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Old 29th December 2014, 19:43   #1
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Default Wandering in the Sahyadris

Maharashtra is blessed with this beauty known as Sahyadri mountains. There is no derth of hiking trails in this region, right from extremely easy trails all the way upto where eagles dare kind of trails. With over 350 odd forts present, there are lot of trekking destinations scattered across.

Out of all the sahyadri ranges, the ones around Nashik always fascinate me. All the forts/mountains around Nashik are a delight to see. Be it the most difficult AMK range or the highest fort of Salher, every mountain offer a unique treat. I will keep this thread as a compilation of the treks done till now. Not all, but selected few which will remain my favourites for long long time .

Salher - Highest fort in Maharashtra

Salher is the highest fort in Sahyadris. Standing tall at approx 5141 ft, Salher fort has a great historic reference too. It is said that Lord Parshuram pushed back the sea with arrows right from this place. This fort is also famous for one of the deadly battles between Shivaji and mughals. History apart, the fact that it is the second highest peak attracted me towards this fort. After scaling the highest peak Kalsubai, which is relatively very easy trek, plans were laid for Salher. I did this twice, once in 2011 and one in 2014, both offered a different experience.

Reaching the base village:

The issue with reaching this fort is the distance and time taken. Salher base village is approx 350kms from Pune. Generally hardcore trekkers will not visit this single fort, but cover the entire Baglan range. This involves a long hike covering forts like Salher, Salota, Mora, Mulher, Hargad, Mangi Tungi in a span of 5-6 days. But being short on time and lazy IT bums, we decided to stick to one fort. While planning, the main concern was the travelling part. Trekshitiz had a travel plan of Pune-Nashik-Satana-Taharabad. Changing buses 3-4 times was practically not feasible. With just 2 days in hand and 700 odd kms of distance, drive was also ruled out. It was not impossible, but very hectic. This thing had kept on delaying our plans. But one fine day, the great Indian State Transport came to our rescue.

While at Shivajinagar ST depot, I happened to see one bus with a board reading "Pune - Sakri", but what struck my attention was the intermediate place named "Taharabad". Sounded familiar, yes this place was on route. Immediately headed towards the enquiry section and confirmed it. Bus left at 9PM everyday and reached Taharabad early morning arounf 4AM. I knew base village is easily accessible from Taharabad. Bingo! A perfect match of time. Reaching as early as 4AM means we had plenty of time. Leaving a day before was also not an issue. So with luck in our favour plan was set.

We did a reservation of seats in ST just to make sure that we get seats in case there is rush. And the decision proved right. When we reached the ST depot, there was a considerable crowd for that bus. With heavy and huge backpacks it was impossible to get in and capture seats. With curious stares from fellow passengers, the bone rattling journey started. Lot of people inquired about us, maybe a rare sight of trekkers in that bus. Proper sleep was obviously ruled out. After almost 7 hours of tiring journey we got down at Taharabad. A freezing winter morning welcomed us. It was a completely deserted place with nothing around. Not even lights. We had lot of time to kill since the share jeeps which were supposed to take us to base village started only after 6.30-7. So with nothing to do we started walking ahead a bit and saw one light and a person doing something. Went closer and tiredness just vanished. That was a CHAI TAPRI!!!! and the gentleman had started preparing tea. Nothing can beat the pleasant smell of fresh tea early in the morning. We literally ran towards him. We must have scared the living daylights out of him since the moment we reached his place his reaction was like . Ofcourse he was least expecting a bunch of trekkers so early. Luckily he had a fire burning which provided warmth in such a cold weather. We inquired about the jeeps and he too said you will get only after 7. While we were sipping on the awesome hot tea, a person came and asked where we wanted to go. He said his brother can take out his 6 seater rickshaw and drop you. Ofcourse as usual at a steep price. 300 is what he demanded. Obviously wanted to take advantage of us. We politely declined saying 300 is too much for us. We will wait and go in sharing jeep. After a while he came down to 150 but said he will drop us midway in a place and from there told us to board another jeep. We gave a thought, we were paying extra money but were gaining almost 3 hours of useful time. We finalized and headed off towards Waghambe which was the base village for Salher.

He was going to drop us at Mulher which was midway between Taharabad and Waghambe. No one was awake in Mulher as well.lol. So we settled down near one shop and were chit chatting when we saw the same rickshaw guy coming back towards us. With a sheepish face he said come in I will drop you ahead till Waghambe. Yay! Lucky us. He later mentioned that while returning he might not find any seats from Waghambe hence dropped us at Mulher. He was wasting time anyways so he took a chance and came back to us. By the time we reached Waghambe, daylight had set in. He did not charge us any extra money. Even gave his number and told us to call next day for going back. And yes, he did get lot of passengers for the way back.

All set we started our trek. Advantage of starting early at 6am is by the time sun is up and heats up, you are already half way through.

I will let the pics do the talking. These are combined photos from 2011 and 2014.

The first view from Waghambe of Salher(right) and it's neighboring fort Salota(left):

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-007.jpg

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The V-shaped col between the 2 forts. That's where one has to go. At the col, left route goes towards Salota and straight route goes towards Salher. It is kind of traverse for Salher:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-028.jpg

Looked like a human face on one of the edges of Salota:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-033.jpg

Salher top lost in fog. 2011, there was lot of haze and fog, but luckily in 2014 we got clear skies and fantastic weather:

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The traverse after you go straight from col:

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After traverse there are steps carved to reach the first door:

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The gigantic sahyadri moutains. Look how the person is dwarfed amongst mighty mountains. If you look closely you can see a route on left side. That's the route from Waghambe. And on the right side route for Salota is visible:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-img_5499.jpg

The first door:

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View of Salota from here. Still looking imposing:

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Through the door:

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Another traverse after door to reach the top. Looks scary with deep valley on on side, but actually its not:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-076.jpg

A broken temple on top:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-079.jpg

Lake on top of Salher. Pic was taken from caves where we stayed:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-083.jpg

Same lake taken at early morning next day. Infinity pool anyone? You can see the pinnacles of Mangi and Tungi on left end:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-199.jpg

Closeup of those pinnacles. This was in 2011 and was quite hazy:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-221.jpg

The only potable source of water on top. It is about 5 min walk from the lake. We filled up all our stock of water once we reached. There is another climb from here to reach the caves. So it is tiring to come here frequently for water:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-250.jpg

Once you reach the lake, another 10 min climb takes you to the caves where one can stay for night. In 2011 there was no one on top except one sadhu baba who was staying in the neighboring cave. There is a temple inside where he stayed. However he was not there in 2014. Dry wood is a scarcity on this fort. For our first trip we managed to collect few. Looking at our frantic attempt to get the chulha burning, sadhu baba provided his kerosene stove. Oh what a hospitality and at what place! We prepared our food and crashed for the night. We hadn't faced any rat issues in 2011, but 2014 was nightmare. We were literally harassed by rats then. If anyone is planning for a stay make sure you hang all bags by making some structure.

But, this is still not the highest point. From the caves, 45 min climb takes you up here:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-img_5511.jpg

That Parshuram temple is the highest point:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-img_5578.jpg

Welcome to the highest fort in Maharashtra. This temple was repaired and re-painted in white in 2014:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-105.jpg

View from top:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-img_5517.jpg

The might Salota which was looking very imposing till now looks like a dwarf from top:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-img_5568.jpg

There is nothing much to see on top. Sunset from this point must be fantastic, but both times we had haze for company so couldn't witness a beautiful sunset.

For descending we had 2 options. Either take the same way down or take an alternate route which goes down to opposite side into Salherwadi village. This route is very long and tiring if you climb up. Hence the best way is to ascend from Waghambe village and descend to Salherwadi. With this you get to see both the routes and few remnants of fort as well.

There are rock carved steps on this route as well:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-256.jpg

View of opposite side of Salher:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-272.jpg

Remnants of a broken door:

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Full view of Salher from Salherwadi. This spot is btw 10 mins before you reach village:

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-293.jpg

After reaching Salherwadi you get jeeps on sharing basis till either Taharabad or midway till Mulher. Luckily we got a jeep till Taharabad. Looking at the cramped space inside the driver told us to get on the roof! Risky but it was fun!

Wandering in the Sahyadris-picture-337.jpg

We missed a direct bus to Nashik when we reached Taharabad, so we had to do a hop over journey till Satana and from there to Nashik and then finally Pune.

So this ends the Salher experience. This remains one of my favorite forts. Very less people visit this fort because of it's remote location. Hence most of the time you won't find anybody on top. The peace, tranquility, serenity is out of the world.

Coming up next: A trek, unless you don't do, you are not recognized as a trekker! It's the "must do" for each hiker - Harishchandragad!

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 12th January 2015 at 00:47.
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Old 13th January 2015, 11:06   #2
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Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Travelogues Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 13th January 2015, 11:13   #3
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Beautiful! Just thinking how would it look in rains!
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Old 13th January 2015, 12:30   #4
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Beautiful travelog Dodge Viper!

Loved the narration and the pictures. I used to go trekking to the Sahyadris earlier and it was a good break from the city life. Chanderi, Harishchandragad (toughest of them all), Gorakhgad, Nakhind etc were few of the treks we had done earlier. Although I found the Garbet Point trek to Matheran the most beautiful of them all.

The Sahyadris wear a complete different look during the monsoons, the greenery during the rains is mesmerizing.

Please do keep this thread alive by putting up details on all of your treks (earlier done & future ones), it will be a good reference for anyone wanting to venture out to the hills. Plus I am a fan of your photography skills.

Thanks again for putting up a beautiful piece of Maharashtra.

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Old 13th January 2015, 13:03   #5
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Originally Posted by ampere View Post
Beautiful! Just thinking how would it look in rains!
Thanks ampere. Yup, beautiful in monsoons, no doubt about it. But here the disadvantage of monsoons and few months post monsoon is the fog. Though that will be a different experience, but you miss on the views

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Beautiful travelog Dodge Viper!

Loved the narration and the pictures. I used to go trekking to the Sahyadris earlier and it was a good break from the city life. Chanderi, Harishchandragad (toughest of them all), Gorakhgad, Nakhind etc were few of the treks we had done earlier. Although I found the Garbet Point trek to Matheran the most beautiful of them all.

The Sahyadris wear a complete different look during the monsoons, the greenery during the rains is mesmerizing.

Please do keep this thread alive by putting up details on all of your treks (earlier done & future ones), it will be a good reference for anyone wanting to venture out to the hills. Plus I am a fan of your photography skills.

Thanks again for putting up a beautiful piece of Maharashtra.
Thanks trek. I do have that matheran link of yours in another thread. Still in my to-do list.
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Old 13th January 2015, 13:57   #6
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Lovely place. Thanks for putting this up Dodge_Viper. Please do share details from your other treks. It is good in a way that this is in a very remote location and that is why it is so peaceful and serene. Like ampere says, the whole must be awesome when it rains.
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Old 13th January 2015, 14:14   #7
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Fantastic travelogue and equally fantastic pics. A couple of pics showed some scary paths but nevertheless the achievement of scaling the peaks is worth commending. The engineering to hold water at such heights few thousand years back is appreciable. Goes at length to show the best engineers are usually from India.

Waiting for your next expedition.
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Old 13th January 2015, 17:51   #8
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Awesome KD. I cant think of scaling to such great heights. Your passion to reach the pinnacle is just too good. I had started to trek by doing Lohgad and Rajmachi (3/4th of the trek) and several times to Korigad , the easiest and actually cant be called as a trek. But then somewhere down the line, it all fizzled out.

Maybe someday i can join you. It would be good to put the body and mind to test.

Keep sharing the super clicks.
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Old 13th January 2015, 18:38   #9
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Fantastic thread Dodge_Viper! Brilliant first episode. Very nice snaps and lots of useful information.
Now waiting for the rest of it. Knowing how frequently you trek, I am sure there are a whole bunch of equally interesting stories in that backpack of yours!
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Old 14th January 2015, 08:00   #10
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The best trekking travelogue I've read so far. It's so difficult to remember experiences and jot them down so beautifully. As much as I'm interested in photography the fear of heights kept me away from attempting some moderate to dangerous treks.
Please keep them coming. Hopefully I'll join you one day.
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Old 14th January 2015, 12:50   #11
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Thanks a lot guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghodlur View Post
The engineering to hold water at such heights few thousand years back is appreciable. Goes at length to show the best engineers are usually from India.
There are few places where water tanks are actually engineered. Like at one place they are built in such a way that the overflowing tank will hold the dirt and the lower tank will always contain fresh water from the above overflowing tank.

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Maybe someday i can join you
Just one watsap message away .

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I am sure there are a whole bunch of equally interesting stories in that backpack of yours!
I do .
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Old 14th January 2015, 16:57   #12
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Hi Dodge_viper,

Wonderful Pics.
I have done quite a few treks. To name a few vasota, harishchandra, rajgad-torna, tikona, kamalgad, kokandiva, dajipur, katraj-sinhagad, rajmachi, alang-kulang-madan gad etc.
Looks like this will be my next!
It will be great to join you in one & then many of your trek's!
Can you please share more details on the route,difficulty level?
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Old 14th January 2015, 17:38   #13
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Hi Dodge_viper,

Wonderful Pics.
I have done quite a few treks. To name a few vasota, harishchandra, rajgad-torna, tikona, kamalgad, kokandiva, dajipur, katraj-sinhagad, rajmachi, alang-kulang-madan gad etc.
Looks like this will be my next!
It will be great to join you in one & then many of your trek's!
Can you please share more details on the route,difficulty level?
Thanks! Difficulty level? Since you have done AMK, rest all others are walk in a park for you including this .

Interestingly we had attempted kokandiva, but failed to find a route. Please do share you experience on that.

For route, if planning to go by public transport, catch the 9PM Pune-Sakri bus from Shivajinagar and get down at Taharabad around 4-4.30AM. Mostly you will find someone who will manage a jeep/6-seater for Waghambe. Bargain hard. From Waghambe route is pretty straight forward. Just head towards the col between Salher and Salota. From col follow the path straight ahead. It's a single path which kind of traverses and climbs up.

By vehicle it will be 300+ kms of drive. Pune-Nashik-Satana-Taharabad-Mulher-Waghambe.
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Old 14th January 2015, 18:30   #14
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Thanks! Difficulty level? Since you have done AMK, rest all others are walk in a park for you including this .
.
.
.
By vehicle it will be 300+ kms of drive. Pune-Nashik-Satana-Taharabad-Mulher-Waghambe.

Thanks for the info & route you shared.

The bus "Pune-Sakri" will be a good option as we do not plan to take our vehicles there.

At what time the bus departs from Taharabad back to Pune?

Will definitely publish details for the Kokandiva soon.

A Walk through dense vegetation, not a single soul up there, plus a fantastic view of Raigad from there.

The last time we went there, the locals there didn't even have basic facilities like electricity over there.


Note from Support: Post edited for grammar & readbility.
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Old 14th January 2015, 20:11   #15
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At what time the bus departs from Taharabad back to Pune?
Bus departs at 10am from Sakri and takes around 1 hour to reach Taharabad and this is the only direct bus I think. Both times we missed it since we reached late. Hence break journey: Taharabad-Satana-Nashik-Pune. If you are lucky you can even get a direct Nashik bus from Taharabad.

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Awesome, views are out of the world and pictures are great. Thanks for Sharing
Could you also share the route information ?
Hey Thanks, Have added most of the route info in my previous posts.

Last edited by Dodge_Viper : 14th January 2015 at 20:20. Reason: Added quote
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