On 26th December 2020, a few friends and I went on a hike to Gorakhgad Fort which is 24kms from Murbad, Thane district of Maharashtra. This fort is not famous for any historical events but it was used to guard the trade route passing through Naneghat. The fort gets its name from Saint Gorakhnath, who performed his ‘Sadhana’ in this place.
I went for this hike without any research about the fort or the location. My friends Tushar & Mahesh are regular hikers and these plans are usually initiated by them. We had gone to Korigad together and judging by how much fun that hike was, I was sure this one would not disappoint. So I decided to carry my GoPro and document our journey.
The first kilometre of the route as you can see in the video was filled with us walking and chatting with each other not realizing that we were going to end up doing something that we had never done before. We reached a section of the trail where we could see the fort and I had to question Tushar and Mahesh because I was in disbelief and wasn’t sure how we were going to reach the top (Check 1:57 of the video). The previous hike that we had done was just climbing a bunch of stairs and this seemed a lot more complex and challenging. We set off from that part with nervous smiles and obvious trust in Tushar & Mahesh knowing that they would never put us in unnecessary danger.
I was greeted with a beautiful view at 1.75kms. We stopped at a spot to catch our breaths where Mahesh explained to us that there were caves on the top that could accommodate almost 150 people. A short walk ahead of this spot and we reached this gorgeous camping site with a mesmerizing view (4:12 of the video). Another short walk and there was a sudden drop in temperature and scenery. We were surrounded by tall trees and the shade protected us from the sun. This was the foot of the hill under the fort and there was a temple where we made a short stop to eat and drink. The rock climbing part of the hike would start from here.
As a runner, I have decent stamina but my sense of balance is a bit off. Throughout the hike I had this fear of slipping and falling which made me very anxious. I guess it’s about doing hikes like these more often and getting accustomed to the height. I remember wondering how I would descend while I was making my way towards the caves (6:11 in the video). But the view made all the effort and anxiety worth it. It was mesmerizing, to say the least. There was no way I would have made it to the top without the help of Tushar & Mahesh.
There was another level after the caves that Ishaan, Naman and I decided to skip. My knee was feeling fine after all the climbing but I didn’t want to take a risk since this section was supposed to be a little technical. I have my 10k training cycle that will start soon and I have almost recovered from Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot so it was not worth the risk. We were waiting for the group to come back when the monkey attack happened (11:16 in the video). We had bags of all the others including our own and most of it had food in it so we were calling for it. It was partly also my fault. I was trying to fling the bag at him to scare him and I ended up throwing it right in front of him. Another group was coming back from the top and thankfully helped us retrieve the bag.
After this minor setback and a few laughs about the entire incident, we decided to start our journey back. The descend was a lot easier than we anticipated it to be. We all managed it fairly easily and stopped at the camping spot to have a couple of biscuits and this delicious date barfi that Ishaan had got for us. It took us around 90 mins to complete the downwards journey. We were all famished and ready to stuff ourselves. We sat at a local joint to have some delicious homemade food knowing well that we had earned our meal on that day. We left Gorakhgad with full stomachs and a lot richer in experience.