Are you thinking of going for a trek in one of the weekends ahead? Maybe you love to go on treks and you have done multiple Himalayan treks. In the past whenever you had thought of trekking, it was places like Uttarakhand or Himachal that came to your mind. Or it was the north-eastern part of the country.
“Don’t limit your challenges, limit your challenges.” is one quote that best suits the AMK trekking experience. The full form of AMK of AMK trek is Alang Madan Kulang trek or Alangad Madangad Kulangad. Located in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, this trek is carried out on Sahyadri’s Kalsubai range. A few of Sahyadris tallest peaks, like Ratangad and Kalsubai (Maharashtra’s highest peak). This is a very demanding trek and one of the most challenging treks that one can do in Maharashtra. If you are an avid trekker, your trekking trips will remain incomplete till you go on this one.The Alang Madan Kulang fort trek are at peaks which all stand at heights which are between 4000 and 5000 feet.
Much is not known about the Alang Madan Kulang history but these three forts have been under various rulers. It was built by the Marathas and then it was captured by the Mughals. Later the Marathas regained their control over it and ultimately the British captured the forts in 1818. The Army of Shivaji had built the Alang, Madan and Kulang forts. They were historically significant as they were strategically built to keep a check on the plains down below from the top. The steps or whatever remains of the steps that you will see on your trek were built under the Shivaji rule. After the British had captured these forts, to stop revolutionaries from reaching the top, the British had blasts to completely damage the steps leading to these forts. That helped to keep the forts in a good condition even now. The three forts cover an enormous range offering some of the best views in maharashtra.
The AMK tower serves the purpose of a watchtower now for looking at the surroundings. One must know how to do rock-climbing before they attempt this trek. This is a trek for those who love to do adventure sports as it will involve walking through jungles, trek, traversing, climbing and rappelling. The trek will need a lot of both mental and physical strength and will be a true test of your endurance power and confidence level.
Know more about the destination:
AMK are three different peaks and this trek will take you to the top of the three most difficult peaks in the Sahyadri range. Getting to all these forts is difficult, especially because of the dense forests. This trek plan will need you to do trekking on two days. The Alang and Madan trek are two of the most difficult treks that are done on the Sahyadris. To finish this trek successfully, one needs to have high endurance. You will have to walk eight hours per day. All the three forts are situated at heights which are above 4800 feet. This is why the scenes that you can enjoy from these forts are unparalleled. The backwaters of Bhandardara and Igatpuri are two landmarks which are nearby. On top of all three forts you will find tall dried grass, almost reaching your knee and there is also natural water which is useful for rainwater harvesting.
Why is this trek gaining popularity?
Because of the need for traversing on the ledges and the technical terrain, it is important to have knowledge about mountaineering. One should have experience in handling climbing equipment too which are technical by nature. This trek spanning over two days needs one to be highly skilled. Yes, you will have to climb to difficult heights but the rewarding views that you get from the plateaus on the top of the forts will leave you stunned.
Yes, you get awesome views from most peaks, wherever they are, but what sets this trek completely apart are the dense forests, age-old scribblings on the rocks, the huge boulders, the caves and the water cisterns. There is no trek which is equal to this one in the entire span of Western Ghats. Once you complete the trek, you are going to fall in love with it and would like to come back again.
You will feel that Alang Madan Kulang is Maharashtra’s Mount Everest. The three forts together form a unique half-moon shape. The mountain shapes here are quite dramatic and something which you will not notice anywhere else on the Sahyadri mountain ranges. It is a dream trek for people who love to trek and one would have to walk a long way on narrow exposed ledges, display rock-climbing and rappelling skills.
It will be a life-changing experience for you. Even if you have been on treks earlier, this trek will help you to develop your trekking skills and overcome your fears. You will be facing your fears and overcome all the challenges. If you want to go on a daring and adventurous trek, a really hard one in the Sahyadri range, then this is for you. Not many people dare to try this trek. Get ready to have the adventure of your life.
If you have been planning on a digital detox as you are constantly online now, either for work or entertainment, this trek will be a wonderful break. Camping at the trek without having any network will actually be refreshing. Book this package ASAP. You will not have to manage extra time to plan ahead and book to-and-fro transportation and worry about where you will stay if you go alone. This is a major concern especially for solo travellers who are female. But beware, this is not a trek which is fun and chilled out. If you have been to easy treks like the Rajmachi trek on the Western Ghats, this trek is nothing like the Rajmachi trek. You will regret later if you book without reading up all the information.
If you are coming to this trek on your own and without any travel group, you can come down to Igatpuri and spend one night at a hotel or resort there. People also camp at Igatpuri before going on their treks in the morning as it is a beautiful location and very relaxing.
But this is not a trek which should be done or can be done solo. It is highly recommended that you be in a group that has at least two more people. And if there are only two others in your group, they need to be experts in mountain climbing and handling equipment needed in mountain climbing. Also if you are going in a larger group having inexperienced climbers, please don’t skip on hiring local guides from the base village. These local guides generally will carry all the equipment that you would need on this trek.
This is one of the most unique treks that one can do in India. Adventure junkies from all corners of the country who enjoy the adrenaline rush come here for the rappelling and rock-climbing experiences. Climbing to the fort will require you to do rock climbing and traversing. There are no other options. If you are new to trekking, then you will have to be absolutely prepared. It is not entirely impossible if you have the required mental and physical fitness, experienced trekkers should be able to complete the trek after a nice challenge. Not only proper guidance, but also technical equipment are needed to cross the rock patches that will fall on your way while you head out for the Alang Fort and Madan Fort.
Alangad or Alang is a fort located in Maharashtra’s Nashik District. The other two forts of the three are the Madangad and Kulang.The Alang fort is in Western Ghats’ Kalsubai range. These three forts are all forts which are extremely hard to reach. The thick forests add to the difficulty level of the trek. The path leading to the forts can confuse people and the forts look neglected and affected by heavy rains. Alang might look scary from a distance but the closer you are to the fort around sunrise time, the landscape looks straight out of a movie.
You can find a guide before starting your trek in the base village. Guides generally stay in the base villages and they are well-mannered individuals who guide groups of people regularly. Some have been doing it for years.
After one finishes the Kulang trek and leaves the Kulang Fort, they would need about 3.5 hours to reach the steps of Madan Fort. This is the place where trekkers have to do rock climbing. Cannons were used to blast off the walls of these steps. Rappelling using belay procedures and rock climbing are mostly used in the Madan Fort Trek. One will have to use a fixed rope for climbing. You will need to be at the peak of your fitness level. The steps especially here are mind blowingly steep. You will find two water cisterns and a big cave on this fort. There is a large plateau at the top of the fort. This fort is surrounded by many other forts. There are Anjaneri, Harihar and Trimbakgad on its north, the Aajobagad, Harishchandragad, Katrabai, Khutta and Ratangad on its south, and Aundh Fort, Bitangad, Kalasubai and Patta on the east. All of Madan Fort, you will find remains of buildings.
Though located in the same area of the other two forts, climbing the Kulang Fort is the hardest. You will come across remnants of rock-cut steps while you climb up. Though technically if you judge, climbing to this fort might be easier but there are many many steps that one will have to climb. It will take you six hours to reach the fort from Kulanwadi. There are about five water cisterns which form things to see on this fort. You will be able to see Mahuli’s three peaks from here. The views that you get from Kulang are especially noteworthy. The caves present on the fort can be used for camping. The encaptivating sights will make it worth all the effort that you will be putting to reach there. If you have any interest in history, the remnants of the forts like the caves, water cisterns and tall walls will keep you interested and occupied as you explore the fort. We will visit this fort after Alang Madan.
Things to look out for:
Once you reach the plateaus on top of the forts, you will get beautiful panoramic views of the farms, peaks and water reservoirs in the surrounding region. These views are a major draw for all the tourists. For example, on the Kulang trek, when you reach the top of Kulang Fort, you will get a view of Alang and Madan forts on the left, the Bhandardara reservoir located at a distance behind the Alang Fort. You will also be able to see the Ghatghar reservoir on the right side.
Generally on trek routes, the vertical rocks do have some kind of support which trekkers can hold onto while climbing up or down. Unfortunately when you are on the AMK trek, you will not be able to traverse the vertical rocks without using technical equipment. This feature makes the trek both challenging and unique at the same time. No other trek route on the Sahyadris demands trekkers to be so skilled.
At the foothills of Alang and Kulang Forts, there are thick forests which are real treasures of the Sahyadris. As you walk through dense forests, you will be amazed with the diverse flora and fauna. You will cross streams, rocks and boulders. You will find big boulders in the forests when you will move towards the Alang Fort.
Now these are some things which are not easily seen or found while trekking. Even if you have seen water cisterns earlier, they must have been in the shapes of circles, rectangles or squares. If you look at the water cisterns here from above, you will be dumbstruck to see that they are almost shaped like waffles! There is no chance of the water to overflow. All the boxes get equally filled with water. You will be left wondering at the dexterous architectural skills that builders in ancient times possessed.
You will have an adrenaline rush when you will have to undergo long traverses on ledges and that too, at various points on this trek. You have to walk on ledges which are stretched to more than a kilometer! Your heart will pound as there will be a thousand feet drop on one side and hard rocks on the other side.
You will get some unbelievable views of all the surrounding villages. You can camp overnight in the caves with other trekkers. Viewing the sunrise/sunset from the forts and grand views of the Sahyadri mountains will make the trek memorable. And of course this is a very long trek filled with surprising challenges like slippery surfaces, rock climbing, steep slopes, rappelling and so on! You will cross gorges and deep valleys
“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” Another quote which best describes this trek. Do it to realise how true it is. If you take pride in your trekking history, test your mettle again by going on this adrenaline-pumping trek. The climb here will be filled with adventures and thrills. You will really know how good a trekker you still are! A sense of accomplishment will fill your heart every time you reach the summit of a fort.
The best time to go on this trek is anytime between the months of October and March. During the monsoon, the AMK trek remains closed as it involves steep and rough climbing. The perfect time to go climbing in Maharashtra is actually November to February. The rocks get slippery when it rains so that time should be avoided. In summer, it becomes really hot as the temperature shoots up. Though, if you compare the risks, you can go for this trek during summer, if you must. But DO NOT attempt this trek at any cost during monsoon. This trek is difficult enough when the weather is at its best, in monsoon it becomes life-threatening.
How to reach there on your own:
Most trekkers like to start hiking from the base village which is called Ambewadi. This village is closer to Kasara Railway Station. This station falls on the Central Railway Line of Mumbai Locals. If you are coming from Pune or Mumbai and want to reach here using public transport, board a local train running on the Central Railway Line and get down at Kasara station. And then you can hire a shared jeep to go to the base village.
Leave Secunderabad Railway Station at 1.20 pm
Arrive at Nashik by 3 am
Reach the base village by taking a local transport
Arrive at base village and head towards Alang Fort after having breakfast
Start climbing up towards Alang Fort
Climb the patch wall (70 feet)
Exploration of the fort and cisterns
Descend the 70 feet patch wall & move towards Madan Fort
After crossing the steps, climb another 50 feet high edge with the help of rock climbing equipments
View the sunset after reaching the fort
Camping at Madan Fort
Lunch to be cooked here
Doze off to sleep after gazing at the star-lit sky
Wake up and freshen up. Descend the 50 feet rock patch. Move in the direction of Kulang Fort.
Climb the rock-carved steps
Exploration of Kulang Fort after reaching
Climb down the steps and head for the base village
Board the train at 8.50pm from Manmad
Arrive at Hyderabad at 8.50 am