The land of the brave Maratha warriors, the land that scaled its zenith under the Maratha rulers. The Marathas were known for using guerrilla tactics in war to surprise their enemy and the hilly terrain of Sahyadri ranges played a perfect aide to them and hence one can find many hill forts in Maharashtra. Did you know there are around 300 hill forts in Maharashtra?
One of the them is a lesser known, strategically built fort overlooking the mighty Arabian Sea called Sagargadh. Very little is known about the origins of the fort or who built it but it has all the elements which makes the trekking experience last a lifetime.
Sagargadh is located just 6 km before Alibaug, a popular weekend getaway in proximity of Mumbai. Yet it is relatively unheard of as compared to other popular hill forts of Maharashtra. It falls on the road leading up to Alibaug. If one is travelling by road, the vehicle can be taken up to the base village Khandale. The trek starts here.
What follows is a journey that will make this trek a memorable one for years to come. Embark from Khandale village amidst lush green surroundings and chirping of insects, on a flat terrain with gradual inclination till you reach a small stream. A gentle dip of feet in these waters and you are all charged up for the ascent that lies ahead. We highly recommend dipping feet in this stream, so that you can enjoy a fish spa totally free of cost.
The ascent is relatively easier in the beginning with a proper staircase showing you the way. Around 20 mins of a hike on this route and you will reach the base of Dhondhane Falls. These falls are love at first sight. A double-layered fall with a massive drop in the middle of lush green makes these falls a visual treat. And the best part about them is you can actually go behind the falls, something you don’t find often in India.
The trail to the top has proper markings in blue, indicating the directions towards the fort. Passing through a village in between; you can flex your muscles a bit, splash fresh spring water on your face and gear up for the final stretch of the trek. Once you cross the village, it is more of a ridge – walking in a single file with a gorgeous valley on one of your sides and tall trees on your another. The final stretch is a bit tricky if you are a beginner. For an experienced trekker, it won’t make a difference. However, caution must be exercised.
You will be standing in front of a 4 m tall wall on the summit and there’s literal wall climbing to be done to move further. Trust us, it is an experience one must have in their life. The summit has a vast plateau and it is so green, we wish we could just replicate this all over our planet. On the top, the winds are strong, like very, very strong. But you feel awesome as you brave these winds to inch ahead and explore the plateau.
From one corner, you witness the dense forest valley and a punishment point known by the name of Varnatok Peak. From the other corner, if the skies are clear, you can sea the mighty Arabian Sea. The summit serves as a perfect vantage point, overlooking both the sea and the land.
The winds are so strong, if you are lucky, you can witness reverse waterfalls on the summit. Right next to these reverse falls, is a water tank that is fed by fresh spring water through a snout that is in the shape of a cow. That water was the best I have ever had after the spring water of Manali.
We stayed on the peak for a long time, taking in the beauty of nature around us. We kept on wondering, how a strategically built fort, overlooking land and sea, is lost in the magnanimous history of our country. However, with all the offerings which Sagargadh Trek provided, it easily qualifies as the most memorable trek of the monsoon.