Last weekend of July, monsoon at its peak and we planned up to scale the mount Gambhirgad. The rare and pigmy fort of Gambhirgad stands tall on the border of the state Maharashtra and Union territory of Dadra – Nagar Haveli. Nearest station is Dahanu road (WR) which is about 50 odd kilometers far.
The journey started from Mumbai in the Gujarat express train which dropped us to Dahanu road on exact time i.e 7.45 am. Now it was raining which did not stopped till we returned back in evening. We had breakfast outside the station and headed towards S.T stand which is in west side. We got a bus going towards Thane via Charoti naka. We took this bus and had a ride of 45 mins. It’s about 24 km from Dahanu to Charoti naka. Ahead of Charoti naka is Kasegaon (2-3 km) where we left the bus. From Kasegaon we had to reach Saywan (Saiwan/Saiwun whatever you spell it). Saywan is a quite popular junction on this route. We took another S.T bus from Charoti to Saywan which is about 14 km. It was now 10 am and we still had not reached the base. Many locals told us that we won’t be able to do this trek in this season, it will be very difficult and possibly we won’t even find the correct route, also villagers won’t come along with us to show the route. Whole of this region which we had been through while travelling seemed to be over flood due to heavy rains. A lot of negative things were being bumped on us but we were determined enough and we headed towards the base village that is Rampur – Aslonpada. From Saywan we got a nice rickshaw wala who took us to the base. He asked few youngsters whom we met on the road that if they can guide us for the trek, but no one was ready. Anyway, we reached the base. The base is not an actual village, that rickshaw wala dropped us on an exact location from where the trek starts. This sport is a bit ahead from Rampur – Aslonpada village. Also there is a trek route from the base village which merges up the route we had taken.
At 10.45 am we started our trek and it was still raining. The route first climbs up steadily and then we can see a steep ridge connecting to a plateau ahead. There are two huts at very start of this route, one is within 5 mins, another is after 10-15 mins and both are on left side. These huts can be used to verify the route. Then we climbed up the ridge which is steep and reached the plateau. From here we could see many waterfalls. If you come from Rampur – Aslonpada village, the route will merge up here on the plateau.
Now we have to turn left towards Gambhirgad and there are two paths now. One climbs up a hillock while other goes from left side of hillock which looks very easy. But we took the one which climbed up hillock steeply. Only take this route if you are a hardcore trekker and if you can climb up 70 degree slopes with few or no grips to hold. Yes, that was not the right route but we anyway were unaware of it till now. We reached a spot where we had to climb up a very steep slope to reach a plateau up. Crossing this stretch wasted a lot of time as it was too steep, slippery and we had to make our own way. We then headed ahead on the plateau and got the first glimpse of Gambhirgad which was only visible for less than a minute due to heavy fog. We thought this is the correct route and went on ahead till we reached a dead end. This was spot from where the hardcore trekking had to be done. A wrong step and you go down into the valley. 70 degree slope with slippery rocks and few grass and karvy shrubs to hold. We now knew that we were on the wrong route. We were discussing about what to do and suddenly there was a nice wind flow which blew away the fog above us and we saw the ruined fortification of Gambhirgad above us on the slope where we were currently struggling to climb up. We could see the walls and two bastions of Gambhirgad. Now the situation was very serious and we had to be very careful with each move we took. I won’t be able to express what we had been through, whatever it was we did it safely and successfully. It took us around 1.30 hour to cover around 120 feet. The last move was the most difficult, we had to traverse the two bastions and then climb up where the soil was most loose and very slant slope with no grips at all. And after reaching top we could figure out that this was also a route. Yes it’s a route which is rarely used but not in monsoon of course. Don’t try this route if you are not sure about it because if you are stuck in middle of a slope you won’t be able to go even up and won’t be able to even come back down on such slippery slopes. It’s not impossible but rather it’s too risky and dangerous. Gambhirgad has to be taken seriously as its name also means Serious (Gambhir).
Finally we were on the top of fort and now we headed towards left side. There are group of rocks standing tall like sharp pinnacles, we could not click any pictures of these due to fog and rain. There were two diversions now, one to the left and one to the right of those rocks. The right goes to a small temple built inside the rocks which has some red colored clothe. And the left goes to a cave formed under one of the rock pinnacle. We had some food near the cave. The actual route is also near the cave. The route going downwards from the cave is the actual route for Gambhirgad. It’s the same route which we did not take from the first plateau, the left one from the plateau. You have to take this left route while climbing up.
Then we started descending and in no time we were down on the plateau and found that we took a so wrong turn. If we had took the correct path that was on the left side, we would have saved more than 4 hours. Now it was 5.30 pm and we had to still travel a lot more to reach Dahanu station. We were all sitting between the road and soon a rickshaw came going towards Saywan. There were three kids and one adult already sitting inside the rickshaw and we six adults also got in. The total number of passengers inside the rick was now 11. No wonder only 3 passengers are allowed in Mumbai. After reaching Saywan we headed towards Kasegaon in a jeep. In jeep we had our lunch or dinner whatever you say. After reaching Kasegaon we headed towards Charoti naka junction on NH8. From Charoti another tumtum rickshaw to Dahanu station and finally reached Dahanu station at 7.10 pm. Took tickets for Mumbai and we waited for the 7.45 Dahanu – Virar shuttle. The train arrived on time and luckily it was all empty. We all got relaxed inside the train and we were still in the thriller mood of Gambhirgad.
We reached Virar at 9 pm and took local train to reach our homes. This trek was the scariest trek for all of us but it was equally enjoyed. Anyway, please don’t try the route which we took if you are a normal trekker. Only try it if you are a hardcore freaking trekker and can climb up rock patches nicely. The normal route is a simple one and can be climbed up by any first timer too. There is nothing much to explore on the fort as such.
Click here to see the pictures of Gambhirgad trek.