It has been around 2 years that I have seriously started trekking in the Sahyadri ranges of Maharashtra and been to a couple of forts namely Harishchandragad, Rajmachi, Lohagad, Tringalwadi, Kamandurg, Manikgad & Prabalgad.
It was during our Naneghat trek (organised by Bhramanti) that, Ruzbeh Sandeep & myself, we three decided that we should go to Peth Kothligad more specifically to do a overnite trek. The Peth Trek is quite a common trek but for us it was different. Read below to find how...
Description of Peth :
This is a small fort with a large cave at the base. It is detached from main range. The top is funnel shaped and has rocky staircase carved in the centre. Hence the name Kothligad. Steps leads to the top from the cave. The caves at the top are a good example of Satvahan architecture. The overall area of the top is only about 160 yards. In November, 1817 this fort was won by Bapurao on behalf of second Bajirao from the British. December 30th, British captain Bruks regained this fort from the Peshwas. History says that people lived on this fort till 1862.
From Karjat take a bus to village Ambivli via Kashele. From Ambivli, clim to village Peth (3 km) at the base of the fort. An easy climb leads to the top.
Mi Story :
Apart from us, Sandeep's cousin Sidharth also joined us for the trek. I had arranged a stay at one of the villager's house at Jamrukh Village courtsey of Mr. Dileep Mehta a good friend of mine whom I had met in Coorg.The actual route to go to Peth is from Ambivali, but at the instance of our host, Mr. Rohidas we decided to take the lesser known-more exciting Jamrukh route. A point to note that this route does not feature in any info provided on Peth-Kothligad
We boarded the 3:30pm Khopoli local from Dadar and alighted at Neral stn around 5pm. After a short tea break we decided to take a bus for Kashele (8km), unfortunately we could not get one. So we took a Vikram (Auto). We reached Kashele at 8pm. From here we had to proceed to Jamrukh (12km) but could not get any transport as it was already late. So we had to book a Vikram just for our team. We reached Jamrukh Village around 9:30pm and Mr. Rohidas, our host was waiting for us at the village entrance. He was actually worried and wondering if we were lost as we were supposed to reach Jamrukh by 7pm.
After having nice hot bakris, dal and vegetables we retired for the night. At around 6am the next day (Sun) wereadied ourselves to leave for the fort. After a cup of tea We left Jamrukh at 7am andproceeded to Devpada village via a small bridgewhich lies at the end of Jamrukh Village. Devpada village is a small hamlet with about 10 houses but an extremely beautiful village. We pass the village and reach another bridge. Just before the bridge is a small path going to the right into the fields and then into the forest below the peth plateau. We take this route and with the help a of a villager get to the actual route.
The route is well marked and one will not loose track or get lost. This route is only used by villagers from Jamrukh and Devpada and not used by trekkers. We start climbing, its quite strenous and compared to a good cardio workout. Most of this climb is thru the forest and not exposed. We reach the Peth Plateau in about an hour's time. The Plateau on the Jamrukh side is covered with 'Wal'fields. We cross the fields and reach the base of the fort-hill. This point is joined by the route which comes from Peth-Village / Ambivali. We reach the fort in about 45 min. After a look at the canon which lies just below the fort (take right before the broken arch entrance for canon), we proceed to the big cave. The Cave is beautiful, clean and can accomadate atleast 35-40 people. We pass thru to another cave (smaller one) and one can see that both these caves have some beautiful architecture - pillar carvings and broken statues. Lord Bhairavnath's temple is adjacent to the cave. Adjacent to the Temple is a small cave like entrance. As one steps in does one realise that this a staircase carved inside the rock (extremely beautiful). We go up the ladder and reach an exposed route, steep but protected by railings. This leads us to the final entrance of the Fort. There is nothing on top except for a few tanks. The water does not look potable. One can see Padar Fort, Bhimashankar, Nagphani point (if the weather is clear).
After spending about 45min on the fort we return back to the cave and eventually back to Peth Village and then to Ambivali. The route from Peth Village to Ambivali is quite boring as it is a flat walk and news is that soon it will be linked to Ambivali by road. Work is on in full swing.
By the time we reach Ambivali we are quite hungry and exhausted. To our goodluck we are served with hot Kandapoha at a small tea shop in Ambivali. We then boarded a Vikram to Karjat from where we took a local to Dadar and all of us reached home by around 7pm.
So friends, I do hope you will also like to try the Jamrukh route. I do recomend that for an exciting trek all trekkers should ascent from Jamrukh side (approx 2hrs) and descend into Ambivali (3 hrs).