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.

8 comments:

  1. Long back we had a trek of Shivneri, but not in mansoon, so were not much aware of Malshej. Malshej has become popular in recent years as picnic point. Yes, it is definitely a good point to visit in Mansoon. In Winter plan for Harishchandra Gadh. As always, blog is very informative for new visitors.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Long back we had a trek of Shivneri, but not Malshej Ghat. At that time it was not a picnic spot. Yes, it is definitely a very good point to visit in Mansoon. In winter plan for Harishandra Gadh. As always blog is very informative for new visitor.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Pritish, nice so informative and i like your each and every blog which help me to plan accordingly. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Avinash for your comment.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Excellent piece of writing!

    Nice photography and description about the travelogue.

    Regards,
    Rakmoddin
    My blog @ http://rakmoddin.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for your comment... Like your blog site.. will try to read all te post ASAP
      Happy traveling.

      Delete
  6. This is an excellent guide.Thanks very much for sharing these tips!To enjoy the waterfall with the beautiful nature, we decided to visit Malshej Ghat area. Get complete information about
    How to reach Malshej Ghat from different places of India only at Maharashtraplanet.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you so much .... it has helped me a lot...one more thing i want to know that there are changing rooms available at Malshej ghat?

    ReplyDelete