- Height: 4,665 ft
- Difficulty level: Medium
- Duration: 2 Days
- Trek Duration: 5-6 hours
- Base Village: Khireshwar
- Descending Route: Pachnai
- Best season to trek: Monsoon/ Winter
- Estimated Cost: Rs. 500 (including Public Transport)
Contact No: (For breakfast/lunch/dinner/guide)
- Prakash Sawle(Pachnai Village) For caves and food: 07350826486
- Ankush Bharmal(Pachnai Village) For caves and food: 07038774062
- Pandharinath Bharmal: 08806132640/09657456920
- Bhau Bharmal: 07507033350/09527612588
- Bharat Bharmal: 09923374649/8928605717
- Bhaskar: (For guide via Naalichi Vaat): 8308081939
Note: The phone number might not be reachable on weekends as they are up on the hills. Monday morning is the best time to reach them.
How to reach Harishchandragad From Mumbai
Harishchandragad Trek via Khireshwar
- Take an early local train till Kalyan on Central Line
- Exit at Kalyan West
- Reach the local bus depot (3 minutes from the station)
- Take any bus going via Malshej Ghat
- Get down at Khubi Phata
- Here you will find a small tea stall, take rest and walk on the same road further and take a left which will lead you to a dam.
- Cross the dam and you will reach a tiny village named Khireshwar.
- If you are lucky, you might get a drop from trekkers coming by private vehicles or you can take a sharing jeep in case you get any as there is no fixed time or frequency for the same.
- In case you don’t get any of the above, the walk from highway till the village is approximately 6 km.
Other possible routes:
- Harishchandragad Trek via Nalichi Vaat
- Harishchandra via Rajmarga
- Harishchandragad via Pachnai
It has a tea and breakfast centre for the trekkers at the entrance of the village. (Aishwarya Tea Stall) In case you aren’t carrying lunch, you can pack whatever is available as there are hardly any food stalls on trek route. There isn’t much to explore at the base village. But if you have enough time you can visit the Nageshwar Temple which is ancient construction with an antique idol of Lord Vishnu in sleeping posture.
Harishchandragad Trek Route via Tolar Khind
Guides are actually not needed as the route is well-marked with arrows by the locals and the trekkers. On Saturdays and Sundays, you will be accompanied by many trekking groups whom you can follow.
See the arrow carefully, if it is twisted or turned in the wrong direction, it can lead you in the wrong direction.
Tip: Keep asking for the correct route to the tea stall owners. The villagers are quite helpful and would even guide you happily till the top.
The route becomes a little slippery and risky during monsoons. Though railings are put up at many risky places, at other places you will have to rely on your shoe grip and balancing skill. It’s better to stay leaned towards the hill.
The height is covered up in the first half of the trek. Later you will just be walking off the plateau, naturally decorated with lovely white and purple flowers. (Known as seven hills as you cross small seven hills)
Don’t waste much time on the way or at the base if you haven’t booked your caves through the guides as, during the trek season, there are chances of all the caves being occupied by the trekkers.
Reaching the Harishchandra Fort or Gad
Once you have occupied your cave and ordered for your dinner, you can leave for the exploration.
Many picturesque caves, especially during monsoons, will provide you will perfect picture for your camera. Look for all the caves before you select for the night stay. The caves near the temple are supposed to be comparatively clean as it is frequented by the locals and the pujari of the temple. The cave near the stream is the most beautiful one. With the water creating a flowing water curtain over it, the flowing stream provides the best view from the cave.
This cave is located near the main temple of the complex and has a huge 5 ft tall shivalinga which is usually surrounded by water during monsoon, making it a beautiful sight of a Shiva linga immersed in fresh rainwater. It is covered with a broken dome held by only a single pillar as the other 3 have been destructed. As per the locals, the fall of the fourth pillar will mark the end of this world(Kali Yuga).
It is an ancient monolithic temple, beautifully carved with idols of Ganesha and other celestial beings on its doors. The Shivalinga is visible from all the four entrances with a huge Nandi guarding it at the backside of the temple.
Konkan Kada (A cliff)
Trek for half an hour more and you will reach the most beautiful place ever from where you will have a majestic view of hundreds of streams flowing into the valley from the hills. If you are lucky enough you might witness the phenomenon called a ‘Vishnu Sahastra Chakra’ by the locals. It is a full circular rainbow, which is an unusual happening. Further, you can walk to the endpoint and enjoy a view of the valley.
During winters, it will assure you the most colourful sunset ever.
Be careful to return before it turns dark as in between the route to the caves is a little tricky.
This is the highest point of the Fort from where you can have the view of many famous peaks like Ajoba Hill, Napta twin peaks, Kulang Fort, Siddhagadh Fort and Naneghat range.
Reaching Back to Mumbai
Option 1: You can take the same route and reach the base village Khireshwar à Khubi Phata à Kalyan
Option 2: From the extreme right of the temple goes a route to Pachnai Village through which you can reach the village within 1.5/2 hours. A private (sharing) taxi can take you till Rajur Bus Depot from where you can get the buses/ Sharing taxi (Rs. 100) till Igatpuri/Kasara. Or take the local buses that ply at 8:30 am and 11:30 am. From here you can also get buses till Pune/Akola.
Option 2 should be considered to reach back asap. Moreover, it is also a scenic route and you would enjoy the shades of green along the route till your destination.
Enjoy the monsoon trail….and don’t forget to bring back your belongings… including your trash 🙂
You may also like to read Rajmachi Trek: A Trail through the clouds Kalsubai -The highest peak of Maharashtra State Harishchandragad: Trekking to the edge of the cliff Kothligadh – The Arsenal of Shivaji
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