Kalavantin Durg trek is a difficult grade trek in the Sahyadri – Raigad region of Maharashtra, India. It’s highly exposed, without any railings which makes this a really thrilling experience and is not recommended for beginners. Adjacent to Kalavantin Durg is Prabalgad. If you’re an experienced hiker, you can complete both of the hikes in one day.
Kalavantin Durg trek is a 10 kms long (return) journey standing at 2,300 feet (701 m). You will pass through a small hamlet at Prabalmachi where you can get food and refilled your water.
Visit this trek to experience the thrill and challenge your limits!
The most thrilling part of this trek is the iconic rock-cut staircase which has steps that are so big you cannot climb them without using your hands. On one side, there’s the mountain and on the other side there’s a deep valley. Since there are no ropes or railings for safety here, any mistakes here can result in extremely harmful to fatal results.
The trek to Kalavantin Durg officially starts from the Parking Lot which is the trailhead. However, if you come here by a shared cab / tum-tum then the service providers might drop you before a slope and you might have to walk another 10 mins to reach the parking lot. This could be a good warmup but an unnecessary one.
The hike starts with a long stretch of low inclines and flat patches. After about 20 minutes of hiking, you reach a check post where your bags are checked and you need to pay an entry fee of ₹50 per person.
As you proceed on the route, you will start hiking alongside some small streams which will disappear as you start gaining altitude.
Eventually, the hike moves into a narrow path alongside the mountain and then into a wide road leading up to Prabalmachi.
You will find a couple of resting stations in between where you can refill your bottles, get some chai, or even enjoy a few minutes on this thrilling swing. Warning: Try at your own risk! 😀
Next stop from here should directly be at Prabalmachi. It’s a beautiful small Hamlet where you can find basic amenities such as locally cooked food, camping ground, and homestays. From Prabalmachi, the route diverges in two directions - Kalavantin Durg and Prabalgad.
The ascend from Prabalmachi to Kalavantin Durg is something where things begin to get really uphill (literally and figuratively). The gradient increases, the path becomes full of scree, and there is a lot of foliage along the way.
By the time you reach the col from where the iconic stairway of Kalavantin begins, you’re already pretty exhausted (or pumped).
Beyond this point, everything is filled with a mountain of thrill. One short highly exposed patch, followed by the rock-cut stairs, followed by a steep ascent till the last rock patch. This rock patch is a bit tricky to ascend if you’re not familiar with rock climbing techniques. During the day time, there are always some local volunteers present there to guide you through this climb. Listen to them carefully and let them help you.
After crossing this rock patch, you will reach the final summit, which is a small area that can get crowded if there are more than 30-40 people.
On clear days, you get to see you get magnificent views of the Matheran range which include Peb, Nakhind, etc. You can also spot other mountain peaks such as Karnala, Irshalgad etc.
Once you descend back to Prabalmachi, you can also go finish the Prabalgad trek or camp at Prabalmachi if you’re not in the mood to descend back to the base. Food and accommodation can be easily arranged here.
The trek to Kalavantin Durg (fort) starts from Thakurwadi village.
How to reach Thakurwadi village with Private Transport?
You can drive all the way till the parking lot (Google Maps Location) in Thakurwadi village from where the trek starts. People on bikes ride beyond the parking lot till the check post. This place is near Panvel and hence it is very well accessible from Mumbai as well as Pune. Start your journey early so you can finish the hike before it gets hot.
How to reach Pachad village with Public transport?
People traveling from Mumbai as well as Pune can come to Panvel railway station by public transport and then hire an auto or tumtum (7-seater auto) till the base village Thakurwadi. (Contacts for transport from Panvel till base village added in the “Local Contacts” section)
Panvel railway station is the end of the Harbour Line of the Mumbai Local Railway network. Use m-indicator application to know about train routes and timings to reach to this station.
There are a lot of stalls along the trail to purchase packaged drinking water. You can also refill your bottles from the hotel at Prabalmachi. The last stall is at the base of the Kalavantin pinnacle.
Packed food like chips, biscuits, etc. can be purchased from the stalls along the way. You can get local Maharashtrian food like Poha, Kanda Bhaji, Veg / Non-veg Thali on some small hotels along the way.
You can camp at Prabalmachi but remember that it is too crowded on weekends. Hundreds of people camp on this really small plateau. These days, you can also book a room at Prabalmachi. These are small rooms with basic amenities but if you are reading about this on ThrillBear, I am assuming that you are not really looking for something like that.
Washroom / Toilet / WC
You will find washrooms at Prabalmachi and at 1-2 places along the trail.
Food, Refreshments, & Accommodation at Prabalmachi
Namdev: +91 9209461474
Transport from Panvel to Thakurwadi (7-seater)
Bunty: +91 8007206005
November to March
It’s best to visit Kalavantin Durg during winters. The temperatures aren’t extreme and the rock cut steps towards the top are relatively safer to climb as compared to the monsoons. Since the trail towards the end has very high exposure, it’s risky to climb in the monsoons because these steps might become a bit slippery.
This is the most convenient itinerary for the trek to Kalavantin Durg:
06:00 AM - Board an early train to reach Panvel and get a transport for Thakurwadi (Grab some breakfast along the way)
07:30 AM - Reach Thakurwadi village and start the trek
09:00 AM - Reach Prabalmachi, take a quick pit-stop and move towards Kalavantin Durg
11:00 AM - Reach Kalavantin fort top, spend some time with the beautiful view, and start descending towards Prabalmachi
12:30 PM - Reach Prabalmachi, have lunch and relax for a while
02:00 PM - Start moving towards the base and inform the driver that you have left
03:00 PM - Reach the base, catch transport towards Panvel
04:00 PM - Reach Panvel and catch a train back home with happy memories
If you have the energy for it, you can also go to Prabalgad on the same day. It might add another 3 hours.
- 2 Liters of water (compulsory)
- Sun hat or cap
- Warm clothes during winters
- Trekking shoes or trail running shoes (strictly no sandals or chappals)
- Comfortable t-shirt (preferably dry-fit and full sleeves)
- Comfortable trekking pants (no jeans or shorts)
- Extra pair of clothes and a hoodie (if you’re planning to camp)
- Electrolyte powder (such as Electral, Enerzal, etc.)
- Light snacks to munch on during breaks
- Fresh fruits / Dried fruits such as dates, figs / Nuts mix, etc for eating along on the trail
- A small day pack to carry all the above (Kindly avoid handbag/sling bag)
- Personal medications, if any
- Optional items: sun goggles, wet tissues, hand sanitizer, cameras, etc.