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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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