Peth Fort, also called Kothaligad is to the east of Karjat, at a distance just under 100 km from Andheri in Mumbai, and about 20 kms from Karjat.
We started from Mumbai at 5:30 am, packing all the dismantled bikes in 2 cars
We pause for a photo opportunity on the way...
...from where we get a first glimpse of the fort through the gap in the trees
At Ambivli village, we unload and assemble the bikes
This will be Shimul's first mountain biking experience, and she looked a bit tense, but excited!
We started cycling and could immediately see the majestic fort ahead of us
We had to take a pit stop to fix Shimul's bike gear cable
The bike looks great against the background of the fort
We reach Peth village where we park and lock the cycles, and order lunch for having on the way back
The kids in the village are fascinated by the weird people and their machines
The earthy textures in a village home
After a short trek through foggy hill slopes, we reach the Bhairoba caves
The cave consist of several carved pillars, and is a great place to rest or even sleep the night for an overnight trek
Bhairoba is a respectful name for Bhairava - an avatar of Lord Shiva. Bhairava is a protector who guards the eight directions of the universe (ref).
Next to the cave is a water tank that has clean water, but probably not potable.
On the other side of the cave, there is a cave with a tunnel that leads up through the mountain to the fort. Kothaligad gets its name from this dark tunnel.
There are steps carved in the tunnel
The climb up the steps is quite steep, and we gain altitude rapidly
After the tunnel, there an arched gateway through which one can enter the fort
We get a beautiful view from the fort
We rest for a while under a tree and eat the snacks that everyone was carrying
Then we start the climb down back through the tunnel
Back at Peth village, we had a simple but tasty lunch. The downhill ride was just great!
After the lunch we rode our cycles back to where we had parked our vehicles. During the drive back to Mumbai, it started raining, and we got some amazing views of the clouds with the sun struggling to cut through their gaps
Here is a video compilation of our adventure: