Kalsubai Night Trek

It’s that time of the year once again. Monsoons just around the corner. Forests ready to bloom into their own. And Fireflies in their full form. It’s time to kick start the Monsoon expedition and say hello to our old friend – The Sahyadri.

But don’t be fooled. It ain’t raining still. So why then all this fuss?

Because it’s the month of June. The time for the night treks. The time for the Fireflies camps. The time for the pure awesomeness. Last year we kick started with Rajmachi, and this time it was the turn for one of those treks which had been in my wish list since the very start = Kalsubai, the highest peak of Maharashtra.

When you are passionate about what you are doing and excited about the journey more than your destination, you are bound to bump into more of the crazy kinds like you. This time I happened to meet Trek Mates India and 44 other co-passengers along the way. And a night under the stars was reserved for us on the 30th of May, at 5,400 ft above the sea level.

It was a late plan to join TMI (thanks to my group who ditched me at the end). Our trek leader was kind enough to let me in, but only after I agreed to pay him double the trek fee. Dadar Semi Fast to Kasara was scheduled for us at 3:56 in the evening. When I say that it was scheduled I meant that the train was scheduled to come at the platform at a given time, and we were expected to display our martial skills and get into the red serpent. It being a Saturday, we did not have to hustle a lot to conquer some leg space. And with the initial acquaintance session on the way, we left for Kasara. Around 6 in the evening, around 100 eager feet were thumping all over the Kasara station. Theplas were handed over to us, the trekkers loaded in the jeep, and with the playlist on, we left for our trek base – The Bari Village.

By the way, I was just kidding about the fee. I also paid the same as everyone else 😛

So it took us a little over an hour to reach Bari Village. Late in the evening, the environment was particularly quiet, with only the temple lamps and few inquisitive nostrils in the view. The bunch was asked to get done with the dinner, pack everything they needed and set forth towards the peak. As we got ready to start, our group strength had increased by 2 with Titu and Bholu as the newest members to accompany us.

We started at something around 9 and made our way through the village, where everyone was already preparing for their share of dreams – Humans and cattle alike. As we progressed a little outside the range of the village, we were met with our first surprise (A surprise that we were prepared to encounter 😀 ) – The FireFlies. Everywhere. While some were ecstatic as seeing the fireflies for the first time, others’ faces had also lit up with glee at meeting these natural rockstars once again. There is something about these creatures – The instance you see them, everything inside you seems to light up. And everything appears beautiful. Along with the fireflies we continued without trail to reach our first pit stop – The temple of Shri Ram.

The first stretch of a trek is often the toughest. If you have got past this one, you need not worry about anything else (apart for a potential leopard or snake attack, of course – They won’t ask you which stretch of your trek you are in, before doing their bit). A little pause at the Ram Mandir and the troop went on. A part of the group was already poking our guide with questions – “How far is it now?”, “When are we going to stop next”, “What exactly Kalsubai means”. Another element of the party was taking special pride at seeing his mobile network full and was singing the IIN tune now and then. And a few were going astray to explore more of the place. This was one happy bunch of people.

We took another pit stop before we reached the last stretch. A stretch that was shimmering in the sunlight. An iron ladder that stood there with intense pride. A well at the base of the peak which faked its depth with the utmost ease.

Half past 1. We were done with the last step of the ladder. The Kalsubai peak was ours at that moment.

It didn’t take us long to settle down and engage in whatever felt like the best to us. An hour or so exploring the peak, and a majority of our warriors were won over by Sleep. A few engaged in storytelling, with the spirit of Kalsubai being the protagonist. And another bunch of guys putting their skills to test as they attempted to light up the bonfire amidst the powerful force of the wind.

We sang for some time, lied down and watched stars until we were completely satisfied, made our presence felt around the Kalsubai temple, and gauged the damage it would cause if we attempted a Shaktiman stunt from the top. Slowly, but surely, the hills took all their children into the wonderland of dreams. For those 2 hours, we slept like there was no tomorrow. We slept until few human-shaped roosters woke everyone – “Wake up you lazy fools, Sunrise is almost here”. Yes! The hero of the story was about to make his entry – The Sun was about to rise.

Seeing Sun daily is one thing. And seeing it rise from such a height is another. That morning was beautiful. That scenery was beautiful. Everything at that time was beautiful.

We rose with the Sun and it was time for both of us to continue with our journey. While Sun went West, we started descending.

You see, the harder the climb, the easier is the descent. We kept sprinting along the slopes before we reached the
plateau, and then Ram Mandir. Seeing that majority of the group still had some time to catch up, we did what we do
best in such situations. We slept. We slept like no one was watching (Seriously no one was watching us in that forest – Except for a few curious parrots who were busy with the mangoes on a tree nearby).

We reached Bari Village at around 10. Life in the village was up and moving at a pace. The nothingness which was so rampant in the dark was replaced by chirps, greetings, and happy voices all around. Our host welcomed us back, fared us a final goodbye, and sent us back to Kasara station.

And all the co-passengers went their way, with a promise made. A promise to meet again along the journey, in some form or another.


      • Hey harsh…. I am harsh Wahi. Am planning to go to kalsubai with frnds and kids….. 03 families and 06 kids…. Fire flies Trek. Kids are athletic between 06 and 10 yrs. Will it be doable at night with night halt on top. Should we hire a local guide? Should v carry tents or will they fly away? What all shud v carry for night halt…. Blankets, sleeping bags, head lamps etc

  1. Hi Harsh !
    How long did the final stretch take ? Upward from the Iron ladder ?
    We’re a group of 4 friends planning to go shoot some astrophotography. So wanted to know how safe it is to stay up there without a campfire ? And how strenuous is the climb, considering we’ll be carrying moderately heavy equipment.
    Thanks in advance !

    • Hi Aditya,
      The final stretch will take somewhere around 30-45 mins, if you don’t take any break.
      It’s perfectly safe to stay there (with or without a campfire). I would not suggest a campfire as it might be a bit of risk.
      Perfect spot for astrophotography and capturing the dawn.
      The climb is pretty simple and you can take multiple pit stops at the plateaus en route.
      P.S. carry 2 bedsheets per person as it might get a little cold around dawn. Happy trekking 🙂

  2. Hey Harsh!
    I’m planning to go to Kalsubhai this weekend with 6-7 friends. Would you tell me the best way to reach there? And how safe is it for us to camp on our own at night out there? Could you possibly give me all the details please?

    • Hi Prasham,

      Please find below the itinerary that you can follow:

      – Take a local to Kasara (target to reach the station latest by 6 in the evening – try to reach by around 4:30 if you do not have a prior arrangement for cab at Kasara station)
      – Take a cab / jeep from the station to “Bari Village” (it will take over an hour and around 70-80 bucks per head)
      – Explore the village, have some food and start for the Trek by around 9 (ask the local for the directions. The route is not very complex and can be done without any problems)
      – You will encounter two plateaus on your way. Suggest to treat them as pit stops and enjoy the ambiance (Target a full moon night :))
      – Reach the pinnacle around 1 and camp for the night
      – Try to stay awake. The place takes various forms through the night to lead a way to one of the most beautiful sunrise that you would see in Maharashtra.

      P.S. It is “perfectly” safe to camp their at night. Please don’t plan a bonfire as it would be a risk to everyone (it would get really windy). Also, carry additional clothing and sheets as it will get really cold at night.

      You can call me in case you have any further queries (now or on reaching the village). Cheers 😀

  3. Hi…can you give me numbers of any trustworthy local guides who knows thevplace well and can take us to unique spots?

  4. Hi Buddy,

    me & my friend planning to go Kalsubai night track on 5-11-16 next week, please suggest is it safe on this period ?

    also want to know that is their place available @ Bari village like hotel or Lodge for bags. ?

    your blogs is really awesome. Really enjoyed it.

    • Perfectly safe to go for this trek right now.

      Regarding the stay, you would want to stay at the peak in the night. Just make sure that you carry sheets along with you as it might get cold late night. Cheers !!


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