Trek to Peb fort

 

Duration                                 : 21 July 2004
No of members                     : 13
Location                                 : Neral
Height of fort                          : 2100ft
Distance traveled by road    : 150Kms
Route                                      : Pune-Khopoli-Neral-Peb

About Peb

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 ĎVikatGadí. Historical references clearly indicate that Shivaji Maharaj used the caves on the fort as silos for grain storage.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.

Description of Trek

          The Magical figure of 13 has yet again proved successful for 3rd time in succession. This time it was Fort Peb also known as VikatGad near Matheran. A group of 13 people left Pune on 21st of August at 0400Hrs for a journey towards Peb. 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 canít 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 Matheranís point 132 and send our guide back from midway to get the bus at Matheranís point 132.

         

          At 1500Hrs we started walking. 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. At about 1700Hrs 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.

           We started walking towards the base village. At this time the nature god was happy with our performance, seems like we passed all his tests, He blessed us with the bright sunlight which we havenít seen for whole day. The bright sunlight cleared the view of Peb fort. Sun gave us the award of seeing what we have achieved during the whole day trek. It has carved an unforgettable picture of our dayís achievement into our hearts. This induced a new enthusiasm into all the members. Everybody forgot that they have walked a distance of about 15Kms in last 6Hrs through a rough terrain.

          We started walking back on the railway track. In the way we saw a waterfall where everyone enjoyed a natural shower bath. After an hours walk we reached a point from where we were supposed to descend down. The way seemed to be bit difficult but as suggested by guide it was a shortcut. We decided to go by that way. But it turned out to be long road for us as we took about 90Minutes to come to our next destination which guide told us to be 20Minutes path. Here at this point we jumped down about 8-10 ft. By the time we reached there it was quite dark it was 1930Hrs.

          Now we decided to take a safer path instead of jungle path. We started walking the railway track making a train. With torch in everybodyís hand. This train was the best one I have ever traveled into. After running for hour the train reached a point where road crosses the railway track now the train decided to dismantle and walk on the road. Two of us along with the guide decided to go ahead to get the bus. They soon got lift from a vehicle which dropped them at Neral from there they walked to Fanaswadi to get the bus. In the mean time the remaining group continued walking by the time two members were back with bus the whole group almost reached Neral.

          Everyone was finally relieved. At 0900Hrs we were back into the bus and started our journey back. We had our dinner at Khalapur. And decided to take way to Pune via expressway. The adventure was still not over. Headlights of our bus stopped working near Kamshet. However we overcame the situation, driver drew the bus with the help of Torches and Parking lights. Finally we reached Pune at 0300Hrs on 22nd of August.

          Remarkable part of this trek was that this time girls too were not behind in showing the courage. They proved that they have all the mental courage and physical strength to complete such kind of expeditions. The whole team deserves a big applause for completing this expedition successfully even in the worst weather conditions.