Sunday, 28 June 2015

Short trek to Malhargad Fort / Sonori Fort

After Mangad and korigad fort, we were planning one more offbeat trek. As my parents were interested to join us, we decided to visit the Malhargad Fort. This fort is also known as Sonori Fort. We were expecting light rain shower but it was neither rainy day nor sunny day.

Trekkers for Malhargad were Me, Wife Renuka, Sister Pratima and my parents.

Malhargad Fort (also known as Sonori Fort)
Malhargad Fort (also known as Sonori Fort)

About Malhargad / Sonori Fort:
            Malhargad is located near Saswad, around 47km from Kothrud, Pune. It is also known as Sonori Fort due to the village Sonori situated at the base of the fort. This fort was built in the year 1775 by Peshwa Saradar Krishnaji Madhavrao Panse who was the chief in charge of Tofkhana (Cannon department) of the Peshwa. Fort is said to be the last fort built in Maharashtra by Maratha Empire.

There are two ways to reach at the base village Sonori. One is Pune – Kothrud – Warje bypass – Take a right towards Katraj on bypass highway – Do not go on Navale flyover – Take left side road and take left for Ambegaon – Katraj – At Katraj Chowk, Take right and immediate left for Katraj-Kondhwa road – Drive till T junction and take right and immediate left for Katraj-Saswad Road – On T junction take right for Dive ghat – Dive ghat – Saswad – Ask for Jaydeep Wedding hall – Follow same road till Sonori village – Drive for 1.5 km from village towards Fort base.

Road from Sonori village is not a tar road hence you may need to park the vehicles at Sonori.

Another route is Pune – Swargate – join Pune-Solapur highway – Hadapsar – After Magarpatta Chowk do not take Flyover – Take right turn below flyover for Saswad road (New flyover to take right is under construction) - Dive ghat – Saswad – Ask for Jaydeep Wedding hall – Follow same road till Sonori village – Drive for 1.5 km from village towards Fort base.

There is another trek route from village Zendewadi. For Zendewadi, take left once you climb Dive ghat. This side takes 1.5 hours to climb Malhargad fort as you need to cross small hills before actual climb.

28nd June 2015: Trek to Malhargad/Sonori fort (Total Distance traveled: 96 km)
             On late Saturday evening, we decided to go for a trek on Sunday. We woke up morning by 6 AM and left Pune by 7 AM. Weather was perfectly set for trekking conditions but it changed its mood and Sun started dominating all over the sky. It was a pleasant journey to Sonori village via Dive ghat. From dive ghat, you can see Mastani Lake. Mastani was the second wife of Peshwa Baji Rao I. She is said to have been a beautiful and brave woman. It is believed that while in Pune, Mastani used to go for her bath to a lake made by Bajirao especially for Mastani. We parked our car at the fort base. You can see beautiful view of Fort Malhargad from the base and it’s easy to spot the trekking route to the fort.

Mastani Lake, Dive ghat
Mastani Lake, Dive ghat

Malhargad fort from Base
Malhargad fort from Base

           We started walking towards the Fort base. From parking point you will come across a small rough road. Follow this road for around 100-200 meters which will take you to a base of fort. Trust me there is no define route to reach at the top. You can climb from any side and reach at the fort bastion. Mainly trekkers follow the right side route (When your facing to fort) to reach at the main entrance gate. Climbing from left side of the fort takes you to the back side of fort.
             Climb to the top of the fort should take less than one hour. As my parents (age 60+) were climbing with me, we took breaks at regular intervals to gain energy. After 1.25 hour of hike, we reached on top of Fort. Soon we reached the first gate of the Malhargad fort. Main entrance is in good condition. You can see ruined rooms on both sides of the gate. Overall fort head area is small in size. You need around 2 hours to see in detail else 1 hour is enough to explore the fort.

Entrance Bistion of Malhargad fort
Entrance Bastion of Malhargad fort

Info Board on Fort

Entrance Gate

           On the small plateau, you can see small square shape platform and a well. Entrance to Bale Killa (Small fort OR Main fort constructed above fort) is on the right side. Once you enter inside the fort from the gate, you can see two temples side by side. Smaller temple is of Lord Khandoba and the larger temple is of Lord Mahadev. The fort has been named Malhargad because of the temple of Lord Khandoba. Lord Khandoba is also known as Lord Malhar. Bale Killa is small in shape. Just besides Bale Killa, you can see larger size water trench. The Maratha’s purpose behind the building Malhargad was to keep an eye on Dive Ghat which is along the Pune-Saswad route.

Fort view from Entrance Bastion
Fort view from Entrance Bastion  

A well on fort

Entrance to Bale killa, Malhargad
Entrance to Bale killa

Lord Mahadev and Lord Khandoba temples
Lord Mahadev and Lord Khandoba temples

            We explored other parts of the fort and two bastions. After exploring fort area, we had homemade packed breakfast on the fort. Peace of the fort, nature’s beauty with cool breeze was best way to get refresh. After sightseeing and breakfast, we started descending at 10.30 AM. For descend we chose south-east route (i.e. left most bastion). This route was longer one as compare to other but easy for my parents to get down safely. We reached at the base within 30 min. After we reached at our parked vehicle at base village, we left this historical place. There is a Peshwa Saradar Panse’s palace in the Sonori village. Palace is in ruined condition along with wall, bastion and Temple. We left Sonori village for Pune by 12.30 PM and reach home safely after lunch by 3 PM.

Water Trench on Malhargad Fort
Water Trench on Malhargad Fort

Malhargad Fort area
Malhargad Fort area

Lord Mahadev temple

Descending from Other side of Malhargad Fort
Descending from Other side of Malhargad Fort

Things to carry for Malhargad trek:
  • A water bottle to carry at least 2 liters of water 
  • Some dry food, in case you don’t find any suitable food stall 
  • Windcheater / jacket / Barsati during monsoon trek. 
  • Do carry instant energizers like Glucon-D or Tang. (Not required for monsoon treks) 
  • A towel or napkin and 2-3 old newspapers 
  • Camera to capture best nature movement 
  • Better avoid wearing Gold and other ornaments. 
  • No need to carry heavy cash. 

Our Expenses:
  • Car petrol: INR 500/- (approx. 7.7 lit at INR 74.72/lit) 
  • No Expenses on Breakfast as we were caring food from home. Do not expect food in Sonori village so better to have some snacks at Saswad. 
  • Lunch: INR 700/- for 4 person (soup, starter, vegetable dish and Roti)

For Lunch, there are few hotels at Saswad and near dive ghat. There is luxury restaurant named Jadhavgad restaurant near ghat.

Entrance of Malhargad Fort
Entrance of Malhargad Fort
Entrance Gate
Malhargad Fort View
Malhargad Fort View

Temples on Fort

180 degree Panorama photo of Malhargad fort
180 degree Panorama photo of Malhargad fort

iPhone Photography...

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling. 
Pritesh Kulkarni 

Pune

5 comments:

  1. Very well described. Motivated us to trek there! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a lot....Happy Traveling...!!

      Delete
  2. GOOD INFORMATION WITH PHOTOGRAPHS , I WILL PLAN A TREK AS I HAD LONG WISH TO VISIT THIS FORT.

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  3. We visited today. Offbeat but peaceful and easy trek and especially route dive ghat

    ReplyDelete