About Prabalmachi Trek (Introduction):
As the city of Mumbai refuses to halt, so do trekkers in Maharashtra. The state consists of more than 300 forts majority of which lay in Sahyadri ranges of Western Ghats. Not so far from Mumbai, Raigad district stands to be the closest trekking hotspot for adventure lovers in Maharashtra. The district also consists of hill stations and several weekend homes where the city dwellers usually escape to during weekends. Prabalmachi trek is the neighbouring hill of Matheran. Trekkers visit this region for two treks namely; Prabalgad fort and Kalavantin trek.
How To Reach There (Prabalmachi)?
To get to Prabalmachi, one could travel by road to Thakurwadi, which is the base village for the trek or get down at Panvel station, take a share auto till Shedung Phata, take another auto till Thakurwadi village from there and subsequently you will see the marked trekking route.
The trek trail is fairly easy with one or two steep climbs. Beginners can easily climb Prabalgad. Enjoy the eagle eye view of Matheran, Irshalgad, Chanderi and Karnala fort at 2300 ft.
Departure and Duration to Reach:
Often trekkers and tourists try to cover Kalavantin trek and Prabalgad in a day. In order to do that, you will need to embark your trek journey early in the morning so that both treks can be done by 4 pm. Maximum duration of each trek is 60 to 90 minutes with normal pace. It is recommended to carry sufficient water and dry snacks with you on the trek. At the summit, you will witness a panoramic view of the valley, Matheran hills and Morbe dam. The trail gets slippery during the monsoons making it dangerous yet thrilling to hike. The summers are hot which makes the trek twice exhausting.
When to Start? and What Spots Should I Cover?
The highlight of Prabalgad trek is the last stretch of vertical climb. The climb is 70 to 80 degrees steep which needs endurance and guidance. You can hire a local guide before starting the trek from the base village. Start your trek early and cover both treks in a day and be back by lunchtime to the base village. There are restaurants, home cooked meals available at the base where you need to order in advance as you begin your trek. As you come back, your delicious lunch will be served hot. Many people often come to Prabalmachi for night trek and star gazing events. There are a handful of campsites near the base village and enroute the summit as the trail is fairly plateau.
There are two main campsites near the base namely Prabalmachi valley campsite and Kalavantin Durg Valley campsite. Both campsites provide tents and food. The locals are friendly and always ready to serve meals. It is advised to visit Prabalmachi with an intention to admire the nature around you that is the escape the city life hence, refrain from consuming alcoholic drinks or substances here. In short, you will get the fitness benefits here. It is mandatory to carry ID proofs similar to all treks. Carry mosquito repellent as it is a forest area with dense trees and bushes.
The Best Weather for Trekking:
Prabalmachi is a laid back trek with just the right amount of adrenaline pumping sections. It receives tourist traffic during monsoons and weekends from Mumbai, Pune and Panvel. It is a treat for the eyes during monsoons when the summit is in the clouds. If you happen to visit during winters or summer season, do not miss out on the opportunity to camp under the starry sky and bonfire. The restaurants and local food chains serve vegetarian, non vegetarian and even Jain food as well! The food served by local villagers is out of the world. Taste the authentic Maharashtrian cuisine of Pithla, Bhakri, Loncha and share stories as the stellar sky lights up with thousands of stars. The temperature during the winters is pleasant with 17-18 degrees at night, so carry a jacket. Camping during the monsoons can be tricky hence visit the place during daylight. The rocky slopes are drenched and flow with new-born waterfalls during the rainy season giving the Western Ghats a heavenly look.
Lastly, if you are new in the area, kindly hire a local guide since the trail lacks proper markings. The entry fee is 50 rs which you need to pay at the base village. The minimum age to go on this trek would be 12 years. The beauty of Western ghats is that there are multiple tourist attractions nearby every fort or camping site, you are bound to find something new within the radius of your desired trek. Once you are in Maharashtra, the best way to truly enjoy the state’s beauty is through its food.