Maharashtra is popular as a monsoon travel destination, but winter months are also great to travel to this lush green paradise, in fact it is the best time to travel to the state. Maharashtra has been blessed with several hill stations and rocky terrains and the one thing the it is best suited for around this time of the year is outdoor activities such as trekking and hiking. The weather is pleasant, it is not hot or pouring cats and dogs making the climb perilious. Winter is the ideal and safest month for several treks in the region.
Many organised travel operators provide treks across the state ranging from easy levels to advanced levels. But you can set out trekking by yourself with a little reading on the best places for trekking in Maharashtra. Here is a list of five great destinations that you can pick from for a wonderful outdoor experience this season!
Matheran is a popular hill station located in Maharashtra and is easily accessible from cities such as Mumbai and Pune. It is located at a short distance of lesser than 90 km from Mumbai and 128 km from Pune. This is a great option for a weekend trek in the region. There are multiple trekkuing trails to Matheran that you can choose from depending on the challenge you are looking for.
If you are a beginner, opt for the Neral to Matheran trail that is rather easy or if you are looking for a little more adventure opt for the Dhudani trail. Once you reach Matheran, look out for the stunning viastas of the surrounding hills from viewpoints such as the Porcupine Point, Panorama Point and One Tree Hill to name a few.
Trails along the railway track in Matheran.
Photo Courtesy: Magiceye
2. Karla Caves
A wonderfully easy trek that also combines scenic beauty and heritage along its path is the Karla Caves Trek. To embark on this unforgettable journey you mucst first reach Kamshet station from Pune or any other location. The distance from Pune is a mere 46 km. From Kamshet you can start trekking directly or hire a taxi to Bedse village a mere 10 km away.
It is advisable to take a taxi further up to Bhaja Village, nearly 22 km from Bedse. Once you approach the Bhaja Village, a 20-minute walk will take you to the Malavali Station, you check on direct trains to Malavali Station as well. Oce you cross the station, you can climb the scenic hill ahead to reach Karla Caves on the top. The caves are Buddhist in nature and said to be over 2,000 years old.
The stunning Bhuddist caves.
Photo Courtesy: Niyati Bane
3. Ratangad Fort
True to its name, meaning jewel, Ratangad in Maharashtra is located at a distance of lesser than 200 km from both Pune as well as Mumbai and is a great destination for trekking in the state. The stunningly beautiful hills are a treat for the eyes especially after the monsoon season. The fort is said to be one of Maharaj Shivaji's favourites.
The starting point is the lovely Ratanwadi village and the trek takes you through forests, streams and rocky terrains that normally prove to be rather risky in the monsoons. The trek is rather adventurous and is not suggested for beginners. The trekking trail also diverges into the route to Harishchandragad, another popular trekking destination in Maharashtra. The entire trekking route from Ratangad Village to Ratangad Fort will take nearly four hours.
Perilious climb up failing ladders.
Photo Courtesy: Elroy Serrao
Popular as the highest peak in Maharashtra, Kalsubai is even known as the 'Everest of the Sahyadris'. The peak is a famous trekking destination for avid trekking enthusiasts and is definitely on the must-do once in a lifetime list. Located at a distance of 140 km from Mumbai and 169 km from Pune, there are multiple trails to Kalsubai.
The village Bari is the starting point for the trek and follows a rocky and difficult terrain to the peak. At the summit trekkers will be greeted by the Kalsubai Temple that is rather small and can allow only a maximum of three people at a time. This exciting trek will take nearly four hours.
The highest peak in Maharashtra.
Photo Courtesy: Fitrangi
5. Rajmachi Fort
Among the best places for trekking in Maharashtra is the Rajmachi Fort. Located nearly 80 km from Pune and 94 km from Mumbai, this is a picturesque location for trekking that is preferred by nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The trekking destination in Maharashtra can be reached via the hill station Lonavla.
The trail offers a challenging climb and plenty of attractions such as the fort, temple, caves etc. The return journey is simpler, however, be careful not to slip on the steep slopes in certain parts. The trek can consitute a one-day trip outside.
Stunning vistas from the Rajmachi Fort.
Photo Courtesy: Kandoi.sid