Mt Kalsubai is the highest peak(1646 meters) in Maharashtra and a definite destination. The trek offers a mesmerizing combination of waterfalls, forests, field lands, and historic forts.
Being the highest peak, it commands a beautiful view of the surrounding forts. You can see Bhandardara backwaters and the peaks of Ramsej, Harihargad, Brahmagiri, Anjaneri, Ghargad, Bahula, Tringalwadi, Kavnai, to the north; Aundha, Vishramgad, Bitangad, to the east; Alang, Madangad, Kulang, to the west; Ratangad at the south-west and to the south you will be able to see Prabhalgad, Ghanchakkar, and Harishchandragad.
Scaling Kalsubai has become something of a rite of passage for ardent trekkers. The trek is moderately difficult, passing through lush paddy fields, jungles, small streams, highlands, and rocky terrains, and takes around 3-4 hours, with short intervals in between, to reach the crest of Kalsubai.
The base village Bari is a farming village and from the start of the trek, you will walk through extensive farms. This is the best of the trek and is an easy enjoyable walk. Once you reach the end of the village you’ll find a small stream (which needs to be crossed), and a Hanuman temple. The route from the temple leads straight to the peak and is well-marked so there is no risk of getting lost. During monsoons, there is a patch of fresh slush near the paddy fields, so don't worry much about the stains, they're bound to happen. Following the fields, you’ll go through a short forest section. Here ends your first section of the trek and the easy part too. The second section is Up the hill, and what you’ll see is white times infinity. Fog. Clouds. Drizzle. Wind. And in all this come the ladders! Wobbly as they are, one-at-a-time climb on the ladder, less support, you start thinking about all the things you had ever wanted to do in life. There are five such ladders en route to the top. The ladder section is the challenging part of the trek. After this, you’ll reach a viewpoint that is usually misassumed as the pinnacle but it’s not. From the viewpoint area, you’ll have to walk for another 10 mins for the final summit. Once you reach the peak, you’re above the clouds!
The final summit is where the Kalsubai temple is located. The Kalsubai temple is considered very auspicious and many villagers still visit the temple to seek the blessings of Kalsubai Devi. The temple is open throughout the year. The descent down takes about two to three hours of trekking. You will have to take the same trail down to reach the base village of Bari.
Both day and night trekking options are available. If you opt for a day trek, aim to be at the pinnacle at dusk when the sun sets behind the lush mountains, creating a magically beautiful landscape – it’s a sight to behold! And, if you’re considering a night trek, aim to be at the peak at dawn as you’ll be making a memory of a lifetime, watching the sun gloriously rise behind the mountains whilst the mist covers the valley below.
The trek is open throughout the year with each season having a different landscape. So choose the best time depending on what you would like to experience.
During monsoon season you get to see lush green landscapes and experience trekking in heavy rain. But at the same time, it’ll be heavily crowded and the views aren’t clear too. So, it’s best to avoid this season.
Post monsoon is the flowering season and one can experience the beauty of a variety of flora. You get to see the same flowers as the ones found in Kaas plateau(valley of flowers of Maharashtra).
The winter months are the best time for night trekking since you’ll have a clear view of the starry sky and the trial is less likely to be risky. And if you’re lucky enough you even get to spot fireflies.
We will be boarding the train from Secunderabad junction at 06:10pm.
It will be around 6am by the time we reach Manmad station. We will have to freshen up in the train itself. We will get into our hired vehicles and start to the base village. We will go via Igatpuri and Bhandadara to reach Bari (base village).
The trek is moderately difficult, passing through lush paddy fields, jungles, small streams, highlands, and rocky terrains, and takes around 3-4 hours, with short intervals in between, to reach the peak of Kalsubai. Once we reach Bari village we'll leave our luggage in the vehicle itself and carry only necessary things for the trek. We'll stock up some snacks for refreshments during the trek from the village. Once we cross the residential part of the village we come across cultivating farmlands. At the end of the fields starts the rocky terrain of the trek. We'll halt here and some light lunch like poha or maggi and hydrate ourselves with some lemonade.
From here starts the ascending part of the trek, it is just a slight inclination and nothing to worry about. But next comes the tricky part of the trek with steep iron ladders. What we mean be tricky is that during monsoon the ladders are going to be slippery and you have a direct view of the valley from the ladders and looks a bit scary. There are around 4-5 ladders of this sort in the whole trek. Once we cross the 3rd ladder we will have our next halt at a viewpoint. From this viewpoint we will have a full view of the nearby forts like Harishchandragad and Bhandadara backwaters if the weather is clear and if there's no fog. Here we will have food refreshments again. We will take a mandatory group picture here and after a required amount of halt we'll continue to go ahead. After a short ascend we will reach the final iron ladder and once you climb the ladder you reach the pinnacle of Kalsubai.
On the pinnacle we have Kalsubai Mata Temple. It is a very sacred place for the local people there and they have a history about it, so paying due respects there is our responsibility. There are high speed winds here on the peak. And you can expect heavy rainfall here during monsoon season. We will spend an ample amount of time here and then descend back to the village. We will have to follow the same trail back. It'll be around dinner time by the time we reach Bari village. We will have local village food for dinner and the night stay will be either homestay or camping depending on the weather. We will retire for the night.
Early morning wakeup call, freshenup and have breakfast. Board our hired vehicle and head to Vihigaon waterfall.
Vihigaon waterfall is a seasonal waterfall near ghats of Nashik. Waterflow in the waterfall is tentative, if not Vihigaon we will alternatively visit an unnamed waterfall which is closeby. We will spend a good amount of time in the waterfalls, and head to Bhandardara dam.
Bhandardara dam is located at a picturesque area. From Bhandardara dam we will head to Trimbakeshwar temple.
Trimbakeshwar temple dedicated to Lord Shiva is one of the 12 jyotirlinga temples in India.
After the temple visit we will head to Manmad station to catch return train to Hyderabad. We will either pack our dinner at Manmad or have it there itself depending on the time. Board the train to Hyderabad.
Reach Hyderabad by 7am.
Notes for the trek:
1. Carry your own water bottle and we will refill wherever possible to avoid littering.
2. Carry polythene bags to drop in your wet clothes.
3. Carry extra pair of socks too.
Clothing & Footwear
Food & Beverage
If you’re traveling on your own, the base village Bari is very much accessible from the Mumbai-Nashik highway.
Also from Kalyan station, you can take a local train to Kasara/Igatpuri station and then hire a shared auto/cab till Bari or alternatively catch an ST bus.