Wake up to a brand new sunrise
Millennials are ditching Mumbai's DJ parties to watch the new year's first sunrise in nature's lap. What about you?
The jungle walk ///At Prabalmachi
A trek of around two hours through dense jungle will take you to Prabalmachi near Panvel taluka. This is in fact, the machi (plateau base) for Kalavantin and Prabalgad where you can camp and stay overnight.
Most visitors rest at the machi the night before and start the trek to Kalavantin or Prabalgad early morning to enjoy the sunrise and take in a 360-degree view from the top. School teacher Jennifer Fernandes, who co-founded Trekophy, says, "Watching the sun rise fills your soul with hope to fulfil your dreams for the coming months. For the trek to Kalavatin, you need a good endurance level and previous trekking experience since the climb is steep and rocky."
On the evening of December 31, participants assemble at Panvel station and move towards the base village of Prabalmachi by local transport. From there, they start the trek, reach the plateau by 8 pm and explore the surroundings before enjoying a meal cooked by local residents. The organisers have planned games including antakshari and a bonfire. You can sleep in the tents, wake up to watch the sunrise, and enjoy a filling breakfast before you start the descent.
Price: Rs 1,200 onwards
Camp under the stars ///At Lohagad
The Lohagad range divides the basins of the Indrayani and Pavana rivers and overlooks the Pavna reservoir on its south. The Lohagad fort is a protected monument and the trek is only five kilometers from the base of Malavli, ideal for beginners. At this homely, forest base camp, participants arrive at 3 pm on December 31 and get enough time to relax and explore the campsite and mountains. Games, a BBQ and dinner near the campfire will be organised minus loud music.
And then, it’s time to stargaze. The next morning, experience the sunrise with a mountain view and trek to the fort to fall in love with nature. "The Lohgad campsite is just 15 km from Lonavala railway station, and 95 km from Mumbai via road, so if you aren’t intending to go too far, or trek too much, this is perfect for you," says Bahera.
Price: Rs 1,200 onwards
The moonlit trek /// To Kalsubai
"Words fall short to describe the experience of watching the first sunrise of the year from the highest peak in Maharashtra. Put that on your bucket list," says Jayesh Bahera, founder, Trekcommunity.in, a platform for travel enthusiasts. At 5,400 ft, the Kalsubai peak does command some seriously stunning views. With steel railings, chains and ladders at difficult patches, the four-hour moonlit trek under the stars is made comfortable and thrilling.
From Kasara railway station, participants are driven to the base of Bari village in a jeep from where the ascent begins. When you reach the peak by 4.30 am, there’s enough time to nap or freshen up before you witness the new year’s first sunrise. Post breakfast, the descent begins, where you will have lunch.
Price: Rs 899 per person
What to carry on a night trek
. Strong torchlight with extra batteries.
. Good trekking shoes that provide extra grip and comfort.
. Day backpack with towels and sleeping material.
. 2/3 litres of water, dry fruits, dry snacks, energy bars.
. Sun cap and sunscreen.
. First aid and personal medicines.
. Wear full sleeves and full track pant for protection from sun, thorns, insects and prickles.
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