Dhakoba Fort Trek
Dhakoba fort trek is on the Malshej mountain range on the banks of the Darya Ghat in the Junnar area. It was used to keep an eye on the Darya Ghat south of Naneghat and Jeevdhan. As there are no remnants of a fort throughout the Dhakoba fort trek and it is not mentioned anywhere in history, it would not be best not to call it a fort. It is a rather tall peak.
The fort was built on the Malshej mountain range on the banks of the Darya Ghat in the Junnar area to keep an eye on the Darya Ghat south of Naneghat and Jeevdhan. The main purpose of constructing these forts was to keep an eye on the ghats, but as there are no remnants of a fort on Dhakoba hill and it is not mentioned anywhere in history, it would best not to call it a fort. Dhakoba is just a peak, mistakenly referred to as a fort.
Dhakoba fort trek’s highest point is at 4148 feet above sea level. There are no remnants of a fort on the Dhakoba fort trek but it must have been used for surveillance. From the top of Dhakoba fort trek, one can see Naneghat, Daryaghat at the back of Jeevdhan and North Konkan at the foothills. There is a temple of Dhakoba on the plateau. The Dhakoba templ has wooden carvings inside. In the temple, instead of the idol, there is rice with shredded Shendur (Lead Oxide). There is a small stone lantern in front of the temple and some Samadhi stones. There also is a stone Dhoni and a worn out Nandi idol lying in the open. There is a well at the back of the temple which has potable water throughout the year so this temple is the only place to stay overnight on the Dhakoba trek. There are some broken idols in the temple premises. In the forest behind the temple, two or three vertical stones can be seen. There is a dry lake on the plateau. A natural stone cave can be found on the trail that leads to the plateau. The villagers use this to house animals.
There are two trails to reach the mountain, one from the Konkan side and the other from the Deccan side. The trail from Deccan side is pretty easy. The trail from the Konkan side is challenging and used by experienced trekkers only.
Upon entering the Amboli village, one can see the cliffs of Dhakoba peak and the cave. There is an old water body dug in the rock on the left side of the way to the foot of the hill from the village. There is a Ganapati temple at the foot of the hill behind the village. The trail from here leads to Darya Ghat. After crossing some distance along this trail, you will see grooves carved in one or two places to climb the rocks. If you keep walking along this path to the right of Darya Ghat, you will see a natural cave in a short time. It takes an hour to reach Dhakoba by climbing, while it takes half an hour to reach the plateau from this cave on the side of Dhakoba. There is a dry lake on the left side of the plateau. There are two main trails from here, one on the left takes you to the temple of Dhakoba and the one on the right takes you to the foot of Dhakoba.
From here it takes about half an hour to reach the top of Dhakoba. While descending from the top of Dhakoba, a path on the left leads down to the temple of Dhakoba on the plateau, descending from the forest below. It takes an hour and a half to walk around the entire fort.
How to reach
To reach here from Mumbai or Pune, one has to reach the foothills of Amboli. Amboli is the base village for the trek. The distance between Junnar-Aptale-Amboli is about 21 km. There are State Transport buses (ST buses) available from Junnar to Amboli. Private cars and jeeps are rare to find. Travelling in a personal vehicle is recommended as the drive passes through mountain ranges and is very beautiful.