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 🙂
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 – 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.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu
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 Trek – Views from the Summit
After the final ladder, 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 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 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.
You don’t move mountains; the mountain moves you
There is something about climbing mountains that are religious places. Reaching the summit becomes a spiritual experience. Read about our trek to Bhutan’s topmost tourist attraction: Tiger’s Nest trek, Bhutan – places to visit before you die
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