When was the last time you walked through a dense forest where the sun-rays were slipping between the trees to reach you? Imagine this journey – “a walk through a lush green dense jungle in the perfect weather, beautiful right? What if this journey then leads you to an astonishing waterfall which you can have all to yourself? Does it sound unreal? Well, all you need to do is to wear shoes, get going on the Kataldhar Waterfall trek and find it yourself.
Kataldhar Waterfall Trek
Lonavala is a very popular weekend getaway near Pune and Mumbai. In the monsoon season, the entire region near Lonavala turns emerald green and is home to numerous waterfalls. And to witness its beauty, lakhs of tourists makes way to the town. If you are someone who wants to ditch the conventional spots and avoid the crowd, you should definitely explore near-by, for adventure and peace. One such hidden gem is Kataldhar waterfall.
Enroute to start point of Kataldhar Waterfall trek
Kataldhar is a seasonal waterfall located in the Ulhas Valley on the same trek route which further goes towards the popular Rajmachi Fort. The waterfall is inaccessible by road and once has to trek through the dense forest to make it to the waterfall. The experience to reach the waterfall has all the ingredients to give you a high, a high higher than the waterfall.
Dense jungles as seen en-route to Kataldhar Waterfall
How to reach Kataldhar Waterfall
The cheapest and the most convenient way to reach Kataldhar waterfall trek is via railways. The nearest major railway station to Kataldhar waterfall is Lonavala railway station. If you have good fitness level, you can walk all the way to the waterfall from the station (10 kms one way –3 to 4 hours) (take the upper deck Resort route and not the Della Adventure park one – put on Gmaps).
Since the waterfall lies on the same route of Rajmachi Fort trek, the shared taxis operating between Lonavala station and Fanasrai (mostly in monsoon – INR 100) which is the last point where the taxis can go in monsoon, can drop you to the start point of Kataldhar waterfall(ask the taxi driver) which comes en-route (1.5 kms before Fanasrai).
Finding the start point of Kataldhar Waterfall trek is a bit challenging. The only indication is the two identical Mango trees (on the left hand side) (Ribbons are tied on the trees too) which are just 100 meters before the Kune falls (check Kune falls, trek to Rajmachi village on Gmaps). Or, just put in Sas hill on Gmaps and look for the 2 identical Mango trees as shown in below picture (a big stone is also there on the opposite side of trees). You can also inquire at Hotel Kachaldhar which is just opposite to Kune falls. You can ride all the way up to Sas Hill if you are coming by your transport.
Two identical Mango trees – start point of Kataldhar Waterfall Trek
Kataldhar Waterfall trek route
Difficulty level of Kataldhar Waterfall Trek
I would rate Kataldhar Waterfall Trek as a moderate to difficult trek in terms of difficulty. The trek is not tough in terms of steepness, neither in terms of fitness required; it’s just the confusing routes in the dense jungle which makes me call it difficult. The forest is so thick that at places the sun light doesn’t even reach the ground. The dampness & darkness of the forest, the confusing trails, and the chances of getting lost are what all makes it a moderate to difficult trek. There are ribbons & tapes been tied on trees all along the way to guide you.
Dense jungle at Kataldhar Waterfall Trek
My journey to Kataldhar Waterfall Trek
“From writing to publishing a single post, it takes a hell lot of efforts, but when you realize the value it brings to the readers, you feel motivated”.
I had read about the Kataldhar waterfall in an article sometime back on a travel blog. Thanks to my fellow bloggers, otherwise I would have missed out on such a pretty sight and would have only been curious and admired one unnamed waterfall from the top of the Shrivardhan Fort – Rajmachi. I sometimes feel proud of myself and my fellow travel bloggers when we are of some help to others. Our love for travel, exploration and will to spread it is mutual.
Kataldhar waterfall as seen from Shrivardhan Fort Rajmachi
The moment I got to know that there is a trek route to reach the waterfall, I made up my mind to visit it soon. On a Sunday morning, I along with my friend started at 8 am from Pune. I have been to Rajmachi several times before but never noticed that the trek path to the Kataldhar waterfall begins from Kune falls (Sas hill) which lies enroute to Udhewadi, base village of Rajmachi.
Kataldhar Waterfall Trail
There are two similar mango trees tied with ribbon- which is the identifier of the start point of the trek. I had to keep my eyes to the left while driving, noticing trees carefully as to not miss those in particular. After around five minutes of trekking, there is a flat land from where we could see the Shrivardhan Balekilla and Manaranjan Balekilla of Rajmachi fort.
Two identical Mango Trees from where Kataldhar Waterfall trek begins
Flat Plateau at Kataldhar Waterfall trek
There is a small river crossing at the flat plateau after which the trail descends through the dense forest. There are tapes and ribbons tied to trees to guide you to the correct path. Mostly there are few trekkers or none in the way, so it’s quite probable that you might lose your way. If you anytime feel lost, you can always trace back to the last tape/ribbon. Also, there are cairns and arrows marked to further assist you.
Ribbons tied on trees which guide you to the correct trail
Somewhere in the middle of the trek, there is also a fallen tree. You’ll know you are on the right track if you visit anytime soon. The jungle is so dense that even in the afternoon it looks very dark. It was drizzling since morning and I absolutely loved every bit of this jungle trek. The trek is mostly a continuous descend with a patch of ascend near the end from where you can get the view of the waterfall.
Fallen tree log as seen en-route to Kataldhar Waterfall
That is so huge is what I uttered as I got the first glimpse of the waterfall. There were two streams of waterfall separated by around 5 meters. Few people were doing rappelling at this mighty waterfall, must have been an amazing adventure altogether.
It gets very tempting to reach the base of the waterfall to have all the feels, but it’s not advisable especially in the peak of the monsoon where the water flow is unexpected and can get scary anytime. Also, the boulders which lead you to the base of waterfall are very slippery.
Slippery boulder to reach the base of the waterfall
I made it to the base of the waterfall as the water flow wasn’t scary on that particular day. There was no one at the base of the waterfall. I had it all to myself and could sink in this peace of nature in me completely. I was in total awe when I looked at the huge waterfall standing right below it. You don’t do that often, do you?
Kataldhar Waterfall base
I didn’t wanted to leave that place but as there wasn’t any option to stay overnight, we decided to make our way back before it starts getting foggy and dark in the dense jungle. It took us around 1.5 hours to make it back to the starting point where we had parked our bike. After having delicious Maggi at the nearby food joint, we left for Pune with all the beautiful memories.
Shrivardhan Fort as seen on Kataldhar Waterfall trek
Food and stay options at Kataldhar waterfall Trek
There is absolutely no food and stay option while doing the Kataldhar Waterfall Trek. Just a few meters ahead of the start point, opposite to Kune Falls, you will find a small Dhaba “Kachaldhar hotel” where you get basic refreshments. I tried Maggi at the Dhaba and it was very delicious.
The trek will take somewhere around 4 to 6 hours in total, so make sure you carry enough eatables along with you. Also, do carry at least 2-3 water bottles with you.
Somehow if you are late in returning from the waterfall, it would be better to take shelter at the cave overnight as you don’t want to risk wandering in the dense jungle at night. Putting a tent in the jungle is very risky and I would suggest avoiding it. One stay option can be the base village Udhewadi, but that would again need 2.5 hours of trekking from Kataldhar start point.
Note: Do wear full sleeves & full track pant to avoid bites and cuts from mosquitoes as they are in huge numbers. Carry a mosquito repellent if you have one. There are a lot of crabs and long earthworms, so be cautious while trekking.
Best time to visit Kataldhar Waterfall trek
The waterfall is seasonal and depends completely on rains for its source. So the best time to visit the waterfall is the monsoon month starting from July to mid-September. For the rest of the year, if you want to experience a jungle trek, Kataldhar trek could be a great option. But don’t expect a waterfall in the other seasons.
Andharban Jungle trek is mostly crowded in the monsoon season. So if you are someone who is looking for a peaceful jungle trek, Kataldhar Waterfall trek can be a great option. Have you been to Kataldhar Waterfall? If yes, do share your experience in the comment section below.
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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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