• Ajaz Shaikh

Prabalmachi & Kalavantin: Monsoon Treks Around Mumbai

Fireflies Trek to Prabalmachi, Panvel

Prabalmachi is a quaint little village situated half-way up a mountain hidden in the hills off the old Mumbai – Pune highway in the base of Prabalgad & Kalavantin durg, filled with greenery and is away from hustle and bustle of city. An ideal campsite for Prabalgad fort and Kalavantin Durg. You can experience the twinkling lights of Panvel, Navi Mumbai. Height of the Prabalmachi village is 390 metres above sea level. The place is also famous for its fireflies. The Prabalgad Fort stands at an elevation of 2,300 feet in the Western Ghats. The fort was previously known as Muranjan until it was taken over and renamed by the Maratha forces under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s rule. Its sister fort is Irshalgad. Right next to Prabalgad, to its north, lies the steep Kalavantin fort. Prabalmachi camping provides an amazing view of the two fort standing tall and facing each other. The mild breeze in the evening and traditional food by the villagers adds to the experience.

Major Attractions: - Scenic view of city from Prabalmachi / plateau and the cool breeze - Enjoy a panoramic view of the Surrounding and the city - Amazing hike in the woods - Wonderful climbs - Camping at the top of the plateau

Kalvantin Durg, Panvel

Kalvantin Durg also called “Stairways to Heaven” is a famous trekking spot near Mumbai which is 500m high and is opposite to Prabalgad fort on the northern edge of Prabalmachi. The Durg is listed among 33 Most Beautiful Abandoned Places. According to ancient tribes, the fort was built for a queen named ‘Kalavantin’. Steps leading up to the fort have been cut into the rock face of the hill and a walk through lush-green thickets will be a very impressive feat with an enthralling view. On the mid way to fort there is a hidden cave, one hidden room and also two hidden water tank plateaus which can be explored. On every Holi (Shimga) Festival, the Adivasi People of Machi-Prabal village have a custom of dancing at the top of Kalavantin fort. Be cautious and walk slowly as on one side a deep valley stares at you as you climb up the strong steps that have endured the test of time. On the peak, a small rock patch awaits you, scale it and you will be rewarded with magnificent views, gentle breeze and the feeling of accomplishment. Enthrall in the panoramic view of Sahyadri Mountains from the top, feel the thrill of an exposed climb via the spiraling stairs. Witness wide variety of flora and fauna as you trek. The mesmerizing scenery from this watch tower will definitely give you a memory to cherish for a lifetime.

How to Reach ?

  • By Train: The best and cheapest way to reach Thakurwadi Village (Base Village) is via Railway. Nearest Railway Station to Thakurwadi Village is Panvel Railway Station which is very well connected to other parts of the country via railway. From Panvel, regular buses operate for Thakurwadi Village (16 kms - 30 minutes). Also, one can opt for Autorickshaws to reach base village.

  • By Road: If you want to avoid the hassle of changing the public transport, you can drive all the way up to Thakurwadi village from Mumbai (48 kms – 1 hour)/ Pune (115 kms – 2 hours). Parking facility is available at the base village for a small charge.

Stay and Food Options

At Prabalmachi , there are few locals who provides stay options. One can book a tent for which the charges are INR 200 per person. Also you can set up your own tent if you have one.

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