Friday, November 14, 2008

Fort Lohgad

किल्ले लोहगड
Fort Type: Hill Fort
Fort Height: 3400 Ft (from Sea-level)
District: Pune
Base Village: Bhaje (near Malavali)
Time to reach from Base village: 1.5 hours
Grade: Easy
Fort Description:
Lohgad was a important fort during Satwaahan period. Its now almost 2000 years (may be more than that), when Saatwahan used to rule. The caves near the fort (Bhaje and Bedse) were used by Budhhist monks for meditation. Fort Lohgad is accompanied by another fort (twin-fort as few people call) called Visapur. (I will write about fort Visapur in my coming posts)These forts were primarly built to keep watch on the surrounding regions such as Nane Mawal, Korbaarse Mawal and other regions. After Bahmani kingdom went down, this fort was under Nizamshah's rule. Nizamshah captured this fort around year 1489. And remained in Nizamshahi till 1630. From 1630, the fort was under Adilshah's control. Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort in 1648 i.e. 2 years after he captured Torna. Netaji Palker was made in-charge of this fort and its sourroundig regions. This fort and nearby villages came under fire when Mirza Raje Jaysingh launched attack on Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
During the Purandar treaty, this fort was handed over to Aurangzeb. This treaty was made during year 1665. When 1670, Aurangazeb broke the treaty, Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj captured this fort. In 1700 when Aurangazeb was in Deccan region to destroy the Maratha kingdom, this fort went to Mughals. Soon after this the fort was again captured by Maratha's. Nana Phadanwis was key perosn to re-construct the fort. He renovated the 1st, 2nd and 4th entrance of the fort. He also built a lake on the fort.Laksmi Kothi is considered to be the place where he kept all his wealth. In 1818, Colonel Prother captured Visapur fort and Lohgad fall to his hands without even firing a single bullet.
The entrance of the fort is almost 200 years old (as Nana Phadanwis renovated it). When we enter through Ganesh Darwaja, we can look for a stone on which it is scripted that this construction was initiated and completed by Dhondhopant under (control of) Nana Phadanwis. Between Narayan darwaja and Hanuman darwaja there a two godowns which were used to store the grainary. After entering the MAHA Darwaja, we come across an old Dargah. The remains of Court (Sadar), Lakshmi Kothi. One can stay in Lakshmi Kothi.
If we proceed ahead of Old dargah towards the right side, we could spot a small temple of Lord Shankar. Continue your trip on hte fort, you will see a small lake and water reservoirs. Continue your walk for next 10 minutes, you will see a much more bigger lake. This lake was constructed by Nana Phadanwis. The lake is polygonal with 16 sides. The construction of this lake is woth-watch. Also you will find an inscription on the wall, which tells that this lake is built by Nana Phadanwis.
Continue your journey towards western side of the fort, you will come across the famous spot on the fort, VINCHU KATA. (Scorpion's sting). This portion was used to keep an eye on any activity that may take place in its vicinity. At the end of this portion i.e. Vinchu Kata, you will find a ARMORED Bastion. (chilkhati buruj)
Must see
1. All four entrances

2. Vinchu Kata
3. Lake constructed by Nana Phadanwis
4. Lord Shankar temple
5. Bhaje Caves
6. Bedse Caves
How to reach?
There are multiple options available to reach this fort.
1. Your own vehicle

Take old Pune-Mumbai road, take left turn to go to Malawali. Cross the railway-crossing at Malvali station to reach to the base village Bhaje. It takes around 1.5 hours to reach the base village
2. Local train

Get on to any local train from Pune to Lonavala. Get down at Malawali station and take a walk to the base village.
3. There are few treks conducted by various trekking organizations like Yuvashakti and others. Usually these treks begins at Lonavala and reaches to Lohgad. This trek is usually very famous during the rainy season. It is referred as VARSHA-SAHAL. I am not aware of this route, so plese contact proper organizations to get the details of this route.
Food and Drinking water
Food is available at Lohgadwadi and we can also carry our own food. Drinking water is present throughout the year.
Nearly 50 people can be accomodated in Laxmi Kothi.

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