One day trek to Mahuli Fort, Asangaon

Tripoto
4th Feb 2018
Photo of One day trek to Mahuli Fort, Asangaon by MUhammed Unais P

Mahuli Fort, the highest point in Thane District of Maharashtra, is a popular trekking destination. The fort is at an altitude of 2815 feets and Mahuli village is the base for Mahuli fort trekking. The  fort also offers opportunities for rock at the different parts of it.

Mahuli fort is located in Tansa Wildlife Sanctuary. The wild life sanctuary extends to different areas in the talukas of  Mokhada, Wada and Shahapur of Thane District. The sanctuary spreads over an area of 320 sq. km housing many forests Vaitarna, Khardi, Shahapur. In addition, there is big lake, Tans Lake, in side the Tansa Wildlife sanctuary. This  lake provides water to the wildlife. Different species of animals and birds are being found in the sanctuary.

The history of Mahuli Fort says that Mughals constructed the fort to protect the surrounding areas. In 1485 this place came under the rule of Nijamshahi dynasty. Later, Shivaji took this fort in 1658. In 1661 it was given back and was won again by Shivaji. In the treaty of Purandar, in 1665, Marathas lost these forts again. In Feb 1670, Shivaji Maharaj tried to conquer Mahuli but failed. After two months, Moropant Pingle conquered these forts and they became part of Swarajya. Till 1817, Shivaji’s dynasty owned the fort. Later, the fort came under the rule of the British.

Day 1

As usual, I started my journey on the first local train to Kasara and got down at Asangaon railway station. Asangaon railway station is the nearest station and is only 8 KM away from the base village. One can reach the base village either by local ST bus or by auto. Local ST bus stops before 1.3 K.M before the base village, but the auto will take you to the starting of the trekking trail and auto costs more than 200 rupees. Local buses start from Shapur bus station, which is 2 K.M. away from the railway station. Shared autos are available to Shahpur from the railway station and it costs 15 rupees per head. The first bus to Mahuli starts from the Shapur bus station at 6:30 AM. I reached Asangaon railway station at 6:20 AM and caught a shred auto to Bus station. But, the first bus had left when I reached there, and the second bus is only after 1.5 hours. I wanted to start trekking by 8 AM, and things were not going according to my plan. I didn’t have time to wait for the next bus. So I decided to walk to the base village, which was 7.5 K.M away from the bus station. If anyone wants to get the first bus, don't go to the bus stand. Instead, walk towards the National Highway road, and wait near the road to Manas Mandir.

I started walking towards the base village from the bus station at 6:45 AM on a small road. I didn't find any vehicle coming on my side to get a lift. I started seeing the cliffs of Mahuli hills from here itself and it motivated me to walk fast. Luckily, after walking 3.5 KM, I got a lift on a bike, and he dropped me near the railway cross. Still, I had to walk 4.3 KMs. The road joined with Asangaon-Manas Mandir road after 800 meters. After walking 15 minutes, I reached Mahuli village where the bus drops the passengers. It is 1.2 KM away from the main entrance of theforest. Again, I got a lift on a bike and I reached the entrance by 7:55 AM. Now, my plans were back on track.

A Shiva temple is the main attraction in the base village. There is a small coffee shop just behind the temple. The coffee shops also arrange lunch on demand. But, I carried enough food that I needed for a day of trekking. From the base village, I met a group of 16 people from Shahpur and started trekking with them at 8 o'clock. I really enjoyed the solo trekking with a crowd of unfamiliar faces. Within 5 minutes of walking, we reached the entry gate of the forest. Actually, we are supposed to pay 20 rupees per head to enter the wildlife sanctuary. But, the gate was open, and I didn't find any security officers near the gate. The trekking trail starts from here. After 5 minutes of trekking, we reached a bridge over a small stream. The path to a waterfall starts from the left side of the bridge and the trail to Tansa Dam starts from the right side of the bridge.

Post monsoon is the best time to visit the Mahuli Fort. The trail will be filled with dense vegetation in those seasons. Now it is completely dry. Wild animals are also easy to spot in these areas. In the past, leopards were spotted here frequently and it resulted in the restriction of trekking activities. Luckily, I didn't find any animals other than some monkeys. The first two kilometres of the trail is climbing some rock paved steps and is easy as compared to the remaining path. The first plateau is around 3.8 KM from the starting point. The 1 K.M trail before the first plateau is a little bit adventurous as one needs to climb some rock patches. There is a steep rock patch just below this plateau and is very difficult to climb. But in recent years an iron ladder has been placed to overcome this tricky part of the climb.

Within 2:45 hours of trekking we reached the first plateau. The view from the top is mesmeric. The nearby hills are filled with fog. We were greeted by a breeze. That was the best feeling so far. From here, you can see the starting of famous Bharangi river. Now the river is dry. We sat down here to enjoy the breeze and to capture some snaps of the valley. Then, we continued walking towards Shahpur Darwaza, which 10 minutes away from here. There are 3 small caves near the Shahpur Darwaza. Trekkers used to stay here in these caves which can accommodate around 15 people. Drinking water is also available here. But, I found that the water is really contaminated. From the Shahpur Darwaza, I got the company of another group of trekkers from Mumbai and Pune. They shared lunch with me even though I carried enough dates and peanuts. These are the best moments of solo trekking.

After 30 minutes of the break near the Shapur Darwaza, we started trekking towards the Kalyan Darwaza. There are many remnants of the fort along the trail. Also, there is a small lake on the left side of the trail halfway. Now, the lake is almost dry. But it will be filled with water in monsoon. After walking on the plateau for 45 minutes, we reached a big rock patch of 20 feet. A small ladder is pitched there to climb the first half. After climbing this rock patch, I took around 15 minutes to reach Kalyan Darwaza. The Kalyan Darwaza is the Konkan side entrance to the fort and its access has become difficult since the Britishers blew the stone carved steps. The speciality of this entrance is its location. It is almost impossible to locate this entrance as it has been carved in groves and cuts of the mountain through a huge rock. Since it was destroyed by Britishers, it requires technical expertise to access this portion of the fort. There is a big cave near the Kalyan Darwaza and is filled with water. The water is pure and I filled my bottle here.

I continued walking towards the viewpoint of the 3 famous pinnacles, Navara, Navri, and Bhatoba. The viewpoint is only 5 minutes away from Kalyan Darwaza. The viewpoint is surrounded by valley on three sides. It does not have a clear edge due to its slope and we should be very careful here. I met yet another group of guys from Shahpur at the viewpoint. These guys were really crazy, and I spent some time with them. We returned back to Mahuli by 1:30 PM. The base village is around 6 KM away from here and I took 2.5 hours to reach the bottom. Next, I needed to reach the Mahuli village bus stop which is around 1.5 KM away from the Shiva temple.

The next bus to Shahpur was at 5 PM and I had enough time. So I decided to visit Manas Mandir. I got a lift on a bike to Manas Mandir and reached there by 4.30 PM. Manas Mandir is a famous Jain temple located at the bottom of Mahuli Hills. I spent less than 20 minutes inside the Mandir compound. I didn’t have enough time to explore all the areas inside the Mandir . I returned back to the bus stop and waited there for the 5 PM bus. Luckily, the Mumbai group gave me a lift to Asangaon railway station and I returned back to Mumbai with them.

Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
Photo of Mahuli Fort, Asangaon, Maharashtra, India by MUhammed Unais P
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