Trek to Peb / Bikatgad - Matheran -- Mini Railway
"About Peb Fort - Matheran"
Fort Peb is situated on northeast side of Panvel, on Mumbai-Pune road, at a distance of 3-4 km on west side of Neral. To avoid crowd at hill stations like Matheran, nature lovers must visit the nearby fort Peb. This is the most beautiful one-day trek. But there is a dense forest on the way to the fort Peb. The fort is also named as ‘VikatGad’. Historical references clearly indicate that Shivaji Maharaj used the caves on the fort as silos for grain storage. Fascination spots are cave on the fort is occupied by disciples of Swami Samarth, a great saint. The beautiful waterfall on the way is the main attraction here. Surrounding scenery looks marvelous from the cave in the monsoon.
"Our Trek Journey...."
Fort Peb also known as VikatGad near Matheran. We hired a Tempo Traveler to reach the base village of Fanaswadi which is about 4Kms from Neral. We had hardly crossed the Pune and it started raining. It was all expected as it is monsoon season. Thereafter rain accompanied us thru the whole journey. At about 0730Hrs we had our tea at a dhaba ahead of khopoli. After tea we started our journey ahead. We reached the base village of Fanaswadi at 0900Hrs. After reaching there we all boarded at the local community hall. Here some of the team members prepared some delicious sandwiches. Local boy agreed to guide us through the way to Peb.
It was still raining but everybody knew that it was part of the game. So at 1000Hrs we started walking towards our destination. The very first hurdle was to cross a water stream about 20feets long and 3feets deep with a turbulent flow. Group crossed the stream forming a chain in Saathi Haath Badhana style. After crossing the river it was a walk along the hill road. After a walk of about 1Hr we noticed a very good waterfall. Everybody jumped into the water to enjoy the waterfall. Some of the members then climbed up the rock where the big waterfall was. On our way, we could sight absolutely beautiful peaks and valleys around, which were lush green. Members could hardly resist themselves from taking some snaps.
After refreshing themselves by playing in waterfall for about 45minutes team started its forward journey. Now it was real test of endurance ahead. The climb was quite steep. In the way there were two difficult rock patches to climb. But the team never gave up. There was not even the slightest of doubt that we can’t climb up such a big rock. Finally we all did it. We reached the top at 1315Hrs. It was hard to hide the smiles.
We all had a nice hot tea at the caves served to us by the disciples of swami samarth. After having tea we decided our further course of action. We had a change of plan after advice from the people on the top of fort. We decided to walk to Matheran’s point 132 and send our guide back from midway to get the bus at Matheran’s point 132.
The first step was to climb up the fort wall. Though there was a ladder to climb up but still that required lot of courage to execute the climb successfully. After climbing up the fort wall we went to shiv mandir on fort where all prayed for success of the expedition. Now it was time to climb down the fort wall from other side. This was the most difficult part of the whole trek we had to climb down a ladder about 60feets deep into the valley. There was no support else where and the way till ladder was also quite narrow. But the whole team passed the courage test put up by the nature. Everyone took very cautious steps to ladder and then climbed down the ladder very carefully. All in the team motivated each other. Everybody was sure that he/she is not alone and will successfully cross this hurdle. Finally it took about 30minutes for all of us to come down the ladder. Everybody thanked god and each other for successfully clearing this hurdle.
The life was not still easy for the team as nature had all the tests for them. It was raining heavily and we had to walk along the narrow road with a valley of about 2000feets on the other side. We reached the railway track on which the Neral-Matheran toy train runs. This was the point from where the group was supposed to head toward Matheran and the guide was supposed to go back to base village to get the bus to Matheran. But as it was too late we decided to abandon the Matheran plan and walk back to base village.