Sunday, 21 September 2014

Quick trek to Rohida Fort

After Raigad fort, it was time for a quick monsoon trek to Rohida. It was a half day trek. We preferred a bike journey rather than car to enjoy the post monsoon nature. Trekkers for Rohida were me and my wife Renuka.

Rohida fort
Rohida fort

About Rohida Fort:
             Rohida fort is also known as Vichitragad. It is situated at Rohid maval in Bhor region of Pune district. Distance from Pune city is around 59km and the village at the base of the fort is known as Bajarwadi. Rohida was built by the Yadavas. The fort was the property of Banddal who considered himself as King and the Great warrior Baji prabhu Deshpande was the Pradhan of fort. In 1656, this fort was captured by Shivaji Maharaj and Krashanji Banddal got killed during war. Shivaji Maharaj personally met Baji prabhu Deshpande and explained him the reason behind Swarajya. Rohida fort witnessed this meeting between Shivaji Maharaj and the great warrior Baji Prahu Deshpande. He accepted the proposal from Shivaji Maharaj and became a part of Swarajya.
               In 1666, the Moghuls conquered the fort but could not hold it for long. On June 24, 1670, Shivaji Maharaj recaptured the fort.

To reach on Rohida, the route is Pune – National highway 4 – Cross first toll plaza and drive till Narayanpur – Take a right turn for Bhor village (Currently flyover work is in progress here) – Drive till Bhor – Take right turn at the T junction in Bhor village – Drive till Shivaji statue – Take a left turn– Drive for 4 km till khanapur village – Take a right turn at khanapur village – Drive till Bajarwadi village – Park your vehicle at the school.

21th Sept 2014: Trek to Rohida fort (Total Distance traveled: 118 km):
              On late Friday evening, we (My wife & I) decided to go for a trek on Saturday. We woke up morning by 8 am and left Pune by 9 am. Weather was perfectly set for trekking conditions but it changed its mood and Sun started dominating all over the sky. After the bike journey on Honda Dio, we reached at the base village Bajarwadi.
              We were searching options for breakfast; and we only somehow manage to get some fruits. When we asked the local villagers about food, they advised us to have it on the fort. A lady from a nearby village serves food like Bhaji, vada pav or Poha near the Temple. We decided to have food on the fort. You can see beautiful view of Fort Rohida from the base village and it’s easy to spot the trekking route to the fort. We parked our bike near the Village school. Then from the school, we started walking towards the water tank. From this water tank 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. There is a board which welcomes the trekkers and advices to follow a path which is marked by white stone.

Rohida fort and trekking route
Rohida fort and trekking route

             We began our trek along the mentioned path. Don’t know how but we missed the marked route. Rather than coming back for the marked route, we started climbing towards fort bastion. Even though climbing route on fort is easy, still it was good experience for us to find alternate route. Soon we climbed half of the distance and joined white stone marked route. It was a bright sunny day and the trek route was not covered by forest area. Climb to the top of the fort should take around one hour. We were taking breaks at regular intervals to gain energy. After 1.25 hour of hike, we reached on top of Fort.

Alternate route
Alternate route 

             Soon we reached the first gate of the Rohida fort. Main entrance is in good condition. From this point, stone steps are laid till the last entrance (Third Entrance). After climbing few steps we reached at the second entrance. You can see ruined rooms on both sides of the gate. Also there is small underground water tank which was the supply for drinking water on the fort. Next entrance (Last entrance) to Rohida fort is quite solid in construction. You can see elephant head carving and message (Marathi and Pharasi language) on the walls of fort.

Main Gate of Rohida Fort
Main Gate of Rohida Fort

Entrance Gate

Last entrance Gate of Rohida fort
Last entrance Gate of Rohida fort

Message on Fort wall

              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. After entering from last gate, we saw ruined construction area which was Sadar (Discussion place or place for meetings) and house of keeper of the fort. Locals say, Shivaji Maharaj met Baji Prabhu Deshpande at this place for the first time. Right side route from Sadar area will take you to Rohidmalla/Bhiraba’s temple. Temple consists of idol of Lord Ganesh, lord Bhirav and Goddess Bhairavi. There is small water tank in front of the temple and a huge sized lake on right side. We got to know that the lady who prepares some snacks was not on the fort. She didn’t come on the fort as there were no trekkers since morning. We had fruits as our lunch.

Rohida fort Map
Rohida Fort Map

Rohidamalla Temple
Rohidamalla Temple

Lake and Temple
Lake and Temple

            After taking rest at the temple, we decided to see all the bastions. Fort consists of 6 bastions named as Shiravale bastion, Patane bastion, Damgude bastion, Waghjai bastion, Phaate bastion and Sadar’s bastion. All bastions are massive and solid in construction. You can see Old grinder while approaching towards Damgude bastion. Peace of the fort, nature’s beauty with cool breeze was best way to get refresh.

Bastion

Grinder on Rohida Fort




Wagjai Bastion
Wagjai Bastion

               There are many water trenches on the back side of the fort which were used as main source of water. These water tanks are not maintained properly now. Sahyadri view from these bastions is amazing. After spending some time, we move ahead to see Wagjai’s bastion. Wagjai temple can be seen from here and hence this bastion was named as Wagjai’s bastion. From this point, we decided to start the return journey. In between, we saw a secrete gate which was used as escape route.

Chor Darwaja


Water Tanks at Rohida Fort
Water Tanks at Rohida Fort

Shivling on fort

             Fortifications in front of Sadar are solid and intact. After exploring Rohida for around 2 hours, we decided to descend. Within an hour we reached at Bhajarwadi village by 3.20 PM. We were too hungry so we left this small but beautiful Rohida fort soon. We had lunch after crossing Bhor town. We reached home by 6 PM safely ending a pleasurable quick trek to Rohida. 
Sadar
Things to carry for Rohida 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.
  • 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:
  • Bike petrol: INR 200/- (approx. 2.5 lit at INR 80/lit)
  • Fruits: INR 50/-
  • Lunch in Mhalhar hotel: INR 250/- (Masala Papad, 1 Veg dish, rotis and Rice)


Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.

Click on below links to read other travel blogs on Forts

Monday, 8 September 2014

Monsoon trip to Raigad Fort – King of Forts

I have been to the Raigad fort twice for a day trip but had never explored the entire fort. In this monsoon, a 2 day trip to the Raigad fort was on my wish list. I along with my family planned a trip to Raigad considering the long weekend of Ganesh visarjan. It was our post monsoon trek. There was no sign of rain on day one but faced cloudy rainy weather on the second day. We booked a room in Raigad hotel which is owned by the rope way operator.

Shivaji Maharaj
Shivaji Maharaj ki JAY...!!!

Travellers for Raigad trip were me, Renuka (wife) and my parents.

About Raigad Fort:
                 Raigad is a hill fortress situated near Mahad, in Raigad district. It was known as the mountain of “Rairi” before it was captured by Shivaji Maharaj. European historians have described it as 'The Gibraltar of the East'. On 6th April 1656, Shivaji Maharaj besieged Rairi and captured it in May. Then Subhedar of Kalyan was transporting the treasure of Adilshah to Bijapur, which was raided by Marathas and utilized to fortify Raigad. It became the capital of Shivaji's kingdom.
               Raigad Fort has been a witness of significant events such as Shiv Rajyabhishek (The Coronation ceremony of Shivaji Maharaj – The Auspicious day was 6th June 1674, Saturday), 24th September 1674 Shivaji Maharaj underwent another ceremony of coronation for the commoners, 4th February 1675 Sambhaji Maharaj’s thread ceremony and 16 February 1681, Sambhaji became the crowned king of Maratha Empire. On 3rd April 1680, Shivaji Maharaj passed away on this fort, which was the most devastating moment witness by Raigad.
               Aurangzeb started his conquest of Raigad in 1684 but failed and returned in 1685. Zulfikar khan attacked on Raigad in 1689. On 5th April Rajaram (King after Sambhaji and Son of Shivaji Maharaj) escaped to Pratapgad. Finally, on 3rd November 1689, Mughals captured Raigad due to unfaithful Suryaji Pisal. They renamed the fort as Islamgad. Marathas regained it on 5th June 1733. In 1818 the fort was bombarded and destroyed by British Raj. Some people say (No evidence is available) that the royal fort was burning for 11 days.
              The fort was called by 15 different names at different times – Raigad, Rairi, Islamgad, Nandadeep, Jambudweep, Tanas, Rashivata, Badenur, Raigiri, Rajgiri, Bhivgad, Reddi, Shivlanka, Rahir and Gibraltar of the east.

There are 2-3 ways to reach to the fort from Pune. One is via Varandha Ghat, whereas another route is Pune – Chadani chowk - Tamhini Ghat – Mangaon – Take left before Mahad – Pachad village – Rope way base station. If you are planning a trip to Raigad during post monsoon time then I will suggest you to go by third route which is Pune - Tamhini Ghat – Nijampur - take left at Nijampur and then base village Pachad. This route is blessed with nature’s beauty during monsoon or in post monsoon. However, currently the condition of the road is poor near Pachad village.

Waterfall at Tamhini

Waterfall near Raigad
Waterfall near Raigad

7th Sept 2014: Trip to Raigad (Total Distance traveled: 160 km):
               We woke up by 5.30 AM and left home at 7:00 AM. We chose the route via Mangaon. It was a cloudy weather and rain welcomed us in Tamhini Ghat. We took a pit stop for breakfast at Hotel Quick Bite. It was a pleasant journey till Raigad base village. When we reached at the base village, soft sun light played its best role to unfold nature’s beauty in front of us. Even though it was a Sunday, there were hardly any tourists due to Ganesh festival. Waiting time for rope way was just 15 minutes. Raigad rope way is Maharashtra’s first rope way project which was completed in 1996. It traverses a diagonal length of 760 meters and a height of 420 meters. It takes you on the top in just 3-4 minutes. The rope way ride offers you a beautiful view of the Sahyadri Mountains and nearby villages.

Raigad rope-way
Raigad rope-way

Raigad ropeway
Raigad rope way and Base village

             We reached on the top by 12 noon. Raigad rope way hotel is located near the rope way station. We checked-in and ordered Pithale bhakri for lunch. Soon we went out to explore the fort. On day one, we decided to explore Balekilla and Tak Mak Tok point. As I was aware of the history of the fort and the locations very well, I became the guide for my family. The starting point of our tour was the Mena Darwaja – the entrance through which the royal ladies of the Fort would enter. It is the southern entry to the castle. After entering inside the fort from the Mena Darwaja, we saw Rani Wada (Queen’s Palace) on our left. There are six spacious houses for 6 queens of Maharaja. Shivaji Maharaj had 8 Queens; 6 Queens stayed on Raigad fort, whereas one at base village Pachad along with Jijabai (Mother of Shivaji Maharaj) and 1st queen Saibai died on Rajgad (before Raigad was built). Queen palaces have ruined large rooms with and bathroom system. 4 palaces are connected whereas last 2 palaces are separated by walls.

Mena Darwaja
Mena Darwaja

Queen's Palace
Queen's Palace

              We saw some ruined house like structures opposite to first queen palace. Some people say those were Prison cells whereas some say those were houses of royal warriors. There are 3 grain storage rooms on the right after entering from Mena Darwaja. We saw the Palkhi Darwaja before we moved into Raj Bhavan. Palkhi Darwaja is the north entrance to the castle and was mainly used by men to enter in the palace. The construction of the entrance and the 31 rock stairs are beautiful and look solid. You can see Sapt manzil (Pillars) which was used as watch tower. These pillars were said to be almost five storey high and seemed royal from the remaining carvings. There is small stair route inside the wall to enter in the palace. After watching these beautiful buildings, we went inside the Raj Bhavan. It was a beautiful massive palace of Shivaji Maharaj. It was said to be built of wooden structure, of which today only the base of pillars remain. You can see his room’s structure, bathrooms, office for discussion with his warriors etc. It was huge in size. We saw Ganga Sagar Lake from the Raj Bhavan. It was named Gangasagar because the waters from seven rivers of India which were brought for the coronation ceremony of Shivaji Maharaj were poured into this pond. This is the main source of drinking water today on the fort.

Houses of Royal warriors
Houses of Royal warriors

Grain storage
Grain storage

Palkhi Darwaja
Palkhi Darwaja

Raj bhavan - Mahajara's house area
Raj bhavan - Mahajara's house area

Raj bhavan - Office area
Raj bhavan - Office area

Ganga Sagar Lake
Ganga Sagar Lake

               After exploring Raj Bhavan for some time, we went in the Raj Sabha. It is a huge court on the fort which was used to address people. The huge building is around 220 ft. long and 125 ft. in width. The coronation ceremony was held in this place on 6th June 1674, Saturday. The throne of Shivaji Maharaj is kept in Raj Sabha facing east. The throne was made of 32 Maund of Gold (around 1280kn Gold) and studded with diamonds. There is huge shape entrance opposite to the throne known as Nagarkhana. It was the main entrance to the court, and as its name suggests, the loft on this building was used to play huge drums (Nagaare) during certain times in a day. Acoustically the Raj Sabha was designed in such way that you can hear low frequency sound at the throne from the Nagarkhana.

Throne of Shivaji Mahajara
Throne of Shivaji Mahajara

Nagarkhana
Nagarkhana

                  We move ahead to see statue of Shivaji Maharaj at Holi cha maal. It is a wide open ground, said to be used for annual Holi festival. You can see a famous statue of Shivaji Maharaj on this ground facing east direction. We took small break and then decided to go to Tak Mak Tok point. There are 2 ways to reach at that point. One is – take right after crossing Bazarpeth or take stairs on left before Bazarpeth. We decided to go by second route and while coming back, we saw Bazarpeth.

Statue of Shivaji Maharaj
Statue of Shivaji Maharaj

                As we were going towards Tak Mak tok, we saw a large size Lake on the left. It is known as Hatti Talaw (Elephant Lake). It was used for bathing the elephants from the fort. There was drain out system places in the lake. Whenever they wanted to clean the lake, then they just needed to remove 1 solid rock brick. Drain out system rock is now missing hence water can’t be stored in this lake. You can also see Maha Darwaja (Main entrance) on your right. It is a best architecture design and not to be missed if you’re on the fort. This entrance is typically a “Gomukhi” entrance protected by bastions Jai and Vijay. The attacking enemy cannot directly march on the door and face the bastions first.

Mahadarwaja (Main Entrance)
Mahadarwaja (Main Entrance)

Hatti Lake

               After walking along the fields and on narrow path, we reached near Tak Mak tok. There are 2 ruined buildings which were the Daru Kothar (Ammunition storage). Path to Tak Mak tok is quite interesting, a narrow path (with safe railing on both sides) facing North West having deep cliff on both side and strong winds playing around it makes it a major attraction for the trekkers. You should be careful while visiting this place. We went till the end point which offers breathtaking view of the Sahyadri Mountain ranges. This point was said to be used to throw the sentenced prisoners down the cliff.

Tak Mak Tok Point
Tak Mak Tok Point

              We spend some time at windy Tak Mak tok and enjoyed magnificent view. As weather was about to change its mood from a sunny day into cloudy weather, we decided to move back. Route to Bazarpeth (old Market area) was a bit slippery with sudden height gain; my parents got the feel of trek. Bazarpeth is huge well designed single storey complex of shops. This was the market place/trade center having shops on both sides separated by a 40 ft. road. There were 42 shop structures built in such a way that one can shop even while riding on a horse. Each shop has space to sell the goods, two rooms for storage and large passage behind two rooms. You can see drainage outlets at a few shops. Overall it’s a masterpiece construction.

Bazarpeth at Raigad fort
Bazarpeth at Raigad fort

               Heavy rain began in the evening and somehow we managed to reach at our hotel room by 6 PM. We had snacks and tea/coffee and took rest. We ordered dinner and it was delivered at the top by rope way at 8.30 PM. Now there was a drastic change in weather and we were in the clouds. Cold weather forced us to be in the room. Service by hotel staff was good. My parents were tired so they took rest whereas me and Renuka had a walk on the fort for some time. We were the only family on the fort along with the hotel and MTDC staff. It was a perfect day for us on Raigad fort.

Raigad Rop-way Hotel room

8th Sept 2014: Trip to Raigad (Total Distance traveled: 132 km):
               We woke up by 7 AM and still weather was too cloudy. It was not raining constantly but the visibility was not more than 25-30 ft. We had tasty breakfast and then left the room by 9.30 AM. Today was Anant Chaturthi (Ganesh Visarjan day) hence hardly any tourists were on the fort. We decided to visit some other places which are on off-beat route and day trip tourist always ignore it (except Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi (Memorial) and Jagdishwar temple) due to lack of time.
             Our first destination was Kushavarta Lake and Mahadev temple. Route to this place is from Holi cha maal but there is a short cut route available. For short cut, take narrow path route which is opposite to Raigad fort entry ticket office. After 5-7 min walk, you can see ruined old temple on your right. Lord Shiva’s idol is placed inside the temple as well as outside the temple. There is nice Lake named as Kushavarta Lake. You also see many ruined fortification on the route to Kushavarta Lake. It is supposed to be the houses on the fort.

Mahadev Temple
Mahadev Temple

Kushavarta lake, Raigad
Kushavarta lake

             After visiting the temple, we started our trail towards Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi (Memorial). We saw the market place again and reached at Jagdishwar Temple. It is big Shiva Temple with Nandi in the front. Entrance to the temple is from the back side. This temple is intact from Mughal or British attack. The outer court of the temple is about 128 ft. wide and 160 ft. long. Temple has beautiful Shiv Linga and tortoise carved on the floor. Behind Nandi, there is a front gate of temple. By stepping inside from the front gate, you can see letters carved on the second step. The meaning of these words is “Hiroji Italkar is at the service of" (Shivaji Maharaj). If you are facing Temple then check one stone with a message carved on left side that says “This majestic building of Jagdishwar which brings happiness to all is built on the word of Shivaji Maharaj on the auspicious muhurtam in Hindu year of 1596. The architect by name Hiroji built all wells, ponds, gardens, roads, pillars, monuments and palaces. These will remain till the sun and moon are there in the skies”

Jagdishwar Temple
Jagdishwar Temple

Nandi outside Temple
Nandi outside Temple

                 Before I write something about Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi (Memorial), I would like to share information about Bartake. It is a 12 water trench placed at one place. It was the drinking water supply of the fort. Route to these water trenches is – take left path from outside of the temple. Cross all the huts and walk towards left. You will reach a wall like structure, Take left after that ruined building. Descend few meters and then you will see 12 water trenches. Better to avoid in monsoon period. We visited this place after Shivaji Maharaj Samadhi.

Route to Bartaake Tank
Route to Bartaake (12 Water tanks)

             The Samadhi was built near the temple entrance. Behind the Samadhi, we can see the statue of a dog on a pedestal. It was Shivaji maharaja’s faithful dog ‘Waghya’ who committed suicide jumping into the funeral pyre when Shivaji was cremated. Some people say there is no evidence in history whereas few believe this story strongly. Currently dispute is in the court and the area is sealed.

Statue of Waghya dog
Statue of Waghya dog

               Shivaji Maharaj passed away on the 15th day of first month in the year 1602 of Hindu calendar (April 3rd 1680). The memorial is octagonal and the porch is made from black stones. The base is hollow inside, where the ashes of Shivaji Maharaj are kept. Our Raigad visit came to an end after bowing our head at Samadhi.
प्रौढ प्रताप पुरंदर,
क्षत्रिय कुलावतंस,
सिंहासनाधीश्वर,
राजाधिराज महाराज
श्री छत्रपती शिवाजी महाराज की जय!!!

Shivaji Maharaj's samadhi (Memorial)
Shivaji Maharaj's samadhi (Memorial)

                We came to our room by 3 PM after lunch at a house behind the Samadhi area. We left this massive beautiful historical fort by rope way. Raigad is a must visit fort and a place to remember the greatest Maratha King. For return journey, we preferred Pachad – Nijampur road which is blessed with nature’s beauty. This is offbeat route so avoid night journey. We reached home by 7.30 PM safely ending a pleasurable trip in monsoon.

Our Expenses:
  • Car Petrol: INR 1500/- (approx. 18 lit at INR 79/lit)
  • One night stay at Raigad ropeway hotel: INR 1300/- for 4 person.
  • Breakfast at quick bite hotel: As per order
  • Car Parking at Raigad: INR 80/- for 2 days
  • Ropeway (Return ticket): INR 180/- per person and INR 115/- senior citizen
  • Pithale bhakari Lunch plate: INR 45/- per plate (Pithale with 2 bhakari) + INR 20 per extra bhakari
  • Tea: INR 10/- per cup
  • Coffee: INR 15/- per cup
  • Veg meal for dinner: INR 75/- per plate
  • Misal-Pav: INR 50/-
  • Upama in breakfast: INR 30 per plate
  • Pithale bhakari on Monday lunch: INR 60 per plate (At local place)
  • Snacks at quick bite: As per order
Places we missed on fort due to bad weather:
  • Bhavani temple
  • Hirkani Buruj - Hirkani point is named after a brave woman by name “Hirkani”. She used to supply milk on the fort during the regime of Shivaji Maharaj. The doors to the fort would be opened at sunrise every day and would be closed at the sunset. Once she was late to return and the doors were closed. The love for her kid in the village compelled her to descend the fort from the side of western cliff, and she reached home successfully. The story spread through, and Shivaji Maharaj recognized her efforts and bravery by felicitating her. He also strengthened this part of the fort so that no one can ascend from here again.
  • Nana Darwaja – Entrance of fort
  • Wagh Darwaja - Route to escape in case the fort was captured. This is the route from where Rajaram Maharaj escaped when Zulfikar Khan attacked the fort.
Contact Number for reference:
  • Raigad ropeway stay a.k.a Millennium Raigad hotel: 020-25459730 / 020-25459735.
  • Ankesh for Guide or lunch: 9011784795

Road in Konkan, Raigad
Return journey to Pune - Happy Journey

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune

Monday, 28 July 2014

Monsoon Magic in Malshej Ghat and Shivneri Fort

Monsoon was on peak and we decided to have a monsoon trip with family. To enjoy the waterfall with the beautiful nature, we decided to visit Malshej Ghat area. I had heard that Malshej ghat on weekend becomes very crowded so we went there on Monday.
Shivneri fort along with Malshej Ghat is a best combination to spend an entire day.

Travelers for the day trip were Me, Renuka, sister Pratima and my parents.

Waterfall in Malshej ghat
Waterfall in Malshej ghat

About Malshej Ghat and Shivneri Fort:
             Malshej Ghat is a mountain pass in the Western Ghats of Maharashtra. It is a famous destination in the monsoon to enjoy waterfalls and delicious snacks like Vada-pav, Bhajji and tea. Malshej Ghat is situated in Pune district near the border of Thane and Ahmednagar districts. It is at a distance of 154 km from south Mumbai towards northeast and 130 km north of Pune. A nice view of valleys is one of the major attractions here.

Shivneri Fort is a 17th-century military fortification located near Junnar. It is the birthplace of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire.

The route to reach Malshej from Pune is – Pune – Kasarwadi – Bhosri – Chakan – Rajgurunagar – Peth – Narayangaon – a right turn after the bus stand – Junnar – Malshej Ghat. To reach Shivneri fort, take a left at T-junction in Junnar town.

28th July 2014: Pune to Malshej Ghat (Total Distance traveled: 320 km):
            We woke up by 6 in the morning and left home by 7am. After crossing Chakan town, heavy rain welcomed us. We took a halt for breakfast at restaurant Bikaner. The monsoon clouds were super busy with their assigned work and we enjoyed our car journey with heavy rain and melodious songs. 
            We took a left at Narayangaon and progressed towards Junnar town. The condition of the road was pretty smooth. Entire journey was very picturesque with ghat routes, dam and greenery and too many waterfalls. After crossing 2 small ghat sections, we finally started with Malshej Ghat. We took our first pit stop at the first fall. A lot food stalls were selling tea, coffee, corn, egg dishes and vada pav. The way to the first waterfall goes through few steps and through a lower tier of the waterfall. It’s a 2 tiered fall and one of the most powerful falls from Malshej Ghat. Another beautiful tiered fall can be seen from here. We enjoyed this fall and then went ahead to witness more water falls.

Malshej Ghat
Malshej Ghat

              We crossed a small tunnel after few km of drive towards Mumbai side. It was a lush green mountain meeting the white clouds. You can see many waterfalls on your left. There are plenty of natural waterfalls along the mountains which come straight on to the road. The best part for me was driving through a huge waterfall – the whole experience of being in a car while it goes through a massive waterfall is thrilling. As we were on high altitude, the clouds were on the road and this experience which I love – passing through the clouds. We spend some time around few small waterfalls and had tasty vada pav in the Ghat side food stalls. Due to heavy rain, I was unable to click more photos.

Ghat side food stall
Ghat side food stall

Waterfall on road
Waterfall on road

              After enjoying in heavy rain and the fall, we decided to have lunch. The nearest option was a MTDC’s restaurant. It was a nice hotel and restaurant with amazing view. Somehow the restaurant was not clean and lacking in variety of food. We left this place without having lunch. While coming to Malshej, we saw newly open restaurant name Ratan so we decided to try that. It turned out to be our perfect decision. It was very clean newly open restaurant. Food was very tasty and service was quick. 

Hotel Ratan Executive, junnar
Hotel Ratan

             After the tasty lunch, we moved ahead towards fort Shivneri. A 1.5-2 km drive from the statue of Shivaji Maharaj takes you to the car parking area. From this point, nice stone steps are laid till the top. It was a steady and easy climb. The fort has seven doors – Maha Darwaja, Parvangicha Darwaja, Hatti Darwaja, Peer Darwaja, Shipai Darwaja, Phatak Darwaja and Kulambkat Darwaja. An interesting fact about these doors is they are huge wooden doors fortified with iron spikes. Strong walls and sheer rock cliffs on three sides ensured Shivneri was well protected. We reached on the top after 30-40 mins of climb.

Maha Darawaja (main entrance)
Maha Darawaja (main entrance)

Ganesh Gate, Shivneri fort
Ganesh Gate, Shivneri fort

Hatti Darawaja
Hatti Darawaja

Pir Darawaja
Pir Darawaja

           You can see a temple of goddess Shivai devi after Shipai Darwaja. History says that Shivaji Maharaj was named after the goddess Shivai. After crossing last entrance, you can see Ambarkhana on left side. Ambarkhana is the place where huge amount of grain can be stored. This place is quite ruined but still you can get a feel of the massive construction. During Maratha rule, it was said to be served as stable for horses and house for elephants. From this point, there are 2 ways to explore the fort. One goes to the hill where you can see Koli Chauthara and edaga. This monument is built in the place where Mughals killed thousands of Koli (fisherman) soldiers in the year 1650. Another route goes towards Shiv Kunj and Birth place of Shivaji Maharaj.

Ambarkhana, shivneri Fort
Ambarkhana, shivneri Fort

               We decided to go by the second route. On this route, you come across a large water trench. It is known as Ganga and Jamuna. There are total 10 water tanks on Shivneri fort. The purpose of these water tanks was to supply drinking water and it is said to have been constructed during Yadava times. After these water tanks, we saw Shiv Kunj which is a monument constructed by the state government, in honor of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Inside Shiv Kunj there is an idol of Shivaji (as child) and Jijabai made of Panchdhatu (alloy of 5 metals)

Ganga n Jamuna water tank

Shiv Kunj, Shivneri Fort
Shiv Kunj, Shivneri Fort

             The plateau in front of the Shiv Kunj consists of the birth place of Shivaji Maharaj, Hamamkhana, Badami water tank, Kadelot point and kamani Masjid. The birth place of Shivaji Maharaj is now known as Shiv mandir (Shivaji temple). As we entered in Shiv mandir, we saw a room which houses a statue of Shivaji Maharaj and a cradle to signify his birthplace. A narrow stone stairway takes you to the upper floor. There is an artificially created lake with stone flooring and wall named as Badami tank. From here you can also visit Kadelot point where prisoners were punished by throwing them down the fort.

Way to Shiv mandir
Way to Shiv mandir

Birth place of Shivaji Maharaj, Shivneri
Birth place of Shivaji Maharaj, Shivneri

Badami water tank
Badami water tank

             Before I write further, I would like to share some history about Shivneri fort. Junnar was known as Jirna Nagar during ancient India and it was an oldest city. The Shaka Empire ruled here and a Satvaahan king Gautamiputra Satkarni defeated the Shakas to establish his rule. To keep control on famous trade route “Naneghat”, Satvaahan established this fort. Later the fort went into the hands of Yadava Empire, and then
to the Bahmani Kings. Most of fortification was constructed during Yadava’s time.
              Shahajiraje Bhosle was concerned for the safety of his wife Jijabai during her pregnancy. He therefore moved his family to Shivneri fort with a cavalry of 500. Chhatrapati Shivaji was born in the fort on Firday after sunset, 19 February 1630. Shivaji Maharaj left this fort in 1632 and it went into the hands of Mughals in 1637. In 1650 the local fishermen protested against the Mughals but lost against rules. They were assassinated cruelly on the fort. Shahu Maharaj brought the fort under his control forty years later. Later it was under the control of Peshwas.

Hamamkhana
Hamamkhana

Kamani Masjid
Kamani Masjid

Shivneri Fort Map
Shivneri Fort Map

             After sightseeing, we started descending at 5.30 PM. We reached at our parked cars at base in just 20-30 min. We reached home by 9 PM safely ending a pleasurable monsoon trip with the family.

Our Expenses:
  • Car petrol: INR 1500/- (approx. 18 lit at INR 81.8/lit)
  • Toll: approx. INR 40/- return toll
  • Breakfast at Bikaner hotel: As per ordered Dish (Around INR 300/- for 5 person including tea and coffee)
  • Tea in Malshej ghat: INR 10/- per cup
  • Vada pav: INR 10/-
  • Corn masala: INR 20/-
  • Lunch at hotel Ratan restaurant: INR 600/- for 4-5 person (Soup, Panjabi veg, Roti/Naan and Jeera rice)
Contact Number for reference:
  • Ratan Executive:  0-9881176699

Other places which you can combine with Malshej Ghat:
  • Lenyadri caves and Ganesh temple
  • Ozar Ganesh temple
  • Trekking spot like Naneghat, Hadsar,Chavad and Jivdhan

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling. 

Pritesh Kulkarni
Pune.