Peb fort trek (or Vikatgad fort trek) is a popular trekking route near Mumbai. This trek route passes through exotic hills of Matheran and shows stunning natural beauty!
Best Time To Visit: September to January is the best time to do Peb trek. The trek route becomes slippery and dangerous in the monsoon months. Therefore, it is advisable to do Vikatgad trek after August.
Location Address: 4 km west to Neral village, on the back side of Matheran Hill Station, Near Karjat, Maharashtra (India).
Fort Elevation / Height: 2100 feet from Mean Sea Level.
Difficulty Level: Medium to Hard.
Peb Fort Information:
Also known as Vikatgad fort, it is located on Mumbai-Pune highway, north-east to Panvel, Maharashtra. This fort offers very beautiful one-day trek from Mumbai as well as Pune. The fort is surrounded by thick forest & way to the top of the fort passes through this dense forest. Peb fort trek route lies at an elevation of 2100 feet from mean sea level & gives outstanding panoramic views of the surrounding Sahyadri Mountain Range.[caption id="attachment_1693" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Trek route via Matheran Toy Train Track![/caption]
Vikatgad fort is located next to the Matheran Plateau. After starting from Fanaswadi village, the trek ends at the Matheran Hill Station. Therefore, you can also explore the hill station after overnight stay over there. There is also a temple of Swami Samartha right on the peak of the mountain. It’s small in size and has Paduka (footwear) of Swami Samrtha.
The Peb fort was named after the Goddess Pebi and VikatGad fort due to a shape of the mountain like Elephant Headed ‘Ganesha’. Caves have various meditation chambers carved out from the rock inside the mountain. Disciples of Shree Swami Samartha take care of these caves. The fort is completely in ruins. Today, it only has one Bastion towards the Panorama point of Matheran.[caption id="attachment_1695" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Temple of Swami Samartha at the top![/caption]
A narrow passage and a down climb take you to the meditation chamber. The chamber has good tile flooring to sit down and meditate. Legend says that this is the place where Lord Ganesha fall from his mouse and the moon laughed at him. There are some caves on the fort, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj used these caves for storage of grains!
Peb Fort Trek Route
There are 2 trek routes to this fort. 1st trek route starts from the Fanaswadi village near Neral railway station. This is a very beautiful trek in Monsoon season as you pass through various splashing waterfalls, rock patches, caves, dense green forest, ridge walking etc. Trek to the fort is easy having a few difficult patches like the small rock patch and a ladder. You can get eye pleasing views of Matheran Hills, Chanderi Fort (Badlapur), Kalavantin & Prabalgad Fort (Panvel) and Malanggad Fort (Kalyan) from the top of Vikatgad fort![caption id="attachment_1694" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Stunning view from the fort top![/caption]
©Goole Images (Actual source unknown)
It is highly advisable to take a local guide from Fanaswadi if you are traveling here the first time. The route has few tricky patches, which confuses many people. A local guide takes about 500 rupees for their assistance. 2nd trek route starts from the Dodhani village on the Panvel side. You can catch ST buses or private vehicles from Panvel to Dodhani village (20 km away). You can witness a fantastic view of the Neral, Karjat and Panvel region from Peb fort trek route.
How To Reach:
- Nearest Railway Station: Neral station on the Central Railway line is the nearest railhead to reach the Vikatgad fort. Auto-rickshaws are available from the station to Fanaswadi. It takes 15 minutes to cover the distance between station & base village. Auto-rickshaw drivers take Rs.20 per seat (As on July 2017).
- Nearest Airport: Mumbai Airport is the nearest airport to Peb fort.
Eating Stuff / Restaurants: You can have your food either at Neral station or at Matheran. Carry your own food & enough water while going on this trek. There are no sources of food or water in the whole trek route. The trek route ends at Matheran, where many restaurants are available to have food!
Accommodation / Staying Options: There are few caves at the top of the Vikatgad fort, which can accommodate around 10 people. You can spot these caves while ascending from the Fanaswadi side. Otherwise, you can stay in Matheran where plenty of hotels are available.
Places To See: Caves, Datt Mandir, Prati Girnar, Ganesh Temple, Shiva Temple.
Map To Reach:
So overall, Peb fort or Vikatgad fort offers you an amazing trek near Mumbai and Pune. However, first timers should not forget to take a guide from base village!