Mumbai is filled with greenery in the monsoon season. The skies are covered with clouds and their is rain to welcome you wherever you go. Trekkers or hikers eagerly wait for this season. This season is very good for trekking. The mountains are surrounded by clouds and once you reach on the top of the mountain, you feel like you are standing on the clouds. This is really a great feeling. I along with other around 30 trekkers of Trek Mates India group, decided to trek the Harihar fort this weekend, as this is surrounded by lots of greenery and difficulty level is also considered as from medium to difficult. We left from Dadar, Mumbai by bus at around 11.30 pm and reached the base village (Nirgud Pada) at around 4 am. As it was dark outside, so we decided to spend some time in the bus only. At 6 am we got out to have some tea and breakfast. We carried the breakfast with us and tea was arranged with the help of villagers. We started our trek at 7 am and it took us around 3 hours to reach the top of the Harihar fort.
Harihar Fort :
Harihar fort is a hill fort and is also known as Harshgad or Harishgad or Harihargad. This fort lies in range called Upper Vaitarana range. It lies near Trimbak in the Nashik district of Maharashtra in India. Vaitarna is the main river in this region. It lies at a height of 1120 mt or 3676 ft above the sea level. This fort lies on a traingular rock with all the three sides vertical and is approachable only from one side i.e. through a 200 ft high rock cut staircase. The most fascinating aspect about this trek is the rock cut steps at an 80 degree vertical angle that one has to negotiate to enter the fort. Though it’s a vertical ladder, the steps are provided with groves for proper grip while ascending. Ascending and descending through this patch is a thrilling experience.
After climbing up this first set of stairs we took some rest at the entrance of the fort also called the Darwaja as it was the only place which provided some shelter. Also on the left side is the breathtaking view of the valley. It was really a amazing view. There is a very narrow path after this which you have to cover very carefully. After this starts the second set of stairs. Though some people said that second set of stairs is more difficult than the first one but i didn’t agreed with them. There were more than 100 steps of stairs in all.
After entering the fort we reached on a plateau which holds a small lake beside which there is is a small temple . There are several water tanks on the way to this temple which offers potable water. On the highest point on the fort, a pole has been mounted for flag hosting. After walking to the end of the plateau, you can also see a beautifull mountain behind which lies the Trimbhkeshwar Mandir. From here you can see the Ganga Dwar of the Trimbhkeshwar temple. The plateau is also surrounded by some beautifull flowers in the monsoon season. But be carefull as there can be also snakes and scorpios in the shrubs. After spending some time on the plateau, we decided to climb down as we want to get down the mountain before the sun sets. At around 5 pm we reached to our bus parked in the village and started our journey back to Mumbai. Overall it was a good trekking place and is a must visit for every trekker, especially in the end of the monsoon season. This trek is not for the first timers and those who have fear of height. From Mumbai it takes around 4-5 hours to reach the base village. So, it is recommended to leave in the night and start the trek in the early morning.
How to reach Harihar Fort :
Via Igatpuri – Trimbakeshwar – Khodala :
Ahead of Nirgudpada lies the village of Kasurli. One can alight here by boarding the bus of Igatpuri – Trimbakeshwar – Khodala.
Via Kasara or Nasik :
One can reach Igatpuri via Kasara or Nasik. From Igatpuri board in a bus for Trimbakeshwar and alight at Nirgudpada, the base village of Harihar.
As a nature lover, i request all trekkers not to leave any plastic bottle or any other non biodegradable things on the fort or on the mountains. Lets keep our mountains clean and beautiful… 🙂