Dhak Bahiri is the cave in the Sahyadri hill range in the Karjat region at an elevation of about 2700ft and popular among the trekkers for it’s thrilling climb.
The name came from the ‘Bhairav’ who is the patron god of local thakur adivasis so it was used by pilgrims and sages for the pilgrimage to the god Bahiri.
Without advanced mountaineering gears, this particular trek to Dhak Bahiri is not recommended, even for the pros because of 80-degree rock-cut steps, tricky patch with sheer drop at one side.
Apart from this, there such no significant structures are remaining on the cave, except good scenery and few water cisterns.
History says that Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj has once visited these religious cave of God Bahiri for pilgrimage purposes & gifted golden plate to the god.
This place was later discovered by great historian Gopal Nilkanth Dandekar aka Appa Dandekar .
The cave walls reflect a fair picture of how old and natural the formations are.
Standing at the cave opening, one can see the scenic beauty of Sahyadri as a cool breeze blows across the face.
A temple of Lord Bhairav is located inside the cave and three pindis are placed outside the temple at the cliff of the cave.
Above the cave is the wall of the mountain on which the fort of Dhak is situated. The fort has 3-4 water cisterns on top
HOW TO REACH
In the Karjat region, Sandshi and Jambhiwali are the villages defining the periphery of Dhak Bahiri.
Via Sandoshi: (Mostly Recommended)
From Karjat S.T Depot, S.T. buses ply regularly to Sandshi. Its better to board the bus in the early morning which is at 7AM as the midday sun heats the rocks of Dhak mountain.
From here, strictly a guide is required, as the way proceeds through dense vegetation and is quite confusing.
Do lookout for the red or orange ribbons which are tied on trees all along the trail.
After a walk of 3 hours, we reach the ridge between the pinnacle on the right and the mountain of Dhak on the center.
From Karjat S.T. Depot, one should aboard the S.T. bus for the village of Wadhap. We have to cross a rivulet, and a way leads straight to the fort. There is a temple on the same route before the fort. To the left of the temple, there is the Col, which leads us to the ridge between the fort and the pinnacle.
TREKKING & ADVENTURES
After reaching ridge from any two of the routes, we came across thrilling final patch which technically divided into 3 parts.
The first is climbing the 80-degree rock-cut steps of the mountain with the support from the ropes that are already attached.
The second patch is walking on the traverse path.
Here you need to be more concentrate on your foot placing as there is sheer drop at other side and path is also so narrow like the size of only our 1 foot but for safety, the iron ropes are placed throughout the patch to hold while walking on it.
As per the above picture, this one is most tricky moment you will come across in this traverse patch. since iron ropes that you are holding are fixed at one point so you have stop and then take your both foots carefully on other side of rope.
The third and final patch is where the real thrill begins.
There are 6 to 7 feet high branches, also secured by iron rods and ropes which is to be climbed upon to reach the cave. And this is close to 90-degree straight inclined slope. You climb on the limb stumps of the branches while taking support from the rocks. Here, you have to be extremely careful while climbing and avoid looking down in the valley.
Do not try to capture photographs/ record videos using a mobile phone in one hand during this all three patch as it will increase the risk of any imbalance or mishaps.
One step at a time and one person at a time is the rule to be followed as one wrong step and you are down in the valley!
‘Ascending the top may be optional but getting down is mandatory’
Descending this patches specially ladder patch also required a lot of courage as you face valley on your back and mountain on the face. Therefore you need to more careful to put which foot where without looking below.
Other option is, if you bring your own ropes and other rock climbing accessories, then you can directly rappel down to the ridge.
There are 2 rooms inside the cave for around 50 people to camp overnight.
Water from the rock face drains into a cistern in the cave.
One should make arrangements for foodstuffs. The cooking vessels are available in the cave of Bahiri. They should be kept back by cleaning after using them. A legend says that one who tries to steals the vessels, perishes.
BEST SEASON TO VISIT
The best time to visit the cave is from October to February as the weather is pleasant and the surroundings are still green. Cold winds flow for the most part of the day.
I would suggest you to avoid doing this trek in the monsoon season.
If you are still planning to do it in monsoon, I would recommend you to skip doing the final stretch.
In summers, the rocks become quite hot and it would be hard to grip them.
From the caves, we can have a glance of the terrifying beauty of peaks of Sahyadri. We can also see the beautiful twins forts of Rajmachi, Shrivardhan and Manranjan.
Kalakrai Pinnacle :
This pinnacle is quite famous for its technical rock climbing. Therefore, it is frequently visited by professional mountaineers. The way to the right of the ridge takes to the cliff, but a rope and rock climbing equipment is necessary.
Final thought about Dhak Bahiri
“Trek to Dhak Bahiri cave is definitely not for the fainthearted person.
But if you experience enough in the trekking,
then it is a perfect gateway to test your mental strength by experiencing the thrill of this hardest climb in the Sahyadri..!!”
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