Monsoon has arrived in Mumbai and is going to stay for a while. With rains, the days have become pleasant and the barren landscapes have turned green and picturesque making this season the best time to hit the road. Waiting for monsoon felt like ages to us and as soon as it arrived we started making plans.
On a recent weekend, we drove to the relatively newer route for Naneghat trek. This time we planned to go with our other two friends Pravir and Digambar, who were joining us from Pune. The meeting point was decided to be Malshej-ghat. The plan was to meet by 12p.m. at destination and then we will together head for a day trek. But things never works as we plan! well mostly in our case. What happened??Did we trek? Read below to find out 😉
On Saturday, we woke up early and left for Malshej-ghat at 9.30A.M. Google was showing 2 hour 45 minute to cover approx 116 k.m from our place, so far so good. But thing started going wrong just after half an hour, as we unknowingly took a wrong turn. Not exactly wrong, actually the road was showing right as per Google, but as we came to know it was one way untill 10:30 a.m. So traffic police caught us and whole scene took 15-20 minutes.
We resumed our journey and surprisingly the traffic was less and roads were in good condition. The experience was opposite to our bike-trip along Konkan beaches. In around one hour we reached Barvi dam, a beautiful earthfill dam on Kalyanthane river.
We took a halt there to have tea and of-course pictures. We again resumed our journey to Malshej-ghat which was still one and half hour away. The journey from Barvi dam onwards was very beautiful, the roads were serpentine with dense green forest on both side. Turned out that the area near dam is famous for birding near Mumbai.We had a great time driving on the beautiful roads and to be honest we took extra time.
As soon as we hit ghat roads, the weather changed drastically, from clear and windy to foggy and rainy. It was so much fog that we could not see beyond 2 meters, it was scary and thrilling at the same time. We reached Malshej ghat at around 1 p.m and stopped to have tea, we have not ate since morning so relishing on maggie was inevitable.
We tried to contact our friends but no luck as there was no network on our phones. We borrowed phone from boy running tea stall but still the phones were unreachable. We thought while they come let us explore the view from ghats. For those who don’t know,Malshej-ghat is a mountain pass in western ghats range and is almost equidistant from both Pune and Mumbai. It comes alive in Monsoon and is good alternative for a weekend getaway with family.
We were soaked in natural beauty when we realized that its been almost two hours since we are here and still no clue of our friends. We thought the plan of Naneghat trek is going to fail and we have to ride back to Mumbai. We decided to give it a last chance and search for the two men at the whole stretch. Still no clue and just as we halfheartedly decided to go back we saw them coming towards us.
Turned out they took the wrong route and were wandering for last two hours, anyways it was 4:00pM on watch and plan was still on!
The base for Naneghat trek was somewhere back in Murbad village, around 12 K.m back on the same road. We reached there in 20 minutes and inquired about feasibility of trekking in dark and night camping. Luckily there is proper parking area just across road so major issue of safety of vehicle was solved.
We hogged on multiples vada-pav at a stall at base and started our trek to Naneghat- pass at 5:00p.m.
Naneghat is a mountain pass in the western ghat range between the Konkan coast and the ancient town of Junnar in the Deccan plateau. This pass was used as trading route between Kalyan and Junnar in ancient times. The name nane means “coin” and ghat means “pass”.The name is given because this path was used as a tollbooth to collect toll from traders crossing the hills.
Google was showing the trek as medium difficulty and time duration of 2.5 hours to reach at the top i.e the pass. Based on the info we decided to try to reach the destination before dark.
The start of trek was an easy walk on plain terrain with clearly marked path. While we were ascending, the people who were coming back from the day trek looked at us in shock. One uncle even stopped us to ask why you are going in dark?where you will stay? We cleared all his doubts that we are equipped with torch and tents, so even if we will not find any home stay there will be no problem.
As we ascended it turned out the whole trail was well marked and there was no element of surprise. Our two seasoned trekker friends were not happy, Ha Ha! There were even proper benches beside the trail to sit and relax.
So the trek was an easy trek and we reached the top in around one and half hours. And as we were approached the pass we could clearly hear chit chat of crowd on top. Oh! Did I mention the pass can be accessed easily from Pune and by access I mean one can literally drive all the way to the pass. So yeah! that’s about it, TBH there was no feeling of accomplishment!
We crossed the pass and climbed the mountain beside it and again the weather changed to windy and foggy. As we were ascending we were being pushed by wind backwards. But Boy what a beautiful weather it was! We sat near cliff and watched clouds passing by! One moment it was clear cityscape view and the other it was completely gone.
Things got scary when we decided to head back, as it was all foggy we were not able to trace our way back, but somehow by following the dim light we could see on distance we figured out it must be road and reached on road. We then started walking to find a home-stay.
Pravir and Digambar had been earlier to Naneghat via car so they had already shortlisted the stay.
We reached the homestay, it was a humble place with a warm host. It was a local family making a living from hospitality. There were two dogs and one cute kitten as pet and my day was made. I cuddled with the reluctant kitten while sipping tea.
We first thought of sleeping in tents only but it was too windy and hence we decided to sleep in one of the room. We four of us bond very well over our mutual love for music and thus inspite of all exertion we were jamming outside at three in morning till we decided to call off the night err morning.
We woke up at 8:30 a.m and weather was lovely outside. The whole area was covered in mist and was looking like a painting. We spend good time playing with pets and kids.
In breakfast we had awesome poha and tea and then left for Naneghat pass. The weather was beautiful and we were roaming on empty roads onlooking the beautiful greenary all around.
In the daylight, The pass was clearly visible by this time and we stopped to click few pictures before starting our descend. There was a big pot placed just before the mountain pass, which was used in ancient time for collecting tolls from merchants.
We started descending at 11:30 a.m and this time we were way more relaxed as we knew the trail very well. We took our time and reached base at 1:30 p.m, We had lunch together on way and left for our respective places.
Overall the trip was success despite of initial setbacks. The beautiful roads, the greenary and the weather made up for all.
Takeaway from this blog:
Naneghat trek details:
- Distance from Mumbai: Around 120K.M.
- Parking: Available at base ( by Forest dept., Maharashtra Government)
- Difficulty level: Easy to Medium
- Duration: 2-2.5 hours one way
- Trail: Well marked with benches and dustbin at regular intervals
- Water and food: Available at base and top only
So, Where are you heading this monsoon?