There are only a handful of treks that offer nature and hiking enthusiasts the perfect balance between the thrill of an adventurous climb and the tranquillity and historical richness of a destination and the Mahuli fort trek is the quintessential combination of all these things. The Mahuli trail is situated in a complex cluster of hills with shared peaks, hence making it a very popular route amongst experienced and enthusiastic rock climber.
Apart from the exhilaration and complexity of the climb, a major highlight of the trek is the Mahuli Fort, which is the highest standing structure in the trail and promises every trekker a breathtaking bird’s eye view of the vast and beautiful landscape below. The topography is seen at its best during the monsoon season, the entire panoramic stretch is a scenic expanse of lush green forests and meadows.
Know More About:
- The Mahuli Fort Trek: Quick Peek
- The Mahuli Fort Trek: A Historical Adventure
- As History Goes...
- Best Time for the Mahuli Fort Trek
- The Best Routes To The Mahuli Fort
- The Mahuli Fort Trek: Full Breakdown
- Trekking Essentials
- Useful Tips For The Trek
- Summing Up
Standing at a colossal altitude of 2,815 feet, this well-renowned rock climbing and trekking destination is actually the highest point in the Thane district, with the surrounding forestry and the Mahuli fort being officially declared as a protected sanctuary and monument.
The Mahuli Fort Trek: Quick Peek
- Where it is Located: Maharashtra
- Number of Trekking Days: 1 Day (3 hours to reach the fort and descend back to base camp)
- Max Altitude: 2,815 feet
- Trekking Distance: 11 km
- Trekking Grade: Easy to Moderate
- Trail type: Well marked and directed trail
- Gradient type: Easy with a handful of gradual ascension, each followed by short levelled walks. Final portion towards the fort is very steep.
- Basecamp: Asangaon
- Best time to visit: Monsoon season
- Livingit Rank: Beginner - Enthusiast
The Mahuli Fort Trek: A Historical Adventure
The Mahuli Fort trek is one of the most popular trekking destinations in the Thane district and has become somewhat of a rock climber’s haven in the recent years. This trek promises you with the most surreal and adventurous hiking package, with a bonus view of the nearby hilltops and peaks such a Vazir and Vishnu - as named by the local trekking and rock climbing communities. The upward trail can be quite complex, especially taking into account of the cluster of another handful of hills in the proximity sharing the same cols and pinnacles.
One of the principal attractions of the Mahuli Fort Trek is the open air temple dedicated to the Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. Next, to the temple, trekkers can also enjoy a refreshing pit stop at the perennial drinking water cistern at the very top. Other highlights of the hike include the three hilltop caves that are often used as shelter by campers and rock climbers and the famous stone arch, however, which is now broken, historically referred to as the ‘Kalyan Darwaja’.
With a well laid out and easy-to-follow trail, you can venture through the rich and luscious topography of meadows and forestry, where the forest areas encompassing the path have been protected and declared as a sanctuary.
As History Goes...
The Mahuli Fort holds a great stature of historical significance across various eras of rulers and kingdoms that were once in power in the district. It first dates back 1485, with the Mughals creating the fort under the rule of the Nijamshahi dynasty. The marvellous fort was then won over by Shivaji Raje, twice, before passing it on back to the Mughals during the treaty of Purandar.
The Mahuli Fort was also once home to the late Maratha king, Shahaji Raje, the father of Chhatrapati Shivaji. The Fort was fought over so much for its strategic vantage point, with over 1700 different climbing pinnacles surrounding it. With plenty of the fortification remaining, the Mahuli Fort still remains one of the most frequently visited destinations for both trekkers and history enthusiasts alike.
Best Time for the Mahuli Fort Trek
The best time to trek to Mahuli Fort, as with most Maharashtrian fort treks, is the monsoon season. This is because the fort is situated on a hill, and the rains bring with them a plethora of colours in the form of trees and flowers accompanied by the wonderful fragrance of wet mud. That being said, you can do this trek in the winters and summers if you like.
- Monsoon: 30° C to 35° C (day); 20 ° C to 25 ° C (night)
- Winter: 26 ° C to 31 ° C (day); 10 ° C to 15 ° C (night)
- Summer: 39 ° C to 44 ° C (day); 26 ° C to 31 ° C (night)
The Best Routes to the Mahuli Fort
The trek begins at the Mahuli Fort base, where one can even visit the local Ganesh temple before embarking on the journey. Capturing the district’s finest parts of nature, the Mahuli trek promises every visitor with an authentic trekking experience.
- By Road: Mahuli is very accessible from Mumbai, through a short drive to Thane.
- By Rail: You can easily take a local train from Mumbai or from Thane junction to Asangaon, from where autos, buses and cabs are readily available to the Mahuli fort. The Asangaon station is located on the Mumbai-Nashik highway.
Before reaching the fort, you can also make a quick stop at the Manas Mandir, a well renowned Jain temple.
- By Walk: A 4-kilometre walk from the Asangaon station will directly take you the base temple in little less than an hour.
The Mahuli Fort Trek: Full Breakdown
Once you reach Asangaon, you can have a meal that is provided by the locals and rest for a bit before embarking on the journey to the Mahuli Fort.
Asangaon to Mahuli Fort
The trek begins at the base of the fort, near the Mahuli Fort temple, which is only a short drive away from Asangaon. It is best advised for trekkers to take the trail leading towards the right side of the temple and reach the Mahuli trek and tourism centre, which would indicate the main entrance to the Trek's forested pathway. Soon after entering the jungle, hikers are very likely to pass through the Mahuli village, where they are perpetually welcomed with the warmest hospitality and guidance. Hikers often replenish or buy some resources and food here, and at times even hire a local guide to help them along the way.
During the monsoons, one can come across sparkling streams severing the trails. However, one has to be extremely careful when traversing across such patches, as it gets difficult to predict the force of the current. The trail from here onwards begins to incline gradually through meandering routes, where in about half an hour it flattens out again. This pattern can be seen in many sections of the trail until it begins it steepen closer to the fort. As the path progresses, rock climbers and trekkers can get a majestic view of the surrounding pinnacles and cols. The final patch of the trek leads into a small clearing at the top where a marvellous gate-like structure can be found. This is the entrance into the fort and one can spend hours exploring the eerie and mystical dimensions of the historical building. Further down from this point, trekkers can also stumble upon the fort’s original wall and even a few caves!
Mahuli Fort to Bhandargad
The route towards Bhandargad is marked and it begins to descend in a southeastern direction. Across the trail, trekkers often come across remains of the Mahuli fort and the Mahuleshwar temple. As the path progresses towards the Bhandargad col, grooves are seen carved into the path to facilitate the hike into the final destination. Once trekkers reach the Bhandargad col, they are immediately rewarded with the elusive vision of the Kalyan Darwaza that lies at the very top.
Descent back to Asangaon
The return back to base camp is along the same route and does not take too much time. However, the descent makes it difficult to traverse across rocky and slippery patches, making it very difficult and risky especially during the monsoons.
- Trekking shoes that are sturdy and with a good grip to help you traverse through the slippery inclines
- A backpack or a rucksack that has a capacity around 40-60 litres and broad and sturdy shoulder straps, for better support
- Rope for climbing
- Trekking poles always come in handy
- Two 1 litre bottles
- Flashlight/headlamp and extra batteries
- A raincoat in the occasion of rain
- Carry an extra pair of trekking pants, in case the other gets wet or torn
- Sun caps and sunscreen to protect your skin from the harsh rays at higher altitudes
- Waterproof gloves
- A waterproof cover for your rucksacks
- Moisturisers, lip balms and sunscreen to keep your skin protected
- Toilet paper and a light towel
- Plastic covers for compartmentalizing wastes and wet clothes
- Crocin for fever
- Avil for allergies
- Combiflam as a general painkiller
- Crepe bandage and ointment in the case of any injuries
- A small roll of cotton and gauze
- Moov or Relispray for muscular pulls, aches and sprains
- Antiseptic creams and bug spray
- Snacks (chocolates, dry fruits, etc,)
Useful Tips for the Mahuli Fort Trek
- Due to poor connectivity at higher altitudes, it’s always advised to inform your friends and family of your whereabouts before reaching Bhandargad
- Avoid trekking during the night time
- Remember to take your camera, waterproof protection for the equipment and an extra pair of batteries to make sure that you never miss out on an opportunity to capture some picturesque memories
- This trek is best attempted in groups of 6-9 people.
- There aren’t any water sources along the way, which is why it is crucial that you always 2-3 litres of water with you along the trek.
- The trek is relatively very easy and ideal for first-time trekkers, so it is not necessary to hire a guide for the trek. However, for the higher inclines and rocky patches, it is best to always be accompanied by other experienced trekkers.
The Mahuli Fort Trek has never failed to impress its visitors and is popular for it quintessential balance of ease, adventure and a good history lesson. For anyone wishing to experience the green and refreshing spread of nature during the monsoons, this trek is definitely the answer to that dilemma. One of the most memorable and popular monsoon hikes, the Mahuli Fort trek is a favourite amongst Mumbaikars. And as the rains begin to shower the earth, visitors to the trek are always seen welcomed by the soothing sound of the Mahuli waterfall and meandering streams across the trail.