Kalsubai mountain or Kalsubai Shikhar, is the highest mountain in Maharashtra. There is temple of Kalsubai Goddess at the highest point of this mountain. According to villagers, a woman named Kalsubai lived at the base village was forced to leave the village, so she climbed this mountain and started living there. Later she died there giving the mountain its name.
Kalsubai Trek is famous for obvious reasons, highest summit in Maharashtra. This trek is also very popular because is very simple to trek, so can be done by anyone. Also, let’s agree, we feel accomplished when we have completed trekking the highest mountain of Maharashtra.
Kalsubai is 5400 feet high, which is approximately 1646 meters. It is located in Kalsubai-Harishchandragad wildlife sanctuary. Best time to visit this mountain would be in winter because the mountain does not have many trees and unless you are a freak like me who did this trek in the month of May, do not attempt this trek in Summer.
Kalsubai also famous because it is close to Bhandardhara dam. Lot of trekkers camp at Bhandardhara and trek Kalsubai early morning to catch the sunrise. Also the mountain offers mesmerizing view of Bhandardhara and many other surrounding mountains from the top.
Why should I trek Kalsubai just to see a small temple?
This question surely can pop up in anyone’s mind reading the information I just gave you earlier. But get this; the small temple of Kalsubai is of big significance to the villagers living in the base villages of Kalsubai mountain. A traditional prayer is held every Tuesday and Thursday by local priest at the temple. Not just this, on Navratri occasions, many villagers set up stalls on the top with pooja materials to sell. Yeah they get so many visitors. During the Navratri period, the idol of the goddess is completely decorated and special poojas and offerings are carried out.
How to reach Kalsubai?
Bari is the base village and start point of Kalsubai trek. Kalsubai is located on the border of Igatpuri Taluka of Nashik district. There are in total three points around the village from where you can start this trek.
Reaching Kalsubai from Pune:
Kalsubai is 180km from Pune and for trekkers starting from Pune, it is highly recommended to reach Bari via road transportation. The nearest railway station to Bari village is Kasara or Nashik Road railway station. Both these routes are very inappropriate and time consuming for trekkers starting from Pune.
By bus, you can both go to Sangamner or Alephata and catch bus to Bari. It takes approximately 6 hours to reach Bari depending on the availability of bus.
Reaching Kalsubai from Mumbai:
From Mumbai, it is advisable to reach Bari by train. Of course, there is no station at Bari, but like I said earlier, you can reach Kasara station and catch local taxi to reach Bari.
By bus, your route will be Mumbai – Kasara – Igatpuri – Ghoti – Bari.
What was I thinking?
Ok, so trekking the highest mountain of Maharashtra or Everest of Maharashtra, as it called, is intriguing. I also was one of those, who were eagerly waiting to complete this trek. Finally, I decided to conquer Kalsubai in worst possible period of the year i.e. 1st May. Yeah, that time of the year when the heat is the worst.
But, when it is time - it is time. I was going to trek Kalsubai with a fine group of trekkers from Mountain Quest. I was the only trekker starting from Nashik and the quest was going to join me from Pune.
The trek was supposed to be started early in the morning in order to catch that beautiful sunrise. So I started from Nashik in the night and the plan was to halt in Bari village. We had arranged for food in a hotel owned by Avsarkar.
The drive from Nashik to Bari was so terrifying and as a bonus, I was along this time. Unlike that time while I had a group reaching Harishchandragad, I was alone. The road passed by ghat and I could not find single human on the way. Due to range issues, Avsarkar’s phone was not connecting. I was in such a deep trouble.
I could not even tell the village’s name I was in while travelling. Suddenly I remembered, Avsarkar had given me landmark to identify when I was in Bari. And luckily, I found that landmark and from there his hotel was nearby.
The night spent under the stars:
With great courage I knocked on the door of the hotel and a man came out. I asked his name and I was so relieved when he replied Avsarkar.
But, the relief was ended in a very short time when I realized I had to spend the night outside, alone sleeping under the stars. Although it was May, I was literally freezing during the night. But whenever I woke up in the middle of the night, the view of the stars above me just made me fall asleep again.
Start of the trek:
Finally, the group arrived Bari at five in the morning. But, to gather everyone and start the trek, it was already six. As it was summer, the sun light was already falling on the mountain and just like that our plan to watch that sunrise was flopped.
The trek started by passing through the village and the trail started from other end of the village. Initial trail is through woods and then there is Open Mountain.
In an hour, we reached a small shop where we took our first halt. It was only seven and the sun was already up on us. Everyone was sweating badly and I had already gulped down half liter water. We were all strictly warned and asked to keep candy chocolate so our mouths do not run dry. It is extremely important to keep yourself hydrated, so keep lot of water with you.
The trail of Kalsubai is very well marked and the chance of getting lost is negligible. The trail contains foot paths, steps and ladders. The steps are provided with strong railings to hold on to making it easy to climb those steps.
Climbing the famous ladders:
When you reach the carved steps and later the first ladder, you have covered one third of the trek. After completing the second ladder, you will come across a plain land from where you can find a fine view of a terrain filled with mountains, trees and water.
After completing three ladders, two third of the trek is complete. Then only one final ladder is remaining which is found in the last stage of the trek.
Trekking Kalsubai can be very tiring. I had never been so tired in all my treks I have ever been. I was carrying four liters of water with me for the entire trek and it was gone before reaching the top. And I still needed water while descending.
After third ladder, there is a decent walk on plateau. We were so tired and but the mountain was just not ending. It was like I was climbing multiple layers of a cake which had no end.
After walking for two hours, we reached a small camp like place which had a well of water. The water was so chilled; I finished a full bottle of water and refilled all of my bottles. I was confident it will be enough till I reach back to base village.
Going further from the well, we were so exhausted, my legs were not lifting. I was literally dragging myself to the top. But with shear willpower I climbed and reached the final ladder.
Conquering the Kalsubai Mountain:
I never felt the gravitational force so powerful. I finally climbed fourth ladder to reach the top. On top, there was the temple of Goddess Kalsubai. When I looked back, the villagers climbed the mountain as if it were nothing. With no appropriate gear or equipments, a woman in a traditional sari and holding a child, wearing flat sandals climbed the mountain like walking in a park.
We worshipped the goddess and just sat in front of the temple in flowing wind. There was a dedicated Pandit in the temple to daily pooja and rituals. We explored the highest point of the peak from every corner and I could see Bhandardhara, Harishchandragad and many more mountains.
It took us three hours to reach the top of Kalsubai and we were drained completely. We had snacks on the top and rested for thirty minutes before starting to descend.
The best thing that happened on that day:
We reached back to Bari village in two and a half hours and Avsarkar was ready with delicious food. We had to wait for everyone to reach back to hotel before starting our lunch. Finally, after everyone returned exhausted, we had a great team lunch together. It was literally the best thing that happened to me all day!
After lunch, some members just dozed off on the spot to have a power nap. That is how much this trek takes out of you. Later, we had a wonderful team conversation where everyone spoke few words about their experiences on the trek.
Finally, at four in the evening, we bid our adieu to Avsarkar and Kalsubai and separated our ways towards our home. Kalsubai trek is still the most tiring trek I have been up to now.
Kalsubai trek is the highest mountain in Maharashtra and so it is called Everest of Maharashtra. It is located in Sahyadri range and in Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary. It is 1646 meter high and it takes about three to four hours to reach top. Lot of trekkers visits this place to fulfill their wish of conquering highest summit in Maharashtra.
The trek is very tiring and dehydrating so carry lots of snacks and water along with you. Some places of interests nearby are Bhandardhara dam located about six kilometers away. Arthur Lake, the clear and placid lake is bounded by thick canopies of forest of Sahyadri hills. Umbrella falls are formed as water from Arthur Lake is released downstream.
So what are your views about Kalsubai?