In our busy life and hectic routine, it is very difficult to spare time for our passion. But one should not let these reasons become excuses. If you like hiking and are looking for a hiking trek that will not involve days of travel, then Gorakhgad is your next hiking destination. Located in the Dehri village, just 26 km away from Murbad in Maharashtra, in the Bhimashankar range, the 400 feet tall solid rock trek will give you a sensory an adventurous treat. While most of the hikes in high mountains are not recommended in monsoons due to bad weather and dangerous route, this trek garners unprecedented natural beauty during monsoons and is, therefore, one of the most popular monsoon treks in the country.
Many people believe that monsoons bring out the best in the trek to Gorakhgad. The boisterous clouds and refreshing rain showers seem to cast a magical spell on the forest that brings it to life. The green hue of the tree leaves in different shades is a sight for sore eyes and the numerous energetic waterfalls that seem to arise out of nowhere make this trek one of India’s most beautiful trekking trails.
- Gorakhgad Fort- An Overview
- History Behind Gorakhgad fort
- Best Time to Visit
- How to Reach
- Brief Itinerary to Gorakhgad Fort
- Detailed Itinerary to Gorakhgad Fort
- Nearby Places to Visit
- Difficulty Level at Different Points in the trek
- Physical Fitness for the Trek
- Trek Essentials
- Summing Up
Gorakhgad Fort- An Overview
- Where it is located: Maharashtra
- Number of Trekking Days: 1-2 days
- Trail Type: Jungle trail
- Livingit Rank: Beginners- Enthusiast
- Max Altitude: 631 m
- Base Camp: Dehri
- Best Time to Visit: June-March
History Behind Gorakhgad Fort
Gorakhgad is a fortress stands tall in the Murbad region at the height of 631 meters. Along with Gorakhgad, there is another fortress named Machhindragad standing right next to it. These fortresses are named after the sage Gorakhnath and his disciple Machhindranath who are said to have meditated at these very spots. It is also believed that Shivaji used the Gorakhgad fort as the hiding point for his loot from Surat for some time. It was frequently used by Shivaji’s troops as a watch point and stop-over on the Junnar-Naneghat route.
Until the year 1818, there were two forts at Gorakhgad. Upon completing a very steep climb of about a hundred feet, there was a gateway with another staircase that twined as a spiral and made entirely of rock. This stairway led to the second fort after another 100 feet steep ascent. The second fort and the staircase that led there are in total ruins now, and inaccessible. Throughout the rock, there are distinct caves at various heights which were used as dwellings in the past, with ample supply of cisternal water.
Best Time to Visit
Wondering when to visit the spectacular fortress of Maharashtra? Ideally, it is beautiful to visit during the monsoon, when nature blooms into lush greenery and invites migrating birds and animals. So trek this gorgeous peak from June to March.
Avoid visiting Gorakhgad fort during the summer as the rock wall heats up, making it difficult for the trekkers to conquer!
Winter: 30 to 34 degree Celsius (day); 19 to 25 degree Celsius (night)
Summer: 30 to 35 degree Celsius (day); 22 to 25 degree Celsius (night)
Monsoon: 25 to 30 degree Celsius (day); 23 to 27 degree Celsius (night)
How to Reach Gorakhgad Fort
The village Dehri where the fort is situated is accessible from Mumbai as well as from Pune. The whole trek can be completed within one day. Let us have a look at the various routes by which we can reach Gorakhgad Fort.
Take a train from Pune to Kalyan. Direct buses to Murbad ply from Kalyan station. Once you reach Murbad, you can avail rental cars or local transport called Tum-tum to reach Dehri village.
It is advisable to reach Kalyan early in the morning from Mumbai and then take one of the many direct buses that go to Murbad. From Murbad, you can reach Dehri village by road. Once you reach Murbad, you would have to travel in the direction of Mhasa, and then you will find the route to reach Dehri.
A popular route to reach Gorakhgad is starting a trek from Siddhagad, located at village Narivli. You should travel to the village Narivli and start the trek. This trek takes you through the forest and amidst waterfalls for a total of about 3 hours before you reach Gorakhgad.
Gorakhgad: A Brief Itinerary of the Trek
This trek is easily managed within one day. It is advisable to start from Kalyan early in the morning so that you reach Dehri village at a convenient time. From Dehri, you should eat breakfast and then start your trek. The uphill trek would not require more than 3 hours. The downhill trek would take even lesser time.
Here is a typical itinerary that most people follow:
7:00 a.m. - Reach Kalyan and take the bus to Reach Murbad
08:30 a.m.- Take a tum-tum or rental car to reach Dehri. Have breakfast either on way or at Dehri.
09:30 a.m.- Start the trek to Gorakhgad
12:30 p.m.- Reach the top of the Fort. Enjoy the panoramic view from the top.
01:30 p.m.- Begin the downhill trek
03:30 p.m.- Reach Dehri and depending on personal preferences, have snacks at Dehri or head to Mumbai/Pune via Murbad.
It is advisable to carry packed food and enough water in your backpack. Generally, the trek organizer companies would arrange for your transportation and breakfast, but lunch and snacks are usually excluded from the tour costs.
Gorakhgad: Detailed Itinerary of the Trek
Dehri Village to Gorakhgad Fort
The total time required to reach Gorakhgad fort from Dehri village and back is about 5 hours. The trek starts at the temple located in Dehri village. Already from here, both Gorakhgad and Machhindragad are visible. The route to reach these forts passes through lush green forests covered with wildflowers and filled with the chirping and cooing of birds.
After about half an hour’s trek through the forest, you will reach the slightly steeper part of the trail. One has to be extra careful during monsoons because the path is slippery. Though the trail is clearly marked, it is advisable to keep an eye on the vegetation growing alongside the trail. This steep part of the trek is over in another thirty minutes.
Then you will reach a part of the mountain that will take you downhill as you proceed. Keep traversing this path and you should reach the base of Gorakhgad fort. Start climbing the fort carefully, because the rock tends to get slippery and more difficult to hold on to. After about 15 minutes, you should reach the first cave. Walk in through the cave and you will find mesmerizing views of the hills with animated and lively waterfalls interspersed in them.
Although this trek is classified under moderate difficulty level, it is advisable to take things slowly.
The next steep climb is perhaps the toughest section of the trek because it is an almost perpendicular to the ground. The staircase cut from the rock will let you climb up, but you have to be slow and very careful. This is especially true for monsoons when these stairs are constantly wet. As you reach the top of these stairs, you will reach the famous nine caves of Gorakhgad.
Tushar Rane the blogger of MyTravelStoryBook shares words of caution- "After climbing the small rock patch we headed vertically upwards taking the steps which have a natural spiral swing making it a real thrilling experience. One has to be very disciplined and cautious here as the steps are steep and have a small space for footing. The fun & fear about this part is that when you look behind you see a valley and one daunting peak of Machindragad.”
It is possible to continue the trek further above, and traverse another very steep rock to reach the top. From here, you can witness the beautiful, panoramic view of the Sahyadris with the full bloom of wild flowers and gushing waterfalls. The way down follows the same route, but you have to be even more careful for the downhill trail.
Nearby Places to Visit
There are some landmarks and places to see during your trek. Let us have a look at them in the following sections:
The Shiv Temple
As you start the trek from Dehri village, you will see this temple. It is not very big but is conspicuous with an idol of Nandi Bull.
As you ascend the Gorakhgad Fort, you will find clusters of caves that are big enough to accommodate more than 30 people. These caves are well maintained and clean. They offer a perfect spot for photography because of the beautiful view of the Sahyadri valley they offer. It is also a common place for hikers to sit and relax for a few minutes before carrying on with the trek.
The Water Cisterns
Just alongside the caves, there are three water cisterns with cool and clear water flowing through them almost all the year-round.
The Gorakhnath Temple
As you reach the top of the fort, you will find a small but prominent temple in the memory of Saint Gorakhnath.
The Macchindragad Fort
As you admire the panoramic views from the top of Gorakhgad, you will not be able to miss another daunting rock known as the Macchindragad Fort, named after Macchindranath, a disciple of Saint Gorakhnath. It is smaller than Gorakhgad but very prominent and fascinating.
Difficulty Level at Different Stages in the Trek
In general, this trek to Gorakhgad is considered to be manageable by most hikers. The trekking path till the mountain is pleasant and easy to tread. This part of the trek will culminate at the Samadhi Point of Saint Gorakhnath and is like a small plateau.
The second lap of this trek involves the climb on the mountain slope to reach the caves. This part of the trek is also not difficult because the slope is never too steep.
The final lap of this trek involves climbing up a very steep rock. Although the stairs are cut in this rock to facilitate climbing, one needs to very careful because the rock is almost perpendicular to the ground. While the first two laps of this trek can be done all across the year, it is advisable not to trek this final lap in monsoons. This is because the rocks tend to get very slippery during rainfall and if a hiker trips over and falls down, serious injury may be afflicted.
Physical Fitness for the Trek
It is essential to develop strength, stamina, flexibility, and endurance in your body and mind prior to any trek, regardless of the difficulty level. Especially for Gorakhgad trek, one has to keep in mind that the same trek might present different kinds of terrain in different weather.
You can prepare yourself for this trek by simple cardio exercises. You should ideally be fit enough to jog about 4 km in one go and not take more than 30 minutes for the same. If you are into regular swimming and cycling, then you have an advantage already. Include squats, planks, and crunches in your daily workout routine to develop muscular strength.
Finally, prepping your body for a flexibility enhancing routine will be beneficial. This can be done by regularly doing stretching exercises for thighs, hips, quadriceps etc. Some indoor exercise regimens are developed specifically for these kinds of exercises. You may follow those too.
Since it is a very popular monsoon trek, extra care must be taken in regard to your fitness because during rains, these rocks tend to become very slippery and you might have to trek very slowly.
Although the trek to Gorakhgad is considered to be easy for the most part, except for the last steep rock climbing, it is recommended to wear an attire that is comfortable and suitable for rocky terrain.
Here is a checklist for you:
- If going there in the rainy season, make sure you keep raincoats, hats and rain cover. Umbrellas will not be useful you will need to keep both hands free to hold on to the rocks while climbing.
- Trekking shoes are highly recommended. Avoid wearing regular sports shoes.
- Full sleeved cotton shirts or t-shirts are a good way to protect your arms against insect bites as you traverse through the forest and regions with thick vegetation.
- Comfortable trek pants are most suitable for this trek.
- Sun protection cream, sun glasses, and cap will be extremely useful in case the weather gets hot.
In addition to the above-mentioned items, it is a good idea to carry some medicines in case of emergency, a spare set of clothes and a towel in your backpack. Please refrain from wearing expensive jewellery or accessories and do not carry a large amount of money for your own safety.
Nestled in the Sahyadris is this wonderful trek to Gorakhgad. This trek makes for a good family trek because of the easy climb up to the steep rock. Depending on your fitness and weather, you may choose to complete the trek all the way to the top or trek till the caves only. Either way, this experience is sure to remain etched in your heart for a long time. The beautiful views of the lush green mountains with the waterfalls cascading between them is sure to bring a smile to your face.
This is one of the treks that can be easily done during monsoons. What are you waiting for? Mark Gorakhgad as your next trekking destination and share your experience with us. Also, check out the third highest peak in Maharashtra- Harishchandgad Trek and plan for the weekend right away.