The earth has music for those who listen and this time the melodious symphony of mother Earth took me to one of the cave trek in the Sahyadri hill range. A trek that is definitely not for the fainthearted person. A trek where one needs an assistance of a rope to make it through. A trek where one mistake and you’re dead. Any guesses? Yes, I am talking about the “Dhak Bahiri Cave Trek”.
Dangerous Dhak Bahiri Cave Trek route
Located on the Dhak peak in the Jambhavali region, to reach the Dhak Bahiri cave, one needs to ascend a col, walk along a scarp and finally a vertical ascent of almost 70-degree gradient. A small mistake and you will find yourself somewhere deep in the valleys of Sahayadri’s. Despite being so risky, the trek is quite popular among the Mumbaikar’s and the Punker’s who are looking to experience something extraordinary.
Dhak Bahiri Cave in Background
Dhak Mountain as seen on Dhak Bahiri Cave Trek
Abhi, are you mad? Are you sure you are going do this? Look down isn’t it too deep? Well even after all these horrible questions running in my mind, I did it. Somehow binding all my courage and determination, I reached to the top and the views were splendid. It is the beauty that becomes the biggest reward every time. All I remember is reaching the top and the wind whispering, you are not in the mountain, the mountains are in you.
Deep jungles on Dhak Bahiri Cave Trek
How to reach Dhak Bahiri Cave trek
The trek can be accessed from various routes with Sandashi village and Jambhavali being the major ones. Sandashi is located around 12 kms from the Karjat. Karjat is well connected to Mumbai and Pune via railways and roadways. From Karjat, one can take the local bus for Sandashi.
Jambhavali is located around 20 kms from Kamshet. One can take a local train from Pune/Mumbai and get down at Kamshet from where local buses/ shared taxis are available for Jambhavali.
What I will suggest is to hire a bike from Pune (INR 300-400) and explore Dhak Bahiri on a road trip. For bike rentals, you can compare prices at various bikes rental websites like Royal Brothers, wheelstreet, sabrentkaro, and rentrip.
Lushing green surroundings as seen on Dhak Bahiri Cave Trek
Various trekking routes for Dhak Bahiri Cave trek and their difficulty level
There are many trekking routes options available to reach the Dhak Bahiri Cave:
• Jambhavali – Kondeshwar route: It is the shortest and the most preferred route amongst all the possible routes. With few gradual ascends and descends, it takes around 1 hour to reach the col between Kalakarai Pinnacle and the mountain in which Dhak cave is carved. From here, the route is difficult as one has to walk along a scarp and climb a vertical ascent of almost 70-degree gradient to reach the cave.
Col between Kalakarai Pinnacle and Dhak Mountain
• Sandashi village route: The initial stretch of the route is quite confusing and you can take help of a local to guide you to the correct trail. Do look out for the ribbons which are tied on trees all along the trail. It generally takes around 3 hours to reach the base of Dhak cave from where the 70-degree gradient starts.
Orange ribbons which guide you to correct trail
• Rajmachi route: It is the most uncommon route among the three. If you are seeking for something more adventurous, you can give this route a try.
Dhak Bahiri Cave trek trail
My journey to Dhak Bahiri Cave
Will it be dangerous? Should I go for it? Is it worth taking the risk? With all these questions churning in my mind, I finally decided to make a visit to one of the toughest trek of the Sahayadri’s i.e. the Dhak Bahiri cave Trek. The trek can be called toughest, not in the terms of the overall length of the trek but entirely due to the difficult section towards the end.
The 70-degree gradient on Dhak Bahiri Cave Trek
Nowadays, it’s pretty rare to witness stars in the sky if you are living in a crowded city like Pune. Pollution has taken away this beauty. With moon being at waxing crescent phase, I was pretty sure to be blessed with a sky full of stars if I can travel somewhere far from the crowded town!!
Stars as seen from Kondeshwar temple
Owing to experience a sky full of stars and witnessing the sunrise view somewhere from the mountain region, I along with one of my friend decided to start from Pune around 9 pm. We had planned to stay overnight at Kondeshwar temple and do an early morning hike to Dhak Bahiri cave.
Kondeshwar temple – a stay option for Dhak Bahiri cave trek
As we approached the village of Jambhavali, we could see a drastic increase in the count of stars. After a drive of around 1.5 hours from Pune, we made it to the Kondeshwar temple. We were stunned to see so many stars in the sky and I couldn’t resist myself taking out the tripod and start clicking a few pictures of this beauty.
Making friends along various treks has become a habit
The temple is surrounded with mountains from all sides and spending a night at the temple is an experience in itself. At a far distance, we could see our destination, yes the Dhak Mountain. With surroundings being so peaceful, we could hear the sound of wind whispering through the trees. I loved every bit of my time spent out there.
Dhak Bahiri Cave trek
With being so engaged to capture the beauty of the sky and the nearby surroundings that we didn’t even realize that it was already 2 am. Finally, we decided to put down our sleeping bag inside the temple premises and have a nap for 3-4 hours. We woke up around 6 am and in order to see the sunrise from a top of a mountain, we started our trek towards Dhak Bahiri Cave.
Trek starts from thisKund behind Kondeshwar temple
The initial trail just starts next to the Kondeshwar temple where there is a small Kund. From there look towards Dhak Mountain and you will see a small flat plateau at a distance. That is the correct direction for you to head to. If you are confused take a help of a local who will show you the correct trail. The trail is well marked and the ribbons put on the trees provides an added advantage.
Dhak Bahiri Cave trek route
We were blessed with some breathtaking views of the morning hues just before the sunrise. The trail passes through deep jungles until you reach the col in between Kalakarai pinnacle and the mountain in which Dhak cave is carved. From here you descend down, walk along the scarp and finally climb a vertical ascent to make it to the cave. Enough grips, iron railings and ropes at the final patch have been already installed.
Morning hues as seen on Dhak Bahiri Cave Trek
I would advise everyone to be very careful in the last stretch as a small mistake here and you very well know the outcome. Those who are faint-hearted should skip the final stretch, though you shouldn’t be disappointed as you would already experience a lot on this trek. There is a temple of Lord Bahiri (Bhairavnath) inside the caves. From the top one can see Rajmachi Fort, Visapur Fort, Manikgad, Karnala etc.
Kalakarai Pinnacle in background
Note: Sometimes, the Pujari does not allow girls to enter the cave. So avoid visiting during menstrual cycle if you are really interested to hike up to the cave.
Dhak Bahiri Cave temple
Best time to visit Dhak Bahiri Cave trek
The best time to visit the cave is from October to February as the weather is pleasant and the surroundings are still green. Cold winds flow for the most part of the day. I would suggest you to avoid doing this trek in the monsoon season. If you are still planning to do it in monsoon, I would recommend you to skip doing the final stretch. In summers, the rocks become quite hot and it would be hard to grip them.
Wooden bamboo to support the climb
Food and stay options on Dhak Bahiri Cave trek
At Kondeshwar temple and Dhak Bahiri, there is no food option available, so I would recommend you to carry all eatables along with you. Also, do carry a good amount of drinking water. Make sure you don’t fill your bag much as it would be hard to traverse in the final section carrying it.
One can stay at the Kondeshwar temple or at the Dhak Bahiri Cave itself. You can also put up your tent anywhere between Kondeshwar temple and Dhak Bahiri Cave trail.
Friend sleeping at Kondeshwar Temple
The tent that I carry during the treks is Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent. It has enough space for 2 people.
In the lap of God Bahiri, I dream about the upcoming adventures and I shared my fears and desire with him. It was blissful. I told him about how adventure fills my heart with flowers, how I search for truth in new places and how this holy curiosity makes my life worth living.
Kalakarai Pinnacle – Need equipment and experience in mountaineering to climb this
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Are you looking for some essential travel gear? Check out my blog post on What’s in my Backpack.
Looking for more weekend gateway options near Pune and Mumbai? Check out these blog posts:
- A cycle trip to Lavasa city from Pune (INR 100)
- Andharban jungle and Devkund Waterfall Trek – Time to get lost in the dense forest
- Satara – A road trip to the Maharashtra’s Valley of Flowers from Pune (INR 800)
- Tikona Fort Trek and Pawna Lake – One day trip near Pune (INR 250)
- A two-day trip to Torna Fort and Madhe Ghat Waterfall(INR 400)
- Matheran – Asia’s only automobile free hill station
- Daman – A Glimpse of Portugal Heritage
- A road trip to Harihareshwar, Shrivardhan and Diveagar Beach from Pune (INR 1200)
- Kalsubai Peak – Trek to the highest peak of Maharashtra (INR 600)
- Korigad Fort Trek – Exciting one day trek near Pune Mumbai (INR 300)
- Bendewadi, Laalwadi and Jagtap waterfalls – Go get lost in the land of waterfalls!! (INR 300)
- Experience the sunrise from Lohagad Fort near Pune/Mumbai (INR 150)
- Visapur Fort Trek – Thrilling one day trek near Pune Mumbai (INR 200)
- Rajmachi Fort Trek, adventurous one day trip near Mumbai and Pune (INR 350)
- 12-hours monsoon road trip exploring Tamhini Ghat (INR 300)
- An exciting road trip to Purandar Fort from Pune (INR 300)
- Tung Fort Trek – A journey through the clouds (INR 250)
- Nashik City – An exciting two day trip from Pune/Mumbai/Surat (INR 1500)
- Rajgad Fort Trek – An exciting one-day trek near Pune/Mumbai (INR 200)
- Katraj to Sinhagad night trek – An exciting trek near Pune (INR 250)
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