Sunday, November 16, 2008


किल्ले हरिश्चन्द्रगड
Fort Type: Hill Fort
Fort Height: 4000 Ft
Base Village: Khireshwar
Time to reach from base village: 4 to 4.5 hours
District: Ahmednagar
Grade: Medium to tough
Fort description:
This fort is very to very very ancient fort. Microlitic man's remnants have beed found on this fort. Various Puranas like Agnipuran and Skandpuran include many references of this fort. The origin of this fort is said to be in the Kalchuri dynasty during 6th century. Sage Changdev who had written the "TATWASAR" used to meditate here during 14th century. The constructions on the fort suggests that diverse culture existed here. The carvings on the temples and in the caves indicate that the fort belongs to medieval period as it is related to Shaiva, Shakta and Naath pantha.
There is no significant evidence of any battle/war that might have taken place on this fort, but Marathas captured this fort from Mughals in 1747. As Maratha kingdom went down in 1818 this fort also captured by Mughals.
Must see:
1. Harishchandreshwar Temple:
This is very beautiful temple of Lord Shiva. The temple is constructed from one single stone. Also one more fascinating thing about its construction is that the temple is constructed in TOP to BOTTOM fashion. This temple is a fine example of construction and carving sculptures in stones that was famous in ancient India. The height of this temple is about 16 meter from its base. River Mangalganga originates near this temple. Water near the temple can be used for drinking purpose.On the left side of the entrance is a Devnagri inscription, which is about saint Changdev.

2. Saptatirtha
There is one well-built lake called "Saptatirtha". Many temple-like constructions are seen on its bank and idols of Lord Vishnu were present. Now a days these idols have been moved to the caves near by. This lake was a prime source of drinking water on the fort, but negligence of the trekkers has caused a lot of damage to it. The damage is so severe that today we cannot even imagine to swim in it!! (Wake-up we are destroying our own heritage!!!)
3. Kedareshwar Cave
If we go towards the right side of the Harishchandreshwar temple, we come across a gigantic cave. This cave is known as Kedareshwar cave. There is a huge SHIV-LINGA in this cave and this SHIV-LINGA is completely surrounded by water. The total height of the Shiv-Linga is 5 ft from its base and the water level is waist high. It's difficult to reach to the Shiv-Linga as the water here is very cold. One cannot reach to this cave during the monsoon as large and forceful water stream flows across the way.
4. Kokan Kada (Kokan Cliff)
This is the most famous spot of this fort. The cliff provides a breathtking view of surrounding region and the SUN-SET. Important part of this cliff is that, the cliff is concave in its topmost approach. This makes it very difficult for climb. Also due to its difficult nature, the trekkers have managed to conquer this cliff for very few times.One more interesting thing about this spot is that, it is said that one can see a circular rainbow from here. Many are there to claim to have seen the circular rainbow from here.
5. Taramati Peak
This is the highest point of the fort. Leopards can been seen (if you are lucky) here. This point also provides the view of Naneghat and forts near by.
6. Nageshwar Temple (located near Khireshwar - the base village)
How to reach?
One can take his own vehicle to reach the fort. The buses from State Transport (ST) are also available to reach to Khireshwar.Please enquire at Shivajinagar/Swargate/Pune Station bus stands for timings.
From Pune, take the Nashik highway. After you cross Narayangaon, you will come across the ALE-PHATA. Alephata is located at around 2 hours and 30 minutes.Take left turn at Ale-Phata and the road will take you towards Malshej Ghat. You need to look for the KHUBI-PHATA. Khubi-Phata is loacated at around 40 kilometers from Ale-phata. At Khubi-phata, take right turn towards Khireshwar village. The distance between Khubi-phata and Khireshwar village is around 5 kilometers.
If you are coming from Mumbai, after Malshej ghat look for the Khubi-phata and then follow the same route described above.
Way from Khireshwar:
The route from Khireshwar is common approach towards the fort. There are many arrows marked by various trekkers to guide us in our way to top. The route takes us in the famous PASS called as TOLAR KHIND. This pass connects Ahmednagar to Nashik. You reach in Tolar Khind in 1.5 hours from Khireshwar. Here you can find a carving of TIGER. This is called WAGHOBA. From this place you take a left turn towards up side. Within few minutes you will come across to the famous and fascinating ROCK-PATCH. Railing are fixed on this rock-patch to enable a safe trek to the fort. Once you cross this rock patch, you come to a plateau region. You have to cross 7 hills (follow the markings) to get to the Harishchandreshwar temple. This walk is about 2 to 3 hours depending upon the speed and stamina! (Me and my friend have completed this trek within 3 hours 15 minutes. This is our time from Khireshwar base village to the Harishchandreshwar temple). Usually after starting from the base village i.e. Khireshwar, it takes 4 to 4.5 hours to reach to the Harischandreshwar temple.
Food and Drinking water
Food arrangements are available on the fort. But its a great experience to cook food for yourself!! Drinking water is also available on the fort.But you should take good care during mansoon season.
AccommodationIts always a good idea to reach at the base village one day earlier to the actual trek. Trekkers need to stay in the base village for one night. Below are some options that are available:
1. In the base village i.e. Khireshwar, local school is the best option to stay for the night.
2.Villagers also make arrangements to stay. They sometime even serve the breakfast and tea.
Accomodation on the fort
Many people can be accomodated in Ganesh caves & caves near the temple of Harishchandreshwar.

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