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Now, if you want to trek to Prabalgad, Kalavantin forts near Pune, you have to follow these strict rules

Following city trekker Chetan Dhande’s death, Shiv Sahyadri Trekking Group and forest department have joined hands to end mishaps on the fort 

pune Updated: Jul 02, 2018 17:09 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Prabalgad,Kalavantin forts,Pune
Kalavantin Durg from Prabalgad fort. (Aniruddha Kelkar)

PUNE Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg in Panvel are among the top destinations for adventure enthusiasts. Every year, a number of trekkers visit the forts to experience the breathtaking view from the top. Sadly, the number of mishaps and rescue missions have also been on the increase.

On February 10, 27-year-old trekker Chetan Dhande slipped and fell into a 700ft gorge, resulting into his death. The tragedy came as a wake-up call for the local administration.

The Shiv Sahyadri trekking group, which has been active in fort restoration and rescue missions for several years in Panvel, took up an initiative with help from divisional forest officer NN Kupte, and formed the Prabal Machi joint forest committee.

“Kalavantin Durg is not a place to go casually. It has a steep gradient, the route is narrow and terrain is rough and it’s advisable to climb the fort under the supervision of professional or experienced trekker. However, it has been observed that enthusiasts visit the fort without any knowledge or experience. Every year, accident cases are registered. However, this time, we got a call from Chetan Dhande’s mother and she urged us to stop such incidents in the future. So we decided to work on that with the help from Swanand Joshi of Safe climbing initiative (SCI), Pune,” said Rohit Katkar of Shiv Sahyadri.

“Initially it was suggested we install safety ropes at the difficult and risky patches on the fort, but it wasn’t practically possible. The need was to keep a check on over-enthusiastic trekkers. So, we approached the forest department and they also co-operated with us for this venture,” he added.

The committee has put down guidelines for trekkers and will be implementing it from this week. As per the new rules, no trekker will be allowed to enter the area before 6am and after 5pm. Every person will enrol their details and pay Rs 20 as entry fee. No trekker or group will be allowed to enter the fort without local guides and they will have to pay them Rs 50 for Prabalgad, and Rs 50 for Kalavantin Durg. No one will be allowed use plastic bags or bottles inside the fort.

“We have trained 50 local villagers as guides and this will help them get a good earning. The amount generated from entry fees will be used for the development and cleaning of the fort. The guide will not allow anyone to litter or consume alcohol or tobacco on the fort. The defaulters will pay a hefty fine,” said Katkar.

Fort watch

Prabalgad is located between Matheran and Panvel and stands at an elevation of 2,300 feet (700 m) in the Western ghats. Kalavantin, also known as Kalavati or Kalavantinicha Sulka, is a 685m high pinnacle on the northern edge of the Prabal plateau. It is located near near Vajepur village.

Trekking rules for Prabalgad and Kalavantin Durg

No trekker will be allowed to enter the area before 6am and after 5pm.

Every person will enrol their details and pay Rs 20 as entry fee.

No trekker or group will be allowed to enter the fort without local guides and they will have to pay them Rs 50 for Prabalgad, and Rs 50 for Kalavantin Durg.

No one will be allowed use plastic bags or bottles inside the fort.

First Published: Jul 02, 2018 17:08 IST