Archive for August, 2011

Kille Prachandgad (Torna). . .

I am now in Final Year of my engineering and I’m lovin’ it, because I now get three days off in a week. And three days off means an excellent opportunity to go on more and more treks.

This week we decided to go to Torna(also known as Prachandgad).

Team :

Sushant Bhosale (Me),
Prashant Chaudhari,
Aditya Shelar and
Tushar Tapkir

Date : 31st July 2011

Place : Velhe, Pune

Torna

Route : Swargate(Pune)(via ST bus) -> Velhe

Time from base village : 2 and a half hours.

Difficulty : Medium

History :

This fort is believed to have been constructed by the Shaiva Panth, followers of the Hindu god Shiva, in the 13th century. A Menghai Devi temple, also referred to as the Tornaji temple, is situated near the entrance of the fort.

In 1643, Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort at the age of sixteen, thus making it one of the first forts in what would become the Maratha empire. Shivaji Maharaj renamed the fort Torna, and constructed several monuments and towers within it.

In the 18th century, the Mughal empire gained control of this fort after assassination of Shivaji Maharaj’s son Sambhajiraje. Aurangzeb, then Mughal emperor, renamed this fort Futulgaib, in recognition of the difficult defense the Mughals had to overcome to capture this fort. It was restored to the Maratha confederacy by the Treaty of Purandar in 1776 between Marathas and British East India Company.

So here goes. . .

Me and Prashant left from our place for swargate. Our direct bus to swargate had already left so we had to change buses at Pune Station, which delayed us a little. This time Aditya and Tushar(surprisingly) were a little ahead of time and he was constantly calling us. They told us that the bus for Velhe was gonna leave at 8 and it was already 8.

Once we got out of the bus we literally ran into the Swargate bus stand only to discover that these guys were sitting in comfort. Then we inquired about the bus and got to know that the bus was already on the flat and ready to go. We got into the bus and started our journey to Velhe.It was a nice ride from Katraj ghat to velhe.

Once we reached, I have to admit, I had the best Misal Paav I ever had in my life. It was just perfect. I would love to do this trek again because it’s the first fort won by Shivaji Maharaj, because it’s the highest fort in Pune district and because of that Misal Paav.

Then we started climbing the mighty Torna. Its the highest fort in Pune district. The way to climb takes a left turn from a big well. Just ahead there was beautiful stream coming down. The real trek starts from this point onwards.

Me, Aditya and Prashant at the well.

Beautiful Stream

View of the Fort


The way to the top actually crosses from three small peaks, so its like climbing one peak, then the second and then the third before actually reaching the hill that houses the fort. First three hill are easy to climb but they require you to walk alot.

Way to the top

Once we reached the final hill, we saw a big rock patch in front of us. This rock patch is a little tricky but its been secured with bars on the sides so it feels safe to climb.

Me, Aditya and Prashant at the Rock Patch

As we continued, the path took us into dense forest and after sometime we were standing below one of the most beautiful waterfalls I’ve ever seen. We refilled our bottles here and only 10 mins of more walking took us to Kothi Darwaja.

Mesmerizing Waterfall

Kothi Darwaja

From Kothi Darwaja we enter the fort and further we reach another big door called Bini Darwaja. This door lead us into the fort. There was hardly anything visible as there was a lot of fog. Then also we scouted a little bit.

Bini Darwaja

Bini Darwaja

Konkan Darwaja

Fortifications

As compared to a number of forts, Torna has large amounts of remains. There’s Mongai mandir, Daru kothar, and Torneshwars mandir.

Advertisements

Tikona : The triangular fort. . . .

Its been almost two weeks since I’ve been to Tikona (also known as Vitantgad) but I didn’t get any time to pen it down. It was one of the most great and easiest of the treks.

A day before the trek almost 7 people said that they’d come for the trek but only 3 showed up. And once we all were at the Pune Station, we decided there was no point turning back. So we went anyways.

Team :
Sushant Bhosale (Me)
Aditya Shelar and
Tushar Tapkir

Date : 17th July 2011

Place : Tikonawadi, Kamshet, Pune

Route : Pune Station (via Lonavala Local) -> Kamshet -> Pavananagar (via Taxi) -> Tikonawadi (Base Village) (via Taxi)

Time from base village : 45 mins to 1 hour

Difficulty : Easy

History :

Very little is known about the origin of the fort. Malik Ahmed Nizamshah of the Nizam dynasty conquered the fort in 1585 and aanexed it to the Nizam territory. In 1657, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj brought the whole of Konkan, which had been Nizam territory, under his control when he conquered Tikona along with the forts of Karnala, Lohgad, Mahuli, Songad, Tala, and Visapur. This fort was a strategic nexus: the centre of control for the entire Pawana Mawal region. In 1660, Dhamale family one of the Deshmukh from Maval region was charged with ensuring the security of fort Tikona. Jaysingh invaded the region in 1665 and the local villages were by Dilerkhan but the forts held out. Tikona fort was surrendered to the Mughal warrior Kubadkhan, who had attacked the region together with Halal Khan and others, according to the Treaty of Purandar signed on 12 June 1665. Kubad Khan took over the fort on 18 June but it was later recaptured by the Marathas.

So here goes. . .

We had decided to meet at Pune Station by 7 or 7:15 in the morning. I reached station by 7 and Aditya followed. Tushar was a little late (as always). We hopped on the local to Lonavala. It was’nt raining when train left station so it was a great view and a decent train ride to Kamshet. Its the station immediately after Vadgaon.

Once we alighted the train at Kamshet, we came out of the Kamshet station and boarded a private taxi to Pavananagar. It was a Jeep actually and driver had crammed a large number of people in there. In that commotion I lost my cell(more on that later).

We had a little breakfast at Pavananagar. It wasn’t the best Misal Paav but it was good. After breakfast we boarded a PikUp to the village Tikonapeth. Its the base village for fort Tikona.

Once we got down at Tikonapeth, we saw a concrete road leading into the village. Which was our way towards Fort Tikona. We immediately started our trek as it had started raining mildly. But soon the concrete road ended and we found ourselves walking on a very muddy road. It appeared that it had rained heavily there last night or yesterday.

Muddy Road

The way to the top is from a big banyan tree. That is where you leave the muddy road and start your ascend to capture that beautiful triangular fort. The way to the top is very easy and short. You are on the top in no time. A small gate which first appears to be a cave welcomes you into the fort. The next gate is Vetal Darwaja.

Small Gate

Vetal Darwaza

Me and Aditya at Vetal Darwaza

The view of the village from top is just mesmerizing. The plush green paddy fields look very beautiful.

Paddy fields

Upon walking further you come across a big Hanuman sculpture, its known as Chapetdan Maruti. Ahead there’s a big cave where there’s a temple. We went on a Sunday so there was a lot of commotion there and large number of people were in there sheltering themselves from the rains.

Chapetdan Maruti

The cave

The Shivaji Trail

After climbing for another 5 minutes we came across another gate which led us into the Bale Killa. This gate was accessible through steep stairs which were slippery.

The Stairs

Gate

The Team

Great Climb

Into the Bale Killa

On the Bale Killa there’s a temple of Lord Shiva and obviously Bhagava(Flag of swarajya).

Temple

Bhagava

We didn’t stay long on the fort and started our descend. Once we were in Tikonapeth we followed the same way back to Kamshet and back home.

Fortifications

Tikona was our second monsoon trek and we had a blast. Its small and beautiful.