Rajgadh Fort Trek

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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.

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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!

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Sinhgadh Fort Trek

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Fort Type : Hill                                                     Base Village : Donje, Pune district

Grade : Easy                                                          Height : 4429 feet

Distance From Pune : 20 kms

Dec 2009 : Now if you are from Pune or if you have been staying in Pune for some time, then its assumed that you have been to Sinhgadh, I am not saying you would have trekked to Sinhgadh ;). This fort is the first step for Punekar to start there trekking odyssey. But I had never been there all these years and don’t ask me why. Many a times our sight eludes the things which are close to us.I personally and we as a group had made many plans to go to Sinhgadh but that never materialized. It was destined to happen only in December of 2009 only.

We made the plan and all were ready to come. We decided to go on bike, which above all made Ram happy. On the day of trek I, Ashk and Ram assembled at Katraj, Sandy, Rav, Sam and Ani joined at the Sinhgadh flyover junction. One of Ashk’s friend also joined in . The plan was to have a half day trek as few of the members had some personal work to attend to.

We had started early at 6:00 am. It was cloudy but not raining. Once all joined us at Sinhgadh flyover, we started the journey on the Sinhgadh road. The weather was great and we were enjoying the ride. We took break for breakfast at some small hotel after Nanded city and had vadapav, bhaji and tea, which was OK. It had started raining by now, so we enjoyed the bhaji and chai even more. We waited for the rain to subside a bit, but seeing that is not happening we continued any ways. Sinhgadh is around 15 km from Sinhgadh flyover and around 25 km Pune city and it takes around 1 hour to reach.

The road passes over Khadkawasala dam and is flanked by its backwater on the right side. We took our second stop there. The dam was almost full, we had some roasted corn here and enjoyed the nature. We then moved on towards our destination. We reached village Donje, which is the base village at about 8:30 am and parked our bikes near the school and started the trek.

It had started raining heavily now and we were on for a fun trek. The trek is relatively simple and has many marked trails as many punekars frequent this place. Many people visit this fort especially on the weekends from Pune city. We took few breaks on the way to have nimbu pani :). The trek was not tiring at all as the weather was cool and it was raining. The pace had slowed down a bit in between, but seeing many NDA cadets climbing the fort running, made us put in more. We reached to the top of the fort in 1.5 hours. We took some snaps and proceeded to explore the fort further.

The fort is town in itself with lot of eating joints, smalls shops etc dotting the whole landscape. The fort was completely engulfed in clouds and there was hardly any visibility. You can feel the clouds floating and passing around you. It was such a amazing site. We visited the samadhi of Tanaji Malusare, its inspiring just being there. We then visited samadhi of Chhatrapati Rajaram Maharaj. 

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After that we had a look at few bastions and fortification left there. On top of fort there is a very peculiar place, which has a reverse waterfall. Basically, the rain water falls from this place downhill but due to heavy wind in the direction of the fort, it is thrown back up again. It is a sight one has to see from once own eyes to believe it.

We then went to one of the many eating joints present there. They are famous for bhaji and fresh pot of curd. It was really tasty and we had a good time eating and talking. We sat for some time and then decided to start the descent as we had to reach back to Pune by 2:00 pm. We reached the base in 45 minutes.

We picked our bikes and started back towards Pune. It was still raining heavily. On the way we stopped over at a hotel for lunch. They had nice cottages and good ambiance. We were comply drenched in rain and were feeling bit chilly. The food was good and the service was prompt. After having our stomachs full, we continued towards Pune. On the way back we again stopped for some time at Khadkwaala with rain finally had stopped. We were back in Pune city by around 2:30 pm.

It was a good half day trek on a wonderful day to this historic fort. Finally, we had crossed the first step :).