping in the woods alone. The safest spot would be Chhavani or you can camp at the famous Duke’s point camping site.
2. Stay options near Umberkhind Trek
The nearest local stay option is at Kurvande which is the base of the trek. Multiple options are available as it is a famous spot due to INS Shivaji.
We are adding a trusted local contact in the village for accommodation, food & guide information here:
+91 8888841735 – Borkar
Lonavala, 11 kilometers away from Kurvande, is a famous tourist destination. Hotels of all prices and comfort are available from budget friendly to five star stay.
3. Timings on the Umberkhind Trek
As the circuit trek would take a whole day, we recommend you to start early in the morning to avoid the overhead sun.
There aren’t any particular timings but the woods must be avoided in the dark with the fear of wild animals. So to complete the trek before sunset, start the trek best by 8 am.
4. Food and Water source on the Umberkhind Trek
The first water source is the drinking water well. There isn’t any other source of water until Chhavani village next.
If you are doing the trek right after monsoons, a few flowing streams and Amba river water can be used to refill your bottles. As it is based on chance, we recommend carrying at least 2 litres of water per person.
Packaged snacks are available directly at Chhavani village. There is no provision to buy cooked meals on the trek. You should carry lunch with you. You can arrange it at Kurvande base village too.
5. Network on the Umberkhind Trek
Airtel, Jio Network is available at most places on the trek.
➤ Places to Visit Nearby
Treks to do nearby: Duke’s Nose trail, Korigad Fort Trek, Lohagad trek
Pawna Lake Camping, Lonavala are the famous nearby tourist spots.
Just like you, we love trekking! And this is a trek we’ve documented in great detail to help you do it on your own. Drop-in comments if you need any help!
➤ Trek Contribution
Special thanks to Prabhuraj Kore, Ketan Mavle, Pawan More, Paresh Soni, Sneha Chovatiya, Madhavi, Shriniwas, Chintan Gada, Naini Shah for all the photos from the trek.
Banner Image is by Rahool Khot.
This trek was documented by Prabhuraj Kore.
The trek was written by Sakshi Chetule.