Lohagad Fort, also known as “Iron Gate” in Marathi, is located on side range of Sahayadri hills near Western Ghats and Lonavala(Maharashtra,India). It is at an elevation of 3,450 feet but is an easy trek and a wonderful picnic spot. The fort is well maintained as it is under government. We can still see some Cannons, flags, ponds, walls on the edge of the fort, and places to drop stones to prevent people from climbing through ropes.
Although it is famous for visit in winters but what I feel is during monsoon, It is one of the best place to visit. Lush green walls of fort covered with grass and fog all over the fort just makes the place a beautiful spot.
Lohgad was one of the most important forts of Satwaahan Period(2000 years back). The Buddhist followers who traveled all over to spread Buddhism carved it Just like other Forts of Shayadri, it was built to protect the 60ghats in Shayadri. The main aim to build this fort was to keep eye on people like Nane Maval, Korbaarse Maval and Andhra Maval.
Ah, I am not into history much. Therefore, to find more history about the fort , you can visit: http://www.qutubminar.org/Maharashtra/Lohagad%20Fort.
My Travel Experience:
Trip to lohagad fort was actually not in my travel plans but was a sudden plan. Argh!! I was so frustrated with work whole week that I was waiting eagerly to relax and take rest on weekend. I was at home for whole Saturday doing nothing , which made me even more frustrated and bored. I was unable to stop my lust for wandering somewhere.
Finally I called my always ready for travelling buddy, ha-ha who else can it be and we made a quick decision to go somewhere on Sunday. Ah, Finally we had a place to go for and its “Lohagad Fort”.
It was 5:30 am when my alarm started buzzing, I woke up at one go with excitement and sneaked out of window to check the weather. It was a light shower of rain outside. We packed our bag with a water bottle, 2 rain coats, glucose biscuits, 2 small polybags to cover our mobile phones from rain.
We left from Pune at 7 am sharp and also it stopped raining. The weather was just perfect with fresh air and a earthy smell after rain. For one day trips we always prefer to go by bike to save money, also it's fun to have road trips on bike.
Ways to reach Lohagad from Pune:
Through the Mumbai-Pune Expressway:
It is the fastest route to reach base village of Lohagad known as “Lohagadwadi”, also the route given by Google Map. Start from Pune Expressway and as you see sinhagad institute on the side of highway, ask someone over there for exit or way to reach Lohagadwadi. As it is not very obvious to find the exit from there.
After crossing the narrow street, take a right onto main road and after travelling for 5-6 kms , you will reach the base
Through Bhaja Caves:
This route is mainly preferred by professional trekker groups and those who do not go by personal vehicles. Well, I am not quite a trekker like Paresh So We preferred not to go by this route. Also we had a bike. Anyways, You need to go to Lonavala by local train and take another local to reach Malvali Village and then head off to Bhaja village which is 2 kms from Malvali. From there , stairs will take you to bhaja caves and if you follow the wider path next to stairs, It will take you to the base village “Lohagadwadi”.
Through Old Mumbai-Pune Highway(Paud-Dudhiware Khind route):
This is the route we took. This was one of the easy yet green and beautiful route to reach Lohagad during monsoon. From Magarpatta city (in Pune, where we stay), we headed towards old mumbai-pune highway. Just after crossing toll plaza before lonavala, we took left turn on Y shaped road and after 200 meter take first left again. From there, Lohagad was around 8-10kms. As a road side local person told, we came across Mumbai-Pune highway twice and also there was a railway crossing.
On our way we found a beautiful and clean lake under the bridge.Infact, that beautiful lake surrounds the Lohagad Fort. There was broad slabbed boundary on the bridge. I asked paresh to sit on it, as the view behind that was eye-popping and I could not resist myself from capturing it.
We could see the complete side view of lohagad fort.
The walls looked as if they were covered with green blanket of grass. Continuing on the way to Paud, Just before lohagadwadi (the base village), we crossed Dudhiware Khind “the mountain pass”.
Just after the mountain pass, there was a tea and snacks shop. We stopped by for tea. Having tea with parle-G biscuit and maharashtra’s famous Kanda bhajji is just a delight to your mouth. Behind the shop there was a perfect scenic view of huge green valley. I could not stop myself but capture the moment. Oh yes, how can I forget the tragedy of this trip.
“Trip tragedy or you can call it a mistake from which we learn something not to forget in future trips”.
Ha-Ha it is so lame but we together make (Paresh + Ani) “Pareshani” (Trouble). So You will almost always find a small or large tragedy in our travel stories. Oops We forgot to check the petrol when we left and once we crossed toll plaza, It just came through Paresh’s mind. He checked the petrol and it was almost empty. Moreover, there was no petrol pump nearby.
We were totally clueless and freaked out. Thanks to God, we somehow reached the tea shop after mountain pass. I tried searching for nearby Petrol pumps but unforuantely, the mobile network had weak signal strength. We asked the Chai wale bhaiya about the petrol pump.
From that tea shop, Loahagad was 4km on right Steep patch. On the other hand Lonavala was on left side road where there was a petrol pump after 6kms. We had to go to Lonavala for petrol and then we returned back. But the good thing was petrol got over when we reached petrol pump.
Trip Continues… :
Continuing further, we took the steep patch and moved towards Lohagadwadi. We parked our bike at Lohagadwadi parking at around 11 am and started trekking to Fort. Many people who do not have vehicles prefer to go on foot till base village too.You must carry your rain coats if you visit the place during monsoon.There are stairs all the way to the top of the fort but the steepness keeps increasing.
There were hawkers selling guava, cucumber with masala on them, raw mango pieces and a lot of tamarind. Yum!! It filled my mouth with water, I could not resist and bought some raw mango pieces and cucumber. Oh! Yes you have to be very careful with eatables, as there are many groups of monkeys on the side walls of fort. I was just watching a monkey and her baby. She was pulling head lice of her baby. Aw, they looked so cute. Suddenly, one other monkey came and snatched food from a person’s hand standing near to me.
Moving ahead we found a corner view point. It was not having any boundary and was at a different path from the way to destination. From the corner point , We could see the whole valley from top. It looked beautiful. There was light rain, cold wind, mist fog and wonderful valley made me fall in love with the place.
At the side of stairs, there was mud and a lot of trees. It was creepy but wonderful view having trees at such a heighted place and that too on Fort.
The most interesting thing about the place is close interaction of natural rock and man-made architecture. There was a huge gate also known as “Ganesh Gate” with two lion reliefs.
After entering the gate after 3-4 stairs there are stairs on the right to go down to the small Tomb which belongs to “qubba” (a commandor). The place is bounded by a wall. The wall has small holes like window which were used to fire on enemies during the war.
Through those walls we could see the whole deep valley.There are caves filled with water and shivalingas. From the vast open space at the top, you can see the whole fort.
Also I have heard some people camp in that vast open space. At the end of this vast space, there is a narrow strip of the hill which is not more than few meters that take you to the edge of the hill as well as the Lohagad Fort.As it was all cloudy and fog all over the place, we cannot see the sunset by any chance. We returned back to the base village at around 4:00 pm.