While I've dabbled in running marathons, bungee jumping, experimental speaking, and learning languages, Hiking and Backpacking is what I'm most passionate about. I have traveled the length and breadth of India in search of different ways to fulfill my passion, and I'd love to help you do the same."
Being originally from the North, I've covered almost all Himalayan hikes. On moving to Hyderabad recently, I wanted to explore the Westen Ghats so I googled the toughest hikes in the Western Ghats, Maharashtra region and got to know about the adventurous Kalavantin Durg and Parbalgad Fort hike in the mountain ranges of Sahyadris.
Kalavantin is infamous for crazy rainfall from May to September, the best time to visit for adventure seekers (Not advisable for fair weather hikers)
The World's Most Dangerous Fortress
Slippery trails, steep edgy stairs, walking on ridges
Hiking Kalavantin Durg Hike and Prabalgad Fort, Western Ghats
“We can’t buy happiness but we can go on a hike, pitch a tent and stay inside and that’s pretty close"
Through the "meet-up app," I joined a hiking club - 'The Climb On’ Journey
Friday evening: My ticket reads, SAJAN PRASAD Train No. 17032- Mumbai Exp. S4 Sleeper class, Seat no. 41, lower berth. Hyderabad to Karjat, a station next to Lonavala. Group - 25 People, all strangers.
DAY 1, Saturday morning- PARBALGAD
I woke up feeling cold, looked outside and was immediately wowed by the sight. It was raining and we were at the beautiful station of Lonavla full of greenery and mist. How beautifully the place welcomed me. The beauty continued till Karjat; green mountains, small huts, tunnels, etc all echoed together, a complete treat for my senses.
At 11:30 am we reached Karjat. The long journey had made me quite hungry so we crossed the railway flyover, ate at an old-fashioned nearby restaurant called "The Karjat Dhaba." At around 12:30ish, we got into our reserved TATA Safari and drove for 45 minutes to the starting point of Prabalgad Fort. We gathered there, all 25 of us, purchased water bottles, snacks and tea from a small hut shop while the organizers briefed us about the hike, the difficulties, the rules, and regulations. They guided us to stick together and not to overtake or lag behind quite strictly. For around 2 hours through the green mountains, our hike continued till we reached the common "Base Camp Village" - both for Kalavantin and Prabalgad. This point converged into two different routes for the two destinations. At the base camp village, we kept our backpacks, freshened up and had lunch.
After some lunch and rest, we were pumped up again to resume our hike. Carrying our day backpacks, we headed out for Prabalgad. There was a lot of walking, crossing little streams, jungles, bushes and all of it in the rain. After all the effort we reached the Pinnacle point where a red flag was flying high.
Relieved. Satisfied. Proud
We captured the moment not just in our cameras but also in our heart and mind, living every moment we spent there sitting and standing. The scenery was beautiful with majestic mountains all around. After spending some time there, we were ready to descend toward our base camp. The sun was already about to set and it was getting dark. It started drizzling again. We checked everything, the group got arranged in sequence and we started our descent. The rain got heavier and walking the ridges got a little difficult. It became slippery and there was complete darkness. Thank god we had our head torches from Decathlon which helped us to get down safely.
At around 8 pm we reached our base camp completely exhausted and hungry. We changed our clothes, got ourselves dry and had some yummy local food for dinner. At that level of hunger, everything tastes delicious. When the rain stopped, we had a short duration bonfire and played some music which made the evening entertaining and delightful.
We were allocated simple pukka house rooms where we went to bed early since the next day was our main hike, Kalavantin Durg which was going to be more challenging and the one I came all the way for.
Day 2, Sunday Morning- KALAVANTIN DURG
We woke up early at 6am to;
- See the sunrise in the mountains
- To complete the Kalvantin Hike because the same night we had our returning train to Hyderabad.
After a light breakfast, everyone got ready for the much-awaited hike. It rained the entire night and even in the morning, it had started raining again so the trails became very difficult as, for the major part of the hike, we had to walk through slippery stairs.
During the hike, three people from our group gave up and didn't continue. The weather was not good, it got windy with heavy rainfall. The rest of us continued our climb. The steps were steep and very slippery but we continued through the clouds. To get to the very top, we needed to climb a small rock with a small lesson and guidance on rock climbing. It was difficult but very exciting. Finally, we reached the top of Kalavantin.
YES! WE DID. ACHIEVED. PROUD!
From the top, there's a panoramic view of Prabalgad, Peb, Matheran, Irshalgad and Ulhas river. We explored the top, proudly cheered each other and took some collective and individual pictures. After that, we began our descent. Conditions were challenging but we did it successfully.
On reaching our base camp, we quickly freshened up, changed our clothes, collected our backpacks and began further descent toward our starting point where vehicles were waiting to drop us to Karjat Railway Station. Train No. 11019, Konark Express. The next morning we reached Secunderabad railway station. We said goodbye to each other, took a group picture and parted with thousands of memories. Group of 25 unknown people (later on, many became partners for other hikes)
Yes, something is humbling about the mountains. Maybe it's their tall and majestic appearance or intimidation when you cast your eyes on it. But ultimately, the most important part is the sense of accomplishment that you get after reaching there. The feeling of achievement, appreciation for the journey.