Sunday, 17 December 2017

Pratapgad Fort: Mahabaleshwar

We visited Mahabaleshwar multiple times but never able to visit Beautiful Pratapgad Fort. we planned a separate trip to Fort and went on Pratapgad. Fort holds a very important position in history due to the great battle of Pratapgad between Shivaji Maharaj and Afzal Khan won by Shivaji Maharaj.
Travellers for this trip were I and Renuka.

Pratapgad Fort
Pratapgad Fort
About Pratapgad Fort:
              Pratapgad fort is located 20-22km from Mahabaleshwar. The Fort is 3540 ft above sea level. It was built 1656 by Moropant Trimbak Pingle who was a loyal Prime minister under King Shivaji. The main purpose of the fort in order to defend the banks of the Nira and the Koyna rivers, and to defend the Par pass.
              Pune to Pratapgad is a 3 to 3.30 hours’ drive. Best way to reach Mahabaleshwar is Pune – National highway 4 – After 75 km journey on NH4 Take right at Surul – Wai – Panchgani – Mahabaleshwar - Pratapgad. There are many signboards which guide you to Mahabaleshwar and at all tourist points.

GPS Location: 17.933032, 73.580706

18 December 2017: Pune - Pratapgad - Pune
              We left Pune by 7 AM. Without taking any pit stop, we reached Pratapgad fort base by 10 AM. NH-4 highway is now extended up to 6 lanes highway. Apart from few patches between Wai Phata and Wai, rest of road is in good condition.
                Limited car parking is available at the base. The Road on the left side of parking goes to the steps of the Fort. After climbing few steps, we reached Mahadarwaja (Main Entrance) which is built between two bastions. There are 2 small rooms which were used by guards. One of the Guardroom has Cannon.

Tehani Buruj

             Take right side route after crossing Mahadarwaja for Tehani Buruj (Watchtower). This is the famous bastions which always shown in Pratapgad fort's photo. It was used to keep a close watch on the nearby valley. Watchtower offers you a beautiful breathtaking valley view. You can see Fort view from this bastion as bastion lies on the lower part of the fort. After spending some time on Bastion, we returned towards entrance gate. There are steps which take you to the upper part of the Fort. You can see the Lake on your right side while climbing the steps. This Lake is known as Rahat Lake. There are total 4 lakes on the fort.

Pratapgad Fort
Pratapgad Fort

Lake at Pratapgad Fort

              We went to the top of fort first where Status of Shivaji Maharaj is mounted on the horse with a sword in his right hand. Status was unveiled by late Jawaharlal Nehru (Prime mister). As per locals, this place was used to be a palace of Shivaji Maharaj. This point is a topmost point fort also known as Bale Killa.
              We settle down here and had a good discussion on the fort history. Whenever we visit any fort, we love to read/discuss on the fort and about its history. It gives you different perception to explore the fort. This was the Hill known as "Bhorpya" which was used as a watchtower. Shivaji Maharaj captured the place and ordered to construct the fort. Fort was built under Shivaji Maharaja's Prime minster 'Moropant Pingle'. During Maratha emperor, Prime minister was recognized as Peshwa. Fort came into limelight due to Battle between Maharaj and Afzal Khan.
              Afzal Khan was strongest and powerful warrior from Adilshah emperor. He was ordered to capture or kill Shivaji Maharaj by Adilshah Sultan. He came along with 20000 cavalries, more than 15000 infantry, 1500 gun army, 15000 Khan's personal army, 100+ elephant base army, 1000+ camel base army and 150+ canons for battle (Count varies in different books). Shivaji Maharaj was in Pune at that time and he knew that defeating around Pune not possible hence he moved to Pratapgad. Considering Pratapgad and nearby hill terrain, Afzal's most of the army was useless in battle. He settles down in Wai as he was aware of wai area.
              Shivaji offered meeting at the base of Pratapgad which was agreed by Afzal Khan. He agreed with one condition that meeting will take place with few armed bodyguards and leader without any weapons. The meeting was scheduled for 10 November 1659. Afzal Khan joins the meeting place with Katyar (Small sword) hidden under a cloth. Shivaji Maharaj was aware the intention of Khan and he wears protective armor under clothes. Also, Shivaji Maharaj carried weapon Vagh Nakh (Weapon looks like Tiger claws made up of sharp iron) for self-defense.
              During the meeting, Afzal gave tight hug to Maharaj and struck him with a small sword. Shivaji Maharaj was saved by armor. As counter attach, Maharaj attack Khan with Wagh Nakh. Injured Khan ran out of Tent (Meeting place) for help. Sayyad Banda (Khan's bodyguard) attacked Shivaji Maharaj but Jiva Mahala (Shivaji's Bodyguard) intervened and chopped Sayyad Banda's hand by the sword. This event remembered in Marathi as "Hota Jiva Mhanun vachala Shiva" which means because of Jiva, Shiva lived.

Pratapgad Fort

              Afzal Khan went in Palkhi (non-wheel Vehicle to carry leader) but Palkhi lifters were attached by Shivaji's bodyguard Sambhaji Kavji. He killed Afzal Khan. After war, Shivaji Maharaj sent Afzal Khan's head to Rajgad to show it to Jijabai (Shivaji Maharaj's mother) as Shahaji Raje (Father of Shivaji Maharaj) was captive of Afzal Khan and Afzal played the main role to kill Sambhaji (Elder son of Shahaji Raje, Do not confuse with Sambhaji Maharaj as he was son of Shivaji Maharaj. Same name was used in multiple generations)
               After Afzal's death, Shivaji Maharaj gave a sign (By lighting cannons) to attack Afzal's army. quick action by Shivaji's army and without Afzal Khan, his army fail to fight. Adilshah lost too many armies (more than 13000) which was a major set back to his emperor. Shivaji Maharaj won many weapons, cannons, horse, elephant, camel, stored gains, and money. All captured war of prisoners were sent back to Bijapur with proper respect. This remarkable victory made Shivaji Maharaj hero in the emperor and famous as great mind warrior within India at that time. Shivaji also buried Afzal Khan as per Islamic customs and built his tomb near Pratapgarh, as per his philosophy of ‘once the enemy is dead, the enmity is dead too’.
              We left the Status to explore remaining part of the Fort. We visited Keshawraj temple which is located on Bale Killa. There is small place opposite to temple which is known as Sadar. A place built for important meeting and discussions.
              After Climbing down, we visited Bhavani Temple. Idol was curved from the rock which was brought from the convergence point of three rivers namely; Trishul Gandaki, Shwet Gandaki, and Saraswati. Temple also have Shivpindi made up of transparent crystal stone. you can see small cannons from Maratha emperor kept in temple campus. There is a sword of the warrior Hambirrao Mohite, over which his name is engraved along with a sign of ‘6 Star’. (One Star was awarded to a person who kills 100 enemy soldiers).

Bhavani Mata temple

Small Cannons at Bhavani temple

              There is Hastakala Kendra shop for handicraft product. View of Tehani Buruj (Watchtower bastion) is beautiful. After a quick visit to the shop, we took a lunch break at hotel Rasoi. It is opposite side of Bhavani temple entrance. You can have a tasty Maharashtrian meal here along with the fort view.

Lunch Time

Tasty Meal

                We left beautiful fort after lunch. At the base of the fort, you can see Tomb of Afzal Khan and his faithful bodyguard, Sayyed Banda. Due to some political issue, entry to visit this place is banned. There are Hastakala Kendra handicraft shop and miniature village which takes you into Maratha emperor era.

              We visited Mahabaleshwar market for some quick shopping and then tasty Strawberry with cream as dessert in Bagicha ice cream parlor. As we wanted to spend our evening time at table land, we proceed to Panchgani for Tableland. It is 2nd longest mountain plateau in Asia.We were least interested in riding so we had a nice walk on tableland. We spend sunset time together on tableland and then left Panchgani.

Tableland at Panchgani

  • Car Petrol: INR 1500/-
  • NH-4 return Toll: INR 130/-
  • Pachgani pollution tax: INR 50/- (For Car)
  • Pachgani Entry tax: INR 20/- per person (valid for 7 days)
  • Mahabaleshwar pollution tax: INR 30/- (For Car)
  • Mahabaleshwar Entry tax: INR 20/- per person (valid for 7 days)
  • Lunch: INR 345/- (Pithale-Vange Masala-Bhakari Thali at 100/-, Curd at 40/- and Extra Bhakari at 25/-)
  • Strawberry with cream: INR 120/-
We reached home safely by via same NH-4 route by 8.30 PM
I will try to upload more and more travel blogs. Thanks for reading this Travel Blog.


Saturday, 9 December 2017

Aga Khan Palace: Pune

Friends were requested me to start writing on places from Pune city. So People visiting Pune can get An idea about it. This is my first attempt to write blog on places to visit in Pune
We went to Aga Khan Palace in evening.

Aga Khan Palace (Clicked from iPhone)

Location: Pune Nagar Road, Kalyani Nagar, Pune 41104
GPS Location: 18.552708, 73.901510

About Aga Khan Palace:
Aga Khan Palace was built by Sultan Muhammad Shah Aga Khan III in 1892. He built this palace to create jobs to poor people from nearby villages. During 1890s nearby area was not considered as part of Pune city and highly affected by Drought.
Muhammad Shah Aga Khan was born in Karachi (Now part of Pakistan) Nizari Ismaili community.
Palace came into limelight due to Indian freedom movement when It served as Prison for Mahatma Gandhi, Wife Kasturba Gandhi, Mahadev Desai and Sarojini Naidu.

Aga Khan Palace

Visit to Aga Khan Palace:
               We went to Aga Khan Palace by 3:30-4 PM. You can reach to Aga Khan palace by Public transport or by Auto or by Cab service. It is located on Nagar road highway which is easy to locate. This place is open from 9AM to 5:30PM. They stop selling entry tickets after 5PM. The place can be seen in less than Hour if you are not deeply interested in Indian History else it has potential to keep you busy for 2-3 hours. Photography is not allowed whereas you can click photos from Mobile Camera and no need to Pay for same.

Aga Khan Palace

             Construction of Palace began in the year 1887 and completed in 5 years. As I mentioned in the blog, construction of palace created jobs to Poor people from nearby Village. Few historical documents say that work employed 1000 people. It was built in Rs 12 Lakhs (in the year 1892). Total Area is 13 acres whereas palace was built on 7 acres of land. The rest area is well maintained Garden along with Small Canteen, Samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai.

Samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai

               Mahatma Gandhi, Wife Kasturba Gandhi, and secretary Mahadev Desai were captured and kept in Palace from 9 August 1942 to 6 May 1944 for Quit India Movement against British. Kasturba Gandhi and secretary Mahadev Desai died during the captivity. In 1969, Aga Khan Palace donated to Indian Government to open for all as a mark of respect to Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi's memorial where part of Ashes kept 

             The only ground floor of Palace is open for tourist. You can see a painting of Gandhi, Painting about there freedom journey and information. You can visit the rooms in which Mahadev Desai, Kasturba Gandhi were captured and kept. Their belongs are also kept for display. Last Room belongs to Mahatma Gandhi but it is closed and you can view through glass. Samadhi of Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Gandhi is located in the Palace area. When Mahatma Gandhi died, part of his ashes was brought to the palace and built the memorial. The Palace has beautiful Garden to spend a good time.

Mahatma Gandhi's Room

Ticket rates:
Indian Nationality: INR 15/- per person
SAARC nation citizens (Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan): INR 15/- per person
BIMSTEC nation citizen (Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Bangladesh): INR 15/- per person
Foreign Nation: INR 200/- per person

Thanks for reading this travel Blog. Keep traveling.

Pritesh Kulkarni

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Deccan Cliffhanger 2017 Cycle race and south Goa

I started Cycling around 10 months back and my focus was on long distance cycling. Every endurance Indian cyclist's dream to participate in Ultra races. Deccan Cliffhanger is one of the Them. I was not prepared to participate in the race in Solo or Team category but we (Me and Renuka) got chance to be a part of the race as Crew member for my cyclist friends.

After the race, I and Renu decided to explore few beaches from South Goa for 2 days.

Bogmalo Beach
Bogmalo Beach

About Deccan Cliffhanger Race
Deccan cliffhanger is Ultra cycle race of 643 km (400 miles) starting from Pune to Bogmalo beach, Goa. The race is conducted by Inspire India and concept by Divya Tale (Head of Inspire India). This is an annual race which held on November month. Race comes with 2 categories as Solo and relay team race. Relay team category comes with a team size of 2,3 or 4. The race also offers All Men category, All woman team category, and Mix team category.
Check Website for More details:

Race Route is Pune - Wai - Mahabaleshwar - Medha Ghat - Satara - Karad - Kolhapur - Nipani - Belgaon- Dharwad - Anmod Ghat - Bogmalo beach.
This year route was changed due to bad road condition in Medha Ghat and it was altered as Pune - Joshi Vihir - Wai - Bhilar ghat - Satara and further remains same.

Deccan cliffhanger (DC) solo race is a RAAM (Race Across America) qualifier which is known Worlds toughest cycle race.
DC race must have a support vehicle and crew members for all kind of support to Riders.

Day 1: 04 November 17: Pune to Goa
              We participated in 4 men team category. Riders were Advait, Sunny, Kunal and Vishal. Crew team was Me, Renuka, Amruta, Ronit, and Vibhangi. Our flag off time was between 7:30 - 8 AM. Flag off was started from 5AM with Solo participants Fallowed by teams. There was individual flag off for everyone as time is calculated separately. Our 4 men team was split into 2 cars for better planning and smooth switching.

Our Deccan Cliffhanger Team... Ronit Dalvi missing in Photo

               In Team race, one rider is on track and others are in crew car or at the switching point. Riders can switch their turn as many time as they want. It depends upon team's planning. We decided to switch rider after every 45 min on the highway and after every 5 KM in Pasarni Ghat. Crew members need to take care of Riders cycles, Navigation of race route, Right Food for Riders, help in technical issues, Riders health, preparing him for a ride and importantly to motivate the riders as 643km race requires high endurance!

Flag off Time... Sunny on Cycle

            The race starts at the cliff project, Bhugaon. Most of the riders were together till Khambatki Ghat. Riders get separated While climbing Pasarni Ghat (Ghat to reach Mahabaleshwar) as it actually tests your endurance and climbing skills. The race goes in a smooth manner after Satara as route till Tondavli Ghat (After Nipani, Karnataka) is pretty flat with some up and downs.

Crew Cars at Katraj Climb

              We were at the second position after Karad in 4 men team category. We crossed Kolhapur during sunset time. After sunset, the rule is simple...Rider has to ride the bicycle in the headlight area which means the distance between support car and cycle should not be more than 30-35 Feet. Crew members take responsibility for such rules, food supply, and navigation. Weather calculation changes after sunset as now rider have to face the chilled wind.

Rider: Sunny Khandale

Rider: Advait Khatavkar

Rider: Vishal Butte

Rider: Kunal Singh

Day 2: 05 November 17: Pune to Goa
              We crossed Dharwad by 12 midnight. Next journey was to enter Goa via Mahavir forest. We spotted Wolf in the forest those were about to cross the road in front of Cycle. By early morning we entered Goa. We finish the race at 6.22 AM scurrying 2nd position. Finish point of Deccan cliffhanger race is Bogmalo Beach.

During Switching point... Vishal about to cross Kunal

              Riders get Finisher medal and satisfaction of completing 400miles race on their faces. Few solo riders manage to finish the race in less than 30 hours which is qualification time for RAAM race. We had some photoshoot and rest on the beach. The entire team (Riders and Crew) worked hard to finish the DC 2017. We checked in the hotel for rest and we hardly got time to sleep from last 24+ hours. The award ceremony was arranged on Bogmalo beach from 7PM. The program started with Price distribution and result announced followed by Dinner. Party was over by 10:30 PM. This year, I participated in the race as Crew but next year, I will be a Rider for sure!

Second Position at Deccan Cliffhanger

Sunset at Bogmalo Beach
Sunset at Bogmalo Beach

             We all went out as friends planned my birthday celebration. At midnight, we had my birthday celebration by cutting the tasty cake. Our day ends at 2AM

Celebration Time

Day 3: 06 November 17: Goa
              Advait and Me woke up early in the morning and went for Cycling. We visited Hollant beach which is very close to Bogmalo. Hollant beach is very small beach and hardly visited by tourists. Beach is clean surrounded by hills from 3 sides. We spend some time and returned to the hotel. All went to Pune by crew cars in morning Expect Me-Renu and Advait-Amruta.

Hollant Beach
Hollant Beach

Hollant Beach
Hollant Beach

              We had Breakfast at Bogmalo beach and then relaxing time around Bogmalo. Our plan was to move towards the south and catch Bus for Pune by tomorrow evening. We did check out from Hotel and went to Mapusa by Local bus. We hired Bikes (which is common in Goa) to explore south Goa side.
              It was 1 PM in clock so we had lunch at Benaulim beach. Seafood at Johncy's restaurant was tasty. We spend some time on the beach. The weather was pleasant even in the afternoon as it was bit cloudy. Our next destination was Coba de Rama beach. We somehow manage to reach Ag sunset time and witness beautiful Sunday along with a cup of hot coffee. Beach is not populated like another famous Goan beach.

Sunset from Coba de Rama Beach

              After sunset, we returned to Benaulim beach to search for stay option. We got rooms at Woodstock Bamboo cottage. Rooms were very basic but manageable for night stay. After some rest, we had dinner in one of the shacks from Benaulim beach.

Day 4: 07 November 17: Goa to Pune
             We woke up early and went to the beach. Hotel owner gave his own cycle for the ride as our cycles went to Pune in Car. Renu had some Yoga on the beach whereas I and Advait went for beach cycling. It was fun to ride a cycle on the beach.

Roadside Fish display...Early Morning Cycle Ride

Early morning on Benaulim Beach

               After breakfast, Advait and Amruta left Goa for Pune. We check out from the hotel to visit a couple of beaches before catching a bus for Pune. we decided to visit Colva beach. the beach is famous for water sports, shacks and long stretched beach. After taking a stroll on the beach we came back to the parking area. Beach area has a huge market to buy clothes, footwear, gift articles and much more.

Colva Beach

              Our next beach to visit was Betalbatim beach. Actually, it is extended part of Colva beach. It is logically separated by respective village/town area. Beach was less crowded than Colva beach. We went ahead and visited Majorda beach. Again it is part of the same beach. In fact, you will find same beach line from Arossim to Betul without any discontinuity. Different names to beaches were given as per nearby village/town. There were few shacks on the beach. Beach was occupied by Russian tourists. Even all restaurant boards were written in the Russian language. We left the beach and came back to Colva for Lunch. We spend an entire afternoon in one the shack.

Majorda Beach
Majorda Beach

             We decided to spend sunset time at Varca beach as it is always less crowded than Colva. The road to reach Varca takes a right at main circle near Colva, for Benaulim and go straight till you see an old whitewashed church on your left. Take right to reach Varca beach. The road is surrounded by coconut trees so if you are travelling during Monsoon, the journey is pleasant.Varca beach is famous for its golden sand and flat seabed. We had a walk on the beach and settle down to witness the beautiful sunset from Varca.

Beach games at Varca Beach

Sunset at Varca Beach

              We left beautiful Varca beach after sunset. We returned hired a bike at Mapasa and boarded 8PM sleeper Volvo for Pune. On next day morning, We reached home safely.

As this was pre-planned Race Fallowed Trip, I was unable to keep track of expenses. Will share few expenses details from Trip

  • Raikar Guest House, Bogmalo: INR 1200/- per Room
  • Pedro Restaurant: INR 1900/- for 4 people (Veg and Non-veg meal)
  • Woodstock Village Bamboo Cottage: INR 800/- per night
  • Beach Shack: INR 2200/- for 4 people (Veg and Sea Food)
  • Bike Rent: INR 300/- per day
  • Goa-Pune Sleeper coach bus: INR 800/- per person

GPS locations:
  • Bogmalo beach: 15.369221, 73.834616
  • Hollant beach: 15.370060, 73.862531
  • Coba de Rama beach: 15.103334, 73.925617
  • Benaulim Beach: 15.256959, 73.919196
  • Betalbatim beach: 15.292331, 73.908308
  • Colva Beach: 15.275785, 73.913541
  • Mojarda Beach: 15.309977, 73.902426
  • Varca Beach: 15.233130, 73.925986

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy travelling.

Pritesh Kulkarni

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Quick trip to explore Vijaydurg, Devgad & Nearby Area

Vijaydurg Fort and nearby area were on our wish list for a long time. We got a chance to explore the places just after Diwali festival. We planned 4 days trip to visit few places Like Vijaydurg, Devgad, and beaches.
Travelers for this trip were me and Wife Renuka.


About Vijaydurg
             Vijaydurg town is around 370 km from Pune. It is mainly famous for Vijaydurg Fort which was one of the oldest forts from Sindhudurg. It was built by King Bhoja II of Shilahar dynasty. Adil Shah of Bijapur took control of fort but Later it was captured and rebuilt by King Shivaji Maharaja.
It is also known for beautiful Virgin beaches around Vijaydurg town.

There are 2-3 ways (via Tamhini ghat, via Varandha ghat OR via Kumbharali ghat) to reach Vijaydurg. Best way to reach at Vijaydurg from Pune is, Catch National highway 4 (Mumbai-Bangalore highway) towards Kolhapur/Bangalore direction – Karad - take right after Karad for Kokrud - Anuskura Ghat - Rajapur - Vijaydurg.

As we took a halt in Chiplun, we join Kumbharli ghat whereas for return journey we came by Anuskura Ghat.

Vijaydurg Fort
Vijaydurg Fort

Day 1: 20 October 17: Pune to Chiplun
              To save travel time, we decided to leave Pune on Friday noon. After lunch, we left Pune by 3:30 PM. We preferred Kumbharli ghat to reach Chiplun. The Road condition was good except some small rough patches in Ghat section. Due to less traffic and smooth road, we reached Chiplun before 9PM. I started Long distance cycling from last one year and I wanted to ride around Vijaydurg hence we took MTB cycle with us.
              We had Dinner at Restaurant Abhishek which is one of my favorite seafood hotels. Food was excellent in taste, definitely not to miss for seafood lovers. We checked few budget hotel and stayed for the night.

Pomfret meal at Abhishek hotel, Chiplun
Pomfret meal at Abhishek hotel, Chiplun

  • Car petrol: 3200/-
  • Toll 1: 85/-
  • Toll 2: 60/-
  • Abhishek Hotel: 768/- (Pomfret Thali, Veg Thali, Solkadis)
  • Budget Stay 700/-

Day 2: 21 October 17: Chiplun - Napane waterfall - Vijaydurg
              We left Chiplun by 6:30 AM. Our first destination was Napane Waterfall. It is also known as Sherpe-Napne Waterfall. Early morning foggy weather with the chilled wind on the national highway made our journey memorable. After Pali, I decided to ride Cycle up to Rajapur and Renu went ahead by car. I was willing to ride to waterfall site but to save time, we mounted cycle on the car and moved ahead.
              Best way to reach waterfall site is Talere - Nadhavade - Sherpe-Napane fall. We followed Google map which was the shortest path but was in terrible condition. While returning, we came to Talere. Also if your referring Google Map then check Sherpe-Napne waterfall (16.531413, 73.699234) instated of Napane waterfall.

Sherpe Napne waterfall

              Shrepe-Napne waterfall is two-tiered fall. The first step is smaller than Second and it is also ahead of second stage fall. This is 12 months running waterfall lies on the river. Better to not to Swim in running water to avoid injury from falling down from step to the waterfall. Forest nearby fall offers you a good sighting of western forest Birds. There is a small restaurant which serves snacks items. We had heavy snacks before moving to Vijaydurg.

Sherpe Napne Waterfall

              We left this place by 2 PM and reached Vijaydurg. Road condition was quite bad but manageable by Car. We booked AC room at Hotel Vijaydurg Palace which is a stone throw away from Fort. Hotel owned by Mayur Shetye. It is budget category hotel with Non-AC and AC. Rooms are large enough for 4 people and offer you a view of Fort and Creek. Vijaydurg has very fewer options for stay.

Vijaydurg town
Vijaydurg town

             We did check-in quickly and had some snacks. We decided to visit beautiful Vijaydurg Fort in the evening. Fort is located on the tip of creek facing towards the sea. Fort was built by King Bhoj during 1193-1205. It was captured by Adil Shah. In the year 1653, King Shivaji Maharaja won the fort and renamed as Vijaydurg. Fort was earlier known as Gheria fort.
             Fort was surrounded by sea from 4 sides and bridge trench as the entrance to the fort. Now, it is surrounded by sea from 3 sides by sea and land from one side. Fort was the capital of Naval base during Maratha empire lead by Kanhoji Angre.

Fort entrance

Vijaydurg Fort Wall
Vijaydurg Fort Wall

              Fort is open for an entire day with nominal entry fee. Fort has 20 Bastions and 3 layers protected the solid wall. It also has an underwater wall around a fort built during Shivaji Maratha empire. Purpose to protect the fort from Large ships approaching towards the fort.
            You can see Cannon fireballs after entering into fort area. On the right side of Entrance, there is a Storage room and Dock bastion area. Fort also has meeting room area, palaces, and Temple. People says Shivaji Maharaja himself hosted flag on this fort. Also, local claims that British scientist discovered Helium gas from fort while observing a solar eclipse in the year 1868.

Cannon fireballs at Vijaydurg fort
Cannon fireballs at Vijaydurg fort

Fort Dock Bastion

            You can view the Vijaydurg town from the topmost point of the fort. View of Beach and sea from the wall is breathtaking. We took a walk on the wall and witnesses beautiful sunset.
            We had dinner at the hotel and small walk before calling a day. My Tomorrow's plan was to explore Vijaydurg to Devgad area on Cycle whereas Renuka had some office work.

Vijaydurg beach
Vijaydurg beach

Sunset from Vijaydurg Fort
Sunset from Vijaydurg Fort

  • Coffee 20/-
  • Lunch: 235/- (Maggi 35,Omelet 45, J soda 25)
  • AC Stay at Hotel Vijaydurg palace: 3600/- for 2 Night
  • Fort entry: 10 for 2 people
  • Evening Snacks: 215/-
  • Dinner at Hotel: 520/-

Day 3: 22 October 17: Vijaydurg - Devgad - Vijaydurg
             I left Vijaydurg at 6 AM on My MTB cycle. Renu stayed in the hotel for some office work support. My route was from Vijaydurg to Devgad along with beaches like Pural beach, Padel beach, and Padavane beach.
              The entire route was full of the Up and downhill ride. It was my Solo ride and with the steady progress, I reached close to Pural beach (16.516536, 73.323227). After some point, tar road shifted to the rough narrow road. I reached on the beach after a couple of KM ride. It was Virgin beach with No tourist, No home, hotel etc. It was a lovely beach. I climbed down on beach so I was aware of riding uphill while going back. I took some rest on the beach and left the beautiful beach.

Pural Beach
Pural Beach

Pural Beach
Pural Beach

              My next location was Padel beach. I took right on State highway (16.479880, 73.339976) towards the beach but I was blocked by a group of cows and Bulls. Street dog (belongs to the same group) was not in the mood to allow me to travel ahead so, I took U term and joined State highway. I missed Padel beach.
              I started my Bicycle journey towards Padavane beach. I stopped at a small village on coastal highway to refill my water sources. When people got to know that I'm a tourist on Cycle, they started asking me too many questions and also offered me tea/coffee. After some chitchat with locals, I moved ahead.

Time to Locals

              I took right turn on the highway (16.433411, 73.399896) and came across beautiful temple named Vimleshwar Shiva Temple (16.437588, 73.395430). Locals suggested me to visit the temple when I took break for water refilling. Temple is very old and hidden gem of Konkan. It has an idol of Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha. It also has carved elephant which is painted recently. Temple area is very calm and hardly visited by tourists. It is very photogenic location. The Same road goes to a beach known as Padavane beach (16.411106, 73.367248).

Vimleshwar Shiva Temple
Vimleshwar Shiva Temple

Carving at Vimleshwar Shiva Temple
Carving at Vimleshwar Shiva Temple

Carved Elephant

Old Ganesh Idol

           Another beach with hardly visited by tourists. There is nothing apart from few local fishermen's house. It's golden sand beach. As I didn't enter the water for swimming so no idea about safety. I spend around 20-30 min before leaving the beautiful beach.

Padavane Beach
Padavane Beach

Padavane Beach
Padavane Beach

           My next destination was Devgad. It was around 10 in the morning. Renu planned to join me at Devgad by car for Lunch. Last Hill climb was an endurance test for me and somehow I managed to cross it. Renu was waiting at Devgad beach. Devgad beach can be visited while going to Devgad fort. Beach is quite small but clean n well maintained. You can see Windmills on to the top of the mountain. There is a path to visit the Windmills but we missed it due to short of time.

At Devgad Beach

              After a short break on Devgad beach, we went to Devgad Fort. I was on Cycle and Renu by Car. Fort is divided into two parts, one on top of Hill and second near Jetty close to sea line. Hardly any fortification is present near jetty hence people forgot or avoid to visit that part of the fort. Hill Fort area consists of Lord Maruti temple, Lord Ganesh Temple, fort wall, Few Bastions, Cannon and Lighthouse. Fort is not maintained properly and tourist mainly visits the lighthouse.

Devgad Fort wall
Devgad Fort wall

Lord Maruti Temple inside Devgad Fort
Lord Maruti Temple inside Devgad Fort

Light house at Devgad fort
Lighthouse at Devgad fort

              Historical information about the fort is not available. British won the fort from Maratha empire in the year 1818. You can enjoy the view of the sea from Lighthouse and engineers gives you a detail information about how lighthouse work. After visiting this part of the fort, we climb down (by Cycle and Car) to see the jetty side fortification. There are steps as well to climb down at jetty from Fort entrance gate. You can see ruined fort wall near the jetty. I stopped my Cycle ride at Jetty after completing 50km for the day from Vijaydurg to Devgad via 2 untouched beaches.

Devgad fort area

Devgad at Zero...Cycle ride Completed at the Jetty (Fort Base)

              We took a lunch break at Diamond restaurant which was average in taste. We began our return journey towards Vijaydurg and meet 3 riders from the UK. They were on a journey from Mumbai to Goa on cycle. As Renu wanted to visit Vimleshwar temple, we took small break at temple and returned Vijaydurg by 4PM

New Friends...

              For evening, we took a boat ride around the fort to witness the beauty of fort and enjoy the sunset time. We spend an hour on the boat. We missed the sunset due to clouds but the overall experience was good.
We had seafood dinner in the hotel and took rest.

  • Water: 10/-
  • Limbu Sarabat: 40/ for 2
  • Lighthouse entry 10/-
  • Camera at Light House: 20/-
  • Lunch at Diamond hotel: 360/-
  • Boat Ride around Fort: 200/- for 2 people
  • Coffee and Biscuit: 35/-
  • Dinner at Hotel: 345/-

Day 4: 23 Oct 2017: Vijaydurg- Pune
               I woke up early in the morning and went to the fort for a walk. Walking on the fort wall and sunrise view from the fort was the perfect start of the day.

Morning Time on Vijaydurg Fort

               I came back and took my MTB for the ride. My destination was a beach (Beach name as per locals is Rameshwar whereas No official name for this beach) which is around 5km from Vijaydurg. GPS location on the beach is 16.552013, 73.322799. Proper road to the beach is not available. As you approach towards the beach, the road becomes narrow and suitable for Bike or Cycle. You need to climb down for last 50-100 meter to reach on the beach. Beach was untouched with white soft sand and Mountains on both ends. I was alone on the beach and it was the very peaceful environment.

Beautiful Beach

My Rockrider on Beautiful Beach

              I left the place after spending 20-30 min. My next destination was Rameshwar temple. DO NOT confuse or link this temple with the Rameshwaram temple from Tamil Nadu.
              Temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Temple built in the 16th century and local says that Shivlinga and Lord Ganesh Idol are Pandav Kalin idols. Entrance to Temple is very unique as you need to climb down small hill which was created by Cutting hill during Peshwa empire. As per locals, Temple was expanded three times in 3 different periods. Temple Gabjara ( the place where Idol is placed) was built by Kanhoji Angre (Admiral of Maratha naval fleet). Temple Mandapa and Pradakshina route were built by Sambhaji Angre and Sankhoji Angre (Sons of Kanhoji Angre). Later Entrance gates and entrance route was built by Madhavrao Peshwe along with some modifications in temple structure. Bell at the entrance was brought from Portuguese Ship which was captured by Maratha Navy in one of the successful raids.

Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg
Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg

Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg
Temple Mandapam, Rameshwar Temple, Vijaydurg

             Famous story (no evidence available) says that Kanhoji Angre was not happy due to set back while leading the naval fleet. Lord Shiva appeared in his dream and requested to fire a cannon fireball. Place where cannon fireball was fall, he found Shivlinga idol. He built the temple which resolved his issues.

Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple
Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple

Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple
Malabar Pied Hornbill at Rameshwar Temple

                I returned to the hotel and by 11 AM, we checked out. As Renuka wanted to visit the Temple, we went to Rameshwar Temple. After Temple visit, we decided to have a lunch. We had lunch at restaurant Mayuri (GPS 16.556086, 73.337074). The restaurant serves very delicious seafood and veg meal. They have Thali system which is quite less in price. You should read and implement their rules before having a meal. They strongly believe in "no wastage of Food". It is must visit restaurant if you're close to Vijaydurg.

Mayuri Restaurant, Vijaydurg
Mayuri Restaurant, Vijaydurg

                It's time to start return journey after tasty seafood. We choose Anuskura Ghat road to join Bangalore - Pune national highway. We reached home safely by 9 PM

Anuskura Ghat

  • Lunch at Mayuri hotel: 740/- (Spec. Veg meal at 130/-, Prawns Meal at 300/-, Prawns fry dish at 280/- and Solkadhi Glass at 30)
  • Car petrol: 1000/-
  • Toll-1: 70/-
  • Snacks at Vithal Kamat: 230/-
  • Toll-2: 60/-
  • Toll-3: 85/-

Contact number for reference
  • Hotel Vijaydurg palace: +919764211322.
  • Restaurant Mayuri: Rupesh Javkar +919271886177.

GPS Locations
  • Sherpe-Napne Waterfall: 16.531413, 73.699234
  • Vijaydurg Fort: 16.559851, 73.334897
  • Pural Beach: 16.516536, 73.323227
  • Padel Beach: 16.479880, 73.339976
  • Vimleshwar Shiva Temple: 16.437588, 73.395430
  • Padavane beach: 16.411106, 73.367248
  • Devgad Beach: 16.375761, 73.370622
  • Devgad Fort: 16.386641, 73.373363
  • Un-Named Beach near Vijaydurg: 16.552013, 73.322799
  • Rameshwar Mandir: 16.537954, 73.333866
  • Hotel Mayuri: 16.556086, 73.337074

Thanks for reading this Travel Blog. Happy traveling.

Pritesh Kulkarni