Sunday, 23 June 2013

Monsoon trek to Lohagad fort

As monsoon begins, many trekkers booked their calendar for treks nearby Pune and Mumbai. I’m also interested to start some trekking activity this monsoon. On late Friday evening, we (My wife & I) decided to go for a trek on Saturday. This time we decided to complete the trek with the help of public transport.

Trekkers for Lohagad were me and my wife Renuka

At Vinchu kata

About Lohagad fort and trek:
              Fort is situated 52km from Pune in western India. It is at an elevation of 3,450 feet (1,052 m).Lohagad village is the base village for the fort. Now Lohagadwadi village is easily accessible by road. Trekker usually start there trek from Malavali railway station. It is just 9km away from station. 
             Lohagad has a long history with several dynasties occupying it at different periods of time. Some historical records say, Satavahanas, Chalukyas are the first one to reach on this place. Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort in 1648, but he was forced to surrender it to the Mughals in 1665 by the Treaty of Purandar. Shivaji Maharaj recaptured it in 1670 and used it for keeping his treasury. This fort was used to keep the loot from Surat. Later in Peshwa time Nana Phadanwis used this fort for living for some time.
            There are many places to see on fort. First entrance door is known as Ganesh darwaja (Lord Ganesh entrance gate). Other entrance gates in sequence are Narayan darwaja, Hanuman Darwaja and last entrance gate is known as Maha-Darwaja. Highlight of fort is Vinchukata (Scorpion's tail) which reminds us of 'SanjeevniMachi 'of Rajgad. It is 1500m long & 30m wide part of the mountain, separated from the main part. Viewing from the fort this portion looks like scorpion’s sting and hence it is called 'Vinchu Kata'. This 'Vinchu Kata' was used for keeping a watch on the nearby area.


             There are 2 ways to start trek to Lohagad fort, one is from Malavali station. After crossing the Express-Highway & reaching Bhaje village we get straight route to Lohagad. After walking for 1.5 to 2 hours & turning to right from `Goumukh Khind` we will reach to Lohagad. Turning to left we reach to Visapur fort. Another route is from Pawna side which I’m not aware of it. 

22nd June 2013: trek to Lohagad (1.25 hr. of local train + 2-2.5 hr. total climb):
             On a very short notice, we decided and planned to do the Lohagad trek on Saturday. We woke up early morning and caught 6.30 am local train from Pune station for Malavali. I was expecting a rush in local but very few seats where occupied by travelers. We reached on Malavali railway station after around 70 min. Without wasting any time, we started our first trek patch. After 1.5-2km walk we reached at Bhaje village. We had some breakfast and then our trek began.

Malavali railway Station
             
              Weather was perfectly set for trekking conditions. Sun was busy in hide and seeks game with rainy clouds. After crossing Bhaje village, there are 2 routes, one leads to Bhaje caves and other is to Lohagad fort. There was a route from Bhaje caves to Lohagad but I was not aware so I took winding path for our trek. We crossed 2-3 waterfalls in route. After crossing 2 bridges (small bridge to bypass waterfall), there is small route on left side which is shortcut with sudden height gain. We took that path. It goes through dens small forest.We had to take stop once to rejuvenate ourselves. After walking for some time we reached at `Goumukh Khind`.

Route to Goumukh Khind

Visapur fort view from Goumukh Khind

Visapur Fort

               Tar road is newly constructed for last 20-30% patch. From Goumukh Khind, we took right turn for Lohagad fort. By taking left turn, you can go to Visapur fort which is very close to the Lohagad fort. After few km walk we reached at fort’s base village named Lohagadwadi. Rain welcomed us when we reached at base village. From this point, stone steps are laid till the top. Climb to the top of the fort should take around 45 mins.During the rainy season, water flows on the steps making them a bit slippery. It was raining heavily so we didn't get a chance to click any photo. Fort was surrounded with clouds so we were not able to see anything. Climbing on stone steps was quite easy task and we reached at the top soon. We were walking in clouds and unable to see any natural beauty around fort. Once you entered by last Darwaja (entrance gate), you can see an old Darga on left. 

MahaDarwaja

Old Darga
              
             We hardly took a pit stop at the top and marched towards Laxmi kothi (Laxmi caves). It is a big cave where 50 people can stay. The Kothi has many rooms.This Laxmi Kothi was used to keep the loot from Surat. With the help of torch, you can explore all rooms of Kothi.  We moved ahead towards Vinchu kata from Laxmi kothi. On the way to Vinchu kata, you can see newly built Dargah. This is the tomb of Sheikh Umar.

Laxmi Kothi
            
            After few min walk, we reach at the starting point of Vinchu kata. As I mentioned earlier, it is a 1500m long & 30m wide part of the mountain with bastion on the end, separated from the main part.We waited till cloud got away and gave us a beautiful view of Vinchu kata point. Soon rain stopped and sun came out to show us the way. There are 2 ways to go to Vinchu kata. One is by crossing difficult rock patch and other is very narrow route (with exposed view on left side). Due to monsoon, we selected narrow route which was much safer than the rock patch. Better not to try rock patch if it’s raining or weather is cloudy. After the narrow route patch, there is a simple walk to reach bastion. When we reached at bastion on Vinchu kata, weather was cleared and we enjoyed beautiful view. We took some rest and after taking some photos, we started with our return journey.

Vinchu Kata

Solid wall of Vinchu kata

Way to Vinchu Kata

              It was 1 in clock and now many trekkers were approaching towards Vinchu kata. We were lucky as we covered all main places within time. By the time we left Vinchu kata, rain shower begins heavily. It was like god paused rain shower for us so we can see view from Vinchu kata. Now only the place was left was Shiv temple from fort. We crossed small lake and reached at small temple of Lord Shiva. There are few small lakes nearby temple area. After our fort sight seen, we left the fort and reached at the base village.

Shiv Temple from Lohagad fort

              We started descending at 1.30 pm. While descending the fort, we saw strong massive fortification. Took some photographs and then reached at the base village. We were too hungry and ordered Pithle-Bhakri in local restaurant at the base village, Lohagadwadi. Food was average but as we were hungry, we found delicious. As we wanted to catch local by 4.30 pm, we started with our return journey. Within an hour we reached at Bhaje village by 4 pm. We took auto so can easily catch the train.

Fortification of Lohagad

Lohagad Fortification

Pithle-Bhakri

             When we reached at Malavali station, we got to know that there is no local as such between 3.40 pm to 5.30 pm. But then railway staff suggested us to go by a passenger shuttle train and Local ticket is valid for this journey. We board shuttle train by 4.30 pm and reached at Pune station safely ending pleasurable trek in monsoon.

  • Local train ticket: INR 30/- per person (Pune-Malavali return journey)
  • Breakfast at Bhaje village: INR 80/- for both (egg Burji: INR 25/-, Omelet: INR 25/-, Maggi: INR 20/)
  • Pithle-Bhakri at Lunch: INR 50/- per person (Pithle + 2 Bhakri)
  • Double egg burji at lunch: INR 40/- per person
  • Auto (Bhaje to Malavali): INR 50/- (INR 20/- per person on sharing basis)
  • Two wheeler parking at Pune station: INR 10/- for 6 hours
Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.
Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

44 comments:

  1. We Indians are fortunate that we have season like mansoon, we Maharashtrians are more fortunate that we have Sahyadri mountains and we punekars are most fortunate that we can visit such places easily. All photos are very nice. The atmos which you would have enjoyed there can not be compared with anything. Keep it on.-GP Ghospurkar

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  2. Hi.. Since u have been here.. Can u suggest us (me n my hubby ) if Der is any lodging available at lohgadwadi coz we wish to stay Der n visit fort early morning b4 it gets crowded.

    Ketki

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    1. Hello Ketki,
      Yes there are a lot of Home stay available in Lohagadwadi. No need to do any advance booking.
      I dont have any one contact no as such.

      Regards,
      PRitesh

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  3. Nice writing I ever seen, Good blog and very much informative for first time traveler. Would be grate if you could add Google Map showing travel points and stay, it will be a grate help.
    Anyway your Rajgad night trip was just ultimate. Keep writing.

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    1. Thank you Somesh...Happy Traveling...!!!

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  4. Good Blog, please add Google Map showing your route for different places for each blog. This will be a grate help. One can click on Google Map and will navigate to actual website of Google Map.

    Nice informative writing, keep blogging.

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    Replies
    1. Yes RajeshKoratkar, I will try to add from my next blog.
      Thanks for reading my blog...Happy Traveling...!!!

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  5. Hi.. A cool blog.. !!! Very informative and nicely written as well.

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  6. can u please tell how much time it would take to walk from malavli to lohagad...

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    1. Time from Malavali to Lohagad fort base village: Approx 1.5 hours considering normal walk with few pit stops...Happy Traveling...!!!

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  7. Good description, but please give details (if possible) about the trekking time from foothill to Vinchu kata, trekking experience during april-may, points to keep in mind when we undertake family trip with children etc. Otherwise highly informative and good narration!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot.. Will consider your suggestion and will try to add these information in next blogs.
      Happy traveling

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  8. wat about parking facility at lohagad ???

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    1. Parking facility is available at Bhaje village as well as at Lohagadwadi which is base village of Lohagad Fort

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  9. I would like to go here with a group of experienced trekkers. I am in Mumbai at the moment but don't know anybody who would like to go. Any suggestions? I don't mind teaming up with a group if its a planned thing.

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    1. I am not aware of Groups in Mumbai for trekking as I believe to explore forts and other location by my way. Check Mumbai trek groups on Google. It will help you for sure.

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  10. what is the distance of the fort from the malvali railway station

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    1. Distance from Railway station to fort base is around 6km

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  11. It's very helpful.. Thanks. :)

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    1. Thank you...Happy Traveling...!!!

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  12. From Railway station to base village can we take car? From base village to Fort how far it is?

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    1. Auto are available from railway station to base village. to reach fort base, I will suggest you to take own vehicle from home city till fort base. road condition is good.

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    2. thanks Prits. I actually googled a lot to check if the road from Malavali railway station to Lohagad fort base is driveable by a hatchback, finally got confirmation from you. A quick question though, is there a reliable car parking facility available at fort base?

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    3. Yes road is in good shape till base for hatchback. yes parking space is available in base village. its reliable.

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  13. Prits Thanks, Very Informative Article. We are not visiting by car. Can we get Auto from Malavli Station to Lohgad Fort Base and Back to Station easily? And also is Auto easily Available if we want to visit Pavana Lake Also.

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    1. Yes, you can get Auto from Station to Lohagad base. Also Jeep rides are also available but i am not aware about rates. I'm afraid that you will get Auto till pavana lake as distance is quite far comparing Auto journey. Still you cantry your luck in Malavali village

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  14. Hi Pritesh,i have found your blog very informative in terms of the place as well as its cost effectiveness. I am relatively new to the city and would like to visit this fort with my room mates on weekend. We are 3 girls. We had recently been to Malshej and though the place was great we were a bit bothered by some group (surprisingly 1 group even had females and yet). We never wear any revealing clothes or go out of the way to attract any attention but such exepriences are a dampener. So just wanted to know if the place and trek seems safe for a small group of female travellers? Thanks.

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    1. Hi,
      Thanks for your comment.... Good to hear that girls travel to explore forts etc.
      Coming to your question, Lohagad fort is safe for Girls and Solo traveler. If you are there on Weekend then you will find number of Trekker/tourist on fort.
      Happy traveling

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  15. hey Pritesh nice blog thanks for all the information we're planning camping there any idea if its safe n best place to set up there?

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    1. Camping or stay on fort is not allowed... you can stay at base village of fort

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  16. 1)how much money will the rickshaw or TumTum charge from Malavli stn to Lohagad
    2)how much much will the rickshaw or tum tum will charge from direct lonavala to Lohagad.
    3)how much is the cost of ticket from lonavala stn to Malavli stn.

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    Replies
    1. No idea about auto cost... you need to ask Auto people once you are in Lonavala. local Ticket should be between INR 5-6/-

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  17. Very nice experience shared by you. Thank you for the guidance.keep posting such blogs.we are awaiting for the same.

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  18. Is there any auto available from malavali stn to lohgad fort base.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you will get Auto from Malavali station

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  19. Hi
    Can you please share the details regarding time required from malavali station to base village and from base village to the top of the fort.
    Great informative blog by you....keep posting!

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    Replies
    1. Malavali Station to base village of fort is around 1.5 hours by walk else 30-40 by drive
      From Base Village of fort to top of the fort can be climb in 40-45 min + 40-45 min walk till Vinchu Kata
      Time may differ as per stamina

      Pritesh

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  20. Nice blog Sir... It will really gonna help to plan a trek to Lohgad.

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  21. Hi
    Me and my colleague are planning to cover Lonavala n Lohagad fort in one day .. is it possible ? We are from Pune. Also is it safe for girls as only two of us are planning ..girls .. plz reply ASAP

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  22. Good one.
    Markers on Google map will make the article perfect.
    Wanted to know weather you have been to Visapur fort?
    It gives bird's eye view of complete Lohagad fort from Visapur fort.
    I heard it is not advisable to visit Visapur in monsoon season? Is it true?

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    1. Monsoon Weather on Visapur and Lohagad is perfect to enjoy the rain/waterfall and nature beauty. There are couple of waterfall on Visapur which u can enjoy while hiking.
      Do not expect Bird eye view of Lohagad as both the forts are of same height.
      Visapur is safe in monsoon.

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  23. Hi Prits,

    Thanks for the detailed information. I'm taking my team of 35+ members for trek to Lohgad over coming weekend. I tried searching on google for hotel booking (for B'fast & Lunch) but couldnt. Someone told me there are number of Tapari and local food is available, but I'm little worried will we get food for 35 members if no advance booking done. Please can you guide if you've any information. Thanks.

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    1. You got right info from others. There is a lot of small hotels/Snacks Center at the base of Fort as well as at Bhaje village. Keep buffer of 30 min so you can place order and get the food. Food for 35 people is not an issue there.

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  24. Nice Blog Sir.
    keep doing this work.

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