“Every Mother & Daughter should make time for a Trek Together,The bond grows stronger and its Good for the Soul”
We (My daughter & myself) have been planning to go for a trek together for a long time,so I booked two treks which unfortunately got cancelled.I thought maybe a trek with my daughter is not destined, but one for not giving up, I tried my luck again and this time I got a last minute confirmation from The Hikers Club So Saturday evening we booked the trek and Sunday Morning we were up bright and early and left home to catch the 06.20 local to Panvel.The meeting time for the group was 7 am. We were there at 06.45 At 7 am our trek leader Vinit arrived and after the group assembled we left Panvel station at 0745 hrs and boarded the vehicle waiting for us outside the station.
Our first halt was at “Shree Dattaguru Snacks” for breakfast.We hungrily gorged into steaming hot idli –Sambhar,Misal- Pav and Vada- Pav(Indian Snacks) to wash it all down with a hot cup of Coffee.
This place is very famous for its Vada- Pav & Missal – Pav and its located at the junction of NH- 4 & 17, (Sion-Panvel Highway).After Breakfast we resumed our journey to the base village.We passsed Chowk our destination was still further ahead.
From Chowk, about 2.5 kilometres due north is the Karja village. On the northern edge of the village, a water plant and an overhead water tank are clearly visible. The paved road ends at this water tank where the driver parked our vehicle this is also the starting point for this trek.It took us about an hour to reach here,we reached at 0915 hrs and started the trek at 0920 hrs
From the water plant there is a shallow stream(which can be seen when its raining but we found tadpoles swimming in puddles of water) and then there is a wide well used mud trail that heads due north. After walking for a minute we found the Irshalgad Fort Board.
The first 500 metres of this trail are flat and this brings us to the base of a ridge.The ascent from the base to the top of the ridge, zigzags across the south face of the ridge.After walking for ten minutes we got the first view of the beautiful Morbe Dam.
Pace your self on these zigzags and enjoy matchless views over Morbe reservoir to your right.
The ridge links Karja village with a small hamlet called Irshalwadi on the Irshalgad plateau’s shoulder.
Although the sun was shining mercilessly but the verdant surrounding was soothing to the eyes.I forgot to pack my cap so after a while I felt a bit dizzy, so I sat for a while and had a drink of Enerzol which Vinit had carried.It immediately energised me and I was charged up to continue with our trek. My daughter excitedly clicked endless pictures.This was her first Trek and we were basking in each others company.After an hour we had our first official break we sat under the shade of a tree and had sips of electrol water.
The Sun had made the trek a bit harder than usual, we all prayed for some cloudy weather and some rains but that didn’t happen and it was sunny through out the climb.After catching our breath and some refreshing cool breeze under the tree we resumed the trek after ten minutes.
At about 11 am we reached a small stall selling water,cold drinks and snacks.At this point I found it difficult to walk with my bag which Vinit took it from me and carried it through out the trek.I am so thankful to him for making it easier for me to walk without the load.My daughter left a water bottle at the stall as she found her bag getting heavy with the bottles, which we picked it up at the time of descending.After resting for ten minutes we resumed and walked past lush paddy fields,the pinnacle looked closer.
At about 11.20 am we reached Irshalwadi a small hamlet.
We had a peek into the rustic life of the villagers with a throng of barefooted half clothed children playing around and stray dogs chasing the hen with her brood.The kutcha houses in the village are made of mud and brick, we also found a few pucca houses as well.
From the village follow a trail to your left on to a temple dedicated to a local deity.
The name Irshalgad is a misnomer as Irshal is not a fort but a Pinnacle.The approach to the Irshalgad pinnacle and plateau lies due west. After walking for ten minutes you will find arrows made with red colour showing you the right direction.
Therefore from the temple, we follow the trail that leads west almost parallel to the Irshalgad plateau.700 meters from the temple the approach to the Irshalgad plateau opens up.After walking for about twenty five minutes through lush grenery you will encounter huge rocks It was such a joy to see beautiful wild flowers growing on the crevices of the rocks.I was surprised to see a healthy banana tree growing in one such crevice.
Flowers and a Banana Tree growing on the Rocks
This small section where you climb on to Irshalgad plateau is a little steep and requires a bit of care.
From the plateau it is easy walking to the pinnacle base. We reached the plateau at about 12 pm.
So it took two and half hours for us to complete the trek.The distance covered was 3.4 kms.We rested for a while clicked some pictures and left our bags and proceeded further to climb the pinnacle base.
We were just below the pinnacle base we didn’t climb further as we were not equipped to do so. A sad incident took place on this pinnacle on January 1972 a man lost his life after falling from this pinnacle,so trekkers from Mumbai & Thane assemble here every year on 26th January to remember him.The climb to the pinnacle base is a bit tricky you have to squeeze yourself through small gaps but once you manage to do that, you are rewarded with breathtaking views and greeted with a strong breeze.
We spent about an hour and started the descent at about 1pm.While descending there was a gentle breeze and the sun was kinder ,the rays not so strong.While descending too we stopped and enjoyed the lush greenery and the cool breeze.
We reached the base at 2.50 pm it took roughly two hours to descend We hopped into the waiting vehicle and about 3.10 pm we stopped for lunch at Aagree Katta.
We had lip smacking Chicken Curry,Bhakri and Rotis the Vegetarians enjoyed a delicious Vegetarian Thali.We finished lunch at about 4 pm and thereafter continued with our journey to Panvel station.
Most of us dozed off and reached Panvel station at about 5 pm.We bid goodbye to our new friends and carried with us memories to be cherished.We boarded a home bound local at 5.16 pm and reached home at 6 pm.We excitedly shared the days events and the beautiful photos over a cup of tea.
The Trek was well organised and Vinit is a good Trek leader who took care of everyone.I thank The Hikers Club for a wonderful trek and Vinit for clicking some beautiful photos with his Go Pro Camera.
“Somewhere between the bottom of the climb and the summit is the answer to the mystery why we climb.”
1) Wear good Trekking Shoes
2) Carry plenty of drinking water at least 2 litres (Preferably with Electrol)
3) Carry a Cap,Sun Glasses and apply plenty of Sunscreen
4) If you are trekking during the monsoon then don’t forget to carry your rain wear.
5) Carry your camera/mobile phone to capture all your trekking moments.
6) Carry some Fruits/Energy bars/Chocolates
How to Get There :-
Take a local train to Karjat if travelling by Central Main Line and to Panvel if travelling by Harbour Line.Take a bus to Chowk railway station, sharing Tum Tums ply for Rs 15/20 per seat.From Panvel take a bus which goes to Khopoli Bus Stand,these buses stop at Chowk railway station.If you are in a group hire a vehicle till the base ahead of Chowk.