Kalsubai, the highest peak of Maharashtra. As Mount Everest
is for the world, Kalsubai is for Maharashtra. I first read about this
peak in Geography textbook in school. Since then, my imagination for
this peak was like a very difficult and inaccessible rock somewhere in Nagar district.
It would be something like the mountain Tom Cruise climbs in Mission Impossible-2. I could
never imagine of going there. So, Kalsubai trek was not at all there in my list. But recently,
I came across many travellogs on Kalsubai trek. After going through them, I realized that
Kalsubai is not that much difficult to ascend. Most of the travellogs were suggesting that this
trek is to be done between Oct-Feb. So, we took this trek on priority and finalized the day of
Saturday, 22-Jan-2005. Sunday was purposely put as a spare day so that we can take enough rest before
starting the week.
Initially, we were 7 friends for this trek, but at the
last moment, we left only 3; Abhijit, Vinoo and myself. Still we decided
to do this trek. We took Pune-Nashik bus at 12.00 midnight from
Shivaji Nagar and got down at Sangamner S.T. stand at 3.15 am. Pune-Sangamner
distance is around 130 km. Now, here we have to spend another 3 hours for the next bus.
Fortunately, it was not very cold out there, so we didn't have any problem. The
first bus from Sangmaner to Kalsubai base (Bari village) is at 6.30 am. It is Sangamner-Kasara
bus going via Akole, Rajur, Bhandardara (Shendi), Bari, Ghoti, Igatpuri, Kasara. Bus
left the stand exactly at 6.30. Its a typical lal-dabba janata gaadi taking each stop in-between.
On the way, we passed very near to Bhandardara dam. Its very cool out there. One slot of
the dam was opened and water was flowing with speed through it. It was very nice view of the dam.
Bari, the base village of Kalsubai is around 5 km from Bhandardara. We got down at Bari at 9.15
am. Bari village is 1 km inside from the bus stop. Sangamner to Bari distance is around 65 km.
Bari is at extreme end AhmadNagar district, very near from Igatpuri.
We got inside the village and had some Kanda pohe in
a small house. Bari village is surrounded by many high mountains from
all the sides. One can see a really huge and high mountain behind the village,
and that is Mount Kalsubai, the highest peak of Maharashtra with height 1696 m (5400 ft).
One villager showed us the route and told us how to go. He was the same person who arranged Kanda
pohe for us in his friend's house. After giving him thanks, we started our actual climb at 10.15
am. In just 15 minutes, we came to a temple. This is temple of "Chhoti Kalsubai". Route to the
top goes from back side of this temple. After an hour of climb, we came across the one ladder.
This is an iron ladder for passing through a rock patch. The route here onwards till the second
ladder is difficult with all the rock patches. In half an hour, we reached the second ladder.
This ladder is inclined very steep. Some of its supporting rods are loose, which adds more thrill
to the climb. After going through this ladder, we felt that the trek is over and
the peak will be there only. But that was not the case. Some more part was left of the trek. After
45 minutes, we came at the third ladder. There is a well at this point with potable water. This
is the only point where you can get water after leaving Bari. The third ladder also covers a rock
patch and takes you directly in front of the Kalsubai temple, the highest point of Maharashtra.
We reached the top at around 1.15 pm. It took us whooping 3 hours for the climb as we
were taking halt frequently. But by making very few halts, the climb can be completed in 2 hours.
The view from the top is just amazing. One can see Bhandardara
dam and its backwaters, Ratangad, Kulang-Alang-Madan fort trio.
Ghatghar mountain range looks awesome from here. We were feeling very
cold top and wind was also flowing with speed. The Kalsubai temple is very small and only
one person can go inside it at a time. There is a heavy iron chain on top. Its one end is tied
to a rod and one end is left in the valley. It is said that, if anyone pulls the complete chain
to the top in just 11 pulls, his wishes gets fulfilled. Many people were successfully doing it
to for Madhuri / Aishwarya. Abhijit also tried his best for Gayatri Joshi, but couldn't do it as
chain was very heavy. On the top, we met Darshan and his 2 friends, who were from Nashik. They
were enjoying their first trek of such kind. Along with Darshan's group, we had lunch on
top. Menu was theple, kanda bhaji, chivda, chapati and bhaaji.
After spending some time there and having some snaps,
we started descending at 3.00 pm. While descending, Darshan's group was
collecting the garbage carry bags thrown by people on the way. Their act motivated us also. We
came down to Bari at 5.30 pm. At bus stop, we had some tea-biscuits. There are buses till 11.00
pm from Bari towards Akole / Sangamner. Also, many private jeeps are also there up to Akole.
The person at the stop told us that next bus to Sangamner is at 7.00 pm. That would made us
to wait there for an hour. So, we took a private jeep and come to Akole. There we got a bus to Sangamner
and reached Sangamner at 8.45 pm. We got Nashik-Pune bus at 9.15 pm and reached Pune at 12.30
Thus, we had a very perfect and wel-planned trek of Kalsubai.
It gave us a lot of satisfaction of conquering the highest peak of Maharashtra.
To see photos of this trek, click here.