Peb fort, famously known as Vikatgad, is one of the best monsoon treks in Maharashtra. The fort lies at an altitude of 2,100 feet in the Matheran hill range. It is famous for its’ railway track section of the trail and Kadyavarcha Ganpati.
The endpoint of the trek offers breathtaking views of the entire valley and is a sight to be held, and is one of the must-do treks in the monsoon season.
Matheran is one of the most famous hill stations in Maharashtra and makes it easy to reach via public and private transport.
There are 2-3 different trails to reach Peb fort; however, we will take about the easiest one, starting from the Matheran toy train tracks.
Via public transport:
From Mumbai, you can take a train to Neral from Dadar/CST and then take a local auto to the Peb start point, Junction 134 (Peb start point). It will cost you around INR 100 per person, and the distance is approximately 7 kms.
From Pune you can take a train to Karjat, and then another train to Neral and then follow the instructions mention above.
Via private vehicle:
The distance on the road from Mumbai is around 80 kms and will take 2.5 hours to reach.
The distance from Pune is 115-120 kms, and it will take over 3 hours to reach the start point.
The trail from the toy train tracks is easy and ideal for first-timers with decent fitness levels. The trek grade is Easy-Moderate and will take around 1.5-2 hours to reach the final point where the temple is.
The entire distance of the hike is around 7-8 kms.
The first section of the tracks is about 30-40 mins, and you will also come across mini-waterfalls on this route during peak monsoons. Take a right turn towards the ridge trail at the 156 Junction point. You will find markings for the right turn at this point.
The 2nd section of the trail is a slight descent to the ridge point, and it gets a bit slippery during the monsoons; hence one needs good trekking shoes and should be careful on this part of the trail.
The 3rd section is the final part of the trail, where you reach the main fort area after crossing the ridge. Here you must climb two staircases to reach the main temple area of the fort.
On the way back, you can take the same route or go via the Fanaswadi route.
Fanaswadi Route: The route is through the jungle and a bit time-consuming, and you require experience to go via this trail.
Matheran Route: You can take the toy train route that will take you to Matheran. After reaching the point from where you 156 Junction point, you can head towards the Matheran side instead of returning to the Junction 134 point from where you started the trek.
The Peb Fort Trek is approximately 7-8 kilometres long and usually takes around 3 to 4 hours to complete, depending on your pace and fitness level.
Peb Fort, also known as Vikatgad, is steeped in history. It was built in the time of Shivaji Maharaj, around the 17th century. It was used as a watchtower and was crucial for surveillance. The fort also served as a granary for the nearby forts like Raigad.
The difficulty level of the Peb Fort Trek is easy-moderate. While the initial stretch of the trail is easy, the path becomes steep and challenging as you ascend, requiring a good level of fitness.
Inside Peb Fort, you’ll find an ancient temple dedicated to Swami Samarth, a revered Indian spiritual leader, and it is still in use today.
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