Situated at a height of 3400 feet, Lohagad Fort is a formidable fort about 52 kilometres away from Pune. Perched atop an impressive hill near Malavali, this destination is the perfect amalgam of ancient architecture and natural beauty. Lohagad Fort was built in the 18th century and is an ideal destination for trekking and nature lovers, especially from Pune and Mumbai. The place is flanked by nature at its lush green best and hosts panoramic views and cool mountain air.
Nestled in the bosom of gently rolling hills, there is more than one route to reach the Lohagad Fort via trekking. The fastest and easiest route is driving up to the base village of Lohagadwadi, and then simply walk up the stone steps of the fort. Another one is from the village of Bhaje, which is about 5 - 6 kilometres from Malavali. From the village of Bhaje, a walk will lead you to Gaumukh Khand. This is the place where one might get confused. We need to take a right turn here as taking a left turn will direct us on the path of Visapur fort. After taking a left turn, we need to keep walking until the stairs to the fort come within your sight.
Built in 18th century, this formidable fort has lots of historic significance apart from being a current favourite trekking destination. It has been a center of power for several dynasties at different times including: Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Yadavas, Bahamanis, Nizams, Mughals and Marathas.
Perched at 3400 ft, Lohagad Fort is a vast fort spread far wide. It constitutes of four entrances namely Ganesh Darwaja, Narayan Darwaja, Hanuma Darwaja and Maha Darwaja from the nearby village. One can see some beautiful sculptures carved out on the Maha Darwaja. It's most famous spot is Vinchu Kata, a range of hills that looks like Capricorn.
Approx trek time : 3-4 hours
Availability of Night Trek : Though trekking can be undertaken during the night as well, the unavavailability of proper illumination facilities can prove to be a major roadblock.
Base Camp : Malavali
Days required for the trek : 1 day
Difficulty level : Easy
Height above sea level : 3420 feet
Nearest Airport : Pune
Nearest Railhead : Malavali
Starting point of trek : Malavali
Type : Hill fort
The best time to visit Lohagad Fort is during Monsoon season, when the rains make the surroundings look fresh and verdant, while a cover of dark clouds is a big respite from the sun. The water cisterns and ponds on the top of the fort are full during this season and you can jump into them if you feel upto it! However, please note that the roads are not in a good condition during monsoon and driving to the base village becomes a bit uncomfortable. Owing to heavy rainfall, the way to the top becomes quite slipery but it is really safe if you are being careful and take your time.
The best way to reach Lohagad fort is by taxi until the base point (Lohagadwadi village) and then trek all the way up to the fort. The trek is actually very simple and hardly takes any time, since there are stone steps all the way up to the top of the fort. If walking at a moderate speed, you should be able to reach the top in about 45 minutes, excluding the time taken to stop and appreciate the view on the way. Please note that there is a steady flow of water on these steps during monsoon, so look out for moss on the stones and avoid stepping on them.
If you are planning to come by train, you can get off at Malavli railway station (which falls on the suburban route from Pune to Lonavla) and then either take autos, or walk the approx. 3kms stretch to the base village.
Once you reach the top, you should walk around and take a look at the various points of interests. There are around 4 carved gates at the entrance of the fort while you are walking up, a few storage rooms which served as the treasure of the Maratha empire, and a few big ponds of water. The water is quite fresh during monsoons and you will find a lot of youngsters jumping into it. One of the more exciting parts of Lohagad fort is Vinchu Kata (or Scorpion's sting), which is a narrow part of the hill with a deep cliff - trekking to the end point is sort of a mini-adventure in itself.
1. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and a good pair of shoes as you will be trekking your way up to the fort.
2. Also, carry a raincoat if you are planning a trip during monsoon season. We also recommend that you carry snacks and about 2 litres of water per person since you will feel thirsty and hungry after the trek.
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