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Unconquered Kohoj

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Palghar is known for many forts, mainly sea forts and hill forts.

My last trek was to Kaldurg Fort, it was my second attempt and I was successful. So I planned to do Kohoj which was nearby to Kaldurg.

I gathered information online about the whereabouts of the fort. The fort can be identified by a human like rock formation atop the fort. Reminded me of the movie “Behind Enemy Lines featuring Owen Wilson, which had a statue of an Angel up the hill and how the enemies destroy the statue with gun firing.” This fort is located in Wada. Now the question you have in your head is how do I get to Wada?

Wada is near Manor which can be accessed from Palghar either via a ST bus or rickshaw. But the bus is faster. The distance is approx 32 km from Palghar Railway Station to Vaghote Village which is on the Wada Road, where the fort stands.

Kohoj fort in a distance

Now this was a short notice trek meaning Nelson spoke to me a day before and within 16 hours we decided to go to Kohoj Fort. As it is the month of May, the hottest month of the year I advised Nelson to carry atleast 3 litres of water. After all trekking Kohoj we were nearing the sun.

Nelson who stays in Mulund had boarded the 407 hours train to Dadar and from there switched to Western Railway and boarded the 504 hours Virar fast which arrived at Andheri at 519 hours. I got my tickets at Rs.15 one way.

It was nice to meet Nelson after a long time and we chatted on women who were a part of our lives. Haha.

At 610 hours the train reached Virar and so we hurried to board the 615 hours shuttle to Palghar.

Finally in the train and a place to sit, we started off. We were lucky that there was no fish being transported unlike last time to Kaldurg when the entire train smelled fishy.

In the train Nelson told me that he didn’t have a ticket to Palghar as the train booking counter was closed. I was surprised to hear that as the train counters open 15 minutes before the first train starts. I had my ticket with me. Only problem is Ticket Checker. If we caught then we would have to pay a fine. But it is strange that no tickets were sold at Mulund.

My worst fears came alive. A ticket checker was there inspecting tickets. We were lucky enough to sneak out of the station without getting caught. It is always advisable to travel with valid tickets else pay a fine.

We had breakfast at a Hotel Lokmaya near the station. Our Breakfast comprised of two plates of Medu Wada and two tea's costing us Rs.70. Though the food is not big shake but having a breakfast is always good. We didn’t know when lunch would be served.

We then boarded the 730 hours bus to Manor. Manor is around 24 km from Palghar. In 30 minutes we were there at a cost of Rs. 14 each. The view from the bus was scenic. The hill ranges that stretched across the backdrop were amazing. One hill range followed by another, like a chain of them. But no sign of Kohoj.
The dried fields in a distance stretching till the hill ranges with a few houses and trees to make it a beautiful scene.

We alighted at Manor at 800 hours and later found out from one of the shopkeepers that we should not have alighted from the bus as it was going via Wada and we had to alight at Vaghote Village.

Manor was a small town flooded with shops on either side of the narrow road leading to Palghar at one end and Wada on the other. There was chaos.  There are shops selling everything here. This is also a major bus stop junction.

So we had to wait there for another bus, finally at 850 hours we boarded another bus at a cost of Rs.14 per head and we reached Vaghote Village at 915 hours. While travelling we could see Kohoj and it appeared to grow bigger and bigger as we were nearing it. The road does a traverse to reach Vaghote Village. There is a human shaped rock formation atop, and it appears as if a human is standing there.

Vaghote Village consists of around 25 houses but no shops there. So if you need to collect food or water Manor is the place. The trek starts from here keeping the fort on your right hand side. We inquired with a few locals and they showed us the way to reach the lake from where the trail leads to Kohoj.

The lake was beautiful. Saw women cleaning clothes in the water and a few children playing next to eat. I noticed that shell fish is available in plenty in the lake. I make this statement based on the no of shells I located near the lake premises. I saw some boys enjoying a swim in the water to chill in the hot sun.

It was just 930 hours and the heat was unbearable. Nelson said if this is the condition now what will happen when we reach the top. Hot Hotter Hottest and to top it the no winds. So sweat like pigs in the hot sun.

The villagers are very friendly in giving directions and so we took it and followed the trail. There are stones marked with arrows on the way so that we are on the right part. But they disappear as we start climbing up the hill.

Don’t know if they vanished in the rains or if they were never marked so we had to find our way up the hill. But as per the villagers the way up is from the backside so we started to climb in that manner. There are many trails on the hills so had to follow them to some extend just to find if we were on the right track.

Finally the worst happened. We were lost and we decided to climb up there via the waterfall route. Though now there was no waterfall just huge rocks’ standing there with thorny bushes for company.  The way up was bad luckily I didn’t slip thanks to my new Action High Ankle Trekking Shoes. But the thorny bushes made the climb very difficult. Both of us were bruised on our legs and hands. We had cuts and blood flowing through it.

My rucksack strap broke. Shit climbing was a pain and now this. It was nice of Nelson to carry the bag up via the rocky and thorny patches. We were just 20 feet away from the top and the climb was getting steeper and steeper with thorns for company.

I checked my phone for signals got none. So I told Nelson that it is better to get down. As there was no way we could communicate with anyone and we didn’t know if we were on the right track. That is the problem with waterfalls.

The climb down was going to be difficult and we had to do it in order to get down.

With ample breaks midway we decided to head back from the hills at 1230 hours. We prayed all the way down till we crossed the thorny bushes and till we reached down the hill.

Finally at 1430 hours we were back at the lake. We jumped into the water to cool ourselves from the hectic climb we had up the hill. The water was refreshing and it cooled us out completely and we felt fresh to head home. All our tiredness disappeared in a jiffy.

After having a Jacuzzi for around an hour we headed off to the Wada Road from where we were to board a bus to Palghar.

Rickshaws are available to take you to Manor and Palghar but the journey is more perilous. As they fit as many people as possible in the rickshaw and it is difficult to sit in one position for more than 15 minutes without stretching.

So we boarded a bus to Palghar after waiting for it for about 45 minutes. Finally got our tickets at a cost of Rs.28 per head. It took us around an hour to reach Palghar.

As we were hungry we headed straight to Hotel Lokmanya to have Puri Bhajji’s and Masala Dosa and gulped it down with cold drink. After having our full we decided to board a train to Virar with a valid ticket. 

After we knew the train would be crowded and we had no other option than to adjust.

We boarded the 1855 hours Valsad Bandra Passenger. It went slow till Virar and from then did Borivali and then Andheri. Finally I reached home at 2045 hours and Nelson at 2200 hours.

The trek was difficult primarily because we climbed in the summer and to top it we got lost in the hills and had to climb up via the waterfall route filled with thorny bushes that bruised us. But the trek was a learning experience for us and thank God I didn’t get dehydrated on the hills like I did in Mahuli.

But I will come again to conquer this fort. A promise I made to myself.


Anonymous said...


A friend of mine went last week and got lost in the jungle actually.. he could not find the correct way... so he had to come back.. We are planning to go there this weekend. Could you give us some pointers on finding the right trail? My friend who went there last week says that he went up till the first waterfall (mini waterfall to be precise) and then got stuck..

Was he on the right track? Should we go beyond the first mini waterfall to reach up?

I'd appreciate if you could throw some light.

Mapping Journeys said...

very nice !
trek kohoj virtually ;)
thnx to youtube :)

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