Into the Sahyadris,

Into the Sahyadris: Kalavantin Durg Trek

21:04:00 Charles Wood 0 Comments

Kalavantin Durg as seen from Prabalmachi

Kalavantin Durg, also known as Kalavati or Kalavantinicha Sulka is a 685m high pinnacle on the northern edge of the Prabal plateau. The peak along with it's twin brother, Prabalgad is easily seen from the Mumbai - Pune Expressway. It is well known for it's perilous winding staircase carved against the stone. It is a favorite amongst thrill seekers and adventure junkies.

[table color="theme1"]
[row] [col]Location[/col] [col]Panvel, Maharashtra[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Base Village[/col] [col]Thakurwadi[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Height[/col] [col]2300 ft[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Difficulty Level[/col] [col]3/5[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Duration[/col] [col]3 Hrs[/col] [/row]
[row] [col]Season[/col] [col]Post Monsoon/ Winter[/col] [/row]


[item title="History"]
Very little is known about the origins of the fort. According to the locals, it is believed to have been constructed in 500 BC for a queen named Kalavantin. The Prabalgad Fort was built by the Bahmani Sultanate to keep an eye on the Panvel Fort and the Kalyan Fort in the North Konkan area. Kalavantin Durg was used more as a watch tower.

After a brief passage of time which saw the fort changing it's ownership multiple times, Chhatrapati Shivaji conquered the fort from the Mughals in 1657 A.D. Before him the fort was ruled by the Ahmadnagar Sultanate and the Mughal Empire. The fort has been a theater for many battles.


[item title="How to reach"]
By Train:
Reach Panvel station on the Harbour line. You can take a six seater rickshaw till the base village of Thakurwadi. The rickshaw drivers will charge you a two way fare and you may have to negotiate the prices. Alternatively you can take an ST bus from the ST depot going upto the village of Thakurwadi.

By Car:
Thakurwadi can be reached from Mumbai by taking the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and taking the first exit towards the Panvel Bypass Road. Then take a left towards Wardoli village and take a left from the village as well. This road will take you to the starting point of the trek.

[item title="The trek"]
The Trek starts from the Thakurwadi village. Anyone in the village can guide you to the start of the trail. There is a small shack selling breakfast and tea adjoining a parking lot created by the villagers here. The trail starts right behind this shack. The trail is wide initially and there's no chance of missing it. It climbs gradually for a duration of 1 and 1/2 hours to the village on a plateau called "Machi Prabal" or "Prabalmachi". Prabalmachi is a small village which has electricity. There is a small hotel on top here which serves food and tea. The village is located on a big plateau which offers scenic views of the Panvel city.

The trail continues further from the right side of the hotel. You will pass a few houses on your way up. The trail climbs rather steeply till you reach the col between Kalavantin Durg and Prabalgad. One has to take a left from this point. You'll find a boulder which has proper footholds carved in but has to be crossed carefully especially during monsoon. It takes about half an hour to reach this point from the plateau . Post this boulder, there are high rock cut steps, with the wall of the pinnacle on one side and an exposed valley on the other. The steps are wide enough to walk on but care has to be taken at certain tricky spots. The winding stairs climb steeply upto an open patch.

The final part of the trek is a small rock climbing stretch which can be done without ropes. There are cracks in the rocks which aid in climbing this boulder. The top is a small flat structure with an orange flag erected by fellow trekkers. It takes half an hour to reach the top from the col.

[item title="View from the top"]
One can view the mighty twin peak, Prabalgad on the left side of the fort. You get a brilliant panoramic view of the Panvel city and the nearby hills and fort. You can easily make out Irshalgad, the entire range of Matheran consisting of forts/peaks like Peb, Nakhind, Mhasmal Chanderi, Badlapur hills and Haji Malang. The col between Matheran and Peb is easily visible from here.

[item title="Things to note"]
The villagers ask for a small fee for parking your vehicles at the base village. There are a few locals who have set up shops selling lemonade, chips and breakfast at the base village Thakurwadi.

Food and water is available at Prabalmachi as well. A family has set up a hotel on Prabalmachi with a dining capacity of about 40 - 50 people. equipped with a washroom. The family also rent out tents.

Potable water is not available on the way up to Kalavantin Durg. It is advisable to carry atleast 2-3 litres of water for this trek.

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