Monday, July 26, 2010

Kailasgad Fort

Type: Hill forts
Grade: Medium
Base Village: Vaduste Village, Near Tamhini ghat, 85 Kms from Pune
Time to climb: 1.5 Hours
Best time to visit: When it’s raining cats and dogs!
Time visited: June 2010

Kailasgad is an unknown fort probably with no famous history at all though I read on internet that Shivaji raje had once visited this fort.

It was raining all the day before and Kailashgad seemed to be a best place to explore in rains. We started early from Pune had a breakfast- Pohe and Vadpav in Pirangut. The drive was extremely pleasant, lush greenery everywhere, drizzling rains and the beautiful Mulshi back waters added to the charm. As we started to cross Mulshi it started to get foggy.Before Tamhini ghat you have to take right turn to and drive to Pimpri Village. The drive was awesome once you turn towards Mulshi-Lonavala road. There was so much fog that we could barely see few meters ahead.

On the way there’s a gorgeous view of huge mountain wall with hundreds of waterfall emptying tons of joyous water in the deep valley.

The fog ensures that mystic view creates the romance in the cold air. Government has put railings and created a nice place where one could spend hours watching the clouds lingering on the cliffs and listening to tingling music of gushing water. The spot seems to be familiar with lot bikers who unfortunately create unruly atmosphere with loud music and dance with open drinking. But if you go to this place early morning then its a heaven on earth.
Further few meters away there’s a small dam and the overflowing water created beautiful mini-waterfall. Definitely we had to stop and admire the eerie beauty with a huge mountain behind the water and waterfall adding to charm.
Once we reached Vaduste village leaving behind the turn for lonavala on the left, the awesome view of huge mountains, green rice farms below and rains playing hode and seek enthrill you.

The grand Kailsgad seemed to be right infront of us. A helpful farmer- Mr Pawar arranged two boys to show us the road to the top. 2 kms ahead of Vaduste village there a sharp turn with a water tank barely visible on left. You need to park your car there and then start climbing the adjacent hill.

There’s a hardly trail and it was extremely slippery. Once you reach to the top of that hill the view is awesome. Faraway you can see a small island in the calm waters of mulshi. On onside you would see the lsuh green rice farms and filled with muddy waters.

A clear trail leads from there onwards through thick bushes of man-height of Karvy. A wild pig dashed in font of us at great speed and left us flabbergasted for few minutes.

It started to rain very heavily. It was picturesque sight and we could see swaying white lines of rain from gray clouds on back drop of green mountains. Unfortunately due to rains we could hardly take out cameras.
The trail goes up and down from the reverse side of the fort crossing few streams and extremely slipper rock patches. But its mostly easy walk rather than a climb. On the top we could barely stand due to severe wind and see 2-3 very small lakes where rain water had collected.

We decided not to venture more as were soaking and shivering. The boys told us there was a cave and remains of some construction/plinth kind of thing further ahead on the top.

Once back we went to Pawar’s hut and we had yummy meal. Had a stomach full of Nachnichi Bhakri, Pithla with hot steaming local Indrayani rice all prepared with warmth and care by the ajji.

This was place that I would definitely love to visit again and again.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chavand Fort

Type: Hill Fort
Base Village: Chavand/Chavandwadi
Distance: 100 KMs from Pune
Route: Pune-Nashik highway
Time visited: July 2010, June 2011
Best time to Visit: In Rains
How to visit: Naryangaon is around 85 Kms from Pune and Junnar is 15 kms ahead. From Junnar you have to take straight road for Aaptale, crossing Shivaji statue and leaving behind the vast Shivneri fort on the left. Aaptale should be around 20 kms from Junnar. Take right turn for Chavand fort.
Excursions: Kukdeshwar Temple

The few showers this week brought back the all the hopes of perfect weather for trek. Four of us started at 5.45 and had breakfast- Pohe on Nashik highway. The less traffic made our journey easy. We reached Junnar by around 8 AM.

The muddy road had became all slippery due to few rain showers yesterday but the awesome fort was standing tall fearing the gushy winds and sparkling in the delicate morning sunrays. We decided not to take our car to chavandwadi as looked horrible from the bifurcation and parked our car in nearby house. The trail starts behind the school and you can easily see the 2 ladders at the middle from base itself. The half an hour steep climb took us to the base of the ladder. Well the ladders are actually just the side railing and not a ladder that we have climb. The tiny carved rock slanting steps or the cuts in the rock on the steep slopes above were looking challenging. The railings were swaying in the winds. The entire weather was misty and beautiful. A bird far was merrily singing lost in his own charming world. We took deep breath as we prepared to climb. Behind us the whole mountain range had disappeared in the fog and only main upside down bell mountain was partially visible. Far away on the left the kukdi seem to be flowing tranquilly.

Slowly we climbed the rock patch. Thankfully it wasn’t raining here and wasn’t slippery but mere imagining this patch in heavy rains sent down a chill in my spine. Broken step there after lead you to the top. The climb continues to be still steep. Overall you can easily reach the main entrance in less than 1-1.5 hours depending on your speed. The main gate is in good condition.


There nothing much to see on the top - few water cisterns, broken temple and ukhal lying at the start of the trail on the top. There is a chamunda devi temple on the small hill on the top but we couldn’t locate the trail which probably got lost in the grass. We didn’t have lot of time to explore so we decided not to go in the temple.

There was some remains that looked like palace. But it was filled with water. The view from backside is simply fantabulous! The entire Kukdi river and mountain ranges behind it on backdrop of wandering grey-black clouds with white streak looked like a magical water colored painting. After eating quickly some yummy pears we started back.  The climb down was easy and not difficult as we had imagined. In less than 45 minutes we were at the base. While coming back we stopped at Purohits before the Khed Ghat after Peth. The place was good and food tasted really nice. A mysore masala dosa and hot coffee killed all the growls from our tummies. We were back by 4 PM with all the wonderful memories for the thrilling experience.

Due to the lack of time we couldnt visit the famous Kukdeshwar Temple but I heard its must visit. It is just few Kms ahead of Chavand fort.

Updates- June 2011: Visited Kukdeshwar Temple.