Winter is the most favourable climate for a trek near Mumbai and Pune. This season brings us fresh water rivulets, colourful valleys, lush green mountains and heavenly panoramas. The chilly night skies are filled with countless stars and spotting a few shooting stars makes camping on mountains a heavenly experience.
The Western ghats in Maharashtra is the most sought after destination for weekend treks. Recognized as the “hottest hotspot” for biological diversity, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for areas of high geological, cultural and aesthetic values.
Even though you can tread the whole mountain range, choosing a destination for a weekend trek can be quite confusing. We put together a list of 10 treks near Mumbai and Pune you shouldn’t miss this winter.
10 Treks near Mumbai and Pune you shouldn’t miss this winter
Apart from the presence of a Jyotirlinga here, Bhimashankar offers beautiful panoramas and a rejuvenating workout. The Shidi ghat (ladder route) is so challenging that it will make you thank god for giving you a second life after finishing the climb. The normal route will exhaust the hell out of beginners but take you through the beautiful Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary where you can spot and photograph rare species of flora and fauna. This peak is easily accessible by road for your parents or rider friends to hang out with you at the peak.
The presence of rock-cut caves, ancient temples and fresh-water ponds makes it the most suitable destination for an overnight trek. The setting sun over Konkan Kada (Konkan cliff) will stop you from coming back to the city and the view from Taramati peak brings you closer to God. In the Kedareshwar cave, located rightwards from Harishchandra temple, resides a big Shivalinga surrounded by cold water throughout the year. Four pillars were built around the Shivalinga representing the four yugas of Hindu cosmology out of which three pillars have broken and one pillar representing Kali-yuga still stands tall.
The starry nights on Ratangad will enchant you enough to stay on this peak for one more night. Ratangad is a broken fort in the Bhandardara mountain range with availability of drinking water throughout the year. It makes a great camping destination, especially in winters as you can camp right under the starlit sky. You have to get off at Ratanwadi where you will see a rock-cut Amruteshwar temple of Hemadpanti style architecture.
The view from Rajmachi is so beautiful that, if you visit Rajmachi once, it will be your first priority for the next trek too! Rajmachi is frequently visited by a lot of trekkers as it is one of the most easiest and panoramic peak in Maharashtra. There are more than just one way to reach this peak. You can take the route from Kondana Caves to Rajmachi if you haven’t been to either of the places.
Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg
Once you reach Prabalgad you can see River Ulhas to its east, the Gadhi river, the Chanderi and Peb forts to its west, Patalganga River and Manikgad to its south and the peculiar Kalavantin Durg to the north. Kalavantin Durg is one of the most beautiful abandoned places in the world. The rock cut stairs are not easy to climb but the view from the summit is totally worth it. The captivating view of Prabalgad from Kalavantin Durg will bring all the chatter in your mind to a halt. To reach this peak, you have to climb the formidable rock cut stairs that can be quite challenging and is not advisable for first-timer trekkers and younglings without guidance.
It being the highest peak in Maharashtra is not the only reason why this trek is included in the list. The summit offers you a view of the entire Bhandardara mountain range, uncommonly referred to as the Himalayas of Maharashtra. This peak is named after the local deity Kalsubai, whose temple resides on this mountain top and a huge festival during is held during Navratri here. The climb is well suited for all age groups.
The beautiful trail to Torna from base village Velhe is filled with colourful flowers making it the most sought-after treks post monsoon. Also known as Prachandagad (Huge Fort), this was the first ever fort captured by Shivaji Maharaj. Yes, indeed, he had to capture this one first because the view this fort offers is nothing less than heavenly! Torna is located at 4600 feet above sea level and is one of the very few forts built by Shaiva Panth (followers of Lord Shiva) making it a must visit for mountaineers.
Even if you’ve not been a fan of Mowgli in your childhood, you would get to meet Sher Khan and Baloo in the wildlife sanctuary of Vasota. The presence of Koyna backwaters, wildlife sanctuary, valley of flowers, and Shivsagar lake around this fort makes it a perfect location for a long weekend. Although this location is not ideal for camping due to the presence of wild animals, a lot of campers stay in the temple here alongside the potable water available on this peak.
Brahmagiri hill is considered to be the mountain form of Lord Shiva. The origin of River Godavari and naturally formed caves around this hill make it an ideal tourist destination. It is a simple yet beautiful trek around Trimbakeshwar, one of the 12 jyotirlingas in the world, attracting a lot of hikers.
Harihar is getting quite famous in the trekking circuit of Maharashtra. Perfect for first-timers, this fort offers a place to stay overnight, amazing panoramas and bustling trek adrenaline. The rock-cut steps are slippery in the rains but offer enough grip in the post-monsoon season to experience climbing on a vertical wall. No, you don’t need ropes to reach the top, all you need is a mighty heart to adore the view from the summit.