It was the winter and first Sunday of December 2013. After so many treks, my friend and I decided to challenge ourselves to the next difficult treks near Pune. Then, we chose the most difficult Dhak Bahiri Caves trek near Pune. It was indeed a terrible choice and for that, we started planning one week before the execution date.
We searched for many travel blogs. We found one good trekking blogs on Dhak Bahiri trek by duo friends. This was a good reference to mark pinpoints of the Dhak Bahiri trek. But, this time route was not the challenge but the rock climbing patches.
Dhak Bahiri Information Gathering
Dhak bahiri accidents are rare though difficulty level is very high. We gathered enough information and one fine Sunday morning started our bike ride from Pune. Sagar and I asked another common friend Vivek. He easily agreed for this amazing Dhak trek where the cave is situated on the vertical wall of a mountain. Jambhavali was the base village of Dhak Bahiri trek. It was almost 1.5-hour bike ride from Pune. We did enjoy our highway ride till Kamshet but after that, the road was in bad condition. Still, we rode till the base by enjoying countryside sightseeing.
Dhak Fort Bike Ride
Sagar and I have completed many bike rides together. You can read about Mahabaleshwar bike ride, Pune to Goa bike ride or Lavasa bike ride. We were used to the long bike rides. So trekking after a bike ride was not an issue for us. It was more of an adventure blend for us.
Jambhivali was a very small village. Again, we asked villagers and confirmed the route. One guy came straight towards our bikes and offered us tea and breakfast. After a short bike ride, tea and breakfast were much needed. But more than that, we were unknown to the place and wanted to get more information while sipping hot tea.
We came to know that he was a farmer and part-time works as a guide for Dhak Bahiri Fort. Looking at our attire, he told us Rs. 500 for guide service till the Dhak Caves. When we started thinking to buy or not his services, he started sharing about dangerous rock patches and difficult Dhak trek route. My friend Vivek got a bit scared and throughout the trek, he complained Sagar for not taking him as a guide.
As Sagar and I have done most of the treks in the Sahyadri region, we knew few trekking hacks. Apart from that, we studied everything about Dhak Trek which made us trek without a guide.
Finally, Trek Started
Without further ado, we started from the base village. Within 15 minutes, we reached Kondeshwar temple which was our first checkpoint. There was no one around the temple. We prayed for our safe return journey. There was a small waterfall on the back side of the temple which was on the verge of getting dry.
After crossing the waterfall and small pond, we headed towards a cliff. Yes, we walked on the edges for some time looking down the Konkan region on our left side. Beautiful Karjat was visible from the cliff. There is another trek route from Sandshi village near Karjat which overall seems to be more challenging and bit boring at the same time – according to trekkers and adventure bloggers.
As per the reference blog, we took right at the cliff. The left route goes somewhere into the jungle of Rajmachi fort. If weather permits, from the cliff, one can easily spot Dhak caves and decide the direction.
After spending some time on the cliff, we walked in the direction of caves. Within 20 minutes, we reached a point where we started descending into the jungle. My friend got scared while entering into the jungle and again said we should have hired a guide. But, we knew we were on the right path.
After descending, we took halt before steep jungle ascend. It was a single route so there was no confusion for us. Also, we saw one dark old signboard stating ladies not allowed inside the Dhak Caves. This confirmed that we were on the right path.
Ascend was expected to open in front of a deep valley where huge black rocks on both the side were standing tall to make a dangerous entrance to the Dhak caves. It was col between Kalakrai pinnacle and Dhak mountain. Finally, we reached the first rock patch. It was so horrifying that we took another break to discuss the possibility of returning through the same rock patch. There were many other groups and solo trekkers crossing the first patch one by one.
Dhak Caves – First Patch
I went ahead to check and found that there are proper grips on the rocks and at the end, you descend through the small chimney. Once you descend the chimney, there is space for only one person to stand and if you fall then one has to enjoy free fall to the Karjat valley region.
Dhak Bahiri – Second Patch
We saw a few more trekkers climbing the last patch and noticed that it was taking almost 10-20 mins per person to clear the last patch.
Somehow slowly, with all our patience, we cleared the first difficult rock patch. Dhak caves were clearly visible from there. Few trekkers were already there into the caves and few more were on the way. There was a saffron flag on the edge of a cave. It was a really terrifying trek when we saw a huge black rock wall and inside that a small cave.
The route was completely vertical ascend. Again, we took a meeting and this time Sagar went ahead to check the route. Initially, he walked on the edges of valley keeping body weight on the mountainside till the base of vertical steps. These steps were carved on the same huge rock wall of Dhak Caves.
We followed him and also crossed vertical rock-cut steps. Later, we came to a point where we three could stand and have a meeting again to plan for the last rock patch. I remembered the meeting, it was a very small place on the edge somewhere on the middle of the vertical wall.
Last Climb of Dhak Bahiri
Again, there was a small horizontal walk on the edge till a point where you will find a strong rope and part of a tree functioning like a staircase. It was loosely fitted on the edge but one can completely trust on the same to climb the last leg of Dhak Bahiri Caves trek.
It was the last heart pumping step, rock patch, difficult point of the Trek. We crossed it. We did it. Finally, somehow everyone managed to get into the Dhak Bahiri caves. We removed our shoes and prayed for a few minutes. There is a small temple of lord Bahiri adjacent to a small pond. There is enough place for 10-15 people to stay but hardly anyone prefers to stay back in the cave.
Dhak Bahiri Caves
We sat down at one corner of Dhak Bahiri Caves. It was complete silence. There was a sense of achievement but at the same time, we were thinking about the difficulty which we will face while descending. We shifted on the edge of a cave and felt that peace which was worth taking the difficult trek route.
The view from the Dhak Bahiri caves was mind-blowing. We relaxed after drinking fresh water of the cave. We kept listening to the whistling sound of the wind.
We knew that descending Dhak Bahiri was more difficult than ascending. Somehow, we managed to come back safely. Took the same route back to the village and rode back to the Pune same day.
Watch Dhak Bahiri Video of Jeevan Kadam here.