Rock climbing in India
Rock Climbing Areas : Himalayas in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, Aravallis near Delhi, Mt.Abu and Sariska in Rajastan, Pachmarhi in Madya Pradesh, Sahyadris near Pune, Chamundi hills and area around Bangalore - Mysore Highway.
Rock climb routes in Maharashtra: Chanderi (Karjat), Chandwad (Manmad), Haji Malang (Kalyan), Madangad (Igatpuri), Moradi pinnacle (Lonavla), Bhairi cave & pinnacle (Lonavla).
Aatwan phata - Mangaon trek
Kalavantin view from Prabalgad
Prabalgad is a fort located in between Matheran and Panvel at 770 m. The fort lacks water source. This fort was conquered by Shivaji from Mughals in 1658.
Panvel to Thakurvadi by six-seater auto-rickshaw(14 km) near Apollo Nusi Research Centre. Trek to the fort following cart track. One hour trek takes one to forested higher plateau called Prabalmachi inhabited by tribals. Trek to the fort takes 4 hour. Descending takes 2 hour.
ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR TREK - Water proof rucksack, sleeping bag, foamed matress, walking boots, Hunter shoes, raincoat, torch, batteries, flask, lighter, candle, cap, knife, clothes, tooth brush, paste, blanket, towel, woollen socks, gloves, cooking utensils, mug, plate, spoon, googles, soap, map, travel info./itinerary, tent, heavy woollens, bottled water, ice axe, camera, film, cash, alarm clock, ATM/credit cards.
Food : Biscuits, bread, jam, dry fruits, fruits, fruit juice, chhapati, cakes, butter, sweets, glucose, boiled eggs, boiled potatoes, curd, condensed milk, soup, ghee, honey etc.
Medicine : Medicine for stomach ache, head ache, vomiting, diarrhoea, band aid, dehydration (Electral solution), water purifing tablets.
Location : Chiplun / Kolhapur in Maharashtra, India. Fort in dense forest in the Warna area.
Route 1 : Travel from Chiplun - Sangameshwar-Nyari by ST bus. Trek to Shringarpur (3km) - climb to reach a white spot on cliff (6km)-traverse towards north and climb the north col to get to Darwaza of fort (1 km)- temple, water tanks and old gun. One has to cut the route through the dense forest as it is not visited frequently. The route is exposed at various places.
Route 2 : Travel from Ratnagiri or Kolhapur to Ambe (50 km from Rundiv). The to Udgir - Chandel - Rundiv by ST bus. Prachitgad is one hour trek away from Rundiv village. Rundiv - Chandel road passes through dense forest (15 km). In the north is Patharpunj (13 km from Rundiv by trek, dense forest worthy a visit with a guide, sada - volcanic fields).
Dhodap fort trek
Dhodap fort (1451 m)
Dhodap is a very prominent fort. From Nashik take a bus to Vadalibhoi naka on the Chandwad road. Travel to Hatti via Dhodambe (11 km) by truck or ST bus. There is a direct bus to Hatti from Nashik, reaching Hatti at 8 pm. One can stay at the Hatti temple. Approach the base of the fort's pinnacle and climb to the upper plateau. A hut and few (3) temples are located at Sonar's village. Climb the route to top where one can see excellent caves (3), water ponds (10) and a commanding view of the hills. The final rock Pyramid is still 70 m higher with a rock climbing route on the ridge.
On the western ridge of Dhodap, a wide gap is hewn out - to throw the condemned prisoners. A sadhu lives below the pinnacle in a cave on the fort. On top, there are around 10 water cisterns, 3 caves, ruined palaces and a tunnel cum cave.
Fine views of Ikharia pinnacle, which is on the adjoining common plateau. The to and fro trek takes 3.5 hour.
Enjoy the fresh air and peace ......
Ikharia pinnacle (1158 m) is near Dhodap fort and is of purely rock climbing route. From Sonar's village a flat walk via fort's entrance leads to Gorakhnath ashram at the base of the pinnacle. The route up is through a prominent slanting Chimney. From Ikharia climb down to Kondana and then to Dhodambe (6 km).
Mhasmal (713 m) : It is a group of four pinnacles, exposed and difficult to climb. The best time to climb it is just after the monsoon when the upper scree settles. There is no drinking water near by and the route is steep. From Vangani railway station on Mumbai - Karjat line, travel to Goregaon by auto (3 km, six seater on sharing basis). Then walk on the road to Chinchli village (5 km). Climb a spur behind the village to forest an follow a track to reach a nullah. Follow the water nullah to reach the col between Chanderi and Mhasmal. The route is over boulders and scree over a steep route.
From the col follow the right steep route to the base of the pinnacles. Going around, reach the col between 2 nd and 3 rd pinnacles and climb to top of 2 nd pinnacle (30 m). A descent of 10 m on the other side and a final climb of 15 m leads to the top of the highest pinnacle. Be very careful while descending.
Chanderi fort (790 m) : This is a fascinating and intricate fort. It has plenty of drinking water and provides a very enjoyable outing. Its solid square massif is clearly visible even from Mumbai. From the Vangani station on the Karjat - Kalyan railway line travel to Goregaon by six seater and then to Chinchli (6 km). Follow a water nullah and climb on the scree to the col of Mhasmal - Chanderi. From the col of Mhasmal - Chanderi, climb left to reach the base of the massif where there is a good cave. An exposed and tricky traverse leads to the centre of the massif and on to a small ledge with a water tank. A rock staitrcase (partly blown off) leads to the top by a very exposed route. The area is full of opportunities for rock climbing and has a fantastic view. The trek takes 5 hour.
Haji Malang (790 m) : This is a prominent landmark in the vicinity of Kalyan, with the dargah of Baba Malang halfway up the mountain. Buses ply regularly from Kalyan to the foot of the hill from where a broad path leads to the Dargah. Above the dargah there are plenty of opportunities for rock climbing. For the experienced (having equipment), the route ahead is worth trying. The summit is known as 'Balahasner' an is steep climb from the tomb. There is a hollow at the foot of the rock which towers precipitately in front. Climb is almost perpendicular and is exposed. A steep flight of rock steps leads to the top via a rope bridge and you see a big black hole, which as per legend, was a secret passage to the valley. There are many pinnacles on the summit ridge. One has to be very careful to move around and on the descent. From dargah one can climb down via regular steps to Panvel side too.
My route to Haji Malang - Travel to Vavanje by bus from Panvel. Trek to darga of Haji Malang. The Malangad is visible to a long distance. Above the darga, a thrilling climb takes you to top of the pinnacle via rope bridge. To and fro trek takes 6 hour.
On top of Haji Malangad with pinnacle view
Another approach is from Kalyan by bus. Tavli hills (800 m), a group of three pinnacles, is nearby. Tavli caves at the base of the pinnacle can be reached by a tricky and exposed traverse.
Irshal (Vishalgad, 370 m) : It has a peculiar forked shape with sharp ridges and a prominent hole in the centre. Reach Chowk from Panvel or Karjat. A 3 km uphill track leads to Vishalwadi at the foot of the final climb. From the village the route lies over the extreme left ridge in the northerly direction and then from behind the hill to a small gap above the hole. Straight ahead is a 10 m rock climb to the loose scree above. A very exposed scree traverse from the left leads to the small grassy top. One should be very careful on descent, as any slip would be difficult to check. It is not advisable to climb the final grassy top of Irshal without experience and ropes. A few people have died on these final slopes.