The Prabalgad trek near Mumbai takes you to the historic fort that sits at an altitude of 2,300 feet, overlooking the vast Western Ghats’ valleys and mountains. On this trek, you get to explore the ancient ruins of the fort and you’ll spend a night in alpine tents on the Prabalmachi Plateau, in the shadow of Prabalgad and the Kalavantin Pinnacle.
The Prabalgad fort trek route begins in Thakurwadi, then goes to the Prabalmachi Plateau where you spend the night. In the morning you head to the Prabalgad fort. The trail runs through the lush forest of the Western Ghats and you get to enjoy the jungle sounds along with many bubbling streams along the way.
Once at the top, you are treated to a breathtaking view of the Western Ghats that includes the Kalavantin Pinnacle standing close to the fort, along with various other forts. On the west, you can see the Peb and Chanderi forts, Karnala fort can be seen to the north, and the Manikgad fort stands tall towards the south. With the forts, you also get to see the Ulhas River cutting across the green landscape, and the Mumbai-Pune expressway winding through the hills.
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The Prabalgad Fort is located at an altitude of 2,300 feet on the Prabalmachi Plateau, between Matheran and Panvel. The fort is a part of the Western Ghats of Maharashtra and can be spotted from the Mumbai-Pune expressway. Historically, the fort was known as Muranjan but once it came under the Maratha Rule, it was renamed as Prabalgad. Its sister fort is Irshalgad, and next to it stands the steep Kalavantin Pinnacle. From the fort, you can even see the winding, eighty-degree stairs of Kalavantin.
Prabalmachi is one of the best campsites for fireflies treks in Maharashtra, so you can even go during the onset of monsoon for camping and trekking here. At night, you’ll get to witness the gorgeous fireflies buzzing all around you, and in the morning, you can trek to the Prabalgad fort.
Best time to go
The Prabalgad fort trek can be done throughout the year, but the best time is to go during the monsoon season. During this season, the landscape of the Sahyadris transforms into a lush paradise with flourishing forests, colourful wildflowers, and the many milky waterfalls running down the green hills that stand in contrast to the dark skies.
The winter season is another great time to go for the trek. During these months, the wind is cool and breezy and the forests are veiled in mist. The forests are still green and the views are clear with the blue skies, making this the perfect season for those who don’t want to get soaked in the rain.
Read our blog on why monsoon is the best time for trekking in Maharashtra.
How to get there
For the Prabalgad trek, the meet-up point is the Panvel Railway Station. If you are coming from Mumbai, then you can catch a local from CST to reach here, or you can use local transport like bus or taxi. For travellers from Pune, you can catch a train or bus to reach Panvel. Once at Panvel, you’ll meet the trek leader who will take you to Thakurwadi, the base village of the trek, by local transport. Do make sure you arrive on time otherwise you will miss the trek.
For the Prabalgad trek, you need to pay special attention to the packing list to ensure a safe and comfortable trekking experience. To begin with, you need to wear comfortable clothes that are non-restrictive, i.e. a quick-try t-shirt paired with trek pants. Avoid wearing anything that is restrictive like denim jeans, saree, etc. If you are going during the monsoon season, then you should also wear a raincoat/poncho, and if you are going during winters, then wear a hoodie/light jacket.
Then comes what you’ll wear on your feet during the trek. This is one of the most important gears that you should not skimp on, so do wear good quality trekking shoes that provide ample support and good grip. Make sure they are well broken-in. Avoid wearing open-toed footwear like sandals/slippers and sports shoes.
Then comes what you will carry during the trek. So for that, first, you need a good sturdy bag that is comfortable on your back. You’ll carry all your essentials in this bag like sanitizer, tissue paper, spare cash, etc. Remember to carry some dry snacks and a bottle of water for the trek too. And you should also carry sunglasses, a sun-cap and apply sunscreen to protect your skin from the harsh sun. Lastly, carry a personal first aid kit with personal medicines, bandaids, etc.
When you’re booking the trek, remember to read the inclusions/exclusion section of the trip to know what is included in the package, and follow the packing list given by the operator upon booking thoroughly.
Know more about the packing list for trekking in the Sahyadris. Click here.
Prabalgad Fort trek summary
- State: Maharashtra
- Nearest city: Mumbai
- Total days: 1-2 days
- Grade: Moderate
- Max altitude: 2,300 feet
- Total trekking distance:12 km
- Season: Monsoon and winter
- Avg temperature: 15 to 30 degrees Celsius