Monday, December 28, 2009

5 to 6-Dec-2009 Kalawantin Durg (Bastion)

Kalawantin Durg (Bastion) is a small pinnacle adjoining the fort of Prabalgad.

Location and how to get there
This place is very accessible from both Mumbai and Pune. On Mumbai Pune expressway, take Shendung exit. This is nearly 30 kms from Khopoli towards Mumbai. From Shendung, take a left turn towards Thakurwadi. It takes nearly half an hour to reach the base from the expressway. There are state transport buses plying right upto Thakurwadi from Khopoli or Panvel. However, this place is very much accessible and hence it makes more sense to take a private transport.

From Trips - Kalawantin Durg Dec 09 Kalawantin and Prabalgad - It is impossible to accommodate in one frame

Kalawantin Durg is not a fort. It is a pinnacle right next to Prabalgad, almost equal in height. This pinnacle is very steep. It would have been very difficult to climb but for the steps carved out of the rock. This place is not a watch tower. Prabalgad itself blocks a large portion of the view. And Prabalgad is slightly higher than this pinnacle. This could have posed a challenge for Prabalgad's safety. It is just that since it exists so close to Prabalgad, it had to be fortified so that it does not fall to the enemy.

From Trips - Kalawantin Durg Dec 09 Entrance of Kalawantin Prabalgad

This pinnacle has rock cut steps in the base. And scree on the upper portion. The last 15-20 feet is a steep rock face. It is better to climb this patch with some rope and expert supervision. The steps are also not very easy. In some places they are steep, narrow and turn sharply.

The top does not contain any construction. But there must be provision for the guards to stay on the fort for some duration.

9:45 PM Started from Pune
We started from Pune at 9:45 PM by a private vehicle. We were at the base of the fort by 11:30 PM. It was pitch dark as there was fog all around. Visibility was limited. Had it been a clear sky, moonlight or starlight would have made the night trek pleasant.

After rearranging the sacks and taking out the torches, we started the trek. We had no clue about where we were heading in the dark.

The base is about 85 meters from the sea level.

After trekking for nearly two and half hours, we reached the machi of the fort. This is nearly 500 meters from the sea level. All through, it was hot and humid even during the winter. We slept on the ground in the open air. That was refreshing.

6:00 AM Wakeup
Before the daybreak, we got up. After our daily chores, we went inside Thakurwadi. This village is untouched by any commercialization. Here, we had our breakfast. The leader distributed packets for lunch. We filled water from one well. There is no water source till the top. Due to hot and humid conditions, one could be thirsty very soon.

From Trips - Kalawantin Durg Dec 09 Village hut

8:00 AM Started the ascent
We set out of the village leaving our sacks behind in one of the houses. Soon we started on the slopes with a lot of scree and small bushes. Some of these bushes are thorny and hence of no use during climbing. We reached the col in another half an hour. This place is 635 meters from the sea level.

From Trips - Kalawantin Durg Dec 09 Prabal maachi from Col

The rock cut steps start immediately after the col. All of us rested in the col for some time. The entire team was arranged in a line and we started the further ascent. It must have taken a lot of effort to cut these steps. In places, the steps are narrow and steep. There are no holds.

After the steps, there is another patch with scree. It is difficult to get a foothold. We navigated this patch with the help of one another. Finally we reached a small plain ground. Now only a 15 foot rock patch separates us from the summit. For the experienced climbers, there is no need for ropes. But inexperienced climbers should use ropes under expert supervision.

Finally we reached the summit. This place is 700 meters from the sea level. There is no construction on the top. Due to fog, the visibility was low. Karnala fort and the bird sanctuary are nearby. But due to fog, we could not spot them. Prabalgad dominates a large section of the view.

From Trips - Kalawantin Durg Dec 09 Prabalgad from Kalawantin

From Trips - Kalawantin Durg Dec 09 Prabalgad from Kalawantin

12:30 PM started the descent
After spending some time and exhausting the water we carried, we started the descent. As always, the descent is more tricky than the ascent. A small mistake can make you fall down till the col. We carefully reached the col. Our leaders drilled some bolts so that people can use ropes to climb the pinnacle even during the rains.

From Trips - Kalawantin Durg Dec 09 A view of Prabal Maachi

By now we were very thirsty. We took a slightly different path to the village. This was covered with trees. Hence it was better. But the scree was very tricky. We almost sat and slid for the most part.

As soon we we reached the village we straight way went to the well. Drank a lot of water. And then sat for lunch.

After having lunch, we rested for some time. By 4:00 PM, we started our descent from machi to the base. We reached the base just after the sunset. By 8:30 PM, we were back in Pune.

This could have been made a two day outing including the Prabalgad fort. Very near yet very far.

1 comment:

  1. very nice !
    trek kalawantin virtually ;)
    thnx to youtube :)