Trekking the moderately difficulty level mount Kalsubai Peak has been my childhood ambition, right from the school days the tallest peak in my home state always fascinated me. It’s a 1646m/5400 feet tall mountain situated in-between Nashik and Ahmednagar district in the state of Maharashtra, India. In this and subsequent blog post I will present the detailed account of my trek in sahyadri’s tallest mountain the Kalsubai peak.
I decided to do a solo trek on 5th Dec 2013. I had planned exactly a week earlier, but had a bout of flu, and postponed it by a week. I had booked myself a ticket(Rs 135) in Mahanagari Express (110093), boarding at Dadar on 05/12/2013 at 12.23 am.
I started from my home at 10.45 pm on 4th December 2013, reached Dadar at 11.50 pm, the train arrived right on time, boarded my compartment and tried to sleep, could sleep only for 20 mins in the whole journey. The train reached its destination at 3.10 am in the morning, got down at Igatapuri, went to the tea stall and sat there till 4.40 am, just could not sleep, however hard I tried. Igatapuri is the station where they change engine, so train halt here for long periods of time. If you are railway engine lover than Igatapuri should be on your chart. Also Igatapuri does not have waiting room for non-ac ticket holders. It has a lot of steel chairs and few benches where one can try to sleep. I had my morning tea and asked for direction for the bus stop(ST), it’s located at 10 mins from the railway platform, in northerly direction, parallel to the railway lines. I started my journey at 4.40 am reached the ST stand before 5.00 am, the time of the bus to Pune which goes via Bari, the base village for the Kalsubai trek. The bus started at 5.15 am, ticket cost Rs 30, there where hardly 6/7 passengers, and reached Bari by 6.05 am, it was cold and foggy outside, I could’nt
see anything, somehow managed to cross the road and went on to the other side, woke the shopkeeper, asked him about breakfast, he said it will take time, also inquired about the route and he told be to follow the road through the village after the sunrise. I got my full sleeve sweater out along with the monkey cap and gloves. I felt comfortable after wearing it. I waited for sunrise, at around 6.40 am I took a cold drink from the shop and decided to climb. I passed though the village Bari, here a person on pretext of selling breakfast took me to his house, and later he showed me the way till the temple at the edge of the village, charged me Rs 50, I felt robbed. Didnt have breakfast as he later told it will take more than half hour to prepare.
There where some stray dogs(4 of them) who had started following us, one of them came with me till the top, he was my true companion for the whole trek, the others ran after monkeys. Initially it was quite irritating for the me, having all the dogs running around you, following your trail. Luckily the monkeys came and only one followed me. He made my journey into some sort of duet. At times he used to be ahead of me and then wait for me to pass him, other times he used to lag behind and then out of nowhere pass by me. I am not a dog person, but this dog taught me a lot about canine.
Another local person I met while climbing was a local farmer, he was on his way to his farm, he was quite polite and I discussed with him about the various areas around Kalsubai, he provided me some updated information regarding the Bhandardara dam boat launch, also regarding guides in Ratanwadi and Harischandragad. My initial plan was to club together all this places in a single visit, but I had to drop that plan and was only able to do Kalsubai peak. We reached the 1000m point, here there is a hut which serves tea and breakfast. I had tea, as the day was getting warmer, I changed to light clothes, also had cap on. From here on I was alone for the rest of the trek with my canine companion.
The weather was perfect for outdoor activities, the sky was clear, there was light cool breeze blowing, I never had to sweat
while climbing up. I reached my first ladder/steps at 8.20 am, so it took me 100 minutes to figure out the way from Bari to the ladder along with the various breaks I took. The first ladder is series of steps with railing on one side, these ladders are strategically placed so as to make the trek more accessible to common man, they are placed where there are rocks and one can overcome this rocks by crossing on the ladders. Interestingly the dog do not use the ladder, they will climb from the rocky patch.
From here on the route is straightforward, just follow those series of ladder till you reach a table top (1360m), from there just follow in the direction of the peak which becomes visible and reach the final ladder which will take you to the top of the mountain. Though the trek looks easy but you must have good endurance level, prepare to walk at least for 3 hours from the Bari village. One has to be careful while climbing the ladders, as some of them are placed on vertical sections. The other danger is there are loose soil and gravel all along the trek which could make one slip if not careful. So be cautious, don’t be in hurry, or challenge yourself for something foolish. The good thing about this route is that there are railing provided for the steps and ladder sections.
I reached the top at 9.52 am, so it took me 3 hours and 12 mins. The view from the top is breathtaking, you can see mountains all around you, also one can see the backwaters of Bhandardara dam, the various forts like Ratangad, Harischandragad, Alang, Madangad, Kulang and more. There is a small temple at the top of goddess Kalsubai. Since I was alone at the top I had nice chat with the pujari. He told me the story about the girl named Kalsu, in whose honour the temple is built. He also helped me identify the
various forts I mentioned earlier. It was bright and clear at the top, but there was fog at some distance. I had darshan at the temple, took photographs at various vantage points, even did some video recording. I was carrying very little food and water, had some biscuits at the top, also shared some with my canine friend. The pujari told me about the alternate route he uses daily to reach the temple, the route which I took for descending from the mountain. Its called the Indore/Indori route. I was at the top for more than hour. Decided to descent at 11.05 am.