Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Trek to Peb fort-Matheran

Ht. : 2100 ft.
Range : Sanhyadri
District : Raigadh
Village : Neral
Level : Medium+

PEB fort is located at 4 Km on west side of Neral on Mumbai - Pune highway. Peb is very close to famous hill station - Matheran. It is very ideal for One day Trek but for that one should start at early morning at least 6 o'clock. Peb is also known by name called "VIKATGADH"


The original name Peb is because of temple of goddess "Pebi" at the base. There is cave on fort which was used for storage of grain in ancient time by Shivaji Maharaj.


As i said Peb is ideal for one day trek so we (Sagar, Nitin & me) started our journey in mid-night, we caught Karjat train (last train) from Dombivali station (central railway) at 1:54 am. one of our friend Chaitanya join us at Ambernath station. We reached Neral around 2:43 am. and spent around 2 hours on Neral platform. we were trying to sleep but the mosquito won't allow us we tried every trick like wrapping ourself by newspaper but failed.

At 5 o'clock we moved from Neral station had some tea and march towards our destination. Take a right turn from Neral station because Left turn is towards Matheran. After coming out of Neral station you can view Matheran and Peb fort on either side. After walking around 15 to 20 Mins. from railway station we reached to a plain ground, still in darkness, so we decided to wait for sometime before starting the trek. We started with the first rays of sun (6:30 am.).While walking towards fort you will pass through plains and streams, poultry farm and small bunglows which have liven in the nature. 7o'clock we were at the base of the hill which has to be cross to reach Peb. A high tension power line with huge pylon, guides you to a waterfall which is usually the main attraction in monsoons. Next a stream guides you to the cleft and u have to keep walking through it. After cleft soon you will find huge stone which is little difficult to climb but after crossing this, the cave will be at a short distance. Cave is huge enough to accommodate 10-15 people, a night stay would be a wonderful experience. The path towards the cave is very narrow so one has to be careful while walking. The trek does not end at this point because there is lot more to explore............the journey has just started........ Continuously walking on the same path you will come across to many existing prop like ladder, metal rope etc. to made your climb a little comfortable and finally reach the top. We reached to the top of the fort at 10:30 am. At top there are footprints of "Swami Samartha" (Saint) and continuous narrow plain surface. Previously there was just a Samadhi of Swami Samartha but now it is developed into a small temple.

After visiting samadhi we moved towards the other end of fort which leads to the return journey of trek. We had to find a shaded area and settle down to take our lunch to feed our craving stomachs. After lunch we chose to take a nap for some 45 Mins. till the sun woke us up and we be reminded of our way back. On the return journey there is also a small temple of "Shiv Ling" at the edge of mountain. Besides the temple there is a tank of drinking water naturally carved out of the mountain. We drank some water to freshen up ourselfs and filled up our empty bottles, recharging ourselves and hit our way. Over a short distance we came across to another metal staircase made out of railway track, without a midlanding and crossing its own bays. This also makes me attribute to it as one of the masterpieces of architecture i ever seen. Now....was the cross two mountains (Peb fort to Matheran mountain) over the ridge which is breathtaking.The path has to be completed in one stretch without taking rest as it is difficult and on the edge of mountain.Walking on this path will lead you to the railway tracks of Neral-Matheran mini train and this comes to the end of a trek, remaining distance is to walk along the track or along the vehicular road to reach back to Neral station.