The uber-cool Sahyadri mountain range offers umpteen trekking options. Of all the treks that we have done so far in Maharashtra, the Rajmanchi trek remains at the top of our best experiences ever list.We are not professional trekkers, but ordinary people trying to have some adventure in life and we found Rajmanchi trek thrilling and refreshing.
On a typical monsoon weekend, early morning we started driving towards Lonavala. On our way, we finally decided that today is The Day for Rajmanchi trek. It was 11 AM when we reached the base village Kondhane and the weather was cloudy with patches of rain. We stopped at a family restaurant, pre-ordered lunch, parked the car and started our trek.
Trekking @ Rajmanchi
The trekking path is more or less defined. The uphill section is not too steep, so you don’t need any special mountaineering skills. After heavy rain falls during the monsoon season, the mud becomes wet and it sticks to your feet when you walk over it. Ensure you wear shoes with good grip to avoid slipping and falling into the mud. After a 45 minutes climb, you reach the Kondhane Caves. These rock-cut Buddhist caves are not only popular for the sculptures and stupas but also for the bubbling waters of the nearby waterfalls. You can spend some 15-20 minutes here admiring the sculptures and embarked on the trail to the summit.
With its gradual terrain, the trek is relatively easy with few patches of sticky muddy path. Though the terrain is not a challenge, a 4-5 hours trek demands physical fitness and a good hiking endurance from a novice trekker. The high points of this trek are the umpteen waterfalls on the way. It is mesmerizing to see the water cascading and hitting the rocks and sprinkle some on you. The drizzle and fog add to the mystical grandeur of the place.
You will find local villagers selling roasted sweet corn, lemonade and boiled groundnuts on the way. Savor these delicacies to satiate your taste buds and keep yourself energized.
We wanted to experience the view from the Rajmachi peak. The peak has two fortified structures – the Shrivardhan fort and Manoranjan Fort and it is said that it is awe-spiring. The clouds touch the mountains and the area is lush green. Unfortunately, it was getting dark and we couldn’t make it to the top. But that leaves us something to look forward to for our next Rajmanchi visit.
If you want to complete the trek before it gets dark, we would highly recommend you to start the trek early morning. The best option is an overnight stay in Kondhane Village and starting the trek next day morning. It will allow you to complete the trek at your pace.
How to Reach the Base Village?
You can start the trek either from Kondhane side or from Udhewadi Side. We would recommend you to take the Kondhane trek tour for two reason – 1. Better Roads & 2. You can visit Kondhane Caves
- Kondhane: This trekking route is preferred by people coming from Mumbai, as it is closer to Mumbai. You can visit Kondhane Caves on your way to the top of Rajmachi mountain.
- Udhewadi: People coming from Pune prefer Udhewadi location because of its proximity to Pune. If you take Mumbai-Pune expressway you can reach Lonavala within an hour. The travel time increases when you are driving on that 15km stretch from Lonavala to Udhewadi. The roads are in very bad condition and it gets worse during the rainy season. Even though Udhewadi is closer to Pune than Kondhane, the time taken to reach both these places is almost same.
Things To Carry
- Wear trekking shoes and carry an extra pair of floaters
- Ready to eat food – Protein Bars, Chocolates, biscuits, Sandwiches etc
- At least 1 water bottle. You can buy water bottle at the base village
- Raincoat/ Umbrella – This is optional
- During rains, pack your electronics (Mobile, portable charger, Camera etc.) in plastic bags.
- Once you reach the base village, there are few locals who provide lunch (Veg / Non-Veg Thalis). Place your order before starting the trek to enjoy a sumptuous meal after you return.
Trek Distance and Time
- From Kondhane: Distance is 3.5 Kms and time taken to complete the trek is 4-5 hours
- From Udhewadi: Distance is 2.5 Kms
Best Time To Visit – The best time for Rajmanchi Trek or any trek in the Sahyadris is during monsoon i.e. from June to September.
Waterfalls on the way to Rajmachi peak