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Posts Tagged ‘Malshej ghat’

Naneghat, Nanacha Angtha

Posted by itrekz on May 24, 2008

Also known as Nanacha Anghta

Region: Malshej ghat
District: Thane
Height: 2750 feet
Difficulty: Simple
Duration: One day, can be combined with Jivdhan fort in Two days

Approach

* Vaishakhare-Nanetal-Naneghat
* Vaishakhare-Naneghat
* Ghatghar-Naneghat

Sights to see:
Rock cut cave with Bramhinical inscriptions on the walls, ceiling and floor, old toll collection rock pot (Ranjan) at the top of the ghat, series of rock cut water cisterns near the caves, view from the top of the Naneghat pinnacle, Jivdhan fort .

The view offered from the top of the pinnacle is just one of the best in the Sahyadris. One can sight fort of Jivdhan and Vanarlingi pinnacle in the front. To the right lies the tallest peak in this range, fort Dhakoba. The strong winds blowing atop will be one of the strongest you have ever experienced and the view from the top is just fabulous.

Water availability:
The pass is charming and offers good shelter through out the year, however, the water cisterns near the caves does not hold potable water after the month of January/February. Although there is a perennial water tank about 10-15 minutes below the cave near Shingru pathar, the distance and steep gradient doesn’t warrant it to much of a use. So it is best to carry adequate stock of water when visiting in summer seasons.


Accommodation:

The cave atop Naneghat is one of the best rock-cut caves one can see and offers a good shelter through out the year.

Description:
Naneghat or Nanacha Angtha is a name, which just pops up in ones mind when one is looking for a nice weekend outing. As one drives down the Kalyan-Ahmednagar highway, one just cannot miss a prominent thumb shaped pinnacle offering an imposing façade just at the beginning of Malshej ghat, a very popular picnic spot for Mumbaikars in monsoons. This pinnacle is called as Nanacha Anghta due to it peculiar shape resembling a thumb. And the trail, which winds it way up once served as a busy trade route linking up country with the seaports of north Konkan.

A treasure house of history, Naneghat pass lies in ruins. It served as a busy trade route connecting Kalyan, Nalasopara with the upcountry. Its not just an ancient pass, with its pristine beauty preserved, it’s also an incredible monument steeped in ancient Indian history.

Cut through a narrow gorge in the Sahyadri range, in the Western Ghats, during the reign of Satvahanas (236 BC to 230 AD), the Naneghat pass once served as a busy trade route linking up country with the seaports of north Konkan.

Located about 30 km west of the historic town of Junnar in Pune district, Naneghat now lies in ruins. The caves, ravaged by nature and unmindful visitors alike, contain inscriptions and house a unique statue gallery of Satvahanas and other stone pieces of archaeological importance.

The name Naneghat also has an interesting history. In ancient days, when this pass was a busy trade route, the toll was collected in the form of coins (known as nane in Marathi). The commuter would drop in a coin or nane in a large stone container (called as Ranjan in Marathi) which is place at the mouth of the ghat; hence the name.

Routes

Ghatghar-Naneghat approach is the easiest and most convenient approach. Access to Naneghat is very accessible and one just has to walk 5 km on foot, crossing rivulets and paddy fields, from Ghatghar, the last road head 25 km from Junnar.

Approach via Vaishakhare-Nanetal-Naneghat is the most commonly trodden route for trekkers from Mumbai. From Konkan side, to climb up a forest path from Nanetal hamlet near Vaishakhare on Mumbai-Ahmednagar highway in Thane district before reaching the pass.

As we intend to climb up the pass, we approach it from Vaishakhare village. However, late night buses won’t halt at Vaishakhare, but for generous requests made to the conductor of the bus. Or else one has to alight at Tokavade village and walk about 6-7 km up to a milestone indicating the way towards Naneghat.

One has to ascend gradually following a cattle trail which leads right up to the base of the massive pinnacle. It takes about 2 and half to 3 hours to reach the cave, which is carved out in the belly of the huge pinnacle, i.e. Nanacha Anghta.

A sharp serpentine ascent from the base village, known as Nanetal, brings one to a rock cut water tank after a couple of hours trek. This place is locally known as Shingru pathar. The tank holds potable water all round the year. A steep ascent from here for about 30-45mins brings us to the top of the pass.

Naneghat cave description:
The large cave is full of inscriptions and a gallery with sculptures of Satvahanas. On two walls of the cave is an inscription on Naganika engraved in old Brahmi characters, in the then prevalent Prakrit language. But the record is very much mutilated and has been interpreted by epigraphist with conjectures and speculative combinations, giving rise to different views.

Near the caves is a series of rock cut water tanks, which holds potable water only up to the month of December, hence it is prudent to fill our bottles at the earlier tank. A brief walk takes us to narrow gorge, just two to five meters wide and about 80 meters in length with steps cut into rocks and clustered with caves on both sides.

Further ahead as we pass through the gorge, just at the entrance to Naneghat is a tiny Ganesh cave to the left and opposite it a huge stone pot, believed to be treasury box for collecting toll from incoming goods. The landscape further opens up in a large plateau, Ghatghar plateau.

One can carry packed food like theplas and sandwiches. Also one can order Zunka-Bhakar, which is available at very nominal rates at the village Ghatghar. But however the village is about an hours walk away from the cave. Some enthusiasts don’t mind to cook their own food in the cave. But it leaves behind a carbonized film of soot on the walls of the cave.

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Harishchandragad

Posted by itrekz on May 22, 2008

Region: Malshej ghat
District: Ahmednagar
Height: 4671 feet
Difficulty: Simple
Duration: Two days

Approach

  • Khubi phata-Khireshwar-Tolar khind-Harishchandragad
  • Khubi phata-Khireshwar-Kalshya-Harishchandragad (Rajmarga)
  • Savarne-Belpada-Nalichi wat-Harishchandragad
  • Savarne-Kelewadi-Sadhle ghat-Harishchandragad
  • Pachnai-Harishchandragad


Sights to see: Konkan kada, Kedareshwar temple, Harishchandreshwar temple, Rohidas peak, Taramati peak, Balekilla, Ganesh cave and adjoining series of caves, pushkarni.

One can also see Indravajra, full 360 degree circular rainbow if one is lucky enough in the monsoons on Konkan kada.

The fort is evergreen and can be visited anytime of the year owing to perennial potable water source and good shelter.

Water availability: The water tanks in the temple holds potable water round the year

Accommodation: Harishchandreshwar temple, series of caves

Description:
Surely one of the most trekked forts in the western ghat, Harishchandragad is a destination that caters unbounded joy to beginners and pros alike. Harishchandragad fort has a large spread and it uniquely lies along the boundaries of Ahmednagar, Nasik and Thane districts. Spread over an area of three mile in diameter, the awe-inspiring façade of Konkan kada: The largest and magnificent semicircular concave cliff; leaves the visitor gasping for breath. The view from atop combined with strong winds in one of its kind in the entire Sahyadris and single handedly makes the visit worthy.

Besides Konkan kada, the Kedareshwar cave-temple is another beautiful jewel on this fort of Harishchandragad. The large cave, filled with chilling water till waist level, has a large centrally placed monolithic Shivling and the cave is supported by four stone pillars. Three out of these four pillars of the Kedareshwar cave-temple are now broken.

Although there are numerous small hills on the top of mighty Harishchandragad, Taramati, Rohidas and Balekilla are the three peaks worth visiting. Taramati is the highest point on Harishchandragad and stands overlooking the series of caves. Opposite to Taramati is the Rohidas peak and Balekilla standing next to it. There is nothing much atop Balekilla to suggest of any erstwhile fortifications and glory.

Harishchandreshwar temple is a very age-old temple and now lying precariously, waiting to collapse. The environs and the yard of this temple render a serene ambience to its visitors. There are series of caves in the yard of this temple and few water tanks that houses potable water all round the year. These are the only reliable sources of potable water.

Routes:

Approach via Tolar khind is the most commonly trodden route. The route nowadays, due to route marking and arrow marks is very simple and very difficult to miss. The trek begins from Khubi phata. One can reach Khubi from Mumbai via Kalyan or Pune via Ale phata. From Khubi village, a 5 km walk along the wall of Khireshwar dam leads to Khireshwar village. From Khireshwar village, a well marked trail leads to Tolar khind. It takes approximately 2 hours to reach Tolar khind from Khireshwar village.

The khind is marked by a small shendoor smeared stone bearing the carvings of a lion, implying that it is guarding the pass. From this point, on the left is an easy rock patch, which now for the safety of trekkers has railings along the way for support. An easy negotiation with the rock patch leads to the top of the plateau and a further walk of around one and the half hours across the streams and hills leads to the Harishchandreshwar temple.

Time: 3-4 hours
Grade:
Easy

Rajmarga: This was the main route to reach the top of Harishchandragad, but now the route is in a bad state and a bit tricky. It is not advisable for novices to attempt this route. The route follows the same path up to Khireshwar village. From Khireshwar village, instead of heading along the cart track towards Tolar khind, one must go straight and skirt the slopes of Kalshya dongar. On the way one comes across a very ancient temple built in Hemadpanti architecture. After skirting the Kalshya dongar, the cliff lying in front has to be ascended to follow the Rajmarga. The ascent is quite tricky and full of scree with exposed patches in between and one has to be careful. After a successful ascent, one comes and joins the Tolar khind route after the rock patch.

Time: 3 hours
Grade:
Difficult

Nalichi wat is the most challenging and difficult route to Harishchandragad. The route ascends parallel to the might Konkan kada and must be approached from Belpada (walivare) village. On the Malshej ghat road, just before the ghat begins, is Savarne village. One can reach Belpada from Savarne in 45 minutes after crossing a small hillock on the way. From Belpada, one can see the might Konkan kada in our front. To the left of the Konkan kada are a series of three to four gullies running down from the top. The one of the extreme right is the Nalichi route to Harishchandragad.

The steep ascent and slippery slate rocks with crumbling stones and some difficult rock patches to negotiate makes Nalichi wat one of the most demanding treks in Sahyadris. The rock patches, although easy for a regular trekker, can seem very much difficult for novices. Also the steepness can leave on gasping for breath. Another thing is the tricky route. So this must only be attempted by experienced trekkers and safety measures.

Time: 10 hours
Grade:
Very difficult

Sadhle ghat route is another interesting route to fort Harishchandragad. Sadhle ghat is a steep and ferocious decent from Harishchandragad down to the plains. One has to approach this route from Kelewadi. Kelewadi is half and hours walk from Belpada. Instead of heading towards the Konkan kada from Belpada, one has to continue straight on to reach Kelewadi. From Kelewadi village Sadhle ghat ascends steeply and takes around 3 hours to reach the top. The final patches of the ascent are full of scree and daunting steepness. One usually chooses to descend Harishchandragad via Sadhle ghat rather than ascend it.

From Konkan kada, a walk to extreme right towards Nakta brings one to a small patch. A 15 minutes descent leads to a bifurcation amidst the bushes. The one on the left descends via Nalichi route to Belpada. The straight trail takes one to a plateau after a short while. From this plateau, one route leads to Pachnai village and the other one is a steep descent to Kelewadi via Sadhle ghat, an enjoyable trek.

Time: 4 Hours
Grade:
Moderate

Pachnai route is the simplest route to Harishchandragad. Villagers from Pachnai actually make a good living by selling their products and Jhunka Bhakar atop Harishchandragad every weekend. From Pachnai village, a two and half hours treks leads to the top of the fort Harishchandragad. The Mangalganga River that originates near the Kedareshwar atop Harishchandragad can be traced right up to the plateau and a bifurcation to the right from here descends to the Pachnai village.

Time: 3 Hours
Grade:
Easy

With all the possible avenues on offer for novices and pros alike, Harishchandragad fort with is easy connectivity and numerous options is surely a trekker’s paradise.

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