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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Kothaligad Fort Trek | Top Things to Know Before You Go

Kothaligad Fort Trek
Kothaligad Fort is also known as Peth Fort

Kothaligad Fort Trek | Top Things to Know Before You Go

Kothaligad Fort which is also named Peth Fort is a small fort situated in the Karjat Taluka of Maharashtra, India. Since it is a small fort, the height of the Kothaligad Fort is 3100 feet. It is called Peth Fort because it is located right behind the Peth village. Kothaligad Fort gives you an entire view of the Sahyadri mountain range. There is not much history about the fort. It was captured by the British earlier than by Marathas and then again by the British. It was used as a watchtower to keep an eye on enemies. Kothaligad Fort Trek is a well-known activity for many youngsters. 

How to Reach Kothaligad Fort in Karjat?

Kothaligad Fort is one such fort that has access in all ways. It can be reached by Air, Train, and by Road.

By Air

Mumbai International Airport is the nearest airport to reach the Kothaligad Fort. Once you land at the airport then take a private Taxi or car to reach the base of the fort Ambivali village or can also option the local ST or Train to reach the Karjat.

By Train

Karjat is the nearest railhead to reach the Kothaligad Fort. Karjat is well connected to Mumbai, Pune, and other cities of Maharashtra. Once you get down at Karjat railway station then take a direct cab or can also head to the bus stand to catch the bus going towards Ambivali village. Once you reach the Ambivali village then walk towards Peth village which is the base village of the fort.

By Road

Kothaligad Fort is 90 km from Mumbai and 130 km from Pune. Karjat is one of the major cities of Maharashtra so it is well connected by road. Once you reach Ambivali village the right uphill will take you to Peth village. It is better to take your own vehicle to reach the base village. If you want to travel by local ST then the frequency is very less.

My Experince of Kothaligad Fort Trek

One fine day I along with my wife decide to leave for Kothaligad Fort in Karjat. Since I had been to this fort earlier, I was aware of the rough road that I was going to face ahead of trekking. I had visited here earlier in summer time but, I wanted to explore it during the monsoon, and it is said that Sahyadri is heaven in the monsoon. We started early morning and left for the village of Peth. The road you need to follow is Karjat-Ambivali and then to Peth village. The road that goes Ambivali to Peth village is very rough and risky to drive. I was scared for some time to drive on that road but, somehow I managed and reached the base village, Peth. This is where I parked my bike and started following a human trail.

Kothaligad Fort Trek
This curvy road is very rough and risky to drive

The trail starts right behind the Peth village. The initial one-hour trek is quite ascending. The rocky patch and muddy trail make this trek more enchanting. As we started moving towards our destination the climate was a little humid with sun rays passing through the clouds. The luck was not in our favor as we were waiting for the rain to arrive while climbing but, it did not arrive. The ascending route that goes via rocks was a little hard to climb and you must have a good endurance level to trek I had seen some of the first-timers coming for the Kothaligad Fort trek and saying 'this is my first and last time of trek'. I could feel his pain since I had also suffered when I did my first trek of life. After a hard trek of a good one hour, we reached the base where I started feeling my heart bits. Yes, after the hardest climb I pause for a minute looking at the fort, I could feel my heart biting so fast and this is what the trek is about, isn't it? 

Kothaligad Fort Trek
Peth village, the trail starts right behind this village

Kothaligad Fort Trek
A route to Peth fort starts through the forest area

Kothaligad Fort Trek
A rock cut stairs are connectivity to the forest trail

Kothaligad Fort Trek
A first glimpse of the Kothaligad fort along with the shacks

Two cannons are kept at the entrance of the fort. The same road continues to one of the notable caves that have Lord Bhairavnath temple in it. The caves look glorious because it has been carved in stone. It is too large and can easily accommodate 100 people. Few trekkers come and stay in these caves.
Trek doesn’t end here; the summit of the fort was yet to come. Besides the caves, some stairs are carved in stone, and the same stairs go to the summit of the Peth fort. The stairs carved in the stone look spectacular; as I rightly mentioned, this is the peculiarity of this fort. If you see Kalavantin Fort then it has the same rock-cut stairs but, it is carved outside of the fort and this is one of those forts where rock-cut stairs are made inside the caves and it goes to the summit of the fort. It was a bit risky to climb but, somehow we managed to climb and reach the summit point of the fort.

Kothaligad Fort Trek
Temple of Lord Bhairavnath along with the caves

Kothaligad Fort Trek
These stairs are carved inside the fort area to reach the summit point

Kothaligad Fort Trek
The view of the stairs of Kothaligad fort

When we reached the summit, I must say god listen to our prayers and it started raining like clouds burst. I could easily see the bunch of clouds filled with rain slowly moving towards us and giving me goosebumps. It was one of the moments to capture on camera but, some moments cannot be captured, they can only feel. I couldn't stop myself from clicking the picture of that magnificent view. As I started clicking pictures, the rain started and it was heavy rain with dense fog. I could hardly see anything from that fog. The summit of the Kothaligad Fort (Peth fort) gives you breathe taking view of the surrounding mountains. The view of the clouds was like heaven on earth. The water stream making its own way through the mountain was amazing to view. I will not suggest the Kothaligad Fort trek for first-timers but, yes, you must visit this once in a lifetime.
After a long break on the summit, we made our way back to the base village. It hardly took us 40 min to descend the trek. While returning the same road was worrying me. It was raining now and that muddy patch had become slippery by the time. Somehow I managed my drive and reached the base village Ambivali. I must say it was one of the memorable treks especially that driving on a muddy trail. If you are good enough to drive on rough roads then only take your bike. 

Kothaligad Fort Trek
Sahyadri Mountain range looks like heaven in monsoon time

Kothaligad Fort Trek
The picturesque beauty of the monsoon arrival in Sahyadri

The Ideal Time to Visit Peth Fort

It is said that Sahyadri is heaven in monsoon. Yes, Sahyadri gives you a view that you would never imagine. The monsoon time is the best that gives you the view of cloud play, wind chills, and shimmering waterfalls. You would find so many trekkers trekking in monsoon time.

Winter gives you a pleasant climate for camping and staying on the fort. Since the fort has large caves in it, many trekkers do stay in those caves. The mountain offers greenery to attract your eyes. The winter is the ideal time to visit the Peth fort.

You will hardly find any trekkers trekking in the summertime. Sunny day in Maharashtra is horrible for trekking. Many trekkers prefer to trek at night or early in the morning before the climate becomes too hot. If you want to trek here in summer, I would suggest you trek in the night and stay in the caves.

Stay and Food options at Kothaligad (Peth Fort)

Since this is located in a local village, there are no hotels or resorts to stay in. If you want to stay in hotels then there are few hotels in the Karjat district. As I rightly mentioned there are large caves on the summit of the fort. The caves can accommodate a large group.

If you are in the group you can request the locals to arrange for a stay. Below is the contact of locals if you want to stay at the fort.  

For food, there are a few shacks on the route to the fort that provides water bottles, snacks, and Maggy If you want to eat proper lunch then locals will help you to fulfill your wish. The locals' homemade food is so awesome and delicious. There are many restaurants on the route, you can have veg or non-veg food as per your choice.

Kothaligad Fort Trek
A local's shack that provides the food and stays arrangement for trekkers

Things to Remember Before You Go

  • If you are driving there by car then you must park it at Ambivali village because the route is rough and can harm your car
  • If you are a skilled biker then only take your bike to the Peth village
  • The washroom is available at the base of the fort near Peth village
  • The local ST frequency is every 3 hours between 8am to 5 pm, so plan your trek accordingly
  • It is always better to start your trek early in the morning
  • Carry some energy bar, and chocolate to keep yourself energetic throughout the trek. 
  • Do not litter the area around.

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