Naneghat is a mountain pass in the Western Ghat range near Junnar in Pune district of Maharashtra. During the reign of Satavahana, the pass was extensively used as a trade route between Kalyan and Junnar. This was the most important trade route, as it connects west coast seaports of Sopara and Kalyan with economic centres and human settlements in Nasik, Paithan, and neighbouring places. The name ‘Nane’ means “coin” and 'Ghat' means “pass”.The name is given because this path was used as a tollbooth to collect toll from traders crossing the hills. While going through Malshej Ghat, we can easily get a glimpse of Naneghat after Murbad. The thumb-like peak and the pinnacle of Vandarlingi are the most distinctively seen spots.
Naneghat is accessible from Junnar as well as from Kalyan. Usually, it’s trekked from the Kalyan side as one gets a fantastic trekking experience from this way. The thing that makes this place more interesting is that there is a road that takes you to the top of Naneghat from the Junnar side via Ghatghar village. If you are coming from Kalyan side catch any ST bus going towards Alephata or Junnar via Malshej Ghat, and get down at Naneghat starting point. Actually, the Naneghat starting point is not an official stop for ST buses. So you have to pay the ticket till the next stop and request the conductor to let you get down over there. At the starting point, there is a big board on the right-hand-side with ‘Naneghat Gumfa Marg’ written in Marathi on it, and the trekking starts from here. Trekkers who are coming from Pune side have to reach Alephata by ST bus, then catch another ST bus to Kalyan via Malshej Ghat, and get down at the same starting point. You can also find direct buses from Pune to Kalyan going via Malshej Ghat, but they are not frequent. The other way to reach Naneghat from Pune side is catching an ST bus from Pune to Junnar, then another ST bus to Ajanwale village from Junnar, and then get down at Ghatghar village. A one hour walk from Ghatghar will take you to the top of Naneghat.
We started our journey to Naneghat on a Saturday afternoon with a plan to stay overnight there. We reached the Kalyan bus depot by 1'O clock in the afternoon. The bus depot is just opposite to the Kalyan railway station. We managed to get a direct bus from Kalyan to Junnar going via Malshej Ghat. We planned to get down at Tokewadi village, which is 6 KM before the starting point, and then to walk towards the starting point after having lunch from Tokewadi. The 55 Km bus ride from Kalyan took around 2 hours to reach Tokewadi. Then after 1.5 hours of walking from Tokewadi, we reached the starting point by 5 PM.
The total hiking trail from the starting point to top is 4.5 KM long. The entire length of the path consists of geographically diverse terrains. The first 2 KM follows a muddy trail with the patches of lush grass in between. The freshness of the pure air in the atmosphere was heavenly. The walkway after a while turns to a mild steep terrain giving a hint to the upcoming climb. This journey to the hilltop of Naneghat is an enriching experience, with the gently hushing wind covering the body with a cold blanket and the delightful treat to eyes of the charming landscape. There are multiple resting spots at locations where one can conveniently capture the surrounding scenic beauty. A distant view of the Naneghat became apparent at a stopover place. We spent some time enjoying the view, of our destination unfolding before our eyes from the moving foggy clouds.
We had to meet some unexpected guests on our way. A lot of crabs were seen along the pathways.
On approaching the small hilly terrain, two water streams could be seen. The major climb to the hilltop starts after this stream crossing, with the steep hills appearing. These streams can be easily crossed without much hindrance, and the journey afterwards is through rocky steps where one should be really careful. Extra attention may be required in the monsoon season, as the water from the top trickles down through these rocks. After easily crossing this streams, we proceeded upwards. By the time we covered half the distance, the sun was beginning to set with light fading in the background.
Usually, the trekking from the starting point to the top takes less than 2.5 hours. Since we had to cover the major chunk of the journey after sunset, we took around 3.5 hours to reach the top. The trekking in the night is very difficult, especially in the monsoon as the surrounding area gets covered in thick mist and the visibility even with the torchlight becomes poor.
Food and accommodation are readily available at the top. There is a cave at the top which can easily accommodate 30 people. There are a few hotels at the top providing food and shelter. After having dinner from a hotel 300 meters away from the cave, we spent our night in the cave.
We reached Naneghat on the first night and took shelter inside the cave at the top. The cave is big enough to accommodate more than 30 people. But, in the monsoon, the water drizzles through the opening of the cave, making it possible for only 10 people to stay inside the cave at a time. Also, if you are planning to stay in the cave, it is better to carry a chain and a lock along with you, so you can lock the grilled door of the cave while sleeping. In the monsoon the temperature at the top lows less than 22 degrees in the night. But the cave would be hotter than outside. Even though, it is better to carry a blanket or sleeping bag if you are planning to stay at the cave.
Naneghat is known for its historical importance, and the inscriptions on the walls of the cave give us this feeling. These inscriptions are still visible. The left and right walls have two long inscriptions, and the back wall has small inscriptions on the top.
The inscriptions have been dated by scholars to the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE. Most scholars date it to the early 1st-century BCE, some to 2nd-century BCE, a few to even earlier. The inscriptions are attributed to a queen of the Satavahana dynasty. Her name was either Nayanika or Naganika, likely the wife of king Satakarni. The details suggest that she was likely the queen mother, who sponsored this cave after the death of her husband.
The paved road coming from Ghatkhar village ends at a distance of 100 meters from the cave. There are few eateries and hotels on this roadside. One of the hotels is open till midnight. Also, there are few more eateries and resorts on the path to reverse waterfall.
In the monsoon, a heavy wind will be blowing all over the top of Naneghat. The pressure and impact of the wind were huge that it could blow anything. The wind kept throwing us back and we struggled to step ahead. In addition to that, the surrounding was completely covered with mist and the visibility was very poor.
The other attractions at Naneghat are Jivdhan fort and reverse waterfall. As compared to Naneghat trek Jivdhan fort trek is difficult, and the height of the fort is 3757 feet from the sea level. Jivdhan plays a role of a guard to Naneghat trade route to provide security for traders and the goods which they are transporting. This fort was destroyed by Britishers in 1815.
The famous reverse waterfall is 20 minutes away from the paved road. There is a muddy road on the top, on your right side while climbing up from the cave, that will take you to the reverse waterfall. The landscape along this path to the waterfall is eye-catching. The surrounding was covered with patches of lush green grass, and there are many small ponds containing crystal clear water. You can see different types of aquatic plants growing in these ponds. Also, there are few more small waterfalls on the top near the reverse waterfall. The reverse waterfall forms during the heavy monsoon period. Owing to the high-pressure winds in this season, the water starts to flow back upwards. If you stand at the top, behind the guarded railing from where the waterfall begins, you’ll be drenched.
After spending some time near the reverse waterfall, we returned to Ghatkhar village from where the bus is available to Junnar. To reach the Ghatkhar village, one need to walk all the way back to the paved road, and then a further 3 KM walk on the paved road. You can see big paddy fields on the roadside all the way up to the village. There is a beautiful stream flowing through this village which is again refreshing to witness.
There is a junction near the village, the road on the left side goes to Ajanwale village, and the one the right side heads towards Junnar. The buses from Junnar to Ajanwale village comes at the junction and continue their journey to Ajanwale. Ajanwale is a small village which is 2 KM away from the Ghatkhar village. The buses will halt for 5 to 10 minutes in the Ajanwale village and will start the return journey to Junnar. You can board the bus when it reaches again at the Ghatkar village. If you are not targeting the last bus at 4 PM, it is worth a visit to the Ajanwale village and return by the next bus.
The timing of buses reaching Ghatkhar village
7:15 AM, 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:20 PM, 2:00 PM, 3:00 PM, and 4:15 PM.
Local restaurant :
Rajyaratan, Mob: 78877 46677, 70286 41736
ST bus charge from Kalyan to Tokewadi : 60.00
ST bus charge from Ghatkahr to #Ajanwale : 10.00
ST bus charge from Ghatkhar to Junnar : 40.00
ST bus charge from Junnar to Kalyan : 155.00