When Mandar sent me invitation mail for Fort Kothaligad trek, I googled for information ..everyone mentioned that it is very simple trek ! someone said it as torture trek !! for the reason that u can see the fort from a distance but do not reach it till ages to go !!!
After completion of the trek I can surely say that Kothaligad trek is torture trek if u walk from village Ambivili upto peth and then start the climb, if there is no rain then u r gone for a toss ! all the energy will be sucked by the sun and humid atmosphere (at least for persons from pune)
so my suggestion is to drive upto village Peth using SUV and then do this climb 🙂 the road is not that good but I saw SUV reached village Peth hence this suggestion.
Basic information on Kothaligad (also called Kotligad or Kothligad) trek
13th century fort which is located near Karjat-Murbad Road. It is called as Kothaligad since the shape looks like removal of “Kothala” from stomach.- means fort looks like removed intestine from stomach, hence called as Kothaligad ! sounds interesting !!
Simple torture !!
What to see !
- Scenic views (Bhimashankar, Siddhagad, Matheran)
- Hanuman temple at village Peth
- Temple at fort base
- Large cave at fort base
- Carved steps inside pinnacle forming a staircase as way to the top.
places that can be seen from fort kothaligad
View Kothaligad – viewpoints from fort in a larger map
Place to stay/take food & water
Water – carry along (alternate source – a cistern at the fort, but having dirty water !)
Food and stay – large cave named as Bhairoba cave (not sure one can stay here due to smell)
suggest to carry food or call hotel at village peth and tell him to prepare food for u, better to stay at hotel at peth
Karjat-Murbad Road (google coordinates 18.992783,73.513028)
How to reach
Karjat (reach by train or bus from Mumbai or Pune)
Karjat to village Ambivili (travel by bus or private rikshaw/jeep)
Ambivili to Peth (walk, travel by private rikshaw/jeep)(walk time 1.5 hours) – my suggestion is to go upto Peth using SUV.
Peth to top of fort (1 hour)
use proper trekking gears for this trek
Since we went by bus, we parked it in village Ambivili and had our
morning tea at Hotel Kothaligad, Obviously mandar had a phone call to
keep tea ready for the team of ~65 members 🙂
The first rest point u can get a look at magnificent views, i am sure this will look best while it is raining ..
By the time u reach to village Peth . u see board of Bhairavnath Bhojanalay (hotel) wherein u can pre-order food before u go for a climb and get ur lunch when back .. but since as per regular practice we had our lunch packed we did not take food .. but if u r going there in early season like july .. do ring them before to get hot lunch …
Once we reached village Peth, got a first house where a couple was cracking beetle nuts, I liked the simplicity of their house (and life too) .. the old aged women started looking with curiosity since she did not understood reason for photographing ! the regular work !!
As i left the house saw girl giving bath to the smaller one 🙂 nothing better than this bath .. not even i a five star hotel . humm … that;s the life one can look for 🙂
By the next house .. saw a girl slicing the sticks ..as the siblings play on the side… as soon as they see u .. they come to u asking for food .. as roopa shared an apple .. it was joy to look at their happy faces .. jumping inside the house to share apple with all … for sure u will like this experience ..
The way along as u get over with adivasi houses .. enter to the greeny rice fields .. lush green .. walk through .. towards the fort kothaligad ..
After 30~40 minutes of climb u see the entrance to the fort.. steps from here are still intact …
Immediately after the steps u get across to the caves which are really big and have remains of carved pillars .. some rooms .. I read that u can spend night here ..but practically don’t think that is needed since u can spend 50 rs per person and stay any house at the foot of fort .. where u can get village food and stay .. water .. everything .. instead spending night in the smelly caves having bat shit around 🙁
Caves master bedroom .. i could not enter inside as the smell from bat shit was really strong .. only could sustain to take a snap for all of u ..
Outside the caves is a temple ..not sure of which god and godess .. but was fairly clean .. having shoes on i did not went inside .. but had a snap from outside …
On the way where u enter to the caves .. get on to the other side before u step on to the pinnacle .. to get a front view of this fort .. u must have seen this photograph for fort kothaligad all over internet ,.. unfortunately things are becoming dirty since visitors are dropping their shit plastic there !!! ..god who can stop them littering things ?
When u r done with photographs and cave visit… proceed through the carved steps through the pinnacle . steps are still intact and are very high to climb for us .. we are not so used to have such high steps … though one can keep climbing having support !!
Look at the carvings .. the remains remind u of golden era that this 13th century fort must have experienced .. although no one is looking for maintaining this history .. it has success to survive thorough centuries !!
Reach to the top to get panorama which one can not capture in one go .. keep looking for matheran .. bhimashankar .. all over for sure u hv to visit during rains to see waterfalls over the huge walls of sahyadris …
On the way back the rest point was a Hanuman temple .. it was pretty clean inside ..
The interesting thing here .. notice that alongwith the sleeping dog .. there is idol of someone looking like a dog to me !! actually i wanted to ask someone for the history or reason .. but was already lagging behind the team .. so left the though in my mind and went on !!!
In front of the Hanuman temple & outside the hotel one can see the huge casting of bell .. sized around 3.5 feet high and 1.5 feet in diameter i wondered the time when this was made and surprised that till date this has survived from theft !!!
By the way just wanted to tell u that if u wish to stay at hotel Bhairoba .. then they do have lot of space to stay for with charges of 50 rs per person per night . having provision for food ..one can try this out ..
do not forget to check for the list of things to carry for trek
Recommended reference reading –
One day trek in Sahaydri mountain ranges – Do’s and Don’t, Things to carry list