Kalavantin Durg fort trek lies between Matheran and Panvel. It is just opposite to Prabalgad fort and clearly visible from Mumbai-Pune highway with it’s distinct shape. It is considered to be one of the most dangerous fortress because of it’s approach from steep rock cut steps.
Little is known about the forts history. According to the folklore, the fort was built for a queen named Kalavantin.On Holi (Shimga) Festival, the Adivasi People of the Prabalmachi village observe the custom of dancing at the top of Kalavantin fort. It was used a secret hideout by freedom fighter Umaji Naik in the early 19th century. Kalavantin Durg’s history is often mixed with that of the nearby Prabalgad Fort which was built at 685-metre (2,300 foot) high stone spire around 530 BC during Bahmani Sultanate. Around 1458 AD the fort was taken over by Ahmadnagar Sultanate. In the following centuries it was conquered by the Mughal Empire, and became the theater of many battles by different dynasties.
Nested between Panvel and Matheran, Kalavantin Durg offers great views of the Western Ghats, Prabalgad, Peb, Irshalgad and Chanderi Forts as well as panoramic vistas of Matheran and the city of Mumbai. Kalavantin Durg is more of a watch tower and is a twin to Prabalgad, which is an established fort. Prabalmachi is the village half way to the top of any of these mountains.
The trail from Thakurwadi, the base village to the Prabalmachi is well defined and easy. It is a mud trail and is home to a lot of scorpions and snakes. It takes about 3 hours to reach the top of Kalavantin Durg from the base village. Prabalmachi has a lot of small establishments that provide snacks, supper and accomodation. Further from Prabalmachi the trail ascends to the col between the two mountains with Kalavantin Durg on the left and Prabalgad to the right. The trail from this point onwards is treacherous and exposed. One has to negotiate spiralling rock cut steps without any railings. A slip here is certain death. One needs to be careful while ascending this stretch. Just shortly before the top is a small patch that offers very good view of Prabalgad. The access to the top is via a small rock patch. There is a fixed rope that aids in climbing this stretch and one need to be very careful here.
How to reach
To reach Thakurwadi, alight at Panvel Railway Station. Take a State Transport Bus till Khopoli or get down at Shendung Phata. You can take a Share Auto Rickshaw from here.