Fort Type : Hill Base Village : Tungwadi/Tikona Peth, Pune district
Grade : Medium Height : 3527/4609 feet
Distance From Pune : 75 kms
After Raireshwar trek, we were looking for the next trekking destination. Rajmachi, which we had passed over last time was on the list. But it eventually lost out to Tung and Tikona, which are twin forts. What caught our eye for these 2 forts was that there is Pavana backwaters between the 2 and once you scale one and come down, you can take a ferry and go for the other one. That was really existing, only catch was the monsoon had yet to start earnestly and so if there is no water, where would the boats float:). Ironically another catch was if it starts raining and even if the water level rises; due to rough weather the boating would be closed down. So either way it looked difficult for the ferry way trek 😦 , but there was a alternative road way, which we could take, to cover both of them.
So the date was finalized, itinerary passed, car booked(The MAX, which we had used last time over) and we were all set. All other guys were to assemble at Katraj, where the Max was going to come and I and another guy were to be picked up at Chandani chowk. As always everything was running late and we started may be around 45 mins late than the planned time. On the way at Pirangut we had vada pav and tea breakfast. It was not raining and we were praying that at least it rains at the forts, else we were going to have tough trek as the last one, under the mid noon sun :(. We were 1st heading for Tikona, then after scaling that, we planned to try for the ferry, else take the Max to the Tung base and then scale Tung. The route to the Tikona is from Chandani chowk, towards Paud, after you reach Paud, you have to take a diversion towards Tikona peth. The road is overall good, but there are some rough patches.
After around 1:30 hour’s drive, we reached Tikona peth. While on the way we spotted the mighty Tung on the backdrop of Pavana backwaters. It was just amazing sight. Tung fort, is one of the most beautiful fort I have ever seen. It was raining in patches. On the way we learned that ferries are suspended due to rough weather, which was bit of dampener for us. We continued from Tikona peth towards base of Tikona, which is couple of Kilometers inside the village. The surroundings are peaceful and serene. We packed all the stuff required and started the trek. The initial part of trek is quite normal and not much tiring also. Rain was coming in patches and so we had good setting for the trek. On the way there are Ram and Hanuman temples, which are very good. Ram temple is inside a cave, which is flanked by a small pond and there are couple of waterfalls over and below the caves and Hanuman is carved out from a single rock. Some restoration work is going around. You also pass through some caves and shelters created on the way, good places to take some rest as well as pics :).
Then we finally reached at the base of the Bale Killa and then we saw the full might of it. There was may be around 70 degree accent staring in front of us, consisting of around 30-40 steps, but here is the real deal, you can keep your feet on the steps horizontally only and that to covers only half of your foot on most of the steps. Fort restoration group have also attached cables on one side, which is great help, so you can hold onto the cables to climb/decent this area. Without the cables this would be very difficult and dangerous portion. But the 1st sight of this accent is really intimidating. Also this part is very slippery due to rains and moss. We started the accent. After about 20 steps there is bastion, from where you get a very good view of Tung and Pavana backwaters. We clicked few pics here, then we scaled the remaining part and were almost on top. There is open area with the fortification and there is zenda, where we took some pics. From here you take few more steps and you reach the temple. There is also a gad pal, appointed by the Fort restoration group, which is a good idea, to keep the place free of miscreants. We took some rest here, had some fruits and clicked photos, then after a slight climb, you reach the very top of the fort. This place has amazing view and you can see all the nearby locations. It took us around 1:30 hours to scale the fort.
After spending some time on top, we started the descent. On the way down, the cables are again great help and it took half an hour to get back to base. After waiting for all guys to come and taking a short break, we immediately started for Tung. To reach Tung by road, due to Pavana backwaters in between, you have to take a semicircular round about. It passes through multiple small ghats, really bad roads, with many big pits filled with water where without sturdy vehicle like Max, it would be a nightmare to cover and takes around 1 hour or so. But the surroundings are beautiful and its a great journey.
Base village for Tung is Tungi or Tungwadi, which is at quite high altitude and so the distance to trek is not much. After we reached the base there was some argument on where to have the lunch. We had brought pre packed food, like parathas, shrikhand, fruits etc, which was a very good idea, to save time in finding the place to eat lunch on the way and also we can have lunch on time, else many a times it gets delayed till like 4 or 5 pm. It was almost 12:30 pm and the options we had were; either take the lunch with us to the top, which would be bit of tiring exercise, but we can have lunch on time and that too on top of the fort in great surrounding, would be a great experience, or to leave it in the Max only and come back from trek and then have it at the base. Finally we decided to take it up with us.
We asked the other guys to start the trek and I, Ram and Sandy, stayed back to pack all the stuff and carry it over. Once we were done and with many kilos of bags 🙂 on our back, we started the trek. It was second fort trek on the same day and we were bit tired, especially hauling such heavy bags. The trek though is very good and tough at the same time. There is now walkway and you have to trek through rocks, boulders and streams. Then there is a spot, where you have to accent through waterfalls. I have done this before on Visagad, but it is tougher here as only on one side there are rocks to hold by, which are slippery with moss. So one has to cover this patch very carefully and I don’t think this can be done under heavy rains. Thankfully, it was mildly raining and we were within few weeks of monsoon, so it was not very slippery. Here also the same situation as on Tikona, there are very small steps, which you have to climb with horizontal foot and more importantly no ropes for support. We somehow managed that and on the way were able to click some great pics. We were on the top in 30 mins, so not a big trek, but one of the toughest. There are some ridges there where there is barely enough space to walk as on one side you have the hill slopes and on the other valley straight down.
It was raining very heavily on top. We took some rest and roamed a bit and then decided to have our lunch in the temple to take shelter from rains. But it was very small to accommodate all of us. The rains had subsided a bit so we decided to have lunch besides the temple. We had just started to serve the lunch and it started raining heavily making our plates and food wet, so we ran for another shelter which we had come across on the way, which was bit downhill from where we were. There we got some dry place and had our lunch there. It was great feeling to have lunch at the top of fort, with heavy rainfall around us. Once we were done and the rains subsided a bit, we started the descent. Again on the tough patch, we had to be very careful and there were few steps, where we had to descent facing away. It was tough and slow moving, but we made it safely to the base. From there we started our way back to Pune. It took us around 1:30 hours to be back. On the way we had some tea on the road side vehicle. It was such a fun, enriching and memorable journey and added one more, rather two fort feathers to my cap.
PS: The greatest experience would have been to reach the second fort through ferry, but that did not happen. May be at Vasato, someday, some time? Hope :).