Your guide to planning a trek to Rajmachi Fort in Maharashtra

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Nestled between Karjat and Lonavala, two popular hill stations in Maharashtra, the Rajmachi fort trek is popular. Frequented by trekkers from Mumbai and Pune, it is a relatively easy trek that is ideal for beginners and allows trekkers to experience the best of nature and culture. Here is your complete guide to the trek. By Anouchka Goel

Your Guide for the Rajmachi Fort Trek

About Rajmachi Fort

Rajmachi is located between the hill stations of Lonavala and Karjat in the Sahyadri mountains of the Western Ghats, two popular tourist destinations in Maharashtra. Rajmachi is home to two forts – Fort Manaranjan, at an elevation of 2,510 feet which faces west, and Fort Shriwarchan, at an elevation of 2,710 feet which faces east.

Both forts were built by the Satavahanas. However, they gained popularity during the reign of the Maratha warrior, Shivaji Maharaj, who took over these two forts in the 15th century. In addition to fortifying and expanding structures, he made additions to the premises. The forts, since then, saw (and survived) many battles between the Marathas and the Mughals, before being taken over by the British during their reign.

According to reports, the forts also served as a trade route between present-day Mumbai and Pune, being located at a convenient distance from both cities.

Trekking to Rajmachi Fort

You can do the Rajmachi for treks via two routes – Lonavala and Karjat. The two routes offer different levels of ease and distance, and provide a different experience at both ends. The routes reach the same base – Udhewadi – but offer unique views that will remain etched in your memory forever.

Itinerary Lonavala

The Lonavala route is the easier of the two, but will take you longer. This makes it ideal for hikers with family and friends, or for those new to the adventure activity. The route is enriched with forests and easier walks, and you will encounter several birds, reptiles and insects on your way, as well as a wide variety of plants and weeds. The route will take you to Udhewadi, which serves as the base for the trek.

From Lonavala, walk or hire a rickshaw to Tungarali, which is about two miles from Lonavala Station. Grab some snacks and water here, as you won’t be able to get any of these until you reach the base village. In case you don’t want to travel the distance to Udhewadi, you can also opt for four-wheeled vehicles that will take you all the way to the base camp. Not only will this shorten the time of your trek to Rajmachi Fort, but it will also make the experience much easier for you.

Karjat Road

From Karjat, walk or take a car to reach the village of Kondivade. Stock up on your basic needs here – food, water and more, and start your trek from Emu Park in Gupta. Pass streams, waterfalls and more on your route. You will even come across maple trees here.

The route also includes viewpoints such as the Kondhane Caves, which will make for a great break as well as a journey of exploration. From there, take the small path to the right of the caves, until you find a sign indicating Rajmachi. Walk along the same, following the arrows and maps, until you reach Udhewadi.

From Udhewadi to Rajmachi Forts

Stock up on supplies here and sip some hot chai, and after your break it’s time to continue hiking. Walk the path that takes you out of the village, towards the Lonavala road, until you see a graded path upwards.

The concrete road your trek takes will take you to Bhairavnath temple. Spend some time here before heading to the two forts – Manaranjan and Shriwardhan – which make up the Rajmachi trek.

The trek to Manaranjan starts behind the temple. The simple and straightforward route features a mud trail that takes you to the top of the fort, which will be complemented by some of the most breathtaking views in the Western Ghats.

The path to the Shriwardhan trek is filled with concrete steps for the most part. The end is a mix of mud and rock cut steps, which will take you to the top of the fort. The views here are equally stunning and will make you forget about all your tiredness and aches as you soak up the misty skies and green hills. Explore the area and visit the nearby temple and water reservoir, freshen up and have a good break before starting your descent to Udhewadi (and then back home).

when should we go

June to September are said to be the best months to do the Rajmachi Fort treks. The months of May and June will allow you to witness the beautifully twinkling fireflies at night. These glow-in-the-dark beetles emerge for just two months, just before the monsoon, and several trekking companies organize specialized firefly festivals to allow guests to witness this amazing phenomenon.

The other months, which include the monsoons, are a great time to visit as you can witness lush greenery, misty skies, and valleys filled with waterfalls. These will rejuvenate and energize you like nothing else can!

If you want to visit during the winter months, you’ll encounter the colors of fall – aging leaves, clearer skies, and a slight twinge in the air – making for a completely contrasting (and equally fun) experience. ).

How to reach

You can reach Karjat or Lonavala to start your hike. Both of these locations are accessible by car or train from Mumbai and Pune, and will give you great views of the ghat and waterfalls before you even begin your adventure.

Hero and featured image: Courtesy of Shutterstock

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