Updated: Jun 17, 2020
When it somes to hiking, Maharashtra is endowed with immense natural beauty and enriching history. The spirit of backpacking and traveling through rough terrains runs in the blood of Marathas. A chant of ‘Jai Shivaji Jai Bhavani’ or 'Har Har Mahadev' often acts like an energy booster in the mountains of Maharashtra.
If you have not known or done these 10 treks then lace up your shoes and pack your backpack soon.
Kalsubai is the most renowned trek of Maharashtra and it can be done in approx 3-4 hours. On the summit, you will see a small temple of Devi Kalsubai. The peak being the highest point of Maharashtra, provides a million dollar view. To the north, forts such as Harihargad, Ramsej, Brahmagiri, Ghargad, Tringalwadi, Anjaneri are seen. To the east one can spot Anudha, Vishramgad. To the west one can spot AMK, Ratangad and to the south Harishchandragad and Ghanchkkar.
For trekking to Kalsubai, click here
Salher is the second highest peak and the highest fort of Maharashtra which offers panoramic views of the Baglan mountain range in Nashik. According to legends, Lord Parshuram did his Tapascharya at Salher. The twin fort Salota (4986 feet) is very near to Salher. Trekking to Salher fort can be started from village-Waghambe or Salher and can be done in 2 hours.
Salher Fort was under Shivaji Maharaj in 1671. The Mughals attacked the fort in 1672. Almost one lakh soldiers fought in this war. Many soldiers died in this battle but finally Shivaji Maharaj won the battle. The bravery and strategy used by the Maratha troops in the battle spread far and wide. In the 18th century the Peshwas occupied this fort and later by the British.
For trekking to Salher, click here.
Ghanchakkar 1532m; Bhairavgad 1523m; Gawaldev 1520m
These three nearby peaks lie in Katrabai region.
Ghanchakkar is the third highest peak of Maharashtra State. Trekkers have to climb up from Kumshet village to the Katrabai col and then reach the Ghanchakkar's peak. This route is confusing and long-winded, taking about 4 hours.
Multiple mountains are named Bhairavgad including one near the Karad-Chiplun area, one near Malshej Ghat. However, the Bhairavgad mountain in the neighborhood of Ghanchakkar is amongst the highest peaks of Sahyadris.
The Gawaldev (also known as ‘Muda’) trek is more offbeat than the other places on this list, as it’s an intermediate level trek in a challenging terrain. Ghanchakkar and Muda combinedly have a vast plateau between their summits.
The AMK - Alang Madangad Kulang (1470-1490m)
It is touted as toughest trek of Maharashtra. Typically, a 2-3 day hike is needed to cover three nearby mountains i.e. Alang, Madan, Kulang. Certain patches require rock climbing, rapelling, narrow traverses. Hikers usually camp in the caves of Alang and Kulang which also has water tanks nearby. Dense forest cover in certain patches make it difficult to find the route. Kalasubai, Aundh, Bitangad, Harihar, Anjaneri Harishchandragad, Aajobagad, Ratangad and Katrabai are seen from various different points.
If you are passionate about Sahyadris then AMK is must-to-do trek, albeit with proper safety gears and experienced leader. December and January are the best months to do this trek. The mountain of Alang aligns almost parallel to tropic of cancer and north face remains shaded due to winter solstice giving you relief from the typical scorching heat of tropics.
Dhodap is a good site for trekkers and adventure seekers. Both sides of the forts have strong bastion. One end of the fort shows a domical structure. The eastern face shows a fearsome cliff named Ikhara. A few other caves are also seen around. The fort played an important role during the Peshwa period. Hikers need to climb rock cut stone steps to reach the top. We can see Rawla - Jawla Fort from west face and Ikhara Peak from east.
For trekking to Dhodap, click here.
Taramati is the peak above Harishchandragad and Kokankada. It can be accessed from both sides in approx 30-45 mins. The trek is risky in monsoon as the path beyond Harishchandragad becomes very slippery and there are thick bushes on trail. It is best done in winters. You can stay in the caves of Harishchandragad or tents of Kokankada and do the trek in dusk. The sunrise from the peak is captivating. The water from distant Khireshwar dam lake reflects the sunlight towards you. You can see all the major hiking routes to Harishchandragad from Taramati peak.
For trekking to Taramati peak, join the winter trek to Harishchandragad here.
Saptashrungi is a Hindu pilgrimage located 60 kms from Nashik in Nanduri. According to legends, the goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini dwells within the seven mountain peaks. (Sapta means seven and shrung means peaks.) The Marathas and some Bhil tribes worship the goddess. There are 510 steps to climb the gad. The temple is also known as one of the "three and half Shakti Peethas" of Maharashtra.
Torna Fort is famous for haunted stories, apart from the beautiful valleys. It is believed to have been constructed by the Shaiva Panth, followers of the Shiva in the 13th century. A Menghai Devi temple, also referred to as the Tornaji temple, is situated near the entrance of the fort.
Also known as Prachandagad, Torna is the highest fort of Pune district. It was the first fort captured by Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in 1646, at the age of 16, forming the nucleus of the Maratha empire. The Raigad, Lingana, Rajgad, Purandar fort, Sinhagad are seen from Torna.
We can approach Torna from the base village of Velhe. Rajgad and Torna, both prominent forts of Swarajya, are connected by a 9 km long ridge. Typically trekkers do a range trek of Rajgad-Torna in 2-3 days.
For trekking to Torna, click here.