Salher Salota Trek, Maharashtra
The Baglan region in the Western Ghats of Nashik district is home to some of the highest forts in Maharashtra. Salher is the highest amongst these at 1567m above sea level. Steep rock faces, massive ramparts and remnants atop these forts are a treat for those wanting a taste of the Sahyadris in the far corners of the erstwhile Maratha Empire. Brilliant views of the large water reservoir formed by the Haranbari Dam and the Statue of Ahimsa, the tallest Jain statue in the world (108 feet) are sights worth making a long trip to these seldom visited parts of the Western Ghats.
Salherwadi –Salher – Salota – Waghambe
Day 0: Travel by bus from Pune to Salherwadi through Nashik, Satana, Taharabad
(late night at 11 p.m.)
It’s a rather long journey from Pune all the way to Taharabad and finally to Salherwadi near the Gujarat border. We first board a late night bus from the Shivaji Nagar Bus Stand in Pune for Nashik to reach there in the early morning hours (6 hours drive). We then hop onto buses heading to Satana and Taharabad to get to Salherwadi, a small village at the foot of Salher fort.
Day 1: Trek from Salherwadi to Salher fort (3 to 4 hours)
Our onward bus journey ends at Salherwadi where we enjoy our breakfast amidst the peaceful settings of this clean, tidy village. A quick stocking up of sundries required for the trek and we start the hike up to the mighty Salher fort.
The trail starts from just ahead of the few shops at the entrance of Salherwadi climbing up gingerly at first to cross a newly constructed water tank and then reach a temple hidden between a cluster of trees. The trail can be confusing at first for it seems to snake up the hill in winding turns. Stick to the trail however and we soon come to the first entrance of the fort. Here on, the trail climbs up steadily through more ‘darwajas’ to reach the broad plains of the main fort area. We take a look at the water tanks, reservoirs, temples and caves in the central part of the fort before heading up to the temple at the highest point of the fort.
Salher is the highest fort in Maharahstra and the trek to the top of the fort may not seem that daunting at all. Get to the temple at the highest point of the fort and you’ll know just what the earlier statement means. The views are grand, the winds furious and the hills nearby dwarf in comparison. Something one has to see for themselves to believe! The twin forts of Tungi – Mangi as well as Mulher and Hargad forts can be spotted in the distance. Needless to say, we camp near the temple itself – unless the weather plays havoc and remedial measures are necessary.
Day 2: Trek from Salher to Salota (3 to 4 hours trek)
The early morning views of the sunrise and the play of colours that accompany it are not to be missed. Our vantage camping point atop the fort ensures a blissful hour of breathtaking visuals for all the trekkers to sit back and enjoy.
Post breakfast, we move towards Salota – the seemingly small fort within touching distance as seen from Salher. The trek down from Salher to the common ridge between the two forts and up to Salota is thrilling to say the least. The path is cut out of steep rock faces and seems to be heading to a dead-end at times. But the rocks always give way and reveal the trail, part by part, to keep the trekkers hooked on at all points. Steep yes, but nothing too dangerous that cannot be trekked on foot with due caution. Cameras are better kept inside the backpack to avoid the temptation and the distraction the stunning views offer.
It takes about an hour to descend Salher and reach the saddle between the two forts. A short rest here and another hour’s steep climb through large steps cut into the sides of the rock and we find ourselves at the entrance to Salota. Some mighty views on offer again of the hills all around and dam waters in the distance. Looking back towards Salher, we are again reminded of its massive size and great height. We explore the Salota fort during the day and rest here for the night in the peaceful abode in the high Sahyadris.
Day 3: Trek from Salota to Waghambe (3 to 4 hours), bus from Taharabad to Pune through Nashik
The return trek is through the rocky steps again, through the steep path encountered the previous day. More care is required of trekkers this time around though, as the drop to the valley below always plays on your mind while descending. Careful trekking for over an hour or so and we get to the common ridge again. This time we turn left from the ridge (when facing Salher) and head further down to the village. Trekking for 1-2 hours, we get down to the plains of the Waghambe and can finally seek shelter from the blazing sun amidst the village houses.
Jeeps ply regularly from here to Mulher and another short ride in jeeps / six-seater autos takes us to Taharabad. The reliable State Transport buses do the job of getting the trekkers back to Pune, travelling through Nashik once again. It will be a late in the night by the time we return to Pune and get back home.
- Tents (on triple sharing basis) and light weight, good quality sleeping bags will be provided to all trekkers. Trekkers are expected to trek carrying their own backpack and sleeping bag.
- All vegetarian meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for the trek duration, after trekkers reach Salherwadi and till trekkers reach Waghambe village
- Experienced, qualified WildBoots Trek Leader, local staff and helpers as may be required
- Safety equipment – first aid kit, safety rope and other equipment as necessary
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