What is a devrai? Who are the Mahadeo Kolis? What message does their culture and way of life convey to us in today’s age?
On this trek to Ahupe village, we explore Maharashtra’s incredible natural and cultural heritage in the Sahyadris. The village of Ahupe is home to the Mahadeo Koli tribe, and multiple devrais – sacred groves protected by indigenous communities to preserve their biodiversity. These forests are home to the Giant Malabar Squirrel — the state animal of Maharashtra.
The Mahadeo Kolis are an animistic tribe who inhabit the Sahyadri mountain range of Maharashtra, one of the world’s eight biodiversity hotspots and a World Heritage Site. On this Swadesee experience, you will engage with the Mahadeo Kolis, learn about the flora and fauna of the village, and acquire knowledge on how they have conserved these sacred groves under the guidance of our local experts.
On this unique two day trek, you will be hosted by the Mahadeo Kolis in a traditional village home, feast on locally-sourced meals made freshly with love and passion and interact with the tribe to understand their way of lifestyle and the culture.
The Ahupe ghat is a moderate difficulty hike. There is no requirement of technical equipment or expertise. However, there is a decent amount of climbing involved (800 metres) hence basic fitness and motivation would be required. It will take about 4 hours to climb up and 3 hours to get back down. As we do the journey over two days it becomes easier. Also, we are going to explore the village and the devrais so it is not about fitness, and everyone will climb together, regardless of speed.
No alcohol consumption will be permitted on this experience. Nature will provide all the intoxication you require.
Participants will be required to sign a disclaimer before the hike begins.
All minors will need to be accompanied by an adult.
Duration: 2 days, 1 night
Experience start point: Kalyan Railway Station
Start time: 7:15 am, Saturday
Return to Kalyan: 3.00 pm, Sunday
Day 1: Saturday
Meet our local expert
You will be greeted by our local expert outside Kalyan Railway Station at 7:15 am. You will then proceed by private transport to the base village, from where you will start our trek to Ahupe. Breakfast will be en route.
Start the trek
As you walk through the narrow lanes of the base village, our local expert will engage you with interesting information about the flora and fauna found in the forests of Bhimashankar wildlife sanctuary.
Feast on home-made lunch
After a constant but straightforward 4 hour climb through the dense green forests of these mountains, you will arrive at Ahupe village and enjoy a delicious locally-sourced lunch.
Walk through the village and visit a devrai
In the late afternoon, our local village expert will lead you to a nearby lake and a Devrai – where we will learn more about it and identify unique and indigenous species of flora and fauna. You will also visit a tribal school where you will be surprised to see their adoption of technology!
Catch a spectacular sunset
You will spot the sun set from the edge of the cliff and head back to your homestay where our local hosts will serve you a traditional dinner. After tasting the quality of organic rice the villagers of Ahupe consume, you will be jealous of their lifestyle!
Stay in a local village home
After dinner you will head straight to bed in our warm and cosy homestay. Accommodation will be basic but comfortable. Men and women will be housed in separate quarters. If the weather is dry our local host will set up a bonfire where you can stargaze.
Day 2: Sunday
Visit another devrai
The next morning you will explore another Devrai near the village. Our local expert, will narrate to you stories about the Devrai, the unique animistic burial practices of the Mahadeo Kolis, and have conversations about the impact of tourism and development on life in the mountains.
You will stuff yourselves with a home-made breakfast and then descend the ghat. You will then reach the base village around noon, where you will board our transport to be back at Kalyan station by 3:00 pm.
How to reach:
There is a local train departing from CST at 6:06 am that will get you to Kalyan by 7:07 am. You can also board the train at Dadar at 6:21 am, Kurla at 6:28 am or Thane at 6:46 am.
Participants may also choose to drive down to the base village by themselves. The journey is 3 hours from Mumbai. Please contact us for details and we will help you organise parking for your vehicle.
Guided trek up and down Ahupe ghat
Village, lake and Devrai visit with a local expert
Overnight stay at a neat and clean homestay
Private transport from Kalyan to Kalyan
Refreshments, Lunch, Dinner on Day 1
Breakfast on Day 2
Transport to and from Kalyan station
Breakfast on Day 1
Lunch on Day 2
Anything not mentioned under inclusions
Comfortable clothes – no jeans or formal clothing for the hike
Change of clothes/small towel for the next day
Trekking shoes or sturdy sports shoes (better if waterproof)
Two liters of drinking water – minimum
Warm jacket and headgear for the night (it will be very cold in the winter)
Waterproof covers for your phone and backpack
Torch for the night
Camera – optional
Curiosity and energy – compulsory!
Make an impact:
Swadesee offers authentic, eco-friendly community-led experiences in Maharashtra. On every Swadesee experience that is booked, we ensure that the majority of the revenue generated goes back to the community. We consider our local experts as leaders and owners of the experience.
By choosing this Swadesee experience, you will directly empower the Mahadeo Koli community who are struggling to fight for the ownership of their environmental and cultural rights.
The experience follows traditional zero-waste principles and is eco-conscious, as we ensure that you would not generate any inorganic waste while in the village.