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Reaching Harishchandragad from Mumbai: My Experience and Tips

As an avid trekker living in Mumbai, one mountain that has always captivated me is the famous Harishchandragad. Perched at a height of 4,671 feet in the Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, this stunning hill fort has several ancient cave temples and gorgeous valleys surrounding it that make it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Over the years, I have trekked to Harishchandragad multiple times from Mumbai using different routes and transportation options.

In this article, I will share my experiences and insights on how to reach Harishchandragad from Mumbai in the easiest and most convenient way based on factors like budget, travel time, and trail difficulty.

Reaching Harishchandragad from Mumbai

Choosing the Best Route from Mumbai

The most popular starting point for the Harishchandragad trek is the Khireshwar village located at its base. This village sits about 252 km away from Mumbai.

  • There are three main routes that one can take from Mumbai to reach Khireshwar village and ultimately climb up to Harishchandragad:

  1. Via Kalyan → Malshej Ghat → Nagar - Junnar Route: This covers a total distance of about 180 km and takes 5 hours of travel time. The road quality till Nagar is excellent. But the last 50 km stretch from Nagar to Khireshwar via Junnar has patchy roads.

  2. Via Kalyan → Kasara Ghat → Sangamner → Sinnar Route: This route is longer at 220 km but has better road connectivity. It takes around 6 hours to cover.

  3. Via Mumbai-Pune Expressway: One can also take the Mumbai-Pune expressway up to Urse toll naka and then head towards Harishchandragad via Pathardi, Shevgaon and Sinnar. This is faster at 200 km but more expensive due to expressway toll charges.

Personally, I prefer the Malshej Ghat route as it offers a scenic drive through lush green hills and waterfalls before hitting the last patch of bad roads.

The Pune expressway is best suited for those short on time. Both these routes offer a good mix of convenience and natural views along the way.

Choosing the Mode of Transportation

Hiring a private cab or taxi is the most convenient way to make this 5-6 hour journey from Mumbai to Khireshwar village. However, it is an expensive option with the round trip costing ₹7000-8000 for a 2-3 day trip.

A more economical option is to travel via state transport (ST) buses. You can catch an ST bus from Mumbai Central Bus Depot or Borivali's National Park bus stop to head to villages like Tokawade or Pachanai which are located close to Khireshwar. Just be prepared for longer travel time, switchovers, and lack of direct connectivity at times via this mode of transport.

If you prefer to avoid public transport, opt for a self-drive rental car which gives you the flexibility to stop and view places en route. My favorite pitstop along the Kalyan-Malshej route is the iconic MTDC resort at Malshej Ghat. Their hot piping pakodas make for a delicious break!

When is the Best Time for the Trek?

Since Harishchandragad offers a fun mix of rock climbing, valley crossings, and cave temple visits, the post-monsoon months between September to February are great for trekking here. The weather is cool and pleasant and the surroundings turn green and lush with blooming wildflowers adding pops of color everywhere!

I strictly avoid the monsoon season between June and August because the rocks get slippery and dangerous. I once had a bad fall while descending the rocky patch between Kokankada and Khireshwar due to this reason.

Even in winter, carry enough water and protective equipment as the winds at the peak can give you quite a chill!

Tips to Prepare for the Trek

To conclude, here are some handy tips for your trek preparation when heading from Mumbai to Harishchandragad -

  • Pack light for the climb but carry enough warm layers, snacks, and medication.

  • Travel in a small group to maximize safety and coordinate transportation.

  • Make sure your shoes have good grip and ankle support.

  • Carry Electral or energy drinks to beat fatigue in the hot sun.

  • Keep some buffer time for traffic delays route.

  • Pre-book campsites or cave stays if you plan to overnight on top.

  • Enjoy the journey as much as the destination! The gorgeous temples, caves and valleys along the way make this trek extremely rewarding.

Conclusion

So are you ready now to make your own epic memories on the thrilling trails of Harishchandragad? Whether you are a novice or an experienced trekker, traversal this majestic hill from Mumbai is an adventure you do not want to miss.

Feel free to ping me for any other tips or guidance to plan your perfect trek. Happy hiking.

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