Naneghat is said to have been constructed by the Satvahan dynasty that ruled this region from 100BC to 300AD (approximately 350 years). It is a pass, which, once in the history, enjoyed prime importance. The purpose of this pass was to connect Junnar, their chief town with their ports at Kalyan and Nalasopara. The main cave contains an inscription (in the Brahmi script prevalent in those times) informing us of this and giving further information about the Satvahan Dynasty.
Start the trek from a village called Vaishakhere on the road going from Malshej to Murbad. Around two km or so before the village, the dirt trail foks off to the mountain. You can see the Nanacha angtha (Nana’s thumb) marking the direction to take. Centuries of use have marked this trail very well, and it is indeed a wide ‘highway’ of a trail, that cannot be missed. Monsoons are the best time to climb the 2724feet mountain over a waterfall. Since both sides of the waterfall have slippery algae covered rocks, the only option is to climb right through the middle of it! A relentlessly upward route takes you to the main cave at the pass on the right of the trail in 2-3 hours. This huge cave is flanked by water tanks and provides a convenient place to stay in. It is a welcome relief to find a full-fledged canteen there. Enterprising locals have set up a tea and snack bar there.
The trail after the cave is flanked by steep rock walls and an untiring wind, and led to the pass. As you go through, you will come into a huge open plateau – the deccan. On the left are the remains of an old building and compound and on the right, some more caves dot the mountain. One of these houses an old idol of Lord Ganesha. You can climb up from here to reach some height on the Nanacha angtha, that had been marking the destination on way up. The view from here is incredible. This is also a perfect place to spend time in the evening watching the sun go down.
Steaming elaichi tea and vada pav is the recommendation. Both are available in the cave.
Naneghat lies on the road from Murbad to Malshej. Murbad is an hours drive from Kalyan station on the central line of Mumbai. You will need to ask for road to Malshej at Murbad and proceed. You will pass a village called Vaishakhere, where you can park your vehicle and hire a local guide. Buses also ply frequently from Kalyan to Malshej and you can get down at Vaishakhere as a request stop! Alternatively you can take a bus from Kalyan to Murbad and another one from Mubad to Malshej.
During monsoons, one needs to be very careful while climbing up. Due to the slippery algae on both sides, its safer to step in the middle of each step in the centre of the flowing water. Once on top , hold your belongings tight, as the breeze can be very strong and blow away light items. Climbing down can be troublesome due to the slippery surface and hence slow down while doing so. It is advisable to wear shoes or slip-ons which have a good grip even in water.
Donot forget to read the next page for a travelogue with a detailed personal account of this trek.