Mahuli is a popular trekking destination on the Sahyadris. At 2815 Feet, it is the tallest peak in Thane district. Easy accessibility and beautiful rock formations make Mahuli a hit with the trekkers from Mumbai and surrounding areas. Rustic facilities are provided by Nature on the top like drinking water from the Cistern in the Shiva Temple and shelter in the caves. Mahuli Fort played its role throughout history with the Mughals, Nizamshahi. Shivaji Maharaj and British vying for it. The best part of the trek up Mahuli is the panoramic view from top of all prominent peaks on the Sahyadris.
Mahuli is off the Eastern Express Highway that connects Thane to Nasik. The easiest way to cover the 90 km distance from Mumbai is to take the Local Train to Kasara from CST or Dadar and get down at Asangaon. A 5 kilometer walk from the station will get you to the base at Mahuli village.
If you are coming by train, alight at Asangaon station and cross over the highway. Walk towards Shahpur till you spot Manas Mandir the famous landmark here. Turn left and walk past the forest check post till the Shiva temple. A trail starts behind the Temple that will take you to the top of the Mahuli Fort. White markings are there all the way up and if you follow the directions, it is fairly simple.
If you are coming by Road, look out for a board on left, just before Asangaon, mentioning Manas Mandir. Take this left and pass Shahpur village and another left at the road leading to Manas Mandir. You can park your vehicle near the Shiva Temple at Mahuli village.
The climb up Mahuli fort from the base will take between 3-4 hrs. depending on how many breaks are taken. It is advisable to start early so you can start the ascent at 7am latest. So you can make it to the top by 10-1030, well before the noon heat.
It is advisable to carry snacks and mineral water along with you. The directions to the top are very clear in the form of white marking on rocks right through. You can also hire a boy from the village near the Temple to help you reach quickly.
Usually a dog from the temple will lead the way and so even if you don’t get a guide, the Dog will play that role!
Snacks and tea are available at a shop near the Temple. You can do well to order a light lunch before you start the ascend. The food will be ready when you return famished!
There is a stream that will need to be crossed after the Temple. It will be full only during monsoons when you need to exercise caution as the algae covered rocks will be slippery. When we went the last time, it was as parched as it can get!
The last stretch below the summit is tricky and a Good Samaritan has put up ladder which makes it easy to climb.
Once you are on top, the views are magnificent.
Towards the left lies Bhandargad which can provide you spectacular views of Bhatji and Bahuli pinnacles. If you go towards the right you will pass the cistern of drinking water and then a bamboo forest.
Furrther down you will be able to have a glimpse of the ruins of Mahadarwaza and final Palasgad. This is a magnificent point providing views of Alang, Kalsubai, Matheran, Harishchandragad and AJoba.
Shahaji Rane, father of Shivaji Maharaj antagonised the Mughals when he became the secretary of Nizamshahi. In 1635 Shahaji had to take shelter at Mahuli fort along with his Wife Jija Bai and a young Shivaji. Unfortunately the Portuguese did not respond to his request for help, and ultimately Shahaji had to surrender to Khan Jaman’s forces. Shivaji Maharaj took back the fort from Mughals in 1658.
Shahpur was built by the British and you can visit the the police Station and Z.P. School for a sample of the 19th century British architecture.
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