Fort Type : Hill Base Village : Pali, Pune district
Grade : Medium/Tough Height : 4520 feet
Distance From Pune : 50 kms
18-Dec-2009 : We were in thick of trekking season. Last week only we had covered Sinhgadh and we were immediately thinking of the next fort and trek to do. Ashk suggested we select one of the forts closer to his village which is in Bhor taluka and there are many forts there. After many deliberations Rajgadh was finalized. It is one of the most important forts, the first capital of Maratha Empire! One of our friends booked a Maruti Omni, which was going to be our companion traveler in many other treks to come. We decided to start at 6:00 am and Katraj was going to be our meeting point.
All of us assembled at Katraj on the day of travel and we left as per plan. The Maruti Omni, which we had booked was one of its kind. It was very old and the ride on even good roads was quite bumpy. But it was super cheap as the renting/driving was his side business, who owned and operated a garage as well, so heck with bumpy ride ;).
The route to Rajgadh is via Nasarapur phata which is around 20 Kms from Katraj on Pune-Satara super highway. On Nasrapur phata take right and reach base village Pali. Rajgadh fort is very large and there are various routes to reach there and so one has to select the appropriate base village. The route through Pali is the medium easy and it leads to the fort through Pali darwaja.
On the way we stopped at a hotel on Pune-Satara super highway for breakfast. The usual fare for us, Poha, vada pav and chai. Then after taking right on Nasarapur phata, we continued on the road towards Pali village. This road is in a very bad shape, which is quite sad and travelling through our Omni was even more adventurous. Somehow we managed to reach Pali and started our trek.
Now there are many forts, fortification of which you can see from the base itself, but this is one of those forts when even after trekking more than half the way, you don’t see the fortification. This will give you an idea of the expanse of the fort and that’s why this was capital for so many years , before being shifted to even bigger and grander Raigadh.
The weather was pleasant, not too hot or cold. After covering the initial way quickly, the pace slowed. It was bit tiring for everyone. The trek is medium tough and a long one. We had nimbu pani at few of the places on the way. Finally we started seeing the fortification and it looked the top is near, but it still took us long time to reach the top. Near the top they have added steel railing to hold onto while climbing a bit tricky patch. We reached the top in 3 hours after we had started from the base. It was tiring but a fulfilling trek.
We entered the fort through Pali darwaja, which is a huge door. We rested there a bit, took some snaps and then started to explore the fort. When you enter through this door, Padmawati machi is near by only.There are three machis on the fort and this one is the magnificent one. This machi had military base as well as residential areas. One can see many old structures here and gives us a glimpse to the days of glory. There is Padmavati temple and lake by the same name here on the machi. There are information boards explaining various structures which ones stood there.
After taking some rest and having some snacks, we wanted to continue forward towards Bale killa, which we could see from the place where we had taken break. But some of us were tired so we decided to start back. We took around 2 hours to reach the base. It was one of the most thrilling treks we had done.
After reaching the base, Ashok suggested to come to his village, to visit his house. We went to his house, spent some time there and started back towards Pune. We were quite tired and some of us went to sleep, surprisingly on the bumpy ride back in our majestic Omni. We reached Pune city by 6:00 pm and started back towards our respective homes.
Such a great experience to visit this historically important place!
PS – On the top, we could see the Torna fort and the ridge which connects Rajgadh to it. There it was our next destination!