Saturday, 18 January 2014

Trek to Kalavantin (कलावंतीण दुर्ग)

Difficulty Rating: Easy to Medium grade
A kind of difficult, but frequently visited by trekkers.
Height: ~2000 ft.
Cost: 98 Rs (INR) Including healthy Lunch, and transport from Dadar-Dadar

The plan was to meet at 7:30 AM at Panvel (पनवेल) station and catch a ST bus to Thakurwadi village from Panvel ST stand. But we reached a few minutes late and had to catch a bus going to Dadar via Shedung phata (शेडुंग फाटा). From Shedung phata we got into an auto (6 passengers in a 3 seater auto) and headed to the base village. We were a group of 6 (Abhash, Aaditya, Manoj, Tarun Gangwani and Deven). It was Deven's first trek and had no clue what all things to bring. So a day earlier, Tarun had asked Deven to bring heavy lunch, 2 steel plates, knife, bread, onion, tomato and all secondary stuff. Not to mention additional 2 Ltr water bottle !! 

The start:
A long and twisting route till the Prabal plateau aka machi in marathi (प्रबळ माची), gradually climbing with each step formed the beginning of the trek. On the way, we came across an open temple of lord Ganesh (गणेश) and Hanuman (हनुमान). The forts of Chanderi, Mahismaal could be spotted far far away. Started at 9:45 AM roughly from the base, we reached the Prabal machi at 11 AM. 

Prabal machi (प्रबळ माची):
There is a small dhaba (ढाबा) run by a local villagers. The village located at Prabal machi goes by the name Chikhale (चिखले). We spent about 20 minutes at the dhaba. Deven and TSEC Tarun were busy with their own photoshoot near an empty hut while Manoj was busy with his 'pet love' (Checkout the snaps with Manoj holding a cat). In the village, there were roughly 10-15 houses there, and a few villagers were busy with some construction work. The locals were eager to help us out with finding the proper route of the trek (which is behind the left-most house).

Climb to the col
The forest was a bit thicker here and the route had scree at a few places. This trail involved climbing the 35-45 degree slope covered with loose rocks. Within 20 minutes we reached the col and had the first hand feel of the pinnacle of Kalavantin.

The final climb:
Well, it reminded us of our previous trek to Harihar fort. But the only difference was that Kalavantin had proper steps and comparatively broader route. But one cant neglect the fact that the first look is always threatening.

Slowly and steadily we marched towards the top. The route seemed pretty safe now with our cautious walking. Manoj, as usual, was the first one to get scared, and also the first one to climb the pinnacle. Within 15 minutes we reached the top, also the base for the final 15-20 ft. rock climb. The final rock patch had sufficient hand and foot holds to climb so we didn't require rope. I climbed first, Abhash followed, then Tarun, Manoj, Deven, Aaditya... One by one we all climbed the pinnacle and yeah, we were on top of Kalavantin!!

At the top:
The top is fascinating, with steep slopes from all the sides. there are 2 saffron flags and a few huge boulders. Prabalgad, the one along the adjacent ridge, looked very close by, but yet so far.. We could easily spot the starting point of the trek, Thakurwadi village a few Dam and farmhouses. We spent nearly 30 minutes at the top, taking pics with all possible pose. Here is the group photo:

The descend and a long halt at dhaba:
Everyone was now very much desperate for lunch. We didn't have a morsel of food since the morning and now our second target was to reach the dhaba and relish on the goodies we were carrying.

It was 1:30 PM when we started the descend and the Sun had started heating up the rocks. When we were half way through the rock-cut steps, we looked down and saw a long queue, a group of about 40 people, slowly marching towards the top (towards us). Well as mentioned earlier, route was narrower than Harihar fort route, but not as narrow as to allow simultaneous two-way traffic. That group was really a big one, most of them looked first-timers, with their organizers carrying rope for them. Well, our time was perfect and we got past them and reached the col to celebrate the moment. Oh yes, and I stumbled across a classmate from IITians PACE, Saud, who was also in that group.

Very close to the col is a small cave, approx. 4ft. x 4ft. and neatly carved inwards. People say that this was the secret route to Prabalgad fort, and a similar one can be seen at the top of Prabalgad too. TSEC Tarun decided to glance through the cave route, but the dust inside cave made it impossible for him to proceed any further than 1m inside. Then Aaditya joined him too-

The Lunch:
And walking past Chikhale village, we reached the dhaba, located on the outskirts of the village. Then started the lunch... 'The Lunch'. Parathe, Idli-chutny, Chapati Bhaji, Pulao, Rice, The unlimited  Rice plate (Aloo ki sabji, Matar sabzi, papad, daal-bhaat), banana's and all other supporting food items like tomato, onion, lemon etc. This whole process lasted for 20 minutes. Added another 10 minutes for resting and then started off again to the base in order to catch the 4.00 PM ST bus back to Panvel.

Some idher-udhar ki baatein:
We met a group of 10-15 near Prabal machi. They asked about what we do, our college etc. When we told them our college name, we both literally jumped!! Most of them were SAKEC alumni (2008 passout) and their friends. (We too are from SAKEC, Mumbai University!!! except TSEC Tarun & Deven). Throughout the trek we were close by. Most of the time we were helping each other during the climb and descend.

The End:
So, all in all, trek was completed at 4:05 PM at Thakurwadi village and we reached our home by 6:30 PM (Dadar-Parel) to 7:30 PM (Andheri-Versova) in the evening.

Just 98 Rs. for such an awesome Adventure !! My Communication Systems book by Wayne Tomasi costs 600 Rs. !!! 

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