It’s been a while since I was confined to the four walls of my room. COVID-19 rarely allowed me to go a few meters away from my locality, and if it taught me something extremely crucial other than valuing life, it was the value of thoughts. The thoughts that process through my nerves and bloom my soul, the thoughts about lying near a camp covered under a starry night. As the lockdown restrictions eased up a bit, I decided, I’d rather venture out and be in the mountain thinking of home than at home thinking of the mountain.
I was searching for someplace near Pune where I could camp, where there is not much crowd at night. I did not wanted to drive too far, neither wanted to trek for long. I came across this place called Dukes Nose Lonavala in an Instagram story and thought it could be just the perfect place for me.
Locally known as ‘Nagphani’, Duke’s Nose is named after Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley (1st Duke of Wellington) whose nose resembled the shape of the cliff. Apart from the breathtaking views this place provides, it is also popular for thrilling activities like rock climbing, valley crossing, slacklining and highlining which attract many adventure enthusiasts throughout the year.
Camping at Dukes Nose Lonavala
How to reach Duke’s Nose from Pune/Mumbai/Lonavala
The cheapest and most convenient way to reach the Duke’s Nose is via railways. The nearest railway station to Duke’s Nose is Lonavala railway station which is well connected to Pune, Mumbai and other parts of the country. Kurvande, the base village of Duke’s Nose is located around 6 kms from the railway station. As such there is no public transport for Kurvande, one can either take an auto or walk all the way to the village. The exact map location of parking is Kurvande.
What I would suggest is to rent a bike from Pune/Mumbai (around 300 INR/per day). The road trip would add more fun to your entire journey.
Various trek routes for Duke’s Nose
There are mainly 2 trekking routes to reach the top of Duke’s Nose.
1)The Kurvande Village Route: This trek route is the easier one of the two. The initial trail is mostly flat until you reach a point from where you can choose either of the mountains to ascend from. Trekking through the left side mountain is a bit tricky as one has to trek along the ridge, where a small slip and you will find yourselves deep in the Sahyadri valley. For beginners, I would recommend the right side mountain. Both mountains are connected through a small trail at the top. In total, it takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour to reach Duke’s nose top from the start point.
2) Khandala Railway station route: This trek route is longer compared to Kurvande. From Khandala station, one needs to go towards the Tata Power Plant (2 kms ) which is the start point of the trek. From here, keep looking for the arrows so you don’t miss the route. In total, it takes around 2 to 2.5 hours to reach the top from this route.
The group at Duke’s nose trek
Difficult level of Duke’s Nose Trek
I would rate Duke’s nose trek as an easy trek in terms of difficulty if you are trekking from the Kurvande Village and would highly recommend it to the beginners. If you are doing the trek in monsoon, just be extra cautious as the route becomes a little slippery. If you are looking for the long trek and more adventure, you can take the Khandala railway station route.
My Journey to Duke’s Nose Lonavala
The year 2020 has been tough for almost everyone. No one would have ever imagined that something like this would ever happen. One of the most impacted industries from Covid 19 is surely the travel industry. Thinking about families who just used to earn their livelihood from tourism, it makes me feel very sad. How hard would have been the last few months for them? Things have started to improve a bit, a big thanks to the hard work the entire medical industry has been putting in.
Camping option at Dukes Nose
Being confined to four walls of my room from the last 6 months, finally, I was so looking forward to camp somewhere high in Sahyadris where there is little or no crowd. Duke’s nose being so near to Pune, I thought it would be the perfect place to start my travel journey again. I along with my few friends started from Pune around 2:30 PM.
We reached the Base village Kurvande at around 4:00 pm. There is ample parking space at the start point. The trail is well marked and one can see the Duke’s nose all along the way so chances of getting lost are almost nil. It was so exciting to trek after so long, oh God how much I missed the mountains!! I cried of happiness, the happiness of being back in my world.
Start point at Dukes nose trek
The initial route was almost flat until we reached the point where one has to choose from either of the mountains to ascend from. And we choose the more adventurous route, the left side mountain which also has the temple at the top. Trekking through this mountain is a bit tricky as it is a ridge where one side is the deep valleys all along. If trekking in monsoon, I would recommend to either avoid this route or be extra cautious.
Left side mountain passes along a ridge
The Ridge at Dukes Trek Lonavala
Within no time we made it to the top and it was now time to enjoy the sunset. It was a bit cloudy, but the hues of the sunset were just splendid. As such there is nothing much at the top except the Lord Shiva temple but the nearby views are beautiful. We decided to set up our tent near the temple. We had brought packed dinner knowing that there won’t be anything available at the top.
Sunset hues as seen from Duke’s nose
Enjoying food at Duke’s nose trek
As it started to get dark, I could see the city lights in the near vicinity. The winds had just picked up, and the temperature had just started dipping. It was a cold night. But that did not stop me from lying down and appreciating the views of the sky full of stars. What a feeling it was!! It reminded me of all the fun I had during the Rai-ling plateau camping.
The sky full of stars at Dukes Nose trek
We woke up around 6:00 am, and the sky colour had just started to turn orange. The sunrise views were breathtaking. After enjoying the sunrise, it was time to explore the other mountain and the tail. It started getting a bit crowded as adventure junkies had turned up for various activities like valley crossing and rock climbing.
Sunrise at Dukes Nose Trek
The trail to reach the tail of the mountain is very tricky and if you are a beginner, you can rather avoid going there. On a clear day, one can see Rajmachi Fort and various other Sahyadri peaks from the top. It took us around 1.5 hours to 2 hours to completely explore the mountain.
The trail going towards Dukes nose tail
Best time to visit Dukes Nose Lonavala
Undoubtedly, the rainy months of July, August and September is the best time to visit the Duke’s Nose as the surroundings are lush green and the weather is extremely pleasant. But remember, for the most part of the day the surroundings may not be visible from the fort due to the heavy fog. For those looking to enjoy the nearby views and also camping at night, October to February would be a perfect time.
Valley crossing 350m at Dukes Nose
Food and stay option at Dukes Nose
As such, there is no stay option and generally, people visit this place for a day trip. The only option is to set up your own tent either at the top or on the flat plateau which comes on the way to the tail. You need to carry your own food as there is nothing available at the base village neither at the top.
It was now time to start with the descend and wrap up yet another exciting journey. We made it to the base village in an hour and eventually Pune by afternoon. Though it was a short trek, it was filled with a lot of memories. I am surely going to visit this place soon. For more details of what we explored you can watch the below video
For more details, you can also check out my latest vlog on Duke’s Nose trek. If you find the video helpful do like, share and subscribe to my channel 🙂
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