Malshej Ghat is often referred to as a rain traveller’s abode. In fact, many an intrepid traveller has always made it a point to have Malshej Ghat on the annual itinerary simply because the place offers a view that has no parallel. It is a mountain pass descending to the Konkan from the Desh, located about 154 km northwest of Pune, 164 km from Mumbai and 85 kms from Kalyan in Thane district. Here, the Sahyadri mountain range towers above everything else, dominating and influencing the environment, nature, history, economics and ecology of the state. The region is a trekker’s paradise with its extremely rugged and rocky hills on which you will come across forts, temples and ancient rock-cut caves.
At Malshej Ghat, it is just nature and you in perfect communion. The heavy downpour, the morning fog blanketing out everything else, the slight chill in the air and a lush green carpet as far as the eye can see is what makes this a perfect landscape. Mist swirls up from the valley and envelopes the tourist resort of MTDC while the clouds unfurl and the waterfalls cascade down in all their glory. While the ghat area is often dry through the year, the rains spark off a miraculous change in just a few days. The streams and ponds begin to gurgle afresh and flora and fauna comes to life as if from a spell of hibernation.
If you are travelling from Pune towards Nashik, you will come across Narayangaon and then reach Alephata, where you can take a breather before you proceed further towards Malshej Ghat. Even as you drive on the winding road towards the pristine ghat, there will be opportunities to pause along the way and absorb the rolling landscape and feel the surge of non-polluted air rushing through your body. For those interested in ornithology, the drive will also offer a chance to observe many birds flitting through the skies and camping on the mud flats.
Rail: Nearest railhead is at Kalyan.
Road: Drive to Malshej Ghat via Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Vaishakhare.'
A famous place near Malshej Ghat is Khireshwar which is 2/3 kms from rest house. The place is famous for Flemingo birds. These birds comes here every year from Siberia between July and September. Its really an amazing view.
Having khireshwar as base village Harishchandragad is one of the best forts to trek and very popular fort for trekkers and nature lovers. The fort is situated near 'Malshej Ghat' in Junnar region. It is famous for its height, its toughness and the famous 'Konkan Kada'. Konkan Kada is really tough and is a challenge for the trekkers. The height of Konkan Kada is almost 3500 feet. It is very tough but worth to see. There are 3 peaks in Harishchandragad namely - 'Rohidas' , 'Taramati' and 'Harishchandra'.
Shivneri Fort :
Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj - The name itself speak out the history. The total Maratha history is focused on this great person only. The creator of Hindi Swaraj was born here in 1627. He lived his childhood here and played here with his friends. The fort today also speaks out the greatest Maratha.The building and the surroundings are worth to see.Places to visit in Shivneri are 'Kaman Take' , 'Kadelot Tok' , 'Koli Chouthara ' and 'Dongarmatha' (the top of the fort). One can see various places like Khodad, Arvi and Kukadi dam nearby, in the same trip.Truly, a place where one can remember Shivaji Maharaj and his childhood.
Buddhist caves :
The malshej hills are replete with Buddhist caves dating back to the 3rd century.
Ozar and Lenyadri Ganesh Temples :
Shri Vighneshwar situated at Ozar near Junnar town. Ozar is around 102 kms from Pune enroute to Nasik and 10 kms from Junnar.The idol is believed to be "Swayambhu" as was found or not sculpted by human hands. The Shri Vighneshwar temple was built in 1833. The temple is famous for its Deepmala's and its Golden dome. Ozarcha Shri Vigneshwara is considered to be one of the Ashta Vinayak shrines of Maharashtra, celebrating eight instances of legends related to Ganesha.
Lenyadri is 96 kms away from Pune. Lenyadri is also known as Shri Girijatmaka. Shri Girijatmaka situated on a hill on the banks of Kukdi river at Lenyadri.
There are 283 stairs to climb to reach the temple. The idol is believed to be "Swayambhu" as was found or not sculpted by human hands. Ganpati's tread ceremony was performed here.All the caves of Lenyadri are being taken care of by the Archaeological Department of Govt. of India. The steps are not so easy to climb and hence recommended not to go in the evening.
Bhimashankar is an ancient pilgrim center and houses one of the five holy Jyotirlingas in Maharashtra. the Shiva temple which was constructed by Maratha king Nana Phadnavis has excellent carvings and reliefs. The fair during the festival of Mahashivaratri that falls in the early part of the calendar year draws great crowds. The nearby bird and game sanctuary and the pleasant climate and natural scenery are among Bhimashankar's many attractions.
When the rains visit Malshej Ghat, the birds arrive here in huge numbers. If you are a budding ornithologist or even with just a passing interest in feathery fauna, you will find here many opportunities to see the birds at close range. The one bird that you must especially watch out for is the flamingo. These are migratory birds and while they usually are to be found near the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, Malshej Ghat plays a privileged host.
Nothing like Naneghat
Prior to reaching the Malshej Ghat you will arrive at the massive and awesome Naneghat which has a natural dyke with two huge mountain blocks on both sides and a walking pathway made of crude steps of stone. This was an ancient trade route between Kalyan and Junnar and provides a panoramic view of the Sahyadri ranges. According to historical records, the pass was for traders to walk through. You can indulge here in photography with the towering peak of Kalsubai to the north and Bhimashankar to the south.
If trekking isn’t your cup of tea but finding solace in a quiet temple is, you must visit the temple of Ozar where Lord Ganesh is worshipped in his incarnation of Vighneshwar, the one who helps remove the obstacles or even go to Lenyadri known for its Girijatmak temple of Ganesh. For this one has to climb about 300 steps.