Like every trekker, I wanted to explore this massive beauty – Harishchandragad fort. As usual, I asked my team to plan Harishchandragad trek on weekends. It is a very special fort for every trekker due to the awesome Konkan Kada and evening Sunset at this place is a very unique experience. So we planned for Konkan Kada camping this time.
Mumbai to Harishchandragad
Everyone reached Kalyan station by 7 AM. We had booked a private Bus which took us directly to the base village Harishchandragad fort i.e Khireshwar. On the way, we saw the wall of Moroshi Bhairavgad fort trek and start point of Naneghat Trek.
The route to Khireshwar village
Later, the bus crossed twist and turns of Malshej Ghat. After crossing Ghat, we reached Khubi Phata which is just 4 km before Khireshwar. The last patch of muddy road was built on the wall of Pimpaljoga dam. It was calm, choppy and freshwater. The dam is also famous for lakeside camping similar to Pawna Lake camping in Lonavala.
Around 10 AM, We reached the spot where breakfast was ready. It was a small place, kind of hotel, the only hotel I guessed, surrounded by green farms. Villager was very polite and served us the best Kande Pohe along with the Tea. Hot dish with landscape views and backdrop of Harishchandragad was a sight to behold.
Everyone was looking at the Harishchandra fort and was more curious to know where is the famous Konkan Kada. Fort was huge, covered with the dark forest. Konkan Kada was the big question???
Harishchandra Fort Trekking routes
We saw a needle hole on one of the ridges. Then, one of the trek leaders shared that it is the route through Junnar Darwaja which is nowadays rarely opted by trekkers. Our trek route was via Tolar Khind by crossing 7 hills. There are many routes to Harishchandragad fort, via Pachnai village is the easiest and Nalichi Vaat being the most difficult.
Intro and strict instructions
Comedy introduction round was followed by strict instructions to not litter and be in the group all the time. Leader asked for a proper check on trekking shoes, torch and water of every participant just before starting our dream trek.
Finally, the Harishchandra Fort trek started
We had been asked to have a heavy breakfast because the estimated time to reach the top was 6-7 hours.
Harishchandra Fort Jungle route
We started with the barren muddy road which got converted into the dense forest in a few minutes. It was a dense jungle route. It was so much dense that you can only find the walls of trees with 2-3 ft visibility.
Scared heartbeats of trekkers
While everyone thinking of deadly animals in this forest, we heard the dangerous sound of a tiger. It was a mimicry artist. It was almost 85% similar to the actual roar of a tiger. But, we were aware of that as we listened to the intro round carefully.
Girl with Shiva tattoo
We gain some height, there was a deep valley beside our route. It was complete peace then came thought for which we travel to such places. I was going to Harishchandragad fort trek for the third time and I was in love with the trek once again. I was aware of each and every bit of route and so was asked to be at clearance this time. With this position, you meet slow walkers, first-timers and more importantly the food items shared by them. There was this girl with Shiva tattoo.
No doubt that she was a fan of Lord Shiva as she was also wearing a tee shirt with Shiva & Trishul printed on it. Later, I came to know that this trek is also more famous amongst the Shiva fans.
With breaks and continued Gupshups, we reached our major milestone i.e. Tolar Khind.
Few villagers served us awesome lemon juice which was the best drink at that point of time. The route was marked with arrows on black rocks. And, everyone followed the same.
Team of 5
I was at the clearance end with 4-5 participants. Remaining trekkers went ahead with other trek leaders. It was 12:45 PM. Jokingly, I just told them not to eat everything, keep something for my team of 5.
It was the first and the only rock patch you come across. There are railings but one should not rely on that. It was slightly difficult for first-timers.
We met another set of tired people at this point. We took a break and clicked on many pictures.
From this point, there are again two routes. After shed, there is a left turn which is said to be a shortcut but you need to climb a steep hill. Other one straight normal route is long one by walking around that hill.
Team of 8-9
With the addition of injured, tired and photographers, now we became a team of 8-9 trekkers.
I was the trek leader and obviously the responsible person for them. Obviously, I knew the route but I was asking them to choose from the right and left whenever there was confusion. I taught them how to pick the right trail even if you are exploring it the first time. Everyone was happy to learn a few simple hacks and I was more happy to share with them.
With the knowledge session and practicals, I made Trek more interesting for them. Finally, we reached the main Plateau of Harishchandragad fort around 4:00 PM. It was almost 5 and a half hours from the base village.
Pushkarni and Harishchandreshwar
Food was arranged near the Harishchandreshwar temple. We had tasty Pithala Bhakri. We explored the temples, lake, and caves.
Where is Konkankada?
I thought as everyone was hungry and tired, must have forgotten the Konkan Kada. After satiating food one trekker came to me and said – Still the question remains the same that where is this Konkankada? And everyone laughed synonymously.
The final walk to Konkan Kada
It was not a climb but a normal walk of 45 minutes. We asked everyone to hurry to make it before sunset.
The best Sunset of Konkankada
We reached on time. There was a small hut of villager where everyone dumped their bags and next was the cliff with 90 grade. Leaders made that evening more special by bringing hot tea on the cliff. Evening wind, hot tea, awesome sunset, and some amazing songs for the background was the moments. These are very short moments but for that, you need more hard work which is nothing but climbing 7 hills.
Everyone was enjoying and more importantly was living that timeframe. No one was caring about office issues, problems at home, etc. It was a lifetime experience.
Cooking at Konkan Kada
“Bharmal” was the name of the villager. We went to his place and helped him in cooking. We had an amazing tasty dinner cooked on “Chulha“. After the trek, your digestion system starts functioning properly. That’s my belief.
After dinner, every one helped to pitch tents. We settled down in our respective tents. It was vast plateau on the other side of a cliff. The wind was continuously flowing.
As our tents were on walking distance from Konkan Kada, we were able to sense the wind blow sound at night. We played games but the one lasted longer i.e. Antakshari.
Leaders informed everyone about tomorrow’s tight schedule and requested to sleep. I also went inside a tent but I was not at all sleepy. I took this picture inside our unkempt tent. Within half an hour, I came out of my tent and was surprised to see many participants sitting outside tents. It was getting cold.
Everyone looked at me with high hope. I understood what they wanted. With the help of Bharmal, I collected some wood and everyone gathered around the bonfire.
Night at Konkan Kada
After the bonfire session, I took all nightwalkers to the wall i.e. Konkan Kada. It was again altogether much better experience compared to the night at marine drive. Late night, everyone slept in camping tents. Overall, night camping at Konkankada was going good.
Wake up call
Around 5 AM, we woke up. Except a few others were ready for the hike to Taramati peak. Tired ones were taking rest at camps. Within an hour, we reached the top. The route was a bit challenging. Initially, dense forest, then rock patches took us to the highest point of Harishchandragad trek.
Sun was about to rise and the sky was continuously changing its shades. Pimpaljoga dam was visible from the Taramati peak. Sahyadri range was at its best. We took many pictures and gathered lifetime memories.
Breakfast at Konkankada
We descended the same route in half an hour. Quickly, we had our breakfast with Bharmal. Everyone thanked him for his service at such height and such weather conditions.
With high spirit, everyone started taking small steps towards home, towards the base village.
It took us four hours to descend Harishchandra gad via Tolar Khind. Around 1 PM, the last person reached base village Khireshwar. We had another tasty Non-veg food at the same place where we had our first breakfast. The bus took us back to the Kalyan station by 4 PM. Everyone was at home safely before night.
Let me know your Harishchandragad trek experience. Share your travel blog. Keep trekking & camping!