Tag Archives: Trekking

Dharamshala – McLeodganj

 

You are looking at the Dharamshala Cricket Stadium, one of the highest cricket arenas in the world. Situated amidst the Dhauladhar mountain range in Kangra Valley, it has hosted many national and international matches. Dharamshala also acts as the residence of the Dalai Lama, is home to many monasteries and the nearby Mcleodganj is well known for numerous treks like the Triund Trek.

Also, closer is the best paragliding point in India, Bir Billing. So trek, para-glide, camp or just enjoy the lush greenery, snow clad mountains and beautiful cafés here. You can also combine these places with a trip to Amritsar & Dalhousie.

Best time to visit here is from September to June. Connect with us for a customized itinerary.

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Dharamsala – McLeodganj – Bir Billing

Dharamsala-McLeodganj-Bir-Billing Trip (6 Days / 5 Nights)

Triund | Paragliding | Camping | H.H. Dalai Lama Temple | Dhauladhar Mountains

Day 1

Arrive in Delhi by afternoon. Proceed to McLeodganj by overnight bus.

Day 2

Explore the following places:

Bhagsu Waterfalls – Located at 2km away.

Dal Lake – A small lake located about 3 km from Mc Leodganj

Tsuglagkhang Dalai Lama Temple – Main temple complex of Dalai Lama

Pic Courtesy: McLeod Ganj

Naddi Village – See the wider view of the Dhauladhar range and beautiful sunset

Day 3

Explore the following places:

Triund Trek – Triund is at the foot of Dhauladhar ranges and is at a height of 2828m. Distance of 9kms from McLeodganj.

Pic courtesy: Triund website

Dharamkot – Views of the Kangra Valley and Dhauladhar ranges on the way to Triund hill.

St. John Church in the Wilderness – An Anglican church constructed in 1852 located in the forest.

Day 4

Check out from McLeodganj hotel. Take bus to Bir. (1.5 hours).  Camping at Bir-Billing. Enjoy a hike to nearby picturesque Bari village. Bonfire & dinner at camp site.

Day 5

Experience paragliding session for approx. 15 – 30 minutes from Billing with an experienced pilot.

Explore Barot valley near Bir, famous for scenic beauty and natural landscape. Barot is known for trout fish farming.

Take overnight bus to Delhi from Bir.

Day 6

Return flight to Mumbai.

Cost from Mumbai: ₹ 25,000 per person

Inclusions

  • Return economy airfare (subject to price fluctuations)
  • Stay with breakfast
  • Bus from Delhi-McLeodganj
  • Bus from Bir-Delhi
  • Paragliding & Camping in Billing
  • Dinner & Breakfast at camp site in Bir / Billing

Exclusions

  • Local transport to / from hotel
  • Lunch / Dinner
  • Any other entry fee
  • Any other taxes, charges outside this itinerary

Our Services

  • End-to-end support till your trip is completed
  • Resolve all your queries in regard to the trip
  • Recommend places to eat, local cafes, places to shop etc.
  • Off-beat locations to visit / things to do

To book this trip, connect with us on +91 98333 74563

Spiti Valley

 Spiti Valley – Himachal Pradesh (9 Days / 8 Nights)

Introduction

Spiti Valley is a cold desert mountain located high in the Himalaya mountains in Himachal Pradesh. Located at 200 kms from Manali.

This is a backpacking budget trip. I’ll be your trip leader to guide and give information about all the places which we will visit.

Highlights

Chandrataal Lake Camping | Gue Mummy | Homestay in remote location | Photographer’s Paradise | Visit beautiful Monasteries | Explore Spitian Culture

Itinerary

Day 1:

Arrive in Chandigarh by Flight / Train. Take overnight bus from Chandigarh to Reckong Peo.

Day 2:

Arrive early morning at Reckong Peo and proceed to Tabo after breakfast.

Day 3:

Explore Tabo village & visit Gue mummy village.

Day 4:

Visit Dhangkar Monastery & hike to Dhangkar Lake. Proceed to Kaza.

Day 5:

Visit Kaza Monastery, Ki & Kibber, Tashigang village

Day 6:

Day trip to Hikkim, Komic & Langza

Day 7:

Drive to Chandrataal Lake via Losar & Kunzum La Pass (4590m). Camping at lakeside.

Day 8:

Drive from Chandrataal to Manali. Take night bus to Chandigarh.

Day 9:

Depart from Chandigarh

Inclusions:

  • Hotel / Homestay with Breakfast
  • Bus from Chandigarh to Reckong Peo to Tabo
  • Bus from Manali to Chandigarh
  • Taxi to visit places within Spiti & Chandrataal
  • Entry fees, if any

Exclusions:

  • Airfare to & from Chandigarh
  • Lunch / Dinner
  • Any other expenses outside the itinerary like tips, laundry etc

Tour Start Date:

11-August-2018 (Saturday)

Tour End Date:

19-August-2018 (Sunday)

Tour Cost:

₹ 23,000 per person on twin / triple sharing basis.

Limited travelers only.

Payment Method:

Upfront Booking Fee – ₹ 10,000

Balance within 30 days – ₹ 13,000

To book this trip, connect on Whatsapp – +91 98333 74563

Tell me more about you to get a customized itinerary.

Glimpse of Spiti

Kunzum La Pass

Losar Village

View of Spiti river

Langza Village

Bhutan – Last Shangri La – 7 days trip

Mumbai-Bagdogra-Phuentsholing-Thimphu-Punakha-Paro-Siliguri-Mumbai

Day 1: Mumbai-Bagdogra-Phuentsholing

Our flight was from Mumbai-Kolkata-Bagdogra and we arrived at 6 PM. Lot of taxis are available for Phuentsholing (India-Bhutan Border). We bargained a bit and hired an Innova for Rs. 3200. The route was full of truck traffic and it took 5 hours to cover a distance of around 180 kms. We stopped at Pankhawala Dhaba (Maynaguri junction) for dinner. It was typical dhaba food and we hogged on Tawa rotis, Bhindi Pyaz, Dal butter fry, Kadi Pakoda, Papad and Bhurji. This is the best place to eat on this route. Sometimes it is good to trust the driver for places to eat.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) 1/4 by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) 2/4 by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) 3/4 by Prahlad Raj

We reached Jaigaon (Indian town border) for an overnight stay at Hotel Satyam. This hotel is located at a stone’s throw from Bhutan Border Gate and is a decent budget place for Rs. 900 a night with an in-house restaurant. You need to pre-book during peak tourist season.

Day 2: Phuentsholing-Thimphu

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) 4/4 by Prahlad Raj
Bhutan Border Gate

Bhutan Permit:

Getting a Bhutan permit is quite easy provided you have all the relevant documents. The immigration office is just a couple of minutes walk from the Bhutan entry gate and opens at 9 AM. You need the following documents:

1. Entry Permit form – Fill in the basic details

2. Passport / Voter ID (Mandatory) photocopy

3. 1 Photo

4. Itinerary of your trip

5. Hotel Booking confirmation (For Thimphu / Paro)

6. In case of no Passport / Voter ID, you need to carry original PAN / Aadhar / Driving License (Atleast 2 IDs are compulsory). Visit the Indian Embassy & submit the documents and pay a Army Welfare fund fee of Rs. 135 and get your documents verified by an official.

Process for Bhutan Permit:

Get all the documents in order and submit the same at the counter outside. Solo travelers face an issue generally in getting permit. Once the documents are verified by the 1st counter officer, you need to hang around for your name to be called.

Once they call your name, get to the 1st floor office where the immigration officer will take fingerprint scan & photo. He may ask basic details like is this your first visit etc. Then, he will direct you to another counter to submit the form. After a while, they’ll call out your name for collecting the permit.

The entire process was completed within 1.5 hours with zero charges. The permit is applicable only for visit to Thimphu / Paro and valid for 7 days. You need to get it extended / get another permit for restricted areas like Punakha / Haa Valley at Thimphu Immigration office.

Tips: Get your documents ready beforehand and submit by 9AM so that you can complete the formalities and proceed to Thimphu or Paro on time.

Indian currency of is accepted all over Bhutan. Bhutanese currency (Ngultrum) has equal value to Indian Rupee. 1 INR = 1 NGULTRUM. Carry more of Rs. 100 notes as some places do not accept Rs.500 and Rs. 2000 currency. We carried Rs. 10k per person and was enough for the trip.

Vehicle for Trip:

You can get a taxi from the taxi stand for your entire tour. It is advisable to have your own vehicle for the entire trip as public transport is scarce and local cabs may turn out to be expensive. We hired a Bolero car for 7 days at a cost of Rs. 2,900 per day. You need to bargain and get the best rate possible. A small car like Wagon R will charge at least Rs. 2,300 – 2,500 per day.

We started off for Thimphu at around 1 PM. Thimphu is 170 kms and road passes through mountain terrain. It takes 5 – 6 hours to reach your destination. We stopped at a place called Chukha for evening snacks (Momos, Chowmein, Tea).

We reached Thimphu at 7 PM and made our reservations at Hotel Ghasel (Booking.com) for a two night stay. It is a budget hotel located opposite clock tower which is near the main shopping area. The hotel was decent for Rs. 1,500 a night. The owner Dorji is pretty helpful. It has a vegetarian restaurant which serves good Indian food. You need to order your food and wait for at least half hour before it is served. This is the norm all over Bhutan as they start preparing from scratch.

Day 3: Thimphu Sightseeing

First thing we did was to submit a copy of our permits and fill a permit entry form for visiting Punakha & Haa Valley at the Immigration office. This is a very quick and easy process. Take photocopy of the permits (stamped at various checkposts) and submit. You’ll get your permit within an hour. You can also collect the same by evening.

Places to visit in Thimphu

1. National Heritage Museum: This is a good place to learn about Bhutanese heritage. You can see the display of tools used, taste Ara (Rice wine), etc. Entry Fee: Rs. 50

2. Art & Crafts School: Here you can witness live painting by students of this art school. An interesting place located opposite the heritage museum. Entry Fee: Rs. 100

 

Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Thimphu, Bhutan by Prahlad Raj

3. Takin Reserve: Takin is the national animal of Bhutan. It is neither a goat nor a cow. This animal is found only in Bhutan. A nice place to visit. Entry Fee Rs. 100

Photo of Motithang Takin Preserve, Motithang, Bhutan by Prahlad Raj

4. Big Buddha Statue: This is a must visit place with a huge Buddha statue. It is filled with 125000 smaller statues of Buddha. The place is located over-looking the city of Thimphu and is still under construction. Entry Fee: Nil

Photo of Buddha Dordenma, Thimphu, Bhutan by Prahlad Raj

5. National Memorial Chorten: A place of prayer for the locals. Entry Fee: Rs. 300 (Can be skipped or take photos from outside)

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

6. Postal Museum: This museum is located at the base of the head post office. It showcases the postal history of Bhutan and one can even get a photo printed on a stamp roll. Entry Fee: Rs. 100

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

7. Changlimithang Stadium: This is located right next to the clock tower. You can witness a game of Archery (National Sport).

8. Changangka Lakhang: Monastery where the new borns are blessed.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

Places to Eat:

1. Ambient Cafe: A very nice & cozy place for breakfast. Has a good variety of food like waffles, bread toast with omelette, coffee etc.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

2. Bhutan Kitchen: A Bhutanese food restaurant which serves a buffet on your table. Rs. 450 per person and you get to taste 9 dishes.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

3. Hotel Ghasel: Indian food was quite good here.

Day 4: Dochu La Pass – Punakha

We left Thimphu at 10 AM after breakfast and the first stop was at Dochu La Pass. This place is around 26 kms from Thimphu and there 108 small chortens and a Buddhist temple at the top. Good place for photography.

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

Chimi Lakhang is a monastery located just before Punakha. It is a short hike from the main road. The monastery is located on a small hill where it is believed the saint had killed a demon and buried it.

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

Punakha dzong is the highlight of the town of Punakha. It is the winter residence and houses the government offices. One needs to cross a wooden bridge to reach the dzong. Entry Fee of Rs. 300 for Indian nationals.

Photo of Punakha Dzong, Bhutan by Prahlad Raj

We stayed at Damchen resort located at Khuruthang town which is 5 kms from Punakha. This resort was located right at the edge of the river. We had a pleasant time sitting in the garden and enjoying the flow of the river in the evening. The food is quite expensive but it was tasty.

Photo of Damchen Resort, Bhutan by Prahlad Raj

You can enjoy a drink of a Bhutanese Wine or Whiskey here. The room cost Rs. 2,000 a night.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

Tip on Hotel Booking: Not all hotels may be listed in travel websites. This hotel was booked by e-mail enquiry. One can get a good deal by direct e-mail booking. There are only few hotels available in Punakha so it is advisable to book in advance.

Day 5: Punakha – Paro

We had one more place to visit in Punakha before heading to Paro for the day. Khasum Yulley Namgyal Chorten is 9 kms from Punakha Dzong. It is a short hike where one has to cross a hanging bridge and walk across the rice fields. One can have a word or two with the local farmers and learn about their life. It takes 30 – 45 minutes to reach the top. This is a must visit place for good views from the monastery and also a preparation for the Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) trek.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

Hotel Lingar in Khuruthang is a good place for lunch / dinner.

Paro is around 5 hour drive from Punakha. We had booked a homestay in Paro.

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

Namgay Homestay at Paro

This is one the most beautiful places to stay when in Paro. It has 4 rooms and can accommodate upto 8 people. The Bhutanese hosts are very friendly and takes very good care of their guests. We tried their home cooked Bhutanese food and had to say it was very tasty. They grow their own rice, vegetables, chilly in the backyard farms. They are open to communication with the guests and also eager to share information about their culture and customs. Would highly recommend staying here (Booked thru Airbnb).

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

 

Photo of Namgay Homestay, Paro, Bhutan by Prahlad Raj

You can also try Hot Stone Bath (Rs. 800 for staying guests) offered by them. They bring stones from the riverbed and heat them for 3 hours in the open wood fire. The stones release minerals which are good for removing body pain. This is one of a kind experience in Bhutan. One can stay in the hot water tub for any amount of time. Recommend to take this bath after the trek to Taktsang.

They were also kind enough to share some red rice and red chilly. We promised them to prepare Ema Datse (Chilly & Cheese) and send photos.

Day 6: Taktsang Trek (Tiger’s Nest)

 

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

This is a must visit place and should be on every Bhutan itinerary. If your tour operator does not have this on the itinerary, please ensure you get it included.

This monastery is located on a mountain cliff 3100 metres above sea level. The trek will take at least 2-4 hours depending on your physical fitness. The start of the trail is around 14 kms from Paro town. There is an entry fee of Rs. 500 to the monastery.

One has an option to take a horse upto a point (30% of the distance) for Rs. 600. You can also choose to do the entire trek by foot. The trail passes through the woods and you start to climb the altitude. One needs to take it very slow and have lot of confidence. Carry 1 bottle of water and some energy bars to have on the way. There are no shops on the way up except one cafeteria.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

We took around 1.5 hours to reach the place where the horse drops off people and there is a cafeteria available to have some refreshments. The charges are Rs. 500 for buffet / coffee etc. We took a short break and started to climb again. You can stop at every moment and enjoy the views and the beauty of nature, get different views of the monastery, take in a lot of fresh air.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

Another hour’s climb and you almost reach the best view of the monastery where the steps start. It is 600 steps down and 200 steps up. At the end of it you reach the monastery where you need to climb a few more steps to reach various temples within the monastery. You can hire a guide for free to learn about the history. This is the place where Guru Rinpoche arrived on the back of a tigress and meditated in the 8th century. Guru Rinpoche is known for spreading Buddhism in Bhutan.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

It is worth the effort at the end of the day. You also get to meet people from various countries, exchange a few hi / hellos, get pictures clicked. We met a group of monks and the head monk gave a very good advice on how to trek. He said “Meditate and focus on your breathe.” On the way back, one of us did a namaste to him and he gave a few flowers and asked to rub on the palm. He said “This is mountain perfume.” It was like a blessing for us.

We met an old couple (60+ old) who were all alone doing this trek with full enthusiasm and confidence. So this trek is all about your mental fitness rather than physical fitness.

There are souvenir shops at the start of the trail which is good place to buy few items like jewellery, fridge magnets, statues etc. You get a good bargain if you purchase during the closing hours (5pm). The same items are priced 5-6 times in places like Thimphu, Paro.

Day 7: Chele La Pass

Our plan was to visit Haa valley for the day. But the locals advised us that there is nothing much to see in Haa valley. So we decided to go only till Chele La pass. It is located at around 36 kms from Paro town. On the way, we stopped at Paro Airport view point to click some pictures of the run way and the airport.

At the top of the pass, the weather is quite windy and cold. We witnessed a Buddhist ritual by a local family from Haa valley. They were kind enough to offer some hot tea. It was quite an experience to get the blessings of a Lama and see their puja.

Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj
Photo of Bhutan - Last Shangri La ( 7 days ) by Prahlad Raj

We stayed for two nights at Riverside cottage which was quite close to Namgay homestay. This place is also available in Airbnb.

Day 8: Paro – Phuentsholing – Siliguri

We decided to travel the entire day and reach Siliguri instead of staying again at Jaigaon. We started off early at 7 AM from Paro and reached Phuentsholing by 1 PM. One can buy Bhutanese liquor from the shops in Phuentsholing. There is no checking as such from the security.

 

 

Must Do things when in Bhutan:

1. Try Bhutanese cuisine – Ema Datse, Kewa Datse, Shamu Datse

2. Bhutanese Rice Wine / K5 Whiskey / Druk Beer

3. See an archery game in Paro / Thimphu

4. Try their traditional costume

5. Talk to the locals (Applicable wherever you travel)

6. Hot Stone Bath in Paro

7. Homestay experience

8. Taktsang trek!

“To get an itinerary prepared for your trip, connect with me on Whatsapp @ +91 75066 44699.”

Tell me more about you to get a customized itinerary.

Matheran – Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle

Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 1/11 by Prahlad Raj

We had just come back from 17 Day long Leh roadtrip in the first week of July. It had started raining heavily in Thane a couple of days later. I did not want to miss out on trekking this monsoon season. Planned a one day trip to Matheran on 16th July 2017 with my wife and sister in-law. I always assumed Matheran to be too touristic and very crowded so this place never appeared in my travel bucket list. This place was suggested by sister in-law as she had already been there.

We started off from Thane at 7:30 AM and took the Badlapur route to reach Neral. The roads were ok till Neral. You can reach the top by vehicle but the roads are quite steep. You need to drive only in 1st gear. There are a few small waterfalls on the way where you can stop and take a dip. We reached at around 10:00 AM and the parking lot was full. At some places there was slush and mud where a couple of vehicles had got stuck. We were careful and found a place quite inside the parking lot.

There is an entry fee of Rs. 50 per person and Rs. 80 for vehicle parking. The hiking starts inside the jungle and there are many points to visit. We wanted to cover two points i.e Charlotte Lake and Garbet point. We were quite hungry so wanted to have breakfast. We started off towards the Bazaar area. It is around 2 kms from the main starting point. There are two ways to reach this place. One is the road route and other one can walk along the toy train route. We took the road route as there was not much slush.

Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 2/11 by Prahlad Raj
Aman Lodge Railway station – Trains don’t run
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 3/11 by Prahlad Raj
Misal Pav
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 4/11 by Prahlad Raj
Matheran Municipal School
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 5/11 by Prahlad Raj
Charlotte Lake

We had Vada Pav, Misal Pav and Sandwich for breakfast. There are several eating joints in this area but all of them serve more or less the same dishes. Then, we proceeded towards the Charlotte lake which was another 1 km.

We wanted to head next to Garbet point and there was one road on the left of Charlotte lake. We enquired with the locals and they asked us to take this route. There was hardly anyone around in this road. It started raining heavily and we were getting drenched. It was quite an experience as we were the only people. We kept walking and reached a main point where we had tea. We proceeded towards Garbet point but found later that this point is closed and is not accessible due to several water streams. We reached a place where One Tree Hill point was 3 kms away. We enjoyed the hike to this point as there were several water streams on the way and some were even flowing on the path.

Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 6/11 by Prahlad Raj
Near Charlotte Lake
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 7/11 by Prahlad Raj
Road next to Charlotte lake
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 8/11 by Prahlad Raj
On the way to One Tree Hill point
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 9/11 by Prahlad Raj
One tree hill view point
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 10/11 by Prahlad Raj
One Tree Hill
Photos of Matheran - Monsoon Hiking in the Jungle 11/11 by Prahlad Raj

One Tree Hill point is a must visit on your trip to Matheran. It is worth walking all the way to the point. We had very good views of the lake, one tree hill itself and waterfalls. We spent some time relaxing and then we started to walk back. We stopped at a small Bhajji joint and ordered one more round of vada pav and hot onion bhajji. Belvedere point was just 2 minutes away. So we ordered bhajji and went to see the point. This is another point with good views of the mountains and waterfalls. It was quite breezy so water was splashing on our face from the opposite direction.

The hike was quite tiring since the path was full of small rocks and water streams. In total we must have covered around 12-15 kms. Matheran is a must visit in peak monsoon season. One can enjoy the view of several waterfalls, take a dip in one of the waterfalls, hike around the jungle, eat hot snacks. One can hire a horse for touring inside Matheran.

 

“To get an itinerary prepared for your trip, connect with me on Whatsapp @ +91 95945 58457.”

Lohagad Monsoon Trek – A must do!

Lohagad is located near a small village called Malavli which is close to Lonavala. The distance from Thane is 110 kms. Lohagad fort trek is considered to be one of the easy treks. One can drive till the base of the fort from where it takes 20 minutes to reach the top.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 1/17 by Prahlad Raj
Vinchookada point
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 2/17 by Prahlad Raj
On the way to the fort

We parked the vehicle some 3 kms from the fort. At the main parking area, it is handled by one guy who demands Rs. 100 and one has to handover the key to him. We decided to park elsewhere and found a place outside a house. They charged Rs. 50 for the entire day. This chowk (area) was somewhere near the Bhaja Caves (Buddist caves). Started the hike after having breakfast of Misal Pav, Vada Pav and Tea. Our target was Lohagad fort so we skipped Bhaja caves which was to our left. The hike is from the road to the fort so a lot of vehicles was passing which was quite irritating as they were honking too much.

At some places, one can skip the road and take the shortcut through the mountain. This can be quite slippery due to water streams flowing and moving through thick bush. We took 2 hours to reach the base of the fort. There are many eating places near the base of the fort.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 3/17 by Prahlad Raj

There are three doors which one will encounter on the way to the top i.e Ganesh Darwaja, Narayan Darwaja and Hanuman Darwaja. Water was flowing in full force on the steps as it was peak monsoon and it was raining heavily. There were no views of the surrounding area as the fort was hugged by low hanging rain clouds. It was quite wonderful experience for us as this was the first monsoon season outing for us. At few places, the passage was narrow so we had to be very careful as there was rush and also the steps were irregular. We took our time to reach the top of the fort and made it successfully after an hour or so.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 4/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 5/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 6/17 by Prahlad Raj

We were awestruck at the fog covered fort, heavy rains and extremely breezy. We felt as if we were in heaven. Then, we moved towards the left of the fort on the edge. It was quite scary as there were no rails to catch on and it looked like a free fall. We came across a beautiful little pond which was in the middle of the fort. The strong wind and rain continued to pound our windcheaters. We moved towards the Vinchoo kada (point). Vinchoo means scorpion in Marathi. The mountain extended like a scorpion’s tail so the name.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 7/17 by Prahlad Raj
At Hanuman Darwaja (Entry point)
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 8/17 by Prahlad Raj
A tomb at the top
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 9/17 by Prahlad Raj
Place to park the Horses
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 10/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 11/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 12/17 by Prahlad Raj
Vinchoo kada
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 13/17 by Prahlad Raj
Cloud cover at Vinchoo kada

There was a Dargah and even a Shiv Mandir on the top of the fort. We spent sometime around the area. We ended the trek with hot filter coffee which we carried in the flask. Overall, this is a must visit place during the monsoon.

Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 14/17 by Prahlad Raj
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 15/17 by Prahlad Raj
Shiv mandir
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 16/17 by Prahlad Raj
View from the fort
Photos of Lohagad Monsoon Trek - A must do! 17/17 by Prahlad Raj
Way down
 

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