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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Why Is The AMK Trek Known As The Most Deadly Trek In The World?


AMK trek

Why Is The AMK Trek Known As The Most Deadly Trek In The World?

About AMK

Alang, Madan, and Kulang, which is also known as AMK trek, situated in the Sahyadri fortress of Maharashtra, India. It is not only a trek but it is the dream destination of every mountaineer. Rock climbing, Rappelling, confusing routes are the peculiarity of this trek. It is one such place where one needs to have experience of climbing Sahyadri Mountain. Though these are three names, it is standing in one range next  to the Kalsubai Mountain. History of AMK is still not known, but it is been used as watchtower for surrounding area. One cannot climb AMK without technical knowledge of rock climbing. 

Alang Fort-4852 feet

Madan Fort-4500 feet

Kulang Fort-4825 feet  

How to Reach AMK Trek

Alang, Madan, and Kulang fort are situated in Nashik district and that can be easily accessible by road and rail service. There are three base village to start the trek. Ambewadi which is most preferred, village Samrad in Bhandardara, and Kurungwadi which is also known as Kulangwadi. These villages can be reach by following ways.

By Air

Nearest airport to reach AMK is Nashik domestic airport and Mumbai International airport. Nashik is 70 km from AMK and Mumbai is 170 km. One can take private vehicle or local vehicle to reach the AMK trek start point.

By Road

One can drive private vehicle up to the base village. Nashik highway is easily accessible from major cities like Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad, Bangalore and Delhi. Follow a road going towards Bhandardara and same route goes to the different starting point of this trek.

By Train

Kasara or Igatpuri is the nearest railhead to reach AMK trek. This station is located on the central coastal of Mumbai. Alight at Kasara or Igatpuri and take local transport like auto or bus to Ghoti. The distance is not more than 15 km. Alight at Ghoti and take bus going towards Ambewadi village. It is 32 km from Ghoti. A bus is available at 7:30 am from Ghoti to Ambewadi village. If you are starting trek from Samrad village, then reach Bhandardara which is the tourist hub and take local auto to reach Samrad village. It takes 5 hours to reach the Alang fort from this route. Most preferable route is Ambewadi-Alang fort-Madan fort-Kulang fort-Kulangwadi. AMK is visible from base village. One has to follow the ridge between Alang and Madan, fort is visible from here. Left side is Alang and right side is Madan.

How Does AMK Trek Turned in to a Rescue Mission? 

This all started due to my dream of conquering AMK fort which is the toughest trek in the world. I had finished almost 30 treks in western region of Sahyadri and was eagerly waiting to visit AMK trek. I along with my friend Mady decides to conquer AMK. It was in the bucket since I trekked to the highest pass in Maharashtra. This trek was not something you saw the photos on social media and made the plan to trek. One needs to have stamina and experience in rock climbing to do so. We started at 9 am from base village Ambewadi. Our bag-pack loaded with enough food and water that can be sufficient for two days trek. Glimpse of Alang, Madan and Kulang can be seen from base village. For me, this was less of a trek and more of a rescue operation. Yes, you heard my right. AMK trek turned in to a rescue operation for me, how?

AMK trek
Playing ground at left side is the starting point for AMK trek from Ambewadi village

From Ambewadi route goes exactly straight through the ridge between Alang and Madan fort, one has to walk towards the col between two forts keeping Alang fort at left and Madan fort on right. Routes involves flat walking, trek through dense jungle, and climbing some risky rock-cut stairs. Though there is no marking, if you get a human trail that passes through the jungle route then it’s easy to follow the path of Alang fort. It’s so difficult to find initial route as ascending starts through jungle area with no marking on route. After walk of around one an a half hours, there is small marking of lord Hanuman and Trishul carved in the stone. Inconceivable carving structure is the place in the middle area of the jungle. It was some sort of relaxation for me, the reason I was so confused weather we were in right direction or wrong one. There was no guide with us. It gave me lots of patience.  Splendor Alang fort looks so attractive from base.

AMK trek
This stone carving is the first stop to move towards Alang fort

AMK trek
These are the small rock-cut steps to ascend

Trek continues towards right from the lord Hanuman, and opens up in the rocky patch. A glimpse of terrible Alang fort with rock-cut stairs and rappelling part is visible. Rock cut stairs are so narrow to climb and risky, but with proper care, it is easy to cross. It took us three and half hours to reach the rocky terrain of this trek. Rock cut stairs realized me, one mistake will take you to the death. I had never seen such kind of stairs so far. Alang fort has two rock patches where rock climbing comes in effect. The height of this rock patches are 20 feet and 45 feet respectively. The first rock patch can still be climbed without a rope, but the second rock patch cannot be climbed unless you have technical skills of rock climbing. We were misguided by some locals from the village, it was told that ropes are already hanged in to rock patches that will help us to climb that big rocky terrain. This is why we decided not to take guide with us, but after reaching near to rocky patch there was no rope or any ladder to climb that surface and it became too difficult to ascend. Somehow we managed to climb 20 feet patch, but had to take long pause for second patch, the reason none of us were expert in technical climbing. We decided not to take risk without rope as none of us were technically expert in rock climbing. At one point a thought came to step back and return to the base village, for that we need to descend that 20 feet rock patch, it was again difficult task, because climbing was easy than descending down. A long pause continued for some more time. The situation was like “Na Ghar ka, Na Ghat ka” (Neither here, Nor there). I am not scared of heights, but looking down at the rock patch made me feel a little dizzy. We lost our smile and all the excitement of AMK trek was gone.

AMK trek
First rock patch can still be cross without rope

AMK trek
Second rock patch where rappelling comes in to picture, one should not take risk if you don't have technical skill

The only thing which felt good was, we found some network in phone and managed to get local guides contact number. We called him for rescue. Luckily, he was at village and came with all the rock climbing equipment’s. We had to wait there for further 3 hours until he comes up and finally he made it.  I was so happy after meeting him and glimpse of happiness got back on our faces. At last, we again changed our mind and decides to finish up the trek AMK with the help of guide Mr. Ganpat More. He was so kind and expert in rock climbing. He made it possible from impossible, he climbed that 45 feet rock without rope and pulled us up with the help of rope he tied to the rock. Adventure was not ended yet, it was still on as final rock cut stairs was yet to come. Another 20 min climb took us to the first destination, nonetheless than summit of the Alang fort. It was 5 pm when we reached the summit point and also it was golden time to see sun painting the sky. Seating at summit of the fort and staring at the sun going down is uncanny part of travel. It looks mysterious when sun spread the different shades of color on the sky. Top of the Alang fort has two caves and big wall. The wall belongs to a palace which is in ruined condition now. There is small temple with the Shivling statue carved in the stone. There are around 11 water ponds on top, people use this water for drinking. One can witness breathe taking view along with an astonishing view of Kalsubai mountain, Harishchandra fort, Ajoba, Madan and Kulang fort. We pitched our tent on summit of the Alang fort with bonfire and got slept under the shining stars. This AMK trek truly impressed me despite of different challenges.

AMK trek
 Camping at summit of the Alang fort

AMK trek
Kulang fort view from the caves of Alang fort

AMK trek
Palace at summit of Alang fort which are in ruined condition

AMK trek
Water reservoir at summit of Alang fort, this water is used for drinking  

The next day morning, it was time to descend back the same route till first rock patch. Mr. Ganpat who were so kind and safely took us down from the rock patch. There is narrow diversion near first rock patch, descend will take you to the base village and right side that goes exactly parallel to Alang fort, this route goes to the Madan and Kulang fort. Initial 30 min trek has flat walking with little dense jungle on route. One has to walk straight keeping Alang fort on left side and valley on right, there is small wooden hope with diversion, right towards Madan fort and straight from the back side of wooden hope goes towards Kulang fort. These three forts are internally connected and same route if starting your trek from Ambewadi, this makes trekkers easy to finish AMK trek.

AMK trek
While trekking towards Alang fort, right from first rock patch goes to the Madan and Kulang fort

Adventure doesn’t end here, rock-cut stairs on the edge of the mountain continue to Madan fort. The reason why AMK trek is difficult, one needs to have great endurance level and stamina to finish these trek. After a walk for an hour another rappelling part of 30 feet rock needs to cross to reach the summit point of Madan fort. Again Mr. Ganpat who came in picture and pulled us with the help of rope tied to our back. Once you climbs the rock part, move straight towards the summit. Another rock-cut stairs will lead you to the top of the Madan fort. The summit has caves along with two water bodies, small water body has some small golden fish that looks so shining also this water body is crystal clear as compare to Alang fort, and it is drinkable. Madan fort offers landscape view of Alang fort and Kulang fort. One can engage in fascinating view surrounding the Konkan coastal and Sahyadri range of mountains. Due to shortage of time we couldn’t do Kulang fort, but trekking route here is very easy compare to Alang and Madan fort trekking, so one doesn’t need to worry. You can finish all three fort in two days. AMK trekking was a lifetime experience for me. One who conquers AMK can conquer any fort in Maharashtra. AMK trek is the toughest trek in India, so it is not advisable for new trekkers. One needs great endurance level and stamina to finish it. 

AMK trek
We were so lucky to see this kind of sunset from Alang fort

AMK trek
Sunrise point at Alang fort with the view of Arthur lake

AMK trek
Sahyadri mountain range from Madan fort

AMK trek
Complete view of Alang fort summit from Madan fort

Things to Experience at AMK trek

Rappelling and rock climbing- Rappelling and rock climbing is one of the well-known activity and dream for adventure enthusiast. Guide here will take care of your safety while rappelling. This is lifetime experience.

Sunset at Alang fort- Sunset is something when sky starts getting different shades of colors. The surrounding mountains looks gorgeous when the sun sinks and that gorgeousness is offered by Alang fort.

Camping at Alang fort- Camping with bonfire is warm welcome for travelers. One can also plan stay at caves.

Bahuli Dam- Blue water under blue sky looks exquisite. This leaves traveler wandered. One can take photogenic break near Dam and can get engaged in clicking some picture. You have option of lake side camping here. One can also plan to do boating in wind chilled climate.

Bhandardara- Bhandardara is known as tourist hub from Nashik district. One can enjoy shimmering waterfalls, Forts, highest peak of Maharashtra along with largest valley in the Asia. 

Ideal Time to Do AMK Trek

The best time to do AMK trek is winter from October to February. This is ideal season to perform activities like rock climbing and rappelling. One may find lots of group trekking towards AMK fort. This is actual climate for camping under moon light.

Monsoon here is bit risky due to slippery terrain. You can trek to Kulang fort in monsoon as it doesn’t require rock climbing and rappelling. Although you will see lots of greenery on route, there are several shimmering waterfalls that can still be enjoy without doing trek.

You will hardly see any trekkers trekking here in summer season. Sun heats up the rock and it becomes very tiring for trek. Avoid doing trek in the month of March to May.

Stay And Food at AMK trek

There are few caves at Alang and Madan fort that can still accommodate 50 to 60 people. It is safe to stay in the caves. You have to carry own sleeping matrices. If you are coming here with guide then all arrangement is done by them. They also provide camping at Alang or Madan fort.

There are no source of foods or snacks, one has to make own arrangement if coming without guide. You need to carry bag pack loaded with enough snacks and energy bar. This will help to regain the energy lost during the trek. AMK trek cannot be done without guide, so guide can also make food arrangement for you, they cook fresh food in caves. Food cost includes in complete trekking package.

Things to Know Before You Go to AMK Trek

  • AMK trek cannot be done without guide unless you are technically expert in rock climbing and you have all necessary equipment’s of climbing.  
  • Local guide may charge 1500 to 2000 per person that includes stay, rappelling equipments, food, and guide charges. (Contact Mr. Ganpat More 8055695521)
  • One can trek to Alang fort from Samrad village near Sandhan valley, but it takes 5 to 6 hours to reach the summit of Alang fort. The ideal route to do AMK trek is village Ambewadi.
  • One can finish Alang and Madan or Kulang and Madan in same day, but all three forts needs minimum two days to trek.
  • You can also start trek from Kulangwadi for Kulang fort.
  • Carry at least 3 litter of water that can be sufficient till you reach the summit of Alang fort, there are water ponds available at top and water is drinkable.
  • Do not litter the area and do not drink on the fort.

12 comments:

  1. ohh, it gave me goose bumps after reading your blog. AMK is in my bucket too and really nice to see all the details that can help me to plan my trek. Thank you for sharing

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  2. AMK trek sounds so interesting. I m bit scare to do trekking but love to see when people do those . Place is so beautiful.thanks for sharing

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  3. The place sounds interesting but I know for a fact that I would definitely not try that trek myself.

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  4. That is so interesting. I'd like to do trekking but I might be too scared to go on this one!

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  5. Oh fun, I'd love to do some hiking around. Beautiful.

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  6. You are very brave, I am so bad at trekking. Looks to be an exciting and challenging trek. Appreciate your efforts.

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  7. What a terrifying and exciting journey! This would be an amazing bucket list item!

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  8. Well haven't heard about this trek before but it really damn sounds so interesting and amazing one though...glad you shared entire information with us..loved it....

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  9. I cant go trekking anymore. But AMK has intrigued me. I'll look out more about it.

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  10. oh I am super interested! I love trekking but never heard of AMK before...I will check it out for sure.

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  11. Wow! This looks like a great hike. Awesome trek!

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