Fireflies night trek and Camping under a sky full of stars at Prabalmachi.

Prabalmachi is a campsite situated in the Raigad district of Maharashtra. It offers the view of the gigantic Kalavantindurga and Prabalgad fort.

My best friends and I had made a bucket list of the things we want to do together. Trekking and camping was one of them! So, we planned to visit Prabalmachi with a trek group. We were very excited as it was going to be our first trek together and also about seeing the fireflies!

So we left home in the evening and reached Panvel station from Thane station which takes 1 hour.

We met our trek group there. From there we travelled by van in a group of 7 in each van. We reached the base village ‘Thakurvadi’ in 45 minutes. We had a quick introduction session and then we started our trek.

As it was a night trek, we trekked using the torches that we carried. The path was almost plain. There was not much climbing. In about 10 minutes of walking , we reached the starting point of the trek which was a check post where we were supposed to pay an entry fee and our bags were also checked for liquor or cigarettes as it is strictly not allowed .

Then our trek began.Most of the ascend was a very easy plain path where we were just supposed to walk. There were some rocky cliffs. The thing that I loved most about this trek was that there were small stalls after covering short distances. There were 8 such stalls. Thus it gave us a sense of achievement and kept us motivated. Snacks and nimbu sherbat were available at the stalls.

We saw fireflies on 3-4 spots on our way. They were present on the trees. It really was a magical sight! As they blinked, they resembled the stars in the sky . The trees looked like christmas trees which are decorated with lights! We were supposed to be quiet and to turn our torches off as the torch light would have disturbed the fireflies.

Fireflies

We reached on the top in about 3 hours as we stopped at various locations to spot the fireflies. Otherwise, it woud have taken about 2 hours to complete the trek. The local villagers living there provided food to all the trek groups. We whole heartedly had our dinner after our adventurous trek. Vegetarian as well as non vegetarian food was available. Chicken curry, bhakri, chapati, rice, papad was served to us in our non vegetarian dinner. The food was really good and filled our tummies!

our dinner site

Then we were taken to our camp site where tents were arranged for us. 2 people were accommodated in each tent. We settled there and then we were taken to the forest area nearby where there would be more fireflies shown by our guide. We enjoyed the serene view of the bioluminescent fireflies. Then we sat near our campsite from where we could see the city lights below us and listened to some calming music. It felt very peaceful!

city lights

Then we went back to our tents to sleep. Loved the feeling of sleeping under a sky full of stars.The next day we woke up by the crowing sound of the hens early at 5:30. The sky looked beautiful in shades of pink. Then we enjoyed the view of sunrise after some time.

view at 5:30am
sunrise

We freshened up, clicked some pictures and had poha and tea in breakfast.We also bought fresh karvanda which was sold by the villagers . There were many hens and chicks present.

karvanda(conkerberry)
a hen with its chicks

Then we started the descend. We had nimbu paani (lemon juice) in one of the stalls . It took about 1 hour to reach the base village. Then we reached Panvel station by van in an hour. We bid our trekmates goodbye and went back to our homes.

one of the stalls
view of Kalavantindurga and Prabalgad
van

This trek will always be a special one because I made so many wonderful memories with my besties. Also, I would recommend this trek for beginners as it was really a very easy and non tiring one!

Out of all the paths you choose, make sure a few of them are dirt.

John Muir
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PLACES TO VISIT IN IGATPURI.

Igatpuri is a small and beautiful hill station in Nashik. It is recommended to visit this place in the rainy season or winter season to enjoy the greenery and pleasant weather . However, you can also visit this place in summer as there are various places to explore here ! Also even though it was summer, it was not sweaty and it was a pleasant climate . I Visited Igatpuri with my family, this summer. We travelled to Igatpuri station from Mumbai. It took about 2 hours to reach .You can also travel there by car or bus which may take 3 hours to reach. We took a car on rent for 2 days to explore the places there.We visited the following amazing places :

Dhammagiri (Myanmar Gate)

Myanmar gate

Dhammagiri is an international meditation academy. Here there is a beautiful photo gallery of Gautam buddha which describes his life story. We also were shown a short 20 minutes video about Dhammagiri . They started a audio tape which guided us to meditate for 10 minutes. It was a calming experience.

Ashoka pillar

Then we were taken to the meditation centre where a guide showed us the places there and told us about the 10 day free meditation course where you have to live there for 10 days with no contact with the outter world.

Meditation cells

Camel valley

It is a valley between 2 mountains where one mountain literally has the shape like that of a camel. It’s on the other side of the highway. There were also some monkeys seen !

Consider The right mountain with the flat sunlit part as the camel’s head and the shadowed part as its hump

Ghatandevi temple

Ghatandevi means Goddess of the ghats. This is a beautiful temple here before the beggining of the ghats. The deity is believed to be the protector of the ghats by the locals.

Ghatandevi

Bhavali dam

There are many dams to be visited here. We visited the Bhavali dam . To see the dam we have to climb many steps . It was a thrilling experience as the steps did not have any railing on the sides for support. As we climbed up ,the steps started getting narrower. Also some steps were damaged. However the view from the top on the other side was worth it! Looking at the serene water was so soothing. As, it was summer , there were very few people . Our driver told us that it is extremely crowded in the rainy season and the sound of the flowing water is so loud that we can’t even hear each other.

Bhavali dam
view after climbing the steps
the other side of the dam

Railway lake

This is a beautiful lake to be visited here. There were some people seen fishing . There were some buffalos seen drinking water on the other side of the lake. It was a scenic view. We sat there for some time to enjoy the cool breeze and view of the calming lake.

Railway lake

Trimbakeshwar temple

Trimbakeshwar temple is a temple of lord Shiva and is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas. It is always crowded here as people come here from far away . We visited this temple on the 2nd day of our trip. It was a 1 hour drive from our hotel at Igatpuri. It was very crowded and there was large queue to enter the temple. There were many other small temples inside. The temple was magnificent.It was so cool inside the temple despite the summer heat outside. There were positive vibes all over.

Trimbakeshwar temple
small temples

Sula vineyards

Then we started our journey to Sula vineyards where we reached in half an hour from Trimbakeshwar. Sula vineyards is a very famous and leading wine industry in India. It is very well maintained and has a cute and colourful decor which makes it very attractive. We have to pay an entry fee of Rs 200.

Wine fields

We were shown the wine making machines and were explained about the wine making process by the guide . For the wine tasting, we have to pay additional Rs 200. They gave us 5 wines to taste and all of them were amazing! The guide told the significance of the 5 wines to us. It was indeed a lovely experience! You can even buy wine from the store here. They also have a restaurant.

Wine barrels
Wine tasting

See. Smell. Swirl. Sip.

Panduleni caves:

After sula vineyards, we visited this wonderful cave . It is said that the Pandavas resided here. It is a group of 24 small caves. To reach the caves , we have to climb some steps . It took around 20 minutes to reach the caves. There was an entry fee of Rs 25.

Steps to reach the caves

From the top you can have a beautiful aerial view of Nashik city.The architecture of the caves is magnificent! There were various small caves and many small rooms inside. It was dark, cool and pleasant inside.

View from the top

If you are planning to visit Igatpuri, you can visit these amazing places here! Keep travelling and exploring!