Karjat is well-known for trekking, as each route gives a glimpse into the rich history of the Mogul era. We haven't been to any of them as yet but plan to go there soon, because there are several forts in and around Karjat waiting to be explored.
Peth Fort (Kothaligad)
One of them is the fort of Peth, also known as Kothaligad, which is around 21 kms north-east of Karjat in Shahapur taluka. The fort derives its name from the village Peth, situated at its base camp. Its a small fort used more as a defense station during Sambhaji's era, and is surrounded by other forts like Bhimashankar, Padargad, Rajmachi and Siddhagad.
To reach Peth, you can take a bus or tumtums (six-seater rickshaw, but of course they can accommodate many more people) from Karjat station to Ambivli village via Kashele, the journey will take around 1 and 1/2 hours. From Ambivli the trek starts to Peth village, which is a scenic one as you pass through dense forests.
In about two hours, you reach Peth village, nestled right at the foothills of the fort. Another trek starts from the village to the fort, its a steep climb up, but from that point the path bifurcates into two - an easier path on the left and the steeper path on the right which will get you faster to the top.
On reaching the fort, a common sight in many forts in Maharashtra, is this cave called Bhairoba, as it holds the idol of Lord Bhairoba.
This cave has well-sculpted pillars and is clean to accommodate many people at a time (around 40). The floor is very flat which makes it good for camping too. There are also water cisterns near the entrance of the cave. Inside are small rooms which were used by the Marathas to store ammunition. To get a panoramic view of the surroundings, you can take the vertical tunnel to reach the pinnacle. An excellent view awaits you, as you see the majestic Sahyadri range and the Konkan plains.
It will take you 1 and 1/2 hour to see the entire fort, so if you have a place to stay in Karjat, then this can be a one-day outing or you can spend the night in one of the caves.
How to reach Peth Fort (Kothaligad) in Karjat?
You can either reach Peth from Ambivli village, as mentioned above. Another way is from Jambrukh village, take a bus from Karjat station to Jambrukh village, from there walk on a bridge to a hamlet called Devpada. Ask any villager to show you the start of the route and you are on your way.
The route is entirely through the forest without any openings. Its a continuous ascent and can get exhaustive in summer. It will lead you to the plateau where Peth village is situated and from there it finally meets the route mentioned above.