Height- 1800 ft.
Per head cost- 150 ₹
Hence, this post is specially dedicated to those trekkers who want to reach the top of this fort without anybody's help and without getting lost in the Forest.
Mumbai Central: 5.34AM
Vasai Road: 6.34AM
Saphale Road: 7.04AM
Kelva Road: 7.11AM
Khodkona is a small happy village. When we arrived the school children came running to welcome us (It was a weekday). Cheerful lot, they were. All had a sweet, naive smiles when posing before our camera.
A tip for Novices: There are no diversions on the route at the starting. Follow the main route. It will take you right into the Forest. The climb to the fort doesn't start immediately after we come out of village, but after a gradual walk for about 15-20 minutes. The trail will gradually turn upwards and turn progressively towards right side. This is where actual climb starts. And if you think you are lost, then search for the white arrow marked on stones and tree trunks. The full trail to the top is marked. All we need to find the proper route is to find the arrow marks.
At a spot, the stream is so close by that we decided to spend some time in it. We set off again. Soon the forest cover grew very thick along the route. It was 9.30 AM in the morning, still the darkness resembled 7.00 PM and no sooner a light shower of rain started. The trail here was full of huge boulders and rocks and navigating became a bit tough here. Tarun and me were searching all over for the arrow marks in order to find the way. The rest followed us. Abhash was fully exhausted; so were Pratik and Jigar. They were slowly following us. At a point we thought we were lost when a huge boulder stood before us. But the arrow mark was right behind it and we knew we were on correct track. We had to search small stones, boulders and even tree trunks for finding these arrow markings. There were instances when the trail was blocked by fallen trees. After maneuvering these difficulties we finally reached the col. At this point Pratik and Jigar decided to stay at the col as the trek was too much for them. .So now we were just three of us who were going to make it to the top. Although Abhash was tired, he never complained about the difficulty of the trek. He always makes it to the top no matter what. He always says reaching the top is equivalent to the feeling of an achievement which nobody can miss.
The route after col is pretty straight forward but steep. There is a small open temple of Vaghoba hidden in the trees. We continued the climb. There were rock cut steps carved on the rock. The route was pretty steep then.
At the main entrance we found this ladder placed over the route. This was the best part of the trek. There was valley on one side and steep climb on other. The presence of the ladder is inconsistent. Sometimes it is present. sometimes missing. But it was there for us this time.
We were not alone that day. There were fellow villagers from Barhanpur (बऱ्हाणपूर), the village on opposite of Asherigad. There is a direct route from Barhanpur that leads to the col. Which means there are two routes to reach the top. One via Khodkona and other via Barhanpur village. The villagers told that the route was not manageable. I guess the difficulty of both the routes were similar.
We found this rock sculpture and a water tank here. The water from the tank was thirst quenching.