yellow periscope kalsubai trek summit view

Kalsubai Trek: The Highest Peak in Maharashtra

Details and photos from our one day trek to Mt Kalsubai, the highest peak in Maharashtra, India.

Kalsubai (Marathi: कळसूबाई शिखर) is a mountain in the Western Ghats, located in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Its summit situated at an elevation of 1646 metres (5400 feet) is the highest point in Maharashtra.

It is visited throughout the year by trekkers who want to scale the peak and by devotees who want to visit the Kalsubai temple at the summit. During monsoon, the trek is spectacular and tricky, while winter has great weather and is the ideal season to go.

The base village, Bari, is 750 meters higher than sea level so Kalsubai is a climb of approx. 900 meters (2953 feet) from the base.

Our fitness tracker said we achieved an elevation of 85 floors in a distance of 8 km. Figures like these kept us motivated throughout the trek; happy and smug after it 🙂

road to kalsubai peak trek maharashtra
After a night stop at Igatpuri on the Mumbai-Nashik highway, we set out early towards Bari village.


road to kalsubai trek maharashtra base village bari
By dawn, we are on SH MH44, enjoying the drive through the countryside.


Kalsubai Trek – Base village – Bari

The base village, Bari can easily be reached by road, traveling on the Mumbai – Nashik NH3 and then taking the Ghoti-Shirdi road SH MH44. You will find both Bari and Kalsubai listed on Google maps.

The locals are very helpful. We could easily find a family who served homely meals for trekkers as per the order.

kalsubai trek maharashtra base village bari wheat fields
The sun rises by the time we reach Bari. It is a quintessential small village with mix of brick and mud houses.


kalsubai trek maharashtra bari village wheat fields
We take a few moments to soak in the beauty of our surroundings. Against the morning light, the wheat fields look magical and its the perfect light for photography.


kalsubai peak trek view from base village vari
View of Kalsubai Peak from the base village. That little ridge in the middle is where we are headed. It looks deceptively easy to reach.


Kalsubai Trek – The Ascent

The Western ghats have thrilling views, especially during the monsoons. We were eager to climb Kalsubai because of frequent mentions to it as ‘tallest peak in Maharashtra’. So, we thought it was time to start our 2018 standing tall!

The ascent took us 4.5 hours and the descent 2.5 hours. Experienced trekkers can do it faster. The trail is very clearly laid out and is enjoyable because the villagers have opened many shelters and stalls on the way.


kalsubai trek base village bari climb
Trail begins. Its a dusty walk right now.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu


kalsubai trek maharashtra climb
As we move, the landscape begins changing. There is steady incline to our path.


kalsubai peak maharashtra trek trail climb

kalsubai trek maharashtra view from midway base village bari
After a short climb we are elevated enough to view the base village down below, as tiny specks.


kalsubai peak trek maharashtra trail climb
Now, we also start seeing the mountain ahead of us. While we excitedly think that is the top, it turned out to be only half-way up.


kalsubai trek maharashtra climb trail lemon juice stall on way
We were delighted at this sight! On the way, the locals have set up many stalls with shelters that can be used for a brief rest.


kalsubai trek maharashtra climb stall lemon juice seller
You can treat yourself with locally made fresh ‘limbu sherbet‘ (refreshing lemon juice with rock salt and sugar -good for hydration, as good as any hydrating powder, required as we were sweating a lot), chai and bhajiyas! What else would you want? It’s an adventure picnic.


kalsubai trek maharashtra iron ladders peak
Now the first iron ladder appears. These were built to help trekkers climb the steeper surfaces.


kalsubai trek maharashtra climb trail iron ladder
The surface became rocky with huge boulders. Through all of this the iron railing is a useful support.


kalsubai peak trek maharashtra view mountains
We kept taking stops to admire the views. Bari is almost gone and other peaks appear.


kalsubai trek maharashtra highest peak trail
By now we have company. These are the guardian angels of Kalsubai. They climb with you for some time and disappear.


These are the pesky mischief-makers of Kalsubai and they get dangerously close if they spot food or wrappers. This one almost snatched our bag.


kalsubai trek maharashtra peak summit view
We reach a second clearing and can now see the actual summit. Its boosts our morale.

Life is full of amusing contradictions. While we were in our ‘all terrain-gore tex-lightweight-firm grip’ trekking boots, a couple dressed in glittering outfits with slippers, outpass us with offerings for the temple. That’s called trekking in style!

kalsubai peak maharashtra trek summit view ladder
The final ladder to heaven arrives. This one is almost vertical but by now we were only seeing skywards, so it did not matter.


Kalsubai Trek – Views from the Summit

After the final ladder climb you reach the top. The summit is a small area with iron railings around it for safety. You are rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding ranges, forts that sit on top of other peaks, Bhandardara and Arthur lake and an uplifted spirit that looking down from a mountain top provides.


kalsubai trek maharashtra view from top bhandardara backwaters arthur lake
The view from Kalsubai summit of Bhandardara backwaters and Arthur lake.


view of Alang Madan Kulang from kalsubai peak maharashtra trek
View of Alang, Madan, Kulang from Kalsubai peak. Scaling these three mountains is considered one of the toughest treks in Sahyadris.

Kalsubai Temple -The story behind the name

The summit has a small and modest temple for Kalsubai.

We heard two versions of the story.  A woman named Kalsu lived in Indore (not to be confused with the city in MP), a village close to the base, was banished by the villagers and forced to leave. She climbed up this mountain and started living here.

Another local story is that Kalsu bai was a housemaid living in Indore village where her employers tormented and forced her to do menial tasks. She escaped and climbed this mountain and started living here. In both versions, she dies here and hence the temple is built in her memory.

Kalsubai is a local deity and people visit the temple to seek her blessings. In Hindu temples, it is customary to leave your footwear outside before entering, yet it was amazing to see so many devotees climb the peak barefoot to visit the temple on top!


kalsubai peak trek maharashtra selfie view from top summit
That is the officially designated selfie point! Make sure you take a picture here.


Kalsubai Trek -The descent

Monsoons make the descent slippery. And the iron ladders seem intimidating. But if you sincerely did your climbing-ladders-down exercise in primary school – you are emotionally prepared. It took us 2.5 hours to climb down.

yellow periscope trek kalsubai peak maharashtra descent
The descent is a test of your balancing powers and knees.

You don’t move mountains; the mountain moves you

Want to see some other mountains we visited? Do check A trip to Sikkim –Part3. Gurudongmar Lake

Looking for a beginner level hike to do in Mumbai? Check our Mumbai Weekend Getaway – Sanjay Gandhi National Park at Borivali

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