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Saturday, January 2, 2021

One Day Hiking To Marvelous Irshalgad Fort | Mumbai

Irshalgad fort

One Day Hiking To Marvelous Irshalgad Fort | Mumbai

FORT HEIGHT: 3700 FEET

TREK LEVEL: MODERATE TO DIFFICULT

BASE VILLAGE: IRSHALWADI

A long pinnacle situated in the range of Sahyadri Mountain is Irshalgad. It is further connected to the Matheran hill station of Western Ghat. Though it is not a fort, it was used as watch tower to keep eye on surrounding forts. Irshalgad trek is well known adventurous activity in the district of Panvel, Raigad. It is located in the Matheran Panvel range of Irshalwadi village. The area is not as big as the other forts; it also has some water cisterns that cut from the rock.

History

Irshalgad is hardly comes anywhere when it comes to part of history. It is not a fort; it was used at watchtower to keep watch on surrounding forts like, Manikgad, Prabalgad etc. The great Shivaji Maharaj had conquered the region of Kalyan Bhiwandi in 1666, Irshalgad might be the part of that region.

How To Reach Irshalgad Fort?

By Air:

Nearest airport is Mumbai International airport and Pune which is well connected to other states of India. One can take self-drive vehicle to reach Irshalgad fort or can also option local transport to reach.

By Road:

From Mumbai the route is Dadar-Panvel-Chowk-Irshalwadi.  The total distance is 60 km from Mumbai. One has to follow Mumbai-Pune old highway NH4, left from Chowk goes towards Irshalwadi.

From Pune the route is Pune-Lonavala-Khopoli-Khalapur-Chowk-Irshalwadi which is 100 km from Pune. Local transport is also a budgeted option to reach the destination.

By Train:

Reach Panvel station which is well connected to Mumbai, once you reach Panvel walk further till Panvel bus stand. Catch any bus going towards Karjat and get down at Chowk station and walk further till Irshalwadi village which is the base village of Irshalgad fort, OR

You can reach Karjat station which is easily accessible by Mumbai and Pune then board any bus going towards Panvel and get down at Chowk and reach Irshalwadi village. (Bus fare may vary between 20 to 30 INR)

Chowk to Irshalwadi is 90 minute walk.

Irshalgad Fort Trek

Coming to my experience of story, a much awaited break from working life that can relief some stress from mind was nonetheless than Irshalgad trek. I along with my partner decide to ride a bike to the base of this fort and then trekking till summit pinnacle. It is always preferable to travel on own vehicle which is money saving and also time consuming. The trekking point of this fort was Irshalwadi base village where I parked my bike near to locals home and started moving towards the peak of the Irshalgad. The activities like trekking and hiking realizes me about the life that I have got, because for me a life is either adventure or nothing. 

There is small school where one needs to start ascending towards fort. As you keep walking through Irshalwadi village you will spot Morbe Dam towards right side. This is long reservoir from where water is supplied to Panvel and Navi Mumbai area. The splendor Irshalgad fort is visible from base village. There is small temple from where the route continues. One needs to follow straight route going towards the temple. This temple is dedicated to the local deity from that area. The trek is easy till the pinnacle of the fort, so new trekkers need not to worry. The route involves some rock patches to climb and muddy trail. As you will pass through terrain, one can encounter water cistern. From here, one comes across the needle hole near the top. Monsoon in Sahyadri Mountain is always tricky to pass any patch. There is small wooden ladder to climb. This is pretty trek to visit in monsoon time. Many trekkers prefer monsoon time to visit here as there are lots of variety of flowers, flora, and fauna can be seen along the way. The route has some metal board for direction. 

Irshalgad fort
Irshalgad fort view

Moving little ahead there is caves on right side. Trek doesn't finish here; the top pinnacle was yet to come. You cannot climb the top unless you are technically expert in rock climbing. One need to have rock climbing equipment’s to reach the summit point. This summit has long straight pinnacle. There are bolts placed at some point for regular rock climbers. Many people have lost their life while climbing this pinnacle. One such climbing is at Duke’s Nose trek. The distance of this pinnacle is close to 100 feet. The summit offers astonishing view of Dam, Prabalgad fort and others forts like Chanderi, Malang gad, Karnala and Manikgad. One can take long photogenic break and get engaged in clicking some beautiful pictures of Sahyadri. Irshalgad also offers connectivity to reach the Prabalgad fort. For new comers trek is very easy before final pinnacle. Descending from fort is easy.

Irshalgad fort
View of Morbe Dam from Irshalgad fort
Irshalgad fort
Irshalgad pinnacle looks so amazing

Irshalgad fort
Irshalgad fort sunset view
Irshalgad fort
Surrounding mountains from Irshalgad fort

Ideal Time to do Irshalgad Fort Trek

June to September is always an ideal time to do any trek from Sahyadri region, the reason as like mountains in Himalayan covers with snow, Sahyadri in monsoon looks like painted with green colour. The climate is also cool and many trekkers prefer to do trek in monsoon.

October to February is the time where people may witness wide variety of flowers on the way. The nature here offers pleasant climate where one can get engaged in. If you are camping lover then this is the best time to visit the place.

You will hardly see any trekkers trekking in summer season. The temperature goes to the range of 35 to 40 degree. You can plan night trek in summer.

Places To Stay Near Irshalgad Fort

Being local village and situated little far from city, there are no hotels or resorts for stay. Ideally this is one day trek, if anyone plans for night stay then there are hotels available on the distance of 10km from Irshalwadi village. You can request locals for stay in their houses where they may charge some minimal amount. One can also plan to camp with own camping gears including tents.

Things to Know Before You Visit Irshalgad Fort

  • There are no food stalls on route so better to carry your own food and extra water bottle.
  • Carry proper shoes that can give grip on muddy and rocky trail
  • Do not climb final pinnacle without roping equipment’s and unless you are technically expert in rock climbing.
  • One has to be careful while trekking in monsoon.
  • Do not litter the area and do not drink on fort.  

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