Mount Kalsubai, (near Bombay,Dist Ahmednagar), India
19 degrees 33 minutes N, 73 degrees 43 minutes E
Kalsubai is the highest peak in the Sahyadri(1696m,5400ft). We a group of three( Vikas Soni, Amol Gogate and myself) decided to go to Kalsubai on 21 September 2002. We started from IIT hostel at about 4 am, to catch 0450 train to Kasara. It took about 2 hours to reach Kasara. Alighting at Kasara the first thing we did was have our breakfast of Vadapav. Meanwhile we got a jeep which was ready to take us to Bari. For Kalsubai one has to start trek from village Bari which is border of Nasik and Ahmednagar district. From Kasara one can get jeep or bus going to Bhandardara or Rajur or Akoley. All these have to pass through Bari. Bari is some 50 kms from Kasara (bus fare is about thirty rupees )
After about a hour and half travel in crowed jeep(18 in our jeep) we reached Bari. From Bari bus stand we started walking towards the Bari village. Friends who had been to this place had suggested to take a guide from the village. So we did. (but later we realised that there is no such need.) As told we filled our water bottles here, as no water is available in the way. Making our way through the small school of Bari and gullies of village, we reached a small stream, where a checkdam was built. Crossing this stream one gets trail leading to the Bari temple. Bari is the local goddess, and the village gets its name from the goddess. From here one can see the two ladders. Looking towards them we started our trek to the peak. First ladder comes within few minutes. From here there is a narrow fairly simple route to the second ladder. (comparing it with the sidhighat route of Bhimashankar) Second ladder helps to cover a high rock patch in the way, it is presently broken due to some rock fall last summer. Even then it in quite good condition. Lots of Dev Crab can be seen in the way (may be after monsoon). After this we reach a plateau surface. Fundoo scenery can be seen from here, Bari village and all the route we traced was seen. There is one small spring here which provides cool water. Taking water from here we started ahead.
From here we have to traverse towards right. Peak can be seen if no fog is there. Lots of monkeys were seen in the way. The guide cautioned us about the monkeys, he told us about an incident where a small boy was killed by few such monkeys. The route now becomes fairly simple with gentle climb, fundoo scenery to help you relax while you climb and in no time you are able to get the full view of the peak. At the time we arrived the peak was entirely covered with fog and so peak could not be seen. After some time somebody took the curtain of fog away from the peak and we felt the joy for having reached near to our summit.
Just before the peak there is a small well with water available throughout the year, but not good enough to drink. Maharashtra tourism department has few years back installed a iron ladder to make up to the highest point on the peak. Also a iron chain is anchored, powerful person can pull himself up to the peak.,/
Reaching the peak was a phenomenal experience. There was fog when we reached up, so we were not able to see at distance. May be some one was giving us happiness in installments. As the fog fade out, we could see the valley full of yellow flowers. But still there was fog so we could not see the Bhandardara lake and wilson dam which can be seen from this place. Fog also did not allow us to see the forts of Alang , Malang & Kulang , Harishchandragad ,Ratangad,Ajoba’s fort ,Bitangad, Aundhpatta ,Vishramgad, Mahuli, Matheran , Peb and Nagphani point of Bhimashankar. May be the peak wanted us to come here for one more time to get the view of these forts. There is a small temple of goddess Kalsubai at the peak. Guide told us that there is a fair during navratri when people from nearby region come to the top of the peak to worship the goddess.
We stayed at the peak for about an hour, getting view from all corners of the peak. But the fog didn’t allow much time. Also we had to go to Bhadardara lake which was half an hour time from Bari. We started our way down. The chain anchored encouraged me to try brushing my rappelling skills. Rappelling down the chain was great, actually wasn’t too great, just few feets with no danger of falling down. Return journey proved challenging for Amol, who had been doing trek for the first time, to get his stamina tested and gain confidence in his feet. It had took about two and half hours to reach the top and nearly took two hours to climb down. But we looked more relaxed while climbing down, cacking all the way down, talking about “incentives” which we saw while climbing up.
After reaching Bari, we took a jeep to Bhandaradara, this time jeep had 20 people including the driver! Bhandardara lake look great, with sunshine giving it a metallic look, as if some metal was flowing. At this moment we decided to ditch Randha waterfalls and leave for Kasara. After eating some thing we left for Ghoti, (no direct bus to jeep was available to kasara from here at that time, we had to wait for two hours to get bus from here). Enjoyed a good nap in the jeep while on our way to Ghoti( place near Igatpuri). From Ghoti, as told lots of jeep go to Kasara, we didn’t find any transport to Kasara. So we made a kilometre walk to the highway and started asking for lift. Thanks to a tempo driver who was coming from Ganpati Visarjan, gave us lift to Kasara. Sitting at back of Tempo we enjoyed the unusual, rare travel to Kasara, looking at “beauties” we were able to see from back of the tempo. From the highway we had to walk some two kilometers to Kasara station. Disgusted! When we came to know that we missed the train from Kasara by few minutes and the next train was after two hours. We started analysing our mistakes, hoped that we could have gone with the tempo all the way to Ulhasnagar, or could have gone to Igatpuri to catch mail train, and what not….But finally made our mind to spend time in Kasara. Roamed near the station, had bhel(famous commodity of Kasara), had our dinner and finally after two hours of lukkhagiri got train to CST.
It had been a long day, right from 3 am in the morning till 11 pm when we reached home. Next day was decisive..mostly for Amol who was willing to see his body reactions. But Indian Cricket team did a favour for us, by winning a thrilling match with England in the ICC trophy.
At the end of the story, nice trek, good “incentives” , great experience!!!!
WHAT ELSE MATTERS!!!!