A couple of years back when we did the Gorakhgad trek, we thought it was a mighty mountain. (Read about the Gorakhgad trek here – The Motely Crowd and Mighty Mountain). Mighty it was then. At that time, we had set our eyes on Siddhagad peak, seen at a distance, engulfed in dark clouds. Little did we realise then that Siddhagad (3223 ft) was taller than Gorakhgad (2137 ft). If Gorakghad was thrilling, Siddhagad was beyond that. Rains lashing with vengeance and water gushing down through the trail added to the excitement.
Siddhagad is in the Malshejgat region, but along the Bhimashankar ridge, though it protrudes away from the main range. The forests around forms part of the Bhimashankar forests and the Malabar giant squirrel is supposedly spotted often. The base village is Narivli and is accessible from Murbad by road.
Morning 11.15 was a little late to start considering the height to climb and that it was raining almost continuously. A few hundred meters through the paddy fields near the village and the climb started. Steep climbs, waterfalls, slippery rocks, narrow ledges—all made every moment thrilling but slowed our pace. Thankfully, we were prepared with enough ropes and some expert company. It took about 2.5 hours to reach the first plateau, which has a village with about 8–10 houses.
A quick lunch break and after another hour of steep climb through dense foliage and loose rocks, we reached a cave temple. With rains making several spots treacherous and slowing us down, it was becoming clear that we will not make it to the top in time. It is nearly impossible to climb down after sunset. So we decided to return from the cave temple. Five from the group decided to trek up further to touch the peak and come back.
Climbing down turned out to be more challenging. Sahyadris in monsoons is a different ball game; and Siddhagad during monsoons is not advisable for first-time trekkers. A few from the group found it too scary to take even a step without support, and then sun called it a day. To our luck, darkness engulfed us only after we edged our way past one of the most challenging stretch—a rocky, open traverse where rocks are cut just enough to place one foot, and one misstep would have cost lives.From then it was night trek. Torches and headlamps came to our aid as we trudged and slid along the narrow trail. Though sun left us in the lurch, rains gave us company.
Drenched, tired, we reached the base village a good 4 hours beyond the ETA! Changing to fresh clothes was the most comforting thing at that time.
The trek was organised by Nature Knights.