Waterfalls are invariably magically hypnotising. There is a very unique charm about waterfalls which simply enchants you, you really get caught-up in the moment. We truly believe that waterfall can never disappoint you. When you keep looking while the water falls down a cliff, it feels as if it is the nature’s way of telling you, that there can be a certain grace associated even in falling. At least that is what we feel when we look at one.
Come monsoon and waterfalls are at their best. Especially around Mumbai you witness lots of them nestled in-between the hanging cliffs of Sahyadris. In the last few years many of the travellers have explored a lot of “hidden and secluded gems” which are no more hidden 🙂
One such beauty that we hiked to recently is Kataldhaar Waterfall near Lonavala.
How to reach?
Since we travelled from Navi Mumbai all the distances will be in that respect. Base point of the trek is about 62 kms from Belapur. It is quite easy to locate as the base point is 2 km ahead of Della Adventures. There is a check post where you have to pay an entry fee of 100Rs.
By Private Car/Bike
You can take your vehicle all the way to the base point and park your vehicle anywhere you find the space – at your own risk. It’s out in the wilderness, though safe.
Catch a train from either Mumbai or Pune to Lonavala. Hire a taxi which will drop you at the Kataldhaar base point. To and Fro Taxi from Lonavala station can cost around 2000 Rs.
We drove our car and parked it at the check post. From there it is an hour long downhill hike to the waterfall. There is a chai point at a beautiful plateau just 5 min from the check post en-route the waterfall. You can get tea, Maggi, vadapav and other eatables here. You can stop for some quick refreshments, while sitting by a small stream here.
After this point starts the jungle walk. Initial 15 min are a plain walk along a trail that takes you through the beautiful jungle. You come across a good stream along the way that you gotta cross. After this stream is a downhill walk where you gotta be a little careful as you have to navigate your way through the big boulders. At some places the soil is a little loose and you might lose the grip with the risk of slipping through.
Finding your way…
It might get a little confusing to find your way through the jungle but keep following the empty water bottles trail and you will be fine. This is an interesting and very important part of the trail. Villagers have put those garbage bottles to very good use. Instead of putting the chalk or paint markings on the boulders or trees, they have used the bottles and hung them on the tree branches along the route. Be vigilant and keep an eye for those bottles and you will reach your destination safe and sound.
You find 2-3 “tapris” along the way where you can stop for some tea or lemon water. You can also find some chips and Maggi and biscuits at those points.
First View of the Waterfall
After about an hour, you start hearing the sound of the waterfall and then suddenly you reach a clearing and get the majestic view of the waterfall. One of the best sights. Huge waterfall with a height of about 350 ft welcomes you. Especially during the monsoons, it is enchanting. From the first view point, it takes another 10 min to reach down to the base of the waterfall, where there is also a natural water pool.
It is safe to take a dip in that water and even swim for that matter. We went in the month of September and it was rainy around that time. It was an exhilarating experience to be there. Water was not that cold. Rocks, of course, were slippery so you have to be extra cautious but it’s an experience of its kind. There is a huge cave right behind the waterfall which can house almost 100 people. Be careful while you tread along the path to the cave. You get a beautiful view of the surrounding Sahyadri Ranges along with the 2 forts of Rajmachi.
Waterfall Rappelling activities have also opened up at Kataldhaar. So if you are interested, you can reach out to some trekking companies who indulge in adventure sports.
After spending about an hour at the waterfall we started on our way back. Return is a little more effort as you have to climb all the way up and the uphill climb can seem a little treacherous if you are not in good physical shape. It can take you somewhere between 1hr 15min to 2 hr to reach back to the check post. But it is very much doable and should definitely be tried.
It can come across as a tough trek for the beginners, especially the uphill climb but we will rate this as an Easy to Medium Grade trek. It is a one day small trek near Mumbai and perfect for a quick weekend activity. Please carry water bottles with you rather than buying bottled water along the way – this way you can do your bit to reduce some wastage and help environment in your own small way. We always carry 4-5 water bottles with us. We also carry a bio-degradable trash bag for all the wrappers and snack packets that we enjoy while trekking and would recommend everyone to do the same rather than leaving a trash trail in the forest.
Do reach out to us if you need any help planning this trek or any other help whatsoever. We will be more than happy to be answer any of your question. Happy Trekking and Keep Exploring !!