Mysterious and intriguing places have a knack of ruling your subconscious mind. Prabalgad was such a place which was at the back of my mind for quite a few months. A first glimpse of it during my hike to Kalavantin Pinnacle had left indelible impression on my psyche and I was looking for an opportunity to visit it at the earliest.
Prabalgad situated in between Panvel and Matheran region is a vast fort, mostly covered with thick vegetation and you can visit only part of it and it is advisable to visit it with a guide or expert group since there are chances of getting lost on the fort.
I was mulling to join Wild Trek Adventure group for Prabalgad hike on 10th/11th May when my friend Amarbabu Kakamanu , who wanted to start hiking approached me and I immediately finalized the plan to join WTA group along with Amar. We were a group of around 20 trekkers led by Prasad Wagh, a friend and founder of Wild Trek Adventure Group. I was picked up at Wakdewadi, Shivajinagar and other members were picked up at other pickup points like Kirkee, Nasik Phata etc.
Temple where we had dinner:
To our dismay, a small group was already camping on the plateau and they had brought the electricity generator and were doing something strange under the floodlights illuminated by the generator. We initially thought why on earth these people had taken so much efforts to bring generators instead of enjoying the natural, soothing moonlight. We even thought that they were drunk and were partying only to realize later that they were shooting for some kind of a short film.
We chatted for a while and chose a flat ground to camp on. I immediately slipped inside the sleeping bag to have a much deserved rest. The cold mountain air washed away all the fatigue and gradually I went into the deep sleep while few members preferred to chat, do some night photography.
I slept for almost 6 hours at a stretch and when my eyes opened, it was just before the sun rise. I was contented to have a sound sleep. It was the first time that I slept so peacefully inside the sleeping bag.
We chose a small house at the end of the plateau where we were provided water to get refreshed. Sky suddenly became overcast for a while and I got a nice photograph of Kalavantin Pinnacle from the backyard of the house.
Soon, it was time to have a hearty breakfast. Maggi was just getting cooked and we freshened ourselves and gorged on the sumptuous Maggi. Though I am not a big Maggi fan, I am not too fussy about having it during the treks. Tea followed the Maggi and we were ready to start our hike.
Ascent to the top:
As soon as reaching on the top, we had a nice group photo. Shende uncle, aged 57 years was the eldest member (age wise) though he could have given run for money to any youngster with his energy and enthusiasm. Youngest member was Rohan Patil who just had finished his 12th exams. Though he was the youngest, he was well ahead of many of the trek mates with the number of treks he had done before. Reshma Raut (soon to be a certified mountaineer), Sneha and Smriti were the female members.
A whole Matheran range of the forts (Haji-Malang, Tawali, Nawra-Nawri pinnacles, Mhaismal, Nakhind, Peb Fort, Matheran plateau ) is visible and it is one of the most astonishing sights in Sahydari.
Photo Courtesy: Prasad Wagh
On the way, you come across a small Ganesh idol. We took a small break here.
Having trekked for the first time, heat and fatigue took severe toll on Smriti and she suffered from bad cramps. With a lot of coaxing and help, she was brought back to Prabalmachi village.
Finally, we reached to a place (same house where we refreshed ourselves in the morning) where lunch was being served. I saw contented faces of our other trek mates who had come much earlier and just finished the hearty meal.Our host served us great food and we happily gorged on the much needed food.
Photo Courtesy: Mahesh Kamble
After resting for a while, some of us started descending without waiting for others who had gone on Kalavantin Pinnacle. There are idols of Lord Ganesha and Lord Hanuman on the outskirts of the Prabalmachi Village.
Soon, few of us were back to our parking spot. Looking back, both the forts - Kalavantin and Prabalgad were looking resplendent in the slanting golden rays of the evening.
Till the other members joined, we enjoyed chatting and witnessing the beautiful sunset. Though the sunset was witnessed from the flat region, it was still beautiful.
Prabalgad, situated in the picturesque surroundings of the Panvel region leaves you spellbound with its thick forest, great panoramic views and rich history.
Tips for the hikers
- More about the history can be found here.
- No food facility on the fort.
- Water is available in the cistern on the South Side (Near Kalburuj/Irshalgad) point
- It is advisable to take a guide or a person who already has trekked before
- Avoid monsoon season
- This hike can be combined with hike to Kalavantin Pinnacle. Read my earlier article on Kalavantin Pinnacle here.
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