Imagine walking on a railway track amidst dozens of waterfalls. Imagine walking on a railway track surrounded by dense jungle. Imagine walking on a railway track in foggy weather. Imagine walking on a railway track admiring the lush green valley views. Oh hello, I am not talking about the Dudhsagar Waterfall trek. This railway track then leads you to a beautiful Fort known as “Peb Fort”.
Waterfalls as seen on Peb Fort Trek route
Peb Fort also known as “Vikatgad” is located in Raigad district of Maharashtra. Due to its proximity to the famous hill station Matheran near Mumbai, the fort attracts many trekkers mostly during the weekends. From the top of the Peb Fort, one can enjoy a 360 -degree view of the entire Matheran Hill range. One can choose the trek route of Matheran toy train track to reach the fort.
Matheran Toy train railway track
How to reach Peb Fort
The cheapest and most convenient way to reach the Peb Fort is via railways. The nearest railway station to Peb Fort is Neral Station. From Mumbai take a Karjat bound local train and get down at Neral Station. If you are coming from Pune, catch any Mumbai bound train and get off at Karjat. Now catch a CST-bound local train from Karjat and get down at Neral. Also, there are few direct trains from Pune to Neral(Sahyadri exp).
From Neral station, you can catch a shared Taxi for Matheran(INR 80) and ask the driver to drop you at the start point of Peb Fort trek ( 134 NM) which is few kms before the Dasturi Point.
134 NM- The start point of Peb Fort Trek
Difficulty level of Peb Fort Trek
The difficulty level of Peb Fort trek depends on which route you are taking. I took the easiest route to reach the Peb Fort trek which starts from 134 NM. In terms of difficulty, I would rate this route as an easy to medium level. One or two sections to reach the Peb Fort are little tricky especially in the monsoon season as it gets slippery, so be extra careful. There is no rope or railing for assistance, so a small mistake can be life-threatening.
Peb Fort trek Route
Various trek routes to reach Peb Fort
1)Matheran toy train route: This is the easiest route amongst all available. It starts from the rail marking 134 NM until you reach 154 NM from where you leave the railway track route and start the descend for the Peb Fort. After the descend, one has to ascend for around half an hour to reach the Fort top where there is a temple. On your return journey, you can reach the same point 154 NM and trek this time towards 180 NM which is near to Dasturi Point/Aman Lodge.
Peb Fort Trek route
2)Aanand wadi/Fanaswadi route: From Neral station, you can take a shared auto to reach Aanand wadi which is around 3-4 kms. You can also walk all the way to base village. The trek route to reach the Peb Fort from the village is a bit confusing and one has to follow the electric poles which guide you to the correct path. If you are a beginner, I would recommend you to take a local guide along with you.
The Sahyadri as seen on Peb fort trek
My journey to Peb Fort
“Trekking in a dense jungle along the railway tracks” sound interesting, isn’t it? But is it really allowed to trek along the railway tracks? Trekking on the railway track is a punishable offence with a penalty of imprisonment for up to 6 months and or fine up to Rs. 1000. So how is it possible to trek to the Peb Fort along the railway track?
The railway tracks in Matheran
The toy train services from Neral to Matheran is mostly closed during the monsoon due to the chances of landslides in the rail route. Also, during the other seasons, the toy train runs at a very slow speed so trekking isn’t banned on these tracks. I was fascinated to see a few photos of the trek on Instagram with waterfalls pouring on the railway track. That moment, I decided that I was visiting it very soon.
Landslides at Neral Matheran Toy train track route
I along with one of my friends took the Sahyadri express from Pune(7:00 AM) which reaches the Neral station at 10:00 AM. The rail route passes through the ghat sections of Lonavala and Khandala and provides some stunning views of Sahyadris.
From Neral station, we took a shared taxi for Matheran (INR 80 per person) which dropped us to a junction called 134 NM from where one can begin the Peb Fort trek.
Peb Fort as seen from the railway track
After doing the Dudhsagar Waterfall trek a few years back, I was waiting desperately to experience something of similar sorts. I was getting excited, excited to walk along the railway tracks. Without wasting any time, we started with the trek.
Lush green views as seen on Peb fort trek
After a few minutes into trekking, I shouted in excitement as I got a glimpse of a waterfall falling on the railway track. I rushed towards it, threw my bag in excitement and the other moment I was beneath the waterfall completely drenched.
Waterfall at Peb Fort trek
I was loving every moment of trekking along the railway lines. The views of the lush green valleys were fabulous and the sky was crystal clear. After walking for around 45 minutes or so, we made it to a point 154 NM from where one has to take the staircase way and start the descend to reach Peb Fort.
This patch is a bit tricky as there are no ropes or railing for safety and it generally gets little slippery in the monsoon. A small slip can throw you hundreds of meters down into the deep valleys. So be extra careful while traversing this patch.
Risky Trek patch
Further ahead starts the ascend which takes you to the ladder section. From the ladder section, it takes around 20 minutes to reach the topmost point of the fort where a temple dedicated to Swami Samartha is situated.
Ladders at Peb Fort
The 360-degree view from the top is just breathtaking. It was very windy and within moments the fort was completely covered under clouds. Then it started raining heavily. I sat near the temple just admiring the amazing views and thanking God for the gift of beautiful nature he has given us.
At the top of Peb Fort
After spending an hour at the top, we begin with the return journey. At the point 154 NM, we decided to take the other route so as to reach Matheran. Just as you pass the point 156 NM, you will get a good view of the huge Lord Ganesh Idol. The route is quite scenic as it is mostly covered with dense forest.
Ganesh Idol as seen from 156 NM
The sunlight was trying its absolute best to make its way through the dense forest. After walking for an hour, we made it to the point 180 NM which is situated near to Dasturi point/ Aman Lodge.
Dense Jungle of Matheran
We decided to go to Matheran from Dasturi point again by walking along the railway tracks. I had already visited Matheran a few years back so just wanted to visit it in search of good food as I was starving.
After enjoying some tasty local food at Matheran, we returned back to Dasturi point from where we got a shared taxi for Neral. With all the beautiful memories, we took a return train to Pune.
Near Aman Lodge Matheran
Food and stay options at Peb Fort Trek
As such, there is absolutely no food option available during the trek so make sure you carry few eatables along with you. Once you end the trek at Dasturi Point, there are few small dhabas where you can enjoy the local food. Do carry at least 2 water bottles along with you. ‘
Peb Fort near Matheran
For stay option, you can either pitch in a tent at the top of the Fort or stay at the Swami Samartha temple. Also, there are a lot of stay options available at Matheran so you can find the same once you reach Matheran.
The tent that I carry during the treks is Quechua Arpenaz 2 Tent. It has enough space for 2 people.
Best time to visit Peb Fort
Undoubtedly, the monsoon months of July, August and September is the best time to visit the Peb Fort as the surroundings are lush green and the weather is extremely pleasant. Also, you can enjoy the numerous waterfall falling on the railway tracks. But remember, for the most part of the day the surroundings may not be visible from the fort due to the heavy fog.
Pune to Neral: INR 100( return journey, local train)
Neral to the Start point of Peb Fort: INR 80
Dasturi to Neral: INR 80
Food: INR 140 (breakfast & Lunch)
Total: INR 100 + INR 80+ INR 80 + INR 150 = INR 400
The entire journey from Pune to Peb Fort and back turned out to be extremely delightful. Walking along the railway tracks, enjoying the mesmerizing views from the top of Peb Fort, enjoying the local food in the foggy weather at Matheran, and taking a bath in a waterfall, I couldn’t have asked for much in a days’ time. I hope I will return soon to this beautiful fort, maybe by trekking from the other route.
Always try to carry a torch with you while trekking. The one I would recommend is: amiciVision Metal LED Torch Flashlight
Do follow me on Instagram as I am regularly posting travel posts and stories over there. Also, you can message me on Instagram if you want to join me on my next trip.
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)
Hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post/ travel guide on Peb Fort trek. To get regular updates on upcoming budget blog posts from On a Cheap Trip, please subscribe by entering your name and E-mail address in the Newsletter below. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest as well as on Twitter.