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Time Required : 2-3 hrs

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Tikona fort, Lonavala Overview

A dominant hill fortress of the Pawana Maval region of the Konkan, Tikona Fort is a loved, frequented and very popular one-day trek spot of Maharashtra. The real Marathi name of the fort is Vitandgad, but it gets its more famous name from the triangular shape it is built in. With a clouded origin and dynamic history of many takeovers and recoveries, the fort stands tall along the green hillocks of Sahyadri. It still commands awe and respect with its high fortifications, large doorways, seven water tanks with clean water and a spectacular view from its topmost bastion.

Once a pride of the sprawling Maratha Empire of Pune, the fort is now well-past its glorious history of being tossed between the Nizams, Mughals, Marathas and British. It is currently maintained and protected by a local organisation called Shivdurg Sanvardhan. The trek from the village of Tikona Peth to the top of the hill is an ideal getaway for the adventurers at heart. However, one needs to be the same in body too, because of the steep steps and edgy trail. After crossing several caves, temples and water tanks, the route brings you to the edge of the extended parapet from where you can take in the fantastic beauty of the surroundings. The trek is a fascinating one yet not very challenging, hence perfect for adventure enthusiasts. The fortress and its pride is a paradise for the photography-lovers. The spot mixes history with brilliants skyscape which lends an excellent composition for any frame.

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History of Tikona Fort

The portion of land between Sahyadri - the Western Ghats and the Konkan Coast is divided into 12 smaller parts called 'Maval'. Tikona fort, being one of the four main fortresses of the Pawana Maval, played a crucial role in the protection of the region as well as of the other forts Lohagad, Visapur and Tung.

Not much is known about the actual origin of this now moss-covered looming structure. It was taken over by the Nizam Badshah Malik Ahmad Nizam Shah I in 1585. Since then the charge of the great fortress had changed many hands. It was recovered by Maratha legend Shivaji along with a bunch of other forts of the Konkani region. In 1665, King Jay Singh attacked the local village while it was under the security of the Deshmukhs, but the fort held out against his Rajput armies.

Once again it went to the hands of a Muslim ruler when the Tikona Fort was offered to Mughal warrior Kubad Khan as per the Treaty of Purandar signed on June 12, 1665. However, one more time the Marathas recovered it, only to finally lose it out to the British, like everything else in the country.

Tikona Fort Trek

The spot is famous for its spectacular trekking opportunities. Located at 3500 feet from the mean sea level, the Tikona fortress has the ideal altitude and atmosphere for beginners. The base camp for the trek is the village of Tikona Peth. Trekkers from different places gather here for yet another walk of 1.5 kilometres up to the actual starting point of the trek route. Picturesque view of the green slopes and serene valley accompanies the trekkers all along the uphill walk from the starting point right to the fort.

After about half an hour of walking, you will reach the first gate of the main fort - sort of a small cave called Bhuyari Darwaja, shadowed by overgrown plants, thus making it an ideal place for clicking some pictures. Crossing the gateway, there are remnants of the religious beliefs a Hanuman temple Chapat Maruti which is more like a single rock sculpture of him in a pose of killing the demon Panvati under his feet. There also some caves here, which were probably used by soldiers in the past. This spot is followed by some old fortifications and a temple called Tuljadevi Mandir with a tank in front of it. There is also a bull-pulled stone grinder, broken and green with time. You can read the history of the fort and the trail from a notice board here. This is the point from where the ascent of steep knee-high steps of the trek route starts.

This last trail is called Shivaji Trail, which has a break in between after around 15-20 steps leading up to the fort's bastion. The steps are very steep and often slippery due to moss and rain, but there are ropes alongside for support. At the top, there is the beautiful temple of Trambakeshwara, another name of Lord Shiva with an intact Shivalinga. On the other side, the moss-covered bastion opens up to a brilliant panorama of the entire Pawna Maval region. Against the horizon, you can see the other forts, Lohagad, Visapur and Tung, and have an idea of how grand it looked from here back in the days, with all the forts lit up with torches and buzzing with armies ready for any battle. You can also view the Pawna Dam looming in the background of Tung Fort. The breathtaking scenery is perfect for photographers as the view makes opportunity for the best of captures. It is also a lovely background if you are just there for the trek and want to click a group picture against the scene.

The difficulty level of the trek is easy, and it takes around 1-1.30 hours to climb and an additional 30 minutes for stopping and photographs.

Restaurants Near Tikona fort

There are no such stalls along the trek route, but in the village, there is a small restaurant called Tikona Upaharagruha where you can have breakfast before leaving for the trek.

Tips For Visiting Tikona fort

1. Wear your best shoe with good grip, because it is not only about walking a long distance, but also climbing extremely steep and slippery stairs.
2. Carry water and some extra food with you, because there is a lack of proper food and beverages stall along the track.
3. If you are going during the rainy season, definitely carry windcheaters. In winter, take warm jackets because it is freezing at the top.
4. Carry less but essential things, like a camera to capture this lifetime of an experience.
5. The caves in and around the fort can be used for camping, but it is not very comfortable or useful during monsoon.

How To Reach Tikona fort

No public transport connects the fort region to the main cities. However, you can avail them from Mumbai and Pune up to village Kamshet. From there you might have to seek shared vehicles. Private or hired vehicles are the best option for this reason. The Tikona fort is around 130 kilometres from Mumbai and 60 kilometres from Pune. The nearest town to the fortress is Lonavala from where you can start your journey.

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