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WELCOME TO THE BRAND NEW HIKING / RECREATION SECTION!!!!

Hiking is an integral part of the extracurricular activities of a typical GScite/KEMite. It is not only the students who are  interested in hiking. Many of the professors ( Notable ones include Dr. A.N. Supe , Dr. Parulekar and Dr. D.R. Karnad ) are avid hikers too.

Hiking teams from KEM have scaled almost every peak in Maharastra, including the highest, Mt.Kalsubai.

It is usually the Biochemistry department (and the evergreen Dr. "U-D" ) who introduces the newcomers at KEM to hiking. The inaugural or "grand-jun" hike takes place usually in the monsoons at the start of the academic year, when the juniors hardly know each other. The liking generally grows from here, and by the time that some people graduate from KEM, they are literally addicted to hiking

 

Location: close to the matheran hill station is a little known but relatively easy trekking fort called peb.

 

Hike duration: one day for a quickie trek but overnight stay is definitely recommended.

 

Geographical proximities:

Peb fort seems to be on the continued limb of the kalyan karjat mountain range which roughly lies perpendicular to the sahyadri ranges. The peaks of this short range, each have a name and some are of historical significance. This range runs in the north - east to south - west direction (kalyan to karjat) as opposed to the sahyadris  which run in the north south direction.

The peaks are:

a)     malang gad or popularly known by the other name haji malang
b)       badlapur hill.
c)       mhasmal peak.
d)       chanderi fort.
e)       peb fort.
f)        matheran.

 

Routes to arrive at the hiking spot:
1)     neral - peb (shortest and the most frequently used )
2)     neral nakhind - peb
3)     vangani chanderi peb
4)       Matheran - peb (another favorite route).
5)       Neral bhadwal, mamdapur Peb.
6)       Savtachiwadi route (very less frequently used route, ascends from the west face of the mountain).


Please click on the map to view a larger version.

 

Best time of the year to visit:

Since this region is relatively better off as regards basic amenities are concerned with respect to some other parts of interior maharashtra. Water and food both may be plentiful just in case they are needed.

Except for may be the dry months of may june water is available rest of the year. The best time to visit the fort or its surroundings is from august to december.

It is better to avoid the very wet months of june and july as some of the paths and trails may be slippery and dangerous.

 

Journey :

Neral peb route:

Arrive at neral station by train (central railway) by boarding the karjat local which  starts from C.S.T and halts at  byculla, dadar, kurla, ghatkopar and thane.

Cross over to the east side of the station where the market place is located.

Cross over the dam and get across to reach the fields. Here the mountains of matheran, peb and nakhind stand in front like a formidable barrier from left to the right.


Image : Across the dam at Neral : 
 

The notch between nakhind and peb is the one to catch site of as this is the final destination. The notch has a hillock so the space between nakhind and peb is actually a stretched out W. remember that we will begin to climb so that we reach the left wing. The right wing has a high tension electric pylon on it and is the approach for the neral nakhind- peb route.

The route is well used and so it is not a problem once you set out right from neral. After crossing the dam head for a small hamlet and then cross the river again to go over to the other side. Here follow the trail up as it begins to ascend the route intercepts 2 pylons and runs  roughly parallel to the high voltage line for some distance.

 

However there are 4 signs which will tell you that you are on the right track:

1.The direction of the path is always toward the left wing of the w
2. approximately 2/3  of the way the path goes underneath a pylon
3. approximately of the way the path seems to circumvent a huge tree and takes a sharp right to steeply ascend.
4. Just beyond the previous landmark the path crisscrosses a stream {usually dry} at the juncture a brief diversion to the right will lead to a waterfall, which incidentally becomes a nice halting spot for refilling the water bottles or have snacks.

 

After climbing few broken steps which have been carved out of rock, the cool breeze welcomes us as we finally reach the notch and the entire landscape on the west of the mountain opens out in to the view. If climbing was started at late noon time, its a rewarding site to see the sunset.

 

The path here is actually a kind of a cross road the route turning right goes to nakhind, the one straight comes from savtyachi wadi, but we have to take the left turn and start the final ascent to the fort. ( See map, above)

Only one obstacle now remains to be crossed thats a 8 foot high rock cliff which has to be climbed over using basic climbing skills (however its good to be alert when crossing this point, as a funny anecdote relates to a colleagues knapsack tumbling over this point only to be lost forever,  as the cliff here is pretty steep).

After this small adventure the rest of the way is very easy and is on flat ground, however we have to be alert while moving ahead as the path suddenly bifurcates and we shall have to take the left climbing path which leads to the cave.

 

Things to see:

The cave is bicameral and very commodious. Occasionally the cast iron gate to entrance of the cave is locked but there is plenty of space in front of the cave for camping too.
Very close to the cave is a square window cut into the rock it leads inside as a tunnel into a small chamber, just enough to accommodate 2 people. The tunnel is wide enough only to allow one person at a time and that to the person has to crawl inside. It is said that shree Gajanan Maharaj used to do meditation in this chamber.

 

The view of the vast expanse of the western horizon is breath taking and on a clear day it is easy to appreciate a far as the sea, on clear nights the blinking of the tata electric companys chimney at chembur / trombay can also be appreciated at a distance. The view is absolutely  fantastic and words would not do justice to something so beautiful and which can be easily experienced by anyone.

The way to the fort proper is to continue straight with out taking a left turn for the caves. As we proceed further we come across a stone wall on the left this is the way we will have to climb up to the fort, there are long nails hammered into the rock, so climbing it is kind of exciting.

On the top of the mountain there is not much to appreciate except an old temple where Shiva is the main deity there is no roof here.

On the north side facing the Panorama point are remains of broken fortification which are probably only evidence of it being a fort.

 The entire round on the top takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

 

The view from the top gives a lot of information about the region to the south lies the hill station of matheran, and the twin forts of rajmachi can be appreciated in the distance in south east direction. The peaks of bhimashankar, peth fort, tung fort can been seen on a very clear day in the eastern direction, chanderi lies to the north and  beyond that in the distance the malang gad can be appreciated.  

Image above : Chanderi as seen from the Peb fort.
 (Please click on the image to view a larger picture)

 

 

Image : Nankhind as seen from the Peb fort.
 
(Please click on the image to view a larger version )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trek scale:

Relatively easy, water and place to camp present, trek itself does not take more than 2 to 3 hours at a fast pace.

 

-Rohit Divekar.
(1995 batch)
Comments? Corrections? Additions?  Please Email : rohit@kemates.com

 

 

 


 

 

 

Location: close to the Bhimashankar mountains is a little known but relatively easy trekking fort called Peth

 

Hike duration: one-day trek but overnight stay is definitely recommended.

 

Geographical proximities:

Peth fort seems to be amongst the group of the forts, which center on Bhimshankar ranges. The peaks of this range, each have a name and some are of historical significance. This range is a part of the Sahyadri ranges proper and runs approximately in the north south direction.

Other locations that are close by are:-

*Tungi fort

*Padargad [also called as kalavantini cha mahal]

*Bhimaskankar temple

*Siddhagad

*Gorakhgad-macchindra peak.

 

 

 Routes to arrive at:

1)     Karjat-Ambivali-Peth (shortest and the most frequently used )

2)     Karjat-Khandas-Peth ( partly through Ganpati Ghat)

3)     Pune-Rajgurunagar-Ghoda -Bhimashankar-Peth. ( good tar road till Bhimashankar)

4)     Murbad -Siddhagad - Bhimashankar-Peth

 

Best time of the year to visit:

Since this region is relatively better off as regards basic amenities are concerned with respect to some other parts of interior Maharashtra. Water and food both may be plentiful just in case they are needed.

Except for May be the dry months of May June water is available rest of the year. The best time to visit the fort or its surroundings is from August to December.

It is better to avoid the very wet months of June and July as some of the paths and trails may be slippery and dangerous.

 
Journey:  



Image : A map of the general area. Please click on the image to view a larger version.


Karjat ambivali peth:

Arrive at Karjat station by train (central railway) by boarding the Karjat local which starts from C.S.T and halts at Byculla, Dadar, Kurla, Ghatkopar and Thane.

Cross over to the east side of the station where the State transport bus depot is located. As soon as you exit the station, take the right to walk the road that will lead you out of to the depot. Ask for directions to the depot.

Take the bus going to Jambrukh, which is a village further than Ambivali where we have to alight. There is a bus every hour or so and the timing is matched with the arrival of the karjat local, so it is a good bet to start and catch the bus as soon as you reach there and not do timepass at the station !

After a journey of 1 to 2 hours, alight at Ambivali. A bullock cart road starts to ascend upward from the right of the main road before entering the village this is the road that goes to peth village

 

 

The Actual hike:

The village of peth is situated nearly three-fourths the way to the top on the plateau of the mountain. After trekking for about 2 to 3 hours we reach the village of peth. As arable flat land is scarce milk seems to the only produce of the village and it seems that the villagers export khawa to all major sweet meat shops in Bombay.

The fort of Peth juts out from the plateau, after crossing the village take the well used path to start climbing up to the fort proper. Perhaps this fort is the only one of its kind where the route to the top partly has been carved in the insides of the mountain. So you actually reach the top not by climbing from the exterior face of the mountain but through the steps carved with in.

After climbing, the path bifurcates at a broken stone entrance. The path to the right goes to the caves while the path to the left circumvent the fort and also gives an offshoot which goes to pardhyachi wadi on the plateau again from where it is possible to trek back to Bhimashankar. This route is very difficult and has fallen out of use, but it is the only one directly connecting the two places together. The route is well used and so it is not a problem once you set out right from Ambivali.

 

Things to see:

The caves are very old and clean, and can accommodate many people at a time. The top of the mountain is not very wide but offers an excellent view of the surroundings.

 The view of the vast expanse of the horizon is breath taking and on a clear day, it is easy to appreciate a far as Matheran .

On the top of the mountain there is not much to appreciate except for broken remains of the stone doorway and stone steps. The entire round on the top takes about 15 to 20 minutes.

  The view from the top gives a lot of information about the region to the south lies Tata Bhivpuri electric station mountain. The peaks of Bhimashankar, Tungi fort, can be very easily to the north and north west. In the Southern direction, Matheran and peb can be appreciated in the distance and it is possible to see even the railway line if the visibility is extremely good.

 

Trek scale:

Very easy, water and place to camp present, trek itself does not take more than 2 to 3 hours at a fast pace.

 

- Rohit Divekar.

 

 

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