Tungareshwar wildlife sanctuary is a high endurance trek near Mumbai (Vasai). In this post I would
like to describe the details of the tungareshwar forest trek. The trek is about 18 km long, which can be conveniently divided into 3 parts. The first part of the trek is till the Shiva temple (4 km), the second from Shiva temple till the Balayogi Ashram (7 km) and the final part is the descent from the Ashram to the Vajreshwari road (7 km).
Tungareshwar trek is best done in the months of monsoon (June-Septemeber) as there is a stream flowing though the forest area along with series of waterfalls. I have personally trekked twice once in monsoon and the other time in the dead heat of summer in the month of May. Tungareswar top is a table-land at a height of 660m, so in the months of monsoon there is considerable cloud cover over the top, it gives you the misty feeling. In winter and summer months the views from top are breathtaking, one can view the Pelhar lake on the Vasai side and the Tansa river along with its fields from the Vajreshwari side.
How to reach Tungareshwar ?
There are 2 ways to reach the Tungareswar top.
1. Most people will reach from the Vasai side or the western express side. Reach Vasai station (East) from there share rickshaws will take you to Tungareshwar Mandir Dwar from where the trek starts. The actual sanctuary is about 1 km from the Mandir dwar. There is entrance fee from this side. Rs 20/-.
2. From the Vajreshwari road, there is a hoarding for Balayogi Ashram (near Parol naka), one has to enter from here. Or reach Parol naka on the vajreshwari road and ask for direction from there.
Tungareshwar trek offers plenty for the nature lover, from the various birds all along the route, to butterflies, scenic views of the plains below, waterfalls in monsoon, deciduous and evergreen trees and just being with nature so near to the city is equally amazing. The trek also offers pilgrims a lot in the form of a Shiva temple and an ashram to visit, also one can visit Ganeshpuri and Vajreshwari on the same day. The trek route is wide enough that even vehicle can pass through the mud track. There are a lot of people using bikes to travel on this road, though it is not recommended in monsoon, as it’s too dangerous. Till the Shiva temple this route will be brimming with activity in the month of Shravan. You can read more about it here.
There are a lot of karvi shrubs at the top of the plateau, and this year its going to bloom (2016), this plant blooms every 7 years. In the month of May one can enjoy Karvande and mangoes on this route too. There are a lot of monkeys near the temple premises. Also in the month of Shravan one can see the blue oakleaf butterfly in plenty. There is some fortification at the top in form of water-tanks, called tungareshwar fort.
All in all Tungareshwar is a cost-effective trek for someone who wants to build stamina for longer Sahyadris or Himalayan treks.
The time taken is as follows:
Till Tungareshwar Temple : 1 hour from the highway. (approx 4 km)
From Tungareshwar Temple to Balyogi Ashsram (7 kms) 2-3 hours.
From Balyogi Ashram To Vajreshwari Road (7 kms) 2 hours for descent.
The whole trek requires close to 5-6 hours of effort. There are water pumps placed every km or so, which has water even in the summer months.