Durg Kalavantin is a hill station in the Matheran range which is located in the Indian state of Maharashtra, at the eastern side of Panvel, on the way to Pune via old Mumbai-Pune route. It is at an elevation of 2300 feet above sea level.
This Kalavantin fort is a spellbind fort, situated just opposite to historic Prabalgad fort and clearly visible from Mumbai-Pune highway. According to ancient tribes, the fort was constructed for a queen named Kalavantin. The steps leading up to the fort have been cut into the rock face of the hill. It is said that on every Holi (Shimga) Festival, the Adivasi People of Prabalmachi village follow the custom of dancing at the top of Kalavantin fort. These people share a long-standing relationship with this fort, and it has become a part of their heritage.
The journey towards the summit started a day before in the evening around 6:00 p.m. The first stage of the climb comes to an end at the checking point; the place where forest officials will check your bag for any intoxication items, so make sure you do not carry any alcohol or cigarettes because it is strictly prohibited.
Once, your team successfully crosses the checking point, the stage two towards the base camp starts. As you keep climbing closer to summit it will be difficult for you to perceive nature since the sun will be down by then, do carry a torch! This climb will go on for around an hour depending on the speed of the group. Keep walking till you strike the base camp. For the first-timers don’t worry, as at Kalavatin Durg there is a small stall at every certain distance for your recovery. The stall is owned by the villagers and provides you with lemonade, cucumber, tea, and biscuits.
As you get tired and you wonder, how much more? The far off city lights, the hustle bustle of the city you feel from the distance, the silence of the starry sky you are under, far far away from the city, just observing. That! that moment will trigger the motivation for you to climb further and reach the base camp.
Now, this is where you will be surprised to see the villagers already have food ready for you to eat, the available 3 options are veg, non-veg and Jain food. The food is homemade, simply authentic and delicious! After food, your group may go to their respective tents to enjoy the bonfire. Please note: Washrooms are available so do not worry. Carry sweaters and jackets to keep yourself warm throughout the night. Furthermore, there is no network connectivity.
Stage 3 of the trek starts early mornings, make sure you climb and reach the top before the sunrise. The most challenging part you will face is to wake up early in the morning (In this cold weather this seems to be impossible but just do it.) You will enjoy the wind, nature as you start your trek, you’ll also come across a cave along your way, but do not try to enter without a guide with you as the forest is said to inhabit snake species like Indian Common Krait, Russell’s Viper, Saw scaled Viper, Indian Spectacled Cobra, Bamboo Pit Viper.
After everything you reach the stage 4 climb where you’ll think this is not possible. Believe me, it just looks hard but it is actually not! Once you cross, this, that’s it, enjoys the view!
But hold on, there is still a small hill yet to be conquered to reach the top of the Kalanvatin Durg and the only way to reach is with the help of a rope. Since I have done it before, it wasn’t as tough for me, I also had an experienced and knowledgable guide from the team ‘Walk To Conquer’ with me, therefore, I was completely safe.
Please note: Do not attempt to climb this patch without any safety equipment.
Once, you reach the top, look, look around you’ll see Matheran hill, Chanderi, Peb, Haji malang, Karnala fort, and our own Mumbai city. Once you reach the top, feel, enjoy the breeze that touches your skin to make you fresh; wait for the sun to rise from the mountains with all its positivity; wait, wait for the sunshine to caress your cheeks.
To experience all of this, all you have to do is… Keep walking! Because constantly remember, you’re walking to conquer!
How to get there:
- 1) By Train + bus:
- Get down at Panvel railway station.
- 5-minute walk to the State Transport Bus Station.
- 1-hour bus ride till base village Thakurwadi.
- Easy trek till Prabalmachi.
- The direct route is properly marked till the base village.
- 2) By Train + Rickshaw:
- Once, you reach local Panvel railway station.
- Share TumTum Rickshaw till shedung phata.
- Hire Rickshaw till Thakurwadi Village from shedung phata.
For treks contact: WALK TO CONQUER at 8976815814 or follow them at IG @walk_to_conquer.