a long, year's gap I decided to go for a trek.
So I contacted trekshitiz who had planned a trek
to Sarasgad on 28th Jan'07.
We met at Dombivili Stn at around 5.30am and
took the Khopoli local, reaching there around
7am. We were 16 trekkers in all - 12 guys and
4 girls. Ketan Lavalekar from Trekshitiz was our
From Khopoli we could not get an immediate connecting
ST bus to Pali our destination, hence had to wait
till around 8:20am for the bus. The bus journey
took around an hour/10mins reaching Pali around
9.45am. We took darshan at the famed Shree Ballaleshwar
Ganesh Temple which also happens to be one of
the Astavinayaka temples in Maharashtra.
About Sarasgad :
Sarasgad Fort is situated near Pali and is a part
of the Sudhagad taluka in Raigad district. Sarasgad
forms the backdrop of the Pali village and stands
adjacent to it. Among the Ashtavinayakas, Shree
Ballaleshwar Ganesh Temple at Pali is the only
Ganesha temple famous by the name of his devotee
and who is dressed up as a Brahmin. This place
is nestled between the fort Sarasgad and River
Amba. Sarasgad stretches out in the north-south
direction, to the east of Pali. From both ends
of the fort one can reach the top.
Sarasgad can be identified by its four pinnacles.
There are two ways to climb, one near the MSEB
office and other near the temple. Climbing the
route from MSEB office is relatively easy. However,
we decided to take the second route from near
the temple. After about spending half hr in the
temple premises we moved across onto the main
road past the temple.
After about 50mtrs past the temple there's a
cemented pathway climbing towards the left of
the road. This leads into the village. It wad
around 11am that we started our trek and the scorching
sun was already getting overhead.After the initial
introduction / trek briefing / do's and don'ts
we left the cemented pathway and followed a rough
path that climbed zig-zig onto the plateau. Outhere
we missed our actual route to the right side route,
climbed a slope and reached a wide plateau from
where we could see all four Sarasgad pinnacles
in a distance. The pinnacle on the left is the
Sarasgad fort with its two huge bastions and is
connected by a small ridge to the rest of the
three pinnacles. We climbed further on thru karvy
and thorny bushes to reach an open area and took
rest under the shades of a tree. From there on
we relatively climbed onto a slope on a well defined
path and reached a rock patch. Climbing the rock
patch with the help of footholds we reached a
huge cave. Though the entrance of the cave looked
small and the path inside narrow, this cave was
quite a long one. Since we did not have time to
explore the cave we decided to move ahead. Just
ahead of the cave, we could see two huge high
bastions (buruz) with a beautiful staircase made
of rock cut steps leading to the main darwaza
of the fort. The steep staircase was in good condition
and had the left bastion fort wall on one side
and a huge fall on the other.The steps were about
1-1.5ft and had to be crossed with care to avoid
any mishaps. After about approx 35-40 steps we
reached the main darwaza of the fort which is
in good condition. We climbed further on to reach
a water tank (left side).
After quenching our thirst and filling up our
bottles we returned back to climb another flight
of steps and circum navigate the ballekilla base.
There's another huge water tank here. Though full
of moss the water here is potable and cool. Moving
further on along the fort walls, we passed by
a number of big and small caves (thought to be
where the soldiers/residents of the fort used
to stay) we reached another darwaza (chor darwaza
which also leads up from Pali village). Here we
took a left turn and climbed upwards (somewhat
a steep climb) and after about 15mins reached
the ballekilla. Atop Balekilla there's a huge
water tank (covered with leaves) next to which
there's a Shiv temple. On a slightly upward height
there's a tomb of a muslim saint. We reached the
Ballekilla around 1.15pm. We had lunch near the
temple followed by resting session including singing
of marathi patriotic songs honouring Shivaji.
The view from the top is excellent. The region
on the western side of the fort is a green belt
with the river Amba flowing through the town,
the Jambulpada village and Unhere hot water spring.
On the eastern side of Sarasgad one can faintly
see in a distance the forts of Sudhagad, Ghangad,
Korigad, Teilbala. Also we could see a faint view
of Torna and Rajgad.
We left Ballekilla around 3.15pm and descended
to the Pali village through the same ascent route
and reached base around 5.15pm. We quickly walked
towards the bus stand (1.5kms) and took the 5.30pm
bus to Khopoli. Reached Khopoli around 6.45pm
and took the 8.08pm train to Karjat and further
on a connecting train to CST. As most of the trekkers
were from Kalyan-Dombivili-Thane area (they reached
home around 9.30pm), It took me a good 2.5hrs
from Khopoli to Malad (my destination). During
the ascent itself my shoes sole gave away and
had a tough time while descending and returning
home, hence, could not explore the fort at ease.
Maybe on the next visit to Sarasgad...
Note : Ideal trek for beginners,
this trek can be coupled with Sudhagad which then
requires a night's stay at Pali. Plenty of water
on the fort. The caves below Balekilla can accomadate
atleast 100 people. Avoid the rock patch and staircase
during the monsoons as might get very slippery.
There is a hot water spring at a village called
Unhere near Pali.