Ajoba trek was so fascinating for me from the day I heard its name. It was making me so curious to go for it, hunt the history behind. Ajoba means grandfather. There is a Valmiki Rishi Ashram and Samadhi. It is said that Sitamai resided here during exile, gave birth to two kids – Luv and Kush. Both used to say Ajoba to Valmiki rishi. The last point of the trek is the Sitamai cave where one can find the cradle. Also, there are many names like Ajoba hills trek, Ajobagad, Ajoba Parvat and also Luv kush trek.
Ajoba trek details
- Base village: Dehene, Shahapur
- Nearest Station: Asangaon
- Height: Sitamai Palana trek- 700m, Ajoba hill – 1100m
- Best time to visit: Monsoon
- Difficulty level: moderate
Monsoon trek near Mumbai
Really, it is one of the best monsoon treks near Mumbai. At 7 AM, our group boarded a local train from Thane. It was a month of October and we were more excited to enjoy the greenery that this trek offers. We got at Asangaon station and hired a taxi till base village – Dehene. It was a 1-hour journey which made us completely hungry.
Tea and the View
Last time we visited this village while descending Sandhan Valley trek. The same villager served hot dishes of Poha to everyone. Sipping a cup of tea after breakfast amidst Sahyadri was always my dream. After round introduction and instructions, we marched towards the Valmiki ashram i.e. half distance point of Ajoba hills trek.
Forest of Ajoba trek
It was off-road till Valmiki ashram where off-road vehicles (bikes and cars) can easily reach. However, the hike was much more like a heavenly walk through the dense forest of Kalsubai Wildlife sanctuary. Without any diversion, we reached the ashram in one and half hour. It was a vast area with big banyan tree, temple, Ashram, Samadhi, stone carvings, meditation room and Dharmshala. Our guide told us that few Sadhu live here and they maintain this place very well. There was a potable water tank where you can refill your water bottles. Some trekkers also prefer to camp at this place and do the rest of the hike next day early in the morning.
Second half of the Ajoba hills
After resting for a while, everyone geared up for the second half of the Ajoba Trek. Drizzling started as we took the route. Suddenly, we came out of the bushes and the beautiful waterfall was in front of us. Followed with the stream and boulders around, made a playing ground for everyone. We all enjoyed natural jacuzzi to the fullest.
Moving ahead through rocky patches, crossing the dense jungle we were bit slow comparing the first half of the Ajoba trek. It was full of an adventure. There was a probability of getting lost in the forest but the group took care of it very well. It took another one and a half hour to reach Sitamai Palana.
We reached a column in a place where a small area was available to rest/stand for the group. There was a gap/valley between two rock walls. Nothing was visible due to the dense fog and continuous drizzle. Hill on the right side was a pinnacle and left one was the actual Ajoba hill with the height of 1100m. From this point, there was no route to reach the top of both, thus people trek till the cave. Guide told us that there is another route to reach the top of Ajoba Trek from the other side which is less preferred by the trekking community.
It was slightly difficult to climb the last 15m patch till the cave. Previously, people used to try hands-on rocks to climb the patch. Later villagers put the wooden trunk to help amateurs. Good thing was that there was a ladder but it was not bolted. Our guide climbed first and firmly hold it for the group. One by one visited the sacred place where we found small cradle of Sitamai and two water tanks beside the cave. There was a route to go behind the pinnacle but it was too risky in monsoon so we avoided the same. We enjoyed the fog and wind flow coming from the valley. Everyone was drenched in the rain.
It was much quicker descend as we knew the route. It took 2 hours to reach Dehene village. The atmosphere was still amazing; greenery and paddy fields was a sight to behold in the evening. We reached the village. Quickly, we grabbed a masala tea after changing clothes. The same taxi dropped us back to the Asangaon station. Group was still discussing the Ajoba trek. We exchanged pictures. Indeed, Ajoba hills trek in the monsoon was more beautiful than I dreamt of it.