Monday, January 31, 2011

Lohagad : A Iron fort for Iron man Chatrapati Shivaji

 A beautiful fort in a beautiful location, good roads to the base and an easy climb make Lohagad fort one of the more popular destinations to visit close to Pune. But thankfully, it has survived the commercialisation and the mess that Sinhagad fort has been subjected to. The fort is still in a good condition and relatively clean. Many of the structures on the fort are still intact and climbing the fort would give you the feeling of actually climbing a fort rather than walk on “made in 21st century” concrete steps!

 How to go to Lohagad fort from Pune: There are multiple approach routes to go to Lohagad fort, each of them unique in what the route presents.
Though Malvali Village/Bhaja Caves: This is the route taken by all the trekking groups and the one which doesnt need the use of a personal vehicle. Go to lonavala by the local train. Take another local to go to Malvali village. From Malvali village station, it is a walk of around 2 kms to Bhaja village, the base village for Bhaja caves. An upward path (stairs) would take you to Bhaja caves, but if you follow the winding path (wide enough for a car) next to the stairs, it would take you to the village of Lohagadwadi, the base village for Lohagad fort. This route is around 5-7 kms long and would take around 2-2.5 hrs on foot. But, if you have a vehicle, you can drive on this road (unless the rains have been very heavy) and go close (not exactly to) the base village. If you want to drive to Bhaja village, check out the direction in the other post of Bhaja caves.
Through the Mumbai-Pune Expressway: This is the fastest way to reach the base village. Go on the expressway from Pune. When the Sinhagad institute appears on the side of the highway, look out for an exit from the road. This is not very obvious though. Get off the exit, go under the highway and enter into a village. If you are doubtful as to whether this could be the route through the village, then you are on the right track! Once you cross the narrows lanes of the village, take a right onto the main road and travel 5-6 kms until you reach a junction where there are lot of tea shops. if in doubt, ask anyone for the route to Lohagad. if you have Google earth, download this kmz file, this will show you the route from the village to the junction. At this junction, take left to go to the base village.
Through Pavna Dam and Dudhiware Khind: This is the route i took when i went to Lohagad. I returned through the 2nd option(highway). This was one of the greenest routes i have ever driven on. Pavna dam and Tung fort in the background (separate post) were a sight to behold. Go to Chandi Chowk. Then cross Pirangut. Once you reach Paud, you will see a junction. On this junction, turn right towards Pavana dam or ask anyone in Paud for directions to Pavna dam. This is one straight road and you cannot get lost. You will drive through pristine villages and there is greenery all around (during monsoons!). The climb down to Pavna dam is awesome. Once you cross Pavna dam, you will come to a T-junction. Taking the right will take you back to Kamshet and Nh4. Take the left and climb up towards Lohagad. On this road, you will cross Dudhiware Khind, a pass cut through the mountains. It is eerie as well as amazing to drive through this pass, particularly when it rains. Given below is a snapshot of the route i took.

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