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Peb Fort (2200ft)
11th Jun 2006

This was to be the first monsoon trek of 2006. Peb was selected as the spot to start the season. The response was tremendous and I was hoping that I would rain to do justice to the response.

We started on the 12th of June reaching Dadar as early as 5:30 am. We planned to take the earliest train possible. We took the 6:02 am train from Dadar. People got into the train from Thane, Ghatkopar etc etc and by the time we reached Neral the base of Peb as well the famous Matheran it was about 8:00 am. About 3 of our friends were a bit late and we waited for them.

Finally when they arrived the count was 39, pretty impressive for a first trek and the encouraging part was that majority of them were first timers.

Breakfast done, we started moving towards the fort. You need to go right towards CST side on the road just outside the station. You reach the taxi stand and turn left and walk straight across the fields.

You can see the Peb fort right ahead of you, with the Panorama point of Matheran to the left and Nakhind to the right. You start ascending the hills and now you need to keep your eye on the electric poles. The path is well trodden and you continue ascending till you reach a cemented electric pole. You can hear the tension in the high tension electric wires. Now continue along the right side path. After going for about half an hour, we made a mistake. Instead of following still right, we took the river bed route and that cost us a lot of time.

One of the most famous landmark while trekking the Peb is the electric pole in the col between Nakhind and Peb. But we reached a point where we could see the electric pole but we had to cover a very dangerous scree to reach the pole. With a strength of 39 it was obviously going to take a lot of time and we finally reached the electric pole at around 1.30 pm. There was a cool breeze blowing and the effort was looking worth. Seeing around Peb you can see Chanderi, Mhasmal and ofcourse Matheran.

Here a group decided it was enough for them and half of us decided to stay back. We moved ahead and in about 15 mins we reached the famous caves of Peb. Here sitting under the shade of the caves, we had our lunch. Apurva and Chanda had already left to fetch drinking water - the elixir of life. And we had the most beautiful lunch. Hunger and the scenery around made every morsel tasty. Lunch done, some of us decided to move back. And about 5-7 of us decided to go ahead and explore the rest of the caves. The cave is actually divided into two parts. One part has a samadhi and other has a statue of Shivaji Maharaj. Its said that Shivaji used this fort to store food grains. The name Peb is however derived from the temple of Godess Pebi at the foothills. After seeing the cave we went around the fort. On the other end of the fort is a ridge that takes us directly to Matheran - a free entry into Matheran without paying the entry fee.

Anthony reached the top of the fort in a jiffy and was waving to us. Actually I felt that as always we ran short of time to explore the whole fort.

Anyways we turned back and now decided to explore the famous small cave of Peb. Small but deep which allows only one person to enter at a time. I entered with Apurva head torch. I crept inside and then after about 10-12 feet there is a way underground. Somehow the eerie feeling got to me and I decided - 'ok thats enuf of adventure' The sound and smell of bats did not help too :). And then I had to reverse back.. a funny way of returning actually cause there is no space to turn. And Apurva came up with his expertise :) saying maybe it was a hiding place in the old days where you could cover the entrance with a huge stone.

Ok. Enough adventure and we turned back. By this Rajan had done a great job of checking out the right route. We now went ahead and then reached a junction. Straight lay the path to Nakhind. Path to right will take to Neral and Path of Left will take us to Satyachiwadi - Panvel. We turned right and rushed. It was nearing night time when we reached Neral station. We had a quick session of tea and cofee and cold drinks and what not.
It had been very tiring because God had decided it wasnt time for rains yet. But rains or no rains, the trek to Peb was fun. We took the 8:56 train from Neral and off we were .. some standing, some sitting ....some sleeping. zzz

Written By: Krishnadas W.

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