Sunday, February 19, 2017

Trek to Prabalmachi and Kalavanti

We went for one last trek of the season on the 26th Jan holiday (got kids to skip school on 27th so that we could do a two day trip at a relatively less crowded time). The trip was to the village Prabalmachi, close to Panvel. The trek to Prabalmachi (Prabal-plateau) is an easy one and only about an hour long from the starting point. But the heat and the low tree cover along the path made it somewhat difficult. There are two possible treks from Prabalmachi - one to Prabalgadh (the fort) and another to Kalavanti (the watch tower). Prabalgadh trek is easier but longer while the Kalavanti trek is known to be difficult but not very long. So we chose to go up to Kalavanti in the late afternoon after having our lunch in Prabalmachi and resting (napping, playing cards etc.). The Kalavanti trek was very nice and the last part of the trek is steep with a stairway chiseled in rock see this image from the net. The kids did really well and enjoyed this part the most even though it was quite scary. They also got a lot of encouragement from other trekkers for being the youngest kids on the trail that evening. We skipped the last 20m on top though which needed some bouldering skills that none of us have. We came back to Prabalmachi by sunset (took us about 3 hours to go up and back from Prabalmachi) and enjoyed a quiet sunset looking into the valley. We rented two tents from the village to stay in at night. Had a nice hot dinner and lit up a campfire. We spoke at length with Nilesh bhau who hosted us in the village. He told us about the history of their tribal village and how it is transforming with the changing times. In the morning, he took us for a short walk on the plateau and showed some interesting things like their water holes, their rabbit hunting trap and not to forget the "Salman Khan weekend bunglow viewing point"!
Our original plan was to trek up to the Prabalgadh fort in the morning but we decided to skip it because of the heat and decided to trek back down instead. We certainly plan to return to Prabalmachi (perhaps with some friends) in the monsoons next year to go up to Prabalgadh.

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