2021 is all about new beginnings, and finally being able to do things that 2020 took away from you. So if you're an adventure junkie and your heart is pounding for some high-octane awesomeness this year, we've got a fix for you. Prabalgad Fort in the Panvel district of Maharashtra should be in your list this year, if you haven't scaled it yet. Here's why.
Earlier known as Muranjan Fort and later renamed by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj as Prabalgad, this fort is tucked away in the greens of the Sahyadris, at a height of 2,300 feet above sea level. From Mumbai, you need to board a local from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus or Dadar, and reach Panvel. After reaching, you take a local rickshaw or what is known as the Tum Tum there. It won't cost you more than INR 300 to reach from Panvel to your 1st base point, which is Thakurwadi (And if the autowallahs ask for more, know that it is time to show off some bargaining skills.) However, because the local trains aren't really functioning as of now, you can even travel till the Thakurwadi base in your car, park it there and hike up to Prabalmachi, which is a flat piece of land with a few local families serving food to travellers at minimal cost (Their veg and non-veg thalis are for INR 150 and INR 170 respectively.)
You can camp at Prabalmachi in the night with a bonfire around you, and a lot of dogs for company. After the night's sleep, you wake up to the sunrise (or maybe start the trek before sunrise to avoid the unnecessary sweating) and start ascending towards Prabalgad. It will take you around two hours to reach the pinnacle.
You will be crossing a few secret caves while climbing upward. And once you've reached the fort, let the scenic view do all the talking. Prabalgad also has a sister fort called Irshalgad, which is visible from the top. The greenery is understandably enhanced during the monsoons, but since it's the season for treks, put on those shoes, pack your bags and head out!