Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ghanchakkar(1532 meters) Exclusive.Maharashtra's third highest mountain

Long Long Exhausting, dehydrating and tiresome trek of Bhairavgad -Ghanchakkar -Muda

Well till now very few blogs/websites has given information and photos of this mountain.Well I have tried maximum to give all possible useful information about Ghanchakkar.Ghanchakkar is not popular amongst trekkers because of no shelter and water source for too many kilometers hence many trekkers skip it.Some trekkers who do the trek from Bhairavgad to Ratangad only trek Ghanchakkar-Muda mountain
The villager accompanying me was saying that I was the only person in the last 2 years to reach this mountain.Earlier,many people used to trek it.In the trekking season,around 20 to 25 people used to visit this mountain but past few years,other than local villagers,very few people are visiting Ghanchakkar-Muda. This itself shows how much neglected is this mountain.
Local villagers use this mountain as a source of firewood and dried grass,and 4 caves on Ghanchakkar are used as shelter for cattle hence it is full of cowdung and not a place of shelter anymore and also these caves are at a odd and difficult location on the route to Bhairavgad.
Hence due to such conditions,there are no wild animals like leopards,foxes, wild pigs etc  in this region (Obviously it is difficult for any animal to survive in such conditions)

I did Ghanchakkar(1532 meters) and Muda(1520 meters), returned through Bhairavgad(1175 meters) towards Shirpunje Ashram-Shala  plus there was no ST bus in evening to return back hence I have to traverse the Pathar mountain in front of Ghanchakkar mountain and after that again climb Half Pabargad(1375 m), traverse and reach Guhire village and reach Randha falls to get a Jeep till Akole and after that I was lucky to get the 6:30 pm bus to Pune from Pune(This bus is sometimes available in some festive seasons maybe since Mahashivratri is coming near hence it might be for people going to Harishchandragad.After last bus of 3:00 pm,there is no bus to Shivajinagar available from Akole.)

Ghanchakkar and Muda Plateau has got lot of crystals of Topaz (पुष्कराज ) , Quartz and Mica, flintstones (hundreds and thousands truck can be filled) .At some places there were crystals of such size that it is difficult for even two people to lift that crystal stones .Any rock you break,you will find crystals in it.

Ghanchakkar(1532 m) and Muda(1520 m) are Maharashtra's third highest and fourth highest mountains respectively after Kalsubai(1648 meters) and Salher(1567 meters)

Ghanchakkar and Muda mountains are at an odd location plus barren and scarcity of water having a long plateau hence they are neglected by trekkers.These mountains are located in the following order from the main  sahyadris (Ratangad(1297 m)->Katra(1408 m)->Wakri(1100 m) ->Muda(1520 m) ->Ghanchakkar(1532 m)->Bhairavgad(1175 m) )
Ratangad and Katra is in main Sahyadris while the other mountains including Ghanchakkar Muda are the ranges running from west to east till Bhairavgad forming a small mountain range from Katra to Bhairavgad

Ghanchakkar and Muda doesnt have any place for Shelter and also lack of Potable water sourcec thus at the end of winter season, it is totally barren
Basically Ghanchakkar is a long long plateau of approx 10+ kms with Ghanchakkar and Muda the two highest points on this plateau and further this plateau descends towards Kumshet the base village to Ajoba and Katra mountains towards the Ratangad-Harishchandragad trek route

Base village of Ghanchakkar: Shirpunje( शिरपुंजे बुद्रुक ) or Shirpunje wadi
From here,Ghanchakkar is approximately 750 to 800 meters high( 1.5 times higher than Torana fort)
How to reach Ghanchakkar base village
Take the 4:00 am bus from Shivajinagar Pune to Kalwan and reach Sangamner till 7:30 am.Take a Jeep/Bus till Akole (अकोले ) or Rajur
I missed this bus but I was lucky to catch it at Rajgurunagar.I followed on my bike till Rajgurunagar ,parked my bike near ST bus stand at Rajgurunagar and boarded this bus till Sangamner.Further I got a Kasara bus to reach Rajur

Reach Rajur (राजूर ) before 9:15 am.There is a bus to Kumshet(Akole to Kumshet ST bus) around 9:30 am (कुमशेत ) going via Shirpunje, Ambit (अम्बित ) Jaaneadi ( जानेअडी   ) leelakhed (लिलाखेड ) till Kumshet
Get down at Shirpunje Ashramshala (शिरपुंजे आश्रमशाळा ) near Shirpunje Khurd and walk 3 kms approx till Shirpunje Budruk .At the end of Shirpunje Khurd village,you will have the route going towards Bhairavgad to the left whereas for Ghanchakkar,you have to walk further till Shirpunje Budruk or Shirpunje Wadi (शिरपुंजे ची वाडी ).
Ask anybody for the route to Ghanchakkar in this village.Anybody will guide you.In this village,you will see a small Hanuman temple built.From this Hanuman temple,take left towards fields and small houses and you will find a long arm of Ghanchakkar coming down in this village across the fields.This is the route to reach the top.( घनचक्कर पर्वताचा एक लांबलचक उभा दांड शिरपुंजे वाडी नजीक च्या शेताजवळ उतरलेला आहे .तोच उभा दांड तुम्हाला घनचक्कर च्या पाठरामध्ये आपल्याला घेऊन जातो .तुम्हाला २० किलो मीटर पर्यंत कोठेही पाण्याचा स्त्रोत सापडणार नाही त्यामुळे शिरपुंजे वाडी गावातूनच भरपूर पाणी भरून घेणे .वास्तविक घनचक्कर चा ट्रेक जास्त अवघड नाही पण पाणी भरपूर घेतले पाहिजे कारण वाट चुकली तर तुम्हाला भरपूर पाणी आधार देऊ शकते त्यामुळे प्रत्येक माणसा मागे कमीत कमी ५ लिटर पाणी तरी घेणे . त्या शिवाय पर्याय नाही  )
From this shoulder,a long,steep and exhausting climb of 1.5 hours through thick dense trees and sometimes through barren hills, takes you top the Ghanchakar Plateau .From here you will see a long long plateau and a long plod of around 30 minutes takes you to the Ghanchakkar top.Further a long walk of 1 hour takes you to the Muda top

The Ghanchakkar Muda top is completely barren with no trees hence it is rather unpleasant in such season .Best season is only in 2 months of winter season.
In rainy season also it cant be trekked because Ghanchakkar is not a fort hence you will not see steps leading till the top (या डोंगरात कोणताही गड अथवा किल्ला नाही कि कोणतेही धार्मिक ठिकाण नाही   त्यामुळे  येथे पायऱ्या सापडणार नाहीत. एका लांबलचक  धोपट पाउलवाटेनेच तुम्हाला घनचक्कर च्या पठारात पोहोचावे लागेल )
It also has very very confusing routes hence it is advisable to take any local guide .In my case, students of 8th standard studying in Ashram shala of Shirpunje village were also interested in coming up to Ghanchakkar (जेव्हा त्या आश्रम शाळेतल्या मुलांना कळले कि मी पुण्याहून एवेढ्या लांब घनचक्कर साठी आलो आहे तेव्हा त्या लोकांनी सुद्धा माझ्याबरोबर येण्याची तयारी दाखवली ) there and also further I was accompanied by two more villagers of Shirpunje Wadi village hence we were altogether 6 people now.
We reached the top of plateau in 1.5 hours and a long walk of around 45 minutes,I reached Ghanchakkar top.Two people from Shirpunje wadi village told that they will be collecting fire wood and dry grass here hence they showed me the route to Muda and told me that they will again meet me at the same place.
After having some views from Ghanchakkar top,I headed towards Muda top.

Views from Ghanchakkar
To the north,you can see Pabargad, Kalsubai , Alang , Madan, Kulang and a vast Bhandardara lake(The huge Bhandardara lake looks like star shaped.This shape can be only seen from Ghanchakkar-Muda and from nowhere else.Not even from Kalsubai)
To the west,you can see Neighboring Muda,Ratangad,Katrabai,Ajoba,Napta
To your south,you can see Harishchandragad, Karkai dongar, Kaladgad and some awesome mountain formations near Kumshet plus if weather is clear,you can have a view till Nane Ghat
To your east,you can see the vast Plateau of Ghanchakkar and since neighbouring Bhairavgad is very small as compared to Ghanchakkar hence it cannot be seen.

For Muda(1520 m)
You have to traverse the Ghanchakkar top and climb down a little bit and you are in the Plateau of Muda.Now after a long walk of around 45 minutes to 1 hour you will reach the Muda top but since it was already 1:30 pm and too much of heat plus out of my 3 bottles of water,1 full bottle and one half filled bottle was remaining and hardly 25 to 50 meters of Muda was remaining but it was a 2 kms walk on that barren mountain and I had to travel back with less water.Hence after reaching nearby final climb of Muda top,I had views of  Bhandardara dam ,the surroundings and started coming back
In 30 minutes again I reached Ghanchakkar.Took some snaps of surroundings and after that decided to proceed back
After climbing down half of Ghanchakkar,there is a tricky route to Bhairavgad which in 15 minutes takes you to the steps of Bhairavgad.But beware of loose soil near cave of Ghanchakkar and now this route is full of dried cowdung plus this route is very narrow hence after crossing this patch carefully,you reach Bhairavgad through thick dense bushes.
Actually if local people were not there,I could not have found this route

From Bhairavgad, you can descend down to the Shirpunje Khurd village through an easy route and reach the Shirpunje Ashram Shala

But after reaching Shirpunje Khurd village around 2:30 pm,I came to know that there is no ST bus to go to Akole hence again I had to climb up the Pathar mountain ,traverse itand reach the halfway of Pabargad and traverse it to reach down at Guhire (गुहिरे ) village and further to Randha falls.It was a 6 kms walk and from there ,I got a jeep till Akole
Further around 6:30 pm,I got a bus to Shivajinagar to reach Pune around 10:30 pm after a long exhausting dehydrating  and tiresome trek

Here are the photographs

1)  View of Ghanchakkar on way to Shirpunje village(The mountain which you see from left corner of photograph till the right is Ghanchakkar.The slight projection on the right side is top most point of Ghanchakkar)


 2) Bhairavgad the neighbour of Ghanchakkar in the following 2 photographs(actually Bhairavgad is also a part of Ghanchakkar but it is separated by a col and a rock patch)




3) The climb towards Plateau of Ghanchakkar(It is a long plod with lot of tricky routes to reach the Plateau)

4) Almost reached the Plateau of Ghanchakkar

5) The topmost point of Ghanchakkar seen while approaching the Plateau

6) This is the Vast Plateau of Ghanchakkar.This Plateau is vast for almost 10 kms till Katrabai Pass covering Neighbouring Muda(1520 meters) and further descending down to Kumshet village thus Trekkers has too much options to trek but this vast plateau is completely barren.No Shelter and Potable water source.People who want to reach Ratangad via Ghanchakkar has to travel through this Plateau till Katrabai pass


7) Towards the top of Ghanchakkar Plateau

8) Too Many crystals on top of Ghanchakkar Plateau.If you find it,hundreds and thousand of trucks will be less but the crystals will not finish.





  This was a crystal trophy received by me for climbing Ghanchakkar

                   Myself with one more crystal trophy        

 9) Views of Bhandardara dam from top of Ghanchakkar



10) From the top of Ghanchakkar.Now nobody will have doubt that this photograph is from top of  Maharashtra's third highest mountain 

 11) A close view of Bhandardara dam

12) Now its time to go to Muda the neighbour of Ghanchakkar

13) Muda(1520 meters) Maharashtra's fourth highest mountain


14) Approaching Muda

 15) Way towards Muda from the Plateau
        Also you can have a view of Ajoba the (birth place of Lav Kush) far behind

 16) A tricky route towards Muda(Looking at the earlier photos,Muda seems to be very long but if  take left and descend,you are in a long flat plateau on the route towards Muda which is on the back side )

 17) View of Harishchandragad on way to Muda


 18) View of Napta and Kumshet village from Ghanchakkar Muda Plateau


19)  View of Ratangad from the Ghanchakkar-Muda Plateau


20)  View of Mountain formations near Kumshet on way to Muda from the Plateau.Napta, Kaladgad or the Angatha peak, Ghodishep near Kumshet -Petachi wadi villages


 It is totally barren hence I decided to move back from here.
Muda was almost 50 meters more climb but since I was dehydrating a lot due to the afternoon heat,Water was less and my companions were waiting near Ghanchakkar.I was almost 4 kms away from my companions.


 View of Pabargad(1395 meters) in front from the Plateau.After getting down the village,I climbed it half and traversed to descend down to Guhire village and further towards Randha falls

Back towards Ghanchakkar on the Plateau

                         Finally reached Ghanchakkar again.Now its time to depart.

 **************Added few more photos related with crystals.***************************

After coming home from the Ghanchakkar-Muda trek,I cleaned and washed these crystal stones
Here are the photographs of the crystal collection with their description

Collection of crystals of all sizes and shapes

 Milky white quartz is also used as a gemstone.It is the future of Semiconductors and electronics industry.1 square mm of this crystal will hold data in GB's hence this crystal will be worth of around 100 to 1000 terabytes of data.Currently research is going on for milky white quartz crystals(Basically Milky white quartz are whitish in color due to air bubbles inside them and in US and Europe,research is going on to accomodate data in GB and in terabytes in one such air bubbles of quartz hence Milky white quartz will have much importance.)

 Bunch of quartz crystals glued together.These are glued at the time of sedimentary rock formation process thousands and lakhs of years back.It is not possible to seperate these crystals that easily.

                                               Quartz crystals glued together

                                                       Close view of Quartz crystals

              Yellowish brown quartz crystal.This is yellowish brown quartz used as a precious gemstone.The color is due to presence of traces of flourides inside the quartz crystals.These are rare in India.

                                      Small crystals from all shapes and sizes

                                           White quartz

Another close look at brown quartz

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Kulang fort A dream to touch skyline horizon comes true

इगतपुरी नजीक चा कुलंग गड : आकाशाला गवसणी घालण्याचा एक यशस्वी प्रयत्न
चाकोरी  बाहेरचा  किल्ला कुलंग गड
Kulang is the only mountain which offers highest climb in Sahyadris from base village till top hence you get the feeling of touching the skyline horizon, flying over the skyline once you reach the top.
Here are few mountains in Sahyadris which offer highest climb from ground height in mean sea level given in brackets
1) Kulang 1100 to 1250 meters(1471 meters)
2) Ajoba Parvat 800 to 1200 meters(1376 meters)
3) Salher fort near Satana Nasik 800 meters from Vaghambe and around 1100 meters from Chinchali Gujrat
4)Kalsubai 1050 meters from Indure village and 850 meters from Bari village(1648 meters)
5) Siddhagad to Bhimashankar area 800 to 850 meters(Siddhagad is 982 meters and Bhimashankar is 1005 meters)
6) Harishchandragad via Nalichi vaat 1100 meters(1429 meters) and 800+ meters from Khireshwar
7) Pratapgad from Jawli region 800 meters(1080 meters)

Rest everywhere,Sahyadris offer a climb between 500 to 700 meters averagely from base village to top.

Kulang fort
Height in meters 1471 meters/4826 feet from mean sea level

Precautions to be taken for Kulang trek  
Since Kulang offers highest climb from base village to top and is the difficultest fort,there are several precautions to be taken
1) A good physique is required
2) Lots of walking practise and excersises  required(Some simple excersise like walking continuosly for 4 kms in 25 to 30 minutes with around 5 to 10 kgs weight in your bag,25 to 50 push ups, 6 to 10 pullups a day.exclusively for practise,I used to walk from Pune camp till Yerawda and sometimes till my home non stop along with the other excersises.You need to shed your over weight if you want to climb Kulang,Alang and Madangad )
3) People who are habitual for crossing rock exposed patches because the trio of AMK has several rock exposed patches hence it is not advisable for first timers or amateur trekkers.Atleast they have to practise 15 to 20 tough forts and then think about AMK
4)Most important thing is that everyone should carry water of minimum 5 liters with them.Its recommended.There is no water source in between till you reach the top but an exhausting climb with around 12 kms of long trek through rugged terrian and rocky patches will make you exhaust and dehydrate till you reach the top.
5) Beware of thorny bushes and honeybees.There are lot of thorny bushes and dried twigs of bushes which always comes in your way hence they will always rub on your exposed skin hence always be there in full sleeves shirts and trousers.No shorts and half sleeves shirts for this trek

One more important thing applicable for all treks
For many times,I have seen that almost all people when climbing,they begin to sweat,they remove their shirts and walk with exposed skin but I tell you this is very dangerous because it leads to dehydration and the person affected will not at all come to know that he/she is affected with skin evaporates water out of our body very fast the person doesnt feel sweating and doesnt even have idea that he/she is heading towards dehydration,temporarily he/she feels relieved but later on,it can proove harmful.whereas when body is covered with clothes,the person will sweat but when the clothes are soaked in sweat,the evaporation of water from our skin stops.
It is preferred to carry spare clothes so that you can change your clothes after ending your trek
Base villages
1) Ghatghar Taluka Akole district Ahmednagar
2) Ambewadi (आंबेवाडी ) Taluka Igatpuri Nasik
3) Kulangwadi/Kurungwadi ( कुरुंगवाडी  ) Taluka Igatpuri Nasik
Difficulty rating:Very difficult(but if you have experience of 15 to 20 tough forts,its easy to medium)

Time to reach the top: 2.5 hours(Many blog sites and link mention it as 4 to 7 hours)

All these villages are approx 300-400 meters from mean sea level hence you climb Kulang from anywhere,it offers you a climb of more than 1100 meters from ground.No mountain in Sahyadri offers you this much huge climb from ground.Thats why Kulang offers you a climb of almost twice of Torna(600 meters) Rajgad(500-550 meters) forts and more than thrice of Raigad(350 meters) fort
Thats why you need to have a desire of touching the skyline horizon if you want to climb on top of Kulang.
After climbing down the ghat on Sangamner-Igatpuri road,you will be able to see huge massifs from Kalsubai till Kulang->Chota Kulang/Nakli Kulang.These huge massifs of mountains are the difficultest ever to trek and out of those massifs,there are three prominent mountains the trio of Alang Madan and Kulang.
Out of these trio of AMK ,
Alang(1478 meters) can be climbed with rock climbing equipments only.Without rock climbing equipments,you have to traverse the whole fort 3 times which means you have to walk almost 9 kms on the edge of rock exposed faces where on one side,you have a huge rock,to your front,you have a very narrow path(hardly 6 to 8 inches wide) and to your other side is a deep valley around 4000+ feets.But still you cant make to the fort without rock climbing.The final climb needs rock climbing of 40 feets to enter the fort(Reason is that the entrance door to Alang is blocked by huge boulders hence even if you come by traverse route,you have to bypass the entrance door by climbing the rock of around 15 meters).
Madangad(1466 meters) is also same as Alang but only thing is that you dont have to traverse.Instead,you have to make a steep climb through rock exposed faces having blown up steps at many places.But final climb of 10 meters needs rock climbing
In cases of Alang and Madangad,you can climb the rock without rock climbing equipments but it is not possible to descend back without the equipments.
Alang Kulang and Madangad shares a common col/ridge hence these three forts can be done in one stretch
Kulang(1471 meters) is accessible but with tremendous efforts and lot of hardwork and if you are trekking Kulang alone,then it is almost next to impossible because you have to fight against all odds including confusing routes which might mislead you in the dense forest.There are many misleading paths along with difficult route in the dense forest but if you dare and your willpower is very very tremendous,anything is possible and nothing can stop you for getting success. Those who had trekked atleast 20 to 25 tough rugged forts/mountains can do this fort because Kulang fort tests the extreme physical fitness conditions of any trekker plus it offers you the highest climb from base village to top.No mountain in Sahyadris offer you this much huge climb..
Remember that Alang Madan Kulang trek(Done combinedly or seperately) is a entrance door to the Himalayan treks.If you can trek any of these forts,you can start your expedition in Himalayas then.

Further description in Marathi:
तुम्ही जर भंडारदरा पार करून इगतपुरी कडे जात असाल तर तुम्हाला महाराष्ट्रातील सर्वात उंच कळसुबाई शिखरापासून पुढे निघालेली आणि आकाशाशी स्पर्धा करीत निघालेली डोंगर रंग दिसेल याच रांगेतील तीन शिलेदार अलंग मदन आणि कुलंग या सह्याद्रीत सर्वात अवघड ट्रेक असलेले हे त्रिकुट आपण सहज बघू शकतो
इगतपुरी पासून तुम्हाला असे चित्र विचित्र आकाराचे खूपच उंच पर्वत दिसतील म्हणजे रल्वेच्या डब्याचा आकाराचा लांबच लांब पसरलेला अलंग गड , एखाद्या कठड्यावर ठेवलेल्या पिंपा सारखा भासणारा मदनगड आणि या सर्वांचा म्होरक्या कुलंग गड जो अक्राळ-विक्राळ रूप धारण केलेला आणि हातात भाले आणि त्रिशूल असलेल्या आकृती प्रमाणे भासणारा असे दृश्य तुम्हाला दिसेल आणि त्यापुढे छोटा कुलंग जो कुलंग चा पश्चिम भाग आहे पण तिथे जाता येत नाही

कुलंग पायथ्या पर्यंत कसे  पोहोचावे 
कळसुबाई पायथा असलेले बारी गाव ओलांडले कि नंतर संगमनेर - इगतपुरीच्या रस्त्याला जो घाट लागतो तो उतरून वासली फाटा पर्यंत पोहोचावे . सरळ रस्ता घोटी इगतपुरी कडे जातो , उजवीकडे रस्ता टाकेद देवळाली - आवंढ पट्टा   कडे जातो आणि डावीकडे जो रस्ता गेलेला आहे तो इंदुरे - आंबेवाडी - कुलंगवाडी- भावली मार्गे इगतपुरी कडे जातो
बर्या पैकी चांगल्या रस्त्याने आंबेवाडी ९ किलो मीटर तर कुलंग वाडी त्याच्या पुढे ५ कि मी अंतर आहे
पण या दोन्ही गावातून  गेलात कि तुम्हाला कुलंग ची चढण जिथून सुरु होते ते ठिकाण गाठण्या करिता आणखीन ६ किलोमीटर ची पायपीट करावी लागते पण हे सगळे टाळता येते
आंबेवाडी च्या पुढे २ किलोमीटर नंतर ओढ्यावर एक छोटा पूल लागेल तिथेच पायउतार व्हावे आणि  डावीकडे मदन गड आणि कुलंग डोळ्या समोर ठेऊन ओढ्याचा काठाने २ कि मी चालत राहावे वाटेत तुम्हाला आदिवासी लोकांचे ५ -  ६ घरे दिसतील .हि घरे ओलांडून पुढे शेतातून जात डावीकडे तुम्हाला एक छोटी टेकडी दिसेल हाच कुलंग चा पायथा जेथून कुलंग ची चढाई करावी लागते
त्या टेकडीवरून जाणारी वाट म्हणजेच कुलंग आणि मदनगड कडे जाणारी रुळलेली पायवाट

मी पुण्याहून सकाळी ४:०० वाजता एकटा निघालो आणि आंबेवाडी जवळ ९:३० पर्यंत पोहोचलो आंबेवाडी गावातून कुलंग च्या वाटेची माहिती घेतली आणि त्या पुलाजवळ पोहोचलो तिथून ओढ्याच्या काठाने पायपीट करीत एक दोन पाडे किंवा आदिवासी लोकांची छोटीशी वस्ती पार करून आणि वाटेत एक दोन जणांना त्या टेकडी पर्यंत वाट विचारत अर्ध्या तासात त्या टेकडी जवळ पोहोचलो( या भागातील मराठी भाषा पुण्या-मुंबई कडच्या लोकांना थोडीफार गोंधळात टाकेल कारण इथले लोक काय सांगतात हि कोणती भाषा आहे आणि काही वेळ तर ती भाषा मराठीच आहे कि आणखीन कोणती हा सुद्धा प्रश्न पडतो म्हणजे उदा : 'इकडे' या शब्दाला 'हिडे' तिकडे या शब्दाला 'तिढे ' , समोर ला ' सम्बुर किंवा सामने ' खिंड ला 'खांड' इत्यादी अशे अनेक शब्द आहेत पण मी नाशिक ला राहायला होतो त्यामुळे मला थोड्याफार प्रमाणात माहिती होती )

कुलंग गडाचे वेगवेगळे टप्पे आहेत 
पहिला टप्पा एका छोट्या  टेकडी वरती 
दुसरा टप्पा  हा दाट जंगलात मुरमाड आणि मोकळ्या मातीची घसरण पार करून कुलंग च्या एका पठारावर पोहोचणे
तिसरा टप्पा हा पठारा पासून  डोंगर धरेला मिळणाऱ्या तीव्र चढणीच्या वाटेचा 
चौथा टप्पा हा डोंगर धारेची खडी चढण चढून शेवटच्या कातळ टप्प्यात येणे 
पाचवा आणि शेवटचा टप्पा हा कातळात खोदलेल्या पायऱ्या आणि जिना चढून सर्वोच्च माथा गाठणे

गावातून शेतातल्या बांधावरून डावीकडे उतरणाऱ्या टेकडीवर जाणारी एक रुळलेली पाउलवाट २०  मिनिट ते  अर्ध्या तासात तुम्हाला पहिल्या टप्प्यात घेऊन जाते ते म्हणजे टेकडीवरच्या एका छोट्याशा सपाटी वरती .

आता वाट पुढे अजून खडतर होत जाते कारण आता येथून पुढे कुलंग च्या पदरात पोहोचायला तुम्हाला एक लांब वळसा घालायला लागतो म्हणजे आपल्याला असे वाटते कि आपण मदन गडा कडे तर नाही न चाललो ?  असा प्रश्न आपल्याला पडतो पण हीच वाट आपल्याला पकडायला लागते .दोन तीन धबधबे ओलांडून दगड धोंड्यातीन वाट कधी उतार तर कधी चढण असे करत आपण अशा ठिकाणी येतो कि सरळ गेले तर अलंग आणि मदनगड तर उजवीकडे गेलो तर कुलंग .
या सबंध डोंगरांच्या सानिध्यात मी एकटा माणूस होतो(निवडणुकीचे वातावरण असल्यामुळे गावात कोणी माणूस दिसत नव्हता ) आणि बाकी कळसुबाई ते कुलंग पर्यंत पसरलेला विराट आणि अफाट पसरलेला निसर्ग . भगवान श्रीकृष्णाच्या विराट रूपाचे अर्जुनाला झालेल्या दर्शनाची एक छोटीशी झलकच मला मिळाली .
एकटा माणूस आणि एवढा अवाढव्य पसरलेला निसर्ग यात वाट चुकली नाही तर नवल .एक दोन ठिकाणी आणि ते पण ट्रेक च्या सुरवातीलाच वाट चुकलो होतो. साहजिक आहे कि मनात हा विचार तर आला असेल " आता कस होणार " पण एवढे शांत वातावरण (माघार घेण्यासाठी कीर कीर करणारे भुंगे नव्हते माझ्याजवळ ) त्यामुळे नीट विचार करायला वेळ मिळाला आणि आणि माझा सगळा अनुभव पणाला लावून मी वाट शोधून काढली
आणि मार्गस्थ झालो अर्थात निसर्गानेच माझ्या प्रयत्नांना यश आणून दिले .

"यत्र योगेश्वरः कृष्णो तत्र पार्थो धनुर्धरः तत्र श्रीर विजयो भूति ध्रुव: नीतिर्मतिर ममः  "
 भगवदगीतेत सांगितलेच आहे कि श्रीकृष्णसारखा एक योग्य दिशा दाखवणारा मार्गदर्शक आणि अर्जुना सारखा एकाग्र मनाने लक्ष्या पर्यंत पोहोचण्याचे ध्येय बाळगणारा असे हे दोन व्यक्तिमत्व एकत्र आले तर विजयी लक्ष्य तुम्ही पार पाडू शकाल यात काहीच शंका नाही .
(एक गोष्ट लक्षात घ्या कि मी माझ्या अंगी फक्त अर्जुनासारखी वृत्ती बाळगली होती . नाहीतर काही चेष्टा करणारी आणि नेहेमी कुजकट बोलणारी मंडळी या गोष्टीचा वेगळाच अर्थ काढतील .मी फक्त उदाहरण दिले आहे कि एका गिर्यारोहकाचे आचरण ,साधकवृत्ती आणि निसर्गाबद्दल त्याची काय भावना असली पाहिजे )
मी फक्त माझ्या लक्ष्याकडे पाहत राहिलो आणि तिथ पर्यंत पोहोचण्याचे ठरवले आणि मनाची एकाग्रता मी जराशीही ढळू दिली नाही त्यामुळे तो विराट निसर्गच मला साक्षात योगेश्वर श्रीकृष्ण बनून माझ्या मदतीला धावून आला आणि मला योग्य दिशा दाखवली .

त्यामुळे मला असे वाटते कि जर अर्जुना सारखी मनाची एकाग्रता बाळगली तर कोणत्या  न कोणत्या स्वरुपात तरी तुम्हाला भगवान श्रीकृष्णाच्या रुपात योग्य मार्गदर्शक दिशा दाखवणारा मिळेल यात काडीमात्र शंका नसावी
"निसर्ग आणि गिर्यारोहकाचे नाते पण असेच असावे तरच तुम्हाला उंची गाठता येईल "
तो दाट जंगलातला टप्पा ओलांडून खडकातील पायऱ्या चढून  मी कुलंग च्या पदरावर दाखल झालो .आता समोर मला कुलंग च्या शिखरावरून खाली उतरणाऱ्या तीव्र डोंगरधारेवर चढायचे होते .पायथ्यापासून ते शिखरा पर्यंत वाट फारच बिकट आहे म्हणजे मोकळी सुटलेली घसरडी माती ,कधी मुरमाड तर कधी दगड धोंडे ,कधी अंगाला घासणारे काटेरी झुडूप आणि वाळलेल्या काठ्या आणि दाट कारवीचे रान यातून वाट काढावी लागली त्यामुळे गडावर जाऊन परत खाली येई पर्यंत हातात असंख्य काटे घुसले होते .
पदरातून सरळ त्या डोंगर धारेचा रस्ता पकडावा आणि जवळ जवळ ८० डिग्री ची ती तीव्र चढण काळजीपूर्वक चढणे .या ठिकाणी चुकीला कोणतीही क्षमा नाही त्यामुळे या ठिकाणी लागणारे तीन कातळ टप्पे फारच सावधानीने चढावे .जरासाही तोल ढळला कि तुम्ही काही सेकंद करिता स्काय-डायवर झालाच म्हणून समजा आणि त्या काही सेकंद नंतर सगळे काही संपते त्यामुळे सावधानिनेच चढावे . नवख्या लोकांनी इथपर्यंत आलो हेच फार मिळवले असे समजून माघार घेतली तरी चालेल किंवा भीती वाटत नसेल तर पुढे जाण्यास काहीही हरकत नाही .
कुलंग च्या वाटेवर तीन ठिकाणी असे खोल दरीत कोसळणाऱ्या कातळातून वाट आहे त्यामुळे जपूनच चालावे आणि मुख्य म्हणजे "आपण चढतोय पण पुन्हा उतरू शकतो का ? " हा विचार करूनच चढले पाहिजे
ते  कातळ टप्पे  पार करून जेव्हा गडात पोहोचतो तेव्हा मात्र जणू आकाशाला स्पर्श केल्याचा आनंद होतो कारण एवढी बिकट वाट आणि त्यानंतर इथे पोहोचणे म्हणजे त्याचा आनंद काही औरच असतो

नीट निरीक्षण केल्यास कुलंग चा माथा हा गरुडाच्या पसरलेल्या पंखा सारखा भासतो म्हणजे येथे ट्रेक साठी येणाऱ्या मंडळींना जणू गरुडाच्या पंखावरती  स्वर होऊन आकाशात भ्रमण करण्याचा आनंद मिळतो  
कुलंग चा माथा हा जास्त विस्तृत नाही म्हणजे संपूर्ण माथा पाहण्या करिता अर्धा तास पुरतो .वरती किल्लाचे भग्न अवशेष आणि काही गुहा आहेत आणि भरपूर पाण्याचे टाक्या आहेत
अलंग कुलंग आणि मदन या किल्ल्यावरच्या पाण्याच्या टाक्या या नाशिक जवळच्या दारणा नदीचे स्त्रोत आहेत त्यामुळे त्यातले थंडगार आणि चविष्ट पाणी कुठेही सापडत नाही .येथे फार कमी दुर्ग यात्री भेट देतात त्यामुळे हे पाणी पिण्या योग्य आहे अजून येथे कोणताही कचरा पण दिसत नाही

कुलंग च्या माथ्यावरून इगतपुरी-घोटी परिसर आणि सह्याद्रीचे चौफेर आणि विस्तृत दर्शन होते म्हणजे  उत्तरेला जिथून सह्याद्री सुरु होते तो साल्हेर मुल्हेर, धोडप, सप्तशृंगी , त्रिंबक ,कावनई पासून ते खाली दक्षिणेला मदन गड ,अलंग गड, रतनगड, साकुर्ली घाट , आजोबा ,हरिश्चंद्रगड ,माळशेज घाट, नाणे घाट , ढाकोबा , सिद्धगड ते भीमाशंकर आणि कोकणात माहुली आणि माथेरान इथ पर्यंत तुम्हाला दृश्य दिसते म्हणजे अर्धी सह्याद्री तर तुम्हाला एकाच डोंगरावरून दिसते हे महाराष्ट्रात कोणत्याही डोंगरावरून शक्य होत नाही .वातावरण चांगले असेल तर कुलंग च्या माथ्यावरून तुम्हाला ५० किल्ले दिसून येतात
मला पण हे दृश्य दिसत होते पण वातावरण हलक्याशा धुक्याने झाकले होते म्हणून कॅमेर्यात मला उत्तरेला  त्रिंबक ते दक्षिणेला आजोबा पर्वता पलीकडील परिसर मला बंदिस्त करता आला नाही .

मला पायथ्या पासून माथ्यावरती यायला २.५ तास लागले (काही लोक ४ तास ते ७ तास लागतात असे म्हणतात पण हे सुद्धा खरे आहे कारण कुलंग ची वाट हि एकदम खडी आणि  फारच घसरडी आहे म्हणजे ट्रेक च्या नियम प्रमाणे तुम्ही हळू चालत असाल तर घसरून पडण्याची शक्यता खूप आहे. एक पाय उचलला आणि पुढे ठेवाच्या आत आता जो तुमचा पाय जमिनीवरती आहे तो घसरू शकतो त्यामुळे अशा वाटेने एक तर पावले झपकन टाकावीत किंवा मुंगीच्या पावलाने चालावे . पावले झपकन टाकलीत कि तुम्ही माथ्यावर २ ते २.५ तासात पोहोचता पण खूपच दमछाक होते  आणि मुंगीच्या पावलाने चाललात कि ७ तास लागतात )
१२:३० वाजता मी माथ्यावर पोहोचलो थोडा आराम केला आणि २:०० वाजता दुपारी गड उतरायला सुरु केला .पुन्हा त्याच रस्त्याने काळजीपूर्वक उतरून दुपारी ४:०० वाजेपर्यंत गाव गाठले
गावातून पुन्हा नीट न्ह्याळून पहिले तर विश्वास बसत नाही कि असा अवघड गड आपण सर केला
थोड्या वेळात मी परतीचा मार्ग धरला आणि राजूर संगमनेर मार्गे १०:३० पर्यंत घरी आलो

Here are photos with descriptions given

Alang->Madan->Kulang->Chota Kulang from Left to right

Kulang fort in the halfway nearby Kulangwadi

The route is like this from base village till top

A route to Kulang through scree and loose soil

25 percent Kulang done here when you see the steps.These steps lead to the upper pleateau of Kulang

Kalsubai and its surroundings from halfway of Kulang

Reaching Kulang now the steep route of almost 80 degrees is followed

Scene of Kalsubai till Madangad from halfway of Kulang

Please be careful from this point.Though there are rock carved steps,yet they are exposed to a deep valley of 4000 feets to left hence slight off balance is also dangerous

The final climb to Kulang through rock carved route

I managed to take a photo from that rock exposed patch to just show you that if you loose your balance where will you go?

Myself after crossing that rock patch

Exhausted after that rock patch

Ready for the final climb

Myself near the cave at the final climb

Near the rocky staircase to the entrance

The first entrance to the fort.There are two more caves to the right after the entrance

Kulang summit and water tanks on the top.Kulang has got many water tanks

Ruins and remains on top of Kulang (भग्न अवशेष)

View from top of Kulang.Since there are no mountains in front,hence you cant feel the height but is is almost twice of Torna and Rajgad

The dam in the right corner.2 kms ahead of that,my trek started hence total trek to and fro was more than 20 kms

View of Sahyadris from top of Kulang

A view of Ghatghar and Konkan from top of Kulang.Below is the pleateau of Ghatghar and further down is konkan which is almost 1400 meters from ground

Rock face of Kulang towards Konkan

Madangad and Alang from Kulang top.Madangad and Alang is very near that two persons one on Kulang top and one on Madangad top can easily talk to each other

Myself on Kulang Summit

Myself on Kulang Summit with Madangad in backset

A snap of Kulang while descending

Reached Kulangwadi from where you can see Madangad and Alang