Saturday, June 12, 2010

Naneghat Trek

I've been to Malshej ghat around 4 times on my bike. On each occasion, I've passed the Naneghat board on the right side of the road - it's so prominent, almost calling out to passerbys to stop and take a detour.
I had done my homework for this trek a couple of times before and it looked interesting. There was no fort on top but supposedly, the view was good.

Anyway, so people from my office were enthu about going for a trek. I had initially suggested Kothaligad, the plan shifted to Karnala, and later when we
found that no girls could make it and zeroed in on Naneghat. It was Chaitanya's brilliant idea.

I had reached Thane station at 6:45 AM and only Chaitanya and Mehul had arrived till then. I have never read a trek report where everyone turns up on time, and this one will be no different. Rohit got up when we had all assembled at our meeting point and we scheduled in an unscheduled breakfast halt for him to catch up. Catch up he did, but the train did not catch up with anything else on wheels, ever.
We stopped 32 times (frankly, I didn't count but it looks like a good enough approximation) and took twice the time we should have to reach Kalyan.

Kalyan's ST bus stop is on the west side, anyone will direct you to it. The enquiry guy told us that buses leave every 5-10 minutes. All the buses that passed through Malshej/Naneghat had Nagar as their destination. It took me some time to realize that Nagar is AhmadNagar

The weather all through the ride was awesome but the sun came out within the first 10 minutes of our trek. Here are some first hand tips for those doing the Naneghat trek
The entrance to Naneghat is not a ST stop, its around 3 kms ahead from Vaishakhare village. You need to cajole the conductor into stopping. The bus ticket costs 50 Rs from Kalyan ST stand

The trek route is well marked with arrows and you dont need a guide.

Once you start from the Naneghat board, there is no village or food... so be prepared.

There are water cisterns on top, but quality isn't great. It was brown and had colloidal particles, that is not how clean ground/rainwater is supposed to be.

It's a simple 2 hour trek till "Naneghat". After that you can explore the caves and the peaks on either side.

There is a road that leads right up to Naneghat, which looks in reasonably good shape. It comes from Junnar -> Aptaale Phata (10 km) -> Chavand Phata (7 km) -> Ghatghar (12 km) -> Naneghat (3kms). If you are not up for the trek, just drive/ride up through this route.

Monkeys throw stones, etc at you once you get close to the pass - so be careful.

You wont find an ST easily for the journey back, around 10 STs ignored us till and we started walking the distance to Vaishakhare village when luckily, the 11th one gave in.

We started at 11 and reached the top by 1:15, this included a high number of breaks. Our trek till the top was eventful, we ran out of water and the water cisterns on top were our only hope, no matter the condition of water in it.
After reaching the top, we all climbed the peak to the right. This is a long, steep peak with a great view from the top. Just follow the steps from the Ganpati mandir, that comes on the right after the Naneghat kund. We had our meager lunches on top, filling our tummies more with the views.

After that everyone just lied down to relax while I headed out to the peak on the left of Naneghat. The two electricity towers on the way make weird buzzing sounds, and my head started to pain after standing below them for some time -- but I got a couple of good shots. The other peak offered a great view from the top but I couldn't spot KonkanKada, which I thought should be seen.

We started back at 3:45 and had reached the highway at 5:30. The traffic gets horrible once you reach Kalyan station area. We also needed to eat so we went to a bar right opposite the ST stand -- we wanted to eat non-veg food and all the "family restaurants" were veg. The food was excellent but the prices were also excellent -- never imagined places in far off places to be so expensive. I couldnt find a rickshaw at Thane station and had to go to Mulund, where I didnt find a rickshaw either but at least the walk from there was shorter. I was home at 10:30