This region consists of mountains rising from the Konkan, which are accessed by Western railway local trains (North Konkan) or by Harbour line local trains (like the Chowk area), or by bus from Mumbai (like the Chowk area). These mountains are not a part of the Sahyadri, and sometimes exhibit different flora and fauna than what one gets to see in the Ghats.
This area consists of mountains near Chowk village which is situated on the Mumbai-Pune highway between Panvel and Khopoli. The usual method to reach Chowk is by bus from Panvel. Panvel can be reached by bus from Dadar, or by a harbour line local train leaving CST. Chowk can also be accessed from Karjat by bus (15km). Irshal, Prabal and Karnala are in this region.
The first harbour line train to Belapur leaves CST at 4:19am. It reaches Vashi at 5:25am, from where, at 5:40am, leaves a local train for Panvel. It reaches Panvel at 6:10am. The first bus to Pune from Dadar leaves Dadar at 5:00am. It reaches Panvel in about an hour. Also there is a bus to Pune at 5:00am from Mumbai Central.
Karnala is an ancient fort situated about 10km from Panvel on the Mumbai-Goa highway. It is now a bird sanctuary. The peak is shaped like a funnel and one can see the Mumbai harbour from the top under clear conditions. An easy mud path leads from the highway to the base of the funnel. The funnel however is a technical climb, and there is a problem of scree and bees. There are huge caves at the base of the funnel, and for bird watchers, the forest of Karnala is a paradise. The best time for bird watching is winter. There are rest houses and cottages to stay in Karnala. Karnala is easily accessed by bus from Panvel.
This area consists of mountains near Tungareshwar, which is situated about 15 km east of Vasai Road railway station. Vasai Road is about 1 hour 15 minutes from Churchgate by a slow Western Railway local train. The first local train for Virar leaves Churchgate at 4:15am. Vasai Road is about 50 km north of Churchgate. The mountains in this area can be accessed by buses from Vasai Road for Kaman village. Kaman is about 20 km from Vasai Road and it takes about 35 minutes to reach by bus. Kaman is situated on the road leading from the Mumbai-Ahmedabad (Western Express) Highway to Bhiwandi. It is about 60km from Mumbai. Buses from Vasai Road to Bhiwandi halt at Kaman. There is a bus to Bhiwandi from Vasai Road bus stop at 6:00am. Generally buses along this route are quite frequent.
Tungareshwar is a beautiful conical peak, 664m high, easy to climb and the highest plateau in this region. Buses from Vasai Road to Kaman halt at Tungareshwar Phata, off the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highway. Tungareshwar Phata is about 15km from Vasai Road and about 60 km from Mumbai. One can take a bus to Satiwali too from where Tungareshwar Phata is a half an hour’s walk. It takes about 20 minutes to reach Satiwali from Vasai Road by bus. From Tungareshwar Phata, after walking for about 5 km on a broad flat path, and crossing a few streams (which are quite flooded during monsoon) on the way, one reaches a temple of Shiva, called the Tungareshwar temple. Behind the temple are a few waterfalls. The broad path continues with a gentle incline for a further 8 km to reach the top, which is a large grassy plateau. This route is very beautiful, with thick forest on both sides. There are a few tubewells along the way, so there is no need to carry a lot of water. Walking further on the top plateau, and after descending a bit, one reaches an ashram of Sadanand Baba. Nearby, there are huge walls which offer rock climbing opportunities. From the ashram, the route goes down gently for a further 8 km to reach Parol at the base. From here buses are available to Virar (16 km) or to Vasai Road (24km).
This is an easy trek, and in fact, a powerful jeep could climb up all the way to the top. The attraction of this trek is mainly the beauty of the surrounding forests, and the views from the top. Tungareshwar is a great delight, both in the monsoon, and in the winter.
The speciality of Tungareshwar is that the forests are the only evergreen forests in this part of the country. The flora and fauna are quite different from the kinds seen in the Sahyadri forests, or even the Matheran range forests. This place is a boon for the biologist. Many colourful flowers and butterflies can be seen here. Also bird watchers will have a great time in this region, particularly in winter.
Kamandurg is a peak, 652m high, situated near Kaman village. It is the highest point in the range of mountains seen behind Kaman. The easier way to climb Kamandurg would be to alight 3 stops after Kaman, further down the road towards Bhiwandi. From there a flat walk of about 4 km through fields and passing near brick kilns leads to a ridge coming down south from Kamandurg. One has to cross a shallow river on the way. The route up the ridge is easy and well defined. Near the top the route becomes a bit steep though. The flat walk to the start of the ridge takes about an hour and the climb up the ridge takes about an hour and a half. There is a flag attached to a bamboo pole at the top. This is the highest point of Kamandurg. Next to it is another pinnacle. The walls around both the peaks drop vertically on three sides. Behind the higher peak one can see another ridge which descends westwards. One has to descend a bit (along the side from where one originally ascended to the peak) and then go around the peak along an exposed route to reach this ridge. One can then descend down this ridge instead, for an alternate route.
A more interesting route to Kamandurg is to alight at Kaman village and proceed eastwards towards Kamandurg. A flat walk of about 3 km across fields leads to village Devkundipada. One has to cross a shallow river on the way. Near the river a brick kiln is situated. From here the track leads to a spur coming down from the right. It takes about an hour to reach the base of the spur from Kaman village. The route climbs up along the spur and is a bit faint at times and initially leads one towards the south, away from the peak of Kamandurg. Then all of a sudden it turns sharply to the left in the direction of the peak. From this point the route goes up along a ridge which approaches Kamandurg from the west. There are two minor rock climbing patches on this ridge. Steps cut in the rock aid in climbing these patches. After these two patches one reaches a hump from where a saddle leading to Kamandurg is visible. From the hump one has to descend to the saddle and then climb up again along a steep slope with loose soil. At the top of the slope another rock climb, a bit more difficult than the previous two, has to be negotiated. After the climb one is at the top of the ridge. The highest point of Kamandurg (marked with a flag on a bamboo pole) is very close to this point. But to reach there, one has to descend to a narrow saddle. The flag point is about 15m above the saddle. On both sides of the saddle the mountain walls drop away steeply. To reach the flag point one has to traverse for about 10m to the right of the saddle along the rock face on a slightly exposed route covered with loose soil. Thus traversing one can go round the peak (of the flag point) and climb up to the flag point from the right. From here one can go down on the right to join the easier route along the south ridge. The climb to the flag point from the base of the spur takes about 3 hours and this route is more interesting than climbing up the south ridge. Since this route is more difficult than the south ridge route, it is advisable to climb up this route and descend along the south ridge.