Kalavantin Durg (Ka-laa-van-teen Doo-r-ga) is quite famous on the internet. Somehow it finds itself on many lists that include internationally well known peaks. It is both heartening and surprising. Therefore off late, we at Breakfree, have been asnwering many emails regularly from climbers travelling to Bombay who intend to climb Kalavantin while they are here. Having organised a few hikes to this beautiful peaks of Kalavantin and Prabalgad (Its neighbouring fort, which offers a brilliant view of the pinnacle, from where most of the thrilling photos of Kalavantin have been taken!) I thought it would be better to write a post. A detailed post of our last trip at Kalavantin can be found Kalindi’s blog.
So how does one get to Kalavantin from Bombay?
Assuming you are staying at Colaba, head to Victoria Terminus and take the local train headed to Panvel( Pan-vel) (PL is the station code).
Trains to Panvel depart from Andheri, Bandra, Kurla and Wadala.
Once at Panvel station, walk straight to the bus stand and wait for a bus headed to Thakurwadi (Thaa-koor-waa-di). Alternatively you can hire a rickshaw and tell him to drop you off at Thakurwadi near Shedung (Shay-doog). From Thakurwadi, continue straight on the asphalt road that ends near a hillock, from here a dirt track snakes to your right. Continue straight on this track which will end on a wide plateau with a few small houses scattered around.
This plateau is Prabalmachi (Pra-bal-maa-chee) Here the first structure you will see is a small eatery run by Nilesh and Balu Bhutambara ( 08056182163, 09167014731, 9209461474) They will organise for a guide to lead the way through the forest, your lunch and also your accommodation (They have good rooms built especially for climbers). From here, the way forks and one route leads to Kalavantin while the other to Prabalgad.
The climb is fun to say the least. After the village, the route passes through a thick decidous forest and then slopes uphill. There are a lot of loose rocks and scree on the way. After about 40 minutes, one arrives at the steps. The steps are carved right into the rock so climbing them is quite a delight. However, watch your step and tread carefully. The final climb to the top requires navigating a small problem but isn’t difficult to ascend.
The incline isn’t so steep as it seems in the photos. That is a result of an optical illusion, as the Kalavantin Viewpoint from Prabalgad is considerably taller and causes the steps to look very steep. Taking a guide is advisable as the way isn’t marked.
This could be a comfortable day trip from Bombay. However, if you have the entire weekend to yourself, here’s what your itinerary could look like.
Early morning train to Panvel, bus/rickshaw to Thakurwadi, Climb Prabalgad and explore this vast plateau, retire for the night at Nilesh’s place. Early morning next, climb Kalavantin after breakfast. Be back for lunch and take the evening train from Panvel to CST.
One can climb both these peaks all through out the year but the summers are unbearably hot. The winters are cool but ideal time is in the rains when the steps turn slippery and add to the adventure! No equipment is required but do take a guide along, the way can be quite tricky if lost and not many locals visit both the peaks.
Here’s the link to a website that Nilesh has set up: http://prabalgad-kalavanti.blogspot.in/2012/07/prabalgad-and-kalavanti-durg-tour.html
Contact Details: 08056182163, 09167014731, 9209461474
For hiring a rickshaw(tumtum – 8 seater) : Santosh – 08898987088
Have a good climb and give our best to Nilesh and his sweet family!
Photos: Abhay Singh, Ameya Bhagat, Neel Dey, Rushikesh Kulkarni