The pleasant weather around the Sahyadris was tempting us to climb another fort and this time we ventured into the less explored small and unusual fort of Mruggad also known as Bheliv chya killa. Situated between the sheer drops of Deccan plateaus and Kokan plains the fort has a brilliant moderate level trekking opportunity.
We started off from Dadar station at 8 am on Saturday 6th august 2011 in a local train for Khopoli. Due to less frequency of direct Khopoli trains, this local was too much crowded but we all got seats. The train remained crowded until Karjat station. Train reached Khopoli station by 10.15 am and we headed towards the S.T stand which is 5-10 mins walk from station towards the old Pune highway. We then took a bus going towards Pali scheduled at 10.30 am so as to reach our first destination that was Jambulpada. An hour’s ride on the Khopoli – Pali road costs Rs. 22 per head. We reached Jambulpada at 11 am and then we were supposed to head towards the base village – Bheliv which is around 9 km from Jambulpada. We were waiting for a tumtum rickshaw and after 10 mins we finally got a tumtum (6 seat rickshaw) which was already loaded with 13 people. We somehow managed to get inside and now the total count was 17, 3 times more than the actual capacity. It took another 30 mins to reach Bheliv village.
At 11.45 am we were at the base of Mruggad and now we headed towards the actual village which was 20 mins walk. Weather was cool and pleasant, it was not raining but it was not even hot. There is a nice river flowing by the village road where we did some photo session. Mruggad was semi covered with fog and had a brilliant background of high peaks behind it. The peaks behind are those of Deccan plateau. We could spot many huge waterfalls coming down from those peaks. We then enquired a village school boy for the route of Mruggad and he told us the route nicely. The route goes behind from the village school. When we reached the school, we asked the same boy to come along us to show us the way and he happily agreed to us.
We started our trek at 1 pm and were still doing lot of timepass on the way and enjoyed to the fullest. Our guide, Shubash was a 9th class school boy and a very decent, smart and matured boy. He guided us nicely through the jungles and interacted with us. The route is quite messy and many paths merge at some points, one can get lost easily. It’s recommended to take a local from the base village.
Mruggad is a peculiar mountain which as three major sections. The actual fort is on the middle section and can be accessed from the narrow gulley between the middle and right sections. This gulley is a steep climb with enough hand grips. There are few patches where one needs to take enough care. Also just before this gulley starts, there is a cave entrance engraved on the right section. It can be easily spotted while going towards the gulley. The actual cave comes after crawling into the narrow passage and taking some left and right turns inside – sad our guide, Shubash. We climbed up the gulley safely and reached the spot from where the rock cut steps start.
Those steps are exposed and slippery, take enough care while climbing in the monsoons. There are a lot of hand holds on the mountain’s wall so there is no much issue to climb this patch. These steps are destroyed at some portions where more care has to be taken. After climbing up these steps, we reached the fort’s top where a ruined fort wall (Buruj in Marathi) still stands well.
The top of the fort was covered with tall grass. There is a small holy place which has a Shivlinga, Hanumaan and some more stone idols. Going ahead, there is water tank and a destroyed Fort entrance with a Darwaja. This would be the actual entrance of the fort and possibly destroyed by the Mughals. Now it is in a very bad shape and is filled with rocks. We went more ahead and there were few more water tanks and a nice plain rocky area where we had our lunch along with Shubash. The view from here was fantabulous, we clicked a lot of photos from here and when we wanted to click our group photo, it started pouring heavily and the cameras went inside the bags. We finished our lunch and started the departure. The pouring hardly lasted for 5 mins.
Descending was quicker than ascending and also we were tempted by the river at the base village. We wanted to have more fun in the river so we all descended down quickly and reached back to base by 4.30 pm. When we were about to reach the village school, Subhash deliberately ran away quickly…he was knowing that we were going to pay him money, he did not wanted to take money from us as we treated him like our team member. He was damn matured. We then went to his home and asked where have he gone, and then his friends called him from somewhere. We then gave him money and thanked him.
We left the village and headed towards the spot where tumtum left us in the morning. On the way, we had dips in the river and clicked many pictures. It was now 5.30 pm and when we reached the spot for tumtum, we learned from locals that now we won’t get any tumtum on this route. So we hired a village tumtum for 200 rs who was a very kind person, he dropped us till Parli (Pardi, Purli) and tried his best so that we could get the 6 pm bus for Khopoli, but we got a bit late and we could not get that bus. So he took us to a spot from where we could get tumtum for Khopoli. When we reached the spot, there was only one last tumtum going towards Khopoli, he told that tumtum wala to adjust us four in his tumtum, and that tumtum wala happily agreed. We again were 15 people inside the tumtum. At 6.45 we reached Khopoli. We then headed towards the station in a small rickshaw and reached at 7 pm. Shocked to know that the next train is at 8.15 pm. Anyway, we went outside the station and had a nice meal at a very decent hotel near to the station – Radha Krishna (Pure veg). We had our meals and then went back to the station.
Finally the train for Karjat arrived on station and we got in. It was whole empty and remained empty till Karjat. Reached Karjat and took the connecting train for CST at 9.00, it was a fast train which helped us to get back to our home a bit early. We were at Dadar station at 10.45 and reached home by 11.30 pm.
Due to lack of transportation in these areas, be sure you finish your trek as soon as possible. But also make sure you enjoy itJ. Mruggad can be done via Khopoli as well as from Lonavala side – Lion’s point. There is a route which descends down in the Bheliv village from around Lions point on the Deccan plateaus of Lonavala. Mruggad AKA Bheliv chya Killla is a medium level trek with no technical stuff. But be careful at some patches where they are exposed to valley and have a direct drop of 600+ feet.
Click here to see pictures of Mruggad trek.