This trip will take 3 days, so we will start on Thursday. We will go to Pune from Hyderabad. Staying true to its name, Rajgad trek to the fort where once Shivaji Maharaj stayed, is kingly too. It is a difficult trek but the enigma of this beautiful historical fort and the greenery of the Sahyadri range all around makes the difficulty totally worth it. Experienced trekkers should opt for this package as this is a medium level difficulty trek. If you are someone who wants this trek to be the first one in their life, you have to have an active lifestyle, someone who workouts regularly. You will be enlightened about the Rajgad Fort history and also know more about Torna fort.
We will be trekking to two forts on this trip – the Rajgad Fort and the Torna Fort. Rajgad Fort in Pune is one of the epic forts located on the Sahyadri range. It is a famous fort located about 30 kms away from Katraj (Pune). For 26 years, this fort served as the capital of Shivaji Maharaj’s empire. That is a lot of time. For adventure lovers, this trek is on their bucket list for sure, especially if they live somewhere near Pune like Hyderabad, Mumbai or Bangalore. The Padmavati temple situated on the fort serves as an accommodation and about fifty people can take shelter here. Even water is available here all the time because of the existing water tanks.
Shivaji Maharaj captured Torna Fort when he was just sixteen. He renamed Torna Fort as Prachandgad. It means ‘a massive fort’. This fort lies 50 kms away from the south-west direction of Pune and is close to a village named Velhe. This is the tallest or highest fort in Pune as it has been built at a height of 4604 feet. Among all other forts in the Sahyadris, this is only the second tallest.
The difficulty level of the Rajgad Fort trek is medium and the trekking time will be around 2.5 hours from the base. People interested in visiting this fort should come down to Pune. The route to the amazing Rajgad Fort goes through Nasrapur Phata, which is 60 kms from Pune. Nasrapur Phata is at an approximate distance of 20 kms from Katraj tunnel. After the first toll point NH4, you have to travel more for about 5kms. Nasrapur is 35 kms away from Pune station and you can reach here by taking the NH4. There are a few villages which serve a s the base village for this trek. Find the routes of 3 such villages below. Travel towards the west from Nasrapur to reach these villages:
Pali – This is the route that will lead you to the fort’s main door. Trekking from Pali village is easier than other routes. Take this route if you are travelling with your family having kids or seniors. From Rajgad, there is a way to Torna. One has to walk along the ridges of the Sahyadris to reach there.
Bhor – For this route, from NH4 you will have to move towards Bhor and when you reach Bhor, you have to reach Bhutonde. You will have to trek for about 3.5 hours from Bhutonde village to arrive at Rajgad Fort’s Alu Darwaza. This is not a well-known route. Take this route for a different trekking experience from most others.
Gunjawane – This trekking route will force you to take a few breaks as it is the toughest of the three. You will have to trek for about 2.5 hours to reach Chor Darwaza. If you are new to trekking, it is advisable that you take the first route,i.e. through the Pali village. That is a much easier route than this Gunjawane route.
As has been mentioned earlier, this is a moderate level difficult trek. After trekking for about 2.5 hours taking the Pali route, you will reach the apex and from Gunjawane, the time taken can be 3.5 hours. The Balekilla fort on Rajgad is the highest point. This trek will make you tired, so you should obviously carry lots of water and carry energy drinks too if you can. 2-3 litres of water should be enough for one person who is out on a full day’s trek. If you are there on a weekend, you can get food at Padmavati temple. There will be food like Zhunka Bhakari, Poha and Bhaji – Maharashtrian items made by villagers. But if you are a trekker, you already know that while trekking you should always carry dry snacks packed from home.
The Rajgad Fort is a good place for camping. There are so many things on the fort which can be explored that a day’s trip falls short. The best plan is to camp hetre overnight to cover all the things worth seeing in the next morning. If you do not want to carry tents with you along the trek, you can put up at the Padmavati temple and also another smaller temple present there.
The doors of the temples can be shut and there is no security threat. But still as an added precaution, female groups should take along a few male members. And if you can carry your own tents, then there are multiple charming spots where you can put your tents up for the night. Six to seven people can stay at the aforementioned small temple whereas Padmavati temple can easily hold fifty people.
If you want to enjoy a campfire or a bonfire, you will not even need to carry firewood with you. Villagers sell firewood on the fort and charge anything from rs. Fifty to hundred for them.
Rajgad Fort is huge. The name itself means ‘King of all forts’. Based on its construction and terrain, the fortification can be segregated into 4 parts – Padmavati Mach, Suvela Machi, Sanjevani Machi and the Balekilla in the middle. The forts of Torna, Sinhagad, Purandar and Mangalgad surround this kingly fort. As we have mentioned before, there are many things to see on the Rajgad Fort.Some of the things worth seeing are listed below –
This fort which is also called Prachangad is another massive fort located in Pune. The Torna Fort history is that, this is the first fort which Shivaji captured in his life. He did that in the year of 1643 when he was only sixteen years of age. It was the core or heart of the Maratha empire. This is the highest hill-fort in the whole district as it is at a height of 4603 feet above sea-level. The name ‘Prachangad’ is a combination of two words – ‘Prachanda’ meaning enormous, and ‘Gad’ meaning fort in Marathi.
The Shaive Panth, who were worshippers of Shiva, had constructed this fort in the 13th century. Close to the fort’s entrance, there is the Tornaji temple or Menghai Devi temple. The name Torna was given by Shivaji Maharaj. It was under his orders that various towers and monuments were built within the fort.
When Shivaji’s son Sambhaji was at the helm in the 18th century, the Mughals assassinated him and captured the fort. Aurangzeb was the Mughal emperor then. He renamed the fort as ‘Futulgaib’ which translates to ‘Divine Victory’. The Mughals had a tough time capturing this tall fort and the name was a reference to the victory after the tough struggle. The Treaty of Purandar helped the Marathas in gaining back this fort.
This fort in the Sahyadri mountain range is at a distance of about 100 kms from Pune, towards the south west direction and Pune’s highest fort. The post-monsoon months, from September to December, are the ideal time for the Torna fort trek. Trekkers can take shelter inside the Menghai Devi temple.
If you are travelling from Pune, reach the Swargate bus stand and try to take the first bus to Velhe. Velhe is the base village and the first bus to Velhe leaves at 6.30 in the morning and reaches about two hours later. The main trail to Torna starts from this village. If you get confused, ask the local people for help with the directions. This trek route which will take you to the top can be said to be moderate to hard where difficulty level is concerned. Visitors coming during the monsoon season soon be extra careful and take appropriate precautions. The main entrance to the fort is called Bini Darwaaja and you will reach here after climbing up for two to three hours.
If you want to visit this fort after your visit to the Rajgad fort, you can take the walk on the ridge. The Rajgad to Torna trek will take you about 5.5 hours. This trekking route starts from Rajgad’s Alu Darwaza. This is the gate which is on the left of Sanjeevani Machi. This trek route will bring you to ‘Budhla Machi’ of Torna Fort.
Why is this trek a must for the adventurous?
Torna Fort is located at Pune district’s highest trekking point. There are many forts in Maharashtra’s Western Ghats but if you have the opportunity or time to visit just one, go for the gigantic Torna Fort. You will be able to reach here from Pune in about two hours. The speciality of this trek is that it can be done both during the morning or evening., any time of the day. Trekking at night will be a unique and memorable experience for you as you climb to the top under the moonlight. You can put up your tent for the night and in the next morning, you can enjoy jaw dropping views of the landscape around you.
The fort is also believed to be a haunted fort by some people! It is said that when a group of trekkers were camping overnight at this empty fort, they heard a man’s voice asking them to open the door. He was about sixty years old and he also kept banging on the door loudly. Not long after this stopped, the tourists heard a female voice calling the tourists. What’s scarier is that she called them by their names! Multiple trekkers who stayed overnight have had similar experiences. Some have felt someone tugging at their legs while they were sleeping and some have seen a mysterious lady in a red saree. If everything spooky and horror thrills you, this trek should be attempted by you!
The trek from the Velhe village, which needs three hours, can also be divided into 3 parts. The first part is the initial climbing the hill, the second part is hiking through a plateau and the ultimate part is going inside Torna Fort through Bini Darwaja.
Rajgad Fort has a rich history and the way it is built, the architecture is truly marvellous and sets it apart from all the forts that one can find in the Western Ghats. The Rajgad height is impressive. This fort stands at a height of 4514 feet and is located near Pune. The Rajgad trek is not only popular for going to Rajgad fort but the beauty along the whale trail is a pull too. There are three major wings or machis of this fort – Padmavati, Suvela and Sanjivani. The architecture of the ashrams, temples and water cisterns are impressive.
From Rajgad Fort, one can see the nearby forts like Torna, Tikona, Raigad, Lingana, Singhagad, Lohagad, Visapaur, Pratapgad and also the mountain range of Mahabaleshwar. The fort displays architecture throughout its different parts. For example – the machis resemble a snake as they have been built using double fortified walls.
Gunjavane village serves as one of the bases for starting this trek. The road behind the hotel named Suvela garden serves as the starting point. You will reach the entrance gate of the fort trek after walking for about five minutes from this hotel. The trail from here is pretty easy and straight and there is no probability of you getting lost.
After walking for around fifteen minutes more, the trail starts becoming uphill slowly. As you trek ahead, you will yourself moving parallely to Suvela Machi. Continue trekking and after twenty minutes you will find yourself on a big plateau. You will be able to see Suvela machi from here too and also Rajgad Fort and Nedhe. Move ahead following the distinctly visible trail and it will bring you to Chor Darwaza, the back gate. You will see a ridge which is connected straight to the fort. Walk on the ridge till a rock patch becomes visible.
This part of the trek gets challenging. You will not find any rock-cut steps as this is the Fort’s back entrance. The railings till the Chor Darwaza helps to make the climb somewhat easier. As you leave Chor Darwaza behind, you will see a staircase. This staircase will help you reach Padmavati machi. The welcoming sight of the Sahyadris will greet you as soon as you climb up the stairs. The views from here are absolutely spectacular. Walking ahead from here will take you to the lake and Padmavati temple. You can camp here and put up at tgis temple for a night. Towards the end of this wing, the trail gets divided into 3 parts or ways. The left trail leads to Suvela machi, the one straight in front goes to the Balekilla and the right trail leads to Sanjivani machi. From Sanjivani machi, the trail becomes a little downhill to Raigad’s exit point and is connected to Torna’s fort ridge.
The best time to visit the Rajgad Fort is either monsoon or winter. Because trek routes get slippery, there are precautions that need to be taken. Trekking will feel equally good when done during the cooler days instead of rainy. In fact, if camping is on your mind, then winter is the best time for it. The temperature dips by a good measure and you will feel awesome to be beside a bonfire by your campsite.
There are many grand historical places present in India which can help us in breaking the monotony of our daily life. Rajgad and Torna forts are examples of such places. Visiting hill forts rejuvenates our mind as we also gain more knowledge about our history. Hope with all this Rajgad Fort information and also about Torna Fort, you will be able to plan your trip for a weekend. If planning is not your forte, book a package with us!
Board the train from:
Hyderabad at 8.40 pm
Begumpet at 8.49 pm
Lingampally at 9.12 pm
Arrive Pune at 9 am
Reach Gunjavane, the base village at 11.40 am and have lunch
Start the Rajgad trek at 11.50 am
Arrive at Rajgad Fort at 3.30 pm
Tour the fort
Camping and enjoying dinner
Wake up call at 5 am
Start the Torna fort trek at 5.30 am
Have breakfast on the way
Arrive at the Torna Fort at 2.30 pm and tour the fort
Reach Velhe, another base village at 5 pm and eat lunch
Arrive at Pune at 7 pm, get our dinner packed and board the train
Reach Hyderabad by Non-AC Sleeper Class train