Prabalgad- A break from the monotony of Mumbai

Weeks of documents, excel sheets and presentations and the crowdy-pacy life of Mumbai were a perfect ingredient to the monotony settling in when four of us friends decided for a small break. Meanwhile, there were more items piling up on our office desks. So, we had to make it back by Monday. That’s what made way for a small weekend trek to the not-so-far peak of Prabalgad.

Prabalgad lies on the Prabal plateau between Matheran and Panvel and can be seen from the Mumbai-Pune Expressway. The Ulahas River runs to the east of the fort. The Gadhi River, and the Chanderi and Peb forts are to the west. To the south is the Patalganga river and Manikgad and to the north is the Karnala fort.

This trek was organized by Small Steps, a body started by group of young mountaineers from Mumbai. The trek lead was Sagar Pawar who is one of the co-founders of Small Steps. We were charged 850 bucks per person which included dinner, camping and breakfast. We were 40 people and 3 guides (Sagar, Ravi and Prashant).

The whole group was instructed to gather at Panvel Station at 4 15 PM. All of us were taken in a bus to the starting point of our trek. After a round of introductions and mingling, we were all set to start the first phase of our trek i.e. to the base camp at around 6 15 pm. There weren’t many challenges in this part of our trek and we completed it in about 2 hours. Our base camp was a huge open space with a hotel at an end.  Small Steps had tied up with this hotel for our dinner and breakfast. I wouldn’t shy away from saying we were exhausted and what could have been better than some cold water and hot supper.

I was trekking for the first time and was pretty excited about staying in a tent. We were demonstrated, how to put up a tent, and I assure you can’t find a better learner than me. After putting up our tents, it was time to leave the world behind and be ready to bask in the serenity around.

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A full-moon, dark clouds covering half of the sky, Panvel in the backdrop, Mumbai in the horizon, on the lap of Western Ghats and being pampered by the cool breeze bringing in tiny droplets of rain, I couldn’t have asked for anything better at that moment of time. And it was then that I realized its 12 30 in the night and we have to wake up early for the later part of our climb.

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Of course you are not in the comfort of your bed, but I managed to scrape through the night to be up and shining at 5 AM. 6 AM and we were already marching. This was the difficult phase of our trek. Steep ridges, through dried up waterfalls and thick woods, we made it to the top in less than 3 hours.

Tall trees made our way to an open ground where you can have a 360 degree view of the many mountains, the human settlements around, vast uncultivated lands, and the Arabian sea in the backdrop.  Click, click, click. Hundreds of pics weren’t enough to capture the breathtaking views from the place. Soon, we started descending. By 10 30 AM we were again at our base location. Had our breakfast, relaxed our calves and were rolling again by 12 noon. Struck 2 PM, we touched our starting point and were presented with a downpour. Though the rains were pre-monsoon, we certainly got a taste of Western Ghats in the monsoon. Drenched and sticky, we reached Panvel station around 3 PM in the only desire of a shower and vada pao. Though we got good vada paos at the Panvel station, it was not until we reached our room and took an ever-longing shower, were totally relaxed.

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Content – Prateek Dash
Photos – Vivek Kumar

PS: If you want to camp at the same location, get in touch with Namdev K. Bhutambara (09209461474) or –

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