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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Prabalgad Fort Camping Will Make You More Adventurer

prabalgad trek, kalavantin durg night trek



The Prabalgad Fort stands at an elevation of 2300 feet in the Western Ghats which is known for greenery spread-ed all around surrounding Mountains. The fort was previously known as Muramjam until it was taken over and renamed by the Maratha forces under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s rule. This is one of those fort which was captured and recaptured by Shivaji Maharaj. Its sister fort is Irshalgad which is next to it in the north. The fort is situated at Thakurwadi village in the Panvel. This is one of those place that gives the courage to do most adventurous trek. Prabalgad fort camping will make you more adventurer.


Thakurwadi village in Panvel district is the base village and starting point of this trek.
It is easily accessible by air, road, and train.

By Air

Nearest airport is Pune and Mumbai International airport. After getting down at airport one can hire self-drive car or can option for bus and train.

BY Road

Panvel is 140 km from Pune and 80 km from Mumbai. Panvel highway is well accessible from Mumbai and Pune. Straight road from Mumbai will leave you at Panvel. From highway left road goes towards Thakurwadi village. It is further 14 km from Panvel. Direct bus is available for Panvel bus stop and then another bus to Thakurwadi village. 

By Train

Get down at Panvel railway station on Mumbai Harbour line, walk further 5 min to reach state transport bus stand and take transport bus to Thakurwadi village. Bus fare is normal between 30-40 INR. Regular local trains available from Mumbai to Panvel. From Pune few express stops at Panvel. From Panvel direct cabs are available in range between 150 INR to 200 INR.                        


The Prabalgad Fort was built by the Bahmani Sultanate to keep an eye on the Panvel fort and Kalyan fort in the North Konkan area. Around 1458 A.D, “Malik Ahmad” the prime minister of the kingdom of Ahmednagar, took over the fort during his conquest of Konkan. After disintegration of the Bahmani Sultanate, the fort remained with the Ahmadnagar Sultanate.

During the collapse of Ahmednagar Sultanate, Shahaji led a helping hand against the separate forces of the Mughal Empire and the Adil Shahi dynasty. After the collapse of Sultanate, he moved to Muranjan along with his wife Jijabai and son Shivaji for a brief period of time. However, following Shahaji’s defeat and the agreement of Mahuli, North Konkan along with the fort, was ceded to Mughals who granted ruling authority of the area to Adilshah of Bijapur. Chhatrapati Shivaji conquered the fort from the Mughals in 1657 A.D, after which established himself in the Kalyan-Bhivandi area. During the attack of Chhatrapati Shivaji, the fort was governed by “Kesar Singh”, a Mughal sardar and was force to put up a strong resistance. Singh dead during the battle in October 1657. Kesar Singh’s mother hid herself and her grandchild during the attack. Chhatrapati Shivaji in act of kindness made sure the lady and the child were allowed a safe passage out.

In the year 1826, Umaji Naik, a freedom fighter and his associates were believed to have made the fort as their home for a brief period of time.
prabalgad trek, history of prabalgad


Coming to my story of this mysterious trek, night trek to Prabalgad was on back of my mind since I saw the photos of it. A first glimpse of it, when I hiked to Kalavantin pinnacle had left indelible impression on my mind and I was looking for an opportunity to visit it at the earliest. This was one of the safest night trek that I had heard from visitors. I started searching more information regarding safety of this trek. On weekend especially pre monsoon many enthusiast’s hike here for fireflies special trek. I decided to head here along with my friends. We reserved our one weekend for this trek.
As decided we left in the late evening on bike from Mumbai to reach base village of this trek. We reached at Thakurwadi around 11 pm in night and parked our vehicle at base point. There were so many other vehicles already parked, seems some people would have already started. 

The road goes from the right side of the parking area with easy and clear path. Trekking in silent under moon light was so pleasant.  We hardly needed torches or headlights during the hike. Panvel and adjacent roads were glowing with the lights and it was pleasing sight for the eyes, to see the twinkling fireflies light up the night sky. These bio-luminescent creatures flock to dense forests during pre-monsoon, as it is the ideal season. We saw a scenic views all around. After walk of around 10 minutes, you come to the check-point where one needs to pay 50 INR entry fees. Both Prabalgad and Kalavantin fort looks prominent from here. We walked for almost 1 hour to reach Prabalmachi plateau. The route is Zigzag till the Prabalmachi plateau. The village has a restaurant, toilets built up for visitors. Tents can also be taken on rent. They may charge around 300 to 500 INR per tent. This is first camping site, some people stays here and starts the trek early in the morning. Being regular hikers we had our own camping gear including sleeping bag and tent, so we decide to put tents at summit point of this trek.  Prabalmachi plateau is having a vast surface and enough space  for camping. There are two possible treks from Prabalmachi-one to Prabalgad Fort and another to Kalavantin Fort. Prabalmachi trek is easier but longer while the Kalavantin trek is known to be most difficult but not very long. There are many accident that has happened at Kalavantin durg.  There are hotels available at Machi that serve home-made food in day time.
prabalgad trek, night trek
prabalgad trek, night trek

prabalgad trek

I actually wanted to witness the sunrise from summit, this is the reason we trek till we finished. It is good option to climb up overnight and stay at peak point. At night we could not see anything including valley on one side, so people climb easily without fear. After small break at Prabalmachi plateau we proceed further to reach Peak of this trail. Once you cross Prabalmachi Plateau route starts with rocky terrain, one needs to be careful while climbing it. This is  steep and utterly ascend trail. This rocky terrain for another one hour will leave you at summit. At 2 am in midnight we are at summit point of the Prabalgad Fort. All our lost energy got recovered as we reached at peak. Shining stars was adding some more beautiful glimpse in the camping. Now, it was time to set our tent with bonfire. There is enough space available at top that can accommodate minimum 50 tents. We put our tents beside other people tent who had already reached before us. Overnight stay at camp.

prabalgad trek, camping at prabalgad

Next day we woke up at 6 am to witness the beautiful view of sunrise. It is so pretty to see sunrise from the height of 2300 feet and sun paints the sky with different shades. Once at the top you treated to a breath-taking view of the Western Ghats that includes the Kalavantin Pinnacle standing close to the fort, along with various other forts. On the west you can see the Peb and Chanderi fort. Karnala fort can also be seen to the north, and Manikgad fort stands tall towards the south. With the forts, you also get to see the Ulhas River cutting across the green landscape, and the Mumbai-Pune expressway winding through the hills. After witnessing the sunrise view, we started descending our trek with photos of morning view. At night we could not click much photos due to no light.

prabalgad trek, kalavantin fort

prabalgad trek

prabalgad trek

prabalgad trek

prabalgad trek

prabalgad trek, sunrise

prabalgad trek, night trek at prabalgad


Prabalgad Fort can be visit throughout the years.
Ideal time to visit here is October to May, especially post monsoon when climate is pleasant along with greenery all around and path becomes so photogenic.
pre monsoon is best for fireflies’ activity with camping.
You might want to avoid trekking in monsoon as rocks becomes slippery and trekking can be dangerous in this season.


There are small hotel’s available at Prabalmachi plateau that provides accommodation if informed before.
If you are going with any tour operator, then they will arrange your accommodation.
Locals provides tents on rent costing from 700 INR to 1000 INR per tent. There are enough space at Plateau and summit point for camping.
One can also do camping with own tent.

If you are hungry at Prabalmachi and want to try something new then must go for home-made food easily available at Prabalmachi village. It is so delicious. The lunch and dinner includes Maharashtrian food like Bhakri ‘Indian flat bread’ made of rice and Pithla. Some of the well-known food is Non-veg and fish thali.



  • Try to start the trek early morning because sunlight heat ups the rocks in the afternoon.
  • There is entry fees of 50 RS that needs to pay at first check point.
  • Parking space is available at base that may charge you 30 INR for two wheeler to 80 INR for four wheeler.
  • Carry enough food and water if trekking in night, at day time there are sources available for food and water.
  • At last do not drink on Fort and do not litter the area.

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