Winter season is pretty much the perfect time to head out and climb the majestic Sahyadri mountains of Maharashtra. The weather is pleasant and cool, and not too cold as to make things too difficult. Humidity is at a low and the trekking trails are dry to make the journey that much easier. And the rocky mountains, craggy terrain and ancient forts of the Sahyadris offer plenty of thrills and beautiful vistas. Here, then, is a look at the ten highest mountain peaks that dot the Sahyadri range in the state. ALSO READ: Best night treks near Mumbai and Pune to escape the routine Also Read - COVID-19: Mumbai's Vacant Properties Will be Used as Quarantine Centres, Says BMC in Fresh Circular
Kalsubai Peak, Photograph Courtesy: Ankur P/Creative Commons
The highest peak of Maharashtra and the Sahyadri mountains is Kalsubai, a part of the Kalsubai Harishchandragad sanctuary. The peak lies at an altitude of 1,646 meters or 5,400 feet. The trek up to the top starts from Bari village, and there are a few ladders and steel railings to climb. In total it is around three hours of a medium and at-times steep climb, followed by a two-hour descent. Also Read - BMC Circular, Directing That Bodies of COVID-19 Patients Only be Cremated, Withdrawn
2. Salher Fort
Salher Fort, Photograph Courtesy: Bhushan Kotakar/Wikimedia Commons
Next up is Salher in Nasik, which rises up to 5,141 feet or around 1,590 meters, with a fort of the same name at the top. Salher Fort is also the highest fort in the state, offering a commanding and majestic view of the Baglan mountains in Nasik. Most trekkers plan a two-day trek that includes a camp at the fort and morning visit to the twin fort of Salota nearby, via a connecting ridge. The trek up starts from Salher Wadi or Waghembe villages, which can be accessed from Satana. The route is moderate and it takes three hours to reach the top from Salher Wadi. Also Read - Bodies of COVID-19 Patients Should be Cremated Irrespective of Religion: BMC
Dhodap fort, Photograph Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Another peak in Nasik district, Dhodap lies 1,472 meters above sea level and the fort at its peak is the second-highest. There are caves around the fort ruins that can be used as camping sites, and ropes and other safety gear are recommended for this difficult trek. Ropes might be needed to cross some of the rocky patches along the train. Hatti and Vadala are the two base villages for the fort, with Hatti being the recommended route. It takes around three hours to make the trek. CHECK OUT: 5 Things You Absolutely Must Do in India during Winter
Harishchandragad, Photograph courtesy: Nagraj Salian/Creative Commons
Next up is Taramati, one of the two peaks on Harishchandragad, the second feature in the Kalsubai Harishchandragad sanctuary. The second peak is, of course, Harishchandragad, and many trekkers combine a trek to both peaks for two to three days. There are several routes to Taramati, which lies at an altitude of 1,431 meters, and from the top you get to see an incredible panoramic view of the Sahyadris. There is also the Harishchandragad fort, Kedareshwar cave, the Konkan Kada and Harishchandragad temple.
Zunzar Machi at Torna Fort, Photograph Courtesy: Sopan Patil/Wikimedia Commons
Torna and the namesake fort at its peak have a special place in the history of the state. The fort was the first of many to be captured by Chhatrapati Shivaji, the first ruler of the Maratha Empire. Located at an elevation of 1,403 meters or 4,603 feet, the fort is the highest in Pune district and a popular haunt for trekkers from the city. Velhe is its base village, and you can also go on a two-day trek to the fort via Rajgad, crossing the mountain ridge that connects the two forts. This is a tough trek, especially so during the monsoon seasons when the trail becomes slippery.
Purandar Fort, Photograph Courtesy: Abhijeet Safai/Wikimedia Commons
Coming in at number six is Purandar, also crowned by a fort at a height of 1,387 meters or 4,472 feet. There is a twin fort named Vajragad as well, and the peak is a popular spot to go paragliding. Located near Narayanpur town, Purandar fort has a structure that stands out from the hundreds of other forts in Maharashtra. The trek starts from Narayanpur, and it takes around three hours to reach the top. This trek is ranked medium in terms of difficulty, and there is a road you can take to reach midway to the fort. NOW READ: Winter Treks in India: 5 Things to Remember for Beginners
Mangi-Tungi, Photograph Courtesy: Deepan Choudhary/Wikimedia Commons
The twin peaks of Mangi-Tungi rank seventh, lying at an altitude of 4,343 and 4,366 feet, or roughly 1,330 meters. It is a sacred site in Jainism and is called a ‘siddha kshetra’ or gateway to enlightenment. There is a 108-feet statue of Ahimsa here, the tallest Jain sculpture in the world. The twin peaks lie in Baglan, around 150 km from Nasik. The forts of Kanchanpur and Mulher also lie nearby, as do the Dongaria Deo caves.