Top 5 Winter Treks in Maharashtra
In Maharashtra, majority prefer to trek in Monsoon, it is without doubt the best season to trek however winter is quite under-rated. In monsoon you may get to see waterfalls and greenery all around but in Winter you get clear views, amazing sunset and sunrise and get to stay at some amazing campsites which are not accessible in Monsoon. There are hundreds of Forts in Maharashtra so it may differ from person to person but here are our Top 5 picks for Winter Treks.
This is by far the best Trek in Maharashtra, the reason being, the different routes to reach Harishchandragad caters to almost all kinds of trekkers. There are nearly 6-7 routes to reach Harishchandragad. Paachnai route is ideal for beginners and is very short one, Khireshwar Route can be tried by beginners but it is a longer route compared to Paachnai so one may need good stamina and Nalichi Vaat is a difficult level trek, Junnar Darwaja, Sadhale Ghat, Taramti Naal and Makad Naal are among other moderate-difficult level routes. So no matter which grade trek you want, Harishchandragad offers it all.
Apart from that this Fort is so scenic, you must have heard about Sunset and Camping at Kokankada which is without doubt the best place to witness sunset from Maharashtra but the 360 view from Taramati and if you can wake up early, Sunrise from Taramati peak is amazing too. Ancient Kedareshwar Temple, Shivling, Caves and Pushkarni are a good value additions. This trek is a must visit from all 3 routes, winter season is ideal for all 3 routes.
2. Alang-Madan-Kulang (AMK)
This is considered as one of the most difficult treks in Maharashtra, there are few rappelling patches, there are few risky traverse and long distances to cover on both days of this trek, it is a complete package for the adventure enthusiast. All the hard work pays off when you reach the top of each of this fort, the view from the top is breathtaking. Water tanks at Alang, Sunset from Madan and View of all the surrounding peaks like Kalsubai and Ratangad. Also there are no campsites as such on this trek, one will have to stay and cook in the caves on these forts, which is an amazing experience in itself.
3. Sandhan Valley
This is one of it's kind trek not only in Maharashtra but probably in India. The naturally formed 200 feet deep valley is a gem. This trek starts from Samrad village which is amazing in itself and then after 15 mins walk you enter a valley which feels like a different world altogether. There are few 3-4 feet water patches, multiple rappelling patches and a small yet beautiful campsite at the end with a small pond to dip your feet after the long descend. This is a descend only trek, it will take nearly 7-8 hours for you to cross the valley but it won't be that tiring as it is a descend and then a walk of 2 hours across river bed to reach the end point of the trek is scenic too.
This trek near Satara is situated in the beautiful Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary. One has to take an hour long scenic boat ride to reach the start point of this trek, then you enter a dense forest and from top you get some amazing views. Since it is not directly connected by road, it is still away from the human interference. You will have the feeling of oneness with nature wandering in the dense forest of Vasota. If you are fast enough then you can also cover Nageshwar caves with the same trek. After trek you get to camp besides the Koyna Backwaters. Lakeside Camping after this trek is an amazing experience with one of the clearest sky you will see in Maharashtra and Star Gazing will be a treat.
Gorakhgad can be a good one if you are interested in a Night Trek. One can entirely do this trek at night navigating the dense forest and the final thrilling patch consisting of rock cut steps can be done in morning. Caves are ideal to stay at night and also this is an amazing place for star gazing. Apart from that one can witness Sunrise from Top and get view of Siddhagad and Ahupe Ghat Range from Top.
So these are Top 5 picks from our end, and one might say there are many other treks which are better and we do not disagree, but in this list we tried to cover treks which are unique in their own way. Harishchadragad is best for camping, AMK is for the Seasoned trekkers, Sandhan Valley is unique because of it's natural form, Vasota for the amazing boat ride and rawness and Gorakhgad for the Night Trek and the thrill at top.
Other Top Winter Trek Recommendation :
2. Salher-Mulher Range Trek
Happy Trekking !