Trek to Jivdhan Fort and Naneghat

Posted: by Pulsurge in Labels: , , , , , ,

Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing............Helen Keller

With another weekend coming up and Rajmachi ripples having calmed down, rains still around, greenery beckoning and my trek resolution standing strong- was about time to get lost again. This time my trekmeter needle stood still at Jivdhangad (Jivdhangad sounds better than Jivdhan fort- thanks to Vaibhav Gokhale for mentioning this in one of his mails). Sought information from Glen who had already trekked Jivdhangad, valley crossed and rappled down Khada Parshi (wow amazing!). Still in a confusion about Naneghat and Jivdhangad- are they one or different? Heap scrolling of relevant webpages cleared the doubt, took a few printouts and pushed them in my purse. A war cry inside "Jivdhangad mi aaloch!" (Jivdhangad here I come).

Was up early, had a bath (didnt feel like having- had to anyways sweat out later). Thought of having breakfast later on the way, which never happened. Was a terrible ride on the slippery stretch from Mira Road to Thane packed with truckers. Come NH3 and it was a better ride barring the broken and bumpy Kalyan patch. Stopped over to click the beautiful roads towards Murbad.

Stopped over at Murbad to up the ration (biscuits and water). Rolling wheels on the blacktop rolled over a green carpeted landscape...beautiful!

You can trek up Naneghat from this place, but keeping the bike here is not worth the risk.

Climate at Malshej was amazing....clicked a few pics. My HID was doing its job well of alerting the oncoming traffic of my presence...not to mention they were all staring at my lights ;)

Crossed Junnar and took for Ghatghar passing Shivneri fort. Piled up a few memories on the way- the Manikdoh dam, lovely green landscapes, even the bad roads.

46 kms later, am at Ghatghar. On enquiry with a local girl for the way up the fort, I was told that the path is confusing since plants would have grown over the path and going alone is not advisable. She called up her brother Vithal to be my guide. I dumped the unnecessary stuff in their house carrying only the things I would need. In excitement I forgot to eat- was carrying biscuits anyways. Got a lovely place to park my bike.

From two wheels to two legs, very soon we're at the base of the mightly hill blanketed by a thick cloud cover trying to keep suspense of whats to follow.

Earlier it was quite an easy walk, maybe some years back I would have called it a tough one to walk.

Ahead it started getting slippery and uneasy to hold ground. We didnt hurry and carried on steadily.

Not stopping much except for a 2 minute break for a drink and Vithal slipping over the rocks, we were at the stairs in quick time. What an amazing sight it was.. you can only see the stretch of stairs till one point and after that its all fog. Looked like the stairs were the end of this world and heaven started thereon.

Through with the stairs, Vithal showing his fearlessness crawled from the edge to a small opening to get me a snap. The small outlet was a huge cave inside that was used to store ammunition in those historical days. Wow!

Was foggy and in the excitement about this cave, I failed to notice what was ahead. I look up in shock and ask Vithal "What is this?" He grins and says "We have to climb this patch and its easy. Just slip your legs into those slots and dig your fingers into those holes on the sides". Never saw and did anything like this before. A couple of steps up and I felt it was quite easy until you dont lose grip.

The patch was through without much fuss. A bigger shock in the waiting, a 90 degree vertical patch which shook the daylights out of me. I told Vithal to go ahead and I follow. It wasn't easy for him either- could see him stretch to the max to get his feet in the right places. He's up and now its my turn, initially I get through and then I realise I simply cannot stretch my feet into the next slot- nowhere near. The more I tried to stretch, the more my left leg started to lose grip. I realised its not in my ability to stretch so far- I turned my head to look down- would be a 100 feet drop on the rocks, everything went into mute mode- as if the world stood still. Surprisingly the height didnt scare me. The only thought that came to mind was "Deepak you fall and you're gone forever". "Hell! Am not going to fall- no way, whatever it takes", I said to myself. I was all helpless- hanging off the rock thinking what to do. Tried stretching once more- failed again, couldn't even go down. I could hear faintly hear Vithal calling me out- although he was screaming 'come up come up, stretch stretch!' I told him 'shut up and hold on'. It would have been 15 minutes easily with me in the same position not having moved an inch. The place where Vithal was standing was a vertical slope, hence even he couldnt stretch out his hand. Something struck, I told him I'll throw my belt up and you pull me. Hanging off on the grip of the three fingers of my left hand- removed my belt, wrapped up one end of it in my hand and threw it up. Vithal caught the other end and started pulling slowly- was just hoping that the belt doesnt snap or he doesnt lose grip. One, two, three....gave a big leap jerk to my left leg, and somehow managed to reach the edge of the slot with my right leg, pushed it until it was right in there. Got the balance right and reached my hand to the next grip and pulled over in a hurry.....phew! Sat down for 2 mins to come back to my normal self.

Another 5 mins of trek takes us into the fort. A click to celebrate the ocassion....the expression says nothing about what happened below :) Took an hour and 45 mins to reach the fort from base.

We carried on our way to the granaries. Never came across so strong winds in my life- have a look at Vithal's pic trying to balance himself against the wind.
Reached the granary and was amazed the way this structure was built thousands of feet up. Contrasting to the outside, it was absolutely dry and warm inside and there were just chambers after chambers. Torch was helpful, but didnt venture too far inside- the bats circling over my head didnt like the intrusion.

Came out and was another shaky and windy walk till the Goddess Jivabai temple, unfortunately which was damaged by the Moghuls. Khada Parsi was on the way to the descend, to my regret couldn't spot anything due to fog.

Water cisterns along the way.

Crawled out of the Kalyan Darwaza.

Vithal spoke about a difficult stretch of descend lying ahead. I wished it wasnt as worse as the earlier and fortunately it wasnt.

My shoes were making matters worse and removed and threw them below in disgust and started bare feet. Pressed my hands on one side of the wall and legs on the other and slowly crawled down. Asked Vithal if anything more is left- as usual with his grin he said NO. There were stairs ahead, but they looked scary, but at least some ground to hold to. I found it to be too slippery and sat down dragging myself step by step. 

Wasnt easy mind you, coz some sections of the steps were too narrow and slippery.

But finally we're through with the slippery part of the stretch. Thanked god to have seen me through with the tougher sections- kissed the mountain and said you're something :) The relieved feeling in mind gave way to hunger- then I realised that I hadnt eaten anything. Pulled out the biscuits and we sat down to eat. Took rest for some time, trying to recollect what all we trekked through. Started off again.

Was already 7 by the time we reached the base of the fort and started walking towards Naneghat which was 4 kms away. Caught a few crabs on the way ;)
Was pretty dark by now and I decided to stay back. Roamed around for some time at Naneghat and started walking towards the village which was again 3-4 kms away. My torch was throwing light like an HID. A couple of snakes hiding in the bushes, for fun we started walking towards one of them- seemed the snake wasnt interested in a hello and disappeared in his burrow ;)
Reached the village changed up to the clothes offered by Vithal's dad. A trouser that was too small for me without a zip and the t-shirt double my size. They complemented each other well- the t-shirt hid the zipper portion ;) Called up mom conveying that I wont be coming tonight. Dinner was being readied- sat down for some much required food. I dont remember how many bhaakris I had, but there was a heap and I finished half of it. The "thecha" (made of chilly, garlic and onions) was amazing. A small portion of varan-bhaat (dal-rice) concluded my royal dinner.

Sleep started getting into the eyes and was cut-off from this world within moments.

Early morning Vithal and myself went to Naneghat again to click some pics. 

Surprising in the early days people had to pay money to pass after climbing up nearly 2000 feet.

Large cave for people for camping- unfortunately in enjoyment they lose their sense of cleanliness.

The container used to collect tax for using this route. I wasn't an exception- I dropped in my share of tax, a 5 rupee coin :)

Came across these two cute little kids on the way, couldnt help clicking them.

Vithal went on his job, till the time I got ready.

Started for home with Vithal- had to drop him at Junnar. Enjoyed the cruise through the village roads encountering a Dhaman (rat-snake) on the way crossing the road and seconds away from being crushed under my wheels- his agility saved him though. Mid-way realised that I left my cell phone behind. Rode back again and took a short cut to Junnar, which was half the distance but double the torture. Came across lovely scenery and Shivneri fort along the way.

23 kms and an hour later, reached Junnar. Paid him 300 bucks for his services (not much of an amount, he almost saved my life). 

Carried on, stopping and clicking wherever I felt like- it was my world all the way.

Stopped over at a tea stall near Ganeshkhind ghat. Fresh batata-wadas, hot gingered tea, GNR playing on my N95 and the lovely scenery made the breakfast even more tasty.

Reached Malshej where the fog had grown more dense. Lovely waterfalls and hills in the distance.

Dropped in at Parimal's place on the way, showed him the pics and moments later was in the comfort of my very own HOME SWEET HOME.

Was an amazing trek and I succeeded in killing the fear within me- the fear of heights living inside me for years has now transformed into love...damn! I want to go sky-jumping ;) I recollect the Mountain Dew TVC "Dar ke aage jeet hai". Well how true that is! Jivdhangad is thrilling, but best to be avoided in rains- specially from the village side, if still you have the keeda to do it in monsoons, dont forget to at least carry a strong rope and a torch and most important better gripping shoes will help.

My route: Mira Road-Thane-Kalyan-Murbad-Malshej-Junnar-Ghatghar-Jivdhan and back: 425 kms.

The album of the trek HERE


  1. Anonymous says:

    nice trek buddy.
    last month, i had done same trek with my group. check it here.

  1. Pulsurge says:

    Wow amazing. Got to see all in your pics what I missed out due to heavy rain and fog. Nice to see Nitin-aka-Vithal as your guide...he was mine too :) Lovely trip.

  1. quaintkal says:

    hey! wonderful account of the trek...thnx for d info..i wud b doin ths trek ths wknd though it wont b as adventurous right now due to no rains..but still hope to have half as much fun as u guys did! :-)

  1. Hey man you are gr8. i wouldn't have dare to trek this fort alone. your writing style in good. keep it up.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, i a vivid biker, trekker, went to junner, malshej many times wanted to cover jivdhan but couldnt do it, ur describtion is amazing, and pics are awesome, do add me in orkut my id avinash lewis im in blue shirt,

  1. hey buddy, i too have a thing for treks...
    u seem to trek alone...
    i'd like to join in...if u don't mind...

  1. skeptic says:

    Loved reading your travelogue... I must admit it actually scared me to think you risked your life and I was wondering, "For what???" But I guess I'll never know the feeling unless I live through that experience and excitement... Then, I suppose, we realise that life indeed is momentary... Kudos to your attitude and good luck with your adventures in future :o)

  1. Kashmira says:

    This is amazing, I am impressed with your courage.

  1. rahul says:

    awesome pics.... :)