Introduction to the Irshalgad fort trek
Scrolling through my CRED app, I happen to come across an exclusive trek passes to Irshalgad fort. After thoroughly going through the details on the Cred app, I quickly redeemed 2 passes for me and my husband. Probably you guys are thinking what is CRED app, it is an app where you pay your credit card bill and the amount you pay gets converted to Cred Coins which can further be redeemed for different passes, tickets, vouchers etc. I could redeem 2 passes at 80,000 Cred Coins.
The organising company of the trek were wandering souls- with whom I have done many treks and other activities. You can check out my – (Link; Monsoon Trek to Garbett)
- When: December 2019
- Where: Irshalgad Fort
- Type: Night Trek
- Height: 3700 feet above sea level
- Range: Matheran
- Total Distance: 11 km
- Duration: 5-6 Hours
- Nearest railway station: Karjat (Central Railway)
- Base Village: Irshalwadi
- Route: Karjat railway station- Cab till Nanivali- Irshalwadi Base Village- Irshalgad Nedhe (Pinnacle Base) & back via the same route.
The story behind Irshalgad Fort
Irshalgad Fort is located at 3700 ft above sea level in the Matheran range which people say was used as a watchtower between Manekgad and Prabalgad.
The surface area of the fort is not big but you will find scarce water tanks cuts from the rock while trekking. The top view gives access to forts like Prabalgad, Matheran range, Chanderi, Malanggad, Karnala and Manikgad.
Irshalgad Fort Trek difficulty level: Easy to Moderate
It a moderate level trek especially during the winter season. But it is advised to be extra caution in monsoon as the path gets mushy and strong wind scourges the summit region. Do not attempt to climb the pinnacle without a trained guide and proper tools. The top summit which is called as Nedhe gets difficult to climb because of the rocks and steep slopes. Make sure you climb the Nedhe the base of Irshalgad with a properly qualified guide.
To reach the final summit that is a 10 m high climb to the peak requires technical rock climbing and shouldn’t be endeavoured by beginners.
What is the best time to visit Irshalgad Fort?
Many people recommend visiting the fort during the month of March-June as it is dry but I would recommend all the beginners to trey the trek during the winters when the weather is cold and pleasant. And for all the advanced trekkers’ monsoons is the right time to carry out the trek.
During summer the weather gets very humid and hot which makes trekking difficult whereas during monsoons and winter the weather is pleasant and clod which makes you less tiresome.
During monsoon, the path gets mushy and difficult but it also gives you the best picturesque view around the pinnacle.
If you plan a trek through a service provider which should be an ideal case if you doing it for the first time, the cost would vary from 650-1500 INR per person which would include- Karjat to Karjat Private Transport, Expertise and Guide charges, and Breakfast.
You can carry your snacks and 2 liters of water in your backpack, as you will not find any shops once you reach the base of the trek. Make sure to carry sturdy shoes and wear comfortable track pants with minimal weight in your backpack.
Apart from the trekking fees, you will only need to spend money on the trains tickets or local transport which every you opt for. The cost of 40 Rs. is for a return ticket from Thane to Karjat which might vary depending on your destination.
There are not many expenses that you can incur during the trek unless you plan to do it differently.
How to Reach Irshalgad fort?
The easy and quickest way to reach the base village is by train- you can book a ticket till Karjat – Central Railway Line, followed by a share cab or local bus basis the availability. (For Travellers from Mumbai)
Another option is to drive yourself to the Nanivali Village and park your bike/car at the base and start your trek.
Or you can also opt for S.T bus transport from your destination, there are buses available from Panvel bus stop, you will have to check for other S.T bus stops originating near your area. By road, the distance to the Irshalgad starting point is 80 km and from Navi Mumbai is 45 km. If you from Pune you can either take a train and get down at Chowk Railway Station or drive a distance of 116 km.
How Was My Experience?
The trek was pretty easy and quick, it didn’t take much time to ascend the base village we reached Irshalwadi village within an hour where we took a long break and sipped on some lemonade.
After some good rest, we started our trek to the second base of the Irshalgad Fort. Reaching the start point of Irshalgad Nedhe, which took us not more than 40mins from the Irshalwadi village, we took another break and lied down for some stargazing. The wind was very cold and chilly, make sure to carry a sweater if you plan the trek in winters.
For the first time in my life, I saw a falling star it was an amazing sight to look at. People say that if you ask for a wish while seeing the falling star it comes true, do you believe in the story? Well, I didn’t let go of the opportunity to wish for. I wished I had the camera on at that moment.
Our guide had instructed us to rest until the sunrise so that we could see the route while climbing the steep rocky mountain to the pinnacle base. It was not a difficult trail but would suggest to climb up only if you confident enough or you have guided equipment. Beginners would find it difficult to cross this path, as it involves rock climbing.
Once you reach the base pinnacle which is called as Nedhe, you would be amazed to see a panoramic view of spectacular mountains, lake, dam and clear sky. The best moment to capture is the sunrise when the golden rays fall on the lake and the sky changing its colour from magenta to blue and the birds chirping in your ears is a sight to look for.
After spending an hour at the fort we started to descend to Irshalwadi village, where our guide had arranged for some breakfast and tea. As there are not many options available at the base village the breakfast is usually limited to poha, sheera with tea. You can always carry some lite snacks with some protein bars if you wish to.
The descending got little tiresome as the sun was high up in the sky and the heat was pounding on our head. We managed to reach the base in an hour and waited for our cab to arrive and take us back to Karjat station. The entire trek journey started at 3:45 am and ended at around 10:30 am.