Sunday, 9 December 2012

Trip to Sinhagad Bird Valley and Sinhagad Fort

         I was looking for half day trip nearby Pune and then we decided to visit Sinhagad Bird valley and then lunch at Sinhagad fort. Being a bird watcher, I always like to visit Bird valley in the winter and fort is a most popular weekend destination for local people. In Bird valley, you can spot too many bird species. Many armature and professional photographer visit this place during winter.

Crested Serpent Eagle
Crested Serpent Eagle .... © Pritesh Kulkarni

About Sinhagad Bird Valley and Sinhagad Fort:
           Sinhagad Bird valley is an amazing place for bird watching. You can spend 2-3 hours along with your camera and binoculars. More than 40 bird’s species can be found in this valley.
            It is a fortress located roughly 30 kilometres southwest of the city of Pune. The fort has been the site of many important battles. It is a popular weekend destination for many residents of Pune, with some enthusiasts trekking to the top of the fort from the base near Sinhagad village. The site also houses a memorial to Tanaji as well as the tomb of Rajaram, Shivaji’s younger son, who also died here.
            There are two ways to reach Sinhagad bird valley/fort. One is Kothrud, Pune – Rajaram Bridge – Take a right turn at the end of the bridge – follow the main road – (Do not turn at national highway bypass flyover, follow Sinhagad road only) – Khadakwasla - Donaje Phata – Do not take right for Panshet Dam.
            Another route is Kothrud, Pune – Warje Malwadi road – Uttam Nagar – Near Khadakwasla Dam there is a junction – Take left (Straight road will take you to peacock bay) for Khadakwasla - Donaje Phata – Do not take right for Panshet Dam.
           Go straight from Donaje Phata till the base village parking. There is a Road which will take you ll the way up to the fort parking area. From base village parking area you need to take the road which leads to the top of Sinhagad by foot. The point where the road starts climbing to the top from the right there is a similar road which leads to the left. This road will take the valley.

Way to Sinhagad Bird Valley

Travelers for this trip were Me, Renuka (My wife) and my friend Tejas and his wife.

9th Dec 2012: Sinhagad fort (Total Distance travelled: 70 km):
           We started from home at 5:30 AM and reached the base village by 6.15 AM. It was still relatively dark and cold. We had our coffee & breakfast in base village. My friend Tejas along with his wife joined in and we all headed for the valley. The valley is a modestly wooded area and is famous for sightings of such attractive bird. As we ambled along, we saw our first bird. It was male Asian Paradise Flycatcher. Wow, what a great start. This bird is very shy a very slight moment and it would immediately hideaway. This time I used my binocular more than my camera. Bird watching is the first love, I clicked very few snaps and did more of watching. I’m posting a photo of Asian Paradise Flycatcher which was taken from Wikipedia for your reference.

Asian Paradise Flycatcher took from Wikipedia

           After spending a good amount of time nearby water stream, we headed further into the forest. The place fell silent. Only one old age bird watcher was sharing deep forest area with us. We saw too many species when we went inside the deep forest in the valley. After spending an hour we decided to move back near water stream. On our return trail, we saw Rufous tree-pie bird.

Rufous tree-pie bird...... ©Tejas Katke

Home! Sweet Home.... ©Tejas Katke

Plum Headed Parakeet
Plum Headed Parakeet....... © Pritesh Kulkarni

Magpie Robin?......© Pritesh Kulkarni

Here is the list of some of the birds found in Valley:

Red-throated Flycatcher
Black-winged Kite
Crested Bunting
Asian Paradies Flycatcher
Red vented Bulbul
Indian Robin
Ticklle’s Blue Flycatcher
Purple Sunbird
Red Munia
Ultra-marine Flycatcher
Black Drongo
Common Iora
Fan-tailed Flycatcher
Common Kingfisher
Small Minivet
Golden fronted Leaf Bird
Pied Kingfisher
Jungle Babbler
Red-rumped Swallow
Cattle Egret
Jungle Mynah
White-breasted Kingfisher
Green bee-eater
Tree Pipit
Blue naped Monarch flycatcher
Little Bee eater
Yellow Sparrow
Crested Serpent Eagle
Tailor bird
Ashy Prinia
Oriental White-eye
Marsh Harrier
Jungle Prinia
Orange Headed Thrush
Eurasian Black bird

Pied Crested Cuckoo
Magpie Robin

Scaly breasted Munia
Grey Babbler

Red whiskered Bulbul

ID please! ......©Tejas Katke

Common Jezebel butterfly....... © Pritesh Kulkarni

Scaly-breasted Munia..... ©Tejas Katke

          It was quite bright now, and we slowly made our way back to start of our trail. Lots of bird-photographer were at the water stream site and busy with their work. It was 10.30 in Clock and then we decided to leave this beautiful bird valley.  Tejas and his wife went back to Pune whereas I and Renuka decided to go to Fort for sightseen and lunch. The road to reach the top of the fort is really in bad condition. Last 3-4 km road patch is just renewed. There is a lot of parking space at the top but as it is one of the famous picnic spots, you rarely get chance to park your vehicle. It takes about half an hour to drive to the top. Best time to visit this place is Monsoon or just after Monsoon.

Photographer at work!...Avoid water stream area to sit for photography...keep safe distance camera and Birds

Bird valley trail!

            Once at the fort, it takes about 2-3 hours to see the fort. There are various points on fort like military stables, brewery and a Kali (goddess) temple along with a Hanuman statue much to the right side of the temple, as well as the historic gates, Dev takes (Freshwater well) and memorial of Tanaji mature. This fort has been the site of many important battles, most notably the battle of Sinhagad in 1670. This fort is of high historical importance and interested people should read a bit beforehand to know more in order to know various points and places on the fort to have a more enjoyable experience.

Parking at the top!

Dev Taake! (Freshwater well)

Memorial of Tanaji malusre

Tanaji Malusare Warrior and military leader in the army of Shivaji Maharaj

            Our main intention to visit fort was tasty food for lunch. We have visited this place twice or thrice so we were not so much interested in sightseeing. Still, we saw few places and took a break for lunch.  We ordered Pithle-Bhakri (Maharashtrian dish), Kanda Bhajji (onion Pakoda), Buttermilk and curd from Mataka (clay pot). After tasty and heavy lunch, we took a power nap and then visited the memorial of Tanaji. We started our return journey by 2.00 PM after some sightseen.


Kanda Bhajji (onion Pakoda) & curd from Mataka(Clay Pot)

  • Sinhagad road toll: INR 50/- per car (INR 20/- for Bike)
  • Kanda Bhajji: INR 25/- per dish (Rates hikes in monsoon)
  • Pithle-Bhakri: INR 20/- per Bhakri including Pithle.
  • Mataka Curd: INR 15/- per Mataka(small clay pot)
If you are planning to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big city lives on a weekend exploring these beautiful sites then for what you are waiting for. 
Happy travelling.

Pritesh Kulkarni.