Fort : Prabalgad and Kalavantin (extension of Prabalgad)
Height : 2300 ft (above MSL)
Base Village : Prabalmachi and Thakurwadi
Grade : Prabalgad (Medium) , Kalavantin (Hard during rains , medium in other season)
We decided on a 2 day trek to Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg near Panvel (13/14 september 2008). This was a long pending trek so me , purvesh, deepak, tushar, sau , sachin, chhaya and neha decided to do it.
Morning 6am I started on my bike towards Talegaon phata where Deepak and Sau were to meet. Sachin , Tushar, Chhaya and Neha came in at 6.50am at the phata and then Sau and Deepak came in. We started going in at a sedate 60-70kmph because of the wet roads. It was drizzling but continuously.
Sau filled petrol near Wadgaon and we went ahead and crossed Lonavala in no-time. We came across the Rajmachi point and decided to stop there for a dekko at the views there. The nature was amazing there and the view of the waterfall was refreshing. Starting from there we descended the ghat towards Khopoli in thick fog which was persistent all through there.
Once at Khopoli it was the boring NH-4 towards Panvel. Purvesh was to meet us at the toll naka before Panvel (5km before Panvel) as he was to come from Dombivali. We met at a hotel just after the toll naka. Had a great breakfast and started for Shedung from where the route to Thakurwadi goes ahead.
We finally reached Thakurwadi at parked our bikes at a safe location and then started on the trek towards Prabalmachi. The initial route is via a narrow tar road which goes ahead and climbs up from where the tar road vanishes and there is a kuccha path which climbs up.
The views from here are amazing with waterfalls et. all but as it was humid we were getting tired , the path goes via thick bushes and ahead. We could see the wall of Prabalmachi. Finally after 1 hour of climbing we reached the Prabal machi entrance where there are some remnants of the fort walls and as we go ahead there are steps which house a temple of Ganeshji and Maruti raya. Going ahead we got the first look of Kalavantin Durg. It was massive and inviting :)
We went ahead via green patches and into Prabalmachi village where Purvesh already had asked a villager about staying in at his place for the day as we were to do Prabalgad today and then Kalavantin the next day. The atmosphere was cloudy and rainy and rain was falling intermittently all throughout.
We then kept our bags in the house and took small sacks and pouches with some food and water and started towards Prabalgad. The whole area is covered with thick bushes and trees and one can always loose his way if he doesnt get the right path and so we did. We went ahead passing the actual path and then we were lost , Sau and Purvesh went ahead to look at the way to go up and finally found the way so they called us up and we went ahead. The initial path is all mud and stones so it isnt a problem. Once we reach the col like place its huge slippery rocks through which water was flowing because of the rains and it was a slow progress up towards prabalgad. The region witnesses tremendous landslides during rains and it was evident from the loose rocks all around. Once in the col we climbed up on and on when we reach a supposed wall of the fort which is broken and we enter. Again there is a steep kutccha path from here to go above and when we reached the top it was a jungle , a thick one at that.
If one gets lost on top of Prabalgad then the person will never find the way out , the jungle is that thick. We stuck to a path and went ahead and ahead. We found some sculptures on rocks and went ahead. The whole top of Prabalgad is void of any fort remnant just a whole plateau. We finally reached the Kalavantin side of Prabalgad but the clouds were so thick we couldnt get a glimpse of Kalavantin which everyone said was amazing and a must look, but we couldnt see that because the clouds never parted. We had biscuits , chiwada there and did some tp in there before starting back. We were disappointed firstly to see nothing on top and secondly we no view of Kalavantin but then we did Prabalgad. We climbed down via the same path through the slippery rocks and mud. Climbing down was an ordeal just as going up and the rains made it even more difficult. We finally touched the path down in around 50 mins and started towards Prabalmachi.
Kalavantin was looking imposing and like it was calling us to scale it, we could see the steps on it and it was covered in green. Cool view.
We finally reached the village by 4.45pm and they had tea made by the house owner. Tushar,Sachin , Chhaya and Neha were going back home today coz they didnt plan on the 2 day trek , they just wanted to do Prabalgad and went back at around 5.30pm. Me , Purvesh, Sau and Deepak stayed back to do Kalavantin the next day.
Finally dusk arrived and we had our dinner which we had brought from home. After a full dinner and timepass we went to sleep praying that it shouldnt rain the next day and we should be able to do Kalavantin easily. But nature has its own ways !
We woke up early in the morning and after refreshing ourselves and taking water bottles and some snacks we went ahead towards Kalavantin , the route was via the col between Kalavantin and Prabalgad and was a steep route again via slippery rock patches and we lost our way yet again and finally Purvesh and Deepak found the way and me and Saurabh followed them. We reached the col in about 55mins and there was a rock patch to be done after which the steps started.
The rock patch was least inviting and the wind in the col was too much along with the clouds. Visibility was at its lowest. I decided I wouldnt go any further ahead but only upto the steps because I am wary of rock patches and that too wet ones and the rain wouldnt stop, it became intense so I said to purvesh and saurabh that they go ahead with Deepak and I stop here.
I just sat down on the rock for sometime and enjoyed the silence and the sound of the wind and the rain and then climbed down the col with effort (remember it was slippery rock :))
After an hour Saurabh , Deepak and Purvesh came down sucessful from their ascent of Kalavantin , i felt dejected but then thats fine, I could always do Kalavantin afterwards. :)
We had some biscuits at the col and started climbing down. The rain became torrential and everything was flowing down along with the rocks which became loose. The path down was slippery but we anyways made it down. On the way down we met a group going up and we wished them the best :)
We finally came down to the machi and got ready. The rain was in no mood to relent and it was already flooding the surrounding places in there. We wanted to get down as fast as possible so we started after packing our stuff in the bags in the rain. We finally got down the path where huge waterfalls were full and we crossed them and then finally got to the door of Prabalmachi and went down. The view of the waterfalls from the machi were amazing and we went down to Thakurwadi in around an hour.
Finally getting down to Thakurwadi we got our bikes and then started back home bidding goodbyes to Purvesh at the Shedung phata we started at around 2.30pm. I was home by 5pm after a boring ride on NH4 highway :)
So a trek accomplished but Kalavantin evaded me , but ill anyway do it soon. :)
Photos from other cam