Naneghat is a mountain pass and an ancient toll booth on the trade route between Junnar and Malshej. During the 3 rd century AD, it used to be a toll booth on the trade route between Desh and Konkan regions. Today it is a fantastic trekking destination from Mumbai. The climb is over 3 hours and the terrain is lush green especially in the monsoons. There are a couple of streams to be crossed along the way to the top, which can be quite challenge during the rains! At the summit just after the pass is an ancient toll booth where coins had to be dropped to gain access to the pass. There are a few caves as well with inscriptions in Brahmi script. The clear skies also make Naneghat a haven for start gazing.
Naneghat is 55 KMS away from Kalyan. Take the Kalyan Murbad road and go past Murbad towards Malshej Ghat. Just before entering Malshej, you would find a village of Vaishakhare. The base is a half an hour walk away on the same road towards Malshej. A prominent sing board indicates the beginning of the trail.
The entrance to the trek is right on the main road with very limited place for parking. You can park the vehicle a a little before the signboard where there are a couple of restaurants. You can also take a guide from Vaishakhare village who can take you up without losing way! Carry water and light snacks as there is nothing much available on the top. Some days a tea vendor does come to the top but it is not guaranteed. Once you reach the summit, there is a road connection from Junnar. A few Tea shops are located close by.
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Nane Ghat is at a height of 2461 feet and the trek is a moderately easy one. The trek usually takes around 3 hours to cover. However it does become very slippery during the rains. You would need to literally climb over waterfalls to reach the top when it is raining! The trail starts as a straight path for a couple of kilometers. You can see the peaks on top of Naneghat very clearly. Once you pass a stream you will get to the foothills.
The trail up is through a path made by a waterfall. White marking are there on most parts of the path although not everywhere. Eventually you will find a trail that takes you right to the top of the pass. One suggestion is to look out for a rock in the shape of thumb where 2 paths divert. The right way is the direction the thumb rock points towards!
It is always advisable to take a local guide from Vaishakhare village, the first time you are climbing Naneghat. Make a good note of the path and the turns and the next time you can try on your own!
There are a few caves right at the summit of Naneghat. The caves have inscriptions in the Brahmi script which talk about achievements of Satvahan rulers. There is mention of a lady ruler Naganika and her family members. These rulers had come to power after the fall of the Mauryan Empire by 250 BC. There is a Ganesha temple as well in the cave.
The toll booth is a large drum like structure located just before the pass. Travelers and traders had to drop coins in this to get access to the pass to move between Desh and Konkan regions. There was no escaping from the toll as Naneghat pass was the only connection between the 2 regions. Quite a strategic location to collect toll!
A very late but well deserved lunch after 7 hours of workout over this ancient pass!
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